Letter to Gavin

My previous letter can be found here.

So still waiting on a decent internet connection, still being fobbed off, still burning through my 4G data allowance to live life in a modern web based world.

So I’ve sent another letter to Gavin Patterson.  As I mention in the email I’ve been updated of the situation, but the update has been “no you can’t have a usable internet connection even though the planning permission for the estate was granted in 2010 and we’ve had nearly six years to upgrade our systems”

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Letter to Gavin

So since moving in January I’ve been trying to get a decent internet connection installed.

In a bid to get things sorted I ended up emailing Gavin Patterson as the CEO of BT on the 9th March when I felt that I wasn’t getting anywhere in spite of my complaints being escalated to UK based team:

Gavin,

Hope you are well. It has been suggested that I contact you in order to try and resolve an issue with getting FTTP installed into a new build in the Horsham area.

Put simply I’ve been told a number of different things by various people within BT around when I might and might not get FTTP, I’ve had three orders create, and cancelled for various reasons and as an interim measure been provided with a copper broadband connection that is slower than the modem I had 20 years ago. When I looked to move to the house I purchased I checked on your site and as an existing customer to see what sort of internet connection I might get. I work in IT and having a fast and reliable connection is not just useful for my livelihood, it is pretty much a requirement to be a member of society in the UK. I’ve been told that the estate I’m on is prewired with optical fibre to each house so clearly you must have done some level of capacity planning so to be told that it’s not available, there is no capacity, or that I’m getting FTTP installed next week depending on who I speak to and what time of day it is has become a somewhat frustrating experience, the right hand, doesn’t appear to know what the left hand is up to.

I originally placed my order on the 11th January 2016 and as yet still have no install date, or idea from your company when I might have a useable internet connection.

I’m pretty frustrated to have been informed today that the order I was told would be completing on the 17th March with a fibre install is now not going ahead, and that no one within BT appears to know if I can get an FTTP connection or not. Please can you escalate this to your complaints team and respond back telling me how this is going to be resolved and by when, something that everyone else in your company appears to be completely unable to do.

Regards
David Smith

Jenkins and SCM Sync

So if you plan on scaling out Jenkins with slaves and the like you’ll probably want to ensure your configuration is kept someone secure, handily there’s a plugin for that.

Jenkins SCM Sync – which to be fair I have a bit of a love hate relationship with and since building up a new Jenkins server last week hasn’t got any better, the config loaded in fine, but then would error on every save / change.

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AWS and a bit of Slack

So now that we’re able to have code deploying into AWS and notifications from Jenkins into Slack it would make sense if we could check what’s happening with Elastic Beanstalk when the code is deployed (and also get a heads up of any issues with our environments.)

So Lambda and SNS to the rescue, here’s what you need:

This post about Lambda and SNS as well as this updated code, which gets a mention in the comments.

Amazon Web Services (Jenkins)

Right so we have our handy services Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with access via OpenVPN (and the awesome Viscosity OSX VPN Client) now we need to start adding useful things into it.

(See this blog post for info)

For me the next step was looking at how we could automate deployments using our own tool chain, part of the reason we are looking at AWS is to get a bit more flexibility and also the benefits of greater automation.  We’ve already had success using BitBucket -> Codeship -> Heroku as a work flow to make our code visible and available in readily shareable environment, and it took < 5 minutes to get it up and running ;-)

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Auto Start / Stop servers FTW

So one of the things I’ve always liked about AWS^WCloud based services is the ability to just spin up development instances and use them, however I’m generally working for between 8 – 10 hours a day and not so often at weekends, but during those hours my servers are running and not doing much, BUT as they are racking up costs (ok so not too much for a t1.micro but the point still stands) and I knew of companies shutting down unused servers during the night and weekends and thought I should give that a go.

So the first attempt at this uses a scheduled data pipeline to run an AWSCLI command to either stop or start servers, sadly due to the lack of complexity in the scheduler in the console (please AWS just put in a text box so I can add in a crontab line) the servers get started and stopped at weekends too, but I’ve now reduced the daily uptime by 14 hours a day, 98 hours a week or 5096 hours a year (you get the point)

And to do this took 10 minutes thanks to this handy tutorial provided by AWS.

Amazon Web Services (VPC + NAT + OpenVPN)

So in the process of setting up a few bits and pieces on AWS and the first area (well second after a couple of quick deploys using Elastic Beanstalk) is to get a Jenkins server up and running.

So I’m looking to deploy the Jenkins box within a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to block off access to Jenkins and also any test slaves it will eventually spin up.  To ensure smooth access into the VPC I’m using OpenVPN.  First step is use the VPC wizard to create the basics, I went with the “VPC with Public and Private Subnets” as this handily creates the NAT Gateway box to allow servers inside the VPC to access the interwebs.

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Quadtastic

So recently I ended up involved with a project where we were looking to build a drone of some kind, the people involved were smart and watching one of the quadcopters being flown using first person view (FPV) goggles got me really interested…

…and now here I am trying to learn to fly my quadcopter.

The building side of it was relatively easy, and I’ve already got some thoughts on how to improve the current drone. Firstly by cutting out a load of wiring from the battery to the ESC loom I used, and also adding in some tail LEDs, the latter will hopefully make it easier to keep track of orientation when I’m flying it without using the goggles.

Now it’s a case of practicing the flying and always ensuring I have a stash of spare (balanced) props.