Ansible Vs Cygwin

New year, New job, New laptop. As part of the fun and games when changing job I’ve been handed a windows laptop and rather than immediately running off and installing a Linux distro or whining till they gave me a mac I decided to stick with it. Unfortunately due to $Reasons, upgrading to Win10 anniversary edition to make use of the windows subsystem for linux is also out :(

Ablocking with Pi Hole

So like most people I really dislike adverts on websites, and while it’s nice and simple to throw ublock orign on to a browser when running on a desktop/laptop once tablets/phones/internet enables fridges it becomes a bit more tricky to get rid of the obnoxious adverts. This is where pi-hole comes in handy. Not only does it block adverts for your entire network but you also get a fancy looking dashbord showing all sorts of metrics and all you have to do is (not so) simply repoint your the dhcp service to use pi hole on a router to use it instead of your ISP provided service.

Enabling U2F in Fedora

So the majority of my accounts are secured with two factor authentication. This was all fine until I tried to use my U2F enabled yubi key on a fresh Fedora install and kept getting An Error Occurred when trying to use it to login to both Google and Github. Not the end of the world as both accounts are also setup with time based one time passwords (TOTP) for just this reason.

Hibernation in Fedora

So I’ve finally gotten round to installing the Fedora 25 Beta on a spare laptop and it looks nice. However something seems to be insisting on suspending when the lid is closed, not an unreasonable default behavior but this is not what I want in this case. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a GUI in the latest gnome for editing hibernation settings, which is a slight pain in the arse.


Hugo So instead of attempting to rebuild a ruby environment for Jenkins when I flattened and recreated my local lab setup I’ve decided to jump over to using hugo instead. This was mostly down to the fact that it’s a single binary and it’s hard enough to motivate myself into posting let alone when I need to fight ruby dependencies. Installation Install from repo. apt-get install hugo Done.

Compiling Textual

Textual is a nice gui IRC client for osx for times when you want inline images and clickable links by default. You really should just fork out the 4 quid for it… However since as it is open source, you just can compile your own copy for free. It’s a fairly simple procedure and even on a ye olde 2011 Macbook air only takes a few mins. This guide assumes that you have git and xcode setup and installed.

Cloudformation and Cloudfront

Since as I’m having fun (for a given value of fun) with Cloudformation at the moment, I thought I’d give trying to setup a hosting for a static website using Cloudformation with the intention being to eventually wind up with everything being automated right down to SSL certificates. However I’m currently a bit stumped as to how to import my SSL certificate from LetsEncrypt into Cloudfront automatically. but heres how to do the rest.

SSL and Transmission

Transmission is a bittorrent client that just works and is piss easy to setup for remote management either using the web interface or RPC. However by default it is also piss easy for anyone to sniff your credentials so this is where nginx and Lets Encrypt come in. First we’ll need the transmission-daemon installed and running (in fedora & ubuntu the package is transmission-daemon). In the settings.json file for transmission you’ll need to set a username, password and whitelist some IP addresses.

Scheduled Scaling

AWS Autoscaling alway seems to be used as a reactive measure scaling only after an alarm has been triggered. This works for meeting unexpected load, but if you have fairly steady/regular traffic patterns you can use scheduled scaling to increase capacity ahead of time. Avoiding the need to wait for CPU/Latency spikes. If you have fairly low traffic overnight but load increases at 3am you can increase your min/max/desired instance counts ahead of time.


Setting up a new laptop is always a bit of a ballache as there’s always something you’ll miss. But at least for OSX theres boxen to do most of the heavy lifting for you which can install everything from steam and MS Office to htop and lynx/links/elinks or even just set your screensaver to BSOD. Boxen is a handy little tool from github that they use internally for deploying environments for devs, Its not the most user friendl= tool to get your head around but once you have you can go from a blank OSX install to up and running in about 15mins