You might need a portable monitor
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
1w ago
I've had two monitors in the past, either two physical screens plugged into the same computer, or a laptop screen and a monitor. Neither really worked for me - it was distracting and now I had to constantly arrange, move and switch windows between screens. Having said that, the one or two monitor choice is something of a tabs vs spaces argument for developers. To all you two monitor people, I'm glad it works for you. I'll cover why you might want a portable monitor instead, and at the end I'll list out the kit I use to record streams and video demos of products. I'm a one monitor kind of gu ..read more
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Explore and debug GitHub Actions via SSH
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
4M ago
When we were developing VM images for GitHub Actions for actuated, we often needed to get a shell to explore and debug jobs. That functionality was also added for customers who used it to debug tricky jobs. I'm making it available for free for my GitHub Sponsors. Use-cases You need some apt packages, but don't know which ones. You go through a red/green or (red/red/red/red/red/green) cycle and it takes a long time Something's going wrong - you don't know what? Out of disk? Out of RAM? CPU overloaded? There's no quick way to find out, let's open an SSH session and run htop, iostat and df -h i ..read more
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Booting the Raspberry Pi 5 from NVMe
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
6M ago
Here's my workflow for setting up the Raspberry Pi 5 to boot from NVMe for headless use. I'll also give my thoughts on the initial generation of PCIe breakout boards and some experiences trying to get the Google Coral Edge TPU ML accelerator to work. A quick note on first-generation NVMe breakout boards I found the first-generation of NVMe boards fiddly to connect, and quite often during setup the cable would partially dislodge, but not enough that it was obvious. The result was that the SD card would boot instead, or the NVMe wouldn't show up on lsblk. I'm not sure if there's a better approa ..read more
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GitHub Actions as a time-sharing supercomputer
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
6M ago
The time-sharing computers of the 1970s meant operators could submit a job and get the results at some point in the future. Under the guise of "serverless", everything old is new again. AWS Lambda reinvented the idea of submitting work to a supercomputer only to receive the results later on, asynchronously. I liked that approach so much that in 2016 I wrote a prototype to unlock the idea of functions but for your own infrastructure. It's now known as OpenFaaS and has over 30k GitHub stars, over 380 contributors and its community have given hundreds of blog posts and conference talks. There's ..read more
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First Impressions with the Raspberry Pi 5
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
9M ago
Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the long awaited release of the Raspberry Pi 5. The first retail devices will be shipping to customers at the end of October. I got my hands on one and have been doing some early testing. So what's it like? What's new? And should you consider spending about 100 GBP to upgrade? Let's find out. The kind people at the Raspberry Pi Foundation sent out a number of tester units to the community, who in turn provide feedback. I received one, as did Jeff Geerling and a number of other people. I'll provide links to their articles at the end of this post. Her ..read more
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How to use multiple Docker registry mirrors
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
1y ago
One of the first things we ran into when building self-hosted GitHub Actions runners with Firecracker (actuated.dev) was the rate limits for the Docker Hub. We'd had a busy day updating the base image in a number of Dockerfiles due to a CVE found in Alpine Linux, and that triggered enough layers to be pulled for the Docker Hub to hit its anonymous image pull rate-limit. Why don't you see this on hosted CI? GitHub has an agreement with Docker, whereby hosted runners can pull either an unlimited amount or such a large amount of images from the Docker Hub, that limits are not going to be met by ..read more
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Docker is deleting Open Source organisations - what you need to know
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
1y ago
Coming up with a title that explains the full story here was difficult, so I'm going to try to explain quickly. Yesterday, Docker sent an email to all Docker Hub users explaining that anyone who has created an "organisation" will have their account deleted including all images, if they do not upgrade to a paid team plan. The email contained a link to a tersely written PDF (since, silently edited) which was missing many important details which caused significant anxiety and additional work for open source maintainers. As far as we know, this only affects organisation accounts that are often u ..read more
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Find your total build minutes with GitHub Actions and Golang
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
1y ago
You can use actuated's new CLI to calculate the total number of build minutes you're using across an organisation with GitHub Actions. I'm also going to show you: How to build tools rapidly, without worrying The best way to connect to the GitHub API using Go How to check your remaining rate limit for an access token A better way to integrate than using Access Tokens Further ways you could develop or contribute to this idea Why do we need this? If you log into the GitHub UI, you can request a CSV to be sent to your registered email address. This is a manual process and can take a few minutes ..read more
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Blazing fast CI with MicroVMs
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
1y ago
Around 6-8 months ago I started exploring MicroVMs out of curiosity. Around the same time, I saw an opportunity to fix self-hosted runners for GitHub Actions. Actuated is now in pilot and aims to solve most if not all of the friction. There's three parts to this post: A quick debrief on Firecracker and MicroVMs vs legacy solutions Exploring friction with GitHub Actions from a hosted and self-hosted perspective Blazing fast CI with Actuated, and additional materials for learning more about Firecracker 1) A quick debrief on Firecracker ? Firecracker is an open source virtualization technolog ..read more
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Linux on Microsoft Dev Kit 2023
Alex Ellis' Blog
by Alex Ellis
1y ago
When I heard about the Microsoft Dev Kit 2023, I was surprised by how generous the specifications were for the price? Naturally, I wanted to know if I could run Linux on it. You may also wonder. The answer is: kinda. I'm not sure why you are interested in ARM computers, but for me I got involved with them when porting software to the Raspberry Pi and helping support other Open Source projects to do the same. I maintain OpenFaaS, and it's always had support to run on ARM devices as well as larger on-premises or cloud servers. The team at Equinix Metal gave me access to large ARM servers, Amper ..read more
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