using salt grain to help manage passengers


At my day job, we’ve taken some large steps into the modern web application era. We have a great in-house development team, with fantastic leadership and direction. One of the best parts about my role, is that I get to help move obstacles out of our developers way. Simply put: when they are busy, I am busy. After a full year and a half, Don and his team have been very productive.

freebsd 10 dot 1 upgrade trouble


I’ve used freebsd-update(8) since its release, and I can only recall having one issue where I had to take extreme action (rolling back, due to driver issue with an intel 10Gb ethernet card…) Both my co-worker and I faced the same upgrade problem between FreeBSD 10 and 10.1, and it turns out, we were not alone. Here is the scene. Its Friday afternoon, which means the fantastic idea of upgrading a vm used to build our custom FreeBSD packages popped into my head.

openldap upgrade


We use LDAP for a few things at $JOB, and I do my best to take care of them and keep them up to date. As I get more surly and burnt by the bleeding edge, I have started to adopt the no-frivolous upgrade policy. With that, one of our LDAP nodes was running a little sluggish. I have our ldap service load-balanced, so it was easy to direct all queries on one while I took some time to investigate why one (a VM no less) was running so slow.

photos are back


I’ve re-deployed my old photo galleries: The reason they went away was mostly because I was using Zenphotos (for YEARS), and all of the overlayed upgrades became unmanageable. It was also a high-risk application to run, and had basic spam mitigation tactics. I also moved away from PHP in general, and started working with static site generators (this blog being octopress). The technical issue with this, is that most of these do not have built in tools to manage photo galleries.

a collection of little things

2014-07-08 | #General #sysadmin

I have a terrible method for collecting all of the little tips and tricks I use at work. The method is this: I’ll mention that I did a cool thing on my work log. Thats it. No standard tips and tricks wiki page, or github gists, nothing. So, here they are FreeBSD PKG Query When we upgrade systems from 9 to 10, part of that step is to ensure all packages have been upgraded.

happy 4th


todo I thought I would at least show that I still have a family life beyond Salt and other work duties :) This weekend, I went up to the East Bay (Antioch) to stay with the in-laws and enjoy some super hot weather, some pool time with the kids, and fireworks with Owen. I only took one picture, but Owen and I did a little mini-hike up to the Contra Loma Regional Park to get a better view of the fireworks… and the rest of Antioch burning down.

unified infratructure management with salt


Preamble I gave this talk at SaltConf2014, but I felt I still did not convey how killer salt has been at Bay Photo Lab. This post will be sort of the Directors Cut, where I’ll flesh out the slides. I’ve worked in a few different environments, and oddly, each position change at LLNL had an entire evolution of systems management. So, I’ve worked for teams that did everything the manual (ie:hard) way, and then I’ve worked with teams that had many specialists for each discipline of IT.

skepical conference 2014


This is now a thing. A thing I do with Caralyne. todo I took Caralyne last year and we had a fun time. It was a little over her head, but since she enjoyed listening to Eugenie Scott so much, I knew there was great potential to bring her back. Plus, and most importantly, it’s a day her and I get to spend time together. We joke around, I ask her questions about what we heard, what does she think about that.

a new industry blackcap textiles


My Wife makes some incredible bags. She even made me a canvas backpack which I use daily. Since I have not completely destroyed it, I feel that is a real testament to the build quality. For a little over a year, Michele has fallen in love with creating small purses and large Tote bags. It has been amazing to see her progression, her first items started out as reusable shopping bags.

managing samba shares with salt


Since I attended SaltConf, I had all sorts of motivation to help out with the [](Salt Stack Formulas on Github), which I did. I’ve found out that my brain, and work environment, does not always lend itself to that. For certain states (or a combination of states) to work, but also be decoupled from each other, I can’t always easily create a one-off git repo that is self contained. We manage a few (5) sizable Samba servers (>20TB).