Recent Blog Posts

The Raspberry Pi 4 needs a fan, here's why and how you can add one

The Raspberry Pi Foundation's Pi 4 announcement blog post touted the Pi 4 as providing "PC-like level of performance for most users". The Foundation even offers a Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit.

The desktop kit includes the official Raspberry Pi 4 case, which is an enclosed plastic box with nothing in the way of ventilation.

I have been using Pis for various projects since their introduction in 2012, and for many models, including the tiny Pi Zero and various A+ revisions, you didn't even need a fan or heatsink to avoid CPU throttling. And thermal images or point measurements using an IR thermometer usually showed the SoC putting out the most heat. As long as there was at least a little space for natural convection (that is, with no fan), you could do almost anything with a Pi and not have to worry about heat.

Raspberry Pi microSD card performance comparison - 2019

Raspberry Pi Noobs SD card adapter with a number of Samsung and other microSD cards

As a part-time tinkerer and full-time developer, I have been fascinated by single board computers (SBCs) since the first Raspberry Pi was introduced almost a decade ago. I have owned and used every generation of Raspberry Pi, in addition to most of the popular competitors. You can search my site for tons of articles on these experiences.

One thing that is almost universally true (at least as of 2019) is that the most common system boot device is a microSD card. SD cards in general have performance characteristics that pale in comparison to faster devices, like NVMe SSDs, eMMC, and XQD or CFexpress.

Moving on, aka 'New job, 2019 edition'

Since 2014, I've been working for Acquia, doing some fun work with a great team in Professional Services. I started out managing some huge Drupal site builds for Acquia clients, and ended up devoting all my time for the past couple years to some major infrastructure projects, diving deeper into operations work, Ansible, AWS, Docker, and Kubernetes in production.

In that same time period, I began work on my second book, Ansible for Kubernetes, but have not had the dedicated time to get too deep into writing—especially now that I have three young kids. When I started writing Ansible for DevOps, I had one newborn!

Follow logs from multiple K8s Pods in a Deployment, ReplicaSet, etc.

For production applications running in containerized infrastructure (e.g. Kubernetes, ECS, Docker Swarm, etc.)—and even for more traditional infrastructure with multiple application servers (for horizontal scalability), it is important to have centralized, persistent logging of some sort or another.

Some services like the ELK/EFK stack, SumoLogic, and Splunk offer a robust feature set for full text searching, filtering, and 'log intelligence'. On the other end of the spectrum, you can use a simple aggregator like rsyslogd or CloudWatch Logs without a fancy system on top if you just need basic central log storage.

But when I'm debugging something in a Kubernetes cluster—especially something like an internal service which I may not want to have logging everything to a central logging system (for cost or performance reasons)—it's often helpful to see all the logs from all pods in a Deployment or Replication Controller at the same time.

You can always stream logs from a single Pod with the command:

Photos from 2019 Priesthood Ordination Mass for the Archdiocese of St. Louis

Earlier today, I was honored to be able to join in the celebration of the ordination of seven new priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I was asked by the class to photograph their special event, and as I have done for many years, I gladly accepted and used the occasion to rent some new photography gear—this year I supplemented my Nikon D750 and F-mount lenses with a:

  • Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera
  • Nikon 35mm f/1.8 S lens (Z-mount)
  • Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art lens (F-mount)

This was also the first year I kept my two workhorse zoom lenses (24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8) in the bag, and shot exclusively with prime lenses. I've often considered doing this, but only recently realized there was a good prime between 105mm and 200mm that I could rely on for the shots where the Archbishop interacts with the ordinands, for example, the Laying on of Hands:

Laying on of Hands - Archbishop Carlson

DrupalCon Seattle 2019 is a wrap! It's all about the people

I'm on the flight home from this year's North American DrupalCon. Couldn't sleep, so thought I'd jot down a few words after a great experience in Seattle.

Last year, some remember seeing me walking the halls in Nashville akin to a zombie. But not the hungry, flesh-eating kind... more like the thin, scraggly, zoned-out kind. Last year my health was very poor. I went to DrupalCon mostly because it was the first DrupalCon within driving distance of St. Louis since DrupalCon Chicago several years ago. In hindsight it might not have been the best idea, and I had to skip a number of events due to my health.

Since that time, I experienced a grueling surgery and recovery, and learned to live with my new friend, the stoma. (Warning: scatalogical humor ahead—hey, it's my coping mechanism!).

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