The musings of an aspiring carver of space

Hashicorp's Packer, willpower, and Canada Day!

Being on furlough is strange, for many reasons. This week, it's been the rough gear change from Splunk Architect exam prep to full-on Hashicorp plunge: being restricted to professional development means that you get jobs that can even be loosely categorised as that, while others keep the company afloat doing billable work.

It's humbling. I am happy to still have a job, make no mistake. But it's a whole separate challenge too, in these challenging times.

So, yes, this week has been a whirlwind of learning the entire Hashicorp suite of tools, and preparing a talk that is supposed to enlighten my colleagues on the company's Tech Day this Friday. I think I'll make it — just — even losing most of tomorrow to a Terraform workshop.

I think Hashicorp's Packer will really help with this Splunk lab environment project that's on the back-burner at the minute. A colleague of mine has taken it much further, using Ansible playbooks with Terraform, but I think a collection of custom Packer machine images — for labs of all configurations, as well as for demos and workshops large and small — will really save us some time, going forward.

In a nutshell, with Packer, you can bake in that configuration you've initialised through Ansible. The resulting image can be ready to deploy to any number of target environments (e.g., a Vagrant box, AWS, Docker, etc.), and much quicker than through the typical configuration management tools — if Hashicorp's documentation is accurate. I'll find out soon enough, I guess.

I'm continuing with Deep Work. I was surprised to learn that decades of research has shown that a) humans spend a very large portion of their time on this earth resisting desires — mostly around eating, sleeping and sex — and b) the willpower they employ in this never-ending struggle is finite. That is, it can be exhausted, relatively easily, at which point one succumbs to the desires of the moment, until such time as they manage to recharge their reserves (through means I have yet to read about).

So, simply put, an essential part of incorporating deep work in your life is establishing a structure — be it rituals, routines, etc. — that facilitates your immersion in that state of concentration, while minimising the drain on your limited reserves of willpower. And then making sure that you prioritise recharging those reserves in your downtime.

This too is humbling.

We're so frail. And lovely. And horrible.

Happy Canada Day, all you frail, lovely, horrible sods! ;–) And, if you want to know what today means to an old Canuck like me, I can think of no better missive than In Canada by the Hadfield brothers. Bonne fête du Canada!

Yes, Chris is that guitar-playing Bowie-fan of a (retired) astronaut — how frickin' cool is my homeland, eh?!

Well, with the exception of two small gaps, I've made it! So ends Day 50 — the halfway point — of my 100 days to offload! I continue to enjoy it, very much. Thanks for reading.

jlj@Fosstodon #100DaysToOffload

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