Launching Red Hat's Open Innovation Labs Space in London

The Official Opening of the Open Innovation Labs Space in London

I’ve not written much about coming back to Red Hat to head up the Open Innovation Labs in EMEA, but somehow it seemed fitting to author a blog post to mark a momentous last week. Last week we held the official opening events for Red Hat’s Open Innovation Labs space in London and on Tuesday of this week our first customer working in the space, Motability Operations, held their Demo Day to show off what they had built in their four-week residency to their business sponsors.

A Short Book Review of The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks

I’ve just finished reading one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in recent years, The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks. I’ve always loved the Lake District since friends of mine who lived in Carlisle took me walking up a fell there. I guess I was one of those walkers, and later fell runners, who connected deeply with those amazing mountains without understanding much about those that live and work those landscapes.

A Review of Deep Work By Cal Newport

It’s funny to be writing a review of this book about deep work while sitting in an uber watching the driver check and fiddle with his phone every few minutes! Road safety issues aside, this highlights a very real problem we all face today we are constantly distracted in our digital always connected world. This new world is making all of us into social media addicts and our days are governed by incoming digital interruptions.

2000 km with the Cannondale Slate

Cannondale Slate Force CX1 covered in mud

TL;DR; This is an awesome go-anywhere-do-anything bike that is pure FUN - if you are in a rush skip the review and check out this gallery of highlights from the past year.

I’ve had my Cannondale Slate Force CX1 for almost exactly a year and done over 2000 km on it on and off-road, tumbled off it, had an accident and done a few gravel bike events, so it’s been given a thorough workout - about time I write a review.

The short version is that I love, love, love this bike! It’s the most expensive bike I’ve ever bought, and I’ve had the most fun I’ve every had on a bicycle. It is a go anywhere do anything bike, and if you are only going to have one bike then this is it!

How to stop the BlueJeans App for Mac using all of your CPU and Battery

TL;DR Use AppPolice for the Mac to control how much CPU the BlueJeans for Mac app can use (100% or 1 core seems to work) so that your computer is usable while using video and your battery won’t be zeroed by a one hour call.

I’m a big fan of using video for calls instead of just voice - participants are often far more engaged when you can all see each other, and you can give thumbs ups, raise your hand and give other visual cues as part of the conversation that avoids the usual voice conference call.

At Red Hat we encourage remote work, and one of the ways we make it work is to have a lot of video calls using BlueJeans, which works great for me on my Mac except for one horrible problem that tends to completely kill my experience - if I enable my camera (kind of important for a video call) when I’m using the BlueJeans desktop app (seems to happen with Chrome and browsers as well) the BlueJeans app seems to try to hog ALL of my CPU that it can use and when it has all the cores of my processor spinning away at maximum I will lose HALF of my Mac’s battery life after a one hour call!

New OpenAPI Specification Shortcode for Hugo

One of the things I’ve been meaning to try for a while is to experiment with combining Open API Spec (formerly known as Swagger Spec) and static websites. So I’ve hacked together a quick experiment that allows you to embed OpenAPI Spec inside a Hugo site.

You can see an example of this in action here.

Why I'm voting remain, no matter how painful it feels

Vote Remain Placards

Today I voted in the UK’s EU Referendum to remain in the EU, and it really irked me because there are many things that are broken in the EU.

Building the Ultimate Home Media Center with the new AppleTV 4, Plex/Kodi and a QNAP NAS

TL;DR; The Apple TV 4 can run Plex or Kodi (XBMC) directly and play all my Movies, TV Shows and Music from my QNAP NAS. It’s quite a sweet setup. I’ve finally had a bit of time to work on a project I’ve had on my back burner for quite some time, building a home entertainment system to play all of my movies and TV series that I’ve got on my NAS.

Moving from WordPress to a static site using Hugo and Netlify

I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a while to move this site to be a statically generated site to escape the constant admin and update cycles of wordpress and over the weekend I finally managed to get around to it. In the end it was remarkably painless, probably because I didn’t have that many blog posts! I chose to use the excellent and blisteringly fast Hugo for the site itself and Netlify to actually host it.

How to run OpenShift V3 on an existing Kubernetes Cluster

I’m a big fan of Kuber­netes and the ideas it brings to enable run­ning Docker con­tain­ers at scale. How­ever if you’ve used Kuber­netes you’ll know that right now the tool­ing around it is pretty basic from a devel­oper and appli­ca­tion life­cy­cle per­spec­tive. Open­Shift V3 builds on the con­cepts of Docker and Kuber­netes to add some much needed higher level tool­ing and a Web UI that is really nice. Here are just a few of the fea­tures that Open­Shift Ori­gin pro­vides out of the box on top of a Kuber­netes cluster:

Ansible Tip: Running Interactive Scripts with Ansible

Some­times when you run a script with Ansi­ble it requires an inter­ac­tive prompt like y/n or some­thing similar. I recently ran into this prob­lem and after a bit of head bash­ing I found the fol­low­ing solu­tion in a lit­tle Linux util­ity called ‘yes’ which repeat­edly out­puts a line with a spec­i­fied STRING(s), or ‘y’. In this case I just needed ‘y’ so I went with the default. Here is my Ansi­ble Task file with the ‘yes’ com­mand in use:

Apigee not Apogee

Tweet: 1st day of my new job at @Apigee today, leaving @RedHatUK has been emotional but I'm super excited about the road ahead!

I recently left Red Hat to join Apigee and one of the fun­ni­est things I get asked when I say this is if I’m going to make com­puter games!

Fixing the fonts on my new MacBook Pro 13″ Retina on external displays

I have a new Mac­Book Pro 13″ Retina (early 2015) that is pretty amaz­ing, how­ever when I plugged it into my large exter­nal dis­play at the office fonts became really blurry and ugly, so bad that I could barely look at the display! After a lot of mess­ing around I’ve found a cheaper solu­tion than buy­ing an awe­some Apple display! Basi­cally it’s a com­bi­na­tion of this arti­cle on the prob­lem Fonts Look Blurry in OS X Yosemite?

How To Install Zimbra Desktop on Fedora

As we use Zim­bra at work I decided to install Zim­bra Desk­top for offline email, how­ever I ran into a bit of a snag because after down­load­ing it and fol­low­ing the instal­la­tion instruc­tions I had the fol­low­ing error mes­sage when I ran Zim­bra Desk­top for the first time: Couldn't load XPCOM. After a bit of googling around I found this arti­cle Installing Zim­bra Desk­top on 64bit Linux which has the fol­low­ing fix to install the 32-bit libraries that are (nat­u­rally) miss­ing in my 64-bit Fedora install:

Why I’m moving my desktop from OS X to Fedora Linux

Fedora Logo

I’ve been a hard­core Apple/Mac/OS X fan­boy ever since the first Intel Macs came out and since I made the switch from Win­dows I’ve never really look back. How­ever I’ve always had this nig­gling feel­ing in the back of my head that my desk­top OS wasn’t as open as I would like it to be. OS X and Macs have just been so pop­u­lar with devel­op­ers and Mac lap­tops really have the best hard­ware — for me the killer fea­ture has always been the track­pad, even though oth­ers are now imi­tat­ing the alu­minium form fac­tor nobody has come close with their track­pads yet. This fan­tas­tic machine def­i­nitely won me from one closed ecosys­tem (Microsoft) to another (Apple’s) but it’s still a closed ecosys­tem and since I got my first Mac­Book Pro in 2006 I’ve noticed that this ecosys­tem has got­ten more closed — Mac App Store being a great example.

How­ever I some­times write code, mess around with new tech­nol­ogy and most impor­tantly I wanted to be fully in con­trol of my desk­top and my data and move to an ecosys­tem that was by default open. Linux seems the per­fect choice but I’ve really strug­gled to have a com­pelling event to move me over to the ever improv­ing Linux Desk­top, until this year…!

Docker + Red Hat OpenShift = The Tipping Point for Open PaaS?

Sumo tipping point

What if you could wrap up your appli­ca­tion in a light­weight con­tainer and then move it to any Linux server and have it per­form in a pre­dictable way with no changes? bare metal? vir­tu­al­ized? in a multi ten­ant envi­ron­ment? securely?

What if you could choose your  lan­guage and run­time envi­ron­ment (Ruby, Python, JEE, JavaScript, etc) and have it pro­vi­sioned with your appli­ca­tion code? with full life-cycle man­age­ment? with auto scal­ing? sup­ported by the ven­dor behind the tech­nol­ogy? on any PaaS?

TL;DR ver­sion — Docker is an awe­some way to con­tainer­ise any appli­ca­tion run­ning on Linux, but it has some short­falls. Red Hat’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with dot­Cloud the com­pany behind Docker will fix these and allow Docker run on almost any dis­tri­b­u­tion of Linux (includ­ing RHEL and it’s deriv­a­tives). They will also inte­grate the tech­nol­ogy that under­pins the Open­Shift PaaS (car­tridges) so that the life­cy­cle of an appli­ca­tion run­time can be man­aged. Mean­ing your appli­ca­tion will even­tu­ally be able to run any­where on your infra­struc­ture or on the cloud with no changes — cool eh?

Checkmate, Nokia outwits Microsoft in the long game

When I saw the news about Microsoft Acquir­ing Nokia Devices and Ser­vices this morn­ing my ini­tial reac­tion was one of con­fu­sion, why would one loser acquire another loser? It seems that oth­ers had the same thought as well.

How­ever as I digest this more I’m start­ing to think that this was part of a larger piece of chess where Nokia has realised for some time that the writ­ing was on the wall for their devices as Android and iOS were busy carv­ing up their for­mi­da­ble mar­ket share.

Calculate the Business Benefits of PaaS

I’ve just noticed that over on openshift.com they have an intrigu­ing cal­cu­la­tor that claims to Cal­cu­late the Busi­ness Ben­e­fits of PaaS and to gen­er­ate a dol­lar value for mov­ing to PaaS, quot­ing directly from the page: Plat­form as a Ser­vice (PaaS) is a pow­er­ful cloud solu­tion that can help solve real prob­lems today. With PaaS you can enable your devel­op­ers to work faster and allow your oper­a­tions team to pro­vide real busi­ness value by reduc­ing time-to-market for key IT services.

The Evolution of Paas and how this site was setup

Update I’ve recently moved to a static website based on Hugo and hosted on Netlify As I’m a bit of a geek at heart and because I’m a major fan of open source I really wanted to host this web­site on an open source PaaS using as much open source soft­ware so I decided to use my favourite blog­ging soft­ware Word­Press and host it on Open­Shift Online. While I was putting this blog together I realised just how far things have come when it comes to set­ting up your own web­site, but before I dive into the evo­lu­tion of host­ing that has got­ten us to PaaS let me show you exactly why I think PaaS is so magic by tak­ing you through the three sim­ple steps it took to set up a Word­Press blog on the domain www.

Is RSS dying?

So today I open up my RSS reader (I migrated to News­blur after Google killed Reader) and I’m brows­ing my usual feeds — includ­ing Dil­bert when I see this: Grrr! Even after check­ing the web­site and going to the offi­cial feed it’s still bro­ken and the worst is that Scott Adams has decided to do this on pur­pose in some sort of per­verse and mis­guided attempt to drive traf­fic to their website.