The field near my second home… Walking here reminds me of when I walked here a year and a half ago, debating whether to accept the new job offer. It feels like an eternity ago. But it was a good decision!

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Jan-Lukas Else

28 Sep 2023 at 16:43

A better Postman alternative: Hoppscotch


I used to use Postman for both personal and work projects. It was great for making HTTP requests without having to create curl commands. But now, Postman requires a login, which I hate. I don’t understand why a login is needed for such a simple tool.

I did some research and found a great alternative that doesn’t require installation: Hoppscotch. It’s open source, self-hostable and looks similar to Postman. To circumvent CORS, you can download a simple browser addon or use a (self-hosted) proxy.

You can also log into Hoppscotch to save your workspace, but it’s optional.


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Jan-Lukas Else

28 Sep 2023 at 11:00

“The Frustration Loop”


Spammers and their spam are annoying.

Instead of just blocking them, Herman, author of the Bear blogging platform, had a clever idea to make their lives frustrating:

  • When spam is detected, clear the form (so all the info needs to re-typed) and throw an error, eg: “Our servers are bearly managing. Try again later.”
  • Disable pasting in all text areas. We can’t make it too easy.
  • Every 5 to 10 seconds the element focus switches to a different input so while they’re typing in one area, they may accidentally start typing in another in a mildly annoying way.
  • And finally to top it off, if/when they finally manage to submit the form again, throw a different error, eg: “Ensure content contains necessary parameters.”
  • Repeat.

And it seems to work, as spam dropped from 30% of new blogs to 5%.

When I implemented the contact and comment forms in GoBlog, I noticed that using a CAPTCHA (even if it’s just a simple one) already prevents a lot of the automatic spam. But about once a week, I still get spam comments or contact messages thinking my blog might promote sketchy online casinos.


Interactions & Comments

Jan-Lukas Else

27 Sep 2023 at 20:23

Catching COVID-19


So far, I had been spared from COVID-19. “Had,” focusing on the past, because now it has affected me, or us, after all. We had to cut short our vacation, which I used to share little glimpses of here on the blog. We quickly went back home, wearing masks the whole time and hoping not to infect more people.

At home, we’ve been recovering from this illness for three days now. We preferred to order our groceries instead of going to the supermarket. The symptoms are getting better and almost gone. I had a strong fever at first, although I couldn’t confirm it with a thermometer since I didn’t have one during the trip. The painful cough in my throat is improving, and the stuffy nose is getting better too.

I’m glad that the symptoms from this variant we caught are now quite mild…

The treatment in the UK was surprising. With cold-like symptoms, we were directed from the medical practice to the pharmacy to get a COVID-19 test. When the test confirmed a positive result, we were told not to enter the practice anymore. The number “111” in Scotland didn’t seem reachable with roaming. But we needed some medical proof for our insurance to show that we had to cut our trip short because we were feeling very unwell. Did we need to go to the emergency room for that? Ultimately, modern technology and virtual doctor visits (from Scotland to Germany) helped us.

I used to be afraid of COVID-19 before. Now, I mainly worry about those whose symptoms aren’t as mild and those who may suffer long-term effects. I’m not sure about the current situation, but I sincerely hope that vaccines are now providing good protection for high-risk individuals and that masks help reduce the risk of transmission. I also hope that those knowingly infected are taking precautions.

Interactions & Comments

Jan-Lukas Else

24 Sep 2023 at 08:05

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