Written on 01 Sep 2023, 5 min read.
The mental models in our heads shape every discussion. Understanding how they align or differ between participants in a conversation is an important aspect of effective communication. This is particularly relevant for topics such as on-call where a wide range of different experiences lead to strongly held opinions.
This post steps back from high-level discussion of the opportunity on-call offers to focus on describing two key mental models I use to think about on-call and the roles and responsibilities of the different people involved.
Written on 16 Aug 2023, 8 min read.
For an audio conversation covering similar themes, check out my interview on the Slight Reliability Podcast.
On-call in software teams has a bad reputation. Niall Murphy’s 2018 polemic, Against On-Call is well worth a watch if you need a refresher on the many reasons why the reputation is justified.
Despite the current reputation, on-call can and should be an activity that every software engineer participates in and finds some measure of fulfilment from.
Written on 13 Jul 2023, 9 min read.
I’m six months into my journey of building a business which means its time to reflect and review the goals I set for the year.
No further investment in co2mon.nz In March I made the decision to focus on completing the market research for co2mon.nz. The results of that research led to two key conclusions:
Indoor air quality/ventilation is not a problem many people are actively thinking about or looking to spend money to improve.
Written on 27 Jun 2023, 13 min read.
co2mon.nz currently uses monitors based on Oliver Seiler’s open source design which I am personally building. This post describes my exploration of how to achieve production of a CO2 monitor that could enable the growth of co2mon.nz.
Goals Primarily I want to design a CO2 monitor which allows the majority of the production process to be outsourced. In particular, the PCB should be able to be assembled in an automated fashion (PCBA).
Written on 14 Jun 2023, 7 min read.
Over the last month I’ve performed some market research to better understand the potential for co2mon.nz and to help me decide whether the product I’ve built has a fit with the market or not. The key conclusions I’ve drawn from this work are:
Air quality is acknowledged as important, but monitoring it is not an urgent or pressing problem for most people. Most of the value is seen in the hardware rather than the software service.
Written on 02 Jun 2023, 11 min read.
I’m calling time on DNSSEC. Last week, prompted by a change in my DNS hosting setup, I began removing it from the few personal zones I had signed. Then this Monday the .nz ccTLD experienced a multi-day availability incident triggered by the annual DNSSEC key rotation process. This incident broke several of my unsigned zones, which led me to say very unkind things about DNSSEC on Mastodon and now I feel compelled to more completely explain my thinking:
Written on 18 Apr 2023, 7 min read.
Previously, I explained why ventilation monitoring is important, and the opportunity I see to help accelerate deployment of high quality ventilation monitoring for small businesses and organisations.
In this post, I’m going to discuss my plans to tackle that opportunity:
My journey to ventilation monitoring co2mon.nz: Ventilation monitoring as a service prototype Areas of development Next steps My journey to ventilation monitoring I started looking into ventilation monitoring in detail last year when I wanted to ensure that the classrooms of our local primary school were well ventilated during the Omicron outbreak.
Written on 03 Apr 2023, 5 min read.
The key decision I made mid-March was to commit to pursuing ventilation monitoring as my primary product development focus.
Prior to that decision, I hoped to use my writing plan to drive a breadth-first survey of the opportunities for each of my product ideas before deciding which had the best business potential to focus on first. Two factors changed my mind:
As noted last month, I’m finding the writing process much slower and harder than I expected – the survey across all the ideas may not complete until mid-year or later!
Written on 28 Mar 2023, 10 min read.
The importance of clean, fresh indoor air is one of the most tangible takeaways of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to being an effective risk mitigation strategy for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, clean, fresh air is necessary to enable effective cognitive performance.
Monitoring indoor air quality is relatively easy to do, but traditionally has not been a key focus. I believe air quality monitoring should be accessible for any indoor space, and for highly occupied indoor spaces should be provided on a continuous basis.
Written on 04 Mar 2023, 6 min read.
February ended up being a very short work month as I made a last minute decision to travel to Adelaide for the first 2 weeks of the month to help my brother with some house renovations he was undertaking. I thought I might be able to keep up with some work and my writing goals in the evenings while I was there, but days of hard manual labour are such an unfamiliar routine for me that I didn’t have any energy left to make good on that intention.
Written on 03 Feb 2023, 7 min read.
To achieve my goal of publishing one high-quality piece of writing per week this year, I’ve put together a draft writing plan and a few organisational notes.
Please let me know what you think - what’s missing? what would you like to read more/less of from me?
I aim for each piece of writing to generate discussion, inspire further writing, and raise my visibility and profile with potential customers and peers.
Written on 27 Jan 2023, 6 min read.
This is the second of a two-part post covering my goals for 2023. See the first part to understand the vision, mission and strategy driving these goals.
I want to thank my friend Nat, and Will Larson whose annual reviews I’ve always enjoyed reading for inspiring me to write these posts.
I’ve found the process articulating my motivations and goals very useful to clarify my thoughts and create tangible next steps.
Written on 26 Jan 2023, 8 min read.
This is the first of a two-part post, covering high-level thoughts around my motivations and vision. Make sure to check out the second part for my specific goals for 2023.
A new year is upon us! My plan was to be 6 months into the journey of starting a business by this point.
I made some very tentative progress towards that goal in 2022, registering a company and starting some consulting work, but on the whole I’ve found it much harder than expected to gather the necessary energy to begin that journey in earnest.
Written on 14 Jan 2023, 2 min read.
After nearly 7 years of dormancy, I’m rebooting this website and have a goal to write regularly on a variety of topics going forward. More on that and my goals in a coming post…
For now, this is just a placeholder note to help double-check that everything on the new site is working as expected and the letters are flowing through the “pipes” in the right places.
Technical Details I’ve migrated the site from Wordpress, to a fully static configuration using Hugo and TailwindCSS for help with styling.
Written on 17 Aug 2014, 2 min read.
Firstly, thanks to all who responded to my previous rant. It turns out exactly what I wanted does exist in the form of a ID-000 format smartcard combined with a USB reader. Perfect. No idea why I couldn’t find that on my own prior to ranting, but very happy to have found it now.
Secondly, now that I’ve got my keys and management practices in order, it is time to begin transitioning to my new key.
Written on 12 Jul 2014, 5 min read.
2014 and it’s still annoyingly hard to find a reasonable GPG key management system for personal use… All I want is to keep the key material isolated from any Internet connected host, without requiring me to jump through major inconvenience every time I want to use the key.
An HSM/Smartcard of some sort is an obvious choice, but they all suck in their own ways:
FSFE smartcard – it’s a smartcard, requires a reader, which are generally not particular portable compared to a USB stick.
Written on 17 Mar 2012, 3 min read.
I’ve written before about my initial investigations into the Kindle, and I’ve learnt much more about the software and how it communicates with the Amazon servers since then, but it all requires detailed technical explanation which I can never seem to find the motivation to write down. Extracting reading data out of the system log files is however comparatively simple.
I’m a big fan of measurement and data so my motivation and goal for the Kindle log files was to see if I could extract some useful information about my Kindle use and reading patterns.
Written on 24 Nov 2011, 3 min read.
It’s general election time again in New Zealand this year, with the added twist of an additional referendum on whether to keep MMP as our electoral system. If you’re not interested in New Zealand politics, then you should definitely skip the rest of this post.
I’ve never understood why some people consider their voting choices a matter of national security, so when via Andrew McMillan, I saw a good rationale for why you should share your opinion I found my excuse to write this post.
Written on 12 Jun 2011, 3 min read.
A stumbled across Start Com a few months ago, an Israeli company that run a Certificate Authority (CA) called StartSSL with a root certificate in all the modern browsers and operating systems. Best of all they don’t participate in the cartel run by the rest of the SSL certificate industry and offer domain validated certificates at the price it costs them to issue them – nothing.
I had the first opportunity to use their services today when I needed an SSL cert to secure the IMAP server I run for my parents and I was very pleased with the experience.
Written on 11 May 2011, 3 min read.
IPv6 adoption is increasing, and along with it come a new set of behaviours and defaults that system administrators and users must learn and become familiar with. I was recently caught out by Linux’s handling of IPv6 router advertisements (RAs) when forwarding is also enabled on the interface. It took me a while to figure out and searching for obvious terms (such as those in the first half of the title of this post) didn’t immediately yield useful answers, so here is my attempt to help shed some light on the subject.
Written on 07 Dec 2010, 8 min read.
For my birthday back in October, my wonderful wife gave me a Kindle 3 from Amazon. I’d been considering other e-book readers for quite some time, but I had mostly ignored the Kindle due to the lack of EPUB support and a general dislike of Amazon’s DRM enforcement. In the end, the superior hardware and ecosystem of the Kindle overpowered those concerns and overall I’m very pleased with the purchase. The screen is amazing, literally just like reading off a piece of paper and the selection of books is OK.
Written on 29 Mar 2010, 5 min read.
I’ve been eagerly looking forward to the release of Xero Personal which has been heavily promoted by [Xero](]http://www.xero.com and BNZ (as MoneyMap) for the last few months. Unfortunately my first impressions of the product today are extremely underwhelming. Xero Personal is definitely not worth anywhere close to $5/month for me at this point in time and I’m unlikely to even keep using the free trial.
To set the context for that statement, Xero Business set the bar high.
Written on 28 Jun 2009, 1 min read.
It’s been a while since I’ve taken any sort of quiz like this, so when David Farrar from Kiwblog posted his results today it prompted me to give it another go.
My Political Views
I am a center-right moderate social libertarian
Right: 1.33, Libertarian: 1.97
Political Spectrum Quiz
I completed the quiz pretty quickly and felt the need to answer ‘it depends on the specifics’ to many of the questions, so take the results with a grain of salt.
Written on 26 Jun 2009, 2 min read.
From the better late than never category… I finally got around to signing keys from the LCA2006 key signing party, the verification sheet from which has travelled with me from NZ to Dublin and then sat on my desk for a few years. I inevitably lost a few of my notes and verifications along the way, so if you were still expecting a signature from me and didn’t get one let me know!
Written on 24 Feb 2009, 6 min read.
I was very pleased to wake up this morning to the news that National has delayed the introduction of S92A via an order-in-council. It’s a nice short-term victory, but I’ll save the champagne until the law is fundamentally rewritten.
The most pleasing aspect of the decision is simply that it was made at all. Within two weeks, a small band of protesters were able to harness the power of the Internet to direct international attention and place enough pressure on a Government, whose Prime Minister admitted to not having read the bill prior, that he then took the time to understand the issues and personally announce the delay in implementation of the law.
Written on 18 Feb 2009, 4 min read.
If you’re reading this post via the website rather than a feed/planet then you will notice that the site has gone completely black in support of the Creative Freedom Foundation’s campaign against S92A of the NZ Copyright Amendment Act which is due to come into effect on 28th February 2009. I’ve also joined the wave of people blacking out their “avatar” on Facebook/Jabber/MSN, etc.
S92A introduces “Guilt Upon Accusation” whereby if you are accused of copyright infringement (downloading music and movies, etc) “repeatedly” (likely 3 or more times) you are at risk of being disconnected from the Internet by your ISP.
Written on 08 Sep 2008, 6 min read.
It’s been a while since I last acquired new gadgets but I think I’ve made up for lost time with my last weeks purchases.
You may remember that I’ve had my eye on the Openmoko phones since early 2007, but in between shifting across the world and starting a new job I never got around to purchasing one of the first versions. The second version, the “Freerunner”, was released in June this year and I placed an order with Pulster, a local distributor, shortly after.
Written on 13 Jul 2008, 2 min read.
On hardy after the latest round of updates:
matt@krypton:~$ dpkg -s flashplugin-nonfree | grep Version Version: 10.0.1.218+10.0.0.525ubuntu1~hardy1+really188.8.131.52ubuntu2 Granted this package is in hardy-backports not hardy proper, but still, what on earth?!?!
Comments Comment by Philipp Kern on 2008-07-14 05:05:38 +1200 Well, it’s documented in the changelog on https://edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/flashplugin-nonfree. Ubuntu more or less refrains from using epochs unilaterally. This upload was done to undo a bad backport to hardy, i.e. an old version (9.
Written on 12 Apr 2008, 2 min read.
I highly recommend making some time to read the The Australian Open Source Industry & Community Report. Based on a census of the Australian Open Source community conducted at the end of last year, it presents a range statistics about the state of the Open Source community and industry in Australia.
The report seems to be aimed at demonstrating to Government and Businesses that Open Source has become a very viable business strategy in Australia and in particular how increased adoption of Open Source would reduce the Australian trade deficit.
Written on 06 Jan 2008, 1 min read.
2007 was a busy year, here is where I managed to live/stay/visit:
Auckland – January and February Dublin – February, photos Hamilton – March Miri – April, photos Sarikei – April, photos Kuching – April, photos Kota Kinabalu – April, photos Singapore – April, photos Dubai – April London – April, photos Dublin – May onwards, photos Galway – June Cork – June, photos New York – July, photos Cambridge – July, photos Belfast – August, photos Luxembourg – September, photos Paris – November, photos Whistler – November, photos San Francisco – November/December, photos Bratislava – December, photos Bad Gastein – December, photos Salzburg – December, photos Vienna – December, photos 18 cities, 5 towns/villages and a total of approximately 101,216km travelled in the air!
Written on 08 Jul 2007, 3 min read.
I (as root) have a directory hierarchy that I want a particular group to always have write access to. The files and folders inside the hierarchy are owned and manipulated by a wide variety of diffrent users.
Essentially I want to delegate ‘root’ access for a portion of the filesystem to a particular group.
My first attempt at implementing this was to use the standard POSIX ACLs that are available for almost every filesystem Linux supports.
Written on 12 Jun 2007, 1 min read.
Now that we’ve settled into our new apartment in Dublin, the ADSL has been connected and I’m back on the net!
Obviously I’ve had Internet access at work during this time, but there has been so much new information to take in that I haven’t really had time to do any Debian or WLUG work.
I’m still waiting for the shipping company to deliver my computers, so it will be another week or two before I have a development environment that can build and test package.
Written on 30 Mar 2007, 1 min read.
In just a few hours, I’m hopping on Emirates flight EK433 from Auckland to Singpore, to start the first leg of my trip to Dublin. I’ll be travelling for pretty much the next month, so if you’re trying to get hold of me please don’t be offended if I take several days to reply.
Kat and I have setup another blog to detail our travels, and I’ll try and keep this blog free of too much personal stuff so as to not clutter the various planets that it is syndicated to.
Written on 29 Mar 2007, 5 min read.
- - -=-=-=-=-=- Don't Delete Anything Between These Lines =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- e0acebd2-71f1-4df8-ae4d-50355ad7aa81 [ 6 ] Choice 1: Wouter Verhelst [ 6 ] Choice 2: Aigars Mahinovs [ 3 ] Choice 3: Gustavo Franco [ 3 ] Choice 4: Sam Hocevar [ 2 ] Choice 5: Steve McIntyre [ 4 ] Choice 6: RaphaÃ«l Hertzog [ 1 ] Choice 7: Anthony Towns [ 6 ] Choice 8: Simon Richter [ 5 ] Choice 9: None Of The Above - - -=-=-=-=-=- Don't Delete Anything Between These Lines =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- My rationale follows, if you care…
Written on 06 Mar 2007, 3 min read.
I’ve accepted a job with Google and we’re shifting to Dublin!
Back in January, Kat and I decided that it was about time we put thoughts into action, and booked some one-way plane tickets to get ourselves to Europe. Our plan is to spend at least a couple of years (more if I have my way) exploring the other side of the world and generally broadening our horizons.
We leave NZ on the 31st of March flying on Emirates to Singapore.