WordPress.com Favorites: The Pelikan’s Perch

Welcome back to our “WordPress.com Favorites” series! In these interviews, we’ll be highlighting bloggers about their passion project. Caution: contents guaranteed to be inspiring.  

Today’s featured blog, The Pelikan’s Perch, dives deeply into a niche of a niche: proprietor Joshua Danley writes solely about Pelikan-brand fountain pens. 

Even if you’ve never written with a fountain pen and know nothing about this graphological hobby, you’ll be captivated by Joshua’s interview below. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What do you write about? How long have you been blogging?

First and foremost, I am a father to two sweet and rambunctious little boys and a husband to an amazing wife. Most of the time, you can find me working at a community hospital in the Philadelphia suburbs. I am a pulmonary and critical care physician by trade, working in both in-patient and out-patient settings as well as serving as the medical director of my hospital’s ICU. As you can imagine, my days can be long and intense, never more so than since COVID-19 landed on our doorstep. 

It might surprise some, then, to learn that my blog has nothing to do with medicine or family. Instead, I write exclusively about the Pelikan brand of fountain pens, a brand that is nearly 184 years old. 

I launched my blog, The Pelikan’s Perch, on September 1, 2014, but I’ve been collecting fountain pens since 2012. While studying for my internal medicine boards, I would take breaks from studying by researching my small but growing collection of pens. It was a great way to decompress. I found a lot of great information, but it was fragmented and widely distributed across the varied corners of the internet. I spent a lot of time piecing it all together, really for nothing more than my own edification. 

At some point, it struck me that others might enjoy and benefit from the information that I was gathering for myself. That was the catalyst for the blog. I have no formal writing experience, though I always excelled in my English classes. I sought to combine a colloquial, conversational language that was easy to access while still applying a more rigorous scientific approach to the research behind each piece.2. Why Pelikan specifically? What makes the brand so special? Why not write about fountain pens more broadly?

I received my first fountain pen in 2009 but have only been collecting them in earnest since 2012. I first collected a broad swath of brands and experienced many unique filling systems, dabbling in anything that caught my eye. It was a great education in the history and design of fountain pens. 

It wasn’t until 2013 that I acquired my first Pelikan, a lightly used white M205. It was love at first sight. The M205 was my first higher-end, piston-filled fountain pen and it stood out for its clean design and perfect balance when posted. It was enough to make me start seeking out other Pelikans. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I made a snap decision on the spot to dedicate myself solely to one brand, but as I began to gravitate more and more towards Pelikan, I started to forsake all of the others. 

My collection of Pelikans would grow with the addition of an old-style Black/Green M600 and then an M400 Tortoiseshell White. A medical resident’s salary isn’t much to speak about, so I started selling off my earlier non-Pelikan acquisitions to fund my new addiction, a decision that I have yet to regret all these years later. 

What makes the brand so special is that Pelikan pens have an indescribable quality, a character and a discipline, that makes owning and using them a joy that transcends the sum of their parts. There is a rich history and heritage behind the brand that really captivates the imagination when you start digging into it. I don’t write about fountain pens more broadly simply because there are a lot of amazing people already working in that space and putting out great content. I wanted my voice to be unique, so I sought out a niche within a niche. I think that laser focus has allowed me to bring high-quality content to the blog that might not otherwise be possible if I was more broadly focused.

3. You write within a niche of a niche. Do you ever feel constrained or like you might run out of ideas? Is it easy to come up with new content ideas?

Time. Time is what I’m constrained by, specifically the woeful lack of it. My day job keeps me very busy, so my blogging is shoehorned into the odd hours of the night, at least when I’m able to stay awake. A lot of research goes into many of my pieces, and it is time-consuming to try and get things right. It’s not the subject matter that constrains, at least not yet. The Pelikan brand traces its roots back to 1838 and they have been making fountain pens since 1929. That’s 184 years of company heritage and 93 years of pen making, which means that there is plenty of fodder there to write about — if only my time and imagination were equally expansive. It has been a real blast being able to bring some of the more esoteric and buried information about the brand and its pens to the surface. I have a lot more ideas that I’m just waiting to be able to explore.

4. What are the benefits of writing with a fountain pen? What would you say to someone who’s never written with one in order to get them to try?

First, I find the act of using a fountain pen somewhat cathartic. We are so connected and device-oriented these days. There is something special about unplugging and putting pen to paper. That tactile feedback, the nib gliding on a smooth line of ink, seeing your words come to life, that is something very rewarding. It can really unlock your creativity in a way our digital devices can’t. 

It also connects us to the past. While there are plenty of new, modern pens to be had, there are just as many vintage models out there. Picking one up can’t help but evoke images of who might have owned it and what might they have written with it. It’s a fun exercise of the imagination. 

The abstract aside, I think using a fountain pen helps improve retention and can be a stress reliever. Also, it can be very rewarding for those that like to write and send letters. When so much of our mail is junk, receiving a handwritten letter from someone is a rare treat and a special gift that anyone can give. That’s not a fountain pen–specific activity, but the exercise is more satisfying than when using a ballpoint.

5. There’s a robust community of fountain pen enthusiasts out there. What are some of your favorite resources, for folks who might be interested in exploring this vast world?

When I was given my first fountain pen in 2009, I crashed and burned. I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn’t know where to look. That lesson in frustration turned me off to the concept and it took three years before I’d find my way back. The second go-round was much more successful, largely thanks to sites like The Fountain Pen Network and Fountain Pen Geeks which were very influential for me in my early days. I think they are still great repositories of information and there is a lot there for a novice to explore and unpack. 

Other sites are great too, such as r/fountainpens over on Reddit. Those are just some of the bigger forums and discussion boards. It would take way too much space to list all of the other great bloggers and other resources out there that also have great information. The forums make for a good starting point though.

6. Do you have any tips for aspiring bloggers, writers, and/or hobbyists? What has kept you going all these years?

Find your own niche within a niche. Write about something you love, something close to the heart. That will keep you going. 

Keep at it but don’t sweat posting every day or every week. Do what you can, when you can. When it starts to feel like work and you begin to struggle, step away from it. It shouldn’t be a chore. 

For me, the blog has been a therapy of sorts. It’s a refuge where I can go to unplug from the stress of my day job and get lost in a world that has nothing to do with medicine. That stress reliever has been invaluable to my mental health.

If you think you’ve discovered your own niche within a niche, but are a little stuck in getting your site off the ground, check out our free, self-paced Intro to Blogging course.

Also be sure to read the first two features in this WordPress.com Favorites series: The Travel Architect writes all about traveling and doesn’t narrow in on a single geographic area or travel topic; Empish Thomas writes about all kinds of things, from disability advocacy, to book/podcast reviews, to why she loves writing. 

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Quelle: RedHat Stack

It’s a wrap: Devoxx France 10th anniversary developer conference

This month, Mirantis was proud to sponsor Devoxx France, which was really an incredible event! Hats off to Devoxx for pulling off such an awesome experience for the developer community. For those of you who don’t know, Devoxx France is one of the largest developer conferences in Europe, and this year’s event marked its 10th … Continued
Quelle: Mirantis

Meet the people of Google Cloud: Priyanka Vergadia, bringing Google Cloud to life in illustrations

Editor’s note: Cloud computing helps people do all sorts of new things—including, for Priyanka Vergadia, becoming a best-selling author. Her book, “Visualizing Google Cloud: 101 Illustrated References for Cloud Engineers and Architects,” is based on her tremendously popular series of blog posts and videos and sold out its first printing within a month of its March 15 release. Priyanka started drawing as a way to connect to the developer community in a world shut down by COVID, and in it, discovered a new superpower. And, it’s all for a good cause. Priyanka is donating her portion of book proceeds to Akshaya Patra, an organization that provides meals to kids in schools in India.How did you come to Google Cloud?I was born and raised in Indore, between Mumbai and Delhi, and I moved to the U.S. for grad school.I started my career writing code to load test for call center software, then I switched to customer-focused engineering, which opened a world of possibilities, seeing so many exciting and unique technical challenges everyday. Those experiences exposed me to the world of cloud and cloud architectures, which brought me here. I like many styles of learning, solving different problems.What gave you the idea for this book?I work in Developer Relations, and we connected with our community through conferences and events. COVID abruptly ended that. I thought about “advocacy without planes,” and realized there were common questions that could be explained in sketches. I started with Google Compute Engine, the biggest product, and the very frequent question, “Where should I run my stuff?” When we put it on the bog, it got more than 100,000 views!That sounds like a strong signal.I did another on data analytics pipelines, databases, a few other things. All did well, with the idea to see how much we could teach with the fewest words.The book has 101 illustrations on 95 products. Each illustration is reviewed by stakeholders for accuracy, so there are a lot of people involved. I’ve learned an amazing amount putting this together.These illustrations are both fun and practical. Have you always been a visual storyteller or was this a pandemic hobby?Drawing and painting has been my hobby since childhood. I am a visual learner so growing up I always took very pretty handwritten notes with images and text. Since we were not traveling as much during the pandemic, it presented a great opportunity to explore ways to communicate with the tech community from home. I combined my note taking and sketching skills together with the Cloud knowledge and came up with ideas and layout for these sketches. Visual storytelling is definitely one of my favorite ways of communicating because it is the fastest way to learn a concept. Why do you think it resonates with people?A picture is much less daunting than twenty pages of text—I find a lot of people are grateful to have something that lays it all out and isn’t 600 pages of words. It’s nice to give an alternative way to sink into Cloud and bring it to life for different audiences. What’s next for the book?There’s interest to create editions in Spanish, Portuguese and Korean. I’ll take it with me as we start seeing customers, thinking about conferences again. And of course, lots of products are already changing, so I get to learn more for future editions.Read more about the book and how it can help developers here.Related ArticleMeet the people of Google Cloud: Jim Hogan, driving innovation through inclusionJim Hogan shares his experience as an autistic Googler and how inclusion drives innovation.Read Article
Quelle: Google Cloud Platform

Cloud CISO Perspectives: April 2022

This month marks one year of our Cloud CISO Perspectives Series! Over the past year, we’ve discussed many milestones and challenges across our industry. I’m most proud of the work our collective security teams at Google Cloud are doing everyday to help improve security for our customers and society at large through the cloud. Below, catch up on the latest updates from our Google Cybersecurity Action Team, open source software security progress, and don’t forget to register for our Google Cloud Security Summit… Google Cloud Security Summit On Tuesday, May 17, we will host our second annual Google Cloud Security Summit to introduce the latest advances in our portfolio of security solutions and share our vision for the future of security. Major themes of the sessions include how we are helping customers move to zero trust architectures, new solutions that help strengthen software supply chain security, resiliency frameworks to help defend against ransomware and other emerging threats and new products and capabilities in cloud governance and digital sovereignty. You’ll also hear directly from our Google Cloud customers who are solving some of today’s biggest business challenges with our security solutions and services. Don’t miss these sessions: Opening Keynote: Charting a safer future with Google Cloud Managing the risks of open source dependencies in your software supply chainHow Google is helping customers move to zero trustA holistic defense strategy for modern ransomware attacksA comprehensive strategy for managing sensitive data in the cloudRegister for the event here. Open Source Software SecurityIn February, Google announced support for the OpenSSF’s Alpha-Omega Project to help improve improve the security posture of open source software. The announcement came after our participation, alongside many other industry leaders, in the White House Summit on open source software security. Earlier this month, OpenSSF announced that it has selected Node.js as the first open source project to receive support through the Alpha-Omega Project, committing $300,000 throughout 2022 to enhance Node.js security resources and vulnerability maintenance. It’s exciting to see the progress being made since the log4j vulnerabilities to support better open source security standards and practices for all. We still have a lot of work to do in this area, and Google remains committed to advancing the future of open source software security. Google Cybersecurity Action Team Highlights Here are the latest updates, products, services and resources from our cloud security teams this month: Security Secured data warehouse blueprint: At Google Cloud, we take an active stake to help customers achieve better security through our shared fate vision, which drives us to make it easier to build robust security into their cloud deployments. One way we do help customers is by providing best practices and opinionated guidance in the form of security blueprints. Earlier this month we announced the latest addition to our portfolio of blueprints – the Secured Data Warehouse Blueprint guide and deployable Terraform – to help accelerate our customers’ cloud data warehouse deployments.Automatic DLP for BigQuery: Continuing on our mission to deliver secure products, not just security products, the Google Cloud Security team released Automatic DLP for BigQuery in general availability. This is a fully-managed service that can continuously scan data across an entire cloud organization to provide general awareness of what data exists and specific visibility into where sensitive data is stored and processed, ultimately helping customers prevent unintended exposure. Chronicle MSSP Program: We introduced the new Chronicle MSSP Program, which will offer MSSPs around the world the ability to help provide scalable, differentiated, and effective detection and response capabilities with our cloud-native SIEM product, Chronicle. Chrome Browser Cloud Management for Mobile Devices: As hybrid work becomes the reality for many organizations today, employees more than ever before need easy access to business apps and data – anytime, anywhere, and on their devices. For IT admins, they need to be able to manage their tech stack across various devices and operating systems. In Chrome Browser Cloud Management, IT admins can manage and help secure their organization’s browser from the cloud across Windows, Linux, macOS and now, Android and iOS as well. API Management Security: API connectivity between business applications intra- and inter- enterprise is more prevalent than ever, and we see security as the number one consideration for this connectivity. Apigee outlined other considerations in a recent trends piece. Cloud Network Design: While we focus on workload security, identity, and access controls and application security, it’s important to remember the foundational controls in cloud networking. These controls include the use of shared VPCs to provide for separation of duties between the security and other teams over network policy configuration and the valuable use of VPC Service Controls to establish not just defense in depth from attacks, but also defense in depth from configuration errors. Learn more about our best practices for network design in this blog post. Industry updatesConfidential VMs in healthcare: The Idea Evolver and AstraZeneca teams recently discussed how they are using Google Cloud products and services like Confidential VMs for their Technology-Assisted Cholesterol Trial in Consumers (TACTiC), a Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) application designed to ensure that only the candidates in the trial with an appropriate level of risk are eligible to access the appropriate medicine. ConfidentialVMs allow for encryption of data while in use, helping to protect the confidentiality of personal health data. TIC compliant solutions on Google Cloud: Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) is a federal cybersecurity initiative established in 2007 to enhance network and boundary security across the federal government. The new TIC version 3.0 broadens the concepts of the program to accommodate cloud and mobile applications. As part of our commitment to supporting U.S. Federal Agencies, we shared several resources to help agencies design and deploy TIC 3.0 compliant solutions on Google Cloud. We prepared these artifacts to align with the controls, use cases, and assumptions provided in the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) TIC 3.0 core guidance documents. Compliance & Controls Managing Cloud Encryption Keys: One of Google Cloud’s biggest differentiators is the breadth of customer controls for managing data on Google Cloud. These key controls includes our Cloud External Key Manager (Cloud EKM) solution, which can allow customers to protect their data in Google Cloud with encryption keys that are stored and managed in a third-party key management system outside Google Cloud’s infrastructure. The Cloud EKM team has added several features to Cloud EKM, including: Cloud EKM over VPC: Cloud EKM support for Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) networks is now available, allowing Cloud EKM to connect via a secured private network to help provide customers stricter control over network access to their external key manager.Support for asymmetric keys: Cloud EKM now recognizes both RSA and Elliptic Curve asymmetric keys created in a supported external key manager in addition to symmetric encryption keys. Protection level organization policy: A new organization policy available for Cloud KMS that allows for fine-grained control over what types of keys are used. 2021 CCAG customer pooled audit: We work closely with our customers, their regulators, and appointed independent auditors who want to verify the security and privacy of Google Cloud. One example of how the Google Cybersecurity Action Team supports customers’ risk management efforts is our recently completed annual audit with the Collaborative Cloud Audit Group (CCAG). The pooled audit executed by CCAG is an example of customers working together to efficiently deploy their resources and gain detailed information and assurances of Google Cloud’s trust posture. The annual engagement lasts approximately six months and is a comprehensive assessment of the design and the effectiveness of Google Cloud security and privacy controls.Help meet Canadian compliance requirements with Protected B Landing Zone: As part of our commitment to serving the Canadian government with the security capabilities and controls they need, we’ve developed a set of open-source recommendations that map Google Cloud capabilities and security settings to Canadian Protected B regulatory requirements. We’ll be back next month with more important updates on our efforts to secure open source software and to recap highlights from our Cloud Security Summit. We hope to see you there. To have our Cloud CISO Perspectives post delivered every month to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter. We’ll be back next month with more security-related updates.Related ArticleCloud CISO Perspectives: March 2022Google Cloud CISO Phil Venables shares his thoughts on the latest security updates from the Google Cybersecurity Action Team.Read Article
Quelle: Google Cloud Platform

A focus on network connectivity use cases in the cloud

Enterprises today have a very broad mix of networks — from SD-WANs, dedicated WANs such as MPLS, cloud interconnects, to VPNs. At the same time, they’re moving those WANs to the cloud to take advantage of faster turn-up, lower cost, and increased feature velocity. As workloads migrate to the cloud and multi-cloud environments, we believe that it’s critical to simplify enterprises’ networking model.Each major cloud provider uses distinct abstraction models to configure networks or connections between your resources. Some use gateways, some use connections or links. Network Connectivity Center, launched last year, provides a simple management solution for your network connection, and is now Generally Available. In this post, we outline the typical connectivity use cases for customers to help you select and set up the best connectivity option for your environment.Understanding cloud network connectivityCloud networking refers to the ability to connect two resources together inside a cloud, across clouds and with on-premises data centers. A cloud provider needs to provide three main types of connectivity:Site-to-cloud – Between on-premises equipment and cloud resourcesSite-to-site – To connect on-premises resources togetherVPC-to-VPC – Connectivity between cloud resourcesLet’s take a look at each one. Site-to-cloud connectivitySite-to-cloud connectivity traditionally is done via a cloud interconnect or a cloud VPN. The automatic exchange of routes between on-premises and multiple VPCs can be done using a transit VPC. A newer approach is to add cloud providers into an SD-WAN mesh using a router virtual appliance in Google Cloud. Network Connectivity Center brings the capacity to synchronize the appliance routes dynamically via BGP to Cloud Router and hence their VPCs. It enables connectivity between on-premises data centers and branch offices and their cloud workloads via SD-WAN-enabled connectivity. This capability is available globally across all 29+ Google Cloud regions. Several of our partners also support this capability in their router appliances.Site-to-site connectivitySite-to-site connectivity enables network connectivity directly between two or more hybrid connection points (VPN, Interconnect or SD-WAN). Network Connectivity Center simplifies this model by automating the routing announcements in this environment, such that all sites connected to a single global Network Connectivity Center hub are able to communicate freely in any-any fashion. You can see an example of this for a specific market vertical use case in a recent blog, Voice trading in the cloud — digital transformation of private wires.VPC-to-VPC connectivity You can create a full or partial mesh of VPC connections using multiple technologies, with VPC peering being the most common. VPC peering provides highly performant, low latency, private connectivity for customer networks connected via hybrid connectivity and Network Connectivity Center to multiple VPCs containing workloads, which can be segmented via granular firewall policies as needed. Alternatively, you can use a transit VPC model to connect multiple VPCs together in a hub and spoke topology.With tight integration with third-party router appliances as mentioned earlier, you can also leverage their third-party supported solutions such as next-generation firewalls to connect your VPCs together to meet specific compliance and segmentation requirements. Network Connectivity Center allows you to synchronize the routing tables of these appliances with your VPC’s routing table, simplifying the process of setting up redundant configurations.What’s next for cloud networking connectivity in Google Cloud? As enterprises continue to migrate different types of workloads to public cloud providers, networking topologies are becoming more complex. In summary, we have solutions for all connectivity needs. We aim to keep our models and solutions understandable and simple. Over time, look for Network Connectivity Center to become Google Cloud’s single point of configuration for all your connectivity needs, with capabilities to handle the most complex network.Related ArticleIntroducing Media CDN—the modern extensible platform for delivering immersive experiencesWe’re excited to announce the general availability of Media CDN — a content and media distribution platform with unparalleled scale.Read Article
Quelle: Google Cloud Platform