Rework all the dotfiles!

In these quiet times of staying home and not touching anyone I've spent many peaceful hours revisiting my dotfiles and coding environment. Here are some of the highlights: org-mode I've switched to using org-mode for writing and thinking. It's the markdown I always wanted but never really spoke about, and it seems free from the soup of multiple implementations that markdown suffers. One thing I've taken to doing is having a new directory in my ~/notes folder for any bit of investigation I'm doing.

Puppet concat patterns

It’s common to want to configure a shared resource from many classes in your module tree, each class defining it’s own configuration parameters that then merge into a more unified whole. When the resource you’re configuring natively supports a conf.d style this makes the configuration management job quite simple, you just drop out a new file from each class that’s interested and call it done. The complexity comes when you have a single file that you need to manage.

Idiom of the day: Find the error

Today’s idiom of the day is a debugging one. Find the first error message. Read it. There are many idioms that come out of debugging, and todays should seem obvious to you, but experience shows that it’s a little subtle. When a system fails there’s a good chance that there’ll be more that one error in the logs, and the later failures may be caused by the early ones. Making sure you identify and work on the first error will save you a great deal of effort.

I hate "Best Practices"

As a fairly cranky individual there are a few phrases that in the past have been figurative nails on a chalkboard to me (as actual nails on a chalkboard I like). “What’s the best practice for …" has been one for the longest time. Today I came across the phrase “Best Practices” in a syllabus for some training I was looking at, and for once it didn’t send me into a spin.

Local install roundup

There are going to be times when you need to stray outside your packaging system to get a version of a module. It might be that the version your vendor ships is too old, or that it’s not packaged. One way around is to set up a local library path tucked away in your home directory, and install modules there. While there’s a bigger topic on the ways that this can mess you up, here’s a cleaned up page out of my notebook on how to set this up for various languages.

When making fun of devops backfires

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with puppet-dashboard, and after deploying it spotted and patched over a few small niggles. After I sent a couple of fixes upstream I figured that if I was going to send any more patches I should do it properly and send supporting testcases too. Unfortunately (for me) the test suite is in RSpec was just so alien to me that I stalled.

Obligatory meta first post

Not that it should matter, but this blog is running under Bryar. There is, as you can see, a very small tale of woe to go with that. A friend of mine suggested I get to the blogging again, presumably rather than just unloading my brain in his direction. Eventually I buckled and installed wordpress because the last thing I needed was the effort or or distraction of maintaining a blogging platform to suck the time up.