Everything Changes… sometimes!

A slightly different post from me today. Less technical and more reflective. My wife was clearing out the garage today and brought in a large pile of books I hadn’t seen in a long time. Two caught my eye for very different reasons.

Programming Amazon Web Services

My copy is a First Edition, printed in March 2008. I always consider myself as an early adopter of AWS. At the time I worked for a small company with small if not non existent IT budget. AWS was a revelation! I could spin up a server, try out a technology and pay by the hour!? It’s difficult to explain to someone new to IT just how big a shift this was. Although we were a small business one of our customers was a Very Large Company. They had big IT teams and large budgets. Around this time they were moving their ecommerce platform to an IBM product called Websphere. This meant they had to install a server at our building to run a messaging platform called MQ. I can’t remember the exact process but I know from the time of ordering the server to having it installed took 3 Months!! 3 Months I had to wait before I could pull a test message off a queue and write my integration.

I’d been playing with AWS for a little while prior to this and when I suggested we use something like SQS I pretty much got laughed out of the room. Even the suggestion was crazy and unfathomable for them.

Fast forward to now and that Very Large Company are world leaders in ‘Cloud’ technology and give talks at conferences about their ‘transformation’. I guess I was a little early on that one.

We as an industry have come a long way. AWS at the time had 5 (S3, EC2, SQS, FPS and SimpleDB) main services and it was possible to write a 500 page book about them. Nowadays the number of services has risen to 150+ and all services continue to grow in terms of functionality and depth. They are a great example of how this industry is always changing…

Linux in a Nutshell

My copy is a 5th Edition published in July 2005. I can see the first edition came out in January 1997.

Leafing through this book it’s incredible how well Linux has stood the test of time. Loads of the Chapters are still relevant today.

  • System and Networking
  • Linux Commands
  • Bash Shell
  • Vi and Vim Editors
  • Package Management

Someone new to technology could read this book and use it to great effect with the latest version of Ubuntu. A lot of the linux commands outlined are still fit for purpose and haven’t changed. Vi and Vim are still used by thousand of people today to write code. Networking (DNS, TCP etc) are still useful to know.

A lot of this stuff has been abstracted away from us now but I still have lots of occasions where these things come in useful. Linux has become a foundation of all the stuff we build today. Working high up in the stack is amazing but I think it’s great if we can have an appreciation of what’s going on underneath.