Codex Alera

A very good friend of mine recently sent me the entire 6-book series Codex Alera by Jim Butcher. I had recently read Butcher’s newest book The Aeronaut’s Windlass and really enjoyed it, and I’m a long-time fan of his Dresden Files series. Hell, I even follow him on twitter. I say all of that to be up front about the fact that I’m predisposed to liking Butcher’s work. It’s a bit odd that I hadn’t gotten around to reading the Codex Alera series before, actually.

Fantasy Books

A good friend of mine was recently looking for some recommandations for fantasy books for her husband to read over an upcoming long weekend. I was happy to help and after quite a bit of back and forth (the library she was at was… lacking) she had a few books and was good to go. In the interest of helping out anyone in a similar situation, here’s the list of books that I recommended, along with some short blurbs about each to help you with your summer reading.

Stand By for Space Available

Earlier this year my Mom was asked to write down a story of a memorable road trip that our family went on. She immediately delegated the task to my Dad, proving that she’s the one I got my brains from. So, here is the story of how we went from Okinawa to Idaho and back for summer vacation, way back in 1986, in my Dad’s words. Oh, and The Commandant is what my Dad calls my Mom, for obvious reasons.

Intro to Cloud Foundry and Bosh Part 3

For the third (and probably final) part of this series, we’re going to setup a MySQL database and make it available on our Cloud Foundry instance as a service that webapps can use. After all, being able to push webapps to CF is neat, but without a database backend, it’s not really super useful. And we’re going with MySQL instead of something like PostgreSQL because, well, that’s what I got working first.

Intro to Cloud Foundry and BOSH, part 2

When last we were here, I was giving a broad overview of Cloud Foundry and BOSH, comparing them to Heroku and other PaaS’s. Today, we’re going to go over spinning up a Cloud Foundry instance from scratch, all on your handy local laptop. These instructions assume you are using OS X, though it should work for any platform that bosh-lite runs on. In fact, this tutorial closely follows the bosh-lite documentation, but is more tailored to beginners.

Intro to Cloud Foundry and BOSH

I’ve started looking into Cloud Foundry and BOSH for work, and something that I’ve noticed is a lack of “mid-range” documentation. It’s quite possible I’m blind, but I’ve seen a lot of 30,000’ things (“Cloud Foundry will accelerate your velocity!“) and some great docs for the people who already know what they’re talking about (“The Director uses the CPI to tell the IaaS to launch a VM”) but I haven’t seen any introductions written with an eye towards someone who is not a PaaS expert, but is also not a manager.

When should I use technology <X>?

You shouldn’t. Oh, was that answer too short? I’ll expand. When setting up a new webservice, datacenter, or anything beyond a toy weekend knockaround project, the generic answer to “Should I use <foo>?” is always “No!”. That’s because if you don’t know with an absolute certainty that you need it, you don’t need it. This goes for anything from job queueing systems to the latest NoSQL hotness to, well, pretty much anything with the word “distributed” in it.

Creating a Debian rescue usb drive in Mac OS X

This guide will get you a USB stick running debian that you can use to boot into rescue mode. Well, you could also use it to install from, but that’s not what I care about. Do the following, while modifying the version string to whatever the latest release is in the second url (both places!): cd ~ wget wget Procure a USB stick, at least 1GB in size Plug it in.

Fast, clean, lightweight blogging

Now, I’m not exactly a shining example of actual blogging - I get distracted by real life way too easily. However, on the technical side, I think I have a fairly good setup. Here is how you would duplicate it. I assume barebones linux knowledge and the ability to read carefully. Get a server. You can get a free account from Amazon’s AWS and even a free instance for a year (a “micro” in their parlance, which is more than sufficient for a small blogging platform).