I’d found out about the Newport wetlands and after a kerfuffle on Reddit, found there was a Cardiff Wetlands down in the bay. We went and had a mosey. That was disappointing. It’s a patch of land inside the barrage, probably left over from a dock back in the day. Despite the enthusiasm of the signposts, the wildlife was disappointingly vanilla: ducks, swans, tits, crows, magpies and so on. The air was reassuringly noisy, but if there were exotic birds, they were shy. It’s worth a little walk. Once. Enjoy some pictures.
Totally unfamiliar territory for me. I have a Maven install unpacked. How to get Jenkins to see it? Answer: go to Global Tool Configuration, and set your Maven installation to *not* install automatically, then set MVN_HOME to where your install is. Simple!
The day after the vote when the result was revealed, my reaction was incandescent and aghast. How could 52% of the people who voted be so daft? Turns out it’s a common delusion. My acceptance speech as leader of an independent political party:
“My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are now in the privileged position of having got rid of the Tories and their austerity agenda and are now in a position to move this country forward again. BTW, The word Tory derives from the Middle Irish word tóraidhe; modern Irish tóraí; modern Scottish Gaelic Tòraidh: outlaw, robber or brigand, from the Irish word tóir, meaning “pursuit”, since outlaws were “pursued men”.
David Cameron’s ill-advised referendum to save the Tory party disenfranchised 48% of the population, and in the subsequent years and we have since been fed a steady stream of lies by leaver politicians and press.
Unlike the squirrels in leavers heads, I treasure the pillars of being in the EU. I like having free trade with 27 other countries. I like that the Good Friday agreement, which ended what was, in other words, a civil war, is enshrined in an open border. Northern Ireland has come on in leaps and bounds. My neighbour will probably go back to Switzerland or Germany if the university research funding dries up.
The bullshit about the “unelected beaureaucrats” is exactly that. We elect MPs to the European parliament and we get a veto over any legislation. We have rejected remarkably little.
I like the fact my human rights are enshrined by law. The Tories in their Brexit panic threatened to do away with it.
I waited in vain for the £350 million a week for the NHS. The Tory promises of more police or more money for the NHS doesn’t even make a dent in the damage done by ten years of austerity. Turkey was never going to join the EU, more’s the pity.
If you Google “leaver lies” you’ll find plenty of collated lists. If an unworkable Brexit had gone through, I’d have been off to Asia.
So anyhow, here’s to a future of being part of one of the largest free trade areas in the world, Schengen and the Euro.”
Homeoepathy is one of the banes of my life on Quora. There’s a fair chunk of people, mostly in India but not limited to, who think that sugar pills or water cure diseases or cancer. So much wrong. Let’s examine the evidence. I’ve also blogge about it before.
From Wikipedia: Homeopathy or homœopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of like cures like (similia
Remember, this was from an era when a placebo was better than seeing a doctor. You stood more chance of surviving by having a drink of water. The ludicrousness of Homoeopathy was illustrated by the group of people who all took an overdose, obviously with no ill effects. In the UK, the NHS is trying hard to phase out its use. Sadly, the future king of the UK is still a sucker.
That’s not to say Homoeopathy can’t be dangerous. A chap ended up damaging his liver when his “remedy” turned out to contain alcohol. Quackwatch is always worth a read on the subject. I’ve previously pointed out the Smithsonian article that 1800 studies that say it doesn’t work.
The final entertainment is the
 And now I can spell it right! Thanks Grammarly!
So this is all about getting started with AWS. I’ve been using AWS tangentially for about five years, almost always EC2 instances, so not really pushing the envelope. I’d really like to get my head round serverless and lambdas but I’m having a bit of a conceptual problem trying to work out a use case to do at home.
I have done the Udemy “AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Practice Exam” which was quite frankly brutal, demanding 90% for three papers. First time through each I got 70-80% which I thought wasn’t too shabby but obviously not good enough for their arbitrary cutoff. The second time through I got >90% which was nice.
The biggest takeaway I have is once you’ve created a root account, create a user account and only give it only the privileges it needs. Security you know!
This is the list of white papers I’ve ingested to far. I hope it proves useful.
This is the motherlode. If you want an overview of all available services on AWS, this is the place to start. For us in the
AWS Well Architected Framework
This takes the overview one step further. Apparently as you partition your app vertically, VPSs are the trick. Security again.
Jenkins on AWS
In a good chunk of the contracts I’ve done, the developers have been good boys and written tests, but there was no way of automatically running them. Jenkins fixes this. Better still using the Perl TAP output formatter we can get a nice graph of the number of tests increasing. If you like, you can run Bamboo or GoCD but I’ve not had happy experiences with either of these.
Practising Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery on AWS
Taking Jenkins one step further. In an ideal
Development and Test on Amazon Web Services
More on the subject.
Overview of AWS Cloud Adoption Framework
Taking a more DevOps approach to AWS.
DevOps for startups
More on the subject of DevOps.
Now we start getting to the docker meat. I’m not sure how applicable this is to a clunky monolithic Perl framework. I
Deploy Docker containers
Now we get to the meat.
A common whinge I’ve heard is that unless you’re careful and out of the free
Considerations for the Beginner Serverless Developer
Epsagon have a good trove of blogs too.
The Most Popular Deployment Tools For Serverless
5 Ways To Gain Serverless Observability
Yubl’s road to Serverless architecture — Testing and CI/CD
Serverless observability, what can you use out of the box?
Our Journey from Heroku to Kubernetes
Kubernetes land is still a mystery to me. Every way I’ve tried to approach it, from linux to Mac I’ve been thwarted. Oh well, one day it’ll be mature enough and actually work for me.
AWS custom runtime for lambda really works: How I developed a lambda in Perl
Now we get to some interesting stuff. It seems hideously convoluted to be but still. It’s a Perl lambda!
An alternative Perl lambda
A different approach.
Using the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM)
What Is the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM)?
Considerations for the Beginner Serverless Developer
Serverless and startups, the beginning of a beautiful friendship
So that’s what I have so far. I think most of the time, we’ll go EC2 and then RDS. I’d put Cloudflare on the front unless I particularly needed a Route53 feature. Serverless is still in the land of dragons and Perl isn’t spectacularly well supported. I’d like to see a world where the code pipeline is under Amazon as well as horizontal scaling with the load balancers.
This would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious. About 50,000 people got their printers hacked and had promotional printouts for YouTube Vlogger “PewDiePie” printed out. This raises the question: HOW? In the real
More seriously, it’s possible to destroy computers from afar by repeatedly writing to their firmware. This is not a desirable outcome.
Please folks, if you want to talk about security, there are people like me out there who are more than capable of doing a quick audit and vulnerability scan.
As a contractor, phone interviews are a fact of life. We have to do them to let people know how awesome we are, plus it saves a trip into their office until we’re sure they want us and we want them. After consulting with my posse on LinkedIn and looking at lists on the internet, this is the list of phone interview tips I came up with:
- Be prepared! Put the date and time into your computer/phone calendar and set the alert.
- Try to avoid speakerphones. I had one last week and I reckon I got 75% of the conversation. I mentioned it to him and he said that was the only phone in a quiet place he had access to. So do your best. I am going to the next stage so it couldn’t have been that bad.
- Stand up. This might not seem obvious but in terms of posture and sounding good, it makes sense. On the same note, smile. It makes you sound better.
- Dress up. A proportion of interviews will take place over Skype but even if they don’t, a shirt and a pair of trousers make a difference.
- Have your resume to hand. This is good advice. I have done so many gigs, they start blurring into one and it help tell the story.
- Have a notepad to hand. It’s good to keep notes, what questions to ask and what to go back to.
- Be yourself. I’d rather be Chris Hemsworth, but beggars can’t be choosers. Equally, if your personality is a bit rubbish, best gloss over it. Sound enthusiastic and avoid a monotone.
- Block out time and a place to have the interview. Make sure the place is quiet and you’ll be undisturbed.
- A bit underhand, but suggest you’re already a long way down the line with someone else. I’m not sure this one is entirely ethical.
- Prefer landline over mobile. My mobile tethers over wifi and isn’t 100% reliable. Be in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Turn off your mobile.
- This is a general interview tip, but do your research on the company. I always try to find out what their real problem is, not the bland list of requirements in the job ad. Try to form relevant questions. Prepare some questions and answers.
- Try to get an email address so you can follow up afterwards, with the notes you made. You made notes, right?
- Salary expectations. This one is hard. On my hippy side of the fence, they should pay you what you’re worth. Some of my most productive contracts have been when the interviewer has winced slightly at my price. Equally, I think talking money at this stage is a bit presumptuous.
- This one is for Americans: don’t chew gum. And don’t smoke. You can smell it down the phone line.
- Have a glass of water handy. A dry throat is no help.
- Don’t interrupt and take your time. Pauses are shorter than you think.
And there you have it. The wisdom of crowds!
Quite a large proportion of us run blogs, typically WordPress if we want a degree of control or growth, whether for techie stuff or political agitation.
Whenever I work anywhere, I try to make sure the top priority is security. There’s no point doing anything unless you’re secure. The recent Typeform breach shows anyone is liable and their breach exposed data from Monzo bank. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the end of the world: no passwords were leaked.
If you’re running WordPress and therefore relying on somebody else’s software, these are the things you need to do to stay secure:
- Install a security plugin. Yes, it’s a pain in the neck getting daily emails to update your site as themes and plugins update but given (1) above, it’s useful. I use Wordfence.
- Make sure you use SSL. As well as Google encouraging us to use SSL and gain SEO advantage, being secure is just generally a Good Thing. Worried about SSL certificates? Don’t be. Just hand your DNS management over to Cloudflare and gain SSL, DDoS protection and much more for FREE. My favourite price.
- Use strong passwords. Better still use something like Lastpass to generate secure passwords and store them for you safely.
- Use two-factor authentication. Make it one step harder to get into your site. Now they won’t get in unless they have your phone. There’s a plugin for that. We use the Google Authenticator.
- Keep up to date. 54% of WordPress vulnerabilities belonged to out of date WordPress. You should also keep themes up to date, things like cross-site-scripting exist, and plugins also.
- When installing plugins go for the widely used ones, ones with 4*-5* ratings and thousands of satisfied users. Make sure if you go down, LOADS of people go down with you too!
- Remove unused plugins and themes. I did that with my personal site and sped it up hugely. Same goes for browser plugins but for different reasons.
- Do backups. Second to security. It won’t prevent hacks but it’ll let you get back in the saddle quickly if something awful happens. I use Jetpack which does loads of other stuff too. Make sure you test restoring a backup! Write-only backups are so 90s.
- Change the “admin” name”. Trivial but will prevent 99% of brute force attacks.
- Limit the number of login attempts. Again, trying to foil brute force.
- Don’t let people get at your wp-config file. Put this in your .htaccess file:
<files wp-config.php> order allow, deny deny from all </files>
- And don’t forget, if you find a security hole, report it! That’s how stuff gets better. Finally, make sure you’ll keep the government happy and please don’t provoke GDPR emails.
There I was, developing my Perl Catalyst app. I migrate to gitlab like all the other cool kids. I move the original development directory to .bak like a good boy.
But, my plackup is still running and because reference counting, the open files are all still there so I was still happily running. I check out the gitlab version, make changes and NOTHING HAPPENS. Until finally the penny drops, I quit the original, now renamed directory and re-enter the correct one.
Suddenly everything works and hilarity ensues.