System monitoring: summoning the beast of a thousand eyes

a peacock, tail fully extended
Here's looking at you, kid

System monitoring. A pretty vital part of any network management. That is, unless you're one of the few who live for the visceral thrill of flying blind. For the rest of us partial to our lack of heart condition, an ounce of prevention is worth ten thousand gallons of Saturday morning intervention.

In this blog entry, I'll go through the exercise of putting together a simple but working and easily extensible system monitoring setup leveraging common pieces of technology.

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Announcing our TPC 2017 app!

TPC 2017
The Perl Conference 2017

Infinity loves Perl and we're happy to announce our involvement in The Perl Conference 2017. Infinity is proud to be a sponsor for the conference, and pleased to provide the Perl in a Day workshop by John "genehack" Anderson. Additionally, John is presenting his "A Modest Introduction to Swift" talk, and Jay Hannah is giving a talk on "Civic Hacking: TIF is millions of YOUR tax dollars". And one more thing… we're giving you a conference app on iOS and Android, to make it easier to browse the schedule on your mobile device!

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Analyzing a Fantasy

Some of the folks here at Infinity Interactive are avid players of fantasy sports, and this year, they convinced me to join their Fantasy Football league. Two months into the season, what started as a casual game has turned into a trip through a data analytics wonderland as well as what will hopefully be a recurring series of posts here looking at various aspects of the data analysis that I've been doing.

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YAPC::EU Recap

YAPC::EU is Europe's premier event for the Perl programming language. This year the conference was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, from August 24 through August 28. Infinity sent one of our developers, Sweth Chandramouli, to attend, and we asked him to give a quick recap of his experiences there.

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Announcing our YAPC::EU app!

If you’re part of the Perl community, you probably know how much Infinity loves Perl and Open Source. However, you may not know how much we also love Xamarin and mobile development -- but after you check out the new YAPC::EU::2016 app on iOS or Android we've put together, we hope you’ll appreciate how our love for Open Source is too big to be limited to just one language or platform.

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Git Mo' Meta: Easily Adding Meta Information to Git Branches

From time to time, it comes in handy to tie various types of information (ticket id, bug or feature, task owner, sprint information, deadline, etc.) against a branch. Often we can get away with just adding them to the branch name, but it can get ludicrous real fast. In those instances, 'bugfix/jira-613-sprintD-deadline20160523-by_yanick' just doesn't cut it.

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Herding Camels

They say that no man is an island. Likewise, no software runs in a void. Well, except maybe for Voyager's main control. But that's not the same. And beside the point.

So, as I was saying, no software runs in a void. There are dependencies to think about. And depending of where you are in the overall stack, those can come in two flavors. There are, obviously enough, the dependencies that you are using, and there are the reverse dependencies; the other pieces of software that depends on your own.

Fortunately, testing is a very deeply ingrained characteristic of the Perl world. Modules come with their test suites, and the ever-vigilant, ever-running CPANtesters ensures that if a new release of a CPAN module breaks tests of another, authors are more likely than not to learn about it rather quickly.

That's already mightily fine. But sometimes one needs more… custom arrangements. Recently I had such needs, and with the judicious use of already-existing tools I was able create a little setup that would not only allow me to test a selection of modules on my box, but also let me painlessly upgrade those modules when they'd change on CPAN.

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Bread::Board, part II: Beyond the DSL

Welcome to the second installment of our Bread::Board tutorials. In the previous article, we've covered what type of situation calls for Bread::Board, and we had a high-level overview of how to use it. In this installment, we'll begin to dig deeper into the inner workings of the framework. More specifically, we'll look beyond the DSL we used thus far for our examples, and learn how to manually create the underlying objects of a Bread::Board application.

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Perl 6 will be ready for production in 2015, according to Perl creator Larry Wall. At least, that's what he said during his FOSDEM 2015 talk. This news reminded me that it has been quite a while since I tried anything interesting with Perl 6. I decided to spend my weekend installing and playing with Rakudo, the primary Perl 6 implementation.

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II Does Training

Infinity Interactive is pleased to once again offer Perl training at this year's YAPC::NA! We will have three sessions, both before and after the conference itself. The pre-conference training is aimed at people new to Perl, while the post-conference training is aimed at people who already know Perl and are interested in more advanced topics.

These all-day sessions are taught by Infinity's eminent Perl experts and are offered at our special community rates.

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Spreadsheets as a data exchange format


When working with non-technical clients, often their preferred means of exchanging structured data is via spreadsheets. Using a custom tool is not always practical due to cost or training time constraints, and using a type of document that doesn't have its own standard editor (such as XML or JSON) will generally result in having to deal with malformed files on a regular basis, since these files are often edited by hand.

Excel is the only program for managing structured data that is widely used by both technical and non-technical people, and being able to leverage that structure can make the whole data exchange process much smoother, even though it can be frustrating at times.

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Picking a templating engine

Choosing a templating engine can be a difficult aspect of building a website. Designers need enough control over the structure and layout of the site to be able to refactor it without requiring any programming, while developers need to be able to easily insert data programmatically into the site. Finding the right balance between those needs isn't a trivial task, since it depends a lot on the makeup of your team.

The templating engines that exist span a wide range of organizational styles, from entirely developer-focused to entirely designer-focused, with all kinds of options in between. One of the options that has provided us with the best compromise between ease of use for developers and designers so far has been Handlebars.

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