Zephyr On Call

Hello and welcome to Zephyr On Call. My name is Andrew Quinn.

Pardon the spartan look, as I am redesigning my blog’s CSS from scratch, using my minimum-viable-hugo repository on GitHub, as well as figuring out a blogging strategy that works for me. I hope you take something from here regardless.

Working Effectively With the Modern Shell


These slides live at https://andrew-quinn.me/modern-shell-slidy.html A more normal HTML version @ https://andrew-quinn.me/modern-shell/ What I hope you leave with Use fzf Use zsh (minimum) Learn (some) vi tldr »= gpt »= man who am i hey i’m andrew https://andrew-quinn.me/modern-shell/ https://twitter.com/zephyr_on_call https://staging.bsky.app/profile/sonder.bsky.social https://www.linkedin.com/in/heiandrewquinn/ 🇪🇺🇱🇷 => 🇮🇪🇺🇸 -> 🇫🇮 northwestern grad 2020 - bs in ee + minor in math devops by day fullstack+ai by night (best w/ django/htmx) why the shell?

AI Improves Outcomes With No Increase In Skill


It’s worth stating the obvious sometimes.

Anki's philosophical paradox


How are you supposed to know what is useful for the future before the future is even here?

AI bounties revisited


The recent news of ChatGPT plugins has me waxing nostalgic about the days when I lived in the United States, studying electrical engineering and equal parts furious and depressed that AGI might well destory the world before I ever get myself properly settled in it. Ah, the glory days… Well, I’m doing a lot better now, both psychologically and emotionally. Having a beautiful wife and a full time job does wonders for the soul!

Hugo :: Netlify -> Azure


Recently my fzf post went really, really viral on Hacker News! This touched off a virtuous cycle where I was also featured in the TL;DR Newsletter, which I’m pretty sure is AI-generated? I digress. This was an exciting thing to see, except for the fact that Netlify is now banging on my door asking me for $110 in surprise bandwidth costs. Yeah, yeah, I know. Nobody expects the SaaS Inquisition. I humbly submit tht, as an ops guy, I should know better than anyone to keep things as braindead as possible - and Netlify is an absolutely, delightfully braindead option for me.

Copilot in the shell with Ctrl+X, Ctrl+E


A tiny convenience I recently discovered: Hitting Ctrl+X, Ctrl+E in a terminal window will put your command into your text editor so you can massage your commands. I often have long ansible or kubectl commands I want to either run, or insert slashes into to put into my company’s internal documentation. I do it here with vi (badly!), but there’s nothing stopping you from customizing things so you can do it with whatever floats your boat by setting the $EDITOR flag in your .

So you've installed `fzf`. Now what?


Software engineers are, if not unique, then darn near unique in the ease with which we can create tools to improve our own professional lives; this however can come at a steep cost over time for people who constantly flit back and forth between different tools without investing the time to learn their own kit in depth. As someone with a healthy respect for the tacit knowledge of people better than me, I think a great 80/20 heuristic is “Learn the oldies first”: venerable Unix tools like cat, ls, cd, grep, and cut.

Your choice of challenges


Hello from sunny Kalajoki! My wife and I are in this little agrarian town because she is retaking a few of her Finnish high school exams, which requires her to go back to where she grew up to do so. She’s retaking her exams in English and math, after a ~6 month Anki-based training regimen we put her through. I think she’ll do extremely well, and I’m immensely proud of her.

Getting my hands dirty with C#


I know that GPT-4 is all the rage right now, but I decided to spend some time this weekend on something a little less sexy: learning to work with Microsoft’s original attempt at a Java killer, C#. Some quick projects: A basic Hello World, of course. A “input 2 numbers”. A minimal clone of dc, the reverse Polish notation calculator. This one’s a fun one because it’s very easy, but finally gets you to use an honest-to-God data structure.

Automating Windows Updates with PowerShell and Octopus


It’s a quiet Saturday morning here in lovely Tampere, and I’m watching the update progress on an ancient bit of fintech from Windows COM programming days. It’s as simple as it gets, operationally speaking. There’s a handful of Windows server VMs; a few SQL Server machines, a few more for the business logic, and a few for the frontend. An SFTP server for flavor - don’t sleep on SFTP just because REST APIs are all the rage nowadays.
This blog's cloc:
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Markdown                        17            143              0            825
HTML                             6             11             11             72
CSS                              1             13             20             65
TOML                             2             24             34             56
YAML                             1              3              3             39
Bourne Shell                     1              3              2              6
SUM:                            28            197             70           1063