Making Recipes

Chef Cookbook for Eric Richardson

I brought this site out of mothballs last month by bemoaning how easy it was to fall behind on the things that we do for a living. I'm proud to say that I took my admonition to heart, and today this site is running on a newly spun-up virtual machine that is 100% built via automation.

I'm using Chef for configuration management, since that's what I use day-to-day at Emcien. My little one-server deployment gave me an excuse to try out their hosted product, as compared to the open-source server we're running. — Continue Reading...

Ten Days in Europe

Nearly two months ago, Kathy and I returned from a whirlwind ten days in Europe. The purpose of the trip was to revisit a few of Kathy's favorite places from her semester in France, and along the way we discovered a new favorite in the Swiss Riviera.

Technical difficulties (see my post about falling behind) kept me from posting these favorite photos here earlier, but I think it is only right to eventually give them a public viewing.

Falling Behind

It's funny sometimes how easy it is to fall behind personally in the very things that we do professionally.

At Emcien, my main role these days involves creating the processes we use to build our servers and infrastructure. That means a lot of building server images and a lot of thinking about how to make sure our environments are always running up to their potential. I spend a lot of my day writing recipes to make sure that we don't have to worry about our systems and whether a deploy was done correctly.

So imagine my surprise when I logged onto my long-neglected personal server yesterday and realized how much it was the antithesis of all those principles I stick to at work. — Continue Reading...

End of a Chapter: blogdowntown Shuts Down

blogdowntown's Final Design blogdowntown

On Tuesday afternoon KPCC shut down blogdowntown, the community news site that I started in 2005. It's not much of a surprise: the site has been drifting downward since February of 2011, when I had to stop printing the weekly paper that we had launched six months earlier.

It was an amazing ride while it lasted, though. What started as just me writing about my exploration of a neighborhood turned into a news source that at its peak was attracting 40,000 to 50,000 unique monthly visitors. That traffic was down more than half by the time KPCC pulled the plug.

In the end, the question I couldn't answer was the same one that has been haunting journalism for years: how do you make money on this? — Continue Reading...

Two Worlds of Commits

When you go to a profile page on GitHub, you get a graphical map of the user's last year of activity, with green squares representing a day-by-day view of how active the user has been. When you visit your own page while logged in, that map includes contributions to private repositories. That view can look very different than the one that someone who isn't logged in sees on the same page.

The image above shows the two different views of my activity over the last year, with public activity on top and my private view on the bottom. Apparently it's been a private year: of my 1,189 commits, only 67 show up in public. — Continue Reading...