Newsletter #35 - A better way of setting up and managing user ssh keys in AWS EC2 instances Nov 5 2022

Hello, and welcome to issue #35!

Have you been paying attention to all the AI craziness going on out there? It surprised me how fast the Stable Diffusion project is progressing. If you have not been following the craze, let me summarise. Stable diffusion is an AI model, open source that converts text to image. You give it a text prompt, and it generates an image. It is crazy. Play with it when you get a chance, or at least read the Stable Diffusion Public Release.

Sometimes it feels like technology is advancing at an incredible phase, but then I remember it is 2022, and we still don't have hoverboards. I guess it is a little bit of both, astonishing progress in some areas and stagnation in others.

Whatever the case, seeing people tinkering and having fun is exciting. Some people freak out that AI will leave many people without jobs. That is probably true, so the issue is fighting progress and not embracing change. In the end, if AI can do everything better than we humans can, we will have to find a purpose for ourselves, and that has been the whole point from the beginning. Having a job is not our purpose. Finding meaning in life is. Nothing has changed. The challenge is still out there. Find what makes you tick and enjoy the ride!

In more mundane news. I published two new articles in the last couple of weeks:

As you can probably tell, I've been spending more time working on Infrastructure. I enjoy that work. It is super fun for me to play architect and help people build their projects. A lot of moving parts, but fun. I hope you find them helpful.

Recommendations and interesting topics

I came across an interesting article that talks about how we should "Stop Optimizing for Tutorials". The point made by the author is that because most of the blog posts are optimised for tutorials, they leave out all the complexity and maintenance considerations that tools and frameworks bring to a project. I agree with that sentiment. I believe there is a lot of emphasis on starting new projects and oversimplifying, leaving out maintenance and scaling. It is hard tho, as not many people have the expertise and time to dedicate to writing detailed articles. I try to make my articles informative and detailed, but it is a good reminder to examine if I'm not helping hide complexity. Read the article and let me know what you think.

"The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the third age by some, an Age yet to come, an age long pass, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning." - Jordan, Robert. The Eye of the World. New York: Tor Books, 1990. Print.

There is something about the Wheel of Time series that always gives me comfort. Maybe it was the memory of the time I read it first, but whatever it might be, it is probably time for another reread. So if you haven't read The Wheel of time, that is my week's recommendation.

Because I can't go many issues without recommending podcasts, here is my podcast episode recommendation for this issue:

STEM Talk - EPISODE 143: Ben Bikman on the roles of insulin and ketones in metabolic function

My key takeaway was the importance of insulin resistance and that diet is such an essential factor.

Ok, that's it for this issue of the newsletter. I hope you have a fun weekend and a great week ahead!

P.S. If you have any interesting articles, podcasts, videos or anything else you think I should read, please send me a message. I'm always looking for new things to read and learn about.

Tip of the week

Everyone knows it is annoying to have to be storing SSH keys in jump hosts for other servers, and in some cases, we leave insecure ssh keys without passphrases in the jump host to make it more convenient. Well, that stops today! enter ssh-add + ForwardAgent.

You can have your users have the keys in their local machine and then add them to the ssh-agent. This way, you can have a secure key in their local machine and not worry about storing it in the jump host.

First, add the key to the ssh-agent:

ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Now you have two options:

  1. on your ssh command, add the -A flag.
  2. Add the following to your ~/.ssh/config file:
  ForwardAgent yes

Now you can use the ssh-agent to connect to the server. You can also use the ssh-add -l command to list the current keys in the ssh-agent.

** If you want to check what else I'm currently doing, be sure to follow me on twitter @rderik or subscribe to the newsletter. If you want to send me a direct message, you can send it to