What if I told you that you could create a API backend that didn’t require any code? Crazy right? Wrong!

When I run into a problem I can’t and the Google doesn’t have it, I document it for the next person.

Recently, RVM started using GNU Privacy Guard to sign releases (a good thing!). However, when I tried to upgrade to the a signed release, GPG failed with:

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gpg: public key of ultimately trusted key 00000000 not found

The gpg --check-trustdb and gpg --update-trustdb commands report the problem, but do not repair it.

A quickie today, renaming a bunch of files in the shell. Unix gives you million ways to do it, here are a few that will help you understand your tools better.

The word has come down, Uber is the new Awesome and our files must reflect this (management is behind the curve, but they pay the bills).

There’s one Ruby gem that make it into practically every Ruby project I write, my friend Ara’s Map. Really, it’s a coincidence that I know Ara, this gem speeds up development and I would be using it anyway.

To securely access your servers you use SSH keys. Passwords can be guessed, just look in your logs to see all the people trying. But, you know that. You’ve got one key to rule them all added to .ssh/authorized_keys on the servers you manage. You may have even disabled passwords altogether by setting:

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ChallengeResponseAuthentication no
PasswordAuthentication no
UsePAM no

in /etc/ssh/sshd_config

But, how many keys to you have?

So, you’re on a rescue project with some legacy code (and by “legacy” I almost always mean PHP). The old developer probably just FTP’ed changes up to the server. You could do the same, but frankly that fills me with dread. On a good day I don’t like deploys. What if something goes wrong?!?!?! To help me to relax, I use good tools that let me trust my deploy and allow me to rollback if something doesn’t work.

In a Rails project you’d get that security from Capistrano. Turns out that’s the right tool for you legacy project as well. Capistrano 2 had a few, easily addressed, Rails-centric tasks. However, Capistrano 3 is framework agnostic by default. (Am I implying PHP is a framework? No, I am not.)

While the fame and free cars are nice, the reason I blog is to learn, or, as in this case, to help me remember things.

I work across a number of distinct Rails projects that share a common ancestry. Often a bug fix or a new feature in one needs to be ported to (some of) the others.

Because projects all live in their own repos, the changes can not be merged using Git. No, this is a job for patches. And when it comes to patching with Git, there are two posts about the process I can not live without.

When patching, three Git commands that come into play, git format-patch, git apply, and the somewhat obscure git am.

I like iTerm 2 (and I can not lie). I use a Mac and spend most of my days in the terminal (and Emacs). When a window system first came into my life, it was X Windows. It’s terminal software, xterm, had a pair of features that are hardwired into me, copy on select and paste on middle button (though these days getting a decent middle button is a pain). OS X’s Terminal does not do either of these things, so it’s out.

Let’s look at another feature of I like iTerm 2. Normally, opening a new window or tab creates a new login in your home directory, exactly what you’d expect from a terminal program. However, you can choose instead to open a shell in the current directory, letting you add another window on whatever you are doing.

Previously, I wrote about backing up files to Dropbox with rsync. I automated the process with cron the ancient UNIX “time-based job scheduler”. While OS X ships with cron, newer versions of the operating system favor launchd. launchd is much more than a cron replacement, on OS X it also fills the rolls of init, init.d/rc.d scripts, and inetd. It can be told to watch for changes in directories or drives to be mounted and run processes when those events happen.

launchd is powerful, but it’s use of XML config files makes it overkill for simple tasks that can be handled by cron. However, if the task isn’t so simple…

This is a bit of a departure from my usual Ruby, Ops, and Security posts. However, recently I acquired a mostly completed RepRep 3D printer and wanted to document an issue I had to debug. One of the reasons I blog is to share the answers to problems for which the Google couldn’t find me an easy answer. And this problem was “Why does the y-axis stepper motor only move in one direction?”.