Using Amazon's CloudFormation, cloud-init, chef and fog to automate infrastructure

Amazon recently announced their new CloudFormation API. This allows you to create what they call "stacks," which will bring up and provision various AWS resources. You are able to configure security groups, EC2 instances, RDS instances, and elastic load balancers just to name a few. With this level of support and ease of declaration, it makes you wonder how much longer things like RightScale are going to last.


Recovering GRUB after accidentally writing to MBR

The other day I decided to partition out a tiny bit of my hard drive (10 GB) to install Windows XP. I figured it was good to have around to play games in my spare time. No big deal, the install went fine. Then I realized Windows likes to take over the MBR. Grub was no longer my default boot loader. So in order to boot back into Ubuntu I needed a live CD. Honestly, any live CD should work fine for this (try Ubuntu's if you don't have a preference).

Once in you're in your live environment, you need to go into grub's console with the following command:

$ grub


Avahi daemon ruins .local domains

This has been known for quite some time. Avahi is used service discovery like finding printers. It's similar to Mac OS X's Bonjour service. Unfortunately, when you have a .local domain (which I do) it seems to mess with things. For example, I cannot refer to anything in the .local TLD by name. So to fix it I've been just stopping the service.

sudo /etc/init.d/avahi-daemon stop

This works but isn't a permanent solution. To fully remove Avahi from startup use the update-rc.d command.


$ sudo update-rc.d -f avahi-daemon remove


Pandora Desktop on Adobe AIR

So today Adobe AIR came out of beta for Linux. That is great news because I also came across the Pandora Desktop (currently in beta) in the same day. These two complement each other very well. It is great for removing that one Firefox window or tab that I always have open to Pandora. Click read more below to check out some screenshots.


Eee Tips: Reduce disk writes by utilizing tmpfs

I've got an ASUS Eee PC 901/Linux with the solid state drive (SSD). I've been having issues with the /tmp dir and /var/log dir utilizing too much of my 4GB drive. So to fix this I came across this eeeuser.com thread which talks about moving those directories to RAM. The process is pretty straight forward and will increase the life of your SSD. Find out what I did below.


Get Flash Player running in FF 3.1 Beta 1

So I've been using FF3.1b1 and have loved it. The speed improvements and cool new alt+tab style tab switcher have really been incredible. GMail has never loaded so quickly for me. The only thing I couldn't get working right away was Flash. So I dug around a bit and realized it was a matter of copying a file into the plugins folder of my beta installation.


Fix dark theme's and Firefox

Ah, this is something I've been meaning to address just haven't got around to it. Today I decided I'd look into fixing problems with dark themes and Firefox. Basically, if you're using a dark theme with Ubuntu 8.04 and Firefox 3 a lot of websites will show up with black or dark input boxes and black font inside those. Even some buttons will show up black with black font. This is a huge hassle when it comes to productivity.


My Desktop

I'd like to share with you what Ubuntu Linux can look like with some tweaking. This shows that Linux doesn't have to look so boring as many people assume.

Pretty sweet way of switching between desktops is with CompizFusion
Pretty sweet way of switching between desktops is with CompizFusion


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