Run Ghost in Docker behind Nginx

To me installing and upgrading Ghost is way too hard. Using Docker it’s a little more manageable. Launching a Docker container with Ghost is easy - first you have to install Docker (I’m using Ubuntu).

Nginx cheatsheet

I good while back I wrote some stuff about Nginx on an internal wiki. At that time the company was converting from using Apache to Nginx and not everyone was up to speed. I dubbed the wiki entry the Nginx Cheatsheet. I recently unearthed this fine piece of writing and I’m re-posting it here so more people might benefit from the effort.

Using to issue Let's Encrypt certificates

Some time ago I wrote about how to use Let’s Encrypt certificates to get an A+ on the SSL Labs test. Back then the only way to obtain and manage certificates was CertBot. I always thought that solution made it a hassle to manage multiple certificates. My friend Jorijn brought to my attention, a new way to issue and manage Let’s Encrypt certificates. It was time for me to revisit the topic.


Some people know that I don’t really care what platform I’m on, as long as I have access to some sort of shell and a decent package manager. Because of that it’s constantly in the back of my mind that I should be able to move platforms at any given time. I don’t like lock-in, but sometimes there is no other option. One example of lock-in that I experience is my use of 1password, which lacks a native Linux client. If I were to switch to Linux tomorrow I would have to run 1password in Wine, or use it on the web, neither of which are ideal.

Managed hosting is dead

If you ever feel the need to run your own servers but you lack the skills or time to set up, manage and maintain all of that, you hire a managed hosting company. The managed hosting company will set up your server, configure it for you, install patches, and make sure everything keeps running. You pay them a montly fixed fee for the servers and a variable fee for the maintenance work. Sounds good so far.

Installing the AWS Cloudwatch Logs Agent on Ubuntu 16.04

Not only can AWS Cloudwatch alert you of problems with your resources, it can also store your log files and make them accesible in the AWS web interface. To make AWS Cloudwatch Logs work you’ll need to install a small agent on your EC2 instances. Currently AWS has support for CentOS, RHEL, Amazon Linux and Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04, among some other distributions.

The newest LTS version of Ubuntu, 16.04, isn’t on the list of supported versions yet. As Ubuntu switched to Systemd for their default init system you’ll run into some trouble getting the Cloudwatch Logs Agent service started.

No new hardware

The Mac side of the MacRumors buyers guide is a barren wasteland of old hardware. The only thing a sane person could possibly buy right now is a retina MacBook. Potential customers are filling up databases of internet forums with complaints of there not being a Skylake CPU in the MacBook Pro’s. Apple became laughing stock when they updated the Mac Pro in 2013 and neglecting the product afterwards.

Export and import AWS Cloudsearch data

AWS CloudSearch is a highly scalable and reliable solution to implement search in your application or website. You can feed your search data into the service and never have to worry about performance or in any way scaling it to fit your needs. AWS CloudSearch supports about 34 languages and features such as highlighting, autocomplete and geospatial search.

An A+ SSL setup using Nginx and Letsencrypt

Back in 2014 I wrote about getting an A+ on SSL Labs using StartSSL. Much has changed since then, for starters we can now use the awesome Letsencrypt to get our certificates.

Letsencrypt is completely free, just like StartSSL, but it will only give out certificates that are valid for 90 days. Luckily you can renew your certificate just as easily as creating one.

What do you do?

A series by my friend Sean Rozekrans about the future prompted me to reflect on who I’ve become, what I’m doing, and where I’m heading.

A question that comes up a lot is “what do you do exactly?”, and honestly I didn’t know for the longest time and I still have a hard time explaining it to people. So I guess this is sort of a therapy session to try and figure that out.