This weekend was a double bill of lasts – I photographed my last wedding of the year on Saturday, a fun and intimate day at Hill Place in Swanmore. Then on Sunday I went to the last of the BFI’s 50th anniversary Doctor Who screenings. It was the turn of Matt Smith, his era represented by “The Eleventh Hour” and “The Name of the Doctor”. The episodes are almost bookends on Smith’s tenure, and it’s the first time that we’ve had anything other than a complete story shown at these screenings.
“The Eleventh Hour” is a perfect introduction to the way that Moffat wants to tell the story of Doctor Who, so different from what preceded it. Smith is full of energy, he goes from zero to sixty in a split second, never walking when he can run. Amelia Pond is an excellent character right from the start, the little girl let down by the Doctor grown into a distrusting woman.
By the time “The Name of the Doctor” comes around, Amy and Rory are memories and the Doctor travels with Clara, the impossible girl. This episode is full of little moments to excite long term fans and ends with stunning revelation that John Hurt is The Doctor. It was strange watching it so soon after it’s been on TV and I don’t think I got anything new from it, probably the only time it’s happened during this season of screenings.
As ever the hosts from the BFI, Dick Fiddy and Justin Johnson, put on a great show. They have become quite the double act over the year, and I was pleased that the crowd have eventually picked up on my cue to “whoop” them when they enter. The day wrapped up with a panel, with director Saul Metzstein, Mark Gatiss, Dan Starkey and Steven Moffat. It was lively, particular when Steven got going on his pet subject of spoilers.
I’ve been lucky enough to have tickets for all of the BFI 50th anniversary screenings, and “An Adventure in Space and Time” and “The Day of the Doctor” (although sadly work commitments kept me away from a couple of them). (A big thank you to James from the Doctor Who Podcast for getting those early tickets.) The little gang who have met up at the screenings have become friends over the year, and I will miss the opportunity to watch Doctor Who and discuss it with other fans regularly. Doctor Who fans really are very nice people.Pin It
I just realised a lot of my projects are deployed in the same way:
This includes both Apache-based projects, and node.js projects.
I'm sure I could generalize this, and do clever things with git-hooks. Right now for example I have run-scripts which look like this:#!/bin/sh # # /etc/service/blogspam.js/run - Runs the blogspam.net API. # # update the repository. git pull --update --quiet # install dependencies, if appropriate. npm install # launche exec node server.js
It seems the only thing that differs is the name of the directory and the remote git clone URL.
With a bit of scripting magic I'm sure you could push applications to a virgin Debian installation and have it do the right thing.
I think the only obvious thing I'm missing is a list of Debian dependencies. Perhaps adding soemthing like the packages.json file I could add an extra step:apt-get update -qq apt-get install --yes --force-yes $(cat packages.apt)
Making deployments easy is a good thing, and consistency helps..
Today I should have been heading down to York, to attend the Bytemark Christmas party. Instead I'm here in Edinburgh, because wind/storms basically shutdown the rail network in Scotland for the morning.
Technically I could have probably made it, but only belatedly and only at a huge cost to my sanity. The train-station was insane with stranded people, and there seemed no guarantee the recently-revived service would continue.
So instead I'm sulking at home.
I had a lot of other things scheduled to do in York/London today/tomorrow, for reasons that will become apparent next week, so to say I'm annoyed is an understatement.
In happier news I'm not dead.
Walking to work this morning was horrific, there was so much wind 70-100mph, that I counldn't actually cross a bridge, on Ocean Drive, because I just kept getting blown into the road. (Yeah, that's a road that is very close to the coast. Driving wind. Horrible rain. Storming sea. Fun.)
I ended up retracing my steps, and taking a detour. (PS. My boots leaked.)
Not a good day. Enjoy some software instead - a trivial HTTP / XMPP bridge.
I’ve just published my write-up of Elly and Rob’s 1940s village fete themed wedding in Winchester over on my wedding website. It was great fun, with a fantastic performance from The Three Belles and a raffle. As anyone who has been to OggCamp will know, I love a raffle. In fact, some of the prizes in the OggCamp raffle this year were inspired by some of Rob’s epic choices for his wedding raffle.
I’ve also included a couple of photos from a light-field camera in my write-up. They are low resolution but can be refocussed after capture or even manipulated in 3D (slightly). I’m enjoying figuring out how these photos work best at weddings. You can see a couple of examples below.
The photo above is from a light field camera: Click the picture to refocus it.
The photo above is from a light field camera: Click and drag the picture to move it in 3D.
You can read more about Elly and Rob’s wedding.Pin It
I have been running a Code Club at my local Primary School for a while now, and thought it was about time I put details of a few tweaks I've made to the default Scratch install to make things easier. So here goes:
With the default install of Scratch (on Windows) projects are saved to the C: drive. For a network environment, with pupils work stored on a network drive so they always have access whichever machine they sit at, this isn't exactly helpful. It also isn't ideal that they can explore the C: drive in spite of profile restrictions (although it isn't the end of the world as there is little they can do from Scratch).
After a bit of time with Google I found the answer, and since it didn't immediately leap out at me when I was searching I thought I'd post it here (perhaps my Google Fu was weak that day). It is actually quite simple, especially for the average Code Club volunteer I should imagine; just edit the scratch.ini file. This is, as would be expected, located in:
Initially it looks like this:
Pretty standard stuff, but unfortunately no comments to indicate what else you can do with it. As it happens you can add the following two lines (for example):
To get this:
They do exactly what is says on the tin. If you click on the Home button in a file dialogue box then you only get the drive(s) specified. You can also put a full path in if you want to put the home directory further down the directory structure.
The VisibleDrives option restricts what you can see if you click on the Computer button in a file dialogue box. If you want to allow more visible drives then separate them with a comma.
You can do the same with a Mac (for the home drive), just use the appropriate directory format (i.e. no drive letter and the opposite direction slash).
There is more that you can do, so take a look at the Scratch documentation here. For example if you use a * in the directory path it is replaced by the name of the currently logged on user.
Depending on your network environment it may be handy for your Code Club to put the extra resources on a shared network drive and open up an extra drive in the VisibleDrives. One I haven't tried yet it is the proxy setting, which I hope will allow me to upload projects to the Scratch website. It goes something like:
ProxyServer=[server name or IP address]
There have been a couple of false starts in publishing the Christmas special Code Club project, Christmas Capers, this year. Since I am planning to use it at my last Code Club of this term, which is on Tuesday (much to the disappointment of my 'Codeclubbers'), I have been keen to get it tested. Unfortunately, although the course notes were circulated, the resources haven't quite made it yet, so I decided to see what I could do.
First thing I noted, having gone through my past emails, was that it was used last year as well (unfortunately I don't seem to have a copy). The link on the original Code Club blog is no longer working sadly, however there was hope that resources would be out there somewhere. After a bit of searching I found a copy on the Scratch website that someone had uploaded, so I grabbed the resources from that and tested it so I was sure everything was there. I had a slight issue with the Jingle_Bells.mp3 file not being a supported format, but this seems to be down to something missing on my netbook as all is fine under both Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux on my main machine.
So, for anyone looking for the resources, they are here in a full package including a copy of the project and course notes.
Keep up the good work fellow Code Club volunteers, and if anyone would like to pop along and encourage my Code Club recruits to blog a bit more, we are here. As a school governor with an interest in literacy as well as computing I'm trying to make it a bit cross curricular
Oh, and if there is anyone in the Portsmouth and surrounding area interested in meeting up, I'm hoping to get my act together and do something in the new year. Do get in touch.
Today was my last day working at Bytemark, and I found it a lot harder than expected.
For better or worse I finished earlier than expected; having been gradually removing my accounts and privileges over the past few weeks I'd revoked my OpenVPN key this morning.
Mid-afternoon my openvpn connection tried to renegotiate session keys, or similar, and failed. So I stopped work a few hours early. That meant I managed to avoid sending my "goodbye world" email, which is probably for the best - after all a lovely company, lovely people, and a good environment, what can you say besides things that are lovely?
I think I largely wrapped things up neatly, and I'm pleased that one of my photos is hanging on the office wall. (I look forward to seeing that actually, I've only rarely made canvas prints.)
The only other thing of note this week has been the sharp rise in blogspam I've detected. Black Friday alive and well, on the internets ..
During the 13.10 development cycle we worked with the community to create a set of Core Apps for Ubuntu Touch. This resulted in a set of apps delivered in the image we build every single day.
For the 14.04 cycle we’ve got more work to do! During his keynote, Mark Shuttleworth identified some areas of focus for the next 6 to 12 months. For the existing Core Apps we’ll be working on refinement, expansion, ensuring apps work in the sidestage and adapt accordingly when resized. We’ll also look at getting the Core Apps running on the tablet (Unity 8) and desktop (Unity 7).
In addition to those improvements and evolutions we’re also working on new apps for this cycle. David Planella has already blogged about the Reminders App (powered by Evernote), and I just wanted to post an update to that.
There’s been a flurry of activity on Reminders App over the last couple of weeks. We’ve started work on an backend which connects through the Online Accounts API to Evernote.
Once authenticated to Evernote the app can access notes, notebooks and reminders stored in Evernote, and display them. We worked with the Canonical Design Team to come up with some draft wireframes for the various screens in the Reminders App. Some of the screens will require SDK changes because they introduce new design patterns which are still in progress.
The first of those are Notes & Notebooks views, both of which are still very much in progress, but the basics are working.
The reminders view is still in progress:-
It’s possible to navigate your notes and display them, and again this is in progress, but it’s exciting to see the basic display of notes working!
We’ve added Reminders App to our continuous integration setup which automatically builds click packages and Debian packages for the app and the plugins and runs tests before pushing the packages to our PPA.
Next we need to built the other views and start building the rest of the Reminders App. Part of that includes building a small team to create and maintain the Evernote API QML plugin as detailed in David’s blog post. I’ll be reaching out to some core apps developers to gauge interest, but volunteers always welcome, see David’s post for details.Tweet
We were ushered into something the size of an aircraft hangar, surrounded by fezzes, buzzing sonic screwdrivers and a variety of Amy Ponds. I have never seen so many Doctor Who fans in one place, and I was only seeing half those at ExCel for the “Doctor Who Official 50th Celebration”. It was similar in feel to the convention in Cardiff last year, but turned up to 11. Only the BBC can bring together so many actors, directors, special effects people, costume designers and so on in one place. People who are actually working on the show now, demonstrating their craft.
Although the main sessions were pretty distant and not really revelatory (although Nick Briggs did a superb job wrangling four Doctors at once), there were so many other events going on in stages and screens that it was impossible to see everything in one day. At 5:15pm the whole convention stopped to mark the moment when, 50 years ago, the opening titles of “An Unearthly Child” appeared on tiny TV screens around the country. I had been speaking to Carole Ann Ford herself just beforehand. While I did spend a fair amount of the day queuing and would have liked to have had more time to spend in the side stages, I am glad that I got the chance to meet some legends of Doctor Who.
As someone who grew up in the wilderness years, I learnt to hide my fandom. It was fantastic to see so many kids running around waving screwdrivers, acting like Daleks and generally revelling the show. There was a small group of teenage girls on the tube discussing Verity Lambert. It reminded me just how far Doctor Who has come since 1989. I hope they go on to take over TV like she did.
How better to watch the 50th anniversary episode than at the BFI, where I have watched screenings almost every month this year? Well, with Matt, Jenna, Steven and John Hurt in the audience. Yup, they were all there for the screening, having also hot-footed it over from ExCel. If you haven’t seen “The Day of the Doctor” go and watch it on iPlayer now.
And if you haven’t seen “The 5(ish) Doctors Reboot”, go and watch that straight afterwards. It it one of the highlights of the anniversary year for me. Superb performances from Messrs Davison, Baker and McCoy and a script worthy of “Extras”.
The BBC 3 after party was held in one of the bars at the BFI right after the screening, but if you weren’t inside the bar area, it was impossible to tell what was going on. Although the twitter commentary showed that perhaps I wasn’t missing very much!
You can hear the podcast we recorded straight after the screening over at The Doctor Who Podcast site. You can also hear our review of “An Adventure in Space and Time”, the superb drama recreating the early days of the show that I wrote about last week, on The Doctor Who Podcast too.Pin It
I've now completed all my KVM migrations. Moving my personal virtual machines from one host to another.
There were a few niggles, for example I didn't have a working IPv6 allocation at the time I moved things so I had to set that up post-migration.
I've also joined each of the hosts into a VPN which makes cross-guest communication secure and simple.
Finally I've overhauled my firewalls and service lists.
I installed a couple of extra guests, using libvirt and booting from the Debian ISO. The Debian installer continues to impress, though it did make me think I should overhaul my PXE setup at home.
It wouldn't be hard to have a Raspberry PI running as a TFTP + DHCP server. You could plug it into a network, reboot your desktop, and then have it boot into the imager. At the moment I run DHCP + TFTPD + etc on my main desktop, and that allows me to reimage any of the hosts in the flat easily, except itself obviously.
The last time I reinstalled this system I had to reconfigure DHCP + PXE + TFTP on another host. I think the next time I need to reinstall any system I'll "waste" an SD-card on an image-server host.
Finally I've recently read the Rick Cook Wizardy Series:
Fun idea. Horrible puns. Some of the books were too long, or left plot elements dangling, but on average they were more good than bad. Albeit a little predictable and "simple".