Teaching Ansible with six Raspberry Pis

Originally posted on the Server Check.in blog:

Over the course of this year, I've acquired six Raspberry Pi model 2 B computers, and configured them in a cluster (or 'bramble') so I can use them to test different infrastructure configurations, mostly for running Drupal 8. All the Ansible playbooks and instructions for building the cluster are available on the GitHub project page for the Raspberry Pi Dramble. [...]

The video demonstrates Ansible's simple and powerful model of SSH-based infrastructure management visually. It's been a lot of fun building the Dramble and hacking both the hardware and the software to make this presentation possible!

And the video, Ansible 101 - on a cluster of Raspberry Pi 2s:

High Performance Drupal - Speaking at DrupalCamp STL.15

I'll be speaking at DrupalCamp St. Louis 2015 at SLU LAW this weekend. My session, High Performance Drupal, will cover many quick performance wins for Drupal sites, and will fix an example site that simulates many performance problems seen on real-world Drupal sites.

Sorry it's been so long since posting here—I'm still working on my book, I've read through about 5 other books, and as always, I'm tinkering with a bunch of Raspberry Pis!

Kenrick Plaza Walmart Redevelopment - April 2015

In October, I gave an October 2014 update Walmart redevelopment at Kenrick Plaza in Shrewsbury, MO. Since it's been about six months, I figured I'd post another little update here, along with some pictures I took of the land, which now has the main Walmart structure in place, and is finally taking shape!

Kenrick Plaza - New Entrance sign

View of the half-finished entrance, turning right from Watson Rd. (westbound). So far it's hard to see how pedestrian access will be routed, and where bus stops will be located (especially with the temporary access road in place), but the new sign is a bit larger than the old sign, and so far just has 'First Bank' listed.

Kenrick Plaza - Old Kenrick Cinema area

A view of the old Kenrick 8 Cinema parking lot/building area. It's just a staging area for extra building materials right now, and construction vehicles frequently cross over the small driveway from the main entrance to the First Bank to get some materials and bring them to the Walmart construction area.

Kenrick Plaza - New Walmart Front and Parking area

A view of the front of the new Walmart. So far it's mostly cinder block, with a few openings where the main entrance and fire escapes will be, but there are a couple small brick facades that have already been installed. Looks pretty generic so far.

I didn't get a shot of the roof, but over the past week, installers have placed dozens of large white domes all over the place, presumably the skylights used in Walmart's energy-saving daylighting system.

Kenrick Plaza - Lower Kenrick - Powerhouse Gym

A view of the 'Lower Kenrick' development which has not been touched as part of the Kenrick Plaza redevelopment. You can see the long-term anchor (and one of the only tenants), Powerhouse Gym, in the middle of the frame. The parking lot, facade, landscaping, sidewalks, and pretty much every other aspect of Lower Kenrick is in a sad state of disrepair. Hearkens back to how the rest of Kenrick Plaza looked in the past. I guess you could find some low-rent retail space if you want!

Kenrick Plaza - Back of Walmart from Trianon Pkwy

The back of the new Walmart building, as viewed from Trianon. It looks pretty ugly... but to be fair, the old building was just as ugly! You can only dress up the back of a development so much, especially when there are permanent guy wires in the way too.

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