Interesting tech news today

The Wayback Machine (aka Internet Archive)

Watch a video on the history of the Internet Archive.

Massive Twitch hack

Source code and creator payouts part of massive hack.

Site Reliability Engineer Training

LinkedIn has open sourced their SRE online training materials. This is a wonderful gesture from LinkedIn.

It will be useful to both those wanting to enter the SRE field or learn more it. I think it is also a nice way to round out the fuzzy areas for practicing SREs. What I mean is that we all have areas we are domain experts in, and areas we can get by, but not comfortable with.

The following section is lifted verbatim from LinkedIn.

There is a vast amount of resources scattered throughout the web on what the roles and responsibilities of SREs are, how to monitor site health, production incidents, define SLO/SLI etc. But there are very few resources out there guiding someone on the basic skill sets one has to acquire as a beginner. Because of the lack of these resources, we felt that individuals have a tough time getting into open positions in the industry. We created the School Of SRE as a starting point for anyone wanting to build their career as an SRE.

In this course, we are focusing on building strong foundational skills. The course is structured in a way to provide more real life examples and how learning each of these topics can play an important role in day to day SRE life. Currently we are covering the following topics under the School Of SRE:

HOW-TO customize Grafana legend/label

A question that I’ve seen asked many time on the web is people asking how to shorten their Grafana legend/label.

E.g. using hostname as a legend will usually return the full FQDN, which can be too long if you have many hosts and make a mess of your panel.

standard legend using FQDN

Lots of searching show people having similar questions and a number of request for enhancements. In my case, there is a simple solution that work. Here is how.

Use the function label_replace(). So

rate(nginx_http_requests_total{instance=~"$instance", host="$host"}[5m])

turn into

label_replace(rate(nginx_http_requests_total{instance=~"$instance", host="$host"}[5m]), "hname", "$1", "instance", "(.*)")


And the legend format changed from

{{instance}}-{{status}}  to {{hname}}-{{status}}
Shorter legend

Learning from Operational mistakes

In the world of Ops, it’s always good to learn from mistakes. It’s not good enough that we solved a problem (*fix*), but we must also do a post-mortem to understand what went wrong (*root cause*), what can we do to prevent it in the future (*long term solution*).

I am of the opinion that long term solutions are preferred to short term fixes (hacks!). But long term solutions are not easy, they almost always require understanding the root cause, and that is not always obvious.

After any incidents, crisis, problems, whatever you want to call it, make sure you have a *blame-free* post-mortem. This is very important. We are not looking to blame anyone, we should be focusing on the root cause and how can it be prevented from happening again. Going into a post-mortem with the right mind-set also help make the process go much smoother. You will get better cooperation from involved parties. It’s a team effort, to improve everyone’s job.

The process should be something like this.

  • Assign an owner of the post-mortem process. Usually the lead engineer involved in the incident. That person is empowered to call for help from anyone needed.
  • Assign a specific time-frame for when the post-mortem must conclude by. You do not want to let it drag on. Let’s get it done and move on. Recommend no more than two weeks from date of incident.
  • Communicated what is expected of the post-mortem output.
    • When — Timeline of incidents
    • What — specific details of alerts, failures, etc.
    • Communications during the incidents — within team, with other teams, internal and external (customers, press).
    • Root Cause Analysis
    • Prevention
      • Training – better training
      • Monitoring – better monitoring (add monitor, alerts)
      • Failure detection – missed failures
      • SPOF – Single Point of Failure. Add redundancies. Re-architecture.
      • etc.

It’s good if we can learn from past mistakes. It is even better if we can learn from others’ mistakes!

Here is the start of a list of Operational mistakes published on the web. I will be adding more as I find them. Feel free to submit any that I missed. Thanks!



Very nice post from David Henke:

Differences between API Gateway and Service Mesh

Enjoyed reading this post

Intuitively, I knew they are different, but could not explain it as clearly as the above post.


Monitoring sendgrid with Elasticsearch

If you are using sendgrid as a service for your outbound email, you would want to monitor and be able to answer questions such as:

  • how much email are you sending
  • status of sent email – success, bounced, delayed, etc.
  • trends
  • etc.

We get questions all the time from $WORK customer support folks on whether an email sent to a customer got there (customer claimed they never got it).   There could be any number of reasons why customer do not see email sent from us.

  • our email is filtered into customer spam folder
  • email is reject/bounced by customer mail service
  • any number of network/server/services related errors between us and customer mail service
  • the email address customer provided is invalid (and email bounced)

If we have access to event logs from sendgrid, we would be able to quickly answer these types of questions.

Luckily sendgrid offers Event Webhook.

Verbatim quote from above link.

SendGrid’s Event Webhook will notify a URL of your choice via HTTP POST with information about events that occur as SendGrid processes your email. Common uses of this data are to remove unsubscribes, react to spam reports, determine unengaged recipients, identify bounced email addresses, or create advanced analytics of your email program. With Unique Arguments and Category parameters, you can insert dynamic data that will help build a sharp, clear image of your mailings.

Login to your sendgrid account and click on Mail Settings.

Then click on Event Notification


In HTTP Post URL, enter the DNS name of the service endpoint you are going to setup next.

For example, mine is (not a valid endpoint, but close enough):

Since I do not believe in re-inventing the wheel, Adly Abdullah has already written a simple sendgrid event listener (Note: this is my forked version, which works with ES 6.x).   This is a nodejs service.  You can install it via npm.

$ sudo npm install -g sendgrid-event-logger pm2

You want to install pm2 (nodejs Process Manager version 2).  Very nice nodejs process manager.

Next is to edit and configure sendgrid-event-logger (SEL for short).   If the default config works for you, then no need to do anything.  Check and make sure it is pointing to where your ES host is located (mine is running on the same instance, hence localhost).   I also left SEL listening on port 8080 as that is available on this instance.

$ cat /etc/sendgrid-event-logger.json
    "elasticsearch_host": "localhost:9200",
    "port": 8080,
    "use_basicauth": true,
    "basicauth": {
    "user": "sendgridlogger",
    "password": "KLJSDG(#@%@!gBigSecret"
"use_https": false,
    "https": {
        "key_file": "",
        "cert_file": ""
    "days_to_retain_log": 365

NOTE: I have use_https set to false because my nginx front-end is already using https.

Since SEL is listening on port 8080, you can run it as yourself.

$ pm2 start sendgrid-event-logger -i 0 --name "sendgrid-event-logger"

Verify that SEL is running.

$ pm2 show 0

Describing process with id 0 - name sendgrid-event-logger
│ status            │ online                                               │
│ name              │ sendgrid-event-logger                                │
│ restarts          │ 0                                                    │
│ uptime            │ 11m                                                  │
│ script path       │ /usr/bin/sendgrid-event-logger                       │
│ script args       │ N/A                                                  │
│ error log path    │ $HOME/.pm2/logs/sendgrid-event-logger-error-0.log    │
│ out log path      │ $HOME/.pm2/logs/sendgrid-event-logger-out-0.log      │
│ pid path          │ $HOME/.pm2/pids/          │
│ interpreter       │ node                                                 │
│ interpreter args  │ N/A                                                  │
│ script id         │ 0                                                    │
│ exec cwd          │ $HOME                                                │
│ exec mode         │ fork_mode                                            │
│ node.js version   │ 8.11.1                                               │
│ watch & reload .  │ ✘                                                    │
│ unstable restarts │ 0                                                    │
│ created at        │ 2018-02-14T23:36:06.705Z                             │
Code metrics value
│ Loop delay .    │ 0.68ms │
│ Active requests │ 0      │
│ Active handles  │ 4      │

I use nginx and here is my nginx config for SEL.

/etc/nginx/sites-available $ cat sendgrid-logger
upstream sendgrid_logger {

server {
  server_name slog;
  listen 443 ssl ;

  include snippets/ssl.conf;
  access_log /var/log/nginx/slog/access.log;
  error_log /var/log/nginx/slog/error.log;
  proxy_connect_timeout 5m;
  proxy_send_timeout 5m;
  proxy_read_timeout 5m;

  location / {
    proxy_pass http://sendgrid_logger;
$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/sendgrid-logger /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
$ sudo systemctl reload nginx

Make sure Sendgrid Event webhook is turned on and you should be seeing events coming in.   Check your Elasticsearch cluster for new indices.

$ curl -s localhost:9200/_cat/indices|grep mail
green open mail-2018.03.31 -g6Tw9b9RfqZnBVYLdrF-g 1 0 2967 0 1.4mb 1.4mb
green open mail-2018.03.28 GxTRx2PgR4yT5kiH0RKXrg 1 0 8673 0 4.2mb 4.2mb
green open mail-2018.04.06 2PO9YV1eS7eevZ1dfFrMGw 1 0 10216 0 4.9mb 4.9mb
green open mail-2018.04.11 _ZINqVPTSwW7b8wSgkTtTA 1 0 8774 0 4.3mb 4.3mb


Go to Kibana, setup index pattern.  In my case, it’s mail-*.  Go to Discover, select mail-* index pattern and play around.

Here is my simple report.  I see around 9am, something happened to cause a huge spike in mail events.


Next step is for you to create dashboards to fit your needs.



USB Ethernet Adapters for TiVo

USB Ethernet Adapters for TiVo


Here is a collected list of USB adapters I got from http://www.tivoco

I bought a cheap one (Farallon USB1.1 to ethernet) for $13 from Computer
Geek, and it worked great. Just plug-n-play 🙂

09/11/2005Got word from Antonio Carlos that a Linksys USB200M
works great.

06/17/2004 I’ve received feedback from Rob Clark
that a D-Link DSB-H3ETX (USB to enet adapter) also work.
He bought his locally for $15 and the link he sent is

Basically any USB-enet adapters that uses the Pegasus chipset should
work with Tivo as Linux has driver support for that chip.

3Com USB Ethernet 3C460B

USB 10/100 Fast Ethernet
USB HPNA/Ethernet

Accton USB 10/100 Ethernet Adapter
SpeedStream USB 10/100 Ethernet

ADMtek ADM8511 Pegasus II USB Ethernet
ADMtek AN986 Pegasus USB Ethernet (eval. board)

Allied Telesyn Int. AT-USB100

Belkin F5D5050 USB Ethernet

Billionton USB-100
Billionton USBE-100
Billionton USBEL-100
Billionton USBLP-100

iPAQ Networking 10/100 USB

Corega FEter USB-TX

D-Link DSB-650
D-Link DSB-650TX
D-Link DSB-650TX(PNA)

Elsa Micolink USB2Ethernet

Hawking UF100 10/100 Ethernet


Kingston KNU101TX Ethernet


Linksys USB100TX
Linksys USB10TX
Linksys USB Ethernet Adapter
Linksys USB USB10TX
Linksys USB100M
Linksys USB200M


SpeedStream USB 10/100 Ethernet

smartNIC 2 PnP Adapter

SMC 202 USB Ethernet

SOHOware NUB100 Ethernet

Tin “Tin Man” Le /

Tin’s Home…

Last Updated: $Date: 2003/08/19 04:32:49 $