User Data for automated RancherOS instances

Rancher-Logo There are a lot of container management services poping up these days and right now Rancher is my choice in solutions (for the moment). One of the coolest accessories to go with this container ranch is RancherOS. The OS is purpose built to do nothing but Docker and, in fact, runs the few required system services in Docker as well. Comming in at a massive 27MB (For v0.4), it’s a perfect choice to run in AWS under something like spot instances and autoscaling. However, if you’re properly autoscaling – you need a way for your new hosts to join the RancherOS cluster… which is where user data (aka cloud-init) comes in.

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A Kindle lover without a Kindle Oasis

An orgy of KindlesKindle’s are awesome. Kindle’s are amazing. Kindle’s are possibly one of the best inventions in literacy since the printing press. My Kindle collection includes every model from the original Kindle released in 2007 all the way through the Paperwhite gen 3 (actually several of the PW3’s). However, right around the time of the Paperwhite, Amazon’s eInk Kindle’s started to falter. The Voyage was a great unit which I was tempted to purchase on numerous occasions, but The Verge said it best: “this is the best E Ink e-reader I’ve used, and it’s unquestionably the best that Amazon has ever made. The thing is, it’s only marginally better than the fantastic Paperwhite”. Needless to say, that model was not added to my collection. Yesterday was the release of the brand new Kindle Oasis, but I’m fairly confident that my collection will sadly continue to be lacking the “latest and greatest”.

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pfSense 2.3 is out and it’s Bootstrap’ing!

pfsense-23-main Yesterday pfSense 2.3 was release and it’s a fairly major UI change. The key is the conversion from the previous web-UI (that was tragically out of date) to a new Bootstrap based design. Not only does this make the UI look really slick, it also gains built-in responsiveness! The best part about the overhaul is that they really managed to maintain the same general look and feel while giving it a face lift. Anyone who’s familiar with pfSense won’t suddenly be left out in the cold.

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Winter Urban Garden: Rogue Tomatoes?!

IMG_20160407_125354Dateline: 2016-04-07

Last year about this time our little Urban Garden (then summer garden) got a fair upgrade, including our first tomato plant. Within a month, we imported 10 more tomato plants from the girlfriend’s house. However, come September the season was over and no more tomatoes were to be had. While we hadn’t planted our summer garden yet, a rogue tomato has decided that “It’s time”. To be clear, this is a tomato that regrew itself in one of the pots left out over the winter AND was possibly a regrowth the year before as well – a very hardy plant!

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What is machine learning and why you want it in the home!

matrix Almost everyone has heard the term “machine learning” thrown around. It’s used in some vague context about how computers and/or technology are suddenly and magically going to make the world a better place. That sounds cool, but what exactly does “Machine Learning” mean? From 1959:

Machine Learning – a “Field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed”.

Computers (or code, or machines in general) are terribly literal devices. They do exactly what they are programmed to do and nothing else. While most people don’t realize it, this is one of the biggest sources of frustrations with computers. But what if they didn’t have to be so literal?

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$100,000,000 Plus – Sight unseen

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 8.56.53 PM Last Thrusday night was one of the most anticipated keynote events in the recent history of the technology world. Except it wasn’t a ‘keynote”. In fact it wasn’t even truly in the technology space. Of course, I’m talking about none other than the Tesla Model 3 unveiling. It was streamed live and for those who watched (or even followed the news afterwards), it was quite the sight to behold. Perhaps it wasn’t as flashy as some keynote addresses, nor was the presenter the world’s best showman (he was obviously a bit nervous; I don’t envy him). It was, however, amazingly impressive for (if nothing else) a single one hundred million dollar reason.

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Support your favorite author – Buy the book week one

jr Reading is one of many enjoyable pastimes and we’ve talked about books once or twice here on the blog. However, this week I learned something new, care of one of John’s favorite authors, Myke Cole. As it turns out, book releases are graded munch like the release of the newest blockbuster movie (even though the two formats really have very little in common). You always hear about the “opening weekend” numbers for the movies, as that’s a very large indicator of the movie’s success. In the world of books, while not as heavily advertised, the first week is critical. In Myke’s own words, if you want to help your favorite author you need to “preorder it or buy it in the first week” (it being the author’s latest book). The better the first week numbers, the better the chances your favorite author will get another deal with the publisher for more books. Really it’s a win/win scenario for everyone.

Don’t forget, ebooks don’t take up any extra weight on your favorite reader! So it’s okay if you have to carry it around for an extra month or two.

Android Pay shows Apple how it’s done

androidpay The latest front in the ongoing Apple vs Google mobile war is payments. Apple with the sadly named Apple Pay (Let’s be honest, everyone was hoping for iPay) and Google with Android Pay. Both have their own unique sets of pros and cons, but function in a mostly similar fashion. However, if they aren’t that drastically different, can one really be “better” than the other? Yes, and for a surprisingly simple reason.

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Super slick logging with PapertrailApp

papertrail Let’s be honest, basic logging is not hard. Watching logs scroll by is just a tail away. Even shipping most logs to other hosts isn’t hard. However when you start adding these things together, throw in a dash of web interface, a sprinkle of filtering and a heavy dollop of integration… it gets to be a rather large “hack”. So why hack it when you can use a ready-made solution for next to no cost? That’s what I found in Papertrail.

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NodeJS Module Tutorial: A New Series

nodejs-new-pantone-black Recently at work we’ve been busy working on a number of security projects. One of the key projects is having our user directory accessible universally which means LDAP. So we’ve undertaken moving our “Directory of Truth” from Okta to JumpCloud. While Okta provides a good product, JumpCloud provides LDAP-as-a-Service (and RADIUS-as-a-service) which has worked very well in my testing so far. What does this have to do with writing a nodeJS module? Well, JumpCloud has a lovely REST API and had no NPM module.

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