2017-06-20

Giving - Just for the Sake of Giving

There comes a time in one’s life where you ask yourself, “Is this it? Is this all I am doing? Is this all I want to do?”

There are people who love their job, I do. I get to deal with technology all day, every day and at all hours of the day. I learn new things - all the time. I solve problems and sometimes I even amaze myself (and others) at what we accomplish and how we actually manage to do what others said could not be done.

I have a blog, which has exceeded more that I ever thought was possible

Blog

I have my name of two different books, I have presented at international conferences. I have done things that again I never thought would happen these past 10 years - but yet they have - and I have enjoyed every moment of it.

But about 6 months ago I came to a realization that as much as I love what I do, as much as I am grateful for my wonderful family and the time that I can spend with them, that I needed something else - something that was not technology, something that was not family, just something else.

I posted a while back - this on Twitter

Approximately six month ago I enrolled in an “Emergency Medical Technicians and Ambulance Drivers” course through Magen David Adom here in Israel. I saw an ad in my local community newsletter that they were looking for additional ambulance drivers to volunteer. I decided to give it a chance

As a side note. A bit about the emergency medicine here in Israel.

Unfortunately I happen to live in a country that is no stranger to terror attacks, bombings, and other kinds of ‘unwanted’ activity that happens almost on a daily basis. My home town - is also no stranger to any and all of the above. A big part of this huge medical ‘enterprise’ relies on volunteers and donations, last year alone an astounding amount of 1,500,000 hours were filled by volunteers, both adults and teenagers alike.

I had no previous medical experience - none was needed - and I embarked on a 6 month long course, investing 10 hours every week - to learn how to help others in their worst times.

During this course we learned many things. 30 people from my local area spent time away from their families, from work, from other activities for 6 months to go through the course. All of them with one thing in common. They wanted to give - to give back to their community.

We learned a lot.

How to open an IV (which was not always successful)

IV

We learned how to interact with the fire department during different trauma incidents.

Fire Dept.

We even leaned how to treat people during a Hazardous materials spill.

Hazardous

And yesterday we graduated.

Graduation1Graduation2

Now before you get any funny ideas..

No - I am not quitting my job.
I am not leaving technology.
I love what I do and I will continue to do so.

I am just adding something else to my weekly/monthly schedule, that is 100% about giving to others.
(Of course there is some self benefit here (indirect) - by deriving personal satisfaction and personal fulfillment from helping others)

I think we need to challenge ourselves on a regular basis - that is the only way we can continue to grow, continue to help others grow, and contribute not only to your employer - not only to those in your immediate family - but to humanity as a whole.

I know that some will say - I have no time, I can’t do this.

To that I would like to say - time is what you make of it. Yes I am guilty as well of sometimes saying that there is not enough time in the day - to do what I want - I always have a backlog - I am too busy. All of that is sometimes true - but only by prioritizing what is important to you can you actually do what you want.

For me - Work is important. Family is important. Helping others is important. There will be times that one will take precedent over the other, that is life. It is up to you decide how to divide your time, allocate your focus and when each part should receive your time. Yes I will sometimes be doing a night shift - and then go directly the next morning to work. I will sometimes take of a day of work - to go an spend 8 hours answering emergency calls, and helping those when they need it the most, and yes I will sometimes be spending an 8 hour shift after work - at the expense of my family time.

So what is my point in this post? I don’t really know - I guess more of a way for me to share what I went through - and why I did it. It feels to me to as the right thing to do - not only for the benefit of those around me - but also for my own inner self.

This journey has helped me - in many ways. Challenging myself, doing something that is completely out of my comfort zone has helped me grow.

If you would like leave a thought, a comment, or share a story of your own - please do so in the comments below.

2017-04-28

3 Things I Learned - Week #17

As you might have noticed, weeks 15 and 16 are missing – life just got in the way – my apologies. Life does go on and so do I (and no – I am not going to post 9 things this week – to make up for it), so here are three thing that I learned this week.

  1. There is a great analogy of the On Pioneers, Settlers and Towns Planners Or Understanding My Personal Brand – from Matt Brender (now Broberg). I came across another great analogy of how your AWS VPC is built the same as a town - AWS VPC Core Concepts in an Analogy and Guide.
  2. An excellent read on - What is DevOps?
  3. As you might (or might not) know an AWS instance can assume a role assigned to it – and access the AWS API - as long as you have 3 things.
    - aws_access_key_id
    - aws_secret_access_key
    - default region
    The first two - are provided by the role - but the third is something you need to provide to the instance.

    Here is how you can extract this information from the API.

Next week in Memorial and Independence day in Israel. Have a great week!!

2017-04-07

3 Things I Learned - Week #14

I spent most of the half the week in Texas, and the other getting ready for Pesach. Here are 3 things that I learned this week.

  1. JFK was assassinated in 1963, and to this day – there are so many unanswered questions. It was interesting to see that two Jewish Orthodox Scholars (Weiss and Ashkenazi) played such an important part in uncovering the fact that there was a 4th shot from the grassy knoll.
  2. AWS now have a host based rules that you can use to apply to different target groups in their ELB. Read more details here -  New – Host-Based Routing Support for AWS Application Load Balancers.
  3. If you are having problems with your root partition of your Linux instance not automatically resizing to the full size larger than the original image (such as this) – then this tool will do the trick for you.

Pesach is here next week! Chag Sameach to you all !!

keep-calm-and-eat-matza-15

2017-04-01

3 Things I Learned - Week #13

I have spent most of the week here in Texas at an internal DevOps conference. As things go with these kind of events – the most interesting parts are always those where you speak to others – outside of the informal sessions.

Here are 3 things I learned this week.

  1. Our youth is amazing. My daughter was one of sixty 11th and 12th graders that presented the summary of here thesis that she has been doing in researching remodeling of neurons, neuro-transmitters, and the mushroom-body.

    The reason I say why youth is amazing – is because each of the presenters there – had completed if not as – but a more complicated research project.

    And yes I was an extremely proud father – watching her present at her first scientific conference.
  2. Lists are awesome. I just found a whole new world of awesome-lists. Have a look at the topic on github.com. I have to be careful to make sure that this does not become a time sink.

  3. AWS has a new resource tagging API. Looking further down the road with my journey to AWS – this is going to be very important and useful.

Catch you all next week!

2017-03-24

3 Things I Learned - Week #12

I am a bit late with this post – life has really gotten mad as I get ready for a trip to the US next week.

Here are 3 things I learned this week.

  1. Here is a great read on how taking control of AWS costs – can save you a huge amount of money -The million dollar engineering problem
  2. Here is a nice AWS solution based on Lambda to monitor if you are coming close to a resource limit on your AWS account (something that happened many times this week)
  3. Did you know that you can build a global transit network on AWS?

I think it is pretty obvious what I have been doing most of the past week – isn’t it? 

2017-03-17

3 Things I Learned - Week #11

Crazy week – but one of the best I have had. I work with an amazing team of people – who have accomplished the almost impossible.

Beside working weird and wild hours, here are 3 things that I learned this week.

  1. From dotCloud to Docker is a relaly good read about how docker started out a few years ago. It is hard to believe that is has evolved into what it has today.
  2. It seems that Gitlab is not going to be leaving the cloud after all.. Running your infrastructure is so much more that nut, bolts and how much money you pay to a provider at the end of the day. Gitlab was publicly discussing why they wanted to get off the cloud – and how they would do it, and this post explains that maybe you do need people that understand the underlying infra (all of it!!) if you choose to go the route of managing it all yourself.
    Really good read!
  3. Did you know that many hit songs are comprise of 4 basic chords?


    Awesome!!

Catch you all next week!

2017-03-10

3 Things I Learned - Week #10

Well – another week has gone by – and winter is practically over here in Israel. Learning never stops and here are 3 things that caught my eye this week.
  1. This is a great set of posts about how Evernote moved their whole infrastructure to Google Cloud.  Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  2. docker-aws is a nifty little container – with all the tools  you will need to interact with AWS. A huge thumbs up from me on this one!
  3. It seems that I was the only one who really missed that Github have changed their TOS.

    Here are two different takes on the subject.
    what I would ask my lawyers about the new Github TOS and Rational thoughts on the GitHub ToS change.
Purim is here – catch you all next week!

2017-03-03

3 Things I Learned - Week #9

Honestly this week has not been my best – far too much going on at work – after work and yet there are always new things that I learn.

  1. I tried to upgrade my Raspberry Pi to an updated version – it did not go well. But all is not lost, after installing Minibian which is perfect for my needs – I was well on my way again with less RAM and resources in use.
  2. Amazon US-east-1 melted down this week, and took down a substantial number of dependent sites and businesses that rely on their services. US-east-1 is the oldest and biggest region that AWS has in use today. I was personally affected as well – as we have an ongoing project in that region.
  3. To continue the point above. There is so much to actually say – but this will lead to a whole new blog post. Two short point on the message that was posted last night.

    a. Human’s are the weakest link – there is no doubt about it.
    b. There are parts of AWS that have not been started in Years ! I don't know if I should be happy about that – or really really scared!

Have a great weekend and never stop learning!

2017-02-24

3 Things I Learned - Week #8

All in all this has been a good week – some ups, some downs – but knowledge is a never ending journey.

Here are some of the things I learned about over the last few days.

  1. Randy Bias wrote a very interesting point about how risky it can be to ‘check’ your into a CI/CD pipeline. Continuous Delusion at the Infrastructure Layer is a good read at understanding thta not everything belongs in the pipeline – you should consider how big your blast radius is.
  2. I am currently doing a Ambulance drivers course (that is the subject for a whole different post) but I never knew that there three different kinds of Hepatitis – where Hepatitis C – is the worst – and there is no cure known today.
  3. I did not even know that there were such large numbers Nine quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808). Announcing the first SHA1 collision discovered this week by Google. I know that this is really nerdy – but still a good read.


2017-02-17

3 Things I Learned - Week #7

A week where our Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu went to visit President Trump in the U.S. will always be an interesting one – no matter how you look at it.

Here are some things that enriched my knowledge this week.

  1. One of the things that someone told me regarding AWS and IAM roles attached to a instance – was that you only have a single chance of assigning a role, and once you do it, that’s it – no going back.
    So it seems that this is not the case. Attach an AWS IAM Role to an Existing Amazon EC2 Instance by Using the AWS CLI will show you the light and how to change a role after an instance has been provisioned.

  2. S3 is a great webserver – specifically if all you need to do is serve files. One such a repository that fits the bill perfectly – is a yum repo. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but this is the only one that I could find that would allow you to create a yum repo with multiple versions (with minor differences between them) – without having to duplicate the packages for each and every version.

  3. Never underestimate the powers of Social Networking. And of course – there are just some people who are just willing to sit down and have a conversation about technology. One such person is Kelsey Hightower. Thank you!

2017-02-10

3 Things I Learned - Week #6

Where has the time gone by? This past week – I was up to my neck in architectural discussions and meetings for a big upcoming project on AWS.

Nevertheless - here are three things I learned this week.

  1. Many a time I want to look at a file and what better way to do that than with less <filename>. But then comes that moment where you want to actually edit the because you see a mistake. So instead of exiting the file and then opening it up again in vi – try this.

    Edit a File When You Are Viewing It Using more / less Command Pager
  2. I did some digging into NTP this week. How to secure NTP, the different Stratum levels, and how to read the weird output from ntpq –p. These articles were very helpful.

    How to debug ntp issues?
    Real Life NTP
  3. I use Cisco Spark daily as my main medium for communication at work. I love it.

    Here is a useful list of Keyboard shortcuts – that will save you some throughout your day.

Catch you all next week!!

2017-02-09

I am Running for the OpenStack User Committee

Two days ago I decided to submit my candidacy for one of the two spots up for election (for the first time!) on the OpenStack User committee.

I am pasting my proposal verbatim (original email link here)…

Good evening to you all.

As others have so kindly stepped up - I would also like to self-nominate myself for as candidate for the User committee.

I have been involved in the OpenStack community since the Icehouse release.

From day 1,  I felt that the user community was not completely accepted as a part of the OpenStack community and that there was a clear and broad disconnect between the two parts of OpenStack.

Instead of going all the way back - and stepping through time to explain who I am and what I have done - I have chosen a few significant points along the way - of where I think I made an impact - sometimes small - but also sometimes a lot bigger.

  • The OpenStack Architecture Design Guide [1]. This was my first Opensource project and it was an honor to participate and help the community to produce such a valuable resource.
  • Running for the TC for the first time [2]. I was not elected.
  • Running for the TC for the second time [3]. Again I was not elected.

    (There has never been a member of the User community elected to a TC seat - AFAIK)

In my original candidacy [2] proposal - I mentioned the inclusion of others.

Which is why I so proud of the achievement of the definition of the AUC from the last cycle and the workgroup [3] that Shamail Tahir and I co-chaired
(Needless to say that a **huge** amount of the credit goes also to all the other members of the WG that were involved!!) in making this happen.

Over the years I think I have tried to make difference (perhaps not always in the right way) - maybe the developer community was not ready for such a drastic change - and I still think that they are not.

Now is a time for change.

I think that the User Committee and these upcoming election (which are the first ever) are a critical time for all of us that are part of the OpenStack community - who contribute in numerous ways - **but do not contribute code**.

The User Committee is now becoming what it should have been from the start, an equal participant in the 3 pillars of OpenStack.

I would like to be a part, actually I would be honored to be a part, of ensuring that this comes to fruition and would like to request your vote for the User Committee.

Now down to the nitty gritty. If elected I would like to focus on the following (but not only):

  1. Establishing the User committee as significant part of OpenStack - and continue the amazing collaboration that has been forged over the past two years. The tangible feedback to the OpenStack community provided by the Working Groups have defined clear requirements coming from the trenches and need to be addressed throughout the community as a whole.
  2. Expand the AUC constituency - both by adding additional criteria and by encouraging more participation in the community according to the initial defined criteria.
  3. Establish a clear and fruitful working relationship with Technical committee - enabling the whole of OpenStack to continue to evolve, produce features and functionality that is not only cutting edge but also fundamental and crucial to anyone and everyone using OpenStack today.

Last but not least - I would like to point you to a blog post I wrote almost a year ago [5].

My views have not changed. OpenStack is evolving and needs participation not only from the developer community (which by the way is facing more than enough of its own challenges) but also from us who use, and operate OpenStack.

For me - we are already in a better place - and things will only get better - regardless of who leads the User committee.

Thank you for your consideration - and I would like to wish the best of luck to all the other candidates.

--
Best Regards,
Maish Saidel-Keesing

[1] http://technodrone.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-openstack-architecture-design-guide.html

[2] http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-dev/2015-April/062372.html

[3] http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-dev/2015-September/075773.html

[4] https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/AUCRecognition

[5] http://technodrone.blogspot.com/2016/03/we-are-all-openstack-are-we-really.html

Elections open up on February 13th and only those who have been recognized as AUC (Active User Contributors) are eligible to vote.

Don’t forget to vote!

2017-02-03

3 Things I Learned - Week #5

January has come and gone – and of course this week is no different than the last – always something new.

  1. Exposing everything to the outside world is never a good idea, but there are times where you have to leave something open in order to manage everything else in the remote location. That is where a bastion host comes in.

    How to Record SSH Sessions Established Through a Bastion Host – is a really interesting way of monitoring what is happening on this node – and how to create an audit trail.
  2. Gitlab had a meltdown this week. Two lessons I learned from this mess.
    1. make sure you have proper backups.
    2. Backups are not worth anything – unless they have been validated
  3. The AWS Spot marketplace is a fascinating concept, something that I am not yet comfortable using – but will be happy to learn more about

Till next week!!

2017-01-27

3 Things I learned - Week #4

Another week has gone by.

  1. Children have a totally different outlook on life. At a family meal this week we were talking about life insurance – why it is needed – and how that money can help the family that is left behind in a financial way.

    My 11 year daughter asked – what would we do with all of her money – if something would actually happen to her (heaven forbid). The numbers that the adults were talking about were in the 7 digit figures and the amount she was talking about was her life savings – somewhere around $500.

    I learned a very important lesson from this conversation. The amount she has was just as important and worth just as much to her  as the amounts we talking about.

    People cherish what they have – no matter how much it is worth – worth is only in the eyes of the beholder.

  2. Sometimes you just want to have a simple bloody if… then… else…
    Bashing my head against the wall for a number of hours finally brought me to this ternary. This is the closest I option I could find for my quest.
  3. IRC – Do you remember that thing from the 1990’s – Well it is alive and kicking – being used heavily – by a large number of Opensource communities. The Ansible community uses IRC as well – which is where I found out about the point above.

    My thanks go out to all those community members (regardless of the community they belong to) who are willing to answer the same silly questions from newbies – with such patience.

2017-01-20

3 Things I Learned - Week #3

This week has been a busy one. So here goes…
  1. Netflix is big.. Really big. Their monthly bill is 100’s of MB in size, it contains over 800 million lines of information. Netflix has a dedicated Hadoop cluster – whose only purpose is to load their bill (I find that hilarious!)

    Seriously though – this presentation from AWS re:Invent 2016 is a treasure trove of information – and well worth spending less than an hour on.



  2. Synchronizing two completely different git repos is not that difficult – but when they are hosted on two completely different providers (github.com and bitbucket.org) then it not simple.

    gitwatch helped me solve that issue.
  3. Writing an ‘artificial intelligence’ is not a simple task – and people don’t like interacting with robots – they prefer of course to interact with humans. I guess that my preference for interacting with a bot would be to not even know that it is a bot – it should be as human as possible – its name, its behavior and its responses.

    So giving your Bot a name might not be the best idea
Till Next Week!

2017-01-16

My Goals for 2017 - Q1

I was thinking of putting up a post about what I want to achieve in 2017 – but I think that I would really be kidding myself – trying to set expectations for the next 12 months.

4738187973_f4e672bfb2_z

Making plans for the next 12 months are always great – it is good to have a vision of what you want to do in the long run, but as we all know, in our field things are so dynamic – and especially when working Agile – which is per sprint (between 2-3 week periods), making plans for the 12 months – is something that is not that realistic and will change over time.

The reasons for this vary – for me personally (and will probably change on a person-to-person basis) and include:

  • Technology changes
  • Business priority changes.
  • Role changes

So for me this was I want to accomplish in the next 3 months (and hopefully I will be able to hold myself accountable)

  • Ansible. I need to get more acquainted with Ansible – using it for day to day work as much as possible
  • AWS. Start using AWS as my default cloud platform for all my work in the cloud. This is dues to a work priority change (so expect a number of posts on AWS as well)
  • Kubernetes. Again a work priority call – but since the whole world is moving in the container direction, I would like to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Read at least one book. It will probably be technical in nature. I find it invaluable to actually take the time to disconnect and concentrate on doing some in depth reading on a specific subject – instead of just going over a blog article (or four) on a subject.
  • Blog regularly. Something that I have neglected this past year for a multitude of reasons. I will try and keep up my 3 Things I Learned series on a regular basis

I am mainly putting this up here – to keep myself honest.

2017-01-13

3 Things I Learned - Week #2

We are constantly learning, evolving and improving (well at least I hope we are).

Personally I learn new things each and every day, not all of them are technology related, but still – I am pleased to say that knowledge is really infinite and we should actually never stop.

I am going to try and post a short note with three (it will sometimes be hard) things that I learned about this week. They will not be lengthy topics – just a byte size sentence with a link or two on the subject.

Starting from today – I hope to make this a weekly occurrence.

  1. The Mandella Effect. Are we actually living in a parallel universe – some of these 20 Examples Of The Mandela Effect That'll Make You Believe You're In A Parallel Universe. The one that really blew me away was “No, I am your father”
    image
  2. How do you find the TTL on a specific DNS record? – Sometimes you really need to know how long you (or your customers) are going to have stare at the wrong content – until their clients perform a refresh.
  3. Even if you run for a seat on the OpenStack Individual Member Director Elections – you should not be spamming all of the community each and every day to remind them to vote for you.
    By the way – if you have not voted yet – then you should.

Till next week!!