— tech ramblings by konstantin gredeskoul, aka "kig".

AWS/EBS/C5 class instance: cannot create file: Read-only file system

Is AWS a sane choice of a Cloud for mission-critical infrastructure

In this short post I describe the "read-only" problem that happened to one of our C5 hosts, offer a bit of a rant about how incompetent AWS support staff is, and how their forums are completely _useless_, and frankly, _infuriating_. And as far as the question posted above I will let you make your own conclusion — so keep on reading. Do you have the same problem on one of your C5 instances? Then read on. At least in our case the solution has been found. But not by AWS. By me.

The Problem — read only file system on a C5 class instance.

So here is what happened earlier today.

One of our C5 instances suddenly became read only.

Since most services write to disk, the instance essentially became completely useless.

I desperately searched for answer on AWS forums... to no avail.

Despite finding several threads describing my exact problem, I quickly realized that NONE of the threads contained a solution!!!!! Now single customer who reported the problem said on the forum — "Yay!", it worked!

↳ Keep reading …

Dead Simple Encryption with Sym

A story about how your mom can now protect her application secrets by using this simple and effective symmetric encryption tool.

These Days If You Are Not Paranoid...

— You don't live in reality :) [ — anonymous]

As I write this, security is on everyone's mind, and for a very good reason. The news is riddled with all sorts of high profile break-ins and backdoors. Just a few days ago WikiLeaks released findings that CIA and NSA may have been hacking into your phone, rendering encryption used by the secure messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp completely useless.

While these are serious issues that we as a society should debate, I found myself in need of an easy-to-use encryption tool, required for a much simpler problem. I was building a deploy automation for a web app, and one of the major inconveniences with that application was that various secrets were sprinkled around the file system, their filenames added to the .gitignore file so that they don't get accidentally checked into the repo. It took a good amount of time to get a local environment fully setup with all the secrets, so that the app would function locally.

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Feeding Frenzy with SimpleFeed

OR, how to add a proper social activity feed to your ruby-based application in fifteen minutes.

For the Impatient

I am very excited to announce the official release of the open source Ruby library called Simple Feed, released as a ruby gem.

I am the primary developer on this project, and my name is Konstantin Gredeskoul — which you probably already knew. This library would not have been possible without the generosity and sponsorship of

Simple Feed is running live in production, and is powering three separate social feeds on Simbi: the global feed, followers feed, and "own" feed — events related the feed owner's actions:

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Native Instruments Traktor — Fixing Dreaded "Could Not Read Collection/Playlist file" Error

"Not a Rant" Rant

I'll begin by saying that I love Native Instruments, and software and hardware that they make. Not all of it is a hit, but overall, the company is definitely one of the undisputed leaders and innovators in the Digital Audio space. I own Komplete versions 2 to 10, Traktor S4, S5, F1, Kore2 and a few others.

In the past I created albums using NI tools and plug-ins, some of which are available on iTunes, and as a disclosure — I've never pirated any of NI software by principle – being a software engineer, I was able to appreciate the colossal effort they've put into each and every synth I used.

Reality Strikes

That said, being a software developer I have also been continually amazed at how abysmal – specifically the file management interfaces are in NI products. With the CoreAudio™ plug-ins I can usually get around it, since I use Logic Pro X® as a DAW.

But nowhere is the file management shortcomings are more in-your-face-obvious, aggravating, and frustrating, than in their flagship DJ mixing product – Traktor DJ Pro.

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Distributed Applications That Avoid DevOOPS

Are you practicing DevOops?

  • do you constantly struggle to keep production running smoothly?
  • do you get a ton of alerts that don't actually mean things are broken?
  • do you use Docker, but your deploy takes 20+ minutes?
  • do you use Docker, but manually configure Docker Hosts once the cloud provisions them?
  • does it take hours to bring a new server into the pool to help alleviate load?
  • have you never practiced failover to your database replica?
  • do you NOT know who owns your root DNS?
  • have you skipped that ticket about making an offsite backup, and now there isn't one?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you just might... The thing is — you are not alone. Thousands of organizations do not have the time and resources to fix this type of technical debt, and escape the world of DevOops, where things just don't run smoothly. That is despite using newest technologies (Docker), largest cloud in the world (AWS), and a great team of engineers.

I'd like to help.

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