Baldowl

my nest somewhere in GitHub's forest

Automation Everywhere

Summertime has hit too heavily for my taste and everything else beyond work is coming to a grinding halt. Some nights ago, unable to fall asleep, my mind started wandering, so I found myself thinking about automation and some of the things I automated over time. Mechanical gears

Years ago, when I bought my first laptop, I set up the only network adapter, an Ethernet card, with static IP address: I was in charge of administering the only network my laptop could join, so that strict approach did not seem too cumbersome. Some years later I switched to DHCP even for my old laptop and now, with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth and FireWire I really cannot think about going back.

When I was younger, I devised a “clever” naming scheme for the network equipments, so I always knew what a given machine or printer should be called and with my then favorite printing system I could manually set up a local printing queue in no time. Then I switched to CUPS and later threw in zero-conf; now I cannot stand vendors that try to shove down your throat network printers without even a minimal implementation of zero-conf or which cannot use PPDs.

When I was younger and bolder I wrote my own backup solution for my home computer and my laptop; it was a bit awkward to run and the prospective restore would have been tricky. Then I switched to Bacula, which I still happily use at work. When I bought my current MacBook Pro, I attached an external hard disc, let Time Machine do its job and forgot about everything else.

I used to spend a lot of time browsing the Net, mainly reading Slashdot, Dilbert, User Friendly and so on. A summer I was disconnected for a rather long period and so lost track of many, many things. Before that accident, I was not a fan of feeds and aggregators, but now I rely on a newsreader and cannot think about turning back.

Until recently, I always performed server provisioning by hand; then I decided to help a friend to migrate a small/medium size structure to a cloud computing environment and I had to change my mind… now, at my daily work, where I cannot change everything right away, I sorely miss the automation achieved using Chef.

We are in a service economy, computer-wise at least, where almost anything can be purchased as a disposable service, without too much immediate funding, so I think there will be many more things to be automated but I cannot easily foresee what will be the next one (otherwise I’d start a company of my own :-D).

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