Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

Merging Two Git Repositories

Say you have two git repositories that you want to combine into one.

Maybe you’re assembling a monorepo, or maybe you’ve decided your standalone tool/library shouldn’t be standalone any more. Whatever the reason, you almost certainly don’t want to lose your commit history.

So here’s how:

GitLab - an Amazing Recovery

At around 23:30 on Tuesday 31st January 2017, a GitLab engineer deleted the data directory of their primary database instance.

What followed was one of the most open and brilliant incident responses I’ve ever seen; an inspirational example that many should aspire to.

Webcam Covers

I’m uncomfortable with my laptop camera pointing at me.

The point at which you’ve got enough access to control my camera, sure, I’ve kinda already lost. Things aren’t binary though; there’s value in harm mitigation, and there’s definitely value in things that make you feel better.

So I love these little stick-on webcam covers with a sliding screen (shameless Amazon referral link).

Make All Your Voice Chats Better With One Simple Rule

Doing voice chats well is hard. There’s the inevitable cable-fiddling and restarting and “can you hear me? I can hear you”. There’s the person trying to talk not realising they’re muted. There’s the person treating everyone else to the sounds of them drinking tea because they forgot to mute themselves.

There’s one simple straightforward rule you can stick to that will improve things massively though:

One person, one room, one headset

Intent Is Not Magic

In lots of discussions, people try to use intent as a defence: “that’s not what I/they meant so it’s ok”.

Words of Estimative Probability

Uncertainties are common, from “we’re almost certain this is the cause of the outage”, to “project X probably won’t finish before we need to start project Y”, and “the train will almost certainly be on time tomorrow”.

Broadly speaking, decision making consists of “get information, do a thing”, whether a structured framework like OODA (Observe/Orient vs Decide/Act) or “let’s get lunch – where’s good?”

Often, this involves multiple people – the person making a decision will rely on information and analysis from others. During an outage, an Incident Commander will be making decisions based on observations by Subject Matter Experts; a Project Owner is best placed to speak about the timeline of their project but resource allocation is done elsewhere; I am familiar with local public transport and my houseguests would like to know so that they can make plans.

From Wikipedia’s “Words of Estimative Probability”:


At the end of every year, I find myself looking back going “wow that was over fast, what on earth did I do with all that time, aargh!”

Thus in the spirit of one of my favourite articles, Always Improve, Never Stop, Never Pause, Never Appreciate, here’s some of what I did in 2016. Not necessarily “achievements”, not necessarily endorsements, but things I did that made me happy.

So, in no particular order:

Testing Out My Torches

Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation…

Yesterday at 1500 the power went out. Fortunately the turkey I was cooking came out of the oven an hour before, so the only real impact was a lack of Yorkshire puddings! After 14 hours, the fantastic team at UK Power Networks had us back up and running. Meanwhile, I got a chance to really test out the assorted battery-powered lights I keep around the house!