CashStar the early years

On August 30th, 2017 BlackHawk Network acquired CashStar for $175 Million dollars in cash. This is good news for everyone involved, the CashStar employees, share holders, and for black hawk. This is a great ending, but how did they get where they are today, and how did it all start? I was lucky enough to be one of the first employees at CashStar, so I have some first hand knowledge of the early years.

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Using Lambda to get a users Availability Zone list in Cloud Formation

This is a follow up to my Understanding AWS Regions and Availability Zones in Cloud Formation post that I made a little while ago. Previously I talked about how you can dynamically select the number of AvailabilityZones (AZs) that you want to deploy your instances too, based on the region. Since some regions only offer two AZs and others have more, you will always want to deploy to as many as possible, to make your application better handle an outage if an AZ were to go down.

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My CloudFormation wish list

I have been using CloudFormation a lot over the past year with my work on Docker for AWS. It is a pretty good product, but there are still some rough edges that make using it a lot harder then it needs to be. I have compiled a list of changes and feature requests that I would like to see added to CloudFormation to make my life easier. I hope this blog post gets read by the CloudFormation team and helps guide their roadmap.

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5 Years at Docker

February 15th, 2017 was my 5th year anniversary of joining dotCloud/Docker. I have been thinking a lot about those 5 years at Docker, and thought it would make for a good blog post. This is going to be fairly long, but I think it will be worth it to see how Docker progressed over time. How I got hired Before I can explain how I got the job, I need to first give a little background.

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Maine Companies to watch in 2017

I live in Maine, it’s a great state for a lot of things, but running a business isn’t one of them. There are a number of reasons, but the major ones are usually high taxes, and a lack of skilled workers. Because of this, there aren’t that many new companies that come along, so I’m always on the lookout for companies that are doing cool things. I like to keep an eye on their progress and try and help them out however I can, so that they can succeed and hopefully inspire other people to start more businesses in Maine.

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Understanding AWS Regions and Availability Zones in CloudFormation

I recently talked about my work on Docker for AWS while working on this project I had to do a lot of research around AWS Regions and Availability Zones, and how they work with CloudFormation. Here are the notes that I gathered. What is the difference between an AWS Region and an Availability Zone? The easiest way to answer this questions is to start backwards. Servers live in a data center.

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My work on Docker for AWS

For the past 9 months I have been working on Docker for AWS, which is an easy way to go from nothing, to a Docker Swarm on AWS, in about 10 minutes. The goals of this project were to make it easy for someone with an AWS account to start using Docker Swarm without needing to know anything about Docker and very limited knowledge of AWS. When I first started, I had no idea what I was going to build, or how I was going to do it.

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I rebuilt my blog with hugo, and moved to netlify

About a year ago, I was frustrated with my lack of new posts on my blog and decided I needed to fix that. After a little bit of soul searching, I decided to reboot the blog, and start fresh with a new platform. Here are a few of the reasons why I decided to change my blog. I didn’t like the look of my blog, and there were no good themes available on my old platform.

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Introducing Django Defender

Normally websites do very few logins, someone logs in once and their session is good for a bunch of hours. Since it’s a one time thing, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t very fast. At Docker our authentication system handles requests for both the Docker Hub, as well as all Docker Engine commands that interact with the Docker Hub (docker push, pull, etc). This Authentication system handles thousands of login attempts every minute, so any slow down in the login process has a large impact on our system.

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Uploading a Video to Facebook from AWS S3 using python

If you have some video files stored in Amazon S3 and you want to upload those videos to a Facebook page, using their video API here is some python code that I used recently. I spent a good chunk of a day trying to get this too work, so I’m posting this here to help anyone else who is trying to do the same. This code isn’t using any special facebook libraries it is just using normal python along with the requests library.

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