Team Building via Chess

One of the things I really love about working at Influx Data is the strong social focus for employees. We’re all remote workers, and the teams have strategies to enable us to connect better. One of those ways is via Chess Tournaments! I haven’t played chess for 20 years or more, and was never really any good at it. I know the basic moves, and can sustain a game, but I’m not a chess strategy guru, and don’t know all the best plays. [Read More]

LXD - Container Manager

Preamble I recently started working for InfluxData as a Developer Advocate on Telegraf, an open source server agent to collect metrics. Telegraf builds from source to ship as a single Go binary. The latest - 1.19.1 was released just yesterday. Part of my job involves helping users by reproducing reported issues, and assisting developers by testing their pull requests. It’s fun stuff, I love it. Telegraf has an extensive set of plugins which supports gathering, aggregating & processing metrics, and sending the results to other systems. [Read More]

My Least Used Favourite App

I have so many applications on my Android Phone, I’ve lost count. Too many chat apps, multiple web browsers, tons of games, and other garbage. However, there’s one app, which is one of my favourites while probably being the least used application. It doesn’t technically benefit me at all, but is useful to others, when I use it. The app in question is “Be My Eyes”. It’s available for Android and iOS, and is very easy to setup. [Read More]


Over the weekend I participated in FOSS Talk Live. Before The Event this would have been an in-person shindig at a pub in London. A bunch of (mostly) UK-based podcasters get together and record live versions of their shows in front of a “studio audience”. It’s mostly an opportunity for a bunch of us middle-aged farts who speak into microphones to get together, have a few beers and chat. Due to The Event, this year it was a virtual affair, done online via YouTube. [Read More]

Disabling snap Autorefresh

Preamble Until recently, I worked for Canonical on the Snap Advocacy Team. Some of the things in this blog post may have changed or been fixed since I left. It’s quite a long post, but I feel it’s neccessary to explain fully the status-quo. This isn’t intended to be a “hit piece” on my previous employer, but merely information sharing for those looking to control their own systems. I’ve previously provided feedback in my previous role as Snap Advocate, to enable them to better control updates. [Read More]

New Pastures

I tweeted back at the start of April that I’m moving on from Canonical/Ubuntu. Well, I left on April 30th, have had two weeks of ‘funemployment’, and today I start my new gig. I’m now Developer Advocate for Telegraf at InfluxData, and I couldn’t be more excited! 🎉 Telegraf is an Open Source “agent for collecting, processing, aggregating, and writing metrics.”. I’ll be working with the Telegraf team and wider community of contributors. [Read More]

Diamond Rio PMP300

My loft is a treasure trove of old crap. For some reason I keep a bunch of aged useless junk up there. That includes the very first MP3 player I owned. Behold, the Diamond Rio PMP 300. Well, the box, in all its ’90s artwork glory. Here’s the player. It’s powered by a single AA battery for somewhere around 8 hours of playback. It’s got 32MB (yes, MegaBytes) of on-board storage. [Read More]

Ubuntu 21.04 Testing Week

“Hirsute Hippo” is the project code-name for what will become Ubuntu 21.04 when it releases on April 22nd 2021. On April 1st, the Beta of Ubuntu Hirsute will be released, but we’re no fools! This is a great time to do some testing! So, starting on April 1st, we’re doing another Ubuntu Testing Week. As always, everyone is welcome to test Ubuntu at any point in the year. But during the beta is a good time to focus on testing. [Read More]

GNOME OS 40 without GNOME Boxes

The GNOME team have announced GNOME 40. Along with this there’s a GNOME OS image to play with. You can grab that from here with the release notes. The release announcement firmly (in bold) suggests “Do not use any other version including the distro version. Only GNOME Boxes 3.38.0 from flathub is known to work.”. Personally I’ve never managed to have much success with GNOME Boxes, so I thought I’d test using something I already have installed, QEMU! [Read More]

Actually Upgrading Ubuntu Server

Yesterday I wrote about my attempt to upgrade one of my HP Microservers, running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Well, today I had another go. Here’s what happened. I followed the recommendation from yesterday, to compress the initrd.img using xz compression rather than the previous default gzip. Previously the upgrade failed because it needed 140M disk space in /boot. With the change to the compression scheme, I now have 154M, which should be enough to start the upgrade. [Read More]