This morning Luna gently took a bone from Hugo while he was in his bed and ran off. To keep the peace I gave Hugo a second bone but it was not enough so he went off to find the first one.

Five minutes later Luna has both bones and the bed.

I can honestly say that I did not expect to spend my evening watching someone solve a sudoku puzzle.

Even more shocking is that I feel the need to share the joy of this with others!

It’s nice to see the western world on the same page, but this also feels profoundly unsettling at the same time.

An Afternoon of Snake-charming

This past week marked two months of working from home full time so I made the choice to improve my workspace by replacing the desk I have been using since grad school.

A decade ago I felt like a black metal desk with a glass surface was super cool and the sort of thing that a computer programmer definitely should have.

Glass desk with cables everywhere

Unfortunately, the side effect of a glass desk is that no amount of effort put into running cables will actually hide the mess. You see it every time you look down.

A rat's nest of wires

Today I assembled my new desk from IKEA, just something small but with a lot of storage and cable management potential.

White IKEA desk with many fewer wires.

No more mess of wires visible all the time and as an added bonus all the hardware that used to be visible all the time is now neatly sorted into some storage.

Open door showing neatly sorted shelves.

Spending more than an hour running cables can seem silly, but it felt good to organize my long term work space.

Two pups wondering when I’m going to put the computer away and take them outside for a walk.

Working from the couch this afternoon and Luna is alert and keeping guard.

Lunch hour dog pile.

Sunday afternoon treats!

For today’s adventure I donated blood wearing my TNG mask (compliments of @grantisagrant)

I had no idea how many nurses were that invested in Star Trek, almost all the employees asked what I thought of Picard.

I looked up from making coffee to see why the noise of the dogs playing had stopped.

It rarely makes sense, but Hugo knows how maximize his comfort level

I brought a waiting buddy to pickup groceries.

Post supper sun nap.

I primarily post dog photos these days, but today is Tak’s 13th birthday and he is still “top dog”.

A 24 hour update on my homework experiment with using Cloudflare for my domain.

Most of the traffic is to my micro.blog site and the photo posts I made last night.

The 93% cache rate is awesome and the Cloudflare speed tool is reporting a 30% reduction in page load time!

That little sibling feeling

A little post dinner cuddle pile.

After my last post it is back to my regularly scheduled photos of doggos.

This is how they “help” me do my “homework”.

A little bit of Homework

This past week I did a few homework projects applying some of the “best practices” from work to my home technology setup. My goal was to improve the security of my home network and the reliability of my hobby project infrastructure. Like any good homework it felt like I should “show my work”.

DNS Setup

Working for technology security companies has definitely led me to be a bit on the paranoid side of device and home network security. I have run content blockers on my mobile devices, little snitch on my mac with block lists, and even experimented with running a Pi-hole setup on my Mac Mini last year.

All of these options have resulted in different pain points:

  • The Pi-hole would need to be rebooted regularly and broke my Guest Wifi network
  • Content blockers
    • only work in Safari
    • only on my devices on the network (not my partner’s or things like a smart TV)
  • Little snitch was WAY overkill for my use.

For the last year I had mostly settled on using a combination of [Quad9 DNS]() and Cloudflare DNS (First 1.1.1.1 and more recently their malware blocking 1.1.1.2) configured on my Router as the solution the got me the most benefit while producing the fewest headaches. It didn’t do much for me around ad or malware blocking per device, but it was something.

Last weekend I found out about a startup, NextDNS, that might just be exactly what I wanted. First, this is my favourite kind of startup, one whose monetization plan is “charge people money”. It brings all the benefits of the Pi-hole DNS server without me having to run a DNS server in my house, plus the block lists I was using with Little Snitch were available in NextDNS. Early this week I configured my home network to use NextDNS and the graph below shows the early results.

Graph of DNS requests over the past week

Overall I am very pleased with the service as it has meant that I have to do less per device configuration, and I have also gotten to play with some DNS over TLS and DNS over HTTPS configurations.

Terraform

For over a decade I have managed too many domains and run servers manually, assuming that nothing would break and that I wouldn’t forget anything. Technically this bit of the homework didn’t happen this week, I actually started this 4 or 5 months ago and just tied a bow on it this morning. For those that don’t know what terraform is, it is a way to describe Infrastructure as Code and make any updates by editing the configuration files.

I run a small server using Linode that hosts a few websites and is a place for me to run some little experimental side projects. The server itself is nothing complicated, but it felt good to move it from beings something I created in a web dashboard, to something that could be reliably recreated if I needed to.

The more impactful use of Terraform was moving all of the DNS configuration into configuration files for all of my DNS configurations. Over the last decade I have moved Nameservers used for all my domains a few times and every time it involved copying all of the entries by hand from one website to another. This was also the only time when I would check for old entries and remove anything not useful. Not really the best process for me to manage anything. Having all the DNS records in a single file per domain makes it much easier to review and update.

Cloudflare

The final bit of homework was that I decided to experiment with using Cloudflare’s CDN product on my domain. I have heard lots of good things about their ability to efficiently cache requests and responses so I thought it would be interesting to see what sort of impact that will have on this blog and on various videos, silly gifs, and random images that I host on my Linode instance.

It will be interesting to see how this performs over time. The early results are interesting, in less than 2 hours I am already seeing almost 30% of all requests being cached and served from Cloudflare. Unlike with NextDNS or Terraform I don’t have a specific goal in mind with this experiment, this one is definitely more of a “just for fun” experiment.

Let’s hope I didn’t break my email setup. 🤞🏻

Hugo and Luna are both enjoying the improved weather in the back half of this week.

What a change a day can make!

This isn’t the kind of view I like to discover when I look up from my work.

Luna, having lived most of her life in Texas, is absolutely done with the snow today.

Hugo sat outside the office for 10 minutes like this trying to convince Luna to leave me alone and play with him.

Having one of those off by one days

Good thing I just recently had gone through and checked all my Base Station settings. Today is a good reminder of the value of backups!