Taylor Swift: 1989

Based on the bits and pieces that I’ve heard, 1989 is looking like it will be an epic album.  Taylor going full pop star is certainly a risk, but from the bits and pieces I’ve heard thus far, I think it will be a success.

Shake it Off is the best pop song of 2014 so far.

Welcome to New York is a solid song that I think has a lot of potential to be remixed.

I can’t wait to give the whole album a listen on tuesday.

You should read What If

I just finished reading What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe.  I expected a funny book with interesting information and it exceeded expectations.  Much like the What If Blog, the book answers absurd questions in a completely serious manner and does scientific reasoning to answer them. This seems like a great way to introduce scientific reasoning to a kid while remaining highly entertaining for adults.

It’s not just walls of text though, the simple cartoons that first made Randall well known are in the book as well.  They often illustrate the absurdity ideas in the answers to completely ridiculous questions.

The bite size format of the book made it perfect for commuting and travel.  I was never more than a few moments away from finishing a chapter. Each chapter provided a natural break point, though I always wanted to read just one more.

Aggregate Multiple Log Files From Multiple Servers

The majority of the time I need to analyze logs across multiple servers, I use logstash.  Sometimes though I want to aggregate the actual files on the server and go through them myself with awk and grep.  For doing that, I use two tools.

  1. In my bash config, I have a function called access_concat that reads out regular and gzipped access logs.
    	find $1 -name "acc*" -not -name "*.gz" -exec cat '{}' \;
    	find $1 -name "acc*" -name "*.gz" -exec zcat '{}' \;

    I can pass a path that log files are stored in and it will search them to find the files I actually want.

  2. Dancer’s Shell (or DSH) makes it easy for me to run a command across multiple servers.

Combining these two, I can run:

 dsh -M -c -g prd-wp 'access_concat /logs >> ~/oct22.logs' 

to concatenate all of the log files that exist on the server today. I then just need to scp down oct22.logs and I can easily run my analysis locally.

Note that to do this, you need to configure dsh so that the servers you want to access are in the prd-wp group (or better yet, the logical name for whatever you are working on).

Take off and Landing

The first time I flew was when I was five years old and I went to Florida with my mom and brother to visit my great-grandparents. I ended up with an ear infection on that trip and decided that I was never going to fly again.  Fast forward 26 years and I’ve taken double digit flights each of the last 5 years.  I haven’t had any ear infections from these flights.

Taking off and landing is now my favorite part of the flight.  There is something magical about a 200,000+ pound machine going from grounded to flying and back again.  I took a video of both the take off and the landing on today’s flight west.

It was my first time using Hyperlapse and the UI was super simple. If you want to make time lapses on your phone, I recommend checking it out.

OK, But There Are Two Rules

“OK, but there are two rules:  1. You can’t change the recipe.   2.  You can’t do anything that anyone else has done before.”

With those two options off the table, the only alternative was to invent something completely new, or do nothing at all.  Long story short….the distiller got to thinking, invented an entirely new process at the end of the aging cycle, and now they have a new product, Makers Mark 46.

Read the rest of the Makers mark story: Andy Swan » “OK, but there are two rules…”

Problems aren’t solved best when there are 80 different solutions on the table.  Problems are solved when there are zero solutions on the table. It is why we need to embrace constraint.

Changes should happen in Code, not in UI

If you are deploying your WordPress site, it generally doesn’t make much sense to have to go in and setup changes when you push the newest version live. When you push to production, production should have all your changes.

One more benefit of this method is that you never need to be signed in with a user who can change settings, change plugins, or change themes. Being signed in as a user with as few capabilities as possible is a one part of limiting your vulnerability in case of attack

This is what I use to stop the majority of activities from happening in the UI.

tl;dr; Don’t Update Options in the admin, update them in the code.