Annual is "Regularly Scheduled", Right?

Written 2019-02-18 by Len Payne in Learning

I was not very good at continuing to post in the last year.

I wrote a draft around late November when I got into Mastodon (before the Tumblr Exodus) about setting up Mastodon on the RHEL 8 beta. It… didn’t go well.

You can find some of my musings on Mastodon @LenPayne@Cybre.Space

When I have occasion to wax on things, I am often waxing there. I do not have occasion very often, though.

If you’re interested, follow through for a more full update. But the Coles’ Notes version is:

Greener Pastures

Yes, I did it. I jumped out of the fishbowl into the wide open ocean. I loved my time at the College, and miss it in many ways, but I am very excited for the opportunities and challenges that I am able to face out in the field. The opportunity to step in as technical leadership in a business whose mission I genuinely believe is worth taking part in? It’s a dream come true, and it’s a 10min commute.

Our team has grown, both through the grace of good business, but also through the tight integration with Lambton College’s Applied Research department. We have been able to train and retain four great students for various time frames. We also picked up a new Senior Developer through dumb luck and good timing. The size of our technical team has doubled in the time since my last post here.

Community Living

The Sarnia Tech Community and the Sarnia-Lambton Linux Users Group have managed to weather their first full calendar year and are still going strong, each in their own way. There has been a bit of a merging of bodies, as there was a leadership vaccuum in the Sarnia Tech Community. However, the community has become stronger through adversity, and we are getting closer to sustainability.

We’re having our second annual InstallFest coming up for the SLLUG. It’s going to be a good time, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s always fun watching the community come together.

We also have a “Controls Village” event tentatively planned. We have access to some esoteric controls systems that our group can play around with and learn on. It’s not a beginner-friendly exercise (yet) but the wizened vets are looking forward to it.

Technical Front

My DragonflyBSD VM is still running strong. It’s still a VM, though and doesn’t have any bare metal to muck about on. I’d like to get some new metal in, but I have both cash-flow issues and space issues. (And “What the hell is that noise?!” issues.) I don’t know how long I’ll run the VM. It’s cool, but right now it’s basically just a ZNC bounce box and an outdated mirror of my website.

I tried to run some production workloads on the RHEL 8 beta. We run primarily CentOS boxes in production, so I wanted to get an idea of how rocky that change is going to be.

Turns out: rocky.

I took for granted how much extra side-channel things we have in our deployments. Both simple things like Ruby, and more complex things like Passenger on top of Nginx. So while I can stand up a bog-standard LAMP or LEMP server pretty easily, getting our unique workload working is going to be a little post-release while the tooling around us catches up.

Another cool weekend project I tried out (partly as a lark) was to run some production workloads on AWS’ new ARM-based a1 units. It was remarkably easy to setup a Mastodon instance: no different than on an x86 box. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find the limits of what those boxes can do, but it was nice not to hit them while I was setting up a relatively robust app like that.

Trying to Be More Engaged

I’m really trying to be more engaged with the community. Both the actual in-my-life community of Sarnia-Lambton, but also to interact with the larger world of development outside my walled garden. We do some amazing things here, and I know that a lot of the reason I do them is because I stay involved by listening to the world outside. But I think we’re starting to generate some stories worth telling.

So I hope to do that again soon.

See you next Family Day, but hopefully sooner.