Random thoughts about software engineering, books, and other hobbies

As a software engineer, a lot of my hobbies are tech related. I love messing with new open-source software, building keyboards, and messing with Arduinos. However, I also enjoy reading, running, and biking (among other things). You'll find posts about many of my different hobbies here.

Accessing an AWS ElastiCache Cluster from Outside AWS

This week, I needed to access an AWS ElastiCache cluster from outside AWS. This is a problem because, as AWS says in their docs "the service is designed to be accessed exclusively from within AWS". This article explains how to use an NLB for a better solution to this problem than the AWS recommended solution.

Book Review 2023

It's that time of year again. This will be my fourth annual book review blog post! I have tried several times to use Goodreads to track what I'm reading, but several things keep bringing me back to these posts. I put in a good amount of reading this year though so let's review.

Goodbye SimpleNexus

When I started working at SimpleNexus six years ago, I had no idea how much personal growth I would experience during my time there. Over the last six years, I have learned a great deal and have been able to develop both personally and professionally. This chapter in my life has now come to a close. I wanted to write this blog post as a bookend to reflect on all the great memories and experiences I've had at SimpleNexus, as well as the software engineer I have become.

Book Review 2022

This year I read 28 books! Although there are some clear winners, I enjoyed reading them all. I'd recommend each of them to different people based on their interests. My biggest rading accomplishment though was finishing all 15 Wheel of Time books!

Android to iPhone

It's official! I have hit my quarter-life crisis. I'm not even sure now how it happened but I am now the proud owner of an iPhone 14 Pro and Apple Watch Series 7. I'm here to tell you that both Androids and iPhones have their pros and cons. Now that I've been using the phone for about a month now I want to write up my experience moving between ecosystems.

42 Books, 21,200 Pages, 5,508,000 Words

In 2021, one of the goals I had was to read at least one book a month. Growing up I was a huge reader, I'd sit for hours reading and love every minute of it. My post-high school life though became busy and reading for pleasure had taken a backseat. I wanted to change that in 2021 and I did! I over accomplished my goal... I read 42 books. That's 21,200 pages or 5,508,000 words!

Preparing for the CKAD Exam

There are plenty of blog posts out here about how to prepare for the CKAD exam. I read many of them before studying and taking the test. I'm going to go over what advice they shared that I thought was useful and which advice I would ignore if I were going to do it again.

Moving Faster with Open-Source Kubernetes Projects

There are a lot of amazing Kuberentes Open-Source Projects out there. I wanted to give a shoutout to several that have made my life easier, and allowed us here at SimpleNexus to innovate and develop higher quality infrastructure.

Random Ruby Tips

The more that I use Ruby, the more I love it. This blog post covers six random Ruby tips that have made debugging easier for me. I wish I had known about them sooner.

Controlling a Hunter Ceiling Fan with Arduino

I hooked up my RF remote controlled ceiling fan to my home automation system. I used an Arduino Mega 2560, Raspberry Pi Zero W and Home Assitant to enable Alexa, Google Assistant, and my phone to control the light and fan in my bedroom.

How to Set Up Tailscale in Kubernetes

Setting up Tailscale on user machines and server instances was easy; however, there seems to be a lack of support and documentation for setting up Tailscale in a containerized environment. Looking through issues and blog posts it appears that they do not officially support Tailscale in containers yet. That said, it wasn't very difficult to get Tailscale running in a container inside of Kubernetes. This post details how to make that happen.

Managing Dotfiles

Backing up your configuration is something that doesn't take a lot of time to do now, but can save you a lot of time in the future. When I get on a new machine I can just clone my repo, run a script, and the most important applications are installed and configured the way I want saving me countless hours

Why Emacs?

This post is going to be about how I came to use Emacs and what features keep me using Emacs instead of something else in my daily work.


The goal of awsctx is to make it easy for a user to add, activate, and delete credentials easily without having to manually maintain different files. Another problem that awsctx solves is the storing of the AWS credentials in plain text.

Encrypting files with AESCrypt and LastPass

I can't tell you how many times I have tried to get family and friends to install a password manager. Is it really that hard? Maybe I'm just more paranoid that most people about cyber security. You will probably think so after I tell you that another thing that helps me sleep better at night is encrypting any of my files that have sensitive content in them. In this post I will go into detail about two tools, one for password management and one for securely encrypting files and how these things can work together to make life easy.