Stay Curious!

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.

Meditate With Me At Velocity

Tue, Jun 24, 2014 - 300 Words
Join me and other Velocity attendees during the Wednesday afternoon 2:40pm break for a 10-15 minute guided meditation session appropriate for people of any faith or of none. Meditation has a host of scientifically proven immediate and long-term benefits. If you get an extra 10% of clarity and effectiveness for the rest of the afternoon, you’ll end up learning more and making your conference experience more worthwhile. I’ll guide you through a process of checking in and becoming aware of your body and mind.

Unfixable Code

Sat, Jun 21, 2014 - 300 Words
Over the years I’ve come to believe something that I’m not sure others will agree with. I would like to hear your point of view on it. I posit that some code can become literally unfixable. Programmers can paint themselves into a corner with the code and it becomes impossible to get out again. The scenario arises when a specific set of conditions exists: the code is difficult to work with for some reason — inherent complexity, badly written code, whatever the code is not tested and is not written to be testable bugs are high-stakes, so changes are extremely risky the code needs to be changed for some reason (it’s buggy or doesn’t fulfill its requirements) This situation is a deadlock.

Two of My Favorite Conferences: Velocity and Surge

Wed, Jun 18, 2014 - 700 Words
Two of my favorite conferences are coming up. One’s just next week, and another’s in the fall. Velocity Velocity is such a great event. I wanted to go for years, and when I finally did it was honestly one of the highlights of my professional career. I still don’t know what I did get get invited to speak that first year. It was a golden horseshoe falling out of the sky and landing right in front of me.