Category Archives: Personal

Creating Hyper-V VM with Ubuntu Server

I’ve recently decided to learn a bit about Ubuntu and going to do some project based on this platform, hence this little post describing how to create Ubuntu Server Hyper-V VM.

First of all, you need to download latest Ubuntu Server installation media from here, selecting between LTS (Long Term Support) and regular version:

LTS version is more tested and enterprise focused version which is released every 2 years and has 5 years support cycle.

Once you have installation media you just need to create Hyper-V VM allocating desired quantity of resources to it (note that this OS has quite humble minimum requirements) and make your VM Generation choice.

Despite the fact that process of creating VM is more or less the same for any OS I decided to write down all the steps involved into setting up Ubuntu Server VM.

You can follow these steps to create your own Hyper-V VM with Ubuntu Server OS. Right click on your Hyper-V host and select New > Virtual Machine:

Just click Next on Before You Begin page:

Specify name and location for your VM (be sure to specify your preferred VMs folder, VM specific subfolder will be created automatically based on VM name you type in):

Select Generation of your VM (note this cannot be changed once VM is created):

I wanted Generation 2 VM so I’ve selected this option (refer to MSFT documentation for information on choosing VM generation). Note that for Ubuntu VM you need to disable secure boot feature which will be enabled by default on Generation 2 VM.

Assign desired amount of memory and decide whether Dynamic Memory should be used:

Select virtual switch:

Adjust VHD settings if necessary:

Specify path to Ubunto ISO file you downloaded earlier:

Review selection you made and click on Finish:

Disable Secure Boot before powering on your VM – otherwise your VM fail to boot (as per MSFT documentation: “some Linux virtual machines will not boot unless the secure boot option is disabled”):

And while you are still in VM properties I would recommend you to disable automatic checkpoints (unless you want to use them):

Once you start VM setup process will be initiated automatically:

You will need to select preferred language:

Then keyboard settings:

And next, select Install Ubuntu option:

Accept default network connections settings:

And leave your proxy settings empty (unless you are using proxy server):

Accept default archive mirror address and hit Done:

Accept defaults on filesystem setup (which will mean use entire disk for our installation):

Select disc or accept selection if you have just one:

Accept default filesystem settings on the next page:

Agree with formatting selected drive (data loss warning):

Specify profile settings and server name (note that only small letters accepted for server and user names – great example of explicitness which leaves no chance for you to grown up into proficient user thinking that some case insensitive objects are case sensitive – happens way too often in more thanks to some user friendly OSs):

Select whether you want to install OpenSSH server:

Select any additional packages you may want to install:

Wait till installation go through remaining steps:

Hit Reboot Now once installation completes:

Once VM reboot completes you will be prompted to remove installation medium and hit ENTER (Hyper-V should auto remove it for you):

Once reboot completes Ubuntu Server should start and meet you with credentials prompt:

Once you type in your login and password correctly you will be invited to enter commands (no GUI installed on Server version by default):

At this point I suggest you to shutdown VM with shutdown -P now command and make your baseline VM snapshot.

Last do couple of more things before we wrap off our VM setup process. Let’s first install updates using sudo apt-get update (to fetch the list of available updates) and sudo apt-get upgrade (to upgrade installed packages):

And last but not least, let’s add GUI to our server – for that just use sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop confirming that you want to continue on additional space usage requirement consent step. Once setup completes you need to reboot your VM and it will start in GUI mode:

After clicking on your user icon, type in your password and click Sign In:

You will be presented with What’s new in Ubuntu splash screen:

This concludes VM installation and configuration process. Stay tuned for the new posts as I’m going to keep using this VM and documenting installation and configuration of additional packages and other things.

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First blog post for 2019 + new K2 blog announcement

I guess I’m a bit late for writing posts of the “looking back at 2018” and “new year resolutions for 2019” type as through the relevant time period I was busy migrating my blog from premium shared hosting provider to cloud hosting. The reason for the move was former provider inflexibility with payment options (I was OK with high price tag but was not OK with their desire of receiving it all upfront). Migration process involved some silly mistakes and forced WordPress internals learning, but I finally managed to resolve all issues and get my blog up and running (now with HTTPS 🙂 ).

I also keep writing blog posts for StarWind Blog, and recent one was about SharePoint 2019 installation. But something which may qualify for bigger of my NY resolutions for 2019 is a new blog about K2 which I’m going to do completely in Spanish. I don’t plan to put huge amount of content there very fast and probably will be also translating some of my old K2 related posts into Spanish. You can already bookmark new site address – k2bpm.es and stay tuned for new posts which will arrive as soon as I write them 🙂

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Un mercenario al que pagas bien no te deja en la estacada

I haven’t been writing any language learning related blog posts for quite some time now. It is not because there is nothing to write about, on the contrary I have a lot of ideas big and small in language learning department, but I’m too busy with technology/work and other things.

Anyhow I’m very actively learn Spanish language and the moment, keeping on hold French and Afrikaans and postponing desire to learn other languages 🙂 I’m about to receive (unless I failed my exam) my DELE B1 certificate. Subjectively I can say that my writing capability still requires a lot of work as well as speaking lacks control of tense system though I can say a lot using limited amount of tenses and doing a lot of mistakes 🙂

My learning strategy includes loads of input from day-0 (listening, reading) and I’m currently reading “La carta esférica” by Arturo Pérez-Reverte and in this book I stumbled upon the following idiomatic expression – “dejar a alguien en la estacada”. Here is the passage from the book:

Además, siempre preferí contratar a asalariados eficientes antes que a voluntarios entusiastas… Un mercenario al que pagas bien no te deja en la estacada.

Pérez-Reverte, Arturo. La carta esférica (Spanish Edition) (Kindle Location 3386). Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial España. Kindle Edition.

So I decided to read up a bit on the phrase and below you may find what I learnt. Disclaimer: most of the post talks about etymologies of phrases/words and these are frequently contested, I  have to warn you that I didn’t do rigorous scientific check/verification and you are more than welcome do double check these theories. 🙂

I quickly found English equivalent for this expression – “to leave someone in the lurch”, and while meaning was clear both expressions required some extra checks in dictionary to understand where they came from. So basic modern meaning of both expressions is to abandon someone in difficult situation.

Let’s start from the Spanish one – “dejar a alguien en la estacada” if you are in a mood for definition of meaning in Spanish here you are – “La expresión ‘Dejar a alguien en la estacada’ es comúnmente utilizada para señalar cuando a una persona se la ha dejado abandonada a su suerte en una situación que podría ser peligrosa, apurada o de difícil solución, no brindándole la ayuda o auxilio que precisa” (source). But what is this “estacada” where our troubled person left? It actually comes from medieval jousting tournaments, martial game based on the military use of the lance by heavy cavalry.

Tournament between Henry II and Lorges, 16th century

Tournament between Henry II and Lorges, 16th century

Tournament field for this competition was fenced by “estacas” – wooden posts which formed sort of palisade and land within this fence was called “estacada” (tournament’s arena sort of). During tournaments, after competition was over only knight which felt from his horse (often heavily wounded) left on that land and victorious knight used to leave arena without helping or paying attention to one which stayed on the field. From this takes origin phrase “dejar a alguien en la estacada” which in modern language used to refer to “leaving someone in difficult or dangerous situation”.

What about English version? As you can see Spanish idiom has rather military origin and its English equivalent despite having similar meaning in modern usage has completely different origins. It also revolves around of the place where you left the troubled person – “lurch”. And honestly I had to look it up as I haven’t had an idea about what it could be. Dictionaries list number of meanings of which, knowing sense of the phrase, you may guess that one which we have in the phrase “to leave someone in the lurch” is this:

“a decisive defeat in which an opponent wins a game by more than double the defeated player’s score especially in cribbage

I also found interesting blog post which offers more interesting and fitting options for origins of lurch, such as:

1. Lurch is a noun that originated from lich – the Old English word for corpse. Lych-gates were the roofed churchyard entrances that adjoin many old English churches and are the appointed place for coffins to be left when waiting for the clergyman to arrive to conduct a funeral service. Hence ‘left in the lych/lurch’ supposed to mean “left in a quite difficult situation”…

Lychgate at the Church of St. James the Less, Philadelphia

Lychgate at the Church of St. James the Less, Philadelphia

2. Second theory states that jilted brides would be ‘left in the lurch’ when the errant bridegroom failed to appear for a wedding.

Those two seems to be apt/interesting yet only listed as suggested explanations with no evidence to support them.

And while most of the dictionaries link the lurch with losing/bad situation in cribbage aforementioned blog post mentioned above suggests that word/phrase “originates from the French board game of lourche or lurch, which was similar to backgammon and was last played in the 17th century (the rules having now been lost). Players suffered a lurch if they were left in a hopeless position from which they couldn’t win the game.” But again, looking at illustration they have there game board looks similar to the one for cribbage.

And after looking at both Spanish and English idioms which convey one idea yet have different origins I realized that both cribbage board and jousting tournament field have something in common…

Modern 120-hole cribbage board

Modern 120-hole cribbage board

Giovanni Ferri, Saracen joust in Piazza Navona in the 25th of February 1634 (Seventeenth century)

Giovanni Ferri, Saracen joust in Piazza Navona in the 25th of February 1634 (Seventeenth century)

Don’t you think?

Russian version anyone? If you interested in a Russian equivalent of “dejar a alguien en la estacada” / “leave someone in the lurch” I think it will be “бросить на произвол судьбы”, phrase which literal translation goes as “to leave someone to the arbitrariness of fate”… As you can see yet again completely different phrase to convey the same idea. Russian phrase centered around “fate” which is blind and not in a sense of unbiased Themis (known to Russian speakers as “Фемида” [Femida] and aka Justitia aka Lady Justice), but rather blind in its cruel arbitrariness. So to leave on  to the arbitrariness of fate would be leaving vulnerable person in really difficult situation.

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When code and operations collide :)

I’ve just seen CBT Nuggets video on YouTube entitled “How to Transition to DevOps” and though I cancelled their subscription quite some time ago it sparked my interest and made it very tempting to subscribe again (if only not my financial and time budget constraints).

I really like expressive quotes and explanations which use analogy and one from this video which I really liked can be found below. Along with some basic theory on what is and how to approach DevOps in this video Shawn Powers shows little demo which demonstrates how to use Chef recipe for configuration management, and next goes the following conclusion:

“…configuration automation is awesome example of how DevOps is kind of taking two different worlds the world of installing packages and uploading files and code which allows us to programmatically solve problems and put them together kind of like peanut butter and chocolate goes together to make a Reese’s Cup and it’s you know awesome it’s better than the sum of its parts…”

Nice. And I also need to try these Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups now even if it a bit violates healthy diet 🙂 Think it goes well with coffee and IT training videos (if consumed in limited amounts).

I just looked at DevOps courses available at CBT Nuggets at the moment and though it seems there is no DevOps overview/general course available so far they already have courses on specific tools (Puppet, Chef, Docker, Ansible).

 

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“Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun” – book review and some thoughts on product design

It has been a while since I written anything on my blog – was a bit busy. Then I decided to write a tiny review of this book but fell under the spell of Steven Sinofsky‘s long form write ups and as a result this tiny review turned into something too big and I was trying to finish it for way too long. I end up finishing this abruptly and  posting using truly Bill Gates’ approach of “get it out there, fix it later”, as sticking to “keep it secret till you make it perfect” Apple approach is way too difficult to adhere to. So if anything is wrong here I’ll edit it later 🙂

I’ve recently finished listening Audible’s audio-book “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun” by Paul M. Barret and it was so good that I can’t help writing (a bit) about it here on my blog. I have quite broad range of interests without allergy to go deeper in any number of narrow topics, so on my ever-growing to read/to listen list there are always very diverse books, with topics ranging from economics and linguistics to IT, to history and I never know what else.

From that vast array of topics two have special importance for me: philosophy and history. I just keep noticing that way too many people dismiss first as something you can read/listen only after smoking some weed (I almost quote one of my former school classmates here) and the second as something of a little value and relevancy to our present-day life. It makes me a tiny bit sad to see those disciplines neglected and grossly underestimated. Seriously, the negligence and ignorance about each of these domains is by itself a topic not for a blog post, but for an essay or even a whole book ? What could be more important to slow down and to think about “how do we think about things” and “what is worth to think about in the first place” along with “being acutely aware about what has been done and tried before you”? I hardly can name anything more important I think…

Anyhow getting back to the Glock book, it was one of those which just caught my attention somehow (back then I haven’t had any interest in guns beyond general vague subconscious man predisposition to all things military), and it then waited for something like 5 years before I decided to listen to it. Essentially as many of other books in my Audible wish list it landed there thanks to serendipity and maybe some clever Amazon recommendations algorithms.  And as it happens sometimes with the book turned out to be absolutely brilliant and it was just waited for the right time to be listened to (in this case it means some experience with pistol practical shooting and Glock pistol). Another example of the same random-perfect choice for me was “The Language Instinct – How the Mind Creates Language” book by Steven Pinker– this book too was sitting in my wish list for about 5 years and was added there instinctively, and despite I was interested in linguistics when I put it on my wish list, while it was sitting there I managed to learn a lot of stuff about the topic, took some Coursera courses which introduced me to some of the linguistics problems, and then I finally got around that book and it was just “wow” and “why I haven’t listened to it earlier” and “it is a book which eligible to re-read/re-listen many times”…

Looping back from randomly selected books and importance of history to the Glock book. It is one of those non-fiction books which introduce you to the history of the specific topic with great details, and I strongly believe when such books are written by informed person with keen interest to the topic, almost any topic can be really fascinating to dive in. In this case book has it all: history of engineering and enterprise, some political and cultural background, corporate rivalry and person/character evolution – there are so many facets covered in the book which make you understand a lot of things better (if you wish to) or merely enjoy fascinating unfolding of the great story (and as it often happens, true stories turn out to be way more exciting and unpredictable than most works of fiction). I won’t be writing coherent review of the book, but rather list some of my take-aways from it.

On good product. This book is in itself an example of good product design, where even a name (for informed person) designed to spark your interest and buy the book. I mean the title “The Rise of America’s Gun” combined with black Glock pistol on a white background should spark in you an interest as to how Austrian made pistol from old Europe can be an America’s gun, meaning a gun of a country where guns culture is a part of a nation´s psyche and where some other epic names used to reign supreme? Surely you know that gun which won the west? And it wasn’t Austrian one, right? So this book is artfully designed product about another good product which appeared out of nowhere (not exactly of course) and won the market which it possibly it never could have dreamed of, and it won it in a big way. But to understand how you need to know the history which will tell you that everything was important: right timing for entry to the market, a bit of luck, huge amount of controversial (but free for the company) publicity, importance of designing from scratch – good story about good product can teach you a lot about what is important for products, and this knowledge is transferable, meaning that it can be relevant not only to pistols design and manufacturing but, let’s say, for modern day software products or any other products. So I’ll just try to highlight some points from the book which show importance of learning from history and how it can be still relevant.

On engineering. Designing from scratch is something you should do to really innovate. And it does not mean you throw away history/what has been done before you – on the contrary you have to critically review with a pair of fresh eyes and then design from scratch. Before starting development of his gun Glock bought tested and disassembled number of popular guns available on the market:  and come to conclusion that all of them unnecessarily complex (too many parts).

What was really new for gun design is the following:

  • Pistol was designed for complete production on CNC (computer-controlled) tools = lower production cost. This was possible as Glock didn’t have an existing production plant and he was able to build one with this in mind
  • Pistol frame was made out of light, resilient, injection-molded plastic. And it is first commercially successful firearm which was designed with such material. Glock had begun learning about the material when he bought an injection-molding machine to make handles and sheaths for the military knives he produced in his garage. Glock hired former employees of a bankrupt camera manufacturer who brought advanced injection-molding and plastic-design skills. This allowed Glock pistol be remarkably strong and resistant to corrosion, a major problem with traditional steel guns. And light too. Bug main reasoning behind this design was getting savings on raw material and labor and distinct ergonomic advantages over gun cobbled together from blued steel and walnut. There were earlier attempts to use polymer frame which had not had any success due to design shortcomings (American Remington Nylon 66 rifle and the German Heckler & Koch VP70 pistol)
  • Glock worked with shooters and wooden pistol models on a early design stages to decide on grip-to-frame angle which allows to point gun “instinctively” – and initially it was defined as 22 degrees. Angle was a bit reduced later but up to now unconventional  grip-to-frame angle of Glock makes difficult to shooters to switch to any other pistol (majority uses other angle).

All established market players were all intheir product-market fit (PMF) stage – they just were to attached to their existing gun designs and in PMF stage your business is about extracting more money from existing product – there is neither time no motivation for building different/new product. It is not only “we always done it like that” and “we cannot do it differently” mindset it is also “we have not tools for that” syndrome.

Innovation through removing features. One thing which was crucial for this product is taken away an essential feature and throwing it away, transforming absence of this feature into feature in its own right. I haven’t done any research on this, but I bet external safety trigger was once innovative product feature and selling point for some other gun. We can see this rather a lot in software products (especially as they move to the cloud) – we gradually lose some features we can fiddle with but after a while embrace the increased simplicity and efficiency of that, and the same happens with hardware products (think of mobile phones and bold move of throwing away hardware keyboard).

So Glock was able to sell idea of removal of external safety trigger (though technically it has some sort of 3 step internal one, but from usability POV there is just a trigger and no safety trigger) – it was major selling point as it introduced simplicity of use.

Your strength is your weakness too. Book brilliantly illustrates problem of fit to market stage – old gun manufacturers were busy extracting money from existing product designs with no ability to change them. Unfortunately even zeal of product fans and legendary brand image stop supporting you if there is new better product addressing clients’ needs.

And it is not only syndrome that we did it like that all the time, so we can´t change it, it is also “we don’t have tools” syndrome.

On time to entry (to the market). Glock not only won contract for Austrian army he also been in time (without any plans of doing so) to address concerns of American law enforcement organizations which were prepared to embrace necessity of moving away from west beloved revolvers to different gun. There were reasons for those concerns, in particular incident known as 1986 FBI Miami shootout  which eventually lead to the process of searching for new gun for FBI (1987) and later for other law enforcement agencies. Long story short that incident show inability of revolvers to compete with semiautomatic weapon in the hands of professionals. 4 minutes of shooting, 8 FBI agents armed with revolvers and some shotguns VS 2 criminal, only one of them having Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic riffle which was sufficient to do suppressive fire.

On shaping client needs. Shape your client needs (Apple way) or at least talk to your clients early in design stage. Nobody asked for plastic pistol, and even once they get it some were to attached to their revolvers considering Glock an ugly gun – that has changed after it was adopted by professionals (publicity matters) and other shooters – then everybody discovered usability, efficiency and gun acquired its own cachet of best gun, instead of “ugly” people started to call its look “futuristic”… From ugly duckling to the pistol of the future.

On publicity. Publicity matters. Sometimes even not a very good one. Glock received a lot of free publicity on different occasions – congress hearing related to it being terrorist gun invisible for metal detectors and some completely irrelevant descriptions from Hollywood action movies which cemented gun presence in popular culture. Most of the publicity was free of charge and some was bad, but as Bill Gates used to say “whatever they say about us it is always better than not saying anything about us” (not 100% sure on exactness of quote but I believe it is something from MSFT early days).

Maybe someone still remember that epic description of non-existing Glock 7 in Die Hard movie too… The one where neither gun model nor single word in its description provided is true, but main thing that everybody talking about your brand and you are not paying for product placement ads.

On brand storytelling and company message. “Glock perfection” message and personal inventor/businessman legend was formed by some accidents, then supported, developed and shaped by company and its fans. At some point it just start living on its own. So if you as a business don’t have one you’d better work to have it early on and have it right – it may work for you later.

From humble beginnings to the arrogance of success. I believe the Glock as a product centered business is in its product-market fit (PMF) stage, but as it always the case with tangible and software-less product such periods are far longer than for any software or software-enabled/smart product. But still we may expect that somebody will come up with biometry based safety trigger totally blocking ability to fire the pistol to anyone but its legal owner or something that decrease complexity of a gun even more (we still have noise, moving parts and metal parts). But interestingly for Glock pistol and probably for most of the modern pistols in general, almost every remaining issue to address can be sold and believed by many people to be a feature they want to have and keep. Though in retrospect we may see that being big and cool looking, and surrounded by legends even, have not saved revolver(s) as a product – it was superseded by semi-automatic pistols and Glock had become just early entrant to the market which now enjoys status of perfect reputation and seemingly never ending PMF ?

If we look at the personal evolution of Gaston Glock we may also see that he is changed quite a lot from a timid engineer to more flamboyant person with different lifestyle and demands. But let personal things be personal.

On corporate intrigue and creative accounting. This book covers unsuccessful assassination and I would say that it adds to the overall story twists and dynamics you normally expect to see in fiction movies rather than in history books… Though one would say you can expect than when there guns and a lot of money going around… There is nothing funny when such things happen in real life but nonetheless the way it happened reminded me that fight scene from 2004 Punisher movie for some reason…

And just to conclude, or to address people who tend to scroll down and read final paragraph only: this is a fantastic book which can entertain (education and thinking is always optional nowadays) and contains some surprises and unexpected twists. For me it was really interesting to know more about Glock pistol and its business and development story. Just before I listened to this book I tried Glock 17 on a shooting range right after using heavier, larger caliber Tanfoglio Limited within the same training session and I should tell that now I know what features of the Glock explain my immediate results improvement.

P.S. Tanfoglio is a beautiful, high quality pistol, pleasant to hold but it is still an example of that harder trigger pull resistance and larger stopping power even in highest quality does not provide you with benefits of an easy and consistent results which you can get with light trigger (and light weight) pistol which just makes it easy (maybe even dangerously easy) to shot.

P.P.S. I can be wrong about trigger pool resistance though – geeks can read up some specs. Update May 2018: Recently I tried again both Glock 34 and CZ Shadow – and indeed CZ has super easy trigger if compared to Glock where you need to put more effort while pressing it because of “built in safety”.

P.P.S. For those who found this post strangely incongruous with normal topics of my blog posts be sure to wait for the next one about pottery (no it won’t be considered as something you can shot at 🙂 ). I’m really have plans for this post stay tuned.

Books mentioned in this post:

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