Weekly Musings – May 27, 2022


We should all take a moment to reflect that going to school should be a safe, happy, and memorable part of everybody’s life. That was taken away this week from 19 children because common-sense laws, licenses, and checks do not apply to deadly weapons in this country. They apply to get a car license, to require car insurance when purchasing a vehicle, or to purchase Sudafed for a stuffy nose. I reside just 25 minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary school. My church has a memorial for that tragedy. As a parent, I could not comprehend what the grief of loss could be. My prayers to everybody affected in Uvalde, and to all other school districts this year, last year, and all years before that.


In recent months I have focussed on improving my data visualization technology skills, and working on my data storytelling skills. 3 Tips You Need to Be Successful in Data Visualization sums this up well.  “Data visualization is not just a skill, it’s a lifestyle. Keep learning and find new ways to get better”. If you are interested, my favorite physical book to date on the subject area is Effective Data Storytelling by Brent Dykes. Great detail, as well as great quotes.  This week Brent has published 100 Essential Data Storytelling Quotes from his book which is a timely affirmation.

How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things but how well we are understood” — Andrew Grove

More reading and discussion on what is Web 3.0? What does it mean for our field?  What does it mean for my future skills?  The hard truths about Web3: What no one else is talking about was something I read this week after it was recommended by a good friend. The takeaway is in the closing thoughts “Instead, educate yourself on the long-term sustainable use cases of blockchain technology.”. My friends’ takeaway about Blockchain is “It’s a tool, not a solution.” I would tend to agree.

I launched a new project last weekend and I’ve selected for a second time to go with Hugo for a static site generator. If you want a drag and drop template well it’s good, but there is definitely a learning curve if you want to make just minor tweaks. My theme for example said it included Bootstrap, but I wanted to accent a post with a TIP box (in Bootstrap they are called Alerts). Do you think it was trivial to work out why Bootstrap alerts didn’t work in my Hugo template? I spent over an hour because of the complexity of a low-code, no-code solution, whereas if I’d built a site with straight HTML/CSS/JS/Bootstrap it would have just worked. Maybe I’m old school, but clean code and not three levels of abstraction is IMO more maintainable. Does it take longer to be productive? At the start of a new project perhaps, but if you don’t have very technically capable resources that are at your avail, the selection of an internal tool for an essential part of your business may be a poor choice.

As an example. Last year my employer suffered a long outage due to the rough AWS Cloud Dec 2021 with three separate incidents. In one occurrence, the loss of power to a data center that knocked out approximately 7% of one AZ would not be an issue for any organization’s business that runs in a highly available multi-AZ model right? Wrong. The use of a Docker Container Registry product, that was configured has HA went down, along with multiple nodes. Those nodes could not be relaunched because the registry was down. The images could not be rebuilt because they relied on additional images. The entire site was degraded because of one component that was configured in a HA capability, but it was configured incorrectly. To further complicate the matter, the entire stack, from the IAAS to underlying technologies was not part of the stack the DevOps team used, and without clearly documented installation, testing, and chaos experiments. To further complicate the issue, this required obtaining commercial support for the product being used right then, opening a ticket, and getting a support person of said commercial company to help address the issue. The moral here is. If your business relies on it’s availability and you do not have the technical skills and capabilities and redundancies of your staff to ensure its availability, then are you really thinking hard about being prepared, or are you chasing the next sale, the next feature, the next new wave of technology?

Want to get your links to render nicely in the varying products you use? Twitter Card Validator can be a bit of a hit/miss effect. I have found that if I cut/paste a link in chat programs including Slack, Google Chat, and Signal which all provide a different experience but seem to be more responsive. I guess I will keep working on it. (Damm you Hugo!)

On a more personal note and a sore pain point is 401k retirement plans and planning for retirement in the U.S.A. Have you been burned by the 3-year vesting rule of your employer’s matching contributions that you didn’t know about when you looked at the initial offer package? I have. It seems it’s a wide industry problem that affects all levels of employees. Opinion: This giant pension scandal is hiding in plain sight. You are expected to financially plan for retirement only to find that limits, types of plans, and employer decisions put roadblocks in your way.

This week in images.

Weekly Musings – May 20, 2022

The Linux Foundation came across my reading path two separate times this week. As I continue to re-establish my larger footprint solely in the open-source ecosystem Setting an Open Source Strategy is a detailed report for any business to identify the potential return on investment (ROI) of participating in the open-source ecosystem. Every company uses open source. Even if you consume open source in your organization and do not plan to contribute to open source it is a good read to determine what is the inflection point where you (or your employees) may want to invest.

This week I spent some more time looking at the various Open Source Foundations after reading White House joins OpenSSF and the Linux Foundation in securing open-source software. The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) is a project of the The Linux Foundation. OpenSSF has created the “The Open Source Software Security Mobilization Plan”. This plan lists 10 streams of investment for open source security and I feel it’s important to reiterate these.

  • Security Education – Deliver baseline secure software development education and certification to all.
  • Risk Assessment – Establish a public, vendor-neutral, objective, metrics-based risk assessment dashboard for the top 10,000 (or more) OSS components.
  • Digital Signatures – Accelerate the adoption of digital signatures on software releases.
  • Memory Safety – Eliminate root causes of many vulnerabilities through replacement of non-memory-safe languages.
  • Incident Response – Establish an OpenSSF Incident Response Team of security experts to assist open source projects accelerate their responses to newly discovered vulnerabilities.
  • Better Scanning – Accelerate discovery of new vulnerabilities by maintainers and experts through advanced security tools and expert guidance.
  • Code Audits – Conduct third-party code reviews (and any necessary remediation work) of up to 200 of the most-critical OSS components once per year.
  • Data Sharing – Coordinate industry-wide data sharing to improve the research that helps determine the most critical OSS components.
  • SBOMs Everywhere – Improve SBOM tooling and training to drive adoption.
  • Improved Software Supply Chains – Enhance the 10 most critical OSS build systems, package managers, and distribution systems with better supply chain security tools and best practices.

While I have not read this, CNCF released the Cloud Native Security Whitepaper v2 this week.

In open source conference land we saw in-person events including Percona Live 2022 and KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2022. Which I was there!

In unrelated tech news, I have cut the cord following ongoing poor customer service with a legacy provider. Welcome to YouTube TV. I am automatically impressed with more features and 1/3 of the price.
Also, Derek Muller has a new video out. Check out my favorite YouTube channel Veritasium.

I’ll leave this blog with a few images reflecting the week.

Azure Cloud Infographic
For Application Security in your Pipelines
Shark Tracking

Weekly musings – May 13 2022

As I reflect on this week of my technology journey with the conversations I had, what I learned, and what I wanted to do and write about, I decided what better way to work on multiple blog posts than write about what I’d like to write about.

The 2022 observability conference https://o11yfest.org/ is a wrap. For those that are interested in OpenTelemetry this event had plenty of great content with videos with transcripts will become available. Thanks Paul Bruce for your organizing work. While I could only attend some sessions “Building Software Reliability with Distributed Tracing” by Ricardo Ferreira and “Bad Observability” by Stephen Townshend are definitely on my rewatch list. I heard about new things such as keptn – Cloud-native application life-cycle orchestration, and cloudevents – A specification for describing event data in a common way.

A big shot out to Ashton Rodenhiser of Mind’s Eye Creative, who did these amazing animated canvasas during the presentations, I’ve included one at the bottom of this post.

I have never been that into podcasts. I guess I have always been more of a reader than a listener, but this week while having to do some driving, I dove into listing and realized again why I like to read more. Several times I wish I could stop and take notes however lucky for me I was able to see that Thoughworks Technology Podcasts have online transcripts. Coding lessons from the pandemic, The big five tech trends for 2022 and Following an unusual career path: from dev to CEO were all valuable listening. The single best snippet was on rethinking estimation or “no estimate techniques”. I hope I can discuss and implement myself, the “is basically just three things. It’s just right, it’s too big, or it’s insane”.

I took an intro into Web 3.0 with this F5 webinar What is Web3 and How to Build a Dapp?. Yep, I still don’t get Web 3.0 fully, but I can now launch my own blockchain solution with Scaffold-ETH, write Solidity by Example and Learn how to build on Ethereum; the superpowers and the gotchas should I want to in the future.

While I have my favorite YouTube channels that intersect topics including Math, Physics, Engineering, Technology, Facts and Figures, and woodworking (such as Veritasium (11.9M), CGP Grey (5.35M), DIYMontreal (151K) and 3×3 Custom (620K), as part of having random conversations in the social networking of https://o11yfest.org/ I’ve added two new ones to my list of never having enough time. Fireship (1.31M), and TechLinked (1.73M).

So what did I learn on YouTube this week in addition to you can make a video of a topic in 100 seconds. VS Code Top-Ten Pro Tips. I know Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code is more popular, I see it in presentations, but I never knew it has become the goto integrated platform. While I default to the good old CLI for vi, git and the like, and Atom, this video highlighted I need to use VS Code. We all know computer and math gives undesired results Why do computers suck at math? was fun to watch. And I’ve ordered the plans and getting supplies to make this 6-in-1 Trim Router Jig.

I’ll leave this blog with a few images reflecting the week.

Building Software Reliability with distributed Tracing
It's not my job
Test Data and Training Data
The AI Model they want, The data they give
Easter Island - Dig Deeper