Global DevOps Bootcamp 2019

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Yesterday (Saturday 15th) was the 3rd Global DevOps Bootcamp we’ve run in Adelaide.

Selfie Using the great facilities of the University of South Australia, a bunch of people gathered to learning more about DevOps, and in particular this year on the ‘Run’ part of DevOps, including introducing the role of a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE).

The day started off with a recorded introduction from international event organisers, then a keynote from Niall Murphy (Microsoft Ireland Director of Engineering for Azure Cloud Services and Site Reliability Engineering), followed by a local keynote delivered by me.


After this people got into teams and worked through different challenges relating to a mythical online car-parts company that was experiencing all kinds of problems in production. Teams were encouraged to follow the pattern of ‘Detect, Respond and Recover’ - identifying the problem, putting in a quick fix to get the website back up and then implementing a long-term solution to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Team challenges

The teams worked through the rest of the day, doing a great job on the challenges. The light-hearted video introductions to each challenge were a new thing this year and were a nice touch.

All credit to Rene, Marcel, Mathias and their team of helpers who put all the content together and coordinated a massive global event together with Microsoft.

Microsoft provided Subway for lunch and special thanks to my employer RLDatix who picked up the tab for fresh coffees for all attendees.

An Iced Vo Vo surprise

Friday, 14 June 2019

Those who know me really well know that one of my favourite biscuits is Arnott’s Iced Vo Vos.

Iced Vo Vos.jpg By Bilby - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

I’m not sure why - I just really enjoy the combination of the sweet biscuit base with pink icing, coconut and jam. A winning combination.

Recently Arnott’s have been looking to diversify their product range and I saw with interest that they now have Iced Vo Vo flavoured milk and Iced Vo Vo flavoured chocolate!

Imagine my surprise when I got home from work this week to discover a block of the latter waiting for me on my bed (together with a clever Origami bow).

Iced Vo Vo Chocolate My youngest daughter was hanging around and asked me to guess who got it for me..

My wife? No

My sister? No

My friend Andrew? No

I was stumped.

It was later that night that my wife tipped me off that actually it had been my daughter all along who’d bought for me with her own money! What a beautiful (and yummy) gift!

Migrating from Blogger to Jekyll and GitHub Pages

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump the last few months. Partly because I’ve been particularly busy, but also I’ve been a bit frustrated with Blogger. I used Windows Live Writer (later Open Live Writer), but sadly after all the effort to make it open-source, the project has kind of floundered with no one apparently leading the project now.

So what to do? Well maybe it’s time to move to a different platform. I’d see a few people with their blogs on GitHub, and after a bit of research I settled on using Jekyll with GitHub pages.

How I migrated from Blogger

I followed this useful checklist - Note that the jekyll-importer does not convert Blogger content to Markdown (that had me confused for a few hours).

I stuck with the same URL format for posts, so that should mean no broken links.

I made use of Windows Subsystem for Linux to run Jekyll locally (as I’d read it wasn’t so easy to get running natively on Windows). See below for more details of getting that all running.

Update Cloudflare to point to -

Update FeedBurner settings to point to new source RSS feed.

What I forgot

I use to post to Twitter about new blog posts. I should have disabled that as it got confused by the change and thought I’d posted some new articles.

Still to do

The Blogger migration only copied text. Images are still living in their original locations. It would be good to migrate them over too.

My old blog had a nice Archive/history listing. I’ve started looking at Jekyll equivalents, but not found one that’s similar yet.

Getting Jekyll running on WSL

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt install ruby
sudo apt install ruby-dev
sudo apt install make gcc
sudo apt install g++
sudo apt install zlibc
sudo gem install pkg-config -v "~> 1.1"
sudo apt install libxml2-dev
sudo apt install libxslt-dev
sudo gem install nokogiri -- --use-system-libraries
sudo gem install jekyll-import
sudo gem install jekyll

With my locally cloned Git repo at C:\dev\git\ in Windows, in WSL I could change to the equivalent path at /mnt/c/dev/git/, and then run jekyll server.

Anything else?

Let me know in the comments if something is broken that used to work!

Find where an object is unintentionally being converted to a string

Monday, 11 February 2019

I’ve been applying the Replace Primitive with Object pattern to a code base - changing what used to be strings into a custom type (which not only makes the code more readable, but now ensures through type safety that you can’t accidentally pass in any old random values to methods that used to just take strings.

The code has tests, and after applying the refactoring, I have a failing test - which hints that somewhere there’s an implicit conversion from the new strongly typed object back to a string. The test’s failing assertion says it received “MyNamespace.TypedThing” (which is what the default implementation of ToString() returns), rather than the wrapped string value that TypedThing encapsulates.

My initial suspicion is that there’s probably code similar to this that’s causing the problem:

TypedThing thing = new TypedThing("thingy");
string s = $"{thing}";

ReSharper has a cool utility - “Structural Search and Replace”. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for single expressions like "{thing}".

If I was cluey, I might be able to write a Roslyn tool to search the code and find instances like that, but that’s going to take a bit more effort than I want.

What about this: temporarily override the ToString() method on my custom type, and make it throw an exception!

It’s a bit of a sledgehammer, but it worked!

As it turns out my suspicion was not quite correct. The offending code was actually assigning the custom type to an Object type (which explains the lack of compiler type warnings), which later on must be converted to a string.

Now that I could see an example, I could use ReSharper’s SSR to confirm that was the only instance of that kind of assignment (SSR can be used as I’m searching for an assignment statement, not just a single expression). Just for good measure, I’ll also re-run the entire test suite to make sure there aren’t any other similar problems still hiding.

Choco list -localonly (Feb 2019 Edition)

Sunday, 3 February 2019

What software / applications am I using on my laptop (February 2019 Edition) according to Chocolatey? Here’s an edited list of the output from choco list -localonly:

Package Version   Comments
7zip 18.6    
audacity 2.3.0 Audio editor  
becyicongrabber Icon extractor (for creating Chocolatey packages)  
beyondcompare My favourite file comparison tool  
beyondcompare-integration 1.0.1 Configure Beyond Compare for TortoiseGit/Svn  
dellcommandupdate-uwp 3.0.0 Dell’s driver update app  
dns-benchmark 1.3.6668.0 Useful DNS checker  
dotnetdeveloperbundle RedGate’s .NET tools  
dropbox 41.4.80    
fiddler 5.0.20182.28034    
FiraCode 1.206 Nice developer font  
Firefox 57.0.4    
git 2.20.1    
GoogleChrome 63.0.3239.132    
keepass 2.41 Password manager  
mousewithoutborders Share mouse across laptop and desktop PCs  
msbuild-structured-log-viewer 2.0.61    
nodejs 11.9.0    
notepadplusplus 7.6.3 Using this less now compared to VS Code  
nuget.commandline 4.9.2    
obs-studio 22.0.2 Video / screen recording  
OctopusTools 5.2.0    
Office365ProPlus 2016.20170321 4.1.5    
PDFXchangeEditor 7.0.328.2 My favourite  
Pester 4.4.1 PowerShell unit tests  
pingplotter 5.8.10 Useful visual ping network status  
powershell-core 6.1.2    
procmon 3.50 SysInternals Process Monitor  
resharper-clt.portable 2018.3.2 ReSharper’s free command-line tools  
resharper-ultimate-all 2018.3.2    
screentogif 2.16 Handy screen recorder  
snagit 2019.1.0 Screen grabber  
sql-server-2017 14.0.1000    
sql-server-management-studio 14.0.17289.1    
tailblazer Text/log file viewer  
ubiquiti-unifi-controller 5.9.29 Software for managing UniFi wireless access points  
vagrant 2.2.3 Manage virtual machines  
visualstudio2017enterprise 15.2.26430.20170605    
visualstudiocode 1.19.3    
vsts-cli Command line tool for managing Azure DevOps  
vswhere 2.6.7    
wifiinfoview 2.42    
windirstat Where’s all that disk space being used?  
wireshark 2.6.5    
x-lite VoIP client  
yarn 1.13.0    
zoomit Great for presentations  

This is also a good basis for refreshing my Boxstarter scripts.