Tag Archives: Unix

IBM Cloud, Terraform and DB2 (or some of what I find interesting in tech, nov 2021)

Wow! I haven’t done one of these posts on things I have found interesting in tech since July! So of course there is a lot here! I need to do these more often.

For this one it is mostly on the cloud and IBM cloud especially. Not so much Kubernetes this time, but lots on Terraform and DB2 in the cloud. A bit of IoT. Some software. I have a section on IT history which I like too.

Grab a coffee or tea or what have you and dig in. Take what you can use.

IBM Cloud: As usual, I’ve been doing work on cloud…mainly IBM Cloud. Here’s some IBM Cloud Docs on using their API. This on the IBM CLI is  a good reference. Here’s a good Alerts Overview on LOGDNA. This is massively helpful: the API Reference for  https : //sldn.softlayer.com/ … it’s very useful on how to use the API to work with IBM cloud. Here’s something on Alerts using sysdig. More on tracking:  IBM Cloud Monitoring Logging and Activity Tracker with Teams ( a good repo).

Other clouds: While I support IBM Cloud, if you are leaning otherwise, this could be helpful: Accelerating your Migration to AWS. Speaking of  AWS: Augmenting VMware Cloud on AWS Workloads with Native AWS services. Here are some pieces on Azure: Microsoft Azure cloud vulnerability is the worst you can imagine. I have no comment. Hey, maybe it’s time to get off Windows and SQL Server 2012 (or run them on Azure). If that’s you, read that.

On cloud in general, in case you were wondering, the answer to this question: Resiliency Is Automatic When I Move to the Cloud Right? is No. Here’s an interesting piece: The love/hate relationship the cloud has with Linux

Time flies! Happy 15th Birthday Amazon EC2. Lastly, here are the 5 Biggest Cloud Computing Trends In 2022 

Terraform: in working on cloud recently, I’ve been using Terraform and gathering links on using it. Lots of them. Here they are in somewhat random order. For example, discover best-practice VPC configuration for application deployment. Another piece on   IBM and Terraform.  Here’s more on it. Need a terraform Template for Monitoring with Sysdig Teams? If you need to plan create and update deployment environments using TF and IBM Cloud. This is a good blog post on Provisioning IBM Cloud Services With Terraform. If you need to deploy a n-Tier Web App in a Virtual Private Cloud using Terraform & Ansible. This piece is essential if you want to create services in IBM Cloud using Terraform IBM Cloud Services Info. Here’s how to give a .tf file as input in Terraform Apply command.  A page on data sources in Terraform resources explained with example. How about how to create Multiple Instances in a VPC Using Terraform. Or how to create reusable infrastructure with Terraform modules. Or a VPC. Or an n-Tier Web App in a Virtual Private Cloud using Terraform & Ansible .Here’s a piece on IBM Cloud Toolchain- Managed Devops for Schematics/Terraform. If you want to create Virtual servers in IBM cloud Terraform with for loop. A good intro: Getting started with IBM Terraform provider.

Still more on getting started with Terraform. Something harder: How to deploy high-availability web app using Terraform.

DB2: I have been doing lots of work on using DB2 on IBM Cloud. Here’s something on querying the IBM Cloud Databases API from the Command Line. Here’s something on using RESTful APIs and Microservices to Work With Db2. Here’s some examples of using the DB2 API: DB2 get about info,  and  Db2 get overall stuff, and Using the DB2 API.

Kubernetes: doing less stuff on Kubernetes this month, but I thought these were good: OpenShift vs. Kubernetes: What is the Difference? Helpful: Enable Rolling updates in Kubernetes with Zero downtime. Also helpful: Configure Liveness Readiness and Startup Probes.

Software (plus AI): for my DB2 work, I was calling the APIs using bash scripts. Here’s the answer to the question: What is the simplest way to dockerize a bash script? from Quora . Here’s something on executing a SHELL script in a docker container. Relatedly, here’s how to run a Bash script in an Alpine Docker container? 

Here’s some Unix pieces: Canonical extends Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 life cycle to 10 years. Good! Here’s how to do this on Debian 9:upgrade python 3.5 to python 3.7. Relatedly, here’s how to Install Python 3 on Mac – Brew Install Update Tutorial. Also related: Python on MacOS (Big Sur) . More related stuff on this:  How to fix “macOS: xcrun: error: invalid active developer path missing xcrun” error? 

I used to love the language APL. Here are two things on it: Is APL Dead? and Dyalog APL Tutor. I am curious to see how this plays out: Microsoft announces Windows 11 SE a new Chrome OS competitor.

Here’s two random AI links: The Secret Bias Hidden in Mortgage-Approval Algorithms (bad) and Motorist fined after CCTV confuses his number plate with woman’s T-shirt (funny bad).

IOT: Need to build front panels for your IOT projects? This is good for them. Relatedly the Ultratroninator3000.

Speaking of IOT projects, here’s some worth checking out: Top project ideas for the Raspberry Pi Zero. Then there is this: Simple Raspberry Pi Weather Station. Related: E-Ink Tide and Weather Tracker. This is a cool project for finance folks:  This tiny IoT ticker-meter turns your tabletop into a miniature stock forex and crypto market! Nice: Kobowriter transforms the Kobo Glo HD into an E Ink typewriter. I loved this: The Simpsons TV Made IRL with Raspberry Pi @Raspberry_Pi #PiDay #RaspberryPi.

IT History: here are a few good pieces on IT history. This was a great piece on how the iPod was developed: A Prototype Original iPod. Going back in time, here’s a good article on Sinclair’s amazing 1974 calculator hack. There was lots of talk about Sinclair computers after the great Home computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies aged recently at 81. Meanwhile in ancient history, IT wise: 50 years ago today the first UNIX Programmers Manual is released.

IBM History: I was reading this piece on  How IBM “lost the cloud” and it got me thinking. First, I don’t think IBM has lost the cloud business. I also think that IBM’s history is never straightforward and it is risky to count it out. For example, after e-business, IBM tried to promote the idea of autonomous computing. Here’s two pieces on it: Autonomic computing and Q&A: IBM sticks to autonomic computing agenda. It was a good idea, and it supported the work IBM was doing in the Tivoli space, but it was not as big a success as e-business IMHO. From there IBM did work on their Smarter Planet campaign and I believe it was more successful. I did some work in this area myself. From there IBM went into cloud. First there was a homegrown service, and then IBM bought Softlayer and went with that to compete with Amazon and then later Microsoft and Azure. For now the history is still being written. No one has won or lost until cloud is over or someone exits the field. Again, my opinion only.

Cool stuff: here’s something on a A LOST 1981 TRS-80 ADVENTURE GAME (SLIGHTLY REMASTERED FOR THIS CENTURY). Do you want to Turn your Android phone into a pocket Mac Plus? .Of course you do! Here’s a cool tool:  Doodle Ipsum. Check this out: This tiny Simpsons TV lets you watch tiny Simpsons TV. Very fun!

Here’s some cool Microsoft stuff:  Microsoft accounts to no longer need passwords and how to use a VBA procedure that deletes the current page in a Word document. Also this: Office Editing for Docs Sheets & Slides.

Here’s some cool Mac stuff: 12 Clever Apple TV 4K Settings Everyone Should Know About and macOS Terminal commands every Mac user should know

Very cool:  Need a new monitor for your computer? You can wear one on your face.

Generally:  here’s how to How to Mass Delete Emails in Gmail. Here’s a PrinCube Mobile Printer. I like it. Another cool device is this gloriously Fixable Laptop.

Speaking of laptops, here is the  Best cheap laptop of 2021. And here is something else cheap: The HP Chromebook 14 is just over $230 at Amazon right now. Relatedly, here’s 9 Reasons You Should Buy a Pixel 5a Over the iPhone SE.

These are some simple free fully responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything. And Elon Musk says Tesla is working on humanoid robots…sure…whatever edgelord.

Finally: document your code.  And remember, no matter how fast your networks get….

… never, never, never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. 🙂

As always: thanks for reading this!

(Top photo from the story on the ipod. Bottom photo by Mostafa tarek on Unsplash)


What I find interesting in tech, April 2021. Now with Quantum Computing inside!

Here’s 9000 links* on things I have found interesting in tech in the last while. There’s stuff on IT Architecture, cloud, storage, AIX/Unix, Open Shift, Pico, code, nocode, lowcode, glitch. Also fun stuff, contrarian stuff, nostalgic stuff. So much stuff. Good stuff! Stuff I have been saving away here and there.

On IT Architecture: I love a good reference architecture. Here’s one from an IBM colleague. If you need some cloud adoption patterns when doing IT architecture, read this. Here’s a tool to help architects design IBM Cloud architectures. Like it. Here’s some more tools to do IBM Cloud Architecture. Architectural Decision documentation is a key to being a good IT architect. Here’s some guidance on how to capture ADs. This is also good on
ADs I liked this:some good thoughts on software architecture.

Here’s some thoughts from a leading IT architect in IBM, Shahir Daya. He has a number of good published pieces including this and this.

One of my favorite artifacts as an architect is a good system context diagram. Read about it here. Finally, here’s a piece on UML that I liked.

Cloud: If you want to get started in cloud, read this on starting small. If you are worried about how much cloud can cost, then this is good. Here’s how to connect you site to others using VPN (good for GCP and AWS). A great piece on how the BBC has gone all in on serverless.. For fans of blue green deployments, read this. A good primer on liveness and readiness probes. Want to build you own serverless site? Go here

Storage: I’ve had to do some work recently regarding cloud storage. Here’s a
good tool to help you with storage pricing (for all cloud platforms). Here’s a link to help you with what IBM Cloud storage will cost. If you want to learn more about IBM Object storage go there. If you want to learn about the different type of storage, click here and here.

AIX/Unix: Not for everyone, but here is a good Linux command handbook. And here is a guide to move an AIX LPAR from one server to another. I recommend everyone who use any form of Unix, including MacOS, read
this. That’s a good guide to awk, sed and jq.

Open Shift:  If you want to learn more about Open Shift, this is a good intro. This is a good tutorial on deploying a simple app to Open Shift. If you want to try Open Shift, go here.

Raspberry Pi Pico:  If you have the new Pico, you can learn to set it up here.
Here’s some more intros to it. Also here. Good stuff. Also good is this if you want to add ethernet to a Raspberry Pi pico.

On Networking: If you want to know more about networking you want to read this, this and this. Also this. Trust me.

Code: Some good coding articles. How to process RSS using python. How to be a more efficient python programmer. Or why you should use LISP. To do NLP with Prolog the way IBM Watson did, check this out. If you want to make a web app using python and Flask, go here. If you need some python code to walk through all files within the folder and subfolders and get list of all files that are duplicates then you want this. Here’s how to set up your new MacBook for coding. Here’s a good piece on when SQL Isn’t the Right Answer

Glitch: I know people who are big fans of Glitch.com. If you want to see it’s coolness in action, check. out this and this

No Code Low Code: If you want to read some good no-code/low-code stuff to talk to other APIs, then check out this, this, and this.

Bookmarking tool: If you want to make your own bookmarking tool, read
this, this and this. I got into this because despite my best efforts to use the API of Pocket, I couldn’t get it to work. Read this and see if you get further.

Other things to learn: If you want to learn some C, check out this. AI? Read this Open Shift? Scan this. What about JQuery? Read this or that Bootstrap. this or this piece. Serverless? this looks fun. PouchDB? this and this. Express for Node? this. To use ansible to set up WordPress on Lamp with Ubuntu, go over this. To mount an NFTS mount on a Mac, see this. Here’s how to do a Headless Raspberry Pi Setup with Raspbian Stretch

Also Fun: a Dog API. Yep. Here is CSS to make your website look like Windows 98. A very cool RegEx Cheatsheet mug.. And sure, you can run your VMs in Minecraft if you go and read this. If you want to read something funny about the types of people on an IT project, you definitely want this.

Contrarian stuff: Here are some contrarian tech essays I wanted to argue against, but life is too short. Code is law. Nope. Tech debt doesn’t exist.Bzzzt. Wrong. Don’t teach your kids to code. Whatever dude. Use ML to turn 5K into 200K. Ok. Sure.

Meanwhile: Back to earth, if you want to use bluetooth tech with your IOT projects, check out this, this, this, and this. If you have an old Intel on a stick computer and want to upgrade it (I do), you want this. If you want to run a start up script on a raspberry pi using crontab, read this If you want to use Google Gauge Charts on your web site, then read this and this.

Nostalgia: OS/2 Warp back in the 90s was cool. Read all about it
here.Think ML is new? Read about Machine Learning in 1951
here. This is a good piece on Xerox Parc. Here is some weird history on FAT32. And wow, here is the source code for CP/67/CMS. And I enjoyed this on Margaret Hamilton.

Finally: Here are IBM’s design principles to combat domestic abuse. Here is how and why to start building useful real world-software with no experience. Lastly, the interesting history of the wrt54g router

(* Sorry there was less than 9000 links. Also no quantum computing inside this time. Soon!)

I create a super simple set of tools to secure your Ubuntu server

And you can get it here: blm849/supersimplehardening: A super simple way to harden your server.

I create a lot of Ubuntu test servers, and I find that as soon as I create a Ubuntu server on a cloud environment, it gets immediately attacked by automated software. This is obviously a concern. A bigger concern is that when I went  searching for recommendations on how to harden such a server, I found  a wide variety of recommendations! It can be hard to know what to do. Still, I needed something. As a result, I created this package of scripts. The scripts do a number of things:

  • prevent direct root login to your server via ssh. This was one of the things I saw consistently happen and once someone cracks the root access on your machine, it’s game over.
  • stop some basic security holes, like IP spoofing
  • download some useful software, like logwatch, ufw and others
  • upgrade all software on the server

This is just a very very limited number of things to prevent attacks. But it is better than nothing.

If you install Apache, PHP, MySQL or other software on your machine, there are even more attacks that will be launched against it. I recommend you get a firewall up and running and at least run logwatch on a regular basis to look for potential attacks being launched against you.

Finally, if it is important for you to secure your server, don’t stop with my scripts. Go out and consult with IT security specialists right away.

Good luck!

How to Create Tarball & Compress to GZip Under Windows (.tar.gz) and why you should

If you are not familiar with Unix, then you might wonder why you would want to create tarballs and then gzip them. Recently I had a directory that was over 12 GB in size and I wanted to zip it up and send it to someone. By creating a tarball from it and then gzipping it, I was able to shrink it down to under 5 GB. That made it alot easier to send to the person.

Another reason to do this is you want to send a file from Windows to Unix. By compressing the file this way, you can be sure that the Unix user can uncompress it in a straightforward way.

For more on this, see:  How to Create Tarball & Compress to GZip Under Windows (.tar.gz) | Gettin’ Geek