“I think I need a hard drive to manage my hard drives”

With a weary sigh I realised that I was yet again close to running out of archive space on my external hard drives ( again). I’ve always been meaning so sort out my menagerie of assorted external drives. Never really been happy with trusting precious family video footage to a single hard drive so seem to end up duplicating things – a royal pain in the bahooky with external USB drives. Might yet start looking at Amazon Glacier for off-site backups. I’d also been wondering about getting nas storage to end the madness of buying yet another standalone hard drive.It never seems to matter what capacity of drive I buy, always end up filling them. I’ve got a mixture of time machine backups, hard drive images, raw video and audio recordings, iTunes music library, not to mention all the video podcasts for mac/iO? All in different places. It gets impossible to remember where to find things, not to mention the vulnerability of losing content if a drive fails.
Enough!
Have taken the plunge and ordered a synology ds213air…and amazon prime being amazon prime half a day later it’s here. Alas the drives I wanted weren’t in stock so will need to wait for those so at the moment it’s about as much use as a chocolate tea pot. Gives me time to plan. I like that it’s got built-in wifi and router. Could I have ‘always on’ backup storage? Pretty short of power sockets so sensible power usage is another concern. Gives the possibility of accessing the storage remotely e.g streaming multimedia – handy if you’re on a tablet device, hate having to switch on a computer just to get access to files.

EC2 Micro instance and MySQL ‘gone away’

After having tried small Amazon EC2 instances at work with no problems am now looking at micro instances at home. Found that a number of apps I’d installed on top of the default Amazon Linux – MySQL/postfix were failing even with very little activity. It was only then Googling that I found that these minimally resourced machines have no swap memory configured by default, so those apps needing burst of more memory can fail. Happily, following the instructions in Amazon EC2 Micro Instance Swap Space – Linux has fixed this. Lots of folk recommend *not* using micro instances for production systems for anything other than light use. Still the price is right (free tier for first year) so will keep dabbling

Lifelong Learning

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

Beg to differ (ZOMG a blog post!). Don’t know quite what’s happened to my brain recently but it’s started being able to take on and learn new things in a way that hasn’t been possible for several years. The poor health and illness of recent years must have subsided enough for some shreds of normal learning to take place. In the last couple of months have got my head around:

  • Amazon Web Services.
    Ooh there’s still a bit of a tingle when you fire up a new service and then you realise…

    darn, guess I’ve got to start paying for this now.

  • EC2, Route 53, Elastic IPs, EBS, S3,.. a whole alphabet soup of acronyms and different services but somehow, somehow they all seem to be straightforward to learn and get working quickly. I’ll give a massive hat tip to whoever organises the developer documentation. Now we have a tendency as a profession to moan about the quality of docs, poorly written docs are sometimes worse than having no docs at all but the Amazon Web Services documents are written very clearly. Lost count of the number of times reading them when I’ve thought, “I wonder what happens if you want to do X,Y,Z…then in the very next paragraph/section they explain exactly that. Spooky, but exceptionally nice.
  • Git
    No there’s no missing ‘old’ prefix ;-)
    All the cool peeps seem to be using it for version control these days and github.com has become the go to resource for new projects. Shame to see how sourceforge.net seems to have lost its way issue queues and project discussion forms get quieter and quieter.
  • Markdown
    This is a simple way of formatting text documents so that they are readable just as plain text but also become formatted with headings/bold etc. when uploaded to a markdown renderer (such as the project descriptions on github.com). This is one of those things that is such a simple idea and yet so helpful.

And what next? What next indeed. Something I seem to trip over on almost a daily basis is the ‘R‘ language. Really think I should try this next for manipulating and visualising data sets. I have a pet project on the go that involves data sets from various organisations. Such a bewildering range of layouts, conventions, no two seem to be alike, it’s just about impossible to come up with uniform ways of processing all these so I think changing tack to have lots of little processing jobs – each one tailored to just that data source is going to be a more fruitful way to proceed.The key will be that it should be quick and easy so I think time spent learning about these analysis tools should be helpful.

Past that RDF(?) Think much like trying to learn Gaelic I’ve many times started enthusiastically but have shrivelled back when my brain which is less than the size of a planet melts down wondering “why am I doing this again?” What usually happens is that I love the idea of RDF it’s just in practice you never really seem to see Scottish examples of anyone using it, providing yes but being used? No. Yes as a developer you can go to the trouble of exposing endpoints for your own data but if no one else utilises it, what’s the point? Might as well give this another go, see if there’s been any improvement, need to work on my cynicism.

Nexus 7 … Hell yes!

Well it has taken a new gizmo for me to blog again. First evening with the Nexus 7 and we’re getting along famously. Can confirm that opening the box is like the puzzle round in the Krypton Factor. But first impressions are very good, damn it’s fast, scrolling pages is very smooth and without that iPad lag. Feels very much like when I first got an Eeepc netbook which I loved to bits. I think women are really going to like this device, size does matter, small is beautiful. Much easier to hold and one handed especially light, good for those long bus journeys. And I appreciate the non-slip backing, I’m forever letting an iPad slip out my clumsy hands, no such problem with this. Me likey.

New Year Honours

Apart from Lorraine Kelly here’s a list of other women in Scotland who received honours
  • Isobel, Mrs ANDERSON. Chair, Carers Scotland Advisory Committee. For services to the community in Dundee.
  • Elizabeth, Mrs BENNETT. For charitable services in Scotland.
  • Cherry Buchanan, Mrs BRIGGS. College Manager, Reid Kerr College, Paisley. For services to Scottish Further Education and Young People in Renfrewshire.
  • Helen Anne, Mrs BROWN. Lately Board Member, Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care. For services to Vulnerable People.
  • Irene, Mrs HENDERSON. Grade 3 Casework Specialist, Human Resources, Scottish Parliament.
  • Mini, Mrs JOTI. Health Visitor, Bridgeton Health Centre. For services to the NHS and the community in the East End of Glasgow.
  • Jane Findlay, Mrs MURRAY. For services to Tayside Fire and Rescue and Local Government in Scotland.
  • Ms Corinna PENROSE. Lately Commissioner, Mental Welfare Commission. For services to Mental Health in Scotland.
  • Rhona, Mrs ROY. For services to Capability Scotland.
  • Marilyn Joy, Mrs SMITH. Conductor and Musical Director, Glasgow Phoenix Choir. For services to Music.
  • Anne, Mrs STUART. Chair, Cassiltoun Housing Association. For services to Housing and Regeneration in Castlemilk, Glasgow.
  • Mary Rose, Mrs WATT. For services to Highland Dance Teaching in Rossshire.
  • Ms Margaret MILLS. Project Worker, Children 1st. For services to Children and Young People in Scotland.

Going b-armv6-y, Xcode 4.2 and deployment target 4.2

Back-up brain because I know I’ll forget this kind of thing. Was trying to target some Xcode projects to a deployment target of 4.2 and to a device rather than the simulator. Wasn’t getting them running, or rather they would seem to run an finish almost immediately. In the console entries like

Fri Nov 18 23:51:16 unknown lockdownd[16] : 2ffea000 handle_connection: Could not receive USB message #6 from Xcode. Killing connection
Fri Nov 18 23:51:16 unknown com.apple.mobile.lockdown[16] : Could not receive size of message

Found the tip about adding armv6 helpful but it was only working for Apple sample code projects and not new projects created by myself. Eventually tracked down that there’s an entry in your Info.plist, Required device capabilities which is set to armv7. Eureka! changed that to armv6 now the apps run fine on the device. Grrr took most of the afternoon to find that though. It’s bringing back memories developing projects in C 20 years ago – just one wee bit of your make file out of sorts and all sorts of mayhem ensue. Aha nice to see we’ve moved on, now you get to stare and swear at a GUI instead of a command line. Same old, same old

Like what he said

Christopher Poole interviewed at Web 2.0 Summit 2011

Is it weird that I loathe and detest Mark Zuckerberg but like the sensible head on this other young net entrepreneur. I especially love his ‘diamond’ analogy for identity, in real life different people see different facets of the same person, different pieces we don’t have just one ‘real’ identity.

Housekeeping

If you can see this then yet another server migration has been completed yay! I’ve made a decision that if companies are providing a less than stellar service I’m just going to pack up and go elsewhere rather than keep bashing my head complaining, voting with my feet. So no more slower than wading through treacle 1and1 control panels. Poignant moving one domain that was on Fasthosts (but hosted elsewhere), the owner died a few months ago so I had to take over the registrant details too. To be fair to Fasthosts they changed the IPS tag almost immediately…compare this to 1and1 who seem to take the best part of a day, sometimes two to change a tag FFS!

Oh Scotland,not *again*. Scotland 2 – Czech Republic 2

Emotional curve of following a Scotland football match:

Before match: hope, excitement

During match: elation, dejection, elation

10 mins to go: ecstasy “we’re going to qualify, this time we’re really, really going to do it” (reminds me of Charlie Brown trying to kick that American football)

2 mins in extra time: dejection, calamity, the-end-of-the world is nigh

After: a nation mourns

Is there any other outlet where it’s possible to go through such wild swings of emotion from one to the other in such a short space of time. But always left with that “gutted” feeling when we don’t progress.

I’m away to watch some Muppets to cheer up.