Finally, after far too long, I’ve given this blog a new look and I’m attempting, from now on, to try and keep it regularly updated.
I suppose it make sense, to me at least, to cover what this blog is for, why it is worth the effort and how I intend to go about it, both technically and from a time management perspective. In years to come I can then at least look back at what I intended to do and compare that to how I got on.
What is this blog for?
I’ve had a career in IT spanning some 20 odd years, save for a stint working as an impoverished professional photographer. For the last seven years, I’ve been working as an IT Infrastructure engineer. I’d like to think, in that time, I’ve learned a few things which are probably worth sharing. I’ve worked for companies both good and bad, large and small. So I’ll use this space to talk about both technical solutions to problems and guiding principles.
I’m planning to add articles covering at least the following subjects:
- Infrastructure as Code
- Source Control
- Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery
- Performance and health monitoring
- My home network
- My home servers
- Desired State Configuration
- Any new technologies I spike out
I’ll probably also post a bit about my hobbies and interests, some long-established and others that I’m just getting into:
- Right to repair
- Amateur Radio
- House rennovation and DIY
Why even bother?
For a while now, I’ve grumbled about the demise of personal websites with the rise of video blogging/streaming sites like YouTube and social media. I am a reader. For most things I prefer reading rather than watching videos. And there are aspects of life which are too nuanced to fit into a single tweet. This is an odd commitment to make at a time in my life when I am busier than I have ever been. However, I think there is a theraputic value in sharing thoughts, ideas and valuable experience. Add to that the simple fact that I’m not getting any younger - so if I don’t do this now, when will I make the time for it?
The intention is going to be, in general, to try and post little and often, with some longer and more in-depth articles worked on in the background. As a general rule of thumb, my aim is taking at least 10 minutes out of each day to work on content.
Practically, I’ve relaunched this blog with something called Hugo, which so far has proved to be quite simple and easy. This theme is called hello-friend-ng and it is authored by a peson called Djordje Atlialp. I’m hosting it on an OVH VPS with a demo site running on my DMZ server. I have the site version controlled in a private Git repository and I’ll use dockerized Jenkins to build and deploy the site. Each commit to the repository we result in an automatic build and deploy of the website to a “demo” server, which I host in my DMZ at home. That will allow me to proof read articles from anywhere, before pushing a button to deploy changes to the live site.
I’ve opted to use Hugo because essentially, I can write static markdown files in Vim and have Hugo build them into a static website. This lends itself well to using a CI/CD pipeline. I already have the Jenkins tooling in place so I might as well use it. Hugo seems hugely popular right now, and given how quickly I’ve been able to get on with writing this, it so far seems to stand up to the hype. The other reason I opted for Hugo is down to recent experience writing a piece of software in Go. If I have any problems with Hugo, I stand a chance of fixing them and contributing the changes to the project.
The OVH VPS is be running the latest stable release of Debian and I have used Ansible to configure it. The only thing I should be using the VPS console for is verifying SSH host keys. Configuring the VPS and deploying this website should be entirely automated, leaving me to concentrate on writing the content.