thingelstad

Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Category: Techie (page 1 of 36)

Tim Cook on Charlie Rose

Great two part interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook with Charlie Rose. Wonderful insight into how Apple works and how they explore new products.

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Restarting AWS MN

A couple of months ago Bridget Kromhout and I started talking about coordinating with the Twin Cities Amazon Web Services User Group organizers to get the meetup group going again. The first thing we did was change the name to something a bit shorter, AWS MN.

We had our first meetup a month ago to get things going again with a pretty loose agenda. This Wednesday we have a presentation I’m super excited about on Automating AWS with Ansible by David Federlein. We already have presentations for October and December as well. Want to present for November? :-)

This is my first time organizing a meetup and I’m super excited to be doing this with Bridget who is frankly awesome at all of this (you should follow her on Twitter, @bridgetkromhout). We are also using GitHub issues to coordinate our work which is working really well and hosting at SPS Commerce using our training facility which also works fabulous for this and is nicely located in core downtown.

If you have an interest in AWS and topics related to it, you should definitely join the meetup and come to our sessions. They are the third Wednesday of every month at 6pm! Also follow @aws_mn on Twitter!

Getting started with Ansible

I’ve been planning to start working on using a configuration management solution for my hobby servers. Chef was too heavy for my purposes, and confused me a lot. I got really enamored with SaltStack, but never really caught onto it. I decided to give Ansible a go and actually have a couple of hosts in Vagrant and am managing some limited packages with Ansible. My work is in GitHub.

In theory, it should be straightforward to take my build notes and turn them into Ansible playbooks. We’ll see.

MediaWiki LocalSettings for Farmers

I’ve been running a MediaWiki farm at thingelstad.com for a couple of years now hosting about a dozen wikis ranging from small to very large. Running a MediaWiki farm is a bit complicated and you can approach it a number of different ways. I recently pushed the settings that I use to run my farm into GitHub so others can see how I do it. The next step will be to also move the scripts that I use up, but those will be kept in another repository.

Hopefully this proves useful to others. It’s useful for me to finally have these very complicated settings (really code!) under version control.

It’s great to see the human side of the technology community shine.

How Facebook “Improves”

20140614-225148-82308205.jpg

Improving ads, wow, how excited should I be? Just to be clear what this message really means is that Facebook is now actively collating all of the data that it collects about you from every website that you visit that has those cute little Facebook Like buttons and is using that to target ads at you in a better way.

“improving” and “giving you control”. Bullshit.

Why WikiApiary uses pages and not articles

A while back @Waldyrious posed this question about WikiApiary.

The full answer is actually found in my talk page on WikiApiary. Articles are a construct that each wiki can manage. MediaWiki tries to create these two classes of content: Pages and Articles. The intent being that pages are in some way less like “content” than articles. The metrics for determining this are configurable, but I’m guessing nearly everyone leaves it at the defaults. I felt that the page concept, just looking at content and not judging if it was better or worse was a simpler way to look at thousands of different wikis.

Wanted: Dash Docset for MediaWiki

I really wish there were a Dash Docset for MediaWiki. The directions for creating docsets are pretty straightforward. It also strikes me that using pandoc to do wikitext to html you could convert existing help pages into HTML and make the Docset.

Maybe someone else will read this and think it is a great idea and do it.

Keybase and MediaWiki

I’m really intrigued by what Keybase.io is doing with identity. The ability to cryptographically prove your identity on the web without a centralized party like Twitter or Facebook owning the approval process is a needed function. I setup my profile and you can now prove on your own that I am who I say I am on Twitter, Github and five of my domains.

I’m trying to figure out how this could be extended to MediaWiki. I would love to be able to prove that my user account is me at:

This seems really hard. The method used on Github is to public a Gist, and you could certainly have a wiki user publish something on their user page, but that can also be edited by anybody.

But if we could do this, it would be a great way to allow Wikipedia editors to claim ownership with proof of their identities (if they wish) and would benefit thousands of self-hosted MediaWiki websites.

I think something more like the Twitter proof could work. How?

  1. Have the user in question edit their User page. The contents of the edit don’t matter, the Summary field is what will be looked at. (Limited to 255 characters)
  2. MediaWiki websites have a permanent revision history attached to each page. (This would be like a Tweet, see my change on May 11 2014)
  3. This information is accessible via the MediaWiki API, and there is a revid attached to each revision.
  4. This revision ID can be used to pull the proof forward for keybase.io.

Here are the last 5 revisions for my User page on WikiApiary (API call).

{
  "query": {
    "pages": {
      "43": {
        "ns": 2,
        "pageid": 43,
        "revisions": [
          {
            "comment": "This is my message for keybase.io to prove I am who I am!",
            "parentid": 884728,
            "revid": 904406,
            "timestamp": "2014-05-11T13:10:17Z",
            "user": "Thingles"
          },
          {
            "comment": "remove gittip button",
            "parentid": 569866,
            "revid": 884728,
            "timestamp": "2014-04-30T02:55:26Z",
            "user": "Thingles"
          },
          {
            "comment": "",
            "parentid": 569864,
            "revid": 569866,
            "timestamp": "2014-02-21T01:56:28Z",
            "user": "Thingles"
          },
          {
            "comment": "added badge",
            "parentid": 552628,
            "revid": 569864,
            "timestamp": "2014-02-21T01:54:59Z",
            "user": "Thingles"
          },
          {
            "comment": "add babel box (needs templates and styles)",
            "parentid": 528928,
            "revid": 552628,
            "timestamp": "2014-02-15T19:36:51Z",
            "user": "Thingles"
          }
        ],
        "title": "User:Thingles"
      }
    }
  },
  "query-continue": {
    "revisions": {
      "rvcontinue": 528928
    }
  }
}

Now that we have the revid we can find the information for this revision to continue to claim proof (API call). The key is that the title of the page “User:Thingles” matches with the user that made the change “Thingles”.

{
  "query": {
    "pages": {
      "43": {
        "ns": 2,
        "pageid": 43,
        "revisions": [
          {
            "comment": "This is my message for keybase.io to prove I am who I am!",
            "parentid": 884728,
            "revid": 904406,
            "timestamp": "2014-05-11T13:10:17Z",
            "user": "Thingles"
          }
        ],
        "title": "User:Thingles"
      }
    }
  },
  "query-continue": {
    "revisions": {
      "rvcontinue": 884728
    }
  }
}

And now I’ve proven my identity. The only trick is that the comment must contain all the data, and that should be easy since keybase already does something similar for Twitter.

And here is another example of me making a proven comment on my user page on Wikipedia (en) (API call).

{
  "query": {
    "pages": {
      "14604697": {
        "ns": 2,
        "pageid": 14604697,
        "revisions": [
          {
            "comment": "Here is my message for Keybase from Wikipedia.",
            "parentid": 551074105,
            "revid": 608054849,
            "timestamp": "2014-05-11T13:56:25Z",
            "user": "Thingles"
          }
        ],
        "title": "User:Thingles"
      }
    }
  },
  "query-continue": {
    "revisions": {
      "rvcontinue": 551074105
    }
  }
}

The Worst “Mark all as read” Button Ever

If you login to Twitter and go to your Direct Messages you press a button to mark all as read, and then you have to confirm. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “Mark all as read” button that looks so foreboding.

dont dare mark all as read

That looks like a “Watch out what you push because everything will be deleted” red button that you need to be very, very careful with.  Terrible for this function.

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