1. Social Media, the News, and your Mood

    Social media and the news can have a significant effect on your mood. Without noticing, you can get trapped in a habit of checking feeds that make you feel worse, constantly. I've noticed this happening to myself, and I see it happening to my friends.

    Distancing yourself from the news and social media is perfectly fine, and may help to improve your mood and mental wellbeing. There's no obligation to stay "up to date," and you should put your own wellbeing first anyway.

    Tagged as : social-media
  2. Optimising Logstash Grok Patterns

    Recently while writing some Grok patterns for the ELK cluster at work, I had a conversation with my colleage Berg about the efficiency of Grok patterns. I was working with Cisco ASA firewall logs, which are natural language, human readable logs, in contrast with IPtables or Palo Alto logs which are sent in a CSV format. In order to parse them into structured log events to feed into Elasticsearch, I used the Grok filter.

    Tagged as : Logstash ELK
  3. My thoughts on MySQL (updated)

    MySQL is well-known as an easy-to-use, easy-to-set-up, and easy-to-run SQL database. It has a long history, having had its 20th birthday a few months ago, and has enjoyed widespread popularity as the go-to option for SQL databases, also being included in the XAMPP/LAMP stacks.

    However, MySQL has its drawbacks, some of which I will cover here. This post is written from the perspective of someone working with MySQL 5.6, although I will acknowledge the changes made in 5.7.

    NOTE: I decided this post was too snarky and didn't contain enough detail, so I've updated it as of December 2015.

    Tagged as : mysql unix sysadmin
  4. WebP vs JPEG vs... x264?! A Still Image Compression Comparison

    Note: I originally made this comparison in 2013, and promptly forgot about it until mid-2017, when I decided to publish it here. I am fairly certain that progress has been made with both x264 and WebP's encoders since then, and will write up another comparison when I have the time.

    JPEG has had incredible staying power as an image compression format. Originally ratified as a standard in 1992, JPEG saw widespread use across the world wide web, as early internet connections were low-bandwidth and loading webpages could take over a minute. As technology has progressed, formats for other forms of compression (generic data, video, and audio) have improved, but the compression of JPEG has been "good enough" that people only started to make efforts to replace it in the late 2000s.

    One of the main contenders for dethroning JPEG, WebP, is now taking off, with Chrome now supporting decoding of .webp files natively. WebP is based upon the video codec VP8, which is commonly used in the .webm container for internet video.

    Tagged as : unix compression image

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