14 Mar 2013

Read Write and Delete - Easy Apache web root permissions for Ubuntu SFTP and FTP users

Setting up (and running) your own web server (or doing so for clients) is an interesting and sometimes frustrating area, and for various reasons I don't think there's a more confusing component than setting correct permissions on the chosen web root (invariably /var/www for Ubuntu).
Everyone seems to have their own way method and I too have my own procedure. For anyone interested here's my simple breakdown along with explanations of each stage, hope it helps.

Foxy file transfer with FireFTP

I'm a big fan of the FTP clients Transmit (on the Mac) and Cyberduck (for Mac & PC), not that I use I PC, but it's useful having something I can recommend to beleaguered  Windows clients who seem to prefer making life hard for themselves instead of using a real operating system.
Ubuntu, 'real' as it is, doesn't have a decent (i.e nice) FTP client, yes, there's Filezilla, but for me it's just not pleasant, however thanks to the range of addons available for Firefox we have a really nice alternative in FireFTP.

12 Mar 2013

Thinking at the Edge

The MacBook Pro used to be my main work unit, however, symbiotic as OSX is with Linux it's much nicer and inherently more productive having complete compatibility with my EC2 server instances, and for that reason I've used an Ubuntu based laptop for some time now. 
My latest (and greatest) is a fantastic IBM ThinkPad Edge x121e (the 11" model) running Ubuntu 12.10. The Unity desktop was something I didn't really get before but having now experienced it on decent kit I love it (perhaps even over OSX).

1 Mar 2013

AWS and Ubuntu - Open Obama

This is a great three minute short giving an overview of how AWS technology helped Obama win his 2012 campaign for presidential re-election.

Harper Reed was the CTO responsible and he highlights the decisions involved with choosing AWS, the selection of technologies they used and how the platform delivered for them when things took off at various trigger points.

If you'd like to find out more there's an expanded interview with Harper on the Ubuntu site detailing the extent of the challenges they faced along with a more detailed breakdown of server and application stacks plus related methods of deployment :


Their 'mid-campaign' tweet about sums it up:

“4Gb/s, 10k requests per second, 2,000 nodes, 3 datacenters, 180TB and 8.5 billion requests. Design, deploy, dismantle in 583 days to elect the President. #madops”

Imagine trying to achieve such craziness using dedicated hardware which you first had to source, accommodate and deploy, it just wouldn't happen. The cost of the actual kit tied to the man hours involved to provision it would be insane, let alone the capacity planning required to cover all bases.

Pretty cool huh.