Reviewing the second edition of Cisco Routers for the Desperate was quite hard for me as I have very little to add to the Cisco Routers for the Desperate 1st edition review I posted a few years ago. After reading through this update pretty much all those comments still stand. It’s an excellent, useful, well written book and the author still has a -distinct- written tone. I enjoyed the book; I must have considering I bought the second edition! Read on →

Well, that’s another FOSDEM over with. In general this year seemed the same as the last couple of years but slightly bigger than usual (although it seems that way every year). The (newish) K building was in full swing with dozens of project stalls and dev rooms. The usual suspects - virtualisation / cloud, configuration management and MySQL rooms had nearly as many people trying to get in to the rooms as they did sitting down. Read on →

It’s been a while since I’ve attended a Puppet Camp but considering the quality of the last one (organised by Patrick Debois) and the fact it was being held in the lovely city of Ghent again I thought it’d be a wise investment to scrape together the time off. The quality of the talks seemed quite high and considering the number of newer users present the content level was well pitched. Read on →

With a title like Resilience and Reliability on AWS I had quite high expectations for this slim book. Unfortunately, they were not met. The first four chapters provide brief introductions to AWS and some of its more popular services. While these were fine I’d point people looking for this level of information at the Amazon Webservice Advent 2012 instead. Following this are a handful of more cookbook like chapters that each present a small amount of theory and advice about how to run a given applications on AWS - interspaced with multiple pages of python code. Read on →

Back in October Nan Liu announced “pocco - a puppet manifest documentation experiment” as a way of generating much nicer looking documentation for puppet classes (you can see an example and reducing the amount of boilerplate needed to document your classes. After some issues with the ruby libraries it depends on, I ran it over a couple of my smaller manifests and I have to say the output is very readable and quite presentable. Read on →

For sysadmins and devopsy type people the next couple of months are full of chances to meet and learn from your European peers - We start off with the return of PuppetCamp to its home in Gent. Puppetcamps are a great, informal way to see how other people are using Puppet and put names to faces. A number of the more active European community members will be present and Ghent is a lovely city so it’s worth a couple of days out of the office - and then of course you can stay for … the 800 pound gorilla of Free and Open conferences - FOSDEM 2013. Read on →

While most of us spend our December hunting for those last minute gifts, treats and surprise presents, a small number of techies manage to find the time to write a themed set of articles on certain technical topics that are combined in to an advent calendar. While I’m a little ashamed to say I’ve not yet read the 2012 SysAdvent posts I did have a chance to look at the inaugural, and quite excellent Amazon Webservice Advent 2012 Each post is well written, concise, mostly practical (there are a couple of more high level overview entries but most are immediately applicable) and serves as a perfect jumping on point for someone new to the service being discussed. Read on →

Over the years I’ve realised that tools I can extend always return the effort taken to learn them many times over. While a number of us have worked through the source code of existing Puppet types and providers and the handful of official wiki pages and unofficial blog posts the release of Puppet Types and Providers means that the rest of you won’t have to - this book brings most of the power with far, far less of the pain and uncertainty. Read on →

When I picked up this very slim tome I knew nearly nothing about Gradle. Over the hundred odd well written pages of Building and Testing with Gradle I learned enough to understand the basic how, when and whys of the tool. The book itself covered basic Gradle usage, how it compares to existing tools like maven, how to use ant and your existing ant task toolbox from within it and a basic look at how to write a custom task and integrate your own testing. Read on →

The aim is to, at the least, achieve all these goals. The time allocated is from December 2012 to December 2013. Read (and hopefully Review) 12 Tech books Building and Testing with Gradle - Short Review Puppet Types and Providers - Short Review Resilience and Reliability on AWS - book review Cisco Routers for the Desperate (2nd edition) The Phoenix Project Effective monitoring and alerting Beginning Puppet Cloud Architecture Patterns Bandit Algorithms for Website Optimization Heroku: Up and Running Extreme Programming Adventures in C# Micro-ISV (Vision to reality) An Introduction to Programming in Go Pro Puppet 2nd Edition Write 50 blog posts. Read on →