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Showing posts from September, 2014

CoreOS and Docker - a trusted compute environment

Ben Golub, CEO of Docker was asked:PwC: Could you extend a governance model along these same lines?BG: Absolutely.  [...]Now it's going to be up to the operating system providers to close the gap to the hardware so that (a) the OS is protected and that protection extends to the container agent (docker).
I asked Alex Polvi, CTO at CoreOS, a similar question and he answered: AP: We are working on a full trusted computing environment using CoreOS We are living in exciting times!

"Dear clueless assholes: stop bashing bash and GNU."

I do not know enough about the true history or motivation of the GNU way of doing things. Over the years I have observed an acceleration of free and open "things" that might owe it's velocity to GNU. But then there was a lot going on in those days. Any number of projects could and would have usurped GNU with simple mindshare had the timing been right.

But that's not my reason for the comment. I take issue with the comment "Shellshock is not a critical failure in bash. It is a critical failure in thousands of people who knew a tool so useful that they decided to deploy it far beyond its scope." Eric S Raymond wrote a book called "The Art of UNIX Programming". (ESR is no less important to the Open Source and Free communities). 

In section 1.6 titled "Basics of the Unix Philosophy" he writes 17 rules. The first 2 or 3 seem to immediately contradict Andrew's conjecture.

Rule 1) Rule of Modularity: Write simple parts connected by clean inter…

Google Computer Engine to the rescue

I have a server instance hosted on the GCE platform. The GCE offers some really nice services and I've only scratched the surface. When I created my GCE instance I wrote all my notes down on my iCloud notepad... and thankfully all of my notes are still there. Sadly my MacBook Air crashed and required a new hard drive. As a result I lost some notes that were in text files and not cloud-ified.

Fast-forward a few months and I want to deploy another instance but since I use etcd I have no idea what the UUID is or the various mount points. (when a system instance shares a drive it is converted to RO instead of RW.) And while I have my notes I cannot be 100% certain I have the correct config.

Enter gcloud; I updated my GCE SDK and and issued the command:
$ gcloud compute instances describe pcore1 And voila. I have the exact metadata I used to create the first system. Now I should be able to edit it for the additional instances and move on.

iOS 8 is so bad....

The combined negative behaviors between my iPhone and IPad only strengthen my decision to move to amazon Fire or Google nexus. Market share is not an excuse to release bugs in every app and it definitely not an excuse to buy an iPhone 6.

iOS8 first impressions

At first I was a little disappointed with the 60 minute upgrade.my iPad required a 1.3 gig download and my iPhone required a one gig download. once the new operating system is installed I had to set it up again.The bad news is I can never remember my iCloud password.after a quick password reset I was well on my way.

My first impressions include a useless features of the health monitor, podcast, emoticons, word prediction, and tips. 
The one killer feature is the vast improvement to the spear to text. 
That's what I saw in the first hour of use. 
[UPDATE] i'm a huge fan of the products that panic.com createsand they just released an iOS version of their killer FTP program called transmit.I would love to give them my hard-earned $10 however I have absolutely no idea why I would be FTPing anything into or up from my iPhone or iPad. Swiping to delete email just deletes the email instead of prompting the menu to ?more?flag?delete.

[UPDATE] unfortunately it's buggy where it counts.  …

Citadel - Docker APIs

I have been researching Docker; orchestration, composition, or scheduling; depending on which sources you've been following. And as I wander around this maze I have looked at many different approaches to the problem. Everything from Puppet, Chef, Ansible, SaltStack, to Panamax, Kubernetes, Fleet, Mesophere, Deis, Flynn, Fig, shipyard; ambassadord, registrator ... and more. I even departed from these suggestions to look at Citadel which is an API tooklit for interacting with Docker directly.

The Citadel Toolkit give you the necessary tools and frameworks to implement your "configuration as code". It is the foundation which Shipyard is implemented; while Shipyard uses Citadel as part of the GUI there is no reason why the "application" could not be a static configuration in a "solo" fashion. Citadel is robust enough that you could deploy ambassadors or sidekicks while deploying the target container. Citadel shines in that it provides an API metaphor for d…

The best project I ever implemented

It's possible that this is a retelling of a post I've already written.

In the spirit of the Food Network's "the best meal I ever ate" show; this post describes the best project I ever implemented.

In the late 1980's early 90's I worked as a contract programmer assigned to work for IBM's Manufacturing Systems Division in Boca Raton Florida. I had considerable CUA (common user access) experience and I was supposed to validate a 3rd party's compliance before IBM released the project. The problem was, however, (a) the application was not compliant, (b) it was extremely buggy and in the first week I wrote 1500 PSR's or bug reports, (c) and the vendor overstated it's scalability.

The first "best project" was a terminal simulator.  Per (c) the vendor stated that their control program could download the application and RTOS to 4096 devices in some ridiculously short period of time. It was essentially the theoretical maximum capacity of the …

Apple Payments - explained

The Complete Apple Payments strategy is a bit of a blur. Here is a short list of the different types of payments and the Apple product behind it.

Apple iTunes is a merchantApple GiftCard is a closed network issuerApple AppStore is a merchant and merchant acquirerApple Pay is a card walletThe only thing missing here is an Open Network Issuer.

What is a Docker Sidekick?

I'm having trouble getting from sidekick to ambassador and back. The problem is clearly in the container networking wheelhouse; and progress seems to be wicked fast with new tools and idioms being published very rapidly. But here's what I see:

you have a client/server service paireach service runs in a different containereach container may or may not be on different hostseach service is subject to crashes or network partitioningcoreos/fleet is acting as a broker of sortsif the container restarts there is a chance that the container's IP address will change and it's pair will not necessarily be notifiedthe sidekick service is paired with each service in order to maintain the link.one shortcoming of the sidekick service is that it depends on being able to quietly update the config. The best example is the nginx example. (impedance mismatch)By contrast this example breaks down when one of the services might be a user interface like a redis console.The ambassador pattern use…

Making technology choices is easy being successful is hard

For about the last 6 to 12 months I have been investigating docker. In that time I have seen a number of applications and frameworks pop up as the land rush progresses. As the number of supporting tools and frameworks increase the choices are harder to make. The speed of change within the community means that by the time you completed your proof of concept it may not have any value at all.

A week ago I started work on a workshop that included docker and CoreOS. By the time I decided to stop writing more text I had accumulated about 4 to 5 hours of material. Every time I tried to take the simple hello world app to the next level I constantly met with friction from the different frameworks I was evaluating. 
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of quality tools and frameworks, however, no simple hello world app is going to provide enough depth to either guarantee or suggest success. A properly organized workshop and proof of concept will provide sufficient documentation for the teams …

30sec review of Panamax for Docker

It's a polished interface. The widgets are smooth and complete. Sadly it is not really good for development. The expectation is that the containers that you need, probably under development, are already on some repo. So the whole.... (source)  --->  (Dockerfile) ---> (build) ---> (commit) .... etc pipeline is missing. Additionally there is console to show where containers are located in the cluster; if you want to operate a cluster.

Way too immature.

5 minute Reflection on Docker Frameworks

[update] I spent nearly 4 hours this evening trying to get kubernetes to run the sample application. On the one hand I finally got the container running but without being able to get the client to connect. While I was drowning in 10-15 virtual machines it became clear to me that it's not ready for primetime. It's also clear to me that there are too many differences between host OS' and the tools available. In some installs it was easier to use my laptop and access kubernetes via a tunnel and in some configs it was easier to use a single node. As I look at CoreOS and Fleet I wonder why I would need kuberbetes. I know that the intent is to provide a line of demarkation between the hardware and application but it's not delivering. I might have better success with plain old Fleet and X-Fleet configuration and some sidekick configs.

I've been experimenting (more than play and less than full-time production) with CoreOS and Docker for a number of months now. I was lucky …

New frontier of personal privacy

How many times have you been asked for "mother's maiden name", "father's middle initial", "Grand Parent's maiden name", and my favorite, "what street did you live on in 6th grade"?

These questions seem harmless but in the hands of a network graph researcher, a government or a bad guy... they can stitch together you whole life. It's only a matter of time before anyone can model anyone else's life in order to answer random security questions.

Sure this is pessimistic. But how many times have we heard this happen already? Far too many times.

Choosing the right programming language

Choosing the right programming language for your next killer application could be harder than you think as there a number of dynamics out there that represent the facts and bike shedding opinions that represent the fiction.

I recently read two articles that put things into perspective. The first was TCL for network programming and the second was Boeing's 777 is 99.9% Ada.

The thesis for the TCL article comes down to this: TCL is not going to be overrun by a 100mb network. And the thesis for Ada: getting all of the developers "working together" (if I remember my Ada it has a strong producer/consumer contract) and built-in testing.

There are a lot of modern and legacy programming languages to choose from. No one language (or framework) is truly better than the other. They all have their warts.

package managementversion skewtabs vs spacesfunctional vs procedural vs object-orientedmindsharecross platforminterpreted vs compiledstatic vs dynamic linked libstype systemdynamic de…