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Debian and Docker log - Mon, 02/03/2015 - 9:04pm

I've been playing around with Debian and Docker a little bit. I found Joey Hess' post about Docker trust interesting reading, in particular this advice:

I'd recommend only trusting docker images you build yourself. I have some docker images published somewhere that are built with 100% straight debootstrap with no modifications (...) But I'm not going to link to them, because again, you should only trust docker images you built yourself.

CD ripping on Linux log - Wed, 25/02/2015 - 9:14pm

A few months ago I decided it would be good to re-rip my CD collection, retaining a lossless digital copy, and set about planning the project. I then realised I hadn't the time to take the project on for the time being and parked it, but not before figuring a few bits and pieces out.

Blade Runner: Alien Easter Egg? log - Mon, 22/12/2014 - 11:53am

A few weeks ago I went to see Blade Runner: The Final Cut in a one-off showing at the Tyneside Cinema. I've only watched the Final Cut once and that viewing was a bit compromised, so it was nice to see it properly, and on a massive screen with decent surround sound too.

PGP transition statement log - Thu, 27/11/2014 - 1:48pm
Hash: SHA512,SHA1

I'm transitioning from my old, 1024-bit DSA PGP key, FD35 0B0A C6DD 5D91 DB7A 83D1 168B 4E71 7032 F238, to my newer, 4096-bit RSA key, E037 CB2A 1A00 61B9 4336 3C8B 0907 4096 06AA AAAA.

If you have signed my old key, I'd be very grateful if you would consider signing my new key. (Thanks in advance!)

Moving to Red Hat log - Wed, 19/11/2014 - 7:48pm

I'm changing jobs!

From February 2015, I will be joining Red Hat as a Senior Software Engineer. I'll be based in Newcastle and working with the Middleware team. I'm going to be working with virtualisation, containers and Docker in particular. I know a few of the folks in the Newcastle office already, thanks to their relationship with the School of Computing Science, and I'm very excited to work with them, as well as the wider company. It's also going to be great to be contributing to the free software community as part of my day job.

Ansible log - Wed, 08/10/2014 - 8:12pm

I've just recently built the large bulk of VMs that we use for first semester teaching. This year that was 112. We use the same general approach for these as our others: get a generic base image up and running, with just enough configuration complete so a puppet client starts up; get it talking to our master; let puppet take it from there.

There are pragmatic balances between how much we do in the kickstart versus how much we do in puppet, but also when we build a new VM from scratch versus when we clone an existing image, and how specialisation we do in the clone image.

Mac log - Tue, 15/07/2014 - 7:16pm

My job exposes me to a large variety of computing systems and I regularly use Mac, Windows and Linux desktops. My main desktop environment at home and work has been Debian GNU/Linux for over 10 years. However every now and then I take a little "holiday" and use something else for a few weeks. Often I'm spurred on by some niggle or other on the GNOME desktop, or burn-out with whatever the current contentious issue of the moment is in Debian. Usually I switched to Windows and I used it as an excuse to play some computer games.

Spiral log - Thu, 12/06/2014 - 11:02am
March Of The Pigs

March Of The Pigs

I stumbled across this whilst packing up my 7" records. It's one of my favourite 'features' on a blank side.

Nine Inch Nails, Manchester, 2014 log - Mon, 26/05/2014 - 6:58pm

I spent the bank holiday weekend mostly in Manchester with my brother and a couple of friends, mostly to see Nine Inch Nails perform, but also to enjoy the pleasures of the city.

the Marble Arch's ceiling

the Marble Arch's ceiling

Whitley Bay Ice Rink log - Wed, 15/01/2014 - 7:37pm

Recently, North Tyneside Council circulated the beginnings of a regional development plan. This consisted of a detailed map of the borough, complete with various areas marked out as sites for potential housing development. Included amongst the sites for potential development was Whitley Bay Ice Rink and the surrounding leisure facilities: a football pitch, a cricket pitch, and more.

2013 In Fiction log - Sun, 05/01/2014 - 3:55pm

I read a lot this year - I'll write more about that and reflections on goodreads in another post - but most of the things I read weren't published in 2013. (I should also write a bit about my thoughts on e-readers). However, it seems I have enough to write about 2013's novels to make a round-up post worthwhile, so here we go.

2012 In Review log - Wed, 25/12/2013 - 11:49pm

2013 is nearly all finished up and so I thought I'd spend a little time writing up what was noteable in the last twelve months. When I did so I found an unfinished draft from the year before. It would be a shame for it to go to waste, so here it is.

Winter has arrived log - Thu, 21/11/2013 - 10:26am

Winter has come

A nice view at work this morning.

Iain Banks log - Thu, 03/10/2013 - 4:20pm

In April this year, Iain Banks announced that he had inoperable cancer. At the time I was reading what became his last Culture novel, "The Hydrogen Sonata". Banks died shortly afterwards in June.

At the time I came across this passage in "The Hydrogen Sonata" which struck me as poignant:

Living either never has any point, or is always it's own point; being a naturally cheery soul, I lean towards the latter. However, just having done more of it than someone else doesn't really make much difference.

Much belated RIP, Iain Banks.

Married log - Wed, 25/09/2013 - 9:00pm
Jon and Sarah

I got married! Sarah and I tied the knot on the 10th August this year. We married in a registry office where we live and had an evening reception on Tynemouth beach. A fantastic time was had by all.

Office suite UI and creativity log - Wed, 26/06/2013 - 10:51am

For some reason I've always hated the layout of Office Suite tools such as LibreOffice, OpenOffice and Microsoft Office (I seem to find the Ribbon interface nicer than what has gone before, although I can't put my finger on why.)

Debian Day #13 log - Wed, 24/04/2013 - 8:51pm

Wow, my first "Debian day" in 2013, but it's a bit of a misnomer because I didn't do any Debian work tonight.

awk log - Thu, 04/04/2013 - 4:15pm

Recently, I've been using awk in shell scripts more and more often.

When I saw Thomas' Blog I reeled a bit from of the make/shell quoted within. (Sorry Thomas! It's still a thought provoking blog post):

GSettings log - Tue, 02/04/2013 - 3:13pm

With GNOME 3, if you want to override a setting with a new site default, assuming your app has been updated to use the new gsettings API and doesn't still use the old gconf one, the best guide on what to do is still Ross Burton's blog post from two years ago, although you can find most of what you need to know buried deep in the GSettings C API specification, which is not the first place I would have looked (lesso

UKUUG and FLOSS UK log - Tue, 02/04/2013 - 1:21pm

Last year, I failed to write and mention that I'd joined the Council of the Free/Libre Open-Source Software UK group FLOSS UK, formerly known as the UK UNIX User's Group (UKUUG). As a council-member, I helped to organise the recent Large Installation Systems Administration conference that took place in my native Newcastle, UK.

list filtering log - Thu, 14/03/2013 - 8:07pm

The classic procmail recipe for (reasonably) safe automatic mailing list filtering is

* ^List-Id:[^<]+<\/[a-z0-9-.]+

This relies on mailing lists being configured such that the first part of the ID, up to the first dot, is a good identifier for the list. this is not always the case (*, I'm looking at you). Removing the dot from the expression above means you end up with unambiguous, albeit long, folder names (

Rpm, Yum, Puppet and GPG log - Thu, 14/02/2013 - 8:48pm

I wrote that I would double-check how secure the module selection and downloading is in Puppet.

Well, puppet module resolves, fetches and downloads unsigned tarballs from a HTTP source and unpacks them without any verification whatsoever.

Related: I've been looking at rpm/yum GPG behaviour. rpm supports checking the signature of RPMs as a separate operation from installing them. You can't ask it to not install a package if the signature is absent or not correct.


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