The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Unexpectedly productive weekend

Yes, I know the weather's beautiful in Chicago this weekend, but sometimes you just have to run with things. So that's what I did the last day and a half.

A few things collided in my head yesterday morning, and this afternoon my computing landscape looks completely different.

First, for a couple of weeks I've led my company's efforts to consolidate and upgrade our tools. That means I've seen a few head-to-head comparisons between FogBugz, Atlassian tools, and a couple other products.

Second, in the process of moving this blog to Orchard, I've had some, ah, challenges getting Mercurial and Git to play nicely together. Orchard just switched to Git, and promptly broke Hg-Git, forcing contributors to enlist in Git directly.

Third, my remote Mercurial repositories are sitting out on an Azure VM with no automation around them. Every time I want to add a remote repository I have to remote into the VM and add it to the file system. Or just use my last remaining server, which, still, requires cloning and copying.

Fourth, even though it was doing a lot more when I created it a year ago, right now it's got just a few things running on it: The Daily Parker, Hired Wrist, my FogBugz instance, and two extinct sites that I keep up because I'm a good Internet citizen: the Inner Drive blog and a party site I did ten years ago.

Fifth, that damn VM costs me about $65 a month, because I built a small instance so I'd have adequate space and power. Well, serving 10,000 page views per day takes about as much computational power as the average phone has these days, so its CPU never ticks over 5%. Microsoft has an "extra small" size that costs 83% less than "small" and is only 50% less powerful.

Finally, on Friday my company's MSDN benefits renewed for another year, one benefit being $200 of Azure credits every month.

I put all this together and thought to myself, "Self, why am I spending $65 a month on a virtual machine that has nothing on it but a few personal websites and makes me maintain my own source repository and issue tracker?"

Then yesterday morning came along, and these things happened:

  1. I signed up for Atlassian's tools, Bitbucket (which supports both Git and Mercurial) and JIRA. The first month is free; after, the combination costs $20 a month for up to 10 users.
  2. I learned how to use JIRA. I don't mean I added a couple of cases and poked around with the default workflow; I mean I figured out how to set up projects, permissions, notifications, email routing, and on and on, almost to the extent I know FogBugz, which I've used for six years.
  3. I wrote a utility in C# to export my FogBugz data to JIRA, and then exported all of my active projects with their archives (about 2,000 cases).
  4. I moved the VM to my MSDN subscription. This means I copied the virtual hard disk (VHD) underpinning my VM to the other subscription and set up a new VM using the same disk over there. This also isn't trivial; it took over two hours.
  5. I changed all the DNS entries pointing to the old VM so they'd point to the new VM.
  6. Somewhere during all that time, I took Parker on a couple of long walks for about 2½ hours.

At each point in the process, I only planned to do a small proof-of-concept that somehow became a completed task. Really that wasn't my intention. In fact, yesterday I'd intended to pick up my drycleaning, but somehow I went from 10am to 5pm without knowing how much time had gone by. I haven't experienced flow in a while so I didn't recognize it at the time. Parker, good dog he is, let me go until about 5:30 before insisting he had to go outside.

I guess the last day and a half was an apotheosis of sorts. Fourteen months ago, I had a data center in my living room; today I've not only got everything in the Cloud, but I'm no longer wasting valuable hours messing around configuring things.

Oh, and I also just bought a 2 TB portable drive for $130, making my 512 GB NAS completely redundant. One fewer thing using electricity in my house...

Update: I forgot to include the code I whipped up to create .csv export files from FogBugz.

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