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Self-publishing and the 2nd edition of Ansible for DevOps

Five years, 834 commits, and 24 major revisions later, I've just published the 2nd edition of Ansible for DevOps, a book which has now sold over 60,000 copies and spawned a popular free Ansible 101 video series on YouTube.

Ansible for DevOps, 2nd Edition - Cover

Making good on my promise to make the ebook updates free, forever, I've published a new revision of the book at least once a quarter since I published the first revision (version 0.42) on LeanPub in 2014, and the second edition begins the 2.x series of book revisions.

The book covers the basics of managing Linux servers, then dives deeper into continuous integration, application deployments, container image management, and even Kubernetes cluster management with Ansible.

The fastest USB storage options for Raspberry Pi

For years, I've been maintaining benchmarks for microSD cards on the Raspberry Pi, but I only spent a little time testing external USB storage, due to historic limitations with the Pi's USB 2.0 bus.

But the Pi 4 cleared away the limitations with a full-speed USB 3.0 bus offering much better performance, so I've done a lot of testing with USB boot, and with all the USB SSDs I had at my disposal. You can see some of those results in this blog post and video on booting a Pi 4 via USB.

After posting my tests concerning UASP support in USB SATA adapters, I got an email from Rob Logan mentioning the performance of some other types of drives he had with him. And he even offered to ship a few drives to me for comparisons!

There's also a video that accompanies this blog post, for the more visually-inclined:

Raspberry Pi Cluster Episode 6 - Turing Pi Review

A few months ago, in the 'before times', I noticed this post on Hacker News mentioning the Turing Pi, a 'Plug & Play Raspberry Pi Cluster' that sits on your desk.

It caught my attention because I've been running my own old-fashioned 'Raspberry Pi Dramble' cluster since 2015.

Raspberry Pi Dramble Cluster with Sticker - 2019 PoE Edition

So today, I'm wrapping up my Raspberry Pi Cluster series with my thoughts about the Turing Pi that I used to build a 7-node Kubernetes cluster.

Video version of this post

This blog post has a companion video embedded below:

I replaced my office lights to get better video

Note: This blog post has an accompanying video: I replaced my office lights for better video quality.

Jeff holding overhead light in office

Earlier this year, I started recording more videos and doing live streams in my office. Originally I just used a webcam, a Logitech C920.

Jeff - Webcam C920 Before

This is a frame of video from that webcam. It's adequate, but not too flattering, and you can see there's a lot of contrast where one side of my face is bright and blown out, and the other side is 'muddy' or 'flat'.

The Pi 4 Compute Module might support NVMe storage

There is a companion video to this post: Is fast NVMe storage coming to the Raspberry Pi?.

A couple days ago, Tom's Hardware posted an article stating NVMe support might be coming to the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

On the first episode of The Pi Cast, Eben Upton, the CEO of Raspberry Pi, said "microSD will always be the baseline for storage", but "it's fairly likely we'll support NVMe soon on the Compute Module 4, to some degree, using single-lane PCI Express." (Skip to about 11 minutes into the video for the NVMe discussion).

He also said NVMe support is not without cost, since there's an extra connector silicon required. And with the System on a Chip used in the Pi 4, there's also a tradeoff involved: There's only one PCIe 1x lane, and it's currently used for the Pi 4's USB 3.0. If you want to add NVMe support, you'd have to drop the USB 3.0 ports.

Transition from blogging to YouTube - my experience

Reading a Hacker News post linked to a YouTube video yesterday, I spotted this comment by user tomerico:

I think [Shane Wighton's Stuff Made Here YouTube channel] illustrates well the transition from personal blogs to youtube videos.

If you go to his projects blog, https://shane.engineer/ you could see very detailed blog posts in the past that go deeply into the engineering, including code snippets. However, he only really go traction when starting to publish youtube videos, specifically youtube video with a clickbait subject (such as a self aiming basketball hoop).

What YouTube provides is a highly competitive environment that provides creators with constant feedback. This allowed him to identify and his niche as he uploaded more videos. With YouTube, the exposure these projects receive is orders of magnitude higher, while empowering its creators to be self sustainable with ads (and sponsors, patreon, and merch) revenue.