BackBlaze vs CrashPlan

About two years ago I began to practice what I preach to all my customers, family and friends about data backup:

Backup everything or you are playing with fire!

playing with fire no backup

So I quickly began to look for the lowest cost solution to the problem (I am a bit cheap what else can I really say). The first choice of course was to utilize the wealth of old hard drives I had sitting around.  I bought a hard drive dock that let me use these internal drives like a thumb drive.  It was a great win as I killed two birds with one stone.

  • Utilized a bunch of hard drives that were collecting dust
  • Didn’t have any recurring costs to worry about

That was until the primary deficiency this approach had reared its ugly head, me!  Yup this relied on me to spend the time to update the backup sets on a frequent basis.  In addition (since I was extra paranoid), I was trying to rotate hard drives with my safety deposit box (effectively creating an offsite backup solution).  Time for a better solution!

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The Junior Employee of the Server – CDNs

As a passionate web developer with interests in architecture, I have been “death marching” down the road towards scalability and architectures/solutions that lend themselves to this concept.  Having pushed for layered architectures and Redis cache servers I am at my latest muse in this area, the content delivery network (CDN).  It is no surprise that 60%-90% of our web applications are moving more towards the client.  Why burden the server with mundane tasks of rendering html/dynamic html (think razor, php, etc.) when you can make the user’s CPU handle the problem.  So inevitably we move towards javascript based solutions, which lead towards modern framework adoption (AngularJS 1/2, Aurelia, etc.) to make our lives easier.  CSS frameworks have sprung up (boostrap, pure, ui-kit, etc.) to make our lives easier in that area also, all the while relegating our backend servers to nothing more than API endpoints and static file servers.  So imagine this, if you are a server and your job has been demoted to serving up files all day (think TPS reports, data entry employees and the like) and a little bit of the interesting stuff (your api endpoints for example) then you are going to do everything in your power to offload those dare I say routine tasks to a more junior employee, in this case the junior employee is our friend the CDN.  Continue reading

Back to the lab again

As I sit here on my first day back in the office, after enjoying a week’s long respite (vacation) from the proverbial grind, I find myself pondering how one could be eased back into the work environment post an extended break.  It has certainly occurred to me that returning to the office late into a development sprint can be a painful way to re-join the collective.  You are pretty much guaranteed one of two possible outcomes:

  1. The sprint will be incredibly behind requiring one to accelerate from 0-60 mph before setting foot into the office
  2. The sprint will be well in-hand forcing one to keep themselves awake in between inevitable begging for something to do (yup my current reality)

So what should someone do, should they stay plugged into the sprint during a vacation by checking Email/Slack occasionally?  Should they reserve a time block the morning of their return to ramp back up with the sprint.  I almost wonder if it would be better/more serving of the company’s time to push that resource towards research opportunities for the next sprint and/or to absorb technical debt code solutions have ultimately accumulated over their lifespan.

The bottom line is there certainly are no quick fixes/right ways to re-indoctrinate a resource that has essentially turned off their mind as much as possible over the period of their escape.  So what say you Internet, how do you approach plugging back in after vacation?  Comments will stimulate my mind away from the meandering day dreams of drinking Not Your Father’s Root Beer on a sandy North Carolina beach.