Why I left my new MacBook for a $250 Chromebook

Why I left my new MacBook for a $250 Chromebook” is a nice write up of a new Chromebook user.  Even though I don’t own a MacBook (or any Mac products for that matter), I have been considering a Chromebook for a while now too.

My biggest concern is obviously programming and system administration tools – editors, terminals, remote access, etc.  But it’s getting there.

Apart from the experiences and wishlists, I found these two links useful:

How fast has computing become?

Jeff Atwood has an excellent blog post, about the increase in computing powers of the modern CPUs and GPUs and the affects of those on things around us.  In particular – games such as chess and Go, and password cracking.

Every time you see a new video card release, don’t think “slightly nicer looking games” think “wow, hash cracking and AI just got 2× faster … again!”

Fascinating read!

Ice Orb Levitating Speaker

Ducks freaked out by Ice Orb #gadget #toys #geek #music

A photo posted by Leonid Mamchenkov (@mamchenkov) on

I’ve got a slightly delayed birthday present today, from a good friend of mine.  Ice Orb levitating speaker is a Bluetooth speaker with a twist.  It comes with a base, which, when switched on, makes the speaker levitate over it.  It just hangs in the air, no strings attached.  Or a USB cable attached, if you want to charge it.  Coupled with a few blue LEDs, it makes quite an impression.  The future is here, ladies and gentlemen.  We live in the world of science fiction.

Here’s the video of this thing in action:

Upgrading Amazon EC2 instance type

By now everybody knows that one of the major benefits to using cloud services rather than hosting on your own hardware is the ease to scale quickly.  Many web applications and large companies benefit from this, but what about smaller customers?  How about a single server?

Well, today one of our web servers was experiencing some pick loads.  It hosts a whole array of small websites built with WordPress, CakePHP, and other popular tools.  There was no time to update all these projects to work with multiple web servers.  And even redeploying them to multiple individual servers would have taken a few hours.  Instead, we’ve decided to upgrade the server hardware.

Pause for a second and imagine the situation with your own server.  Or a dedicated hosting account for that matter.  So much to configure.  So much to backup and restore.  So much to test.

Here’s how to do it, if your projects are on the Amazon EC2 instance (our was also inside a virtual private cloud (VPC), but even if it wasn’t, the difference would be insignificant):

  1. Login to the Amazon AWS console.
  2. Navigate to the Amazon EC2 section.
  3. Click on Instances in the left sidebar.
  4. Click on the instance that you want to upgrade in the list of your instances.
  5. Click Actions -> Instance State -> Stop.
  6. Wait a few seconds for the instance to stop.  You can use the Refresh button to update the list.
  7. (While your instance is still selected in the list of instances:) Click Actions -> Instance Settings -> Change Instance Type.
  8. In the popup window that appeared, select an Instance Type that you want.
  9. Click Apply.
  10. Click Actions -> Instance State -> Start.
  11. Wait a few seconds for the instance to start.
  12. Enjoy!

The whole process literally takes under two minutes.  You get exactly the same configuration – hostname, IP addresses (both internal and external), mounted EBS volumes, all your OS configuration, etc.  It’s practically a reboot of your machine. But into a different hardware configuration (CPU/RAM).

Coincidentally, earlier this morning I had to pack up a rack-mountable server – screws, cables, dusty boxes, the whole shebang.  It’s been a while since I’ve done that last time.

Another day in the office #work #cables #sysadmin

A photo posted by Leonid Mamchenkov (@mamchenkov) on

But I can tell you that I much prefer clicking a few buttons and moving on with my day.  Maybe I’m just not the hardware type.

Hard working #selfie #me #work #office

A photo posted by Leonid Mamchenkov (@mamchenkov) on


2016 will be the year of the ARM laptop

Slashdot links to the story that quotes Linus Torvalds’ address of the LinuxCon 2015:

“2016 will be the year of the ARM laptop”

For those who’s rusty on the CPU hardware side, he’s a very easy to follow article, describing the key difference between ARM and x86 architectures.