Geminids and Friends
From a radiant
in the constellation of the Twins, the annual
Geminid meteor shower
rained down on our fair planet this week.
This beautiful skyscape collects about 70 of Gemini's lovely
shooting stars in a digital composition made from
The exposures were taken over a six hour period near the shower's peak.
The camera was tracking
the dark predawn sky on December 14
from Teide National Park on the Canary Island Tenerife.
Though Gemini lies off the top left of the frame, the Milky Way sweeps
through the starry background.
Sharing the sky below and left of center are recognizable
stars and nebulosities of Orion.
A yellowish Aldebaran
and the Hyades are toward the right along with
the Pleiades star cluster.
Also a welcome visitor to this night sky, the faint green coma of
Comet 46P Wirtanen,
closest to Earth this weekend, lies below the Pleiades stars.
Dust swept up from the orbit of
active asteroid3200 Phaethon,
Gemini's meteors enter
Earth's atmosphere traveling
at about 35 kilometers per second.
For companies with high availability requirements (99.99% uptime or higher), running new software
in production comes with a lot of risks. But it’s possible to make significant infrastructure
changes while maintaining the availability your customers expect! I’ll give you a toolbox for
derisking migrations and making infrastructure changes with confidence, with examples from our
Kubernetes & Envoy experience at Stripe.
Here are the slides:
since everyone always asks, I drew them in the Notability app on an iPad. I do this because it’s
faster than trying to use regular slides software and I can make better slides.
a few notes
Here are a few links & notes about things I mentioned in the talk
skycfg: write functions, not YAML
I talked about how my team is working on non-YAML interfaces for configuring Kubernetes. The demo is
at skycfg.fun, and it’s on GitHub here. It’s based on
Starlark, a configuration language that’s a subset of
My coworker John has promised that he’ll write a blog post about it at
some point, and I’m hoping that’s coming soon :)
no haunted forests
I mentioned a deploy system rewrite we did. John has a great blog post about when rewrites are a
good idea and how he approached that rewrite called no haunted
ignore most kubernetes ecosystem software
One small point that I made in the talk was that on my team we ignore almost all software in the
Kubernetes ecosystem so that we can focus on a few core pieces (Kubernetes & Envoy, plus some small
things like kiam). I wanted to mention this because I think often in Kubernetes land it can seem
like everyone is using Cool New Things (helm! istio! knative! eep!). I’m sure those projects are
great but I find it much simpler to stay focused on the basics and I wanted people to know that it’s
okay to do that if that’s what works for your company.
I think the reality is that actually a lot of folks are still trying to work out how to use this new
software in a reliable and secure way.
I haven’t watched other Kubecon talks yet, but here are 2 links:
Also I’m very excited to see Kelsey Hightower’s keynote as always, but that recording isn’t up yet. If you
have other Kubecon talks to recommend I’d love to know what they are.
my first work talk I’m happy with
I usually give talks about debugging tools, or side projects, or how I approach my job at a high
level – not on the actual work that I do at my job. What I talked about in this talk is basically
what I’ve been learning how to do at work for the last ~2 years. Figuring out how to make big
infrastructure changes safely took me a long time (and I’m not done!), and so I hope this talk helps
other folks do the same thing.
Signal, one of the most secure messaging apps, essentially told Australia this week that its attempts to thwart strong crypto are rather cute.
"By design, Signal does not have a record of your contacts, social graph, conversation list, location, user avatar, user profile name, group memberships, group titles, or group avatars," Joshua Lund, a Signal developer wrote. "The end-to-end encrypted contents of every message and voice/video call are protected by keys that are entirely inaccessible to us. In most cases now we don’t even have access to who is messaging whom."
Lund is referring to a recent law passed in Australia that will fine companies that do not comply with government demands for encrypted data up to AUS$10 million.
The developer pointed out that while the Australian government could try to block the service or restrict access, "this strategy hasn’t worked very well."
Signal users will find a way, he suggested.
"If a country decided to apply pressure on Apple or Google to remove certain apps from their stores, switching to a different region is extremely trivial on both Android and iOS," he continued. "Popular apps are widely mirrored across the internet. Some of them can even be downloaded directly from their official website."
Outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation Friday afternoon that will strip power from the state’s new Democratic governor and make it harder for Wisconsinites to vote.
The bills approved by Walker, which were passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature on December 5 in a lame-duck session that was widely denounced as a legislative coup, limits the ability of incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to make administrative changes to state laws and prohibits the governor from making key legislative appointments. It also prevents incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul from withdrawing from federal lawsuits initiated by the state without legislative approval, likely blocking Kaul from removing Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act
One of the bills signed by Walker also limits Wisconsin’s early voting period to two weeks. Currently, Wisconsin counties can decide when to begin early voting, and Democratic-leaning cities like Madison and Milwaukee allowed six weeks of early voting in 2018, which helped lead to record turnout for a midterm election. Democrats have already pledged to sue, noting that the last time Wisconsin cut early voting, in 2014, a federal court struck the law down and said it was intended to “suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans.”
Wisconsin’s Republican leaders have essentially admitted the legislation was passed to target Democratic strongholds. “If you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
Well, I can’t confirm he’s always been unable to understand how Venn Diagrams work.
Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe put a number of interesting artifacts from his Sierra days up for auction a couple of weeks ago, including the source code for the original Leisure Suit Larry on 5.25" diskettes. Bidding quickly skyrocketed, but shortly after the auction went live it was canceled, as did a separate auction for the LSL2 code.
Lowe pulled the plug on the auctions, according to Britton Mathews of the Sierra Gamers Facebook group, after receiving a letter from a law firm hired by Activision demanding that he take them down. Interestingly, Activision acknowledged in the letter that it does not own the rights to the Leisure Suit Larry IP, but said that the source code probably contains "shared code" that's also present in the King's Quest and Space Quest games, which it does own. That was apparently enough to spur the takedown notice.
Lowe anticipated something like this when he posted the auctions, and so included a note saying that the winning bidder "will not own the intellectual property rights to the game." He told Mathews that he believes he's in the right legally—but the costs of fighting Activision's takedown demand would be more than the auctions would bring in.
Lowe confirmed in an email that Mathews' account of their conversation is accurate. When asked if he had any alternate plans for the source code diskettes, he suggested that "searching for the bulk eraser from [his] reel-to-reel tape days" was the only thing that had come to mind so far. I suspect he was not being entirely serious.