Category Archives: News for the blog

News from the Blog 2022-06-22

For the first part of June I’ve been quiet on Social Media as I was on holidays and taking some scheduled tests for my health in the hospital.

Carles in the Media/Press/Streaming

Twitch

I started streaming live Python coding sessions in Twitch. I’m giving it a try to see if coders have engagement.

The Software I use to broadcast from Linux is OBS.

I started with my Open Source project ctop.

I had a very long and interesting session on 2022-06-06 about OpenZFS, Data Centers, NVMe, iSCSI, Hard Drives, Storage, performance, Data Centers

More funny things happened like when I was installing a VirtualBox VM live, and the ZFS pool became irresponsible due hardware errors in one SATA Spinning drive.

Things from broadcasting live…

Some of the feedback I got from talented Engineers is that even if the original matter to talk about was interesting, seeing everything falling apart live due to unexpected hardware problems, and me troubleshooting live is being the best of the show… which I found very amusing.

RAB Radio the new digital world

I keep doing my radio space for Radio America Barcelona, once per week, addressed to the Catalan Community across the world and expats.

This radio program, streamed also via Twitch, is available in Catalan language only. RAB.

Open Source

carleslibs

I’ve been working in version 1.0.8 branch, and after a session of refactor on Twitch where I found a bug in MenuUtils class, I fixed it and released v. 1.0.8. You can see the video on the link.

Now I’m working on the branch v. 1.0.9.

ctop

I’ve been working in the branch 0.8.9.

My first Twitch broadcast was about adding Unit Testing to MemUtils class.

You can see all my videos:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYzY-2wJ9W_ooR64-QzEdJg

Infrastructure

OpenStack

I recommend you the videos in this page about Operating OpenStack at Scale.

Some of my Blizzard colleagues talk on it.

https://www.openstack.org/videos/summits/denver-2019/how-blizzard-entertainment-uses-autoscaling-with-overwatch

My last physical server in a Data Center

This week I decommissioned my last physical server in a Data Center.

It has been a long journey since I created my company to launch my own projects, and I started having my own infrastructure, back at 2000.

I was offering VPS at that time, with VMWare as Hypervisor.

This last Rack Server served me well for 21 years.

Now everything is Cloud, and is not viable to host and maintain servers unless this is your main occupation. Server’s motherboards die, hard drives die and they need to be replaced. Maintaining infrastructure it’s a full time job and you require somebody to do it. Also using fixed servers only prevents you from moving fast, locks a lot of money, and from spawning more compute capacity.

If you are curious this Rack Server is a Super Micro with Intel Xeon processor and SCSI drives.

Security

Firewall

I keep blocking thousands of IP Addresses every day.

When I see a pattern of an IP trying an attacks against the Server I look at the IP and if it’s from a hosting provider I just block the entire range.

I keep blocking any IP Address coming from Russia or Belarus since they invaded Ukraine.

My Health

I visited the hospital for a programmed following on my health.

The analysis are super good, and it’s super clear that I’ve improved radically. My discipline with the diet, taking the medicines and doing exercise regularly has been crucial.

My Doctor is confident that I’ll have a full recovery, but to do so I need to loss a lot of weight in a year or two.

So, I need to focus on my health and in doing exercise, being happy and avoid any kind of negative stress.

The cost of the travels and the medicines have put some stress into my economy, but I’m fortunate that I can handle it.

Entertainment / Life / Reflections

Star Wars and racism

I’m really enjoying new Start Wars series Obi Wan, and I’ve been profoundly shocked to read that there are fans being racist against the black characters.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/31/23148468/star-wars-obi-wan-moses-ingram-third-sister

So just writing here to show my support to human beings from all races, genders including transgender, LGTB+, conditions and preferences.

News from the Blog 2022-05-22

Media, Press, Radio

I was contributing already but since the 2th of May I started my radio space, also streamed in Twitch, google Podcast, Apple, Spotify… in Radio America Barcelona.

My space is named The New Digital World (“el nou món digital”) and I talk about tech news, technology, videogames and handy tricks.

This content is in Catalan language only, so I added to the blog as ending in [CA]

New Projects: Erasure Code

For my university thesis I’ve been creating an Erasure Coding solution that allows to encode and distribute the files seamlessly across an universe of Servers in different cloud providers, balancing the disk space used, super easy to use, and resilient to disaster and recovery.

I created my project, named Erasure Code www.erasurecode.com as Open Source, so all size of companies will be able to benefit from this technology, only available to multinationals until now.

Here you can watch a presentation and a demo:

Erasure Code project

I hope this will help tons of companies and startup, hopefully scientific startups, to save costs and focus more in their business and to make a better world.

My final presentation was the 20th of May.

Books

Python Combat Guide

I’ve updated my book Python Combat Guide with few additions.

Currently is 405 pages DIN-A4 size plus gitlab downloadable code.

It can be downloaded as PDF DRM-free.

Updates to this version 1.08 2022-05-11:

  • Added an example of .copy() for Arrays and mention to deepcopy()
  • Example on how to sort a dictionary of key/counter
  • Improvements to MT Notation updated
  • Added packages recommended: colorama, pynput, bisect
  • Added Personal WebServer examples.
  • Added examples of Python misbehaving with Floats.
  • Explanations about redefining reserved keywords like print or exit as a variable.
  • Style modification to add lines over the line number and over the Footnote.

My health

My health is improving.

Thanks to my self discipline, following a good diet, taking the medicines… I’ve seen an spectacular improvement since I was sent urgently to he hospital with risk for my life.

I’ve very grateful that amazing doctors care of me.

I had some ups and downs and downs while pushing to finish my final project for the HDip in Computer Science Cloud Computing, but I managed to complete everything on time.

I had to travel to visit amazing specialists, and had to pay the expensive treatments, however everything worked and my health has improved drastically. I am very happy to count with additional source of income, like the teaching programming and my technical books, which helped me to be able to deal with all these sorts of unexpected expenses. I appreciate every single sale of my books, as it made me feel useful and appreciated when I was a bit low, and the nice details some of the readers had. Thanks.

Firewall

I’ve keep blocking in the Firewall any IP and that network coming to the blog from Russia and Belarus. I’ve blocked millions of IP Addresses so far.

I’ve also blocked the traffic coming from CSP when I detect an attack and the IP belongs to them. Most of the attacks were coming from Digital Ocean, after your-server.de and hetzer.de and finally Amazon. Curiously some attacks came from IPs from Microsoft.

I’ve blocked all these ranges of IPs, hundreds of thousands.

Despite blocking all these IPs from CSPs, the number of visitors keeps growing.

At the end my blog is for Engineers and for people, I don’t have interest in bots, and I don’t get any revenue from ads (I never added ads) so I’m perfectly happy with having less visitors, but being humans that find help in the blog.

Humor

News from the blog 2022-04-22

Media/Press

I was interviewed by Radio America Barcelona, in their studios in Barcelona.

RAB is a radio for the Catalan diaspora and expats.

The interview was broadcasted by Twitch and can be watched. It’s in Catalan language:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1448895585

You can follow them:

Sant Jordi discounted books (promo)

Tomorrow 23th of April is Sant Jordi (Saint George), the patron of Catalonia, and the Catalan traditional celebration consist in this day women gifting a book to the men they love and men gifting a rose to the women they love.

I created a voucher for all my Python books, so, since during 23th of April you can acquire the four books per $10 USD in total.

This voucher is limited to 100 sales.

https://leanpub.com/b/python3all/c/SANTJORDI2022

Python 3

I wrote an article with a Python 3 code that shows the length for file names in Linux ext3 and ext4 Filesystems and in ZFS Pools Filesystem.

I show basically how ASCii characters over 127 are encoded, reducing the maximum length of 255 bytes for the filename.

ZFS

I’ve updated an article explaining how to create a ZPool raidz (RAID 5 equivalent) from three loop devices based on local files.

Thanks to those that bought my ZFS book this month. :)

HTML and JavaScript

I wrote a super simple code to hide the <p> using jQuery and JavaScript.

Free books

https://books.goalkicker.com/

Books I bought

This month I bought these books.

Firewall

I continued to block any Russian or Belarus Ip Address that connects to the blog.

I also started to block entire ranges of Ip’s from Digital Ocean, as many attacks come from Servers in their infrastructure.

Despite blocking tens of thousands of Ip Addresses, the number of visitors keep growing.

My Health

Thanks to my strict discipline I managed to recover super well and I’m healthier than before and guided by the satisfied doctors we removed two daily medicines.

I started a new medicine that is for the final phase of my recuperation, which doctors expect to be completely. In fact I’m much more healthier than I was before going to the hospital.

Humor

Will AI take the world?
Sadly, true history. The responsibility to deliver is from all of us.

News from the blog 2022-03-22

Support to Ukraine

I’m Catalan. In 1936 the fascist military leaded by franco raised in arms against the elected government of the Spanish Republic. The Italian and nazi German fascist in power bombed the Catalan population. Hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens were assassinated and millions of Catalan and Spaniards had to exile. The sons of those that were ruling with the dictator have been insisting in naming it a “civil war”, but it was the military lead by a fascist, revolting against the legitimate Republic and ending a democracy.

The dictatorship lasted until 1975, when the dictator died in the bed. The effects of the repression never abandoned Catalonia, and nowadays in Catalonia people is still detained by the Spanish police for talking the Catalan language in front of them, and our Parliament decisions are cancelled by the Spanish courts, for example to force the exit of a President of Catalonia that they didn’t like, or to force the Catalan schools to teach 25% of the time in Spanish attacking the Catalan teaching system.

During WW2 millions of Jews were mass murdered, also people from all the nations were assassinated.

Russian population suffered a lot also fighting the nazis.

Now we have to see how Russia’s army is invading Ukraine and murdering innocent citizens.

That’s horrible.

I know Engineers from Ukraine. Those guys were doing great building wealthy based on knowledge and working well for companies across the world. Now these people are being killed or Engineers, amongst all the brave population, are arming themselves to fight the invasion. Shells destroy beautiful cities and population are starving, and young soldiers from both sides will never be seen again by their mothers.

I wrote a small article on how to identify and block in the Ubuntu firewall the Ip’s from Russia and Belarus until Russia leaves Ukraine.

Let music play in solidarity with Ukraine. First is a Catalan group. Second is a famous Irish band in this epic song dedicated to the brave International Brigades, volunteers that fought the fascism in Spain and in Catalonia trying to make a better world.

The Blog

I’ve updated the SSL Certificate. The previous one I bought was issued for two years, and I renewed as it was due to expire.

I wrote a short article about how to update the SSL Certificates for Apache 2 in Ubuntu 20.04.

Articles

I published a small Python script to show the local datetime and the Unix Epoch Time.

Open Source

carleslibs

On the 6th of January I released carleslibs v.1.0.7

https://pypi.org/project/carleslibs/1.0.7/

The new version contains these improvements:

  • Modified OsUtils.get_total_and_free_space_in_gib() to return float instead of Integer.
  • Added HashUtils class with md5 for unicode Strings.
    • Produces the same as md5sum Linux tool.
  • Created FileUtils.create_folders() which creates all the subfolders in the path deep.
  • Unit Testing:
    • Added test_get_inodes_in_use_and_free() to test_osutils.py
    • Added two tests more to test_osutils.py
    • Added test for version.py
    • Tests for HashUtils class.

My books

Python 3 Exercises for Beginners

I have updated the book, offering solution to exercises 11.1, 11.2 (simple and encapsulated in a function) and I’ve created exercise 11.3.

If you purchased the book before, you can download any update for free.

Amazon AWS

I got an offer by a super editorial to publish my book Automating and Provisioning with Amazon Python 3 SDK boto3.

Honestly, my ego was flattered. It is a lot of reputation.

Although in the past I got an offer from another monstrously big editorial to publish world wide my book Python 3 Combat Guide and I also rejected, and an offer from a digital learning platform to create an interactive course from this same book.

I’ve rejected it again this time.

If you are curious, this is what I answered to them:

Hi XXXX,

I'm well, thank you. I hope you are doing well too.

Thanks for taking the time to explain your conditions to me.

I feel flattered by your editorial thinking about me. I respect your brand, as I mentioned, as I own several of your titles.

However, I have to refuse your offer.

Is not the first time an editor has offered to publish one or more of my books. For all over the world, with much higher economic expectations.

I'll tell you why I love being at LeanPub:

1- I own the rights. All of them.
2- I can publish updates, and my readers get them for free. As I add new materials, the value is maximized for my readers.
3- I get 80% of the royalties.
4- If a reader is not happy, they can return the book for 60 days.
5- I can create vouchers and give a discount to certain readers, or give for free to people that are poor and are trying to get a career in Engineering.

The community of readers are very honest, and I only got 2 returns. One of them I think was from an editorial that purchased the book, evaluated it, and they contacted me to publish it, and after I rejected they applied for the refund.

I teach classes, and I charge 125 EUR per hour. I can make much more by my side than the one time payment you offer. The compensation for the video seems really obsolete.

Also, I could be using Amazon self publishing, which also brings bigger margins than you.

So many thanks for your offer. I thought about it because of the reputation, but I already have a reputation. I've thousands of visits to my tech blog, and because of the higher royalties, even if I sell less books through LeanPub it is much more rewarding.

Thanks again and have a lovely day and rest of the week.


Best,
Carles

The provisioning in Amazon AWS through their SDK is a book I’m particularly proud, as it empowers the developers so much. And I provide source code so they can go from zero to hero, in a moment. Amazon should provide a project sample as I do, not difficult to follow documentation.

Teaching / Mentoring

As I was requested, I’ve been offering advice and having virtual coffees with some people that recently started their journey to become Software Engineers and wanted some guidance and advice.

It has been great seeing people putting passion and studying hard to make a better future for themselves and for their families.

I’ll probably add to the blog more contents for beginners, although it will continue being a blog dedicated to extreme IT, and to super cool Engineering skills and troubleshooting.

For my regular students I have a discord space where we can talk and they can meet new friends studying or working in Engineering.

Free Resources

This github link provides many free books in multiple languages:

https://github.com/EbookFoundation/free-programming-books

Tricks

Zoom can zoom the view. So if they are sharing their screen, and font is too small, you can give a relax to your eyes by using Zoom’s zoom feature. It is located in View.

My health

After being in the hospital in December 2021, with risk for my life, and after my incredible recuperation, I’ve got the good news that I don’t need anymore 2 of the 3 medicines I was taking in a daily basis. It looks well through a completely recovery thanks to my discipline, doing sport every day several times, and the fantastic Catalan doctors that are supporting me so well.

Since they found what was failing in me, and after the emergency treatments I started to sleep really well. All night. That’s a privilege that I didn’t have for long long time.

Humor

Sad but true history. How many super talented Engineers have been hired and then they were given a shitty laptop/workstation super slow? That happened to me when I was hired by Volkswagen IT: gedas. I was creating projects for very big companies and I calculated that I was wasting 2 hours of my time compiling. The computer did not had enough RAM and was using swap.

JavaScript fun (or not)

Yes, this works like this.

You can try yourself:

<html>
<body>
<script>
    console.log("11" + 1)
    console.log("11" - 1)
</script>
</body>
</html>

As you can see if you open the Browser Developer tools (in Linux and Windows press F12 key):

News from the Blog 2022-02-22

My Open Source projects

zpool watch

zpool watch is a small Python program for Linux workstations with graphical environment and ZFS, that checks every 30 seconds if your OpenZFS pools are Ok.

If a pool is not healthy, it displays a message in a window using tk inter.

Basically allows you to skip checking from the terminal zpool status continuously or to having to customize the ZED service to send an email and having to figure out how to it can spawn a window alert to the graphical system or what to do if the session has not been initiated.

carleslibs

Since last News from the Blog I’ve released carleslibs v.1.06, v.1.0.5 and v.1.0.4.

v.1.0.6 adds a new class OsUtils to deal with mostly-Linux Os tasks, like knowing the userid, the username, if it’s root, the distribution name and kernel version.

It also adds:

DatetimeUtils.sleep(i_seconds)

In v.1.0.5 I’ve included a new method for getting the Datetime in Unix Epoc format as Integer and increased Code Coverage to 95% for ScreenUtils class.

v. 1.0.4 contains a minor update, a method in StringUtils to escape html from a string.

It uses the library html (part of Python core) so it was small work to do for me to create this method, and the Unit Test for it, but I wanted to use carleslibs in more projects and adding it as core functionality, makes the code of these projects I’m working on, much more clear.

I’m working in the future v.1.0.7.

CTOP.py

I released the stable version 0.8.8 and tagged it.

Minor refactors and adding more Code Coverage (Unit Testing), and protection in the code for division per zero when seconds passed as int are 0. (this was not an actual error, but is worth protecting the code just in case for the future)

Working on branch 0.8.9.

Currently in Master there is a stable version of 0.8.9 mainly fixing https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/ctop/-/issues/51 which was not detecting when CTOP was running inside a Docker Container (reporting Unable to decode DMI).

My Books

Docker Combat Guide

Added 20 new pages with some tricks, like clearing the logs (1.6GB in my workstation), using some cool tools, using bind mounts and using Docker in Windows from command line without activating Docker Desktop or WSL.

https://leanpub.com/docker-combat-guide/

BTW if you work with Windows and you cannot use Docker Desktop due to the new license, in this article I explain how to use docker stand alone in Windows, without using WSL.

ZFS on Ubuntu

One of my SATA 2TB 2.5″ 5,400 rpm drive got damaged and so was generating errors, so that was a fantastic opportunity to show how to detect and deal with the situation to replace it with a new SATA 2TB 3.5″ 7,200 rpm and fix the pool.

So I updated my ZFS on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS book.

Python 3

I’ve updated Python 3 Exercises for Beginners and added a new example of how to parse the <title> tag from an HTML page, using Beautifulsoup package, to the repository of Python 3 Combat Guide book.

I also added three new exercises, and solved them.

My friend Michela is translating the book to Italian. Thanks! :)

If you already purchased any of my books, you can download the updates of them when I upload them to LeanPub.

Free courses

Code Challenges

One of my students sent me this platform, which is kinda hackerrank, but oriented to video games. To solve code challenges by programming video games.

He is having plenty of fun:

https://www.codingame.com/start

More Symfony, APIs

If you enjoyed the Free Videos about Symfony, there is more.

https://symfonycast.com/screencast/api-platform

It talks about a bundle for building APIs.

And this tutorial explains in detail how to work with Webpack Encore:

https://symfonycasts.com/screencast/webpack-encore

100 Days of Code: Python Bootcamp

A friend of mine, and colleague, Michela, is following this bootcamp and recommends it for people learning from ground 0.

https://udemy.com/course/100-days-of-code/

My work at Blizzard

The company sent me the Stein, which is sent to the employees that serve for two years, with a recognition and a celebration called “The Circle of Honor”.

Books purchased

I bought this book as often I discover new ways, better, to explain the things to my students.

Sometimes I buy books for beginners, as I can get explained what I want to do super fast and some times they teach nice tricks that I didn’t know. I have huge Django books, and it took a lot to finish them.

A simpler book may only talk about how to install and work with it under a platform (Windows or Mac, as instance) but it is all that I require as the command to create projects are the same cross platform.

For example, you can get to install and to create a simple project with ORM, connected to the database, very quickly.

Software

So I just discovered that Zoom has an option to draw in the shared screen, like Slack has. It is called Annotate. It is super useful for my classes. :)

Also discovered the icons in the Chat. It seems that not all the video calls accept it.

Hardware

As Working From Home I needed an scanner, I looked in Amazon and all of them were costing more than €200.

I changed my strategy and I bought a All-In-One from HP, which costed me €68.

So I’ll have a scanner and a backup printer, which always comes handy.

The nightmare started after I tried to connect it with Ubuntu.

Ubuntu was not recognizing it. Checking the manuals they force to configure the printer from an Android/iPhone app or from their web page, my understanding is for windows only. In any case I would not install the proprietary drivers in my Linux system.

Annoyed, I installed the Android application, and it was requesting to get Location permissions to configure it. No way. There was not possible to configure the printer without giving GPS/Location permissions to the app, so I cancelled the process.

I grabbed a Windows 10 laptop and plugged the All-in-one through the USB. I ran the wizard to search for Scanners and Printers and was not unable to use my scanner, only to configure as a printer, so I was forced to install HP drivers.

Irritated I did, and they were suggesting to configure the printer so I can print from Internet or from the phone. Thanks HP, you’ll be the next SolarWinds big-security-hole. I said no way, and in order to use the Wifi I have to agree to open that security door which is that the printer would be connected to Internet permanently, sending and receiving information. I said no, I’ll use only via USB.

Even selecting that, in order to scan, the Software forces me to create an account.

Disappointing. HP is doing very big stupid mistakes. They used to be a good company.

Since they stopped doing the drivers in Barcelona years ago, their Software and solutions (not the hardware) went to hell.

I checked the reviews in the App Store and so many people gave them 1 star and have problems… what a shame the way they created this solution.

Donations

I made a donation to OpenShot Video Editor.

This is a great Open Source, multi-platform editor, so I wanted to support the creator.

Security

Attacks: looking for exploits

This is just a sample of a set of attacks to the blog in a 3 minutes interval.

Another one this morning:

Now all are blocked in the Firewall.

This is a non stop practice from spammers and pirates that has been going on for years.

It was almost three decades ago, when I was the Linux responsible of an ISP, and I was installing a brand new Linux system connected to a service called “infovia”, at the time when Internet was used with dial-up and modems, and in the interval of time of the installation, it got hacked. I had the Ethernet connected. So then already, this was happening.

The morning I was writing this, I blocked thousands of offending Ip Addresses.

Protection solutions

I recommend you to use CloudFlare, is a CDN/Cache/Accelerator with DoS protection and even in its Free version is really useful.

Fun/Games

So I come with a game kind of Quiz that you can play with your friends, family or work colleagues working from home (WFH).

The idea is that the master shares screen and sound in Zoom, and then the rest connect to jackbox.tv and enter the code displayed on the master’s screen on their own browser, and an interactive game is started.

It is recommended that the master has two monitors so they can also play.

The games are so fun as a phrase appearing and people having to complete with a lie. If your friends vote your phrase, believing is true, you get points. If you vote the true answer, you get points too.

Very funny and recommendable.

Stuff

<humor>Skynet sent another terminator to end me, but I terminated it. Its processor lays exhibited in my home now</humor>

I bought a laminator.

It has also a ruler and a trimmer to cut the paper.

It was only €39 and I’ve to say that I’m very happy with the results.

It takes around 5 minutes to be ready, it takes to get to the hot-enough temperature, and feeds the pages slowly, around 50 secs a DIN-A4, but the results are worth the time.

I’ve protected my medical receipts and other value documents and the work was perfect. No bubbles at all. No big deal if the plastic covers are introduced not 100% straight. Even if you pass again an already plasticized document, all is good.

Fun

Databases

One of my friends sent me this image.

It is old, but still it’s fun. So it assumes the cameras of the parking or speed cameras, will OCR the plate to build a query, and that the code is not well protected. So basically is exploiting a Sql Injection.

Anybody working on the systems side, and with databases, knows how annoying are those potential situations.

Python and coding

One of my colleagues shared this :)

News from the Blog 2022-01-22

News for the Blog

It has been 9 years since I created the blog, and some articles have old content that still get many visitors. To make sure they get the clear picture and not obsolete information, all the articles of the taxonomy POST, will include the Date and Time when the article was first published.

I also removed the annoying link “Leave a comment” on top. I think it influences some people to leave comments before actually having read the article.

It is still possible to add comments, but they are on the bottom of the page. I believe it makes more sense this way. This is the way.

Technically that involved modifying the files of my template:

  • functions.php
  • content.php

My Books

Automating and Provisioning to Amazon AWS using boto3 Amazon’s SDK for Python 3

I finished my book about Automating and Provisioning to Amazon AWS using boto3 Amazon’s SDK for Python 3.

It’s 128 pages in Full size DIN-A4 DRM-Free, and comes with a link to code samples of a real project CLI Menu based.

Docker Combat Guide

I have updated my book Docker Combat Guide and I added a completely new section, including source code, to work with Docker’s Python SDK.

I show the Docker SDK by showing the code of an actual CLI program I wrote in Python 3.

Here you can see a video that demonstrates how I launched a project with three Docker Containers via Docker compose. The Containers have Python, Flask webserver, and redis as bridge between the two Python Containers.

All the source code are downloadable with the book.

Watch at 1080p at Full Screen for better experience

My Classes

In January I resumed the coding classes. I have new students, and few spots free in my agenda, as some of my students graduated and others have been hired as Software Developers. I can not be more proud. :)

Free Training

Symfony is one of the most popular PHP Frameworks.

You can learn it with these free videos:

https://symfonycasts.com/screencast/symfony/

Software Licenses I Purchased

Before leaving 2021, I registered WinRAR for Windows.

WinRAR is a compressing Software that has been with us for 19 years.

I’m pretty sure I registered it in the past, but these holidays I was out only with two Window laptops and I had to do some work for the university and WinRAR came it handy, so I decided to register it again.

I create Software and Books, and I earn my life with this, so it makes a lot of sense to pay others for their good work crafting Software.

Books I Purchased

I bought this book and by the moment is really good. I wanted to buy some updated books as all my Linux books have some years already. Also I keep my skills sharp by reading reading reading.

Hardware I purchased

So I bought a cheap car power inverter.

The ones I saw in Amazon were €120+ and they were not very good rated, so I opted to buy a cheap one in the supermarket and keep it on the car just in case one day I need it. (My new Asus Zenbook laptop has 18 hours of autonomy and I don’t charge it for days, but you never know)

For those that don’t know, a power inverter allows you to get a 220V (120V in US) plug, from the connection of the lighter from your car. Also you can get the energy from an external car battery. This comes in really handy to charge the laptop, cameras, your drone… if you are in the nature and you don’t have any plug near.

I bought one years ago to power up Raspberry Pi’s when I was doing Research for a project I was studying to launch.

Fun

Many friends are using Starlink as a substitute of fiber for their rural homes, and they are super happy with it.

One of them send me a very fun article.

It is in Italian, but you can google translate it.

https://leganerd.com/2022/01/10/starlink-ha-un-piccolo-e-adorabile-problema-con-i-gatti/

Anyways you can get the idea of what’s going on in the picture :)

So tell me… so your speed with Starlink drops 80% in winter uh… aha…

Random news about Software

I tried the voice recognition in Slack huddle, and it works pretty well. Also Zoom has this feature and they are great. Specially when you are in a group call, or in a class.

My health

I was experimenting some problems, so I scheduled an appointment to get blood analysis and to be checked. Just in case.

TL;TR I could have died.

The doctors saw my analysis and sent me to the hospital urgently, where they found something that was going to be lethal. For hours they were checking me and doing several more analysis and tests to discard false positives, etc… and they precisely found the issue and provided urgent treatment and confirmed that I could have died at any moment.

Basically I dodged a bullet.

I was doing certain healthy things that helped me in a situation that could have been deadly or extremely dangerous to my health.

With the treatment and my strict discipline, I reverted the situation really quick and now I have more health and more energy than before. I feel rejuvenated.

I’m feeling lucky that with my work, the classes, the books I wrote, etc… I didn’t have to worry about the expensive medicines, the transport, etc… It was a bad moment, during Christmas, with so many people on holidays, pharmacies and GPs closed, so I had to spend more time looking for, traveling, and to pay more than it would had been strictly necessary. Despite all the time I used to my health, I managed to finish my university duties on time, and I didn’t miss my duties at work after the hospital, neither I had to cancel any programming classes or mentoring sessions. Nobody out of my closest circle knew what was going on, with the exception of my boss, which I kept informed in real time, just in case there was any problem, as I didn’t want to let down the company and have my duties at work to be unattended if something major happened.

I was not afraid to die. Unfortunately I’ve lost very significant people since I was a child. Relatives, very appreciated bosses and colleagues which I considered my friends, and great friends of different circles. Illnesses, accidents, and a friend of mine committed suicide years ago, and some of my partners attempted it (before we know each other). When you see people that are so good leaving, this brings a sadness that cannot be explained with words. I have had a tough life.

We have a limited time, and he have freedom to make choices. Some people choose to be miserable, to mistreat others, to lie, to cheat, to be unfaithful, to lack ethic and integrity. Those are their choices. Their wasted time will not come back.

Some of my friends are doctors. I admire them. They save lives and improve the quality of life of people with health problems.

I like being an Engineer cause I can create things, I can build instead of destroy, I can help to improve the world, and I can help users to have a good time and to avoid the frustration of services being down. I chose to do a positive work. So many times I’ve been offered much bigger salaries to do something I didn’t like, or by companies that I don’t admire, and I refused. Cause I wanted to make a better world. I know many people don’t think like that, and they only take take take. They are even unable to understand my choices, even to believe that I’m like that. But it’s enough that I know what I’m doing, and that it makes sense for me, and that I know that I’m doing well. And then, one day, you realize, that doing well, being fair and nice even if other people stabbed you in the back, you got to know fantastic people like you, and people that adore you and love to have you in their life, in their companies… So I’m really fortunate. To all the good-hearted people around, that give without expect anything in return, that try to make the world a better place, thank you.

2021-12-22 News from the blog

Open Source

I released my Python Open Source libraries for rapid application development: carleslibs to v. 1.0.3.

I updated the page of my 2013 PHP Framework Catalonia Framework, linking to the blog. This is a very nice and lightweight PHP Framework that I created then and it worked so well that I had not the need to update it since 2014.

Donations

Blizzard offered to the employees the opportunity to donate in the name of Blizzard, up to USD $100. It has not been the first time, is a regular thing. Also in the past the company matched any donation we employees did, to help diversity will less resources to study in the university.

I chose to donate to Lions in Cork, Ireland.

When they lived, my grand parents were members and donors from Lion’s in Catalonia, so I trust them.

Security

Log4j Java vulnerability

A critical vulnerability named Log4Shell was found in Apache Log4j Java Open Source logging Library.

https://www.engadget.com/log4shell-vulnerability-log4j-155543990.html

The fix has been already released in v. 2.15.0 https://logging.apache.org/log4j/2.x/security.html

NSO zero-click iPhone exploit

An interesting read about NSO zero-click iPhone exploit: https://www.engadget.com/google-researchers-nso-zero-click-iphone-imessage-exploit-143213776.html

https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2021/12/a-deep-dive-into-nso-zero-click.html

News from the blog 2021-12-07

Charity

I’ve donated to Equitas Health.

Equitas Health helps thousands of HIV-positive in Ohio, Dayton and Columbus.

Thousands more are reached with our prevention, testing, and other services. We are excited about embracing our expanded mission as a strategic step to further that legacy and its reach by providing care for all – with a focus on a safe and open space and highest quality healthcare for the LGBTQ community and others who are medically underserved.

https://equitashealth.com/get-involved/give/donate-now/

I did my donation following a post by Terra Field, a former colleague at Blizzard and later leading Netflix’s Trans *ERG, but I didn’t see that she organized a gofund campaign, so I donated again :)

If you want to help them:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/transphobia-is-not-a-joke?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet

https://equitashealth.com/get-involved/give/donate-now/

Articles

I created an article about provisioning to Amazon AWS EC2 and running playbooks (recipes) using Ansible, and Dynamic Directory to store the public ip’s or dns public names in an inventory.

As I saw that there is a lack of clarity in the articles about this theme.

I also provided two alternatives ways, one pure Python3 and the other Bash based (grep awk tr)

Books

The books I publish in LeanPub have two prices, the suggested price, which is the price I consider the right price for the book, and the minimum price, which is the minimum price I authorized a reader can pay to have it.

You can buy it for the minimum price. You know better than anyone your economy.

So when a reader buys one of my books for the suggested price, instead of the minimum price, it’s really showing how they appreciate may work.

So thanks for all the support and appreciation you show!. :)

One of the motives I chose Leanpub platform is because I think is fair. No DRM, no BS. And the reader can ask for a refund within 45 days if they don’t like the book. It also makes very happy seeing that I don’t have any refunds. I appreciate it as a token of the usefulness of my work. Thanks. :)

Updates to Docker Combat File book (v.16 2021-11-24)

I added a nice trick to reverse engineering the original Dockerfile from a running Image.

I also added another typical copy and paste error into the Troubleshoot section.

https://leanpub.com/docker-combat-guide

Automating and Provisioning Amazon AWS (EC2, EBS, S3, CloudWatch) with boto3 (Amazon’s SDK for Python 3) and Python 3 book

I’m writing a book about how to automate your Amazon AWS tasks using Amazon’s AWS Python 3 SDK boto3, provisioning new instances, stopping, starting, creating volumes, creating/deleting buckets in S3, uploading/downloading files from S3…

It is currently 20% completed. With 43 pages it shows EC2 section already.

https://leanpub.com/amazon-aws-boto3

Open Source

I’ve working in carleslibs v.1.0.3. I added MenuUtils class, which allows to assemble menus super quickly, that execute the code referenced in the menu array. Ideal for building CLI applications very fast.

I also added KeyboardUtils class, which allows to ask the user for String within certain lengths allowing or not spaces and/or underscores, and ask user for Integer values within a certain min and max, having 0 for go back.

The plan is to release the new version of carleslibs as soon as I’ve tested it properly.

Social part

For those who follow my recommendations, as always, I have updated the list of new movies I watched and the list of new videogames I played.

News from the Blog 2021-11-11

New Articles

How to communicate with your Python program running inside a Docker Container, using Linux Signals

Hope you’ll have fun reading this article:

Communicating with Docker Containers via Linux Signals and Python

I migrated my last services from Amazon and the blog to Google Compute Engine (GCE / GCP)

I wrote a Postmortem analysis about the process of migrating my last services from my 11 year old Amazon account.

Updates

Updates to articles

I updated the article about Python weird things that you may not know adding the Ellipsis …

I’ve been working in some Cassandra examples. I may publish an article soon about using it from Python and Docker.

Updates to My Books

I updated my Python and Docker books.

I’m currently writing a book about using Amazon AWS Python SDK (boto3).

Updates to Open Source projects

I have updated ctop, fixed two bugs and increased Code Coverage.

I made a new tag and released the last Stable Version:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/ctop/-/tags/0.8.7

On top of my local Unit Testing, I have Jenkins checking that I don’t commit anything that breaks the Tests.

Some time ago I wrote some articles about how you can setup jenkins in a Docker Container.

Miscellaneous

Charity

I’ve donated to Wikipedia.

Only 2% of the viewers donate, so I answered the call every time it was made.

This is my 5th donation to Wikimedia.

I consider that Freedom is very important.

I bought these new books

One of my secrets to be on top is that I’m always studying.

I study all the time, at work and in my free time.

I use Linux Academy and I buy books in paper. I don’t connect with reading in tablets. I think information is stored better when read in paper. I use also a marker and pointers to keep a direct access to the most interesting points on the books.

And I study all kind of themes. Obviously I know a lot of Web Scraping, but there is always room for learning more. And whatever new I learn helps me to be better with my students and more clear writing my books.

I’ve never been a Front End, but I’ve been able to fix bugs in the Front End engines from the companies I worked for, like Privalia. I was passed a bug that prevented the Internet Explorer users to buy just one hour before we launching a massive campaign. I debugged and I found a variable named “value” so the html looked like <input name="value" value="">. In less than 30 minutes I proved to the incredulous Head of Development and the CTO that a bug in Internet Explored was causing a conflict when fetching the value from the input named value. We deployed to Production the update and the campaign was a total success. So I consider knowing Javascript and Front also a need, even if I don’t work directly with it. I want to be able to understand all the requirements and possibilities, and weaknesses, so I can fix bugs and save the day. That allowed me to fix scalability problems in Nodejs and Phantomjs projects too. (They are Javascript Server Side, event driven, projects)

It seems that Amazon.co.uk works well again for Ireland. My two last orders arrived on time and I had no problems of border taxes apparently.

Nice Python article

I enjoyed a lot this article, cause explains part of what I did with my student and friend Albert, in a project that analyzes the access logs from Apache for patterns of attempts of exploits, then feeds a database, and then blocks those offender Ip Addresses in the Firewall.

The article only covers the part of Pandas, of reading the access.log file and working with it, but is a very well redacted article:

https://mmas.github.io/read-apache-access-log-pandas

Nice Virtual Volumes article from VMware

I prefer Open Source, but there are very good commercial products too.

I liked this article about Virtual Volumes from VMWare:

Understanding Virtual Volumes (vVols) in VMware vSphere 6.7/7.0 (2113013)

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2113013

Thanks Blizzard (again)

There is a very nice initiative where we can nominate 4 colleagues a year, that we think that deserve a recognition.

My colleagues voted for me, so I received a gift voucher that I can spend in Ireland stores like Ikea, Pc World, Argos, Adidas, App Store & iTunes…

So thanks a million buds. :)

My Sites are under Maintenance

2021-11-08 Update: There is a Postmortem analysis of what happened with Amazon here.

TLTR: I’m undergoing a Maintenance on all my sites.

The main reason was that I was getting unexpected API Exceptions on the AWS SDK for Python (boto3), so I connected to the AWS Console to get more information.

Then I saw a message indicating that they will stop EC2-Classic today 30th of October. (Please read the Update on the Postmortem analysis as I understood incorrectly that banner message)

I already started migrating my Services, some I move to other providers like Digital Ocean. Other I had plant to keep in Amazon.

EOL (End of Life) was scheduled for 2022 August, so when I saw the message from Amazon the evening of the 29th, I decided to migrate my EC2-Classic Public Ip’s and Compute to VPC. Trying to deploy from an AMI, Amazon APIs were returning many internal errors, and as I figured out where their failures would be I was able get instances being launch without being Terminated immediately without an explanation. Still I had many problems with the Internet Gateway, VPC NAT, etc… after hours fighting with their errors, and their console, that is more a bunch of pages to manage Infrastructure rather than a user/developer friendly Cloud Tool I decided that I had enough.

After 11 years using Amazon AWS, including a trip to Dublin to be hired as Manager for Cloud Watch, and giving them the idea to add AutoScaling (I was told the project was too easy for me and that I would get bored in a year or too so I was not hired), I decided to move my Services to Google Cloud and to Digital Ocean.

I’m very polite and I saw that when I told to one Manager that the User Interface was terrible he didn’t like, but I have to speak up and say that tools for developers cannot be cold as your evil girlfriend. Cannot be API alike, stand alone pages to manage infinite parts of Architecture. Web providing services for developers cannot be created like in cold SysAdmin style. If the infrastructure is hard to manage and internally you use APIs, build nice Wizards in Javascript. I was leading a Team of Developers with infinite less resources than Amazon or Google and we wrote a Multi-Cloud product, with nice, and clever, and easy to use Wizards, and they were infinitely more better that those giant CSPs. We won a prize at European level at that time. But it was 2013.

I’ve migrated everything, moved all the data, statics, VMs… but I’m completing the adjustments for certain services like Cassandra nodes, web sites, bootstrapping some of my sites based of my PHP Catalonia Framework, adding Firewall rules to GCP, doing changes for Ansible provisioning, deploying the Server scripts from IaC, Docker, etc…

I’ll be posting updates in Twitter.