I’ve been a big theoretical fan of Honeycomb.io for a long time now. The technology seems both timely and needed. The employees are prominent in our field and the people that start using it seem to very quickly become convinced of its worth. What’s made it theoretical for me is that I’ve just not had a reason to actually delve into it and have a play around. Or I hadn’t until I saw Observability in the SSC: Seeing Into Your Build System. Read on →

A few years ago CloudFormation was a large part of my day. While Terraform slowly began to creep into my stacks, with its daring support for other providers, one of the features I always missed was an equivalent to CloudFormations AWS specific parameter types. These provided a great way to ensure you were using the type of value you thought you were, enforcing that something was actually a subnet ID for example, and now with Terraform 0. Read on →

I recently migrated this blog from a very old version of hugo to a much newer one and while diffing the output I noticed I’d very nearly hit a blog post milestone. With the publication of this little exercise in vanity I’ve posted 900 articles to UnixDaemon. I’ve had the domain for nearly 20 years now and it has been one of the best investments of my career. It started as a place to centralise little projects and provide links to my code on Freshmeat, Sourceforge and CPAN. Read on →

I’ve been using Trello boards for some of my basic task tracking for quite a while and as other people in my family have seen it in action, mostly via my huge TODO and BLOCKED columns, we’ve begun to use it in a more shared and collaborative way. In addition to the core usage of adhoc task tracking the more frequent use cases we’ve adopted are adding a set of cards on either a semi- periodic basis or a group of tasks when a certain event happens. Read on →

A project to modernise an old Terraform code base came across my desk recently and while investigating the more recent developments in testing tools and workflows I stumbled onto conftest, a utility to help you write tests against structured configuration data. I was interested in trying the technology out but I don’t want to put something i have this little experience in on the main flow of work so I decided to do a few tests with it against a smaller, more self contained, use case. Read on →

After seeing DNSTwist mentioned in a twitter thread recently I’ve been having far more fun than appropriate using it to investigate domain name typo squatting. Typo squatting is when you mistype a domain name or URL and someone has registered a very similar domain in order to capture that traffic and often do unpleasant things with it. A benign example of this is GutHib, a common typo for GitHub that just helps people along with a subtle indication of the error. Read on →

Back in the mists of time when I first registered this domain name the main purpose of the site was to be a place where i could link to all my little side projects. Over the years, as I’ve been fortunate to be found by readers, I’ve grown more and more picky about what I posted and by side effect, some of the side projects I’d invest a few hours in to. Read on →

GitHub recently announced the Super Linter, a Docker container that can be run via GitHub Actions and comes complete with a lot of built in linting tools to help you detect less than ideal code. As someone who uses linters in different contexts, for example shellcheck for bash, rubocop for Ruby and flake8 for Python, I like the idea of having someone else package these up for easier use in my own GitHub repositories. Read on →

For most companies Incident Commander or Incident Manager is not a specific job, it’s a role you may take on when something has gone, often horribly, wrong and you need to quickly unite an adhoc group into a team to resolve it. The incident commander should be the point of contact, and source of truth, about your incident and to do that successfully they’ll need to be updated and kept informed about what’s happening. Read on →

After my recent foray into Monitoring alerts and customer satisfaction surveys I was fortunate enough to have a couple of conversations with other SREs interested in trying out similar approaches and while discussing the specifics of our individual forms the lack of an easy way to share the details became an annoyance. Storing the wording in a shared doc was OK at first but recreating the forms so we could each learn from and tweak each others wording and design quickly became a distraction with the Google Forms web UI taking up most of the time we had to chat. Read on →