Today two of my servers went down. It turned out, that the datacenter they are hosted in had a slight connectivity hiccup – nothing serious. While I was battling my monitoring system and frantically typed support tickets, I wanted an audible alert if the hosts where reachable again in the meantime.

That’s when I thought of OS X’s text to speech system and devised the following little shell script.

It will announce that the host is back up with your configured standard voice as soon as there is a ping response and then quit. Just copy it in your .bashrc file call it with the desired hostname or IP address, leave it running in a Terminal window in the background and turn up your speakers.


One of my most used means of monitoring what’s going on at a remote Linux server, is looking at the log lines that each daemon or client program writes to the disk. Using this technique you can see a real time view about what is happening and find out if there are any outstanding errors or optimizations in your configuration. I am going to show how I tackle this task and what tricks I use to make tons of lines of dull text more readable.

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Recently I’ve had to re-engineer my whole backup strategy because of a looming hardware issue on my old backup server. Since I am operating servers at Hetzner, I purchased some backup space there and based my new system around their available system. The new strategy consists of several key components:

  • Mounting a remote directory via sshfs
  • Ensuring the remote mountpoint is always available using autofs
  • Creating a loopback filesystem on the remote storage
  • Incremental rsync snapshots using my Hactar backup script

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In Apple’s recent OS update, they generously included a new emoji: “live long and prosper” aka “Spock salute”. Pictured below in case your system doesn’t support it natively:

Live long and prosper emoji


I like Star Trek and I like Spock, so I went ahead and registered Live long and prosper
For now it just forwards to this blog, I’ll see if I can come up with something more clever in the future.

Whenever I start a new project, I struggle with what to put in the very first commit message. After doing a “git init” there is technically nothing there and no work done yet, so how to describe this initial step?

Initial commit” always seemed a little futile, so I started gathering some better examples on what to put in the message for the glorious start of a new project and I am sharing them here for all of you to marvel at:

This is where it all begins...
Commit committed
Version control is awful
The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!
Lock S-foils in attack position
This commit is a lie
I'll explain when you're older!
Here be Dragons
Reinventing the wheel. Again.
This is not the commit message you are looking for
Batman! (this commit has no parents)

Or, you know, just use

I’m always happy for comments with further ideas and will be adding to this list constantly.