Other articles

  1. 'IaaS v PaaS' is the new 'Build v Buy'

    A decade ago we used to talk about Build v Buy. Maybe we still do. IT Managers would passionately argue about the benefits of these approaches. Battles would won and lost. People held deep seated beliefs in the benefits of one over the other, and were frequently stubborn about accepting …

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  2. CloudFormation parameters

    Sometimes you want to deploy your CloudFormation templates in a way that results in specific and different configuration per stack. Perhaps you deploy to a production stack and a development stack and need to flag a different logging value. Maybe your stacks connect to different databases, or expect a different …

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  3. Lambda function environment variables with CloudFormation

    Automated deployments are a good idea, if only because deploying is tedious. Being able to reproduce something confidently, easily, and quickly is priceless.

    I've recently had the need to deploy Lambda functions with some included parameters, so went out to learn about passing variables to CloudFormation and consuming those values …

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  4. 5 Minute Rest API with Docker

    Docker is a wonderful technology to manage environment consistency. It delivers on the promise of Vagrant without having to use Vagrant. All the things that you thought you’d be able to do with virtual machines are easy with Docker.

    In this post I wanted to see how long it …

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  5. Kanye West- Businessman

    As of March 28 it still isn’t for sale. Kanye’s newest album, The Life Of Pablo, was “released” on February 14, but not for sale – it could only be heard through the streaming platform Tidal.

    You can download an illegal copy, of course, but you won’t get …

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  6. Debugging Spark logs with YARN

    Debugging Spark can be quite painful. The error that you see in your application, or even in your job, might not reflect the underlying problem. Here’s how I dig into the executor logs to find what (might) be really happening.

    From the YARN job list, find your job. If …

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  7. Retraining after automation

    Andrew Ng, professor at Stanford and founder of Coursera (one the first and most popular online schools, where Andrew’s Machine Learning course is extremely popular), recently discussed the difficulty of retraining people as their positions are transformed or made redundant through technology.

    Historically technology has created challenges for labor …

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  8. International competition after automation

    Today we figure that production of goods is a highly competitive business, especially in cost of production. Most people are familiar with the offshoring / outsourcing trend over the past 40+ years. Many people are also aware of the progression of low cost providers: the initial outsource provider was Japan; after …

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  9. The increasing automation of work

    Human and robots

    It wasn’t that long ago – within my lifetime – that most work at factories and on assembly lines was done by humans. I’ve seen video from the 80s of plastics manufacturers and car factories; hundreds of people working with their hands. Compare with a modern cutting edge factory, where …

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  10. What can you do better than a robot?

    I often talk to people about the future, about automation and the capabilities of robots in today’s and tomorrow’s world. Predictions about the future can overestimate (flying cars) or underestimate (video phones) the eventual reality. I don’t doubt that we could have flying cars if it was …

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  11. Soylent

    What is Soylent? My new minimum-effort food.


    This is half a meal of Soylent 1.0 with ice. Soylent bills itself as ‘liquid food’, and it seems like a protein shake / diet drink. In fact it’s designed to be everything you need and you should be able to live …

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  12. Video calls are free

    I’m an immigrant, and it’s exhausting. I try to call my parents once a week. I try to call my brother every couple weeks. I try to call someone else when I can – friends, family.

    But at the same time I’m trying to be present in the …

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  13. Blueberry jam

    filled jars

    Blueberry season comes and goes too quickly. I love blueberries. This year I was given a membership to a CSA / community supported farming group as a birthday present, which resulted in over 20lbs / 10kg of blueberries. That’s a lot of blueberries – but I am still loving them, even as …

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