Plan your 12 Days of techie Christmas - part 1

Start here to plan your 12 Days of Christmas starting on Monday 25th December - whether you observe the holiday or are just taking time off over this season. I've got 12 days' worth of techie projects, plans and proposals to keep you learning and to give you a jump start into a great 2018.

Day 1 - 25th December

This is a day best spent with friends and family. I'd suggest turning off Slack/Twitter/GitHub notifications and not checking email. Definitely no connecting to the work VPN.

If you're following the British tradition of watching Dr. Who on Christmas Day then make sure you try out @Colorisebot which has been a hit with Dr. Who fans. It can take any B&W photo and show you how it'd look in colour using machine learning.

Read more: Colorisebot and OpenFaaS

Want to read the code? alexellis/repaint-the-past

Day 2 - 26th December

It's Boxing Day or "the day after Christmas" outside of the UK. You may have got some money from your family. There's only really one course of action - RPis and IoT add-on boards.

Buy a Raspberry Pi Zero W because it's a 1GHz CPU, 512Mb RAM and half the size of a credit card. You can use it to build dozens of different projects. Browse my blog or the MagPi magazine for some ideas.

Read My Raspberry Pi blogs

Browse back-issues: The MagPi Magazine

Notable add-on boards:

RPi camera - one of my favourites - take photos in no time and build cool projects.

Blinkt! - designed for my Dockercon talk

The Envirophat is packed with sensors and really easy to control through Python

I created a Christmas IoT decoration with a Blinkt! and a cheap decoration in this popular blog-post:

Holiday lights that harmonize around the globe

Day 3 - 27th December

Now you need something to read while you wait for those accessories to arrive.

Best programming reads for the holidays:

The Go Programming Language (Addison-Wesley)

I'm a big fan of this book - it has a great section on primitives like channels, HTTP, marshaling, unit-testing and much more.

Read my blog series on Golang fundamentals.

Unix Power Tools: 100 3rd Edition

This is officially the best command-line reference guide for working with UNIX-like systems - i.e. Mac/Linux or even bash on Windows. This book is full of anecdotes as well as great practical tips and many CLI utilities I'd never heard of before.

Day 4 - 28th December

You may have cleared the wrapping paper away by now, so it's time to start thinking about a plan for the New Year. If you don't have a Raspberry Pi cluster yet then it's time to build one.

Here's your bill of materials:

Pro tip: don't scrimp on the RPis, cables or power supplies. I've been there and done that. The RPi Zero isn't recommended for clustering because it cannot run Kubernetes. RPi clones do not maintain up-to-date mainline Linux kernels which will cause headaches. Cheap USB power cables can cause intermittent reboots.

There's no need to go bigger than 6 RPis, however do as I say not as I do:

If you already have the parts skip ahead:

Serverless Kubernetes homelab

Day 5 - 29th December

It's Day 5 so we're going to start preparing by learning about Docker. Docker is the leading technology project for running containers. Containers are becoming the industry-standard way to build, ship and run distributed applications.

My buddy and fellow Docker Captain Bret Fisher has a great video-course on Udemy for mastering Docker, you can start here: Docker Mastery

I have 79 blog posts in my series on Docker which covers a wide range of topics relating to running modern applications in the cloud or on-prem.

Day 6 - 30th December

If you had fun learning about Docker then you can take it to the next level by finding out how people run applications in production, at scale over multiple hosts (clusters).

What you need to know: Kubernetes and Swarm

Read my analysis on Docker Swarm and Kubernetes where I compare and contrast the two options:

Learn how to deploy a Kubernetes cluster in 10 minutes

Questions, comments & suggestions

If you have questions, comments and suggestions then follow me on Twitter so you never miss a post, hack or cool project:

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Have a great time and see you again soon for Part 2!

Alex Ellis

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