Non SSD Budget Laptops

My girlfriend recently purchased a new personal laptop – on a budget. But!, she didn’t follow my #1 piece of advice, “Make Sure It Has An SSD”

Well, on day 1 of using it, it was already untenable; it took 60s to launch Google Chrome. It took over a minute to boot – and you had to wait for the start menu to load when it did.

She returned it, said, the Best Buy person knew immediately what she was talking about when she said it was slow, and did recommend the similar model, except with the SSD this time.

This is not my first experience with this; My parents suffer through the same thing. Do they find it frustrating? Most of the time. Do they take my advice to get an SSD? nope, too much hassle.

This leaves me wondering; if, over the last 5 years, I’ve seen this happen with immediate connections, if that budget laptop was brand new from Best Buy (and advertised), there must be people who do not return the slow laptop, who do not upgrade to an SSD. Do they just think it’s the current state of computing for Chrome to take 60s to start? Do they think computers are slower today than they were 10-15 years ago?(because apps have swollen because developers think the baseline is ssd? and ram is plentiful)

I talked this over at work – a technology. Of course, we’ve all been working on laptops (mostly Macbook Pros or Airs) over the last decade; we mostly launch things like Chrome and IDs, and search every file in a project all of the time — so we’ve mostly had SSDs. Some of us have a desktop rig at home – and even then, if it’s not an SSD it’s a 7200rpm, or faster, hard drive.

Protip, buy an ssd.

There are countless youtube videos timing the same hardware with different storage types


You Were Already Paying for Someone Else’s Healthcare

With the United States House of Representatives passing a “repeal” of the ACA “Obamacare” with AHCA “Republicare” the Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter comments look like this

But I think that just indicates the short memories we have, or “How We Got Here”. Let’s look at some of the things that brought about healthcare reform

There are multiple ways the macro citizen pays for health care

  • Increased Mortality leads to lower GDP
  • Increased bankruptcies due to Emergency Room treatments people can’t afford (a hospital has to charge paying customers more to make the same profit)
  • Difficulty in Transferring Jobs (because Insurance costs are tied to employment) (limits wage growth)
  • Increased sick days leads to lower GDP
  • Reactive care is more expensive than proactive care.
  • Decreased Response Times in the ER
  • Emergency Room treatment is more expensive (higher stress job with more demand)
  • High insurance costs

Let’s just remember that Health Expense increases were a problem before ACA “Obamacare”; that they were a problem in the 90s and 60s just as well.

Don’t Tell Me About the Scrum Meetings You Had in Scrum Standup

I’ve been at 7 companies now that have practiced “scrum” stand-ups. Too many times, the stand-up becomes becomes a monotonous routine that has a barely participating audience – or used by as a way to micromanage exacting hours and tasks out of the team.

Yesterday, I was in Meetings.


An indicator that I’ve seen on several of the teams that I have been on has been the day after a day spent in scrum meetings – the team goes around the circle repeating that yesterday they were in planning meetings.

Were You Even Listening?

My worst experience with scrum stand-ups was where I was brought in, they were so boring that nobody was listening to anybody else. It was literally a meeting where people were barely awake and didn’t expect to talk to one another. Things that they said were for the scrum master to write down and share each task (and hour) with management.

Let’s Make It Better…………

Yesterday, I Won Fantasy Football


One thing that Pardot brought from Hannon Hill I’ve continued to push (because most of my teams believe in a strong work life balance) is to share Heroes and Hassles in and out of work. Sharing frustrations with traffic yesterday and the joys of attending a baseball game and seeing the home team win (other examples, great workout, funny tv show) helps a team personalize each other

How Can I Help You With That?

My team now is mastering asking how we can work together or finding out how things relate. A casual paired programming setup encourages this, and it’s the whole idea of scrum, working with others to get closer to the goal. I want my teammates to tell me passionately about the decisions they are making while coding – and I want to ask questions, especially if it’s something I can learn from (we can all always learn from another way of thinking), or issues and decisions that will affect me.

You want to pick that up? But I wanted to! Oh I guess those are related [stories]

I’m working really close to that code, watch out for this….

With ruthless transparency in mind, if standup doesn’t help you ask a question or get involved, then challenge it..

Amazon Opsworks Chef 11 Issues

At Terminus (and SingleOps before that) we’ve used Amazon OpsWorks to manage our infrastructure and ops needs. It’s slightly more customizable than Heroku, but that comes with a significant amount of ways for things to go awry.

Servers are cattle, not pets

Perhaps the most common issue seen with EC2 access and small applications is a tendency for users to do things on a specific server instance. This is a major no-no.

OpsWorks was first released with Chef 10, but by now, the default is Chef 12 and unfortunately, the original cookbooks used for Chef 10 and 11 are starting to show their age. Over the last several weeks, some of the dependencies have been upgraded to require Chef 12 or have other breaking dependencies.

First – last week,  we had an issue with buff-ignore that was resolved by adjusting our berkshelf version from 3.2 to 3.1.5; buff-ignore had updated from ruby 2.1 to ruby 2.2

This week, on Monday when we started a new server, we received another warning

Recipe Compile Error in /var/lib/aws/opsworks/cache.stage2/cookbooks/compat_resource/libraries/autoload.rb

This resource is written with Chef 12.5 custom resources, and requires at least Chef 12.0 used with the compat_resource cookbook, it will not work with Chef 11.x clients, and those users must pin their cookbooks to older versions or upgrade.

Thanks to Github issues, and some grepping of the use of compat_resource we were able to find 3 gems that were now trying to use it, so we added to our berksfile.

# Pin our Version so that we still work in chef 11
 cookbook 'build-essential', '= 3.2.0'
 cookbook 'apt', '= 3.0.0'
 cookbook 'ming', '=1.2.3'


Habitat Thailand: concrete floor

Yesterday, we poured concrete to create a floor for the house. My task was mostly lifting and carrying 50kg bags of concrete mix closer to the mixing bowls. We made great time on the day and finished earlier than expected, a bit of a blocker because we can’t work on the walls as we wait for the floor to dry overnight.

Lifting form.was important for me because if you lifted with your back all day, you’d be in trouble. Indeed few others on the work site would even attempt to carry the bags on their own. The good news is though it’s my legs and shoulders which are sore and not my back. Remember, your thighs are strong, when lifting, prefer weight on them instead of elsewhere.

For dinner, we ate at Riverside restaurant. I’m still trying to make my food here as spicy as the King and I in Atlanta, but even asking for Thai spicy and the extra pepper sauce has not been successful. It’s funny because the servers chuckle when you add spice thinking that you will burn up.

We also made it to the Regina on the river antiques, lodging, bar, and cat lounge for the cat lovers in the group to have some cuddly time.