Moved from Apple to Infinitybook a.k.a Tuxedo a.k.a Ubuntu

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I have been using a Mac for over 7 years now and I have used about 3 Mac's where the 3rd one is still working fine. But I have kids at home and they feed food to it and because of that the keys on my Mac are out of order. So it was time for me to have some privacy and get one machine for myself.

Looking around the latest iteration of the Mac Book Pro 13", the configuration that I could get for the money and more importantly what I will be doing with it actually got me into thinking if I ever need a Mac at all? So I listed down my usual usage: 1. Browsing 2. Software Engineering (Running application servers, Kubernetes, Docker images etc.,) 3. Occasional photo editing 4. Skype calls

So given those needs above, I realized that a Mac is a bit pricey. So I started to search for alternatives. I could not tolerate a Windows machine, so the only option was to go for a Linux installed device. Fortunately, there are possibilities today to order one such Linux machine and run it out of the box. Yes, it is from Tuxedo computers. I purchased one of their business Laptops the TUXEDO InfinityBook S 14 v5. You can customize the hardware and I maxed out on the RAM as I know this is where my maximum needs are. It came fully pre-installed with their Ubuntu distro and they call it the "Tuxedo_OS 20.04 LTS 64 Bit" which is basically a Ubuntu Linux. Since it is LTS, it is guaranteed to receive updates for the next 5 years.

It took about 5 business days for the machine to reach me and I have it now with me. So far, I really do not miss my Mac Book Pro. This machine is wonderful. What is astounding for me is the battery life. I get about 12 to 13 hours of battery life with some moderate usage (videos, browsing, terminal, docker containers etc.,). I'm pretty much satisfied with this as it just costed me 1/3 of the price for a similarly spec'd Mac Book Pro.

A quick review of the machine: 1. The chassis feels flimsy, not sure if it is truly military grade as mentioned in the website from Tuxedo 2. The Audio quality is poor and the video is kind of Okay. But for the intended purpose of this machine, I'm fine with this! 3. It is very slender and light in weight. I like that 4. The fan is silent and could not be heard under load 5. Budgie desktop is pleasing to use and set up 6. Keys have a nice reflex and it really inviting to type, but the keys could have been a bit bigger in size

CI for Kubernetes resources

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Recently I have been exploring more around the Kubernetes tooling, especially the ones that can do some pre-validation on the schema and the state of my Kubernetes deployment resources or more precisely the YAML files.

I came across a few of them like conftest, kubeval etc and a wrapper around such set of tools like the kube-tools project which can be used as a GitHub Actions in your GitHub project.

So basically what I did was to try this out on one of my projects that I have on my GitHub, the plant-simulator-deployment which contains the Kuebrnetes resurces to run the plant-simulator application in a Kubernetes cluster.

Since I'm using GitOps for managing my deployments to the production cluster, I wanted to be sure that the YAML files that I write are indeed valid both in terms of the schema (Kubeval) and in terms of the state (Conftest). What I want is some kind of CI, test and a failure mechanism that would prevent any invalid YAML files getting pushed into the master branch because as soon as anything lands on the master, GitOops kicks in and deploys it immediately. So I need to be sure to fail such deployments in case any of my YAML file in invalid. How do I do this?

So here is basically my approach: 1. Under your project repo in GitHub, under Settings / Branches, create a new "Branch protection rule". In our case, we want to protect the master branch as this is the one GitOps looks for!

2. I create a status check to pass before the changes from a feature branch be merged into master (as seen in the screenshot below)

3. To test if this works, I intentionally introduced an error in one of my YAML files and you can see below that it was caught by GitHub Actions:

4. Now I issue a pull request from this branch into master and you can now see from the screenshot below that the YAML validation failure shows up. So the guy who would do this merge / pull request would not merge it into the master! This is what we want!

My journey thus far with learning to play the guitar

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I remember my interest to play the guitar started in the year 2012 and without any hesitation, I went and purchased my first ever electric guitar, the Ibanez GSA 60 and a small Marshall amplifier. I'm not sure at that point in time if it was the right decision to start with an electric guitar but as I recollect, I don't think I made any significant progress with it. I was even struggling to play the basic chord shapes. This deterred me from playing the guitar. The Ibanez mostly saw its life being on the shelf. Every now and then I would just pick her up and try to learn something or the other, but never made any significant progress.

Fast forward to 2015, my interest to learn the guitar got even stronger and I decided to take some private lessons. This was the time that I made two serious mistakes. One is to buy a very cheap beginner acoustic guitar and two to get some private lessons. I did those private lessons for about 6 months and I realised it was not worth it. May be the teacher did not have any experience teaching beginners like me. The class and the lessons were not structured. No theory, no chords! It was pure waste of time and money. This experience again put me off in making any progress with my guitar learning!

Fast forward to 2017, I again made an attempt to learn the chords, but before playing anything on the guitar, I watched tons and tons of videos and I realised that I should have a nice decent enough guitar that would invite me to play. After doing some research, I nailed down that I need to get the Seagull S6 Original. It was not available in stock here in Germany. I placed an order at the Music store in Köln sometime around September 2017 and waited and waited until it was almost a year, the answer from the store was that the stock did not arrive. When I ordered it, it was retailing for a price of about 419 Euros, but I got pissed off waiting for it and hence I went ahead and got my first ever proper acoustic guitar from Taylor, the Taylor 114e in November 2018 I guess. It was pricier than the Seagull, but in the end it was definitely worth it. Taylor 114e and Justin Guitar helped me to be comfortable with playing most of the open chord shapes, change chords, strumming patterns, play a few songs. Overall I did make some considerable progress.

I went back to Youtube, watched tons more of videos and I got interested in playing blues music. The more I watched those videos, the more I wanted to play blues. I decided that I need a quality electric guitar. I first tried to learn blues with my Ibanez GSA 60, but I somehow did not like the tone that came out of it and it was for me pretty limiting. Remember I'm not a complete beginner anymore. I would call myself as an advanced beginner. So I decided that I need some quality instrument that I can have forever. I sold the Ibanez and started to do some research.

Sometime around November 2019, I narrowed down to two of the famous iconic electric guitar models - The Les Paul and the Stratocaster. I went back to Youtube to understand the tonal differences between the two, watched tons and tons of videos, understood what the different pickups mean, humbucker vs single coil... and you know!

I almost decided to get the Les Paul Studio, but after learning about the Fender Strat and making a few visits to the Music store in Köln and trying out both of these icons, I ended up getting the Fender Stratocaster Performer with the HSS configuration, yes in the sunburst color. No regrets, I made the right decision. I also got the Yamaha THR 10 V2 amplifier which made a killer combo with my Strat!

I started to learn the pentatonic scale shapes, practiced them up and down and made myself comfortable playing it faster. But then I realised that I'm stuck within this one shape, so I wanted to understand how I could move left and right, up and down the neck which is what I'm learning right now. I did make some progress, but I still have a long long way to go and I have made playing the guitar a regular routine these days.

So my verdict is, if you are interested in learning to play the guitar, my suggestion is to go and get a decent enough instrument that makes you feel to pick it up and play. If you can afford it, I would strongly recommend to get an American made guitar, Fender it is!

You've got to pick the right pick

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This post is just for me as a reminder on the kind of guitar picks that I have come to terms with. I started with Dunlop Tortex picks, precisely speaking I started with the one that had 0.46mm thickness. Being a beginner to playing the guitar, those thin picks were really comfortable for me when strumming and picking. But as you learn and become familiar with some chords, strumming patters etc., those thin picks limit your speed. So I was on the lookout for some better guitar picks and I tried a few of them until I found one that was insanely comfortable to use, would not limit my speed.

Yes, it is the well known Jazz III picks from Dunlop. With this I also went thicker. So I do not use anything less than 0.73mm these days.

The verdict - I would recommend these picks to anyone that needs something reliable pick and something that would assist you with your learning!