Girls at Devopsdays (see what I did there?)

Ben Hughes (@benjammingh) of Etsy, visiting from SF to speak on security, tells me he is horrified by the pitifully small number of women at the conference. He says he thought New York was bad 'til he saw London. I saw, maybe, six female persons here, among several hundred male…

The Return of the Hipster PDA

Years ago, when I first started using GTD, the work/life management system pioneered by David Allen, my first cut at a GTD implementation was the Hipster PDA. The HPDA (called hipster more because it fits in one's hip pocket, rather than because it's beloved of node.js developers in…

Using Test Doubles in ChefSpec

One of the improvements to ChefSpec in the 3.0 release is the ability to extend test coverage to execute blocks. Doing so requires the infrastructure developer to stub out shell commands run as part of the idempotence check. This is pretty simple as ChefSpec provides a macro to stub…

Some Thoughts on Reading "The Phoenix Project"

Like a whole bunch of people, I expect, I've just finished reading The Phoenix Project, and I thought it was pretty good. Readable and engaging, and full of good ideas. If you haven't read it, the basic premise is that a middle-grade IT ops manager is unwillingly and abruptly catapulted…

The Impact of Amazon's new CloudFormation service

Let me put to rest the worst of the FUD. This was never a master plan by Amazon to wipe out Chef and Puppet in a hostile takeover of the configuration management territory. Opscode were part of the CloudFormation Beta, and deeper integration with Chef is very much part of…

DNS Zone File Fun with Python and Emacs

Sometimes we're faced with a boring, manual, labourious job which really needs to be done, will take a fairly long time, and be pretty unpleasant. Whenever I'm faced with something like this, especially if it involves text, I try to make it interesting by setting myself the challenge of writing…