2017-09-27 – Hotels, PageSpeed and AWS RDS

So I woke later than usual this morning after spending far too long staring at the laptop last night. Jumping in the shower was an experience – there was no way to adjust the temperature, so it was either hot or hot.
Nothing to report on the work front, same old, same old. Just getting on with stuff and making progress on the PageSpeed investigations. Seems like a number of our automated tests rely on specific URL paths in certain tags that are being re-written by PageSpeed. We’re slowly disabling the optimisations until we find a working solution. It certainly looks like most of the tests can be rewritten to work with the PageSpeed rewrites, but we don’t have the resources or the time to work through that at the moment.
Significant progress was made on the side project last night, and I got so carried away I neglected to write up my days thoughts. I now have a fully automated infrastructure build in AWS using Terraform and Ansible, including making my own AMIs for auto-scaling groups and an RDS Aurora Cluster for the backend. The only thing left is to get Ansible to play nice with Aurora and create the additional schemas and user accounts that my application requires.
Tonight, I am being messed around with the hotel Wifi, which seems to have a kink in the pipe. Mainly caused by Gamma Telecom according to this traceroute output;

~$ traceroute {target host}
traceroute to {target host} ({target ip}), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 ( 5.687 ms 7.072 ms 4.213 ms
2 ( 47.813 ms 28.547 ms 23.928 ms
3 ( 46.187 ms 45.805 ms 46.369 ms
4 * * *
5 lonap-gw1.gammatelecom.com ( 2516.409 ms 4634.714 ms *
6 * * *
7 * ( 143.750 ms

And so it goes on… I’ve wasted so much time over the last few weeks with dodgy connectivity. So I’ve turned on my VPN tunnel provided by ProXPN, and hey presto, the problems virtually go away – I wish I’d thought of this before!

So Aurora now plays nicely with my Ansible code after some debugging on the bastion host. Now to get all the required updates into the main codebase and rebuild everything to test full functionality.
A good end to the day.

2017-09-25 – Frustrations and Woodworking

Frustrations and Woodworking

Frustrated that I missed posting over the weekend, but other than a family visit and a bunch of gardening, nothing much happened.
The family visit was nice, it was good to see my sisters and nieces again – we live a fair distance away, so don’t get to spend much time together.
Sunday was spent almost finishing off the work on our front garden, moving a number of small trees from one area to another, and shifting the best part of a ton of gravel to finish it all off.
We found an issue with our implementation of PageSpeed today, which was really frustrating – the website works fine when used manually, but the automated tests fail. So until we get more time to test it, PageSpeed has had to be disabled for now.
And this evening was back to working on the house. We’ve had a new window opener made to replace the old rotten one, so I needed to chisel out the recesses for the hinges – something I’ve not done for years, but I was pleased with the finished result 🙂

2017-09-22 – PageSpeed, window casements and Narcos

Completing the install of mod_pagespeed in Nginx, window casements and Narcos.

Finally the PageSpeed work is complete. Took a day or so longer than planned, but there were other things that got in the way.
We’ve had a new window casement built to replace one that was rotten, so the weekend will involve preparing and painting that, so I can fit the glass and furniture beforefitting the window. Don’t fancy having the opening boarded up for too long.
Not a lot else happened today, and tonight I’ll be relaxing with a cider and starting to watch the first series of Narcos on Netflix – heard good things about it, time to see what all the fuss is about.


So the few beers turned into a long night of many beers. No surprises there then!
A reasonable day at work today, got the work completed on the PageSpeed plug-in module for NginX, so I will be writing about that on my company blog and link to it from here if you’re interested.
A surprise was waiting for me when I got home, our new fully integrated dishwasher had been delivered, so it was out with the old broken one, and in with the new – took a few hours, but then I don’t fit that many dishwashers! Still, it looks great, and the Mrs reckons it actually fits better than the previous one ? Very quiet operation too.
We also have a house guest for a few days – a lovey young golden Labrador. Our other two labs weren’t sure what to make of her but all three seem to have settled down for the night.
No energy to work on any side projects tonight, but an hour in front of the next episode of Game of Thrones is just what the doctor ordered to relax me a bit before bed.


Deployment day. Starting 21:30 and finishing at 06:00 the next morning is never great, but the deployment went through ok with a couple of minor issues which were easily resolved.
There followed a bit of sleep, and then back into the office for lunchtime to try and complete the PageSpeed work started a few days ago – and complete it I did. Testing starts tomorrow.
I’ve also managed to fully review my contractors work and provided some feedback, although there are a couple of minor issues, I decided to release payment for two further milestones, as the changes are really cosmetic rather than functional.
A bit more of the same tonight, and a few beers with an old colleague.


Early to bed last night, as it’s another early start today, and it will be a long day due to an overnight website deployment scheduled for tonight. It was very foggy on the way to work this morning, and I can’t believe how many idiots are on the road driving in those conditions without their lights on – all you can see is a dark shadow appearing out of the gloom as you approach them. Send them back to driving school!
Today is just going to be prep for the deployment, and hopefully completing the automated install of PageSpeed to our NginX platform using the ngx_pagespeed.so compiled module – which we have to compile on a template machine to ensure binary compatibility.

A long and frustrating day later, and progress has been made on the PageSpeed work, but I had to drop it to complete the prep for the evening deployment. It’s 10pm and I’m back in the office for the final push before the midnight release.
On a plus note, the wifi is good enough to get some Netflix streaming goodness, and iOS11 has been released so it’s update time. And, I’ve had word from my contractor that more progress has been made on the side-project, so I’ll be reviewing that when I get time.


Bit of a crappy journey to work today, as the M1 southbound was a bit snarled for a few miles – northbound was completely screwed through for what appeared to be the recovery of something – lots of orange lights and trucks with cranes.
Today my efforts will be targeted towards completing the work started last week to incorporate Google’s mod_pagespeed into our Nginx web server configuration. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward way to do this, and it requires a bit of source-code compilation and some fiddling around. I may blog about this once it is complete if I get time.

So, the day is almost over. The mod_pagespeed deployment via Ansible is all but complete, just some final testing on my end and then it’s over to the rest of the team for review. Another 80 minute journey home followed by almost a dozen bags filled with soil  that needed to be emptied into a neighbours skip.
Still, that’s all over now, so it’s time to get ready for tomorrow, and to try and get another hour or so done on the side-project.


Today was a good day. We finally dropped off the last of the children at their chosen University. The best part of 3 hours in the car was followed by numerous trips from the car to the accommodation. I can’t believe how much University accommodation has changed in the 25 or so years since I was there – his room has an en-suite
I can’t believe how much University accommodation has changed in the 25 or so years since I was there – his room has an en-suite wet room, a small PC connected to the University network, and to top it all off, a mini fridge stashed away in his cupboard! Not to mention the two fridges, two freezers, lockers and a big TV in the shared kitchen/communal area.
The campus facilities look good too, numerous places to eat, decent sporting area. Most of the building look modern, and those that aren’t are well maintained.
Another three hours home in the car, followed by a curry for tea, set me up for an evening working on the side-project to fix a couple of bugs that had surfaced in the auto-scaling web nodes that run in my AWS environment.