20 December 2019

The Hacker’s Tribute Vol. 36: Internet of Christmas Things


Dear Coders, Christmas couldn’t have come any sooner! For those of us in the know, it’s a time for reaching incredible milestones.

In this issue, we focus on brand new developments, peppered with spectacular Christmas splendour! There’s never been a more well-illuminated time to be alive.

Dive into the latest Kotlin conference in Copenhagen. Enjoy the spoils of war between the powers of the Internet, who in the wake of their ceasefire, have agreed to develop common IoT product standards. Learn how to IoT your ugly Christmas jumper into the new decade. Power your Xmas lighting with data. And read up on the best tips to keep your data safe.

If your tree has no presents, then consider this issue to be one of them.

For many Christmas is a time of frantic buying, while for others it’s time for elaborate dinners. But for those who allow it, it’s a time for deep contemplation.

And that’s my time. While Santa descends with presents from the northern reaches of Finland, I’ll be heading back into the mountains for a while – to pursue the greatest gift of all – adventure.

Be safe out there, coders, programmes, and earth-shakers! Continue down that path of passion, and St. Nicolas will be sure to reward you.

Thank you all. Have an electrifying Christmas, and good luck.

Dan ‘the Man’ Kowalski,


Editor-in-Chief, The Hacker’s Tribute, Bearer of Gifts

Happy Xmas (IoT War is Over)

The players of the Internet have disarmed and will be working together. Each has advertised competing IoT devices. Amazon, a small jungle cruise operator. Apple, a California-marketed/China-based fruit manufacturer. Google, a modest information directory noted for their lacklustre ambition and creativity. The fantastic news for designers? They will work together to develop common product standards. I guess the real gift is a collaboration between powers?

Have a Hipster Christmas

What better way to commemorate the season, than through a kitsch Christmas jumper? It’s the ironic tradition that’s taken the world by (wait for the dad joke) snowstorm! Through the undisputed genius that combines Raspberry Pi Zero with Twitter-controlled LEDs, Jim Bennett of Microsoft has IoT-enabled his ugly Christmas jumper. A sleight of hand has contemporised this iconic piece of clothing – bringing it jingling all the way into the IoT spotlight.

Internet of Christmas Things

They say data is the real source powering our Christmas lights. When these guys get their way, it will undoubtedly be the case! Hendrik Muhs of Elastic demonstrates how to ‘IoT your tree’, by enabling its lights with Elasticsearch and Micro:bit. Sounds hard? It’s easy and through using only a simple list of materials. Get going and have yourself an HTTP Christmas!

Kotlin Day in the ‘Hagen

KotlinConf in Copenhagen was itself a gift that keeps on giving. Andrey Breslav announced the Spring 2020 release of Kotlin 1.4, with an almost Christmas Elf-like dedication to quality and language performance. Another gift – is the omnipresence! Experience it in Mobile, Web, Native, to Backends, Data Science, Gradle, and more. No matter what device you get this Christmas, you can be sure that Kotlin will be there in force.

Safe as a QuickBird!

Mobile app security is no joke. As we place increasing trust into our handheld devices, the unprotected apps of the world risk divulging our most intimate secrets. The world says no to that! Let this post be the guide you need to negotiate the hostile terrain that is the Internet of secrets. Understand the best practices needed and design bullet-proof apps now!

Knowledge is free and shared. We’re always on the lookout for new insights into the world of App Development. Get in touch with us, and we’ll give you a heads up on your next big idea.

We’ll be in touch with more news, as it happens!


Hackers of the world dream to be him. And that’s an understatement. With methods decades ahead of cyberspace, he’s proceeded only by his own reputation. ‘The Man’ infamous for single-handedly causing the ’08 global financial meltdown, he dropped off-grid searching for purpose. He twice-dominated each of the Himalayan peaks, negotiated the rift valleys of Africa, and swam the Amazonian Basin end-to-end. It was in Siberia where we caught up to him – convincing him to work for the ‘good guys’. The veteran’s veteran of coding, now confidently within our ranks, is finally a force for good. Just don’t test him.