Stay Curious!

If Eventual Consistency Seems Hard, Wait Till You Try MVCC

Mon, Dec 8, 2014 - 3000 Words
This should sound familiar: One of the great lies about NoSQL databases is that they’re simple. Simplicity done wrong makes things a lot harder and more complicated to develop and operate. Programmers and operations staff end up reimplementing (badly) things the database should do. Nobody argued this line of reasoning more vigorously than when trying to defend relational databases, especially during the darkest years (ca. 2009-2010), when NoSQL still meant NO SQL DAMMIT, all sorts of NoSQL databases were sprouting, and most of them were massively overhyped.

A Free Tutorial On Go's Database/SQL Package

Sat, Dec 6, 2014 - 200 Words
Do you use Google’s Go language (golang)? Do you use a relational database such as MySQL or PostgreSQL with it? Do you want to learn how to? Go has a package called database/sql for connecting to relational databases. There’s package documentation, but you’ll need to read the source code if you really want to understand how to use the package. The documentation doesn’t really explain how to use the package, it just explains what it does.

Why Deployment Freezes Don't Prevent Outages

Sat, Nov 29, 2014 - 2100 Words
I have $10 that says you’ve experienced this before: there’s a holiday, trade show, or other important event coming up. Management is worried about the risk of an outage during this all-important time, and restricts deployments from the week prior through the end of the event. What really happens, of course, is that the system in question becomes booby-trapped with extra risk. As a result, problems are more likely, and when there there is even a slight issue, it has the potential to escalate into a major crisis.

Can You Bring A Guitar To Velocity?

Mon, Nov 3, 2014 - 100 Words
I need help. I’m giving an Ignite talk at Velocity EU that involves a guitar. I don’t want to bring a guitar all the way from America just for this. Would you please loan me one? It doesn’t need to be anything special – any old classical or acoustic 6-string standard guitar will do. All I’m going to do is tune it. If you can bring a guitar to loan me, please post in the comments or give me a shout on Twitter.

How To Print All The Way To The Edge In Microsoft Word

Sat, Nov 1, 2014 - 300 Words
You’re creating a document with Word that you want to turn into a nice full-page PDF. It has a gorgeous background color that will look great. But every time you convert it to a PDF, it ends up with ugly white borders at the edges, and Word warns you about printing beyond the printable margins. Dragging the margins and changing the Page Setup options does no good. How can you fix this?

Win a Free Pass to Velocity

Thu, Oct 30, 2014 - 300 Words
O’Reilly Velocity is November 17-19 in Barcelona. O’Reilly gave me a 2-day pass to give away, and I decided to have some fun with it. We’re also giving away a pass on the VividCortex blog, so you can double your odds of winning. For your chance to win a 2-day pass, do one of the following: Answer any of the following questions; or Write a haiku that’s somehow relevant to Velocity Tweet your answers to @xaprb with #velocitytrivia.

The Root Cause Fallacy

Mon, Jul 21, 2014 - 600 Words
Wouldn’t you like to find the root cause of that downtime incident? Many people would. But experience has taught me that there is no such thing as a single root cause. Instead, there’s a chain of interrelated causes, each of which is necessary but none of which is sufficient to cause the overall problem. I am often reminded of an outage years ago. It was “caused” by a failed disk. But the disk was in a RAID5 array, and another disk in that array had failed some time previously.

A Review Of The Docker Book

Mon, Jul 14, 2014 - 300 Words
The Docker Book is a newly published book from James Turnbull, whose name you will recognize if you’re at all familiar with DevOps, Puppet, or Docker itself. It’s a nice introduction to what Docker is and how to get started using it. It’s like Goldilocks — not too detailed, not too superficial, just right. The book starts from the basics, assuming no prior knowledge with Docker, or even most of the core concepts of virtualization, but moves quickly through these topics into installing Docker and getting started with it.

Mac's Time Machine and Symlinks

Mon, Jul 7, 2014 - 200 Words
I use Mac OSX’s built-in Time Machine for backups, and a couple of times I’ve noticed my backups failed and couldn’t be completed successfully. I was unable to fix the problem until I reformatted the backup drive. Today I think I stumbled on the solution. The problem seems to come from swapping a directory and a symlink to it. I had a set of directories with symlinks back and forth, and sometimes I moved the directory to where the symlink was and made a symlink to it from where it used to be.

On Focus

Sat, Jul 5, 2014 - 2600 Words
Focus is perhaps the most important attribute in an organization. In fact, my dictionary defines an organization as “an organized body of people with a particular purpose…” A focused organization recognizes and cleaves to its purpose. Likewise, the ability to create and sustain focus is perhaps the most valuable skill of the organization’s members, including both individual contributors and leaders. What Is Focus, And Why Is It Hard? My dictionary says focus is “an act of concentrating.” Consider the root words: concentrate literally means to bring to a common center, to be centered together.