What Is Your Epic Quest?


Anyone who’s spent more that a few minutes with me knows I’m obsessed productivity and metrics. So it’s no surprise that I try to apply the same approach I do to my life as I do to my code. Today I want to share one of my “hacks” for my personal life that came out of basic project planning.

The inspiration for this is heavily influenced by Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest of Awesome (by the way if you are a nerd and interested in fitness, please poke around his site for some awesome workouts.

What I’ve come up with is a very basic system using Emacs org-mode. I have also created a system to interpret the org-mode file and create a dashboard of sorts, that I can easily track my progress on various goals.

The key to this (for me at least) is that I use the same organization file for my “Epic” goals or my yearly goals as I do for my day to day tasks. This forces me to continually (and literally) keep an eye on the bigger picture. I do build in regular time during the week to take that “step back” but I find this helps me keep focused on that bigger picture.

Again, this is nothing grandiose just a little hack I’d like to share that might help to get you on your own Epic Quest. In a future post I will be going over the code and methods you can use to great your own progress dashboard on your Epic Quest of Awesome!

If you have any questions about my particular setup in org-mode or my status board, drop a comment. Thank you.

Go StatusBoard updated


A simple Go frontend to a json database. This is a simple “key store” that allows you to save statues of various services or objects. Updates are automatically timestamped. Contents of database and be dumped to a html file. “Success” and “Fail” status are considered “special” status and will be highlighted with green or red in the html output

New Feature

Added a new command “test” to take place of the cumbersome “if” statements I’ve been using in crontabs. This will allow you to specify a command and then update with a “success” or “failure” message depending on the return code.

Go Get It

Get the source: https://github.com/zpeters/GoStatusBoard

See the original post: A Status Board for your Crontab


Giving Something Back

I’ve been a long time user of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).  By many measures my IT career has been a brief blink of the eye (12 years this summer), but all along the way I’ve been a dedicated user of FOSS software.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt a rush of exhilaration when I’ve installed, setup and starting hacking away at real “industrial strength” server software right in front of my face.

It is a rare opportunity for someone to be able to cut their teeth on tools of the same level of sophistication as the “big boys” use.  No trials. No watering down. No bullshit.

In my IT career, thus far, nothing has compared to being able to say “I know this”.  Not because I’ve seen it in a book or watched a video but because I’ve been hands on, I’ve bent the software to my needs and have examined its inner-workings.

Lately, I’ve felt guilty.

The FOSS community is huge.  Think of the scale - office applications, web servers, text editors, programming languages, entire operating systems.  All of this made of millions of individual contributions.  Of all of the software I’ve consumed, I’ve never truly given back.

Today I wanted to announce and share my first tiny contribution to the FOSS world.  Over the past few months I’ve been working on a command-line interface to speedtest.net.  It isn’t much and it’s far from perfect, but it scratches an itch I had and it is my first step at sharing with the community at large.

If you find this software helpful or useful please join in the fun and contribute to the project as you see fit - send me feedback, contribute code, fork the code and start your own project.  Even if you don’t find this software particularly useful I’d like to challenge you to share, in your own way, to the FOSS community.

Speedtest.net command line interface - https://github.com/zpeters/speedtest