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 →

Terraform code reuse leads to modules. Modules lead to variables and outputs. Variables and outputs lead to massive amount of boilerplate documentation. terraform-docs lets you shortcut some of these steps and jump straight to consistent, easy to use, automatically generated documentation instead. Terraform-docs, a self-contained binary implemented in Go, and released by Segment, provides an efficient way to add documentation to your terraform code without requiring large changes to your workflow or massive amounts of additional boilerplate. Read on →

When I first started my Prometheus experiments with docker-compose one of the most awkward parts of the process, especially to document, were the manual steps required to click around the Grafana dashboard in order to add the Prometheus datasource. Thanks to the wonderful people behind Grafana there has been a push in the newest major version, 5 at time of writing, to make Grafana easier to automate. And it really does pay off. Read on →

I’m a big fan of baking testing into build and delivery pipelines so when a new tool pops up in that space I like to take a look at what features it brings to the table and how much effort it’s going to take to roll out. The Aqua Security microscanner, from a company you’ve probably seen at least one excellent tech talk from in the last year, is a quite a new release that surfaces vulnerable operating systems packages in your container builds. Read on →

Despite the number of Amazon Web Services that have the word simple in their titles, keeping on top of a large cloud deployment isn’t an easy ask. There are a lot of important, complex, aspects to consider so it’s advisable to pay attention to the best practices, reference architectures, and benchmarks published by AWS and their partners. In this post we’ll take a look at the CIS security benchmark and a tool that will save you a lot of manual verifying. Read on →

After finding a bug in my custom written, bulk code comment / uncomment, vim function I decided to invest a little time to find a mature replacement that would remove my maintenance burden. In addition to removing my custom code I wanted a packaged solution, to make it easier to include across all of my vim installs. After a little googling I found the ideal solution, the vim-commentary plugin. It ticks all my check boxes: mature enough all the obvious bugs should have been found receives attention when it needs it has a narrow, well defined, focus as a user it works the way I’d have approached it And while it’s not a selection criteria, Tim Pope writing it is a big plus I use the Vundle package manager for vim so installing commentary was quick and painless. Read on →