James Turnbull


If I had my hand full of truth, I would take good care how I opened it

Dell XPS 13 AKA 2018 is the year of Linux on the desktop

Back story… I’ve owned and used Apple laptops for over ten years now. I spend a lot of time writing code and prose and I need a reliable platform that runs something Unix-like and just works. I’ve regularly upgraded to newer devices to take advantage of better performance and new capabilities. The last upgrade I undertook was to the new Macbook Pro with a touch bar. My initial reaction was pretty poor.

Sending logs from AWS ECS using Logspout

When we first implemented Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS) one of our key requirements was centralized logging. As we expand the number of services we run in our production and sandbox environments, it has become increasingly important to understand what’s happening with each service and the interactions between services. We also use a service, called Wombat, to collect events from our front end React applications. Wombat collects events which we use for monitoring, diagnostics, metrics, and which we also want to correlate with our backend services.


Back story… tl;dr - some monitoring back story and not being dogmatic about your beliefs. UPDATE: I am writing a book about Prometheus take a look. As many folks know, I am one of the maintainers of Riemann, an event stream processor focussed on monitoring distributed systems. I wrote a book about monitoring in which I used Riemann as a centerpiece to explore new monitoring patterns and approaches. In the book, I describe an architecture of whitebox monitoring (with some selective blackbox monitoring) using a push-based model.

The Packer Book

Announcing The Packer Book I’m announcing my new book: The Packer Book. I’ve been using Packer for a couple of years now. It’s the best image builder currently available and dovetails neatly with configuration management tools and other Hashicorp tools like Terraform. The book is a hands-on crash course. We cover installing Packer, building images, provisioning, Docker, writing infrastructure tests, and building more complex multi-platform build pipelines. We also delve into extending Packer with plug-ins and writing your own plug-ins.


Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. tl;dr - I’ve joined a new not-for-profit educational technology startup called Empatico as CTO. I’m looking for folks to work with me. For the last few years I’ve been talking about my struggles with how the tech industry builds product: both what’s being built, and how it’s being done.