📬 Codestories Newsletter #81: Charge up your tech skills with expert tips!

Photo of Natalia Muryn

Natalia Muryn

Feb 22, 2021 • 16 min read

Codestories Newsletter is a regular dose of news, insights, and inspiration for technology enthusiasts, delivered every two weeks. You can subscribe here.


Do you feel drained of energy? During the winter, the sun’s rays are more spread out and hit the Earth at a shallow angle.

The lack of sunlight means your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy. We all need to recharge our batteries and what’s funny — February 18 is Battery Day, so today I’m happy to share with you some articles and podcasts that keep my motivation high.

I work in the mobile department and I’m mainly focused on cross-platform solutions, but in this edition you’ll find some useful tips for all developers as well.

Natalia Muryn
Senior React Native Developer & Team Leader

🏆 Weekly Highlights

  • Google Fi VPN updates help you connect safely
  • Github1s - one second to read Github code with VS Code
  • How not to burnout: a guide for software developers
  • Flutter vs. React Native: Which one’s best and when to use each?
  • Getting the most out of Git: some of the less known but very useful features

🔥 News

Google Fi VPN updates help you connect safely (The Keyword)
There’s a new perk for Google Fi members — VPN is existing beta on Android and coming to iPhone. The company also revealed new privacy and security features coming down the line.

The best features to look forward to in Apple's iOS 14.5 update (TNW)
Apple is bringing some big improvements with its forthcoming update. Apple Watch users will be able to unlock their phone with Face ID even while wearing a mask, and you can finally pick a default music service for Siri, among other improvements.

Google announces new AI-powered heart and breathing monitors for Pixel phones
Google is adding AI-powered measurements for respiration and heart rates to the Google Fit app on Pixel devices. The feature is also coming later to other Android phones.

Apple reportedly developing next-gen ultra-thin displays for AR devices (The Verge)

The early stage project with TSMC is part of Apple’s reported efforts to develop AR and VR headsets, with a first headset potentially coming next year.

How I hacked into Apple, Microsoft, and dozens of other companies (Alex Birsan)
Security researchers managed to hack top tech companies including Microsoft, Apple, Paypal, and Shopify using a technique called “Dependency Confusion”. Is your project vulnerable too?

✅ Must-reads

A guide for software developers to avoid burnout (BetterProgramming)
Burnout has long been a challenge for developers. The pandemic and new structures of work have made it even more difficult for some — check out a self-assessment and strategies for finding better balance.

Is JavaScript becoming TypeScript? (Bits and Pieces)

TypeScript has been gaining in popularity among web developers. What’s behind the rise, and will it in time overtake JavaScript?

How to use emoji at work (TNW)

Emoji don’t always mean what you think. Take a look at how different emoji may be interpreted and which to avoid before firing them off in your work chat application.

Flutter vs. React Native: Which one’s best and when to use each? (salt&pepper)
Mobile app developers will often have a preference when it comes to Flutter or React Native. Get a breakdown of the main differences, strengths and shortcomings of the two options..

How programmers can focus on the fundamentals (Amy M. Haddad)
For anyone new to the journey of programming, this piece is the first in a series of tutorials on what to prioritize and setting yourself up for success.

An engineer's guide to saying no (Darja Gutnick)
We’ve all been there — backed up with projects, but willing to take on more when asked. Instead, find out how you can say no with confidence.

Google launches AI experiment to experience what it's like to 'hear color' (MUO)

This interactive site takes you inside the world of Wassily Kandinsky, who had a condition called synesthesia. He could “hear” color, using this unique gift to inspire his groundbreaking abstract artwork.

🌱 Sustainable Tech

Anti-trashbug AI scours sky-snaps to spot sea plastic (TNW)
University of Barcelona scientists built an app that detects floating litter in aerial photos, offering a powerful tool to help clean up the millions of tons of trash that enter the oceans each year.

Can AI help improve seafood safety? (The Fish Site)

The US Food and Drug Administration is launching a pilot project to determine if AI can improve the safety in imported food products.

Oxford University set to launch 20 sustainability startups (Sifted)
Fresh off of partnering on a COVID-19 vaccine, the university plans to power new companies focused on sustainability. Food security, cleantech, and greentech will get the initial focus.

💡 Get inspired

Prioritizing the backlog (Complete Developer Podcast)
Task prioritization is key to good development work. This podcast may help you strategize for your next sprint, with expertise straight from experienced coders.

Senior engineering superpowers (The Rabbit Hole)

What does it take to be a senior engineer? The Rabbit Hole podcast hosts discuss when they reached that achievement, and the skills it took.

Fine tuning your psychological stack (JavaScript Jabber)
Professional success isn’t just about technical skills. Your wellbeing matters — hear from a coach and yoga instructor who brings strategies to take care of your mind.

⚙ Tips & tricks

Getting the most out of Git (Smashing Magazine)
Find out some of the lesser known tools in Git, such as recovering deleted commits, cleaning up your commit history, and more.

Only one second to read Github code in your browser (Github)

Here’s a great time saver — add 1s after Github, and press enter for any repository that you want to read.

Coding with voice using Serenade (Bits and Pieces)
Can you speak your way to good code? This article investigates Serenada, a software that turns natural speech into code.

Simple VS Code extensions to boost developer productivity (BetterProgramming)

VS Code is one of the most powerful code editors around. There is a strong catalogue of extensions that can extend what you’re able to do — give some of these a try.

Launching an adjacent screen on Surface Duo (Surface Duo Blog)
The Surface Duo provides a unique multi-screen experience. This Microsoft blog post gives Android developers details on ensuring their apps work well on the device.

Dynamic static typing in TypeScript (Smashing Magazine)

Explore a number of the more advanced features of TypeScript, such as union types, conditional types, template literal types, and generics.

👀 Must-sees

🎥 Videos

Does hacking require programming skills? (Live Overflow)
What is the relationship between coding and hacking skills? Find out how all those coding skills can tie right into good security.

Object-oriented programming in JavaScript (Code Tour)

This podcast episode dives into how to use JavaScript to automate creating new objects. View real-world code examples and get a number of practical tips.

Why many fail to learn programming (Aaron Jack)

The journey to being a successful programmer can be a lengthy one. Find out what holds some people back, and how you can improve no matter your current skill set.

🖼 Design of the issue

Screenshot 2021-02-17 at 15.28.29

Korea Animal Rights Advocates calendar, BEHANCE.

🎙 Quote of the week

Staying motivated is super important. You can only grow if you pull through, learn the right things, pause when you need to and find learning techniques that work for you."

Maximilian Schwarzmüller, Seven techniques to learn and grow more efficiently.

☕ After hours

Audi reveals its Porsche-powered E-Tron GT
For a cool $100,000, you too can have this new, high-performance electric sedan.

Affinity Photo upgrade brings new performance boosts (DPReview)

With version 1.9, users get astrophotography stacking, hardware acceleration on Windows, and a number of other improvements.

35 jokes that are just right for programmers (Bored Panda)
Need some new jokes to share with your programming colleagues? Click on over for a dose of humor.


This is the issue 81 of Codestories Newsletter – a bi-weekly dose of European Tech insights. You can learn more and subscribe here.

If you have any comments or feedback, feel free to contact the Codestories Team: codestories-team@netguru.com.

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