Moving to Berlin

3rd of April, 2022

Berlin graffitti

So I found myself in Berlin after living many good years in Helsinki. Moving here has been a plan of mine for quite some time and originally it was a big reason why I joined my current employer. I had a plan on moving here lot earlier but due to all this COVID nonsense around the world these plans were little bit postponed. But hey, here we are finally in lovely Kreuzberg.

Time will tell how long will I enjoy my stay here, but I pretty much sold my every earthly belonging before moving here so move was pretty painless. Also, if I don't gather too much more material things around my life, moving to somewhere else would probably be quite easy!

Also this post marks a start of my (hopefully) more frequent posting in a form of these smaller rambles. This is mainly due to reason I try to stay "off-the-grid" from all these social platforms and my friends and family wanted to hear more update from my side, so might as well do it here!

Looking forward to my future here in Berlin!

Tags: personal


Why not Kubernetes?

6th of February, 2022

First, I would like to say I think Kubernetes is an excellent platform for its intended purposes. It provides excellent fault-tolerance all over the cluster, a fast and easy way to run updates on your deployments, great tools for managing services, volumes, metrics, and more, each having its own lifecycle to manage. Also, implementing your tooling by extending the Kubernetes' API is a trivial task, so you can easily leverage the great tooling to make your own for whatever you might need.

Today it's also effortless to spin up a Kubernetes cluster with various installers and different managed options. While being very complex, it's still a step closer to the idea of "just run my code and make it work". Also, with containers in the picture, we are pretty close to the magical situation where we actually can run the same application similarly on the laptop and in one cloud.

For me, issues start rising when we begin using Kubernetes for something other than its intended purposes. While I don't have any statistics on this, I have a pretty strong gut feeling that most of the people running Kubernetes are using it as a glorified scheduler for placing containers on nodes as fast as possible. While it's an excellent and overall pretty easy tool to use for orchestrating containers, its fundamental purpose is to orchestrate anything crucial to your infrastructure like network, storage, and other dependencies.

Kubernetes allows complete user freedom to run your infrastructure as you see fit. Despite sounding like a cliche, this kind of freedom can bear huge responsibilities. I would dare to say that most developers and system administrators don't want to make these decisions. What if, at some point in the development, you would wish to change your networking interface or maybe some dynamic storage provider? Can you even do such a thing in that stage of development if the decision was made before you even had anything running in Kubernetes?

Kelsey Hightower put it nicely a while back when he described Kubernetes isn't meant for being a developer platform but a framework for creating platforms. So while it definitely can work as a developer platform, and overall it's pretty easy to get started, kubectl run and kubectl expose and your good to go. That being said, all the API designs in Kubernetes are created for clusters and how to manage these. So while containers are part of this, there are so much more to be leveraged. So should application developers, startups or small businesses use something like this? Probably not, unless they are developing a platform product.

When we get into cluster management, we need to start thinking about managing the lifecycle of everything running inside the cluster. Unfortunately, this is also when things start to get hard. What to do if something inside the cluster dies? What if I need to provision something dynamically? Kubernetes is pretty good at simplifying many of these topics, but due to the complexity of things happening behind the scenes, all this complexity cannot be simplified away.

Kubernetes has a high entry threshold, and it's a very complex project, but still, way too often, I see it marketed as a simple solution for many problems. While you can use Kubernetes in a very simple manner and get lots of stuff done, eventually, you will hit a wall. Deploying fault-tolerant distributed applications that are scalable against a pool of machines with dependencies in networking, storage, and more, that's a hard problem.

Kubernetes is built for production workloads and running infrastructure beyond your demo application. For this reason, complexity in Kubernetes is justified and should be approached with that mindset.

Tags: computers


Spotify and the spread of misinformation

27th of January, 2022

So Spotify seems to be a shit show at the moment, at least when it comes to sharing misinformation on their platform. On the center of it all seems to be Joe Rogan. Spotify made a widely reported deal with Joe Rogan for exclusive rights to his podcast in 2020. Weirdly enough, Rogan has also lately been under heavy scrutiny for his idiotic statements about COVID.

In January 2022, 270 medical experts submitted an open letter for Spotify to moderate this misinformation on their platform. Letter was largely prompted because of controversial physician who openly promoted preposterous nonsense on Joe Rogan Experience (JRE).

Few days ago, Neil Young started a protest against Spotify giving them an ultimatum for choosing either Young's music or JRE. And well… neither Young nor 270 medical experts was enough to change Spotify's mind about the subject since they decided that they would rather leave JRE on their platform rather than Young.

This is kind of weird point of view that Spotify has taken in this case since they have already participated in self-regulation before by removing harmful content from their platform. This kind of content has involved music that has been connected one way or another to white supremacy or neo-nazi movements and much more (very much understandably so). Spotify also joined many other streaming platforms by removing another nutjob Alex Jones' podcast InfoWars from their platform for spreading misinformation. But guess misinformation from dear Joe Rogan is not consider harmful by their standards.

Neil Young also wrote:

I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off the SPOTIFY platform and stop supporting SPOTIFY’s deadly misinformation about COVID.

Unfortunately while writing this not many artist have joined him in this endeavor. But this also brings little bit unfortunate truth about the situation, Neil Young can leave Spotify without noticing it too much. Financially, revenue he gets from Spotify would be very minor source of income, especially considering the fact that last year he sold 50% of his publishing rights to the investment fund Hipgnosis, netting him $150m.

Also considering the fact the his fan base is definitely - in general - on the older end of the spectrum. Yours truly is probably on the younger end. So most likely larger portion of his revenue comes from physical products and live show (although latter is probably true for large majority of artists).

Newer artists and bands can't really take this kind of stand against large streaming platform since so much of their audience accesses their music via these means. In most cases, they would like to please Spotify, hoping in getting in one of their playlists and so promoting their music to very large audience.

Any case, if more big artists joins Young, it definitely can have an impact on Spotify since these kind of heavyweight artists are able to give some pressure to these big companies. But only time will tell.

Tags: conspiracies, corporations, music


RIP Thich Nhat Hanh

22nd of January, 2022

Thich Nhat Hanh at the Plum Village monastery in southern France

Courtesy Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism

Tags: buddhism


Google Analytics considered... illegal?

19th of January, 2022

Some time ago I wrote a short post about my my feelings towards web analytics which were sparked due to a spike in visitors on my site (mainly coming from Hacker News). Due to that surge, I decided to part ways completely from any sort of tracking, since for me it was mainly a unnecessary dopamine fix rather than anything useful.

Today I stumbled upon big news on the front of legitimacy of web analytics from the point of view of privacy. Turns out, as most suspected, it's not so good, at least according to Austria's data protection authority.

Basically this case dates back to invalidation of Privacy Shield data sharing system between the EU and the US, because of overreaching US surveillance. Turns out that many companies in US have largely ignored this invalidation, which happened in 2020, and despite this they have still continued to transfer data from EU to US. The Austrian DPA held that the use of Google Analytics by an Austrian website provider led to transfers of personal data to Google LLC in the U.S. in violation of Chapter V. of the GDPR.

Future of Google Analytics in EU

In the long run, there will be two options: Either the US changes its surveillance laws to strengthen their tech businesses, or US providers will have to host data of European users in Europe. This kind of transcontinental transfer is currently (as the time of writing this) only illegal Austria, but Dutch's DPA (data protection authority) has stated that Google Analytics "may may soon no longer be allowed".

Any case, this is great thing for privacy in EU and hopefully many more countries would join Austria in this effort. You can follow what countries have started to follow this at Is Google Analytics ILLEGAL in your country?

Tags: analytics, computers, gdpr, privacy


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