Monitoring your S3 buckets for #omgcat usage

If you’re serving up a static website from S3, especially if you have larger assets stored there, you may want to put monitoring on the requests or bytes downloaded from S3, just to make sure someone’s not running up terabytes of transfers or millions of requests.

Enabling Metrics on S3

You will have to enable metrics on S3 in order to get CloudWatch alarms on them.

  • Go to Services -> S3 -> Buckets and select the bucket for your static site.
  • Select Management tab and [Metrics] and then click on the pencil icon next to the bucket icon.
  • Once enabled, the metrics will take a bit to populate.

Setting up Simple Notification Service (SNS)

(These are the same instructions as in Monitoring your CloudFront #omgcat usage)

Set up a topic

  • First, you’re going to want to be notified. Go to Services -> Simple Notification Service to set up a pathway for that to happen.
  • Next, click “Topics” and then [Create topic]
  • Name your topic something that adequately describes the purpose (I just used domainname-com)
  • Scroll down to [Create Topic]

Set up a subcription

  • Under “Amazon SNS” left sidebar, click “Subscriptions” and [Create Subscription]
  • Click on the Topic ARN field and you should be able to see an ARN with your topic name as the last part of the ARN. Click that ARN
  • Under Protocol, select your preferred method of notification (I’m going with SMS.
  • Under Endpoint, enter your cell number, including country code (+18005551212 for (800) 555-1212 in the US)

Setting up a CloudWatch Alarm

  • Go to Services -> CloudWatch -> Alarms and [Create alarm]
  • [Select metric] and select S3
  • If you don’t see “Request Metrics per Filter” then the metrics haven’t started populating yet.
  • Check “GetRequests” or “BytesDownloaded” and [Select Metric]
  • Set conditions as you would like to have flag any anomalies and click [Next]
  • Choose “In Alarm” and “Select an existing SNS topic” and click in the box below “Send Notification To…” to get suggestions and select the SNS topic corresponding to the notification method you set up. Click [Next]
  • Name your alarm and click [Next]
  • Review the summary and click [Create Alarm]

Monitoring your CloudFront #omgcat usage

Ok, so you’ve created a lovely static site and/or set up a CloudFront distribution for https for it. But CloudFront bills by the GB. What if somebody decides your assets are perfect to hotlink to or just straight up makes an insane boatload of requests? How do you protect yourself from getting a frightening bill before AWS Budget can even notify you?

Setting up Simple Notification Service (SNS)

Set up a topic

  • First, you’re going to want to be notified. Go to Services -> Simple Notification Service to set up a pathway for that to happen.
  • Next, click “Topics” and then [Create topic]
  • Name your topic something that adequately describes the purpose (I just used domainname-com)
  • Scroll down to [Create Topic]

Set up a subcription

  • Under “Amazon SNS” left sidebar, click “Subscriptions” and [Create Subscription]
  • Click on the Topic ARN field and you should be able to see an ARN with your topic name as the last part of the ARN. Click that ARN
  • Under Protocol, select your preferred method of notification (I’m going with SMS.
  • Under Endpoint, enter your cell number, including country code (+18005551212 for (800) 555-1212 in the US)

Get Notified

  • Go to Services -> CloudFront -> Alarms
  • [Create Alarm]
  • Under Metric, choose the threshold that you want to detect on… maybe it’s Requests, maybe it’s Bytes Downloaded…
  • Select the distribution that you want to watch ( domainname.com should be mentioned in the dropdown)
  • For “Send a notification to”, select the SNS topic that corresponds to the notification method you set up.
  • Since mine is a dev/test site, I don’t expect more than a request/second so
  • Finally, [Create Alarm]

Testing the Alarm

  • If you have a low enough threshold you can probably just hold down F5 (or whatever your refresh key is) for a few seconds. (Word of caution: Don’t do this with a page that downloads a lot of assets!)
  • In bash you can also do the following.
for i in {1..61}
do
  curl https://domainname.com
done
  • If your notifications are working, you should get an message through your preferred notification method.
  • Under Services -> CloudWatch -> Alarms, you should also see your Alarm count be > 0.

Adding a https to an S3 static site via CloudFront

Ok, so we’ve set up a static site hosted from an S3 bucket with a custom domain using Route 53. But sadly, it’s:

Not Secure

Request a Certificate in Certificate Manager

  • Go to Services -> Certificate Manager
  • Click [Request a Certificate]
  • In the window that opens from “Request or Import a Certificate with ACM”, enter your domain name (domainname.com) and click [Next]
  • Select DNS validation and click [Next]
  • Click [Review]
  • Click [Confirm and Request] if the details look correct.
  • Expand the domain in validation:
  • Click [Create record in Route 53] and confirm by clicking [Create] again.
  • You’ll be waiting from several minutes to half an hour for the validation to happen, during which time status will display as “Pending validation”
  • Click [Continue] to finish the request process and go back to the Certificate Manager main screen.
  • Click the (refresh icon) button to update status, and when status turns to “Issued” you are ready to use it in CloudFront.
Pending validation
Ready for use

Setting up a CloudFront distribution

  • In the AWS Console, go to Services → Cloudfront
  • Click [Create Distribution]
  • Click [Get Started] under Web

Create Distribution

  • Under “Origin Domain Name” select the selection under “Amazon S3 buckets” that corresponds to your static web site bucket. (e.g., domainname.com.s3.amazonaws.com)
  • Optional: Restrict Bucket Access [Yes] so that you can control access through the CloudFront distribution alone.
    • Set “Origin Access Identity” to “Create a new identity”
    • Set “Grant Read Permissions on Bucket” to “Yes, Update Bucket Policy”
  • Under Viewer Protocol Policy I select “Redirect HTTP to HTTPS” just to keep things uniform.

Set up SSL

  • Under Alternate Domain Names, enter your domain name (e.g., domainname.com)
  • Select “Custom SSL Certificate”
  • Click “Request or Import a Certificate with ACM”
  • If you go back to CloudFront you should be able to select “Custom SSL Certificate” now and the certificate corresponding to your domain name should show up in suggestions:
  • Scroll down and leave defaults until you get to “Default Root Object”. You’ll want to set this to the name of the document to bring up (e.g., index.html) if the user browses to / on the domain.
  • Optional: I set Logging to On and selected my logging bucket that I used for the static site as the bucket, adding a log prefix for it.
  • To finish, click [Create Distribution]
  • You may be waiting quite a while for changes to propagate to the edge locations, but at some point before the “In Progress” changes to “Deployed” you will be able to pull up via the domain listed under the “Domain Name” column in your list of CloudFront Distributions.

Pointing the domain name at your distribution

  • Go back to Route 53 and go into the hosted zone for your domain name
  • Check the checkbox next to your A record and then go up to Actions -> Edit
  • Change “Value/Route traffic to” from “Alias to S3 endpoint” to “Alias to CloudFront distribution” in the “Choose Distribution” input box.
  • Enter the domain name (“asdfkjdfasoiadsf9u.cloudfront.net.”) as your domain name. (The new interface wasn’t suggesting distributions like the last version of the interface did… it may change next week, of course.)

Locking down S3

If you selected “Restrict bucket access” and had CloudFront update your S3 policy, your public access setting on the bucket is still unaffected. You’ll want to remove that:

  • Go back to Services -> Amazon S3
  • Go to your domainname.com bucket
  • Click Permissions
  • Click Block public access
  • Check “Block all public access” and click [Save]

Some other details

If you want to have JavaScript and forms function properly You’ll want to set up CORS configuration by going to your S3 bucket, then selecting Permissions tab and clicking CORS configuration:

<CORSConfiguration>
 <CORSRule>
   <AllowedOrigin>https://thomaspowell.work</AllowedOrigin>
   <AllowedMethod>PUT</AllowedMethod>
   <AllowedMethod>POST</AllowedMethod>
   <AllowedMethod>DELETE</AllowedMethod>

   <AllowedHeader>*</AllowedHeader>
 </CORSRule>
 <CORSRule>
   <AllowedOrigin>*</AllowedOrigin>
   <AllowedMethod>GET</AllowedMethod>
 </CORSRule>
</CORSConfiguration>

Some mistakes I made:

  • A certificate for *.domainname.com does not cover domainname.com. You have to add both if you want wildcard and domainname.com itself covered.

Next up… preventing someone from running up a $1,000 AWS bill by hammering your site (i.e., monitoring your site’s access… with better granularity than AWS Budgets…

Hosting a static site on S3 with a purchased domain

S3 Static Site Setup

Creating buckets

  • In your AWS Console, go to Services -> S3
  • Optional:
    • Click [ + Create Bucket ]
    • Type in a bucket name for static site logging (i.e., domainname.com-logs)
    • Accept next all the way to Create Bucket
  • Click [ + Create Bucket ]
  • Type in your domain name (for example, “domainname.com”)
  • If you created a logs bucket:
    • Check “Log requests for access to your bucket” under “Server access logging”
    • Enter the logging bucket name under the “Target bucket” field.
  • Hit [Next] for Configure Options
  • Under Set Permissions, uncheck “Block all public access” and check the box that says “I acknowledge that the current settings may result in this bucket and the objects within becoming public”
  • Click Create Bucket

Creating a static site

  • Drag and drop your static HTML files and assets within the site root in your project and drag to S3. Before sure you have the html file you want to use as an index and as an error page.
  • Click [Next] on the Upload modal.
  • Under “Manage public permissions” change “Do not grant public read access to this object(s)” to “Grant public read access to this object(s)” and click [Next]
  • Click [Upload] from the “Set Properties” step (skip Storage Class configuration, etc. screen).
  • Under the “Properties” tab for your bucket, click on the “Static website hosting” tile
  • Select “Use this bucket to host a website”, enter the name of your index and error documents, and click [Save].
  • You should be able to click the link under endpoint and see your index page.

Create a hosted zone for your domain in Route 53

  • In Route 53, select Hosted zone link on the left of the console
  • Click [Create hosted zone]
  • Enter your Domain name
  • Select “Public hosted zone”
  • Click “Create hosted zone”
  • If you have a domain purchased elsewhere than AWS, copy the name servers under the “Hosted zone details” and set on your domain. (e.g., on Namecheap, it’s under Domain->Nameservers->Custom DNS… BE SURE TO HIT THE GREEN CHECKMARK AFTER EDITS!!)

Create a Record in the Hosted Zone

  • Select “Create record”
  • Select “Simple record”
  • Under “Define simple record”
    • leave the record name blank
    • Value/Route traffic to
      • Alias to S3 website endpoints
      • Select your region
      • In the field that says “Choose S3 Bucket”, you should see your bucket as an option:
  • To finish, click [Define simple record] and then [Create records]

Running Linux on a Mid-2009 MacBook Pro

Apple and their aggressive EOL/EOS policies

I have had an old mid-2009 MacBook Pro (2.26Mhz, Core 2 Duo P7550) that got left behind at macOS 10.11 (El Capitan). I’ve already gone through dealing with end-of-support with a 2011 MBP (no AirPlay server, no longer getting macOS updates, etc…), but the 2009 is old enough that Homebrew itself has dropped support officially. While that doesn’t prevent everything from working, once something won’t install, you either need to fix it yourself or give up.

I was trying to get RDP up and running when I hit that issue, so I figured that it was time to see if I could install an operating system that was still supported on the 2009 MBP.

Ubuntu Linux attempt

I first went down the rabbit hole of Ubuntu, but the first set of instructions I found did not give me a warm fuzzy about being able to install Ubuntu and still have a working machine. I used Rufus to write an Ubuntu ISO to a USB drive and was able to live boot into Ubuntu. Of course, Linux and wifi isn’t always plug and play and the live boot did not recognize the MBP’s wifi card, so it would have been wired or nothing until I installed the OS.

Hello Manjaro

Time for a different strategy. I tried a different strategy and searched for Linux distros for a 2009 MacBook Pro. I decided to go with Manjaro XFCE and was able to write the ISO to my USB drive and have wifi working on live boot, so I swapped MacBook hard drives back to the original 5400 RPM 160GB hard drive that came with it.

Manjaro with XFCE is far snappier than even my 2011 or 2019 MBPs. This is mainly because no bloat and very little running so far, but I’ve also installed Ruby 2.8.0-dev from Manjaro in rbenv on the 2009 (P7550 Core 2 Duo) vs. from the 2019 (i7-9750H 6 core) and the install/build time was 9m31s for the 2009 vs. 11m19s for the 2019 (yes, the 11 year old Mac was faster). This is probably a Clang vs. gcc and readline + openssl installation/build difference between the two environments, but I still found it interesting that the 2009 could win the race even with a head start.

As for system load, the MBP 2009 not actively running anything on macOS 10.11 would register a consistent 2.0+ load and would take several minutes to be usable for typing in iTerm. By contrast, running XFCE, it required several tabs open in Firefox + Terminal + gvim for the load to break 1.0.

Steps to get up and running:

  • Download Manjaro XFCE iso
  • Write image to USB drive using Rufus (dd or whatever if you are adequately skilled at that… Rufus was just painfully easy to kick off from a Windows 10 box)
  • Hold down option while booting to get boot menu.
  • Select your USB drive
  • Boot and verify that Linux is sufficiently usable for your MacBook
  • Install to a hard drive (I recommend using a different hard drive that is booting macOS, but then you’ll need tools for the mounting screws at a minimum.
  • Boot and enjoy

Getting set up

Having used yum, apt, and brew, pamac was a bit of a change. For example, I had to use pamac build ruby-build and pamac build rbenv vs. an install command.

I have starship installed as well, which was relatively straightforward, but I still need to get the fonts right for unicode.

Overall experience

So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how useful my 2009 MacBook Pro is again. I’ve managed to type up this blog post without any lag from the processor, and the memory usage is sane as well (despite Firefox). I also miss having the pre-butterfly keyboard keys to type on for writing, so it was nice to experience those again.

Planet Fitness Cancellation Template

Update: I put this in the mail on Tuesday and got cancellation confirmation less than 48 hours later.

I needed to cancel Planet Fitness in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and I really didn’t want to be showing up at a gym in person right now (time and unnecessary risk) just to cancel.

I called up my local Planet Fitness and was told I could either come in in person *or* send a [yes, snail mail] letter to the Planet Fitness I signed up at.

So, I’ve thrown together a cheap template to help you include everything you need to cancel (it’s just name, date of birth, and signature, according to the person on the phone.)

You can download the doc I put together at: Planet Fitness Cancellation Word Doc template