It all started with someone trying to show me an article on their mobile phone. As an adblock user I’d forgotten how bad the world was with all the screen space being stolen by pop-unders, pop overs and I was soon done. After mulling it over for a little while I decided to use it as a flimsy excuse to buy another Raspberry Pi and trial running Pi-hole - ‘A black hole for internet advertisements’. Read on →

For a number of years I’ve maintained what I call my Pragmatic Investment Plan (PiP). It’s a collection of things that ensure I have to invest at least a little time each quarter into my career and industry. While it’s always been somewhat aspirational, in that I don’t often complete everything, it does give me a little prod every now and again and stops me becoming too stagnant. My first few PiPs were done annually, but after I started seeing ever decreasing completed items I moved to quarterly and had a lot more success. Read on →

In the IT industry we are reputed to be serial job hoppers. While this may seem a little unfair, if it applies to you then you should consider where you’re spending your limited additional time and effort. First, a disclaimer: you need to invest enough time and effort into your current job to stay employed. Now that’s out of the way let’s look at our normal days. All those extra hours and hard work you put in everyday? Read on →

Despite using Linux on pretty much every computer I’ve owned for the last 20 years I’ve made an exception when it comes to tablet devices and adopted an iPad into my life as commute friendly “source of all books.” Overtime it’s been occasionally pressed into service as a camera and I recently realised I’ve never backed any of those photos up. “That’s something easy to remedy” I naively thought as I plugged my iPad into a laptop and watched as it didn’t appear as a block device. Read on →

A few jobs ago, as the number of daily meetings increased, I picked up a tiny meeting tweak that I’ve carried with me and deployed at each place I’ve worked since. End all meetings five minutes early. Instead of half past, end it at 25 and instead of on the hour (complex maths ahead) end at 55. My reasoning is simple and selfish, I hate being late for things. This approach gives people time to get to their next meeting.

About a year ago, I decided it’d been long enough since I last wasted significant amounts of time playing computer games that I could buy a gaming machine and play for a sensible amount of time and not impact other demands for my time. I looked at all of the current generation consoles and to be honest I was put off by the price of the games. I’m aware of the Steam sale and considering it’s been a decade since I played anything seriously (I still miss you, Left 4 Dead 2) my plan was to quickly recoup the extra cost of a gaming PC by sticking to the best games of a few years ago. Read on →

I’m not a morning person. I never have been and I doubt it’ll suddenly become one of my defining characteristics. In light of this I’ve always had a dislike of the daily stand-up happening first thing in the morning, instead over the years I’ve become to much prefer having it at about 4PM. A late afternoon stand-up isn’t a common thing. Some people absolutely hate the idea and with no scientific studies to back me up I’m essentially just stating an opinion but I do have a few reasons. Read on →

The summer conference submission season is slowly subsiding and after reading through a combined total of a few thousand submissions I’ve got some hastily compiled thoughts. But before we get started, a disclaimer: I don’t publicly present. My views on this are from the perspective of a submission reviewer and audience member. And remember, we want to say yes. We have slots to fill and there’s nothing more satisfying than giving a new speaker a chance and seeing the feedback consist of nothing but 10’s. Read on →

I’m the only infrastructure person on a number of my projects and it’s sometimes difficult to find someone to review pull requests. So, in self-defence, I’ve adopted git precommit hooks as a way to ensure I don’t make certain tedious mistakes before burning through peoples time and goodwill. In this post we’ll look at how pre-commit and terraform can be combined. pre-commit is “A framework for managing and maintaining multi-language pre-commit hooks” that has a comprehensive selection of community written extensions. Read on →

When it comes to Amazon Web Services support Terraform has coverage that’s second to none. It includes most of Amazons current services, rapidly adds newly released ones, and even helps granularise existing resources by adding terraform specific extensions for things like individual rules with aws_security_group_rule. This awesome coverage makes it even more jarring when you encounter one of the rare edge cases, such as VPC default security groups. It’s worth taking a step back and thinking about how Terraform normally works. Read on →