AWS re:Invent 2015 Day Four

Steps: 4,111.  Way down, but expected since I was traveling home from the conference.

Got up, packed, checked out, went back to Hands-On Labs and completed three more steps towards the Solutions Architect – Associate badge. ūüôā ¬†Went back to my hotel, retrieved my luggage, cabbed to airport, checked in and got lunch.

A quick aside about the previous night. ¬†Before playing poker, I stopped at Chapel Hats¬†and bought a nice new hat! ¬†I’d seen in on Tuesday when I was wandering and couldn’t resist spending some of my poker winnings on a such a fine looking hat!

Modeling my new hat at Chapel Hats in the Venetian Grand Canal shops.
Modeling my new hat at Chapel Hats in the Venetian Grand Canal shops.

As I walked up to my gate, I saw another guy wearing my hat! ¬†I approached him, tapped his shoulder, and said, “Nice hat!” ¬†He turned, did a double-take, and laughed. ¬†He and his wife were recreating in Vegas and heading back home on my flight. ¬†Serendipity.

The flight home went OK. Landed, got my luggage, waited almost 20 minutes for a parking lot bus, then drove home and crashed. ¬†It’s good to be home again and I have a lot of information to share with my coworkers and management at INetU. ¬†Going to be a very interesting next few weeks at work.

AWS re:Invent 2015 Day Three

Steps: 17,018!  (~ 8.3 miles!) New high count.  Mostly due to repeated trips between Treasure Island and the Venetian.

The keynote address focused on IoT, the Internet of Things, and how AWS is building services to enable developers to write applications, data sources, and data sinks for IoT-connected devices.  Several ra-ra stories from big names like BMW and John Deere.

I got iced out of the first session I wanted to attend, “Monitoring Strategies: Finding Signal in the Noise”. ¬†By the time I got to the room it was full and the ushers were turning away a stready stream of people. ¬† Instead, I contacted the other two tech guys from INetU and we had lunch and a good discussion on applying our new-found AWS knowledge in the company.

Next session I wanted was “Zero Infrastructure, Real-Time Data Collection, and Analytics”. ¬†I got iced out here as well, so I went to the Hands-On Lab and started working through QwikLab tutorials on using AWS resources. ¬† Developing my AWS skillset seems like a sure-fire win going foward, and I finished several labs.

I did make it into “Cloud First: New Architecture for New Infrastructure”, given by two developers from Monsanto. ¬†They discussed the daunting task of help developing at Monsanto, spread all over the world, migrate from legacy platforms to a cloud-based, microservice-based application paradigm using AWS. ¬†They’ve written several useful tools available on Github¬†for building out AWS infrastructure in ways that prevent you from shooting yourself in the foot and assisting developers in building microservices. ¬†Very cool stuff. ¬†At least a couple of these tools will be directly useful to INetU and our customers.

I skipped the next session and headed back to the Hands-On Lab for more tutorials.  I completed one badge and started working on the Solutions Architect РAssociate quest, a series of labs to familiarize myself with the AWS services covered in that AWS Certification exam.

I finished off the evening with another dinner with everyone from INetU at the Wynn buffet (crab legs!!!!) and another poker session, where I busted with AK < A9 after villian made two pair to my one pair.  Oh well. Still finished with a positive bump to my poker roll.

AWS re:Invent 2015 Day 2

Steps: 11,520 or approximately 5.6 miles. Less than yesterday, but not bad.

I attended several sessions today. These notes are mostly to help me put in a pin in things I need to think more about.

The keynote address was a whirlwind of new services from AWS combined with testimonials from big AWS users demonstrating what can be done on AWS if you put your mind to it.

“AWS Security State of the Union” provided updates on best security practices in the AWS Cloud and introduced a product from Oceda that makes handling VPN networks between a few, some, or many man VPCs a breeze. Their product can also connection on-premises datacenters, office, travellers, and even mobile users to the same VPN network as needed. VERY cool.

I met an INetU coworker for lunch and had a good chat about applying what I’m learning here to work issues.

“Architecting for HIPAA Compliance on AWS” gave me an introduction to how enterprises that handle Person Health Information can leverage appropriate technologies in AWS combined with good procedures and processes to attain HIPAA compliance. A real firehose of information.

“Learn how Organizations are using Containers, Red Hat, and AWS to Achieve Extreme IT Agility and Combat Network Exploits”. This talk was given by one person from Red Hat and two former colleagues from Duke University, Sean Dilda and Chris Collins. They told us how Duke used docker containers running in AWS to mitigate a DOS attack that hammered the www.duke.edu website and disrupted Duke’s internal network. With 30 minutes work, Chris was able to build a docker image of the main duke website, upload it to AWS and get it running. A DNS change sent all the DOS traffic to AWS and mitigated the damage to Duke’s internal network. Duke’s main website for external users remains on AWS. They also talked about the trials and tribulations of learning about docker, determining how to migrate existing apps, and build out an infrastructure to support docker.

I had a great dinner with Sean after his presentation, then went back to my hotel room to log in and fix something at work. Once that was done, I headed back to the Venetian for another winning poker session. A very nice capstone for an event filled day.

AWS re:Invent Day One 10/6

Steps: ¬†15,704 or about 7.68 miles assuming an average stride length of 31 inches. ¬†That’s far longer than I’ve walked in a long time! ¬†My feet are sore but I never got winded. ¬†Go me.

I didn’t sign up for any bootcamps or labs, so I had the day free until the Expo reception at 5PM. ¬†I relaxed, played some poker (won!) and then headed into the reception. ¬†WHAT A ZOO!!!!! ¬†I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a packed crowd before. I wandered around, talked to some vendors, then left. ¬†The crowds got to me a bit and I need some air. ¬†Had a great dinner with the rest of the INetU crowd at the conference and came back to my room.

I’ve got several sessions targeted tomorrow and hope to gain information about Elasticsearch on AWS.

Update and Back on the Wagon

May was a difficult month! I did well during my trip to Tulsa but really fell off the wagon after I got home. Flying always makes my back hurt because economy class seats aren’t designed for big guys with wide shoulders, offer little lumbar support, and I end up hurting my back keeping myself out of my neighbors chair space. On top of that, the flight from Atlanta to Philadelphia landed like a sack of bricks falling off a 10 story building. I pulled a muscle in my mid-back that caused me pain for three weeks before letting up. Long story short, I let me Keto Chow diet lag badly.

I am now back on the Keto Chow band wagon and visited my endocrinologist yesterday. He gave me two gold stars! I’m down almost 20lbs according to their records and my HbA1c, which measures long-term blood sugar averages, decreased from 10.3 in February, 2015, to 7.9! That’s a huge difference and even more important that my weight loss. I figured it would be somewhat lower but I never thought it would improve that much! Doc said each point lower of HbA1c decreases my risk of complications by 50%!

I’m really psyched and need to keep up the good work.

Trip Report and Weight Milestone

I got home last night from my trip to Tulsa to attend my daughter’s college graduation. ¬†The trip was awesome. ¬† Tulsa is a big, flat, spread out town with lots of green space, which surprised me for some reason. ¬†I figured it would be more built up. ¬†It was also designed by someone who lacked a French curve. ¬†He/she had a ruler and a pencil; everything is laid out on a strict north/south/east/west grid unless a river or something gets in the way.

I didn’t take my Keto Chow with me. ¬†I didn’t know if we’d have a refrigerator in the room and didn’t really want to mess with making it while travelling. ¬†Instead, I tried to eat healthy low-carb meals and mostly succeeded. ¬†I did splurge at IHOP yesterday morning and had some pancakes with my breakfast.

This morning, I stepped on the scale expecting to have ¬†gained some weight or at best held fast. ¬†My last weigh-in was 344.6 before we left on Friday morning. ¬†Today was 339.8! ¬†I lost 4.8 pounds and broke the 340lb mark!!!!! ¬†I’ve not been this light in over a year, and that was due to food poisoning or a mild flu or something that laid me low for a couple days. ¬†You could have pushed me over with a feather!

So, tomorrow is back on Keto Chow, more exercise, and moving on.

Dieting on the Go

I’m out of town at my daughter’s graduation this weekend and coping with a keti/low-carb diet while travelling. ¬†I quickly learned that the past 2-3 weeks quickly adapted my body to a very low-carb diet. ¬†I leaped off the wagon Friday while travelling and paid for it handsomely. ¬†My body didn’t like having a bunch of carbs poured suddenly poured into it at all. ¬†Since then, I’ve limited the carbs and focused on healthy low-carb meal options and I’ve felt much better. ¬†I can’t wait to get back home and back on the Keto Chow again, strange as that may sound. ¬†My body likes the KC and it’s easy to stay on a diet using it.

Edit: force update

Gourmet Vanilla Keto Chow

Monday, I received a week’s supply of “Gourmet Vanilla” flavored Keto Chow and today (Tuesday) was my first chance to try it. ¬†I like it! ¬†It’s just as good as the “Rich Chocolate” I bought first.

My blood sugars were good today. ¬†I reduced the amount of Lantus I’m taking and that seems to have dealt with the overnight low issue. ¬†Need more time to really tell.

Got some exercise as well. I mowed the second half of the lawn after work today!  Go me.

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