Category Archives: Docker Containers

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.

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. :)

Communicating with Docker Containers via Linux Signals and Python

Normally if we need to refresh a config in a Container we will spawn a new one, or we will access with sudo docker exec -it /bin/sh mycontainer for instance and force a reload, or we will have to restart the Container.

What if we want to be able to reload the config at any moment without restarting the process, or to trigger a process in our Container (like a dump or a flush) in another way than implementing an API?.

An unexplored way, for many, to communicate with your Container’s main process is to send Signals.

So basically I will show you how you can trap Signals within a Python process which is the main process for your Docker Container, and send them from your Hypervisor with the command:

sudo docker kill --signal=SIGUSR1

I choose to use SIGUSR1 as it is reserved for user defined Signals.

You can clone the project or get the source code from:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/docker-signal

The Dockerfile

FROM ubuntu:20.04

MAINTAINER Carles Mateo

RUN apt update && apt install -y python3 python3-pip vim less && apt-get clean

# This will make sure printing in the Screen when running in dettached mode
ENV PYTHONUNBUFFERED=1

ENV DOCKERSIGNAL /var/dockersignal

RUN mkdir -p $DOCKERSIGNAL

COPY *.py $DOCKERSIGNAL

WORKDIR $DOCKERSIGNAL

# Again to enforce printing to the Screen when running dettached
CMD ["python3", "-u", "/var/dockersignal/dockersignal.py"]

The dockersignal.py file

# By Carles Mateo https://blog.carlesmateo.com

import signal
import time


def handler(signum, frame):
    print('Signal handler called with signal', signum)

    if signum == 10:
        # 10 is the equivalent to SIGUSR1 for most x86/ARM (not for Alpha/Sparc, MIPS, PARISC)
        print("Simulated action: Reload config")


if __name__ == "__main__":

    print("Waiting for a Signal")
    # Listed for this signal, so can listen for more
    signal.signal(signal.SIGUSR1, handler)

    while True:
        # Do Whatever
        time.sleep(1)

A shell file to build and run the Container like a pro

#!/bin/bash

DOCKER_CONTAINER_NAME="docker-signal"
DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME="docker-signal"

printf "Removing old Container %s\n" "${DOCKER_CONTAINER_NAME}"
sudo docker rm "${DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"

printf "Removing old Image %s\n" "${DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"
sudo docker image rm "${DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"

echo "Creating Docker Image"
sudo docker build -t ${DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME} . --no-cache

retVal=$?
if [ $retVal -ne 0 ]; then
    printf "Error. Exit code %s\n" ${retVal}
    exit
fi

echo "Running Docker Container ${DOCKER_CONTAINER_NAME} based in image ${DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"
sudo docker run --cpus="1.0" --name ${DOCKER_CONTAINER_NAME} ${DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}

See it in action

References

https://docs.docker.com/engine/reference/commandline/kill/

https://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man7/signal.7.html

https://docs.python.org/3/library/signal.html

If you want you can buy my Docker Combat Guide book.

Migrating my 11 years Amazon AWS account services (Postmortem Analysis)

I started to explain that I was migrating some services from Amazon and that some of my sites were under Maintenance and that I would provide more information.

Here is the complete history of why I migrated all the services from my 11 years old Amazon account to other CSP.

Some lessons can be learned from my adventure.

I migrated my last services from Amazon to GCP

Amazon sent me an email on October 6th, this year 2021, telling me that they will disable EC2-Classic by August 2022. I thought I would not be able to keep my Static Ip’s as in the past VPC Ip’s and EC2-Classic Ip’s were not transferable, so considering that I would loss my Static Ip’s anyway I started to migrate to some to other providers like Digital Ocean.

Is not cool losing Static Ip (Elastic Ip in AWS) Addresses as this is bad for SEO, so given that I though I would lose my Static Ips that have been with me for years, I started to migrate certain services to providers much more economic.

Amazon is terrible communicating, and I talked with some product managers in the past about that, when they lost one of my Volumes, and the email was so cold and terrible that actually that hurt more than Amazon losing my Data. I believed that it was a poorly made Scam and when I realized it was true I reached one of my friends, that is manager there, as I know they care for doing things right, and he organized a meeting with two PM so I can pass my feedback.

The Cloud providers are changing things very fast, and nobody is able to be up to date with the changes, unless their work position allows plenty of time to get updated. Even if pages of documentation are provided, you have to react to an event that they externally generated forcing you to action. Action to read all the documentation about EC2-Classic migrations, action to prepare to have migrated by August 2022.

So August 2022… I was counting that I had plenty of time but I’m writing a new book about using the Amazon SDK for Python, boto3, and I was doing some API calls and they started to fail in a very unusual way, Exceptions with timeout, but only for the only region where I had EC2-Classic.

urllib3.exceptions.NewConnectionError: <botocore.awsrequest.AWSHTTPSConnection object at 0x7f0347d545e0>: Failed to establish a new connection: [Errno -2] Name or service not known

My config was:

        o_config = Config(
            region_name="us-east-1a",
            signature_version="v4",
            retries={
                'max_attempts': 10,
                'mode': 'standard'
            }
        )

But if I switched to another region name, it would work:

            region_name='us-west-2',

I made a mistake in here, the region name is “us-east-1” and not “us-east-1a“. “us-east-1a” is the availability zone. So the SDK was giving a timeout because in order to connect to the endpoint it uses the region name as part of the hostname. So it doesn’t find that endpoint because it doesn’t exist.

I never understood why a company like Amazon is unable to provide the SDK with a sample project or projects 100% working, with the source code so people has a base that works to build up.

Every API that I have created, I have provided it with documentation but also with example for several languages for how to use it.

In 2013 I was CTO of an online travel agency, and we had meta-searchers consuming our API and we were having several hundreds of thousands requests per second. Everything was perfectly documented, examples were provided for several languages, the document and the SDK had version numbers…

Everybody forgets about Developers and companies throw terrible and cold products to the poor Developers, so difficult to use. How many Developers would like to say: Listen Mr. President of the big Cloud Company XXXX, I only want to spawn a VM that works, and fast, with easy wizards. I don’t want to learn 50 hours before being able to use your overpriced platform, by doing 20 things before your Ip’s are reflexes of your infrastructure and based in Microservices. Modern JavaScript frameworks can create nice gently wizards even if you have supercold APIs.

Honestly, I didn’t realize my typo in the region and I connected to the Amazon Console to investigate and I saw this.

Honestly, when I read it I understood that they were going to end my EC2 Networking the 30th of October. It was 29th. I misunderstood.

It was my fault not reading it well to the end, I got shocked by the first part telling about shutdown and I didn’t fully understood as they were going to shutdown EC2-Classic for the zones I didn’t had anything running only.

From the long errors (3 exceptions chained) I didn’t realize that the endpoint is built with the region name. (And I was passing the availability zone)

botocore.exceptions.EndpointConnectionError: Could not connect to the endpoint URL: "https://ec2.us-east-1a.amazonaws.com/"

Here is when I say that a good SDM would had thought and cared for the Developers more, and would had made the SDK to check if that region exists. How difficult is to create a SDK a bit more clever that detects a invalid region id?. It is not difficult.

It is true that it was late in the evening and I was tired of all the day, and two days of the week between work and zoom university classes I work 15 hours and 13 hours respectively, not counting the assignments, so by the end of the week I am very tired. But that’s why it is very important to follow methodology and to read well. I think Amazon has 50% of the fault by the way they do things: how the created the SDK, how they communicate, and by the errors that the console returned me when I tried to create a VPC instance of an EC2-Classic AMI (they seem related to the fact I had old VPC Network objects with shorter hash than the current they use) and the other 50% was my fault for not identifying the source of the error, and not reading the message in their website well.

But the fact that there were having those errors in the API’s and timeouts made me believe they were going to cut the EC2-Classic Networking the next day.

All the mistakes fall together in a perfect storm.

I checked for documentation and I saw it was possible to migrate my Static Ip’s to VPC Static Ip’s.

It was Friday evening, and I cancelled my plans, in order to migrate the Blog to VPC in an attempt to keep running it with Amazon.

As Cloud Architect, I like to have running instances in several CSP as it allows me to stay up to date with the changes they do.

I checked the documentation for the migration. Disassociating the Static Ip (Elastic Ip in AWS jargon) was easy. Turning into VPC as well.

As I progressed, what had to be easy turned into a nightmare, as I was getting many errors from the Amazon API, without any information, and my Instances were not created.

I figured out that their API could have problems with old VPC objects I created time ago, so I had to create new objects for several things.

I managed to spawn my instances but they were being launch and terminated instantly without information. Frustrating.

When launching a new instance from the AMI (a Snapshot of the blog), I was giving shown options to add more volumes without any sense. My Instance was using 16GB from a 20GB total Space, and I was shown different volume configs, depending on the instance, in some case an additional 20GB volume, in other small SSD, ephemeral and 10 GB for the AMI (which requires at least 16GB).

After some fight I manage to make it work after deleting the volumes that made no sense, and keeping only one of 20GB, the same size of my AMI.

But then my nightmare started to make the VPC Instance to have Internet access and to be seen from outside. I had to create a new Internet Gateway, NAT, Network, etc…

As mentioned the old objects I was trying to reusing were making the process to fail.

I was running out of time, and I thought in few time they were going to shutdown EC2-Classic network (as I did not read correctly), so I decided to download everything and to migrate to another provider. For doing that first I blocked all the traffic, except for my Ip.

I worked in parallel, creating the new config in Google Cloud, just in case I had forgot something. I had created a document for the migration and it was accurate.

I managed to do everything fast enough. The slower part was to download all the Data, as I hold entire VM’s for projects like Cassandra Universal Driver.

Then I powered off my Amazon Instance for the Blog forever.

In GCP I blocked all the traffic in the firewall, except for my Ip, so I could work calmly.

When everything was ready, I had to redirect the DNS to the new static Ip from Google.

The DNS provider I used had implemented some changes in their API so I was getting errors replacing my old entry ‘.’ (their JSON calls returned Internal Server Error). Finally I figured it out how to workaround it and I was able to confirm that the first service was up and running.

I did some tests to make sure there were not unexpected permission problems, entries in the logs, etc…

Only then I opened the Google Firewall. I have a second firewall in each instance where I block or open at Ip tables level what I want. Basically abusive bot’s IPs trying to find exploits or brute force by dictionary passwords.

I checked with my phone, without Wifi that the Firewall was all good. (It is always a good idea to use another external Ip, different from the management one, to check)

I added a post explaining that I was migrating some of my Services and were under maintenance.

I mentioned in the blog that some of my services were being migrated from Amazon to Digital Ocean.

For some reasons, in the Backup of the Database one user was lost, so I created it in the MySQL with the typical commands:

CREATE USER 'username'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON mydatabase.* TO 'username'@'localhost';

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.

News from the blog 2021-10-10

I published this book to help developers to understand and use Docker.

It is not targeted to SysAdmins, is aimed to Developers that want to get an operative know how by examples very quickly, and easy to read.

  • University classes are restarted, and I fixed my tower.

For the Cloud computing degree this semester VMWare is used intensively.

I have a dedicated tower with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, a Samsung NMVe drive PCIe 4.0, which provides me a throughput of 6GB/second (six Gigabytes, so 48 Gbit/second), SAS drives and SATA too. It’s a little monster with 64 GB of RAM and 2.5 Gbps NIC.

It was not starting.

The problem was in the Video card, which made loosely contact to the motherboard.

I had to disconnect everything until I found what it was, but after moving the video card to another PCI slot, it worked.

I knew it was some sort of short circuit / bad contact as the fans were turning for a second and turning off immediately.

After this, the computer works fine but it will poweroff in about 4h and 12 hours. I’ve been testing and removing each component until I believe is the PSU. I’ve ordered a new one from a Dutch provider with web store in Ireland that my former colleague Thomas showed me one year and half ago.

Since England leaved the EU, it is impossible to buy from amazon.co.uk without experiencing problems in the border and delays.

If you want to learn how to assemble a PC, fix the problems and upgrade your laptop, I wrote this book:

https://leanpub.com/pc-assemble/

If you are curious about what I use in my day to day:

  1. A tower for developing and reading my email, with Linux, Intel i7 7800X (12 cores) and 64 GB of RAM, with Nvidia graphics card
  2. A tower for holding Virtual Machines, with Linux, AMD Ryzen 7 3700x (16 cores) and 64 GB of RAM, with Nvidia graphics card
  3. An upgraded HP laptop for programming in the cafe, is a Windows 10, with 16 GB of RAM
  4. Raspberry Pi 4 and 3, from time to time
  5. A laptop for programming, for Work, 16 GB of RAM
  6. A tower for programming, for Work, at the office, 32 GB of RAM
  7. I also had a Dell computer which battery inflated elevating the touchpad, an Acer 11.6 Latop very lightweight which screen died cracked apparently (it’s a mistery to me how this happened as I removed from the bag and it was cracked. That little laptop accompanied me during years, to many countries, as for a while I carried it with me 100% of the time. At that time if the companies I worked for had outages they were losing thousands of euros per hour, so as CTO I fixed broken stuff even in a restaurant. Believe when I recommend you and your teams to use Unit Testing) and a 15.6″ Acer with 16GB of RAM that was part of the payment of an Start up I was CTO for, and which screen flicks intermittently and I managed to fix it by applying a pressure point to a connector, so I managed to use as fixed computer at the beginning of being in Ireland. I was not using it much, as I had two laptops from work when working for Sanmina, a Dell with 16 GB of RAM and Core i7 with two external monitors and an Intel Xeon with 32GB of RAM, heavy weight, but very useful for my job (programming, doing demos, having VMs…).

I’ve assembled all my PC from the scratch, piece by piece, and I force myself to do it so I keep up to date of the upcoming technologies, buses, etc…

  • My students are doing well. Congrats to Albert for getting 8.67 from 10 in his university programming course exams!.
  • Diablo 2 Resurrected is published and I am in the credits :)

I’m in the credits of all our games since I joined, but I’m happy every time I see myself and my colleagues on them. :)

This release includes SubProcessUtils which is a class that allows you to execute commands to the shell (or without shell) and capture the STDOUT, STDERR, and Exit Code very easily.

I’ve used my libraries for a hackaton PoC for work, for Monitoring one aspect of one of our top games side, and I coded it super quickly. :)

They loved it and we have a meeting scheduled to create a Service from my PoC. :)

News from the blog 2021-09-20

  • I’ve published a very simple game, Tic Tac Toe, that I created for my Python 3 Exercises for Beginners book.
  • I’ve raised back the price for my books to normal levels.
    I’ve been keeping the price to the minimum to help people that wanted to learn during covid-19. I consider that who wanted to learn has already done it.

I still have bundles with a somewhat reduced price, and I authorized LeanPub platform to do discounts up to 50% at their discretion.

Bundle of four books in https://leanpub.com/b/python3-exercises-zfs-assemble-computer

https://leanpub.com/b/python3-exercises-zfs-assemble-computer

  • I’ve been deleting AMIs, Snapshots, Volumes and backups from Amazon instances I’ll no longer use.

I’ve migrated to Docker some sites and WordPress sites and now I’m CSP (Cloud Service Provider) agnostic. I can deploy wherever I want.

We pay per GB used of storage, so my money will get a better usage.

As I said in my old article from 2013, The Cloud is for Scaling. For Startups and for Enterprises. It is too expensive for small and medium companies.

  • For those studying Python there is a Virtual Meetup about Data Analysis, in Spanish ,the 23th of September

https://www.meetup.com/tech-barcelona/events/280791310/

More meetups:

https://www.meetup.com/tech-barcelona/

Have a cheap Ubuntu in your Windows or Mac with Docker

I had this idea after one my Python and Linux students with two laptops, a Mac OS X and a Windows one explained me that the Mac OS X is often taken by their daughters, and that the Windows 10 laptop has not enough memory to run PyCharm and Virtual Box fluently. She wanted to have a Linux VM to practice Linux, and do the Bash exercises.

So this article explains how to create a Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Docker Container, and execute a shell were you can practice Linux, Ubuntu, Bash, and you can use it to run Python, Apache, PHP, MySQL… as well, if you want.

You need to install Docker for Windows of for Mac:

Docker for Windows is very handy and visual

Just pay attention to your type of processor: Mac with Intel chip or Mac with apple chip.

The first thing is to create the Dockerfile.

FROM ubuntu:20.04

MAINTAINER Carles Mateo

ARG DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive

RUN apt update && \
    apt install -y vim python3-pip &&  \
    apt install -y net-tools mc htop less strace zip gzip lynx && \
    pip3 install pytest && \
    apt-get clean

RUN echo "#!/bin/bash\nwhile [ true ]; do sleep 60; done" > /root/loop.sh; chmod +x /root/loop.sh

CMD ["/root/loop.sh"]

So basically the file named Dockerfile contains all the blueprints for our Docker Container to be created.

You see that I all the installs and clean ups in one single line. That’s because Docker generates a layer of virtual disk per each line in the Dockerfile. The layers are persistent, so even if in the next line we delete the temporary files, the space used will not be recovered.

You see also that I generate a Bash file with an infinite loop that sleeps 60 seconds each loop and save it as /root/loop.sh This is the file that later is called with CMD, so basically when the Container is created will execute this infinite loop. Basically we give to the Container a non ending task to prevent it from running, and exiting.

Now that you have the Dockerfile is time to build the Container.

For Mac open a terminal and type this command inside the directory where you have the Dockerfile file:

sudo docker build -t cheap_ubuntu .

I called the image cheap_ubuntu but you can set the name that you prefer.

For Windows 10 open a Command Prompt with Administrative rights and then change directory (cd) to the one that has your Dockerfile file.

docker.exe build -t cheap_ubuntu .
Image being built… (some data has been covered in white)

Now that you have the image built, you can create a Container based on it.

For Mac:

sudo docker run -d --name cheap_ubuntu cheap_ubuntu

For Windows (you can use docker.exe or just docker):

docker.exe run -d --name cheap_ubuntu cheap_ubuntu

Now you have Container named cheap_ubuntu based on the image cheap_ubuntu.

It’s time to execute an interactive shell and be able to play:

sudo docker exec -it cheap_ubuntu /bin/bash

For Windows:

docker.exe exec -it cheap_ubuntu /bin/bash
Our Ubuntu terminal inside Windows

Now you have an interactive shell, as root, to your cheap_ubuntu Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Container.

You’ll not be able to run the graphical interface, but you have a complete Ubuntu to learn to program in Bash and to use Linux from Command Line.

You will exit the interactive Bash session in the container with:

exit

If you want to stop the Container:

sudo docker stop cheap_ubuntu

Or for Windows:

docker.exe stop cheap_ubuntu

If you want to see what Containers are running do:

sudo docker ps

News of the blog 2021-08-16

  • I completed my ZFS on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS book.
    I had an error in an actual hard drive so I added a Troubleshooting section explaining how I fixed it.
  • I paused for a while the advance of my book Python: basic exercises for beginners, as my colleague Michela is translating it to Italian. She is a great Engineer and I cannot be more happy of having her help.
  • I added a new article about how to create a simple web Star Wars game using Flask.
    As always, I use Docker and a Dockerfile to automate the deployment, so you can test it without messing with your local system.
    The code is very simple and easy to understand.
mysql> UPDATE wp_options set option_value='blog.carlesmateo.local' WHERE option_name='siteurl';
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.02 sec)
Rows matched: 1 Changed: 1 Warnings: 0

This way I set an entry in /etc/hosts and I can do all the tests I want.

  • I added a new section to the blog, is a link where you can see all the articles published, ordered by number of views.
    /posts_and_views.php

Is in the main page, just after the recommended articles.
Here you can see the source code.

  • I removed the Categories:
    • Storage
      • ZFS
  • In favor of:
    • Hardware
      • Storage
        • ZFS
  • So the articles with Categories in the group deleted were reassigned the Categories in the second group.
  • Visually:
    • I removed some annoying lines from the Quick Selection access.
      They came from inherited CSS properties from my WordPress, long time customized, and I created new styles for this section.
    • I adjusted the line-height to avoid separation between lines being too much.
  • I added a link in the section of Other Engineering Blogs that I like, to the great https://github.com/lesterchan site, author of many super cool WordPress plugins.

A sample Flask application

Today I bring you a game made with Python and Flask extracted from my book Python 3 Combat Guide.

It is a very simple game where you have to choose what Star wars robot you prefer.

Then an internal counter, kept in a static variable, is updated.

I display the time as well, to show the use of a in import and dynamic contents printed as well.

I added a Dockerfile and a bash script to build the Docker Image, so you can run the Docker Container without installing anything in your computer.

You can download the code from here:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-flask-r2d2

Or clone the project:

git clone https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-flask-r2d2.git

Then build the image with the script I provided:

sudo ./build_docker.sh 

After Docker Image flask_app is built, you can run a Docker Container based on it with:

sudo docker run -d -p 5000:5000 --name flask_app flask_app

After you’re done, in order to stop the Container type:

sudo docker stop flask_app

Here is the source code of the Python file flask_app.py:

#
# flask_app.py
#
# Author: Carles Mateo
# Creation Date: 2020-05-10 20:50 GMT+1
# Description: A simple Flask Web Application
#              Part of the samples of https://leanpub.com/pythoncombatguide
#              More source code for the book at https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python_combat_guide
#

from flask import Flask
import datetime


def get_datetime(b_milliseconds=False):
    """
    Return the datetime with miliseconds in format YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.xxxxx
    or without milliseconds as YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS
    """
    if b_milliseconds is True:
        s_now = str(datetime.datetime.now())
    else:
        s_now = str(datetime.datetime.now().strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"))

    return s_now


app = Flask(__name__)

# Those variables will keep their value as long as Flask is running
i_votes_r2d2 = 0
i_votes_bb8 = 0


@app.route('/')
def page_root():
    s_page = "<html>"
    s_page += "<title>My Web Page!</title>"
    s_page += "<body>"
    s_page += "<h1>Time now is: " + get_datetime() + "</h1>"
    s_page += """<h2>Who is more sexy?</h2>
<a href="r2d2"><img src="static/r2d2.png"></a> <a href="bb8"><img width="250" src="static/bb8.jpg"></a>"""
    s_page += "</body>"
    s_page += "</html>"

    return s_page


@app.route('/bb8')
def page_bb8():
    global i_votes_bb8

    i_votes_bb8 = i_votes_bb8 + 1

    s_page = "<html>"
    s_page += "<title>My Web Page!</title>"
    s_page += "<body>"
    s_page += "<h1>Time now is: " + get_datetime() + "</h1>"
    s_page += """<h2>BB8 Is more sexy!</h2>
                <img width="250" src="static/bb8.jpg">"""
    s_page += "<p>I have: " + str(i_votes_bb8) + "</p>"
    s_page += "</body>"
    s_page += "</html>"

    return s_page


@app.route('/r2d2')
def page_r2d2():
    global i_votes_r2d2

    i_votes_r2d2 = i_votes_r2d2 + 1

    s_page = "<html>"
    s_page += "<title>My Web Page!</title>"
    s_page += "<body>"
    s_page += "<h1>Time now is: " + get_datetime() + "</h1>"
    s_page += """<h2>R2D2 Is more sexy!</h2>
                <img src="static/r2d2.png">"""
    s_page += "<p>I have: " + str(i_votes_r2d2) + "</p>"
    s_page += "</body>"
    s_page += "</html>"

    return s_page


if __name__ == "__main__":
    app.run(host="0.0.0.0", port=5000, debug=True)

As always, the naming of the variables is based on MT Notation.

The Dockerfile is very straightforward:

FROM ubuntu:20.04

MAINTAINER Carles Mateo

ARG DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive

RUN apt update && \
    apt install -y vim python3-pip &&  pip3 install pytest && \
    apt-get clean

ENV PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE /var/python_combat_guide

RUN mkdir -p $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE

COPY ./ $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE

ENV PYTHONPATH "${PYTHONPATH}:$PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/src/:$PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/src/lib"

RUN pip3 install -r $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/requirements.txt

# This is important so when executing python3 -m current directory will be added to Syspath
# Is not necessary, as we added to PYTHONPATH
#WORKDIR $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/src/lib

EXPOSE 5000

# Launch our Flask Application
CMD ["/usr/bin/python3", "/var/python_combat_guide/src/flask_app.py"]