Steve Kemp's Blog Writings relating to Debian & Free Software

Entries tagged christmas

A busy few weeks - bah humbug

Sun, 25 Nov 2012 12:32:38 GMT

The following companies are amongst those showing Christmas Adverts on television before the start of December:

  • Tesco
  • Homebase.
  • M&S
  • Waitrose.
  • John Lewis.

I will boycott these companies until next year.

In happier news I've spent the past week or two replacing the monitoring system that we use at work.

Our previous monitoring system had been struggling to keep up with the sheer number of tests it was being asked to process. This was partly because we carry out many ping-tests, ssh-tests, http-tests, dns-tests, etc. The other reason was that our monitoring system was a behemoth of threaded-ruby, which all ran upon a single host. This made adding another monitoring host a complex undertaking.

The new solution uses a work-queue:

  • Tests to apply are parsed and inserted into a single, global, beanstalkd queue.
  • Workers continuously poll the queue for tests to execute. They then execute them, and alert on failures as appropriate.

The code is open-source, written in Ruby, and available here:

I've completed the process of tidying up the code to the extent I'm happy with it, and I believe I've also abstracted away the work-specific pieces of the code.

That said I'd not be surprised if it needs a few minor tweaks before it it useful for other people.

| 2 comments.

 

I saw momma kissing santa claus

Mon, 24 Dec 2007 12:32:38 GMT

Well I've been in Devon for the past week, and will remain here for another week. During that time I've averaged about ten minutes of online time a day!

So far things are going well, but it will be wierd spending time with another family over Christmas.

Still I've been vaguely productive. I've released a new version of chronicle - which has the CGI support for leaving comments upon my entries.

(TODO: Reinstate some previous comments for Martin Krafft)

One thing I'd not anticipated was the amount of spam I'd start recieving. The peak so far was 40+ comments a day, all with random URLs. I deleted them manually for the first day - but now I've written a shell script or two to classify comments via the spamfilter I use for handling email.

I'm not 100% sure I should have done that. I suspect that over time I will find better results if I actually have a distinct "blog spam" and "blog ham" corpus - rather than risk confusion over "email" and "blog" texts to classify. Still I shall wait and see.

The only thing that I think I want to do now is add a bit more fine control over the comment process, so the choice is not just between comments being globally on, or globally off. A nice middle-ground where I could say "Comments enabled for entries posted within the past two weeks or so".

Anyway thats my quota for today. Now I have to walk the family dog ..

| No comments

 

So here it is Merry Christmas

Sun, 16 Dec 2007 12:32:38 GMT

Lars Wirzenius recently released, and packaged for Debian, a simple script to make release tarballs. He calls it Unperish.

It makes me wonder how many other people use that kind of system?

Of the top of my head the only similar thing I can recall using is Brad Fitzpatrick's ShipIt - another moduler/plugin-based system (Perl rather than Python this time.)

For my needs I tend to just write a Makefile which has a "dist" target, and then I have a simple script called "release". This runs:

  1. make dist / make release.
  2. creates a gpg signature of the release.
  3. scp's the resulting files to a remote source.

All this is configurable via a per-project .release file.

The configuration files are very simple, the script itself is almost trivial but being able to sit in a random project directory and have a new tarball on my webserver just by typing "release" is enormously useful.

There are times when I think I should make it a mini-project of its own, with the ability to auto-build Debian packages, etc. Other times I just think .. well its a hell of a lot better than my previous ad-hoc solution.

At the very least I think I will make the cosmetic change of updating the script to run "make test" if there is a test/ or t/ directory inside the generated tarball.

In real news - tomorrow I leave for a two week holiday with my partner's parents. Yesterday I got back from a night spent with her in York. The Bytemark staff night out. Lots of fun. Over too soon, but lots of fun.

| 3 comments.

 

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