All posts by Neville Aga

This blog is now hosted in AWS

I decided to move my blog from my hosting in my Cisco C220 upstairs in my attic to a lightsail product on AWS (Is it AWS or aws?). Why did I decide to do this after refusing to for ~10 years? Well, mostly I know a guy who started at AWS and I figure if AWS is ever a company I want to work for I need to have production systems on it, not just science projects in the cloud.

I was going to do an EC2 image, but one of the first things you discover in the updated console is a compute service named Lightsail. Lightsail has the storage and network packaged in, and then also common applications, and wordpress is about the most common of them all.

The process was simple, standing up the lightsail image was ~5 minutes. I exported everything from my on-prem blog, and imported it into the new AWS image. The first import did not really go well — my on-prem blog has a user named ‘neville’ and the created AWS lightsail image has a root user called ‘user’. Importing my content to ‘user’ instead of ‘neville’ was a problem for me. The solution is not to fix and rename the user account, the correct fix was to create another lightsail image and create the new user ‘neville’ there before importing. Treat these cloud compute instances like cattle, not pets. If there is an issue kill it and get another one off the feed lot.

One thing that did happen, that I’m not too happy about though, I decided to create my 2nd lightsail image bigger (2x the RAM and storage — from the $3.5/month to the $5/month). When I got the new one up I quickly deleted the old (you are charged by the hour). Right after I deleted I thought I’d like to do some performance comparisons between the 2 instances— but there is no undo button. You delete it and it is gone 🙁

Overall, meh – fine. I’m sad to see things go from my attic, but as Andy Jassy says “you can’t fight gravity”. In this case, I can’t fight the cloud.

Neville’s vote – 2020

Every four years I make a blog post about who I am going to vote in for president. I do this mostly for myself and my kids- I want them to understand who gets my vote and why. I want them to understand my morals, my beliefs, and believe that our votes matters, not because my one vote will tip any scales, but it will define what I believe in and who I want to lead me to get there.

2020 is a re-election year. In re-election years the decision becomes more of a referendum on the incumbent. From that lens Trump has accomplished some amazing things:

-On the economy this is the best financial backdrop to do business for corporate America ever, and I mean ever. The cost to borrow and build a business has never been lower. Each week I get unsolicited mailings offering $200,000 or more of business working capital.  10-year rates are at 0.6%. The stock market has about doubled in just four years (the S&P 500 on the night Trump was elected traded at 2,000.  Today it trades at 3,300.  The advancement in the NASDAQ-100 is much more profound, QQQ traded at 110 in November 2016, it was been as high as 303 just this month (September 2020).   Trump has fought hard for small manufacturing business and US materials companies with great success. He has had a strategy from day 1 – that was to put America first, and a good leader sets a vision that everyone can get behind and drives the execution of that vision. On that scale Trump scores well.   I very much applaud him for easing the corporate foreign tax repatriation and brining money back into the US.

However if you look more closely, the advances in the stock market have all been in MAGA – Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple – not make America great again. In fact, the sectors and industries Trump champions are down in the dumps.  Ford trades at $7 (vs $12 when Trump was elected), GE trades at $7 (vs $30 when Trump was elected). The pattern holds for 3M, GM, Goodyear, on and on.   No matter how much he wants to champion the industrial Midwest, I am afraid that part of American history is simply dead, and no one has the ability to create demand there, no matter how much they try.

-On foreign affairs Trump has accomplished amazing things in that arena as well.  The UAE and Bahrain have both signed peace agreements with Israel. Saudi Arabia may be next.  A Saudi-Israel peace deal will drive peace and stability for the world. The critics said “Don’t antagonize the middle east by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” Trump did not listen, he trusted his head and his gut, and the region is more stable than it was before.  Trump drone-strike-killed (call it what it is-extrajudicial political assassination) Qasem Soleimani, a person akin to the vice-president of Iran.  I never heard of the man and I thought his drone strike assassination would lead to full blown war between the US and Iran. That did not happen. The Palestinians, who have all along been the rogue actors in the region, have been marginalized and accepted universally for the bad actors they are.  That is a significant development that will lead to peace.  Relations with North Korea, something way beyond belief, have happened. There is no way any of this would have happened under a Hillary Clinton administration, and no way this will happen under a Joe Biden administration. Heck Joe Biden voted to not go after Osama Bin Laden! Biden was afraid of military operations on Afghanistan soil. It is hard for me to cast Biden as anything other than a weakling who does not want to upset anyone. Thank goodness Obama did not listen to him there.  Biden to me seems like he is the poster child fanboy for today’s millennial generation who are scared stiff to be called or thought of as racist, sexist, or any other -ist. An apologist, someone who is meek, someone who does not make you believe America is the greatest country on Earth, rather some bad plague that needs to be conformed into submission of “everyone is good, even the lost souls burning Portland and Seattle are somehow always worthy of respect and having their viewpoint heard.”

-On China and trade I disagree with Trump’s protectionism, but I give him credit for creating a tough issue and tackling it head on.  No one was talking about US-China forced tech transfer before 2016.

-On other issues, like climate change and COIVD- I happen to agree with Trump. I’m glad we withdrew from the Paris climate accords, and I support cutting off funding to WHO. We can’t blindly go with the crowds here because it is the easiest political thing to do while making us feel like good citizens – we have to ask if we are getting value for our investment and in places we are not holding people accountable and demanding change. Trump does that. I find it ridiculous that the governor of Washington State is blaming his state’s forest fires on climate change. This is 2020 where literally we shut down the entire globe over the Spring and Summer. I know we did not do that for climate change, but if that is not good enough to appease the green people what possibly will? They will never be happy, they will never lead. They will always just complain. To me they sound like a noisy going that should have no credibility and no standing.

So overall, I give Trump all the credit in the world for all his actions. His policy and actions have been far, far better than I could have ever imagined.

 

But is that what I want in a president? A man of results, who views the world in terms of winners and losers?

Trumps silence on black lives matter is troubling to me.  In my own neighborhood there are moms teaching their adolescent black sons to be home at dark, how to deal with police, teachers, society in general.  That is not OK.  A generation is teaching their (black) kids, how to live and grow up in fear. That fear is very, very real. That is abhorrent.

I don’t believe Trump is a racist – he has given many prominent jobs to black people, including winners on the apprentice. However, his silence is problematic.  I never saw Trump call the George Floyd killing murder. He took one year to acknowledge Charlottesville white supremacist as a murder.  This is just too slow, unacceptable.  To be fair, I am leery of black lives matter, because it is divisive – but there are some simple steps he can take to make the mom of a black kid feel more at ease, and his inability to do that is a voting problem for me.

The police in this country are underpaid and teachers are badly underpaid.  Trump and Betsy DeVos are so right on school choice and democrats are so badly wrong. As much as I would like to vote issue by issue, I can’t.

Trump’s need for his own ego, his boundless narcissism, is ridiculous.  I contrast that and think about Ronald Reagan’s self-deprecation.  Humor is one of 5 essential characteristics of leadership.   Trump has none of that. It is a killing character flaw.

To my vote, it is not about what is best for our economy, my job, or my pocketbook this time. It is about the soul of this nation. I don’t want a Faustian bargain. Trump claims to have done more for black people than anyone since Lincoln.  Just because black unemployment is lower in 2019 than it was in 2015 does not mean Trump deserves praise.  It’s like a person that abuses you and then throws a $100 bill in your face and expects you to take it and be grateful. That crap just does not fly with me.

 

Yes, I readily acknowledge things may get worse under Biden. With tax rates ready to soar and big government (the current thinking is there will be a $3 trillion democratic coronavirus bailout), it is totally possible that inflation could come back, the stock market could tank, jobs could be lost, etc.

 

In 2020 I’m not voting for my pocketbook or my standard of living – I’m voting for my soul, that’s why I’m voting Joe Biden.

My final course evaluation. It was not kind.

Below is the text of the course eval I wrote for my MBA capstone course taken this summer.

 

Virtual sucks. It sucks so, so bad. Even though the text is thoroughly up to date, the lack of getting us together in class kills any class value we might have had. I realize COVID is a deadly, serious challenge, but as it stands now the value of who I meet, grow my network, and what I learn in this new OU are worth about as much as a Khan Academy course — which is priced at exactly $0. What we have collectively believed about the University and higher education system in America will come crashing down. This education is worth $0. Even if I paid $0, I would still be very dissatisfied. What I value at OU are the people around me and the experiences we do together. I will very much miss not having a final drink with my cohorts on graduation. I understand COIVD is a very tough problem, but I expect OU, with literally billions of dollars of resources, to be up to the task and make in person learning possible and encouraged. Otherwise OU is just as useless to me as Khan Academy, or alternatively Princeton University. I can get learning from either of those institutions for free. The goal has to be learning, not a piece of paper (diploma). I can assure you that right now all of my cohort is interested in the piece of paper and nothing else, and that is just sad and frankly the education institution’s fault. Go ahead and appoint your “respected” Chief COVID officer. They are doing the same leadership that any idiot can do – operating out of an abundance of caution. Well, I have fully decided school simply can’t operate that way.

Again, unless you figure out this problem, I will not be a student. I still have some classes to go, but I have decided to withdraw from the University for the Fall. When I started this program we met from 6pm till full on 9:30pm. This class the average meeting was about 30 minutes. It pisses me off I am paying multiple thousands of dollars for this garbage experience. I don’t need the piece of paper. I’m in it for the connections — going to China, being one on one with Randall Stephenson <- this is the value of an MBA. This garbage over Zoom is just garbage. Figure it out or you lose me.

Todo list for my fifties

I am a person of lists. Each Monday morning I write a todo list for the week which is broken into sections for work, personal, and hobby goals for that week. Well, last week was my birthday, and not just any birthday, last week I turned 50 and what follows is my todo list to accomplish by June 3, 2029:

1. End the decade happily married to Shelli with 4 healthy kids (or more)?!

2. Buy a vacation property I can rent out when not in use. Somewhere Shelli and I love. Something around $1m. Big enough for several kids to stay with us there. Hawaii? Pensacola? Grand Lake?

3. Get a new job (preferably within Cisco). Especially a travel job after the girls graduate NN. Travel with Shelli. Don’t be scared!

4. Mentor someone (not a family member)

5. Start/join a men’s coffee group.

6. Own a performance Tesla (0-60 <= 2.4)

7. End the decade with 3x my net worth of June 2020 in total net worth.

8. Help Austin find a career opportunity

9. Help Evan find a career opportunity

10. Learn the song meaning behind the lyrics of as many songs as I can.

Prime Infrastructure Proximity Tracing Tool

I have created a proximity tracing tool using data exported from Prime Infrastructure.   The tool is currently located at http://ciscoProximityTracer.com   Please check it out and give me feedback.

To use the tool, the user inputs a “client sessions” report from prime infrastructure. The report has to have the fields of AP name, Session Duration, and RSSI added in, using the exact order shown below.

You can generate for any length of time, I’m currently using either 1 or 7 days when I generate reports. Sorting the output data does not matter.  When finished, export to .csv and use that file for the input of the tool.

To use the tool input your file and a MAC address of interest (this would be the person with COIVD19 that you want to track who they came next to).  The other 3 fields (max RSSI diff, time resolution, and time offset are optional, defaults are given)

 

Push the Trace contact button, and the script fires away. It comes back with something like the following:

Simple and effective.

For the week of May 16 MAC 84:85:06:BC:F6:C8 was in contact (<3dBm) with 84:85:06:bf:fc:46 for 1 hour 40 minutes at the AP named MEMO-MAIN-129, and so on.

If you want to play with the tool you can use the PI logfile named “agahome_may28.csv”.  and search for the spreader MAC of e4:b2:fb:87:8f:62. That’s my iPhone. Try using different RSSI resolutions and time values.

 

The tool is located at http://ciscoProximityTracer.com

COVID19 mortality comparisions

Over the weekend I have been thinking about reference points for the current COVID19 pandemic and how that has compared to other periods in modern history.  I’m talking here about the pure mortality rates from COIVD19, not the economic impacts.

We have all heard horrific things like convention centers turning into morgues in NYC and Italy, and I wanted to flesh out how true that would be on the surface. My thought was to find how many people die on an average non-COIVD day, so any given day in 2019, for example.  Here are the numbers I came up with presented without commentary.  Commentary to follow the images.

 

 

First, an explanation of these four tables and then commentary.

Table 1 shows the causes of death in the state of New York. Currently in 2020 the CIA estimates the mortality rate of the USA to be 830 per 100,000 — meaning that in the year 2020 if you take a group of 100,000 Americans 830 will die at some point in the year (the 830 was a pre-COIVD rate).  So using the state population of New York of 20 million, you can see the number of New Yorkers that die in any given day to heart disease (69) or road injury (10). Total daily NY non-COIVD deaths equal 455. On Easter the NY COVID deaths was 755. Meaning COIVD caused a 150% jump in the daily deaths.

What other event caused around a 150% jump in daily deaths? How about Germany during WW2. Using the same logic, in Germany in the early 1940s you should have had about 3,500 Germans dying each day, but the WW2 deaths were another 5,000 daily on top of that.

So in that light New York’s current outbreak is similar in daily magnitude to Germany’s experience in WW2 (not good).

 

Now, take another place that is not a current epicenter like Italy and NYC have been — take Texas. In table 3 we see daily expected deaths in Texas are 659, and there were 11 COIVD deaths on Easter 2020 in Texas, so the total went from about 660 to about 670, or a 2% increase (unlike NY’s 150% increase).   What else has about a 2% increase? The USA’s daily death total in WW2.  In the US each day in 1940 about 8,000 people died, and an additional 500 died from the war for about a 2% increase.