Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus and Rich Staats of Secret Stache start their series on architecture by discussing the 12-Factor App framework of characteristics that make a Web app work well.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  1. Codebase: Use single codebase for each Web app with tracked version control
  2. Dependencies: Explicitly declare, isolate dependencies; don’t rely on implicit existence
  3. Config: Separate and store config environment (staging, prod, etc.) from code
  4. Backing Services: Treat every external dependency as an attached resource
  5. Build, Release, Run: Separate each distinct stage and include incremental release ID
  6. Processes: App should…

Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus and Rich Staats of Secret Stache conclude their encryption series by discussing symmetric cryptography and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Quality Control of Voice Assistance: Apple claims only your phone, not Apple or Siri, knows unique IDs to delete recordings
  • Encryption Liability: Apple didn’t encrypt, only anonymized, your recordings with Siri
  • Can you keep a secret? Symmetric encryption is a single key that encrypts/decrypts data
  • Key Management Service (KMS): AWS’ core service involves symmetric encryption to generate and manage cryptographic keys
  • Hardware Security Module (HSM)…

In Part 3 of their series on encryption, Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus and Rich Staats of Secret Stache discuss end-to-end encryption in practice.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Episode 73, Part 1 Recap: Essential encryption pieces (hashing) and categories (symmetric vs. public keys)
  • Episode 74, Part 2 Recap: Transport layer security (TLS) in practice
  • End-to-End Encryption: Secure, end-to-end communication channel between two parties going through an intermediary
  • Primary Purposes: Prevent others from reading messages; limiting access, limits liability
  • VirgilSecurity Software Development Kit (SDK) based on published public key encryption and private key kept…

Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus and Rich Staats of Secret Stache continue their series on encryption to discuss transport layer security (TLS) in practice.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Episode 73, Part 1 Recap: Essential encryption pieces (hashing) and categories (symmetric vs. public keys)
  • TLS (a.k.a. https) Components: Authentication, encryption, and integrity
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate: Identify and authenticate who is communicating with you on the Internet
  • Public key encryption involves public and private parts, plus a middleman:
  • Web server handling security traffic generates separate digital SSL certificate
  • Certificate authority issues certificates and…

Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus and Rich Staats of Secret Stache begin a series of episodes focused on encryption — starting with the essentials.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Encryption: Everybody depends on it, but most don’t understand it
  • Transmitting sensitive information, such as credit card and social security numbers, via the Internet is taken for granted
  • Key to Encryption: Plain text converted to ciphertext (no resemblance to original)
  • Encrypt Everything: Most major browsers requiring Web traffic over secure port
  • What’s the difference? End-to-end vs.at rest and in transit encryption
  • Encryption Types: Hashing (one-way…

Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus and Rich Staats of Secret Stache continue their discussion on growing high-performing remote and international engineering teams.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Current Culture and Change Perspective: Identify processes, strengths, areas for improvement, attitude, and environment related to people and technology
  • Level Up: Teach, mentor, and build team’s strengths to make world-class developers
  • Reasons for Remote Teams: Costs less — not necessarily; a remote team can cost more, if not done well and hire amateurs, not professionals
  • Challenge of Retention: People move on to the next best offer; developers…


Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus, along with Rich Staats of Secret Stache, discuss lessons learned while working with remote and international engineering teams.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Jon’s Excellent Experience: Most of his career has been working with international team members, some went on to be Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Architects
  • International Opportunities:Jon jumped on the Bangalore bandwagon by volunteering to go to India to help hire a team
  • Two Teams, Mixed Results: One high-performing team, one very low-performing team
  • Chris Comes Along: He already had worked for and managed high-performing…


Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus continue their Microservices Bootcamp with Part 2: Sizing, Decomposition, and Dismantling the Monolith.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Sizing Guidelines: Consider familiarity/comfort level, team size, and cognitive load
  • Learn from Experience: Document dependencies, deployment, issues, etc.
  • Pain Threshold: Fix issues with microservices sooner than later; it’s totally doable
  • Decomposition Guidelines: Consider appropriate candidates for microservices, operational maturity, CI/CD pipeline, code changes, adding features, etc.
  • Greenfield vs.Brownfield Approach: Start from scratch, make few changes/additions, or start over
  • Dismantling Monolith Guidelines: Break into microservices, identify what/when to decouple, minimize dependencies, and…


Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus kick-off their Microservices Bootcamp with Part 1: Designing and Sizing Your Microservices. They answer the essential questions of: What, why, and how?

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • What is a microservice? Process of factoring business capabilities or logic into well-defined domains and sub-domains
  • State vs. Stateless Microservices: Modularization at logic level, but state is coupled
  • Why are microservices popular? Small, modular, independent, easy to deal with
  • Benefits of Microservices: Quicker, faster growth, scalability, and deployment
  • Microservice Tradeoffs: Complexity of multiple moving parts, systems, and microservices
  • Vertical vs. Horizontal: What…


Chris Hickman and Jon Christensen of Kelsus and Rich Staats of Secret Stache discuss using custom CloudWatch metrics to monitor disk space.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Trade Secrets: What you can do to monitor, manage, and not run out of disk space
  • Consumption Culprits: Apps take disk space during normal operation for log files, container images, and bugs (i.e., CannotPullContainerError: no space left on device)
  • Free standard EC2 metrics included with CloudWatch: CPU utilization, disk and network throughput, and status check
  • Sound the alarm! Develop custom metrics for monitoring disk space and memory by installing…

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