Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Sapientia Delecti, ep.05

Aaaannnnddd…. another week of links!

  • Fallout 4 is getting a lot of pre-release press. *drool* (polygon)
  • Inventing languages for a living (npr)
  • Neat map of RDBMS evolution over time (hpi.de)
  • Yummy mechanical keyboard love. (polygon)
  • RIP, Alex King (poststatus)
  • And I don’t even drink coffee. More fool me, it seems. (harvard)
  • Whoa. worms eating plastic. (stanford)
  • Some of the things on this wishlist are AWESOME. (nautilus)
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Thank you, brain

So I have a peculiar brain. I say this because it has managed to take four completely unrelated, seemingly innocent facts about the current state of my life, and turn this into insomnia. Note the time of the post. I’ve been up for about an hour now, and here is the reason:

  1. I’m currently reading Sherlock Holmes Complete Works. This isn’t really notable, except in that if you’ve read it, you might recall the precision with which the main character goes through crime scenes and observes things. Watson’s descriptions for his methods, and the narratives describing those examinations borders on the pathological. A minor nod must also go out to the style of language involved in the dialog. This is certainly a function of the era and perhaps also the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s command of it.
  2. I’m playing a game called XCOM: Enemy Unknown at the moment. This is an odd sort of game that you don’t often see these days. The relevant point here is that it is a turn-based, squad combat game. For those not familiar with computer gaming parlance, what this means is that, during at least the action-heavy parts of the game, combat is slowed down into turns. In each turn, you get to choose an action for each of the 4-6 squad members in your strike team. Things like “move over to this spot”, “fire your gun at that enemy” or “use your special blow things up especially well ability” might be example actions. At the end of every round, each enemy unit on the field likewise chooses its own action and tries to foil your well laid plans. If you think about how this plays out, it makes what would otherwise be a very quick SEAL-team-like combat sequence play out in very long carefully scripted action sequences, broken into little chunks of action only several seconds long, mixed in with long pauses of your own strategic decision-making about what each member of your team should do to end the combat with minimum losses.
  3. I am capable of lucid dreaming. For those of you unfamiliar, I will link to the wikipedia page, and steal its first line here to explain: “A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. The term was coined by the Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik (Willem) van Eeden (1860–1932). In a lucid dream, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment.”
  4. I wear a CPAP at night. Again, I link you to wikipedia if you happen to be unfamiliar. It is basically like going to bed wearing an oxygen mask, prescribed to help with my sleep apnea.

Ok, I’m going pause here briefly to give you a chance to read stuff at those links if needed, and maybe think about how these things might all play in concert with one another. Go ahead, I’ve got all night. Take a few minutes…

Alright, so here’s what my brain has done with all of that. I end up dreaming about Sherlock Holmes crime scenes and gunfights. Except that those gunfights and crime scene investigations end up playing out like XCOM combat sequences, with each character getting to move in little time-sliced chunks, after each move, taking a moment to have a soliloquy in Sherlockian dialog, with exactingly long sequences of observations about what is going on and with whom. If you’ve seen the recent couple of movies with Robert Downey, Jr, you might recall the sequences where you can see him planning out a method of attacking an opponent, in each moment observing how to best disable them, and then seeing it play out in real time exactly as he had surmised. That is how it happens in the dream. Now add to this the fact that I begin lucid dreaming, and I can, in fact, influence the course of the action, and it becomes exactly like playing XCOM-style in a Sherlockian novel. And then, of course, becoming aware of the sounds of my CPAP machine, adding that into my dream, and then slowly falling out of the dream state because moving through Sherlockian combat scenes in slow motion while listening to the augmented sounds of your own machine-assisted breathing is, in fact, quite disturbing and mind-numbingly boring.

So yeah, thanks brain! I owe you one. I’m going to just go in to work early and try and get some work done.

Brain? By the way? Pull this shit again, and I’m pulling out the ambien and taking your ass down. Just sayin’.

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EC2 keypair nonsense

Getting the EC2 instance keypairs to work with the various types of SSH clients out there seems to be somewhat of an issue. I had trouble with it when I first started out, and I’ve had a few friends request help on that. I just got home, started fresh, and documented my steps with all three clients below (linux command line ssh, putty and SecureCRT). Hopefully, this will save a few of you trouble where I had some initially…

Before I get into specific instructions, I should note that there *are* certainly other ways to get the specifics of this to work. This is one method. You may find others, your mileage may vary, all rights wronged, all wrongs reversed, world peace in our lifetimes, etc etc ad nauseum.

On AWS:

  • Using the AWS web administration, select the EC2 tab. Select “Key Pairs” on the left menu
  • “Create Key Pair” on Top Bar
  • Name the pair, in my example, I named it “TestKeyPair”
  • This will download a PEM file. Save it somewhere you will remember.
  • Now on the “Instances” panel (from the left menu), select “Launch Instance” from the top bar
  • I selected the “Basic 64-bit Amazon Linux AMI 2011.09 (AMI Id: ami-1b814f72)” AMI
  • I chose a micro instance in my zone (us-east-1b)
  • Advanced Instance Options – stayed with all default values
  • Instance Details – named the server TestServer
  • Create Key Pair – I selected “Use Existing KeyPair” and selected the key pair created above
  • Configure Firewall – used the quick-start Security Group
  • Review – Launch.

Wait until the new instance is running… find the “Public DNS” field in its properties page, you will be using that to connect.
In my case, it was ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com

Now, for each client, again, same caveat as above… there may, in fact, be other ways to get this working. I just tried to get to a working configuration as quickly as possible.

SecureCRT Instructions :
I’m using build 6.7.2 (x64 build 229). I believe these instructions will only apply to recent builds, since the ability to use
the PEM file directly was only added recently. Older versions will probably still work, but will likely require extra steps to
convert the PEM file to the native SecureCRT format (or another format that it can use)

  1. Create New Session
    • Connect : Name – I used “test server”
    • : Protocol : SSH2
    • : SSH2 : Hostname (use the DNS name above) : ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com
    • : Port : 22 (default)
    • : Username : ec2-user
    • : Authentication : PublicKey
    • Select the method, click on Properties
    • Select “Use session public key setting”
    • Select “Use identity or certificate file”
    • Click on “…” to browse for the downloaded PEM file
    • Click “OK”
    • All other values should be at defaults
  2. Connect
    • You will be prompted to accept the key exchange details. I clicked “Accept & Save”.
    • I was, at that point, logged in to the ec2-user
    • “sudo -i” got me to the root account

PuTTY instructions : (version 0.6.1)

There are other ways to do this (for example, using Pageant), but this is just to get the connection. Presumably, if you can get this working, you can get the other methods as well…

  1. Run the “puttygen” key generation program
    • Conversions menu -> Import key
    • Browse to the saved PEM file
    • You should see all the key details on the screen, including fingerprint, comment, type of key and number of bits
    • Click on “Save private key”
    • Save the file with the PPK file type, I named mine TestKeyPair.ppk
  2. Create new session. I named it “testserver”
    • Host Name (or ip IP address) : use the DNS name above, including the username : ec2-user@ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com
    • Port : 22
    • Connection : Logical Name : I used the DNS name : ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com
    • : Data : Auto-login username : ec2-user
    • : SSH : Auth : Private key file for authentication ->
    • Browse to the file saved in Step 1 above
    • Save your session
  3. Open the connection
    • You will be prompted that the key pair is not yet saved in putty’s cache. Click “Yes” to save the key exchange and continue
    • At this point, I was connected to the server, logged in as “ec2-user”
    • “sudo -i” got me to root login

linux ssh instructions
Linux version (uname -a) :

Linux pebkac 2.6.29.6-smp-pebkac #1 SMP Sat Feb 27 17:55:36 MST 2010 i686 AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3800+ AuthenticAMD GNU/Linux)

OpenSSH and OpenSSL versions :

OpenSSH_5.2p1, OpenSSL 0.9.8k 25 Mar 2009

This is perhaps easiest. You can use the PEM file directly to connect without additional modification. I transfered the PEM file to my linux server (using SCP) and then executed instructions as you can see below:

jio::/home/jio>>> ssh -i TestKeyPair.pem ec2-user@ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com
	The authenticity of host 'ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com (50.19.133.144)' can't be established.
	RSA key fingerprint is c2:b2:5c:1e:12:4d:55:73:a2:f3:3d:c6:09:d3:9c:cc.
	Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
	Warning: Permanently added 'ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com,50.19.133.144' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
	@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
	@         WARNING: UNPROTECTED PRIVATE KEY FILE!          @
	@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
	Permissions 0644 for 'TestKeyPair.pem' are too open.
	It is recommended that your private key files are NOT accessible by others.
	This private key will be ignored.
	bad permissions: ignore key: TestKeyPair.pem
	Permission denied (publickey).
jio::/home/jio>>> chmod 400 TestKeyPair.pem 
jio::/home/jio>>> ssh -i TestKeyPair.pem ec2-user@ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com
	Last login: Tue Nov 29 04:30:03 2011 from home.trippy.org
			   __|  __|_  )
			   _|  (     /   Amazon Linux AMI
			  ___|\___|___|

	See /usr/share/doc/system-release/ for latest release notes.
	There are 14 security update(s) out of 18 total update(s) available
	[ec2-user@ip-10-194-110-99 ~]$ sudo -i
	[root@ip-10-194-110-99 ~]# ls -al
		total 36
		dr-xr-x---  3 root root 4096 Nov 29 04:19 .
		dr-xr-xr-x 24 root root 4096 Nov 29 04:08 ..
		-rw-------  1 root root   24 Nov 29 04:31 .bash_history
		-rw-r--r--  1 root root   18 Jan 15  2011 .bash_logout
		-rw-r--r--  1 root root  176 Jan 15  2011 .bash_profile
		-rw-r--r--  1 root root  176 Jan 15  2011 .bashrc
		-rw-r--r--  1 root root  100 Jan 15  2011 .cshrc
		drwx------  2 root root 4096 Nov 29 04:08 .ssh
		-rw-r--r--  1 root root  129 Jan 15  2011 .tcshrc
	[root@ip-10-194-110-99 ~]# exit
		logout
	[ec2-user@ip-10-194-110-99 ~]$ exit
		logout
	Connection to ec2-50-19-133-144.compute-1.amazonaws.com closed.
jio::/home/jio>>>

Enjoy!

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Seattle

Its been a fairly busy weekend, all told. Saturday we went down to Larkspur to get the FishTankFromHell(tm). Thanks to Geoff and Tom for their heroic assistance in that move. We got everything moved, including about 40 gallons of the existing water. I think there were a total of … 15 fish? Something like that. We lost one already, I think just due to the “shock” of the move. We will probably lose one more if my guess is on. But I think, given what they went through to get to my house, that is about as well a result as can be expected. The rest look great, their color has returned, swimming around well, etc etc.

We had our friend Simon come over this morning to try to get some pictures of us and the kids. They were well behaved, but didn’t sit still very well. We’ll see how they turn out. We will post pics once we have them, and of course provide Simon with some advertising for his trouble! Thanks Simon!

I left from DIA at 3:44 bound for Seattle and arrived relatively unscathed. Somewhere in the mix of security scanning and getting to my seat on the plane, I dropped my cash. I didn’t realize it. When we deplaned in Seattle, the lady sitting behind me passed me on the jetway, and handed me something, asking if it looked familiar. It was my billfold, all $150 or so it, plus receipts. I do believe at least some of my faith in honesty is restored. So thank you, nice lady sitting behind me. I do appreciate it.

Taxi to hotel, checked in. Dinner at Buckley’s. I also managed to get in touch with Johnny Rockstar, who I will be dining with on Wednesday evening. He is going to try and coerce Gamber to come along as well, who I haven’t seen in ages, so that would be great, of course. And I should be meeting Susan Ramsey and her beau for a drink or dinner or both tomorrow evening as well. Its good to be the king, is all I’ve gotta say.

Ah Seattle. I do like it here. I like the climate, could do with fewer hills. Could do with not being on a major fault line. But otherwise, I dig it. Now time to finish off my book and head for bed.

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Static site hosting with S3

If you go around EC2, and just use the S3 storage facilities, there’s a lot to be gained here. The huge caveat is that you’re not dealing with a fully functional, cgi-enabled, php or other dynamic generated thing. This is just a raw mapping of files to an very simple httpd daemon. Thats it. Nothing else. So all said, your whole site has to be static content, with no funky stuff. Read more

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EC2

So Amazon (Web Services) has a service called EC2, which is essentially their hosting service. Due to some stuff I’m working on at work, I have been taking a look at what kinds of service automation are possible, and that led me to look at EC2. Read more

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So … catching up

Its been a busy few months. Amazing how much turns up to do when you’re not working. Read more

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Damn

So, I’ve been slacking. Its been nearly 5 months since I posted here last. Life is just like that sometimes, I suppose. Read more

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Moving forward…

So June 20th marks my last day at eBay. Its been a helluva run. Time to move on and find the next grand adventure.

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Tolerance

It seems my tolerance for the general lack of professionalism in the office is reaching a new low. Read more

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Recent general stuff

Its been awhile since I posted. So I figured I’d throw out a few notes as to whats been going on. Read more

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Contacts

For the first time in almost … well, alot of years, I’m trying out contact lenses again. Read more

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Recent events

Good day. Its been a interesting few weeks with a lot of activity on several fronts. Geostock preparations continue to spin up. Tom’s got a cool shirt design all cooked up. Work continues to be wonderfully challenging, with its own sweet rewards as well.
Read more

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I return

So after getting a nice break up in cold country, I return to Colorado, ready for work, D&D, Friday nights out with friends, pool league, and all of my usual procrastinations and obsessions await. Read more

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Cusp

I don’t even remember the last time I got to visit my Mom. Read more

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