Seven Samurai: A Lesson In Team Dynamics

Seven Samurai is a 1965 film by Akira Kurosawa. The story chronicles the struggles of a small farming village in rural Japan during the time of the Shogun emperors. The villagers discover that they will soon be overrun by bandits who plan to rape, kill and pillage. The villagers are helpless to defend themselves, so they travel to the nearest town to recruit samurai to defend them. The villagers eventually persuade a single samurai to take up their cause. This samurai then recruits six other samurai and together they form and execute a plan to defend the village.

The film is considered a classic in cinema. The direction, camera work, acting, and story line are all amazing. It is an entertaining film that I watch over and over. One aspect of the plot that I find incredibly powerful is understanding the team dynamics among the seven samurai. It serves as a lesson in modern team structure.

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Be Careful With Your Gradle Repository Declarations

Gradle has a sophisticated process for downloading, caching, and managing third-party dependencies. However Gradle first needs to find where these dependencies are hosted. It will try to resolve each dependency by checking repositories one-at-a-time in the order they are listed in build.gradle files. Out of the box, a new Android Studio project will add two Gradle repositories to the project:

allprojects {
    repositories {

For each dependency, Gradle will first check Google’s repository for a matching dependency. If a match is found, it will then move on to the next dependency. If not, Gradle will then check JCenter’s repository. This linear search is very inefficient and creates potential security issues during the build process.

The security flaws are well documented in other stories. Simply put, if a malicious person puts a compromised “fake” artifact on a repository that is listed before a repository containing the “real” artifact, then Gradle will use that fake artifact; this situation can be hard to detect if you’re not explicitly looking for it.

I want to focus on the second issue: the inefficiencies caused by Gradle checking repositories that do not have the requested artifact.

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