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In the summer of 2020, I launched Dendron — a note-taking tool that helps you manage information using flexible hierarchies.

You can refer to my earlier pieces to read about why hierarchies matter.

A question I’m often asked is what makes Dendron different from all the other tools which also have hierarchies.

These are mainstay note-taking tools like Evernote, One Note, Google Docs, etc

My response: all these tools have hierarchy — none of them support hierarchy.

The hierarchies in these tools are cumbersome things that tend to get in the way of thought rather than enhance it. …


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Dendron is meant to be the fastest way for people to create, reference, and collaborate on knowledge. It is based on a hierarchical first approach to note taking.

Hierarchy first means that Dendron helps you effortlessly create, manage, and reference your notes through flexible hierarchies. I call it anti-roam because instead of having every note be everywhere, every note is exactly in one well defined place (which you can change over time).

You can read about our principles here

I use Dendron to manage a corpus of 20k+ markdown notes. When I need to lookup information inside Dendron, I know…


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Ten years ago I wrote a note.

That led to another, and then another, and soon enough, I had a few thousand of them and an increasingly unhappy dropbox client that refused to sync it all.

The reason for all these notes is because of technology.

I worked at AWS and tried to keep on top of cloud stuff. I programmed in three different languages and kept notes to help me context switch between different programming languages. I also did full-stack development on the side and that, well, it required referencing everything.

My primary use for notes is as a…


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They say that hindsight is 2020 — which makes the start of this year the perfect time to reflect on the last.

2019 was a tumultuous year — both from a macro world socio-economic oh-my-god-what-is-happening standpoint and from a micro individual oh-my-god-what-am-I-doing standpoint.

On the individual front, I made three life-altering decisions in 2019:

  1. I left AWS after five years to pursue my own startup(s)
  2. I started three businesses
  3. I got married

This post will focus on the first two decisions and how they played out over the course of my first year outside of big tech. …


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Over the past year, I’ve been following the development of the AWS CloudDevelopment Kit (CDK) — a framework built on top of CloudFormation that makes it delightful for users to manage AWS Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

This has been my favorite release of AWS in 2019 in a year of many exciting releases — SCP Conditionals, Security Hub, Control Tower, and EC2 Resource Optimization Recommendations just to name a few.

When everything is going right, the CDK will make you feel like a devops wizard. That being said, the cloud is complicated, CloudFormation coverage of AWS is incomplete, and the…


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EC2 Reserved Instances (RIs) provide steep discounts (up to 75%) to the hourly cost of running an EC2 instance in exchange for an upfront commitment to using a particular instance configuration for either a 1 year or 3 year term. In addition to the billing discount, certain RIs also offer capacity reservations which means EC2 will set aside capacity for your indicated instance configuration. Best of all, RI discounts are automatically applied to existing instances which means you can get cost savings without having to make changes to your infrastructure.

For most companies of any size, compute, and specifically EC2…


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In the not so distant past, businesses that wanted to build internet services needed to provision their own hardware. That meant buying a rack and a bunch of servers and stashing them in a cool part of the building and hope that no one would trip over the wires.

As businesses grew, so did their IT infrastructure which meant that they sometimes had to expand into data centers to handle all that new traffic. Besides costing an obscene amount of money, this also involved much complexity, especially as traffic spiked, machines failed and disks died.

Then came the advent of…


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Whenever I’m working with a new client, one of the first things we talk about is access. Most clients have the majority of their business running on top of AWS and don’t feel comfortable (nor would I recommend) that they give a consultant complete access on day one. That being said, said consultant does need minimal access in order to advise, whether this is on security, architecture, cost, or any number of reasons. This is when we turn to IAM.

IAM (Identity Access Management) is one of the longest running and most comprehensive service in AWS (and…


For Thanksgiving weekend, I decided that instead of get new things, I would take a look at my bucket list and try to take things out instead. One thing in particular that’s been on my mind is making audio transcriptions. I run a podcast and recently I’ve been experimenting with generating automatic transcripts for easy archival and search inside the episode functionality. …


The choices were tiger mountain #1, tiger mountain #2, tiger mountain #3 or poo poo point. We went with poo poo point. I’m informed that it’s not just the place you go when you need to go but actually the sound that the steam whistles used to make back in the logging days of west tiger mountain.

We were driving to poo poo point (ppp as it will be referred to from now on) for a Saturday morning trail run. By we, I include myself and Dan. Dan is a former collegiate track athlete now structural engineer with a lovely…

Kevin Lin

Former AWS Engineer turned cloud consultant. Work with startups and enterprise on cloud and AWS.

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