The metaphorical compass

One of the things that I gave short shrift to in my talk at All Things Open was the idea of metaphors and how they relate to culture.  Well, there were a few things I had to cut shorter than I’d like, but  I’ve had a few chats about metaphors and language since then and decided to get something written up.

Metaphors, as direct comparison and symbolic representation, have a strong effect on the way we perceive objects and actions.  Metaphors may be the only way we come to shared understandings on non-tangible cultural precepts like emotions or morals.  The choices of our metaphors show us what is valued in an organization’s culture.  Now, I’m not talking about “her eyes shone like the diamonds” or “you’re cold as ice” style of metaphor.  So what sorts of metaphors are we talking about here?  Continue reading The metaphorical compass

Troubleshooting Dockerfile builds with checkpoint containers

(This was originally published on http://blogs.dlt.com/troubleshooting-dockerfile-builds-checkpoint-containers/ Republished here with permission and some minor edits.)

The scene

I recently ran into some problems compiling code while building a docker image using a Dockerfile.  The compile process wasn’t working, so the failed make install was stopping the container image from being built.  There’s 3 ways I could have approached troubleshooting this failed build.

I used what I’m calling a checkpoint container to troubleshoot quickly and get back on track with the rest of the build process.
Continue reading Troubleshooting Dockerfile builds with checkpoint containers

My other identity is also a superhero

Today on the radio I heard the story of Benjaman Kyle.  What struck me was a comment by the host, “Without a Social Security Number, it doesn’t matter, he can’t get a job, he can’t go to a shelter, he can’t do tax stuff.  All he has is a card that says ‘Oh yeah you’re Benjaman and you live in Jacksonville Beach.”

No SSN, no official existence.  How many things do we realize are actively tied to a number originally intended to track New Deal Social Security accounts for individuals.

Continue reading My other identity is also a superhero

Working draft of Atomic fleet config

This is the first draft at making a repeatable workflow, I’m looking to get a few more eyes to make sure I’ve captured everything.  My next step is getting this into an ansible playbook.  Replace the inline IPs with the eth0 IPs of the VMs you build.  Hit the link to see the steps and very spare comments:

Continue reading Working draft of Atomic fleet config

DevOps isn’t just about pager duty

A recent DevOps conversation I had with a good friend who is a development manager went a little something like this:

H: Can you imagine me having to get Developer A or Developer B to really understand how to subtleties of distributed tablespaces and shards?  That’s why we needed Ops DBA C, to fix all that when it got to Staging…

That’s when I realized this is the fundamental issue I’ve had and continue to have with a lot of DevOps conversations, presentations, and on.  Everything focuses on Developer Responsibility, getting developers on the pager rotation, Infrastructure as Code. Continue reading DevOps isn’t just about pager duty

Tyranny of other people’s schedules

I read a lot of “X habits of $SUCCESSFUL_PERSON” articles and they usually have a bullet point about getting up early.  It usually reads something like:

I started getting up a 5AM and I found I could exercise, and do email, and read, and think before I started my day

This gets translated over and over again as “Get Up Early!”

Continue reading Tyranny of other people’s schedules

A professional goal – thanks to Dean Koontz

So far, 2014 has been a year of professional reflection.  But I just read a passage from False Memory by Dean Koontz that articulates the kind of professional I want to be known as.  I mean that literally, I barely finished the paragraph before heading to the computer.

Doc was that rare expert without arrogance, free of dogma, able to view a problem from a fresh perspective rather than through the lenses of preconception that often blinded others who claimed high expertise, humbled by an awareness of his weaknesses and his limitations.  –Dean Koontz, False Memory

I’m reading this at a point where, in my professional life, I’m feeling more like the Dread Pirate Roberts (Princess Bride, not Silk Road) talking to Wesley than Doc.

Does this mean I’ll put the snark and sarcastic wit on the shelf and sing kumbaya with the world?  No, but I will be more mindful about how I express myself, if I’m truly listening to respond or react, and if I’m falling into patterns instead of practicing the beginner’s mind.  I think I’ve got the weaknesses down pat, but maybe not the humbled part.

So, if by some odd chance you’re listening or ego-surfing or have an agent or agent’s intern who runs a sear alert on your name… thank you, Mr. Koontz.  I’m going to strive to get the Doc back in my professional carriage.

Docker isn’t virtualization

I was talking to a friend (let’s call him Jack) about Docker and what it could be used for, how the management platforms were cropping up, etc.  We were nattering on happily until I said:

If you are installing a complete and different operating system from the hosting system, you’re probably doing it wrong. –me

That’s where we started spinning our wheels.

Continue reading Docker isn’t virtualization