Secure Email On OSX

There are a few really good articles out there on how to send and receive secure email using Thunderbird and GPG. This small guide will show you how you can use Mail app along with GPG Tools for the same result. Install GPG Tools First, head over to and download the latest release. At the time of this article, the latest stable release is 2.1. To start off on the right foot, before you install it, open up terminal and verify that you’ve downloaded a package that matches the following signature: ac7a636bfee1027d8f43a12a82eea54e7566dcb8. Read On →

Chef Application Cookbooks

This is a follow up to the blog post Creating A Chef Cookbook. Since writing that blog post, I created the preview project and several cookbooks for it. With it, I’ve done a few things differently and believe that they represent some notable trends in the chef community. Embed Application Cookbooks in Application Repositories Instead of having a separate git repository for each cookbook, all of the cookbooks for the preview application are in the preview git repository in the ‘cookbooks’ directory. Read On →

Creating a Chef Cookbook

In May, I wrote a cookbook for the s3ninja project and wanted to share how I go about writing application cookbooks. This cookbook is primarily used to test another project that I’m working on, tram. In the tram cookbook, I include this cookbook for use in the cookbook integration tests, so this is an interesting use case for an application that can stand on its own as well as be included in an application stack. Read On →

How I Work

I love reading the how-i-work posts on life hacker. They aren’t the first to do that sort of series, but I love the mix of writers, industry leaders, software engineers and designers that contribute to it. With that, this is my contribution. Current gig: Software Engineer Location: Centerville, Ohio, USA Current mobile device: Google Glass, Samsung S4, Nexus 10 Current computer: Apple Macbook Pro, System76 Ratel Performance One word that best describes how you work: Furiously Read On →

Amazon, you've got competition

tl;dr I’m using a Chromecast and the Google Play store to purchase and rent movies instead of Amazon Prime Instant Video. This is a change from what I’ve been doing and unless Amazon makes it easier, faster or cheaper, they’ll probably continue to loose business from me. A few months ago I picked up a Nexus 10. I love it, it is great. A few weeks ago I made my first non-app purchase in the play store, some movies to watch on a flight to SFO. Read On →

ElasticServices 1.0.0 RC1

A few days ago I pushed a project up to Maven central called Elastic Services. This library provides a protocol buffer based framework for creating self coordinating asynchronous services. This is an early release candidate and I’m very interested in getting feedback.

Smart Things

I’ve been playing around with Smart Things and wrote a few small applications for it. These are pretty specific to my needs (and my house), but demonstrate how easy it is to write custom applications for the platform. This first application is used to turn the office lights on when I’m home and there is activity in the office. It makes use of a motion sensor in the office, a zwave lightswitch that I installed in the room and a presense sensor that I have on my keychain. Read On →

Using BitTorrent Sync, GPG and Linode for secure messaging and storage

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the state of privacy. I’m not going to comment on whether or not people who assumed that there was some notion of privacy and security between ISPs were right or wrong; I can only look at what has been made very clear and proven. With that, I’ve been reading different opinions on things like lavabit and spider oak and how they compare to existing storage services like Hightail, dropbox, etc. Read On →


When Google Chrome was released, it had some really cool features and abilities. Over the years support for hangouts, native extensions, Google made extensions for Google Apps, the javascript engine used and the improvements made to it to support the chromebook have made it a truly awesome browser. In the meantime, the folks at Mozilla have really stepped up to make Firefox equally great. Hardware accelerated graphics, many improvements in memory consumption and management, enthusiastic support for privacy, safety and security and a huge base of extensions has made me want to go back. Read On →

How I Interview

At Blizzard I had a reputation for being tough during interviews. I was the guy who would ask for additional time with a candidate and could easily spend 2 to 3 hours with someone. I don’t claim to be perfect at it, but I do have a system that I think works and works pretty well for interviewing people for technical positions. Coniser this blog post version 1.0.0 of Nick’s Technical Interview Guide. Read On →