I just setup possibly the strangest thing I’ve ever set up on my computer: Docker Desktop with Windows 10 WSL integration. Thoughts of something like this a decade ago were just a hoop dream. I have Windows 10 with the latest insider build. I setup Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) version 2 on it. I then installed Docker Desktop Edge release, which has WSL integration support.
I cannot get into college sports unless I went to the college in question. I just do not understand getting wrapped up with a college team if you haven’t gone to school there. The players are all basically kids, they aren’t even remotely as good as the pros are, and you can’t get into watching a favorite player, as they are all gone in a maximum of four years.
It’s official: after years of trying and training for and riding in long bike rides, I’m just simply NOT a cyclist. I don’t know why, but I have more mechanical issues than anyone possibly should. Flat tires. Broken chains. Handlebars needing retaped. I just can’t buy a break.
I like simple apps that do their job. This is really lame, but my favorite app is officially the Windows 10 Mail app. It is just so simple. It lets me connect to many email accounts in one place. It looks really good on the screen. The Reading Pane makes plain-old-email look so much nicer than Outlook. It’s also not a hog like Outlook. I hate Outlook now and when I cannot use Windows 10 Mail, I just use web access for O365.
A Few Wishes:
- I wish I liked eggs. The look great, are cheap, quick, and pretty healthy. I just don’t like ‘em unless they are loaded with other goodies so I don’t taste the egg.
- I wish I liked fiction. I’ve read maybe 12 fiction books in my entire life, and only 1 was great. (Brave New World) Everything else was just a slog and I don’t enjoy spending my time that way.
- I wish I hadn’t gone dog-less for those few years without a dog. I think pets lower blood pressure…I really do.
- I wish data science had existed 20 years ago when I started in the workforce.
- I wish I’d had better career guidance to push me toward actuarial science back then, too.
- I wish I’d stayed at my first federal government job, which I started while I was still technically a student. I’d have been there 20 years and would have easily been a millionaire by now.
During a conversation with one of my coworkers, I brought up something about doing a blue/green cutover for one of our apps when we go to production. He responded, “That’s stupid and we should just do it the old fashioned way.” I was taken aback by the statement, but then I really got to thinking about it….
Suppose you hire a contractor to paint the exterior of your house. Now suppose the company has a specialist who goes around initially to do all the cut-in and touch-up work.
Having recently changed jobs, I’ve run into something that I haven’t had to deal with in my entire career: network restrictions. The new network policy has everyone sitting behind a very restrictive proxy server that blocks many individual sites and even things like ssh to the Internet.
It took me a long time to finally bite the bullet, but I’m finally moving on from Trek. I’m off to Fusion Alliance to be a consulting DevOps Engineer! My first project is working with Sunrise Technology on their latest-and-greatest retail systems. Suffice it to say that basically everyone who goes into a Kroger is going to use something that I’m helping build out.
Holy crap it’s almost been a year since I posted anything new! Why am I posting now? I don’t know…I just had the urge.
Man, I really cannot stand soccer. Maybe it’s fun to play, but it’s God-awful to watch. I’ve given it so many attempts, between World Cup matches and Olympic matches, and it’s just the most boring sport I’ve ever tried.
Talk about visions of grandeur and meaningless blathering….I’m going to opine about the recent changes at Microsoft. I’m nothing to nobody, so take this completely with a grain of salt.
Having my college days long past and not having to really worry about college for my kids for another decade, I don’t know why I’m thinking about college choice so much. Maybe it’s the Internet Mike Rowe stuff or something that I’ve heard on the news. I really don’t know.
One of the main tenets of the DevOps movement is that automation is key to replacing much of IT operations work. Things like setting up new servers (particularly in the cloud but at least virtualized ones), doing health checks to make sure servers are configured as they should be, and deploying new software are all targets of this automation. This automation takes work up front, but makes your servers easily replacable and “cattle”, in that instead of worrying about babysitting them, you can just kill them and replace them at will. Because, I guess people do that with cattle.
Here again, it’s time to reflect on a book that I’m working through. I swear this blog isn’t supposed to be a book review blog, but it certainly feels like it is becoming one.
Just finished Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, so it’s time for a quick spewing of my thoughts.
I mentioned the book Drive: The Surprising Trube About What Motivates Us last time. I got that book from a reading list from Allen Holub, who I suppose is an Agile thought leader. I watched a couple of his videos on YouTube, as recommended by folks at work. Both are linked on his website http://holub.com.
I’m not really sure why, but my reading list gets bigger and bigger every day. Lots of good stuff.
I just finished reading Hit Refresh by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, so I might as well share some views of it with the 3 people who may actually read this blog. Overall, the book provides some insight into how Mr. Nadella thinks, and how that has shaped the “new Microsoft” that nerds have talked about over the past couple of years. You also get the gist of where Microsoft is heading in terms of new technologies, like the Hololens, which is pretty neat to think about.
Something I’ve probably ranted about before, but I’m doing it again. One thing that every IT department I’ve ever been around has done is manage PC “images”. These images are usually built one time manually, and approved software is installed on them, maybe some registry hacks are done, files can be added/removed, etc. Then, when a new computer is brought in, the team “images” the new computer by putting an exact copy of the first one on it.
Wow. It’s been over 2 months since I posted anything. Well, that’s okay…not like I make money on this thing!
I’ve done some things that I believe are crazy. I’ve run marathons, I’ve ridden a century, I’ve jumped off of a cliff into a lake, I’ve kayaked, and so on. I would do any of them again, except for maybe the marathon, as everything was done in what I would consider a “safe” way. I had trained for them, had guides, scouted out the lake beforehand, etc.
I just read an interesting article in the NY Times today. Turns out that the Ford factory Trump claims to have saved from moving to Mexico is now shipping the manufacturing of the Ford Focus model to China. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/business/ford-focus-china-production.html?_r=0) There are lots of people in Michigan who are going to get screwed on this deal and be out of work, even if Ford claims no American job losses.
In the early days of my career, I was on a help desk when I was in the office, and would travel to set up small doctor’s offices with PCs and networking. I call it “paying my dues”. One nice thing was that my coworkers and I got a deal from our employer: each certification exam passed was a $1000 raise and the company paid for the exams. The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) cert at the time required passing 6 exams, and I was pretty knowledgeable on Windows NT 4.0. Windows 2000 was around the corner, and everyone knew Microsoft was going to force expiration of the MCSE, so we all were working hard to pass the tests.
Over the past decade, I’ve done a lot of physically challenging things. I’ve biked a “century”, which is 100 miles in a day. I’ve done a “metric century”, too, which is 100km. I’ve run seven full marathons and officially run about 4 half marathons, though while training for the full marathons I’ve done countless halfs. (Yeah, I said halfs instead of halves because I think that’s how I hear it stated in conversations.)
I got to accompany my youngest kid to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Museum and to a tour of Great American Ballpark today. Aside from the weather, it was a really good time.
This one might get long….I’m still in Iceland at the moment. it’s about 10pm on Thursday. We leave at 8:30am tomorrow morning, which means we need to be on the road to the airport at about 5:30. Already packed, though, so we have that going for us.
I’ve been going to the Boot Camp workout at the Y for about 9 months now. Tuesday and Thursday mornings, lots of reps with either light weights or body weight, plus a lot of cardio thrown in. The instructor shakes it up pretty regularly, with different exercises and different routines most days. Todsay, though, was a new high for difficulty.
I follow Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy, on Facebook. He’s gotten himself quite the following by arguing that vocational training is critical to the future of our country, and yet we tend to want every student to go to college instead. He has an interesting argument, as those service jobs as plumbers, painters, electricians, etc., will certainly never be outsourced. As it stands now, you can certainly make a great living in those jobs, and I don’t necessarily think they can be automated away. (Maybe, and this may be the biggest hole in the argument I can see.)
Just finished reading “No Hands, The Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company, an American Institution.” First, it’s out-of-print and I had to get it at the library, but it was well worth the effort. The story basically goes through how Schwinn went from being THE American bike that everyone bought, to complete bankruptcy.
My last post was the day after election day. I guess I’ve been drowning in my sorrows since then. A lot of stuff has changed in the world, but not much has really changed for me personally. Christmas and New Year’s Day came and went, kids got out for break and went back, and we had MLK day. Really, though, that’s been about it on the home front. Did get a great vacation scheduled for the end of March, and as long as we can get back in the country afterward, we’ll be fine. Not to worry, I’m as white and hillbilly as they get.
The election is over, and I’m tired. I keep too up-to-date. I read the news via Huffington Post or a news aggregator like Google News or MSN News all the time. I watch the news in the morning on TV. When I’m out-of-town, I watch cable news in the mornings and some at night. I follow Facebook day and night. I get Time at home and read it basically cover-to-cover. I simply absorb too much information all the time.
It just kind of hit me a few minutes ago….it would be REALLY TOUGH to be new in IT these days. Back when I started, you could go get your A+ certification and take a couple of Microsoft exams, and then get a job. A+ taught you the basics of PC hardware. Where the video card went, how to plug in a network card, etc. Nothing outrageously difficult, and nothing that’s really changed that much. The Microsoft testing track had a basic networking course, a “workstation” course, and a “server” course. Then you could take elective exams on other topics. Most of these tests could be passed on your own, with a $50 book and a few weeks of work.
I’ve never been an open source guy. I’ve used open source applications, but I’ve never been a contributor. Why? I’m not really a “professional” programmer. I’ve never had training in it and never had the desire to spend my evenings/weekends figuring it out. I’ve always used open source like I do PBS and NPR; that’s right….I’m a mooch. There, at least I admit it.
I’ve been thinking about how infrastructure teams can get more from their employees. There are all kinds of things you can assign people to take care of: backups, security, patching, deployments, new systems design, daily administration, monitoring….the list just keeps going. Some of the stuff is really easy to do, like patching, but when you patch 1000 machines a month, even if each one only takes a few minutes to analyze, you suddenly have a big job on your hands.
I’ve been watching HBO’s Hard Knocks this year, covering the Los Angeles Rams training camp. If you are a sports fan, particularly a football fan, you should absolutely take the time to see how training camp runs. These athletes are ridiculously good, even at the third string level, and they really put in some effort go make the team.
I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics during the afternoons this past week and have found many of the sports to be awesome viewing. Team Handball is pretty exciting and looks like something we should have rec leagues for at every Y in the US. Rugby 7s was intense and awesome….I don’t know how much I’d suggest people play it, but it was really cool to see. I wish I had a cycling track nearby because that looks like something I could really get into personally.
The cloud exposes a lot of laziness and cheapness on the part of IT teams. When you no longer have control of underlying hardware, you can no longer work around your own system design flaws. A perfect example of this is highly available SQL Server. Should you always build your DB servers so if one goes down, the others keep things running? OF COURSE, but there are cost constraints (think doubling your hardware and going up a version of SQL Server) that often leave people running only one SQL server. This doesn’t just apply to physical db servers, either…it’s true of virtual ones. If you’re patching your VMware hosts, you have the control to make sure all the VMs are moved off of them as you restart the hosts, thereby keeping your VMs running.
I won’t lie. I don’t have an opinion on cameras. I’m not a photographer at all. I do take a lot of pictures, though. I also just get a new cell phone, and one of the 2 main drivers was that my old one was too slow to really capture pictures quickly, and then they weren’t always that well-focused.
There is one thing that every person in the world knows to do when their computer is acting up: reboot. Examples:
ChefConf 2016 has now come and gone. Here are my day after thoughts, in no particular order. Probably going to have a lot more thoughts than I realize.
This isn’t for the NPR show. This is just a list of life things I believe in, in no particular order and as they come to me. Some political, some social, whatever. You may not agree, but that’s fine.
Next week is ChefConf and I am getting pretty stoked about it. Get to spend a few days around fellow geeks and hopefully come back with a boatload of new knowledge and things to try out in my environments. A few things I plan to look for:
All the new talk I see online is about how Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple are spending money on artificial intelligence to make “personal assistant” software better. Each company already has its own product: Cortana, Google Now, Alexa, and Siri, respectively.
With Windows 2008, Microsoft debuted a pretty cool new user account type: the Managed Service Account. “Service Accounts” are user accounts that are used to run something that requires no user interaction. For instance, you may have an application service that has to run all the time on your computer, but you don’t want to have to start it up yourself and have it running on a window.
Back in April, I wrote about going back to OneNote as my “planner” of choice. Shockingly, a couple of people read the post and I’ve been asked to provide more information on how I use it. I use OneNote at work both for my personal to-do list and as a team documentation system, so I’ll break this up into a section for each.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I cannot stand looking at Visio diagrams, much less making them myself. It has always felt so darn manual, and the moment I’m done, the file is usually out-of-date. The other factor is DAMN it’s expensive. Visio does have some nice stencils and it’s easy enough to use, so I see the draw to it.
I just finished reading the new “Introducing Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview” book, and while I haven’t really played with Win2016 much, the book has made me think of a few things.
As mentioned in my previous post, it’s time to talk about how to learn SQL, PowerShell, and Bash, which I think are the most foundational skills all infrastructure-types should know. I’m not going to bombard this post with a bunch of links, because you can Google things yourself.
Having damn near 20 years of IT experience under my belt (damn I’m getting old for this job), I think I can say a few things about what it takes to be good in this field. I’ve always been an “Infrastructure Guy”, so I’m not a full-fledged developer or a “BI Guy” who can make data look sexy for management. I’ve always done the ugly stuff that no one outside of the field really gives a crap about, and that’s perfectly fine with me.
Judging from the commercials showed during game shows, I’m probably the youngest person who enjoys them. I like the ones that are really just built on luck more than skill. I mean, Jeopardy is cool and all, but it isn’t really “fun” in the most obvious sense. Let’s Make a Deal is on right now, and this is a particularly great show because it makes people make really irrational decisions. And don’t get me started on The Price is Right, which I cannot remember not loving.
Not too shabby. I now have my first ever docker image all working and have it uploaded to Docker Hub for safe keeping and reuse down the road. I have a Dockerfile that pulls down the latest image and then gets it ready to run, and a simple command to run the thing. My app connects to an Azure SQL database, so there’s nothing else needed to make the thing run.
I’ve been spreading my technical wings a bit this week, as I’m working on a new Crucible server. I’m trying to get this spun up on a Linux server and running the app inside a Docker container. I’ve long held that I’m not a “Linux guy”, but I have been a Linux user, so I didn’t have any anxiety about taking this on from the Linux perspective.
Now for more on my continuing saga of trying out new apps for my to-do list. I switched back to OneNote about 2 weeks ago and got right back into my old habit. A good habit, but a habit nonetheless. Then I was chatting with a fella in the office last week and I saw an interesting looking Task List in Office 365 on his screen. I had to ask about it.
WARNING: This post is probably going to be rambly. I don’t plan to really check much and am just going to let things go onto the page.
Powershell can be picky. I discovered this the other day, when I was trying to run some DSC resources that I had on a computer. I kept getting an error that the module was installed in more than one place, and I needed to specify the right one to use. I dug through all the normal places Powershell modules are, and they were only under “c:\program files\windowspowershell\modules”, as they should have been. I ran get-module to find out where it was, and both were listed under the same directory.
When you have kids, May is the busiest month of all. Every extracurricular activity has some kind of end-of-year program to deal with. School is full of testing and little parties. As my wife is a teacher, she gets to have all her end-of-school stuff going on, too. Work is crazy this month for me, too, as I’m heading to Madison next week for a big trip.
I think I’m a pretty good experimenter in terms of trying out different technologies. I posted a few weeks ago about my attempt to use Ubuntu as my desktop. I’ve owned an iPhone, two Windows phones, and am on an Android these days. I’ve had a Mac in the past and PCs the rest of my life. I’ve done old-school physical servers, done the virtualization thing with VMware, and am now in the cloud. If I’m one thing, it’s flexible.
You know, when I was a 20-something and believed myself to be “cool”, living in Cincinnati was kinda lame. I didn’t go clubbing, I didn’t spend a ton of money on stuff like the Reds or Bengals games, etc. Cincinnati has some issues with the young adult crowd.
I’ve been working in Azureland for about 18 solid months now, having starting with the “Classic” Azure Service Manager system and migrating over to Azure Resource Manager…ARM, V2, “the new Azure”, “the new portal”, whatever you want to call it. It took me a really long time for ARM to click and for me to appreciate the new portal experience, but now that I’m accustomed to it, the old service manager experience just feels clunky.
i’m sitting here listening to my kid work on her 7 and 8 multiplication table facts and I just realized that it’s pretty hard. I obviously know them from 7x0 to 8x12, but I don’t really know how to explain to my kid how to do them other than memorization. When is the last time in my life that I’ve been asked to memorize that much stuff?
A quick report on my two-week-old Linux desktop experiment.
Took a little long weekend vacation with the family last week. We drove over to St. Louis to spend a couple days doing The Arch and other things. Of everything we did, though, the City Museum was the best.
Last week, for some reason, I decided to install Linux on my laptop and use Windows within a VirtualBox VM. I have had VirtualBox on Windows and had an Ubuntu VM running there for a while, but I really never used it. I decided to do the old fliparoo on that, just to see where it took me.
Man, is Git confusing to a newbie. So far, I have had the opportunity to redo my blog posts a couple times and I’ve lost some of the work I’d put into some test scripts I was writing. Get things typed up, save it, do what I think is right, and then end up with something in a branch of a fork of something else and just completely hosed. I just then delete all that mess and start over with a new clone.
I was just kinda thinking last night and realized that there is one embarrassment that kids today will probably never have to face. Having their boyfriend/girlfriend over and have their parents show old pictures or videos of them.
Engineer. It sounds like a title to me. Like Knight. A title you have to be trained to earn and have another engineer bestow it upon you with a graphing calculator tap to the shoulders. I’m sure in some fields, it probably is that way, like in nuclear or chemical engineering. I don’t think you can go out, take some books from the library, take a few tests from a company making products for the nuclear power plants, can call yourself a nuclear engineer.
In systems, this is COMPLETELY not the case. Many of the folks I’ve worked with have had nothing more than a high school diploma. Some have had some college coursework and either quit or just got an associate’s degree, and many with Bachelor’s degrees don’t have them in any kind of IT field of study. Not computer science, information systems, or even electronics.
I’m of the latter type. I have a degree in mathematics. I did some programming in my mathematics study for things like numerical analysis or whatever, but it was straight programming in FORTRAN…nothing anyone would do professionally in an IT-type role. I got my first job out of college as a student trainee working for the Army as a civilian employee. Being a student was required, but not being a student in any particular field.
I had a guy teach me in my first week how to load Windows NT 4.0 onto a bare metal server. He did that once. Soon thereafter, we did a huge PC upgrade for 1/3 of the entire division, and I was staring at a room full of Dell PCs to image with Ghost. Unbox, boot it up with the boot floppy, pull down the image, reboot, and join it to the domain. This is before anything like SCCM could help with this, and I did over 300 machines this way manually. I helped load them on the truck, rode up to the Pentagon, and worked throughout the building replacing machines. Being the military, of course, the generals and colonels got theirs first, then their machines went down the line, and so on. We replaced 1/3 a year, and ended up touching and moving Every. Single. One., Every. Single. Year.
I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at Aldi lately and it’s helped me realize something: the world has too many options. If you’ve never been to Aldi before, it’s just a grocery store. They are usually small, about four aisles long, and almost everything in the store is the Aldi store brand. You want green beans? There are Aldi green beans. You want cheese? It’s Aldi cheese. They guarantee every product is equal to the name brand product from other stores with a double-your-money-back deal. If you go there and you don’t like what you get, you take it back and they’ll make it right.
I have a crying, quite upset and embarrassed daughter this week over a class project she turned in. She’s 7 years old, and her class project was to make a robot.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever decided to take a bunch of old computers and repurpose them as a test lab. Not your mousing hand, fool, the other one. Okay…..
Just over two years ago, I got my first Windows phone. It was nice and I used it until it broke. It came with OneDrive as the default location to back up and save photos. Since then, I’ve gone though another Windows phone and am now on an Android, and I’ve always just kept using OneDrive because it was what I used.
I hate to admit it, but sometimes the only way to get something done is to do it the hard way. Last week, I had an issue where I need to roll out a change to every one of my Chef clients. The change was to switch the Chef client from running as a service to running as a scheduled task. I created a recipe that would stop and disable the service, then schedule the task. After some local testing, I found that it worked and was ready to roll out.
As I just moved about two months ago, I have been figuring out my standard running routes. I think I found the ideal little 4 miler today. A few little rolling hills, a couple long flat sections, and a downhill to finish. Lets me at least believe that I’ve sped up through the route, since it ends up on a downhill. That’s good for the psyche.
It’s time to step up my game and have a “real” blog. I would never expect to ever get paid for what I write, but I’ve done a little blog for a couple of years now. (I will take money for my mad MS Paint skills, as evident from my logo.) I started blogging internally at Trek on our SharePoint system and eventually moved out to WordPress.com. Earlier this week, a colleague posted a list of blogs of interest and mine was one of just two that didn’t have a custom domain name, so I had to fix that. I got myself this sweet domain name and WordPress.com wants money for me to apply it, so I’m trying out this GitHub Pages system with Jekyll instead. I’ll keep my 50 bucks or whatever, thank you very much.
Microsoft has done a whole lot to open source their tools to the IT professional community and this is awesome. Some of the stuff that I’m using pretty regularly includes DSC modules that are available on GitHub for basically nothing. I can actually modify the code and put in pull requests to get my changes put into the actual main product.
I don’t remember if I’ve posted on this before or not, but it’s worth repeating anyway. If you are a systems administrator or engineer who works in the Windows environment, you need to learn PowerShell now. Even if you are primarily a Linux guy, if you work in Windows AT ALL, you need to learn PowerShell.
It goes without question that the biggest headache most knowledge workers deal with is the IT department. Getting basic stuff done, like setting permissions so you can access a file you need or getting your computer fixed, seem to take forever. I’ve worked in both large and small environments, and in almost every case, working with the IT staff has been a pain in the butt.
To start, I’m going to say “indexes” instead of “indices”, even though that drives me crazy. I’ve read “indexes” in too many books now and I guess it’s right.
Here’s a video I’ve seen on Facebook a few times featuring Steve Harvey, talking about how you need to “jump” to make your life better. This should be required viewing for everyone. Ignore the religious parts of this if you want….that’s up to you and I don’t really know if it’s Biblical or not. The core of this message is the most important message I can give my kids as they grow up.
I’ve always heard that as you get older, you start to learn in different ways. I know that when I was a kid, I could pretty much pick up a book or listen to a lecture and “get it.” I didn’t need any hands-on kind of experience to learn how something worked. They say that adults learn by doing, but that never applied.
All this time, all I’ve wanted to do with an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template was create a bunch of identical computers. The biggest roadblock I’ve faced is figuring out how to make the ARM template not one gigantic document with similarly-named resources in it.
Two posts in a day? Yes….because I’m afraid if I wait until Monday, I’ll forget this stuff.
I don’t usually post code snippets or whatever, but I think it’s time for me to do so. I have some sweet little ones here and there, and I might as well publish them this way so others can use them if they need them.
How can FTP as a Service be so hard to find and so damn expensive when I find it? All I need is a cloud-based storage solution that support FTP with SSL encryption. This should be so simple for Microsoft to offer in Azure, but, alas, they don’t.
OK. I admit it. I doubted that enterprises would really move to “the cloud” as much, if not more, than the next systems guy. No matter how the numbers were run, on-premise server systems were cheaper. I could buy a SAN, the server blades, and all of the software licenses I needed for less money, in the long term, than running the same number of virtual servers in the cloud.
Microsoft now has released to Public Preview the Azure Security Center service, and, man, am I impressed. I love the potential in the product and am just dreamy-eyed at the products people use every day that this thing can replace.
Microsoft released this to opensource today. I’ve never used anything other than the regular Wordpress site to post anything to the blog, so I figured I might as well try it.
Looks simple enough. Like a WordPad that saves on a website. Whooptie Doo.
Strangely, I’ve always loved the moment when I can kill off a server that I’ve been taking care of. Particularly if it means that I’ve since moved the services to something better or consolidated them to something else. I just hate having extra overhead out there….
Just posting to pass this along. Strange default setting…..logon scripts are pretty darn important in a lot of enterprises.
Chef has been a pretty good tool for me to use to configure computers in Azure. I use Hosted Chef, which keeps me from having to run anything inside my environment other than the Chef clients on my computers. I have some standard recipes and roles that I apply to my machines.
Due to some poor prior planning, my company has a bunch of different Azure subscriptions used for different things, and billing is kinda tough. Months ago, we chose to merge those subscriptions into just two: one for real stuff that we want to administer and maintain, and another for folks to use for PoCs and so on.
I waslooking to find a way to make my Chef and DSC testing easier, so I asked Steve Murawski for some help. His suggestion was to use test-kitchen, which I’d heard of, but never started messing with. To get that working, though, on Windows, you have to have a way to get a machine that you can spin up to test against. Steve pointed me to a great blog post on how to use the Packer tool with Vagrant and test-kitchen, so you can take care of your gold images and your test deployment.
What a discovery! I’ve been trying for weeks to get an automated SQL Server deployment working in Azure, and every time I’ve gotten close, but never exactly where I wanted.
Man, this PowerShell DSC stuff is such a new way to do things…..for a guy coming into the industry, it has to be intimidating. It is to me, and I’ve been at this for 15 years. Basically, gone are the days where you can get into IT and just click Next a bunch of times, check some boxes, and move on. Even systems that require a bit more skill, like Group Policy, are a breeze to use compared to DSC.
I gotta get back to posting on here regularly. It’s really nice to have a place to come back to for information on stuff I’ve figured out. So much with the random thoughts stuff…I just need a place for notes.
Tom Brady, according to the NFL, “tampered” and “obstructed”. Pretty grim words for something as stupid as a GAME!! I can’t stand the Patriots, but he’s not a criminal and the NFL isn’t the the US Justice System….it’s a job and the owners. Everyone needs to stop making it out to be a major offense and it needs to be taken off the front pages of the news.
The last couple of weeks have been a crash course on SQL Server in Azure IaaS. We moved our North America Multistore database over to Azure and it wasn’t the smoothest transition ever. The old DB server was a small Windows 2003 server running SQL 2005. Little server, little DB, never ran into any performance problems, etc. Figured this would be a cake job and just move easily.
I have found Azure Automation Runbooks to be a total pain in the ass. First, I do all of my script work in a text editor or in the Powershell ISE, yet for some reason, I have to use MS’s silly Azure Runbook tool to publish things. Second, I’ve always had issues getting the runbooks to work right, because I’ve always just tried to copy and paste from PowerShell into the Workflow.
I’ve now realized that it’s the time in my life to stop giving so much of a damn about stupid stuff. I’m buying myself a fanny pack, I’m wearing socks with my sandals whenever I want, and I’m going to (again) quit reading any non-local news. I’m not going to be a beer snob, food snob, or whatever snob. I’m going to quit buying crap I don’t need and save money up for trips and other big things. If I want to wear my bucket hat, I’m wearing it.
Funny thing with the DSC resource kits, provided by Microsoft. There isn’t a resource to configure Automatic Updates on a machine. There’s an update resource there, but it’s simply to check for and to install a single update. Time to write my own!
Just got back from the best “geek event” of my career. Went to Redmond to meet with the Microsoft Windows team as a representative of “DevOps”. It was like a focus group where we were asked what we wanted, things we struggled with, and so on, and they committed to working on it. It was amazing.
It’s been a few weeks, well, months, since I really have trained for a running race. My last actual race was the Thanksgiving Day race in Cincinnati last year. That’s hard to believe… not even a 5k since then.
Back in Waterloo for the 2015 edition of the Trek 100. Going for 100 miles this year on the Domane tomorrow, so this should be a fun experience. Right now, though, it’s a normal day at work, but I’m at the new Ascend office. Nice place, as far as big rooms with cubes in it is concerned.
I ventured to a MeetUp with several other DevOps nerds last night. Since it was one of our first MeetUps, the topic was “What is DevOps?” and was run by a couple of guys from Chef. Basically, their story was that DevOps is a “cultural revolution in IT.”
I had no idea we were so dependent upon FTP anymore. I’m running 3 FTP servers: one for production use, one for our staging, and one for our devs to have a way to upload/download to our Azure environment without having to go to blob storage. That’s all fine and good, but each of these runs multiple protocols (ftps, ftp, etc.) on different ports, for different user accounts.
Ignite 2015 is over and it’s time to get back to work. From the conference, as with any conference or show I attend, I’ve come home with a pretty decent list of to-dos. This time my list is mostly Azure stuff. Look into creating a billing report for VMs, fix some runbooks, do some performance testing with SQL Server on different types of Azure VMs, etc.
Leaving tomorrow for my Chicago trip for MS Ignite. Can’t wait to see what Microsoft has in store for us this year. I have a very full schedule of seminars, plus there’s always the vendor floor with all the booths and sales stuff.
Microsoft is having a little contest to get people using their new Office application, Sway. It’s a pretty slick little app that I think has a pretty good future. It’s not much different than WordPress in that it gives you an easy way to post things online. The difference with Sway, though, is that they are making it REALLY easy to do. Just go to http://sway.com, sign up, and try it yourself.
Back in the day, I used to copy the i386 directory from the CD to any computer I stood up. This allowed me to use these files to install new features, such as printers or whatever, down the road. Nowadays, these files are stored under c:\windows\winsxs, and this “store” is updated every time a new component or update to a component is installed. Over time, it grows, and sometimes I just don’t have the space to save all that stuff. Even the files for the features I don’t use are there, just in case I want them.
So the doctors at Columbia got together and sent a big letter trying to get the school to dump Dr. Oz from the staff because he talked about stuff on TV that wasn’t scientifically proven. It was enough that Dr. Oz himself responding on TV and in an opinion piece for Time magazine.
A few things about digital signatures:
I just read a pretty decent review of the Apple Watch at http://recode.net/2015/04/08/a-week-on-the-wrist-the-apple-watch-review/ and the watch looks pretty cool. The only thing I don’t really understand is why a person would want to carry two devices (the watch and the required iPhone) in order to get the same functionality that is already in the phone alone.
Tried out my new Zwift.com account today. Got my account last week through their beta invite program…I guess I have the gear they want to test with. I simply downloaded the app, plugged in my USB ANT stick, and started it up. It found my speed/cadence sensor easily and away I went!
Another day in taking telecommuting to the next level. I’m in Indiana for the next couple of days visiting Jenny’s mom and sister, so I’m working from her sister’s dining room table. No need to sit around the house when all I need is wi-fi and some decent bandwidth!
Looks like I have RDGW load balancing working now. I simply had to create two separate VMs on their own cloud services, then enable endpoints on each for ports 80 and 443. This essentially provides two endpoints that I can use individually, if I want to. I then set up a Traffic Manager for these endpoints and configured it for round robin load balancing.
I’m trying to get Remote Desktop Gateway (RDGW) working on Windows 2012 with some load balancing provided by either Azure Load Balancing or Traffic Manager. RDGW was easy enough to set up on a couple of machines and I was able to open endpoints individually to each, and then I verified that they worked. When I enabled a load balanced endpoint, though, it was flaky. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. This isn’t too surprising, because this whole thing may be unsupported anyway due to sticky session support.
I got myself a new helmet mirror last week. I just ordered it off of Amazon for about $18, because I was in a hurry to get it and didn’t really feel like going to a bike shop for such a small item.
There’s a sweet application called Chocolatey (http://chocolatey.org) that allows you to run a single command to install other applications. On the Chocolatey servers, they have tons of applications stored, such as Firefox, Chrome, Notepad++, and other awesome freebies. You install the little Chocolatey application on your computer, then to install another program, you simply open a prompt and enter “choco install firefox”, or whatever app you want to install.
Jenny and I dumped cable about 2 years ago. I bought and installed a small antenna on the roof, ran the coax from it down to our existing cabling, and plugged in the digital converters. Yes, my TVs were that old. They are still, but I have one that has the converter built-in. Fancy.
I like to think of myself as being open minded and willing to try new things. As I’ve gotten older, though, I have become pretty set in my ways. There are certain things I like and certain things I don’t. Hopefully more likes than dislikes, but that’s for Jenny to know, as I sure don’t.
I cannot fathom that someone in any job setting would think that it’s okay to use personal email for business. Every company I’ve ever worked for has had explicit policy forbidding it. To think that Hillary Clinton didn’t just do that, but had a whole email system in her house to run it, is just inexplicable.
Folks, I just don’t get it. I don’t understand what has been so wrong with Windows 8 since it came out. The only thing I ever found with it was that the Start Menu was different. Is that really such a big deal that folks will just flat out not upgrade from Windows 7? Windows 8.1 put a Start button back, which was actually nice, but the Start Menu was the same, and it still worked.
I’d been having a random issue with my computer for at least the past month. A couple times per day, a rundll.exe process would spin up and eat about 25% of my CPU. I tried to figure out where it was coming from, but I couldn’t find with with Process Monitor or anything else. The “image” was inaccessible when I found it in the ProcMon results. To stop the process, I simply had to kill it from Task Manager, but that was getting old.
Microsoft has made System Center Endpoint Protection a free extension for all Azure virtual machines. This is great news for folks who just need basic AV protection on their VMs, as it’s a license they don’t have to pay for (or it’s at least “included”.) Another kind-of-nice feature is that this add-on automatically downloads updates from download.microsoft.com and you don’t have to do anything to manage the clients.
Did something today I haven’t done in years. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and then used the weights at a real gym. The treadmill was boring as hell, but at least I wasn’t in the cold rain. The weights actually felt great. I will be back on them in a day or two, once my arms and chest aren’t screaming at me.
If you eat breakfast sausage, you should try this. You’ll never buy it in a roll again. I did use less salt and fresh sage, since I had it, but this is awesome.
It’s hard to be a hero. The girls were watching TV in the basement a few minutes ago and ran up screaming that they saw a lizard go into the bathroom. We’ve seen one before, so this isn’t completely nuts. I went down there with my 5-year-old, the only one brave enough to chase it, and it’s already disappeared into a wall somewhere.
(Notice I didn’t say “fail”? Fail is a freakin’ verb.)
I’m starting myself a little public blog. I’ve been doing some blogging on my company’s (Trek Bicycle) internal blog system for about a year and, while I don’t have many people reading it, it’s been nice to go back and refer to some of my posts down the road.