First Job Interview

I have just had my first job interview. It was a phone interview with I have to admit it wasn’t what I expected. The questions were very simple, so much so that they took me by surprise, so I forgot to mention a couple of points. Note to self: The main difference between an interface and an abstract class is that (because it may contain code) a class can only inherit from one abstract class, while it can implement multiple interfaces (which do not contain any code). I also forgot to mention that a protected method can also be used from a subclass. Oops!

Other than that the interview seemed to go well. Though you never can tell with interviews. I guess I will find out in a day or so.

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By |November 23rd, 2005|General|1 Comment

Continous Integration with Rails

You would think that a nice new extreme and agile framework like ruby on rails would have a good continuous integration tool, but apparently not. I have spent the last two days tinkering with both Damage Control and CIA and can get neither of them to work.

Damage control on Linux barfs when trying to get SQLite to install. One of the packages is only available in Ruby or mswin32 flavors, not good. Windows successfully gets everything installed, except when I try and run it I get error messages about the path to its data directory. Apparently it can’t cope with windows paths.

CIA installs ok, just does nothing. I can’t get it to run from the hooks when I commit code via SVN, but even ignoring that step and running the CIA commands manually doesn’t do anything to the database. What’s more the instructions tell you to run the production database, but the script for actually doing the work looks at the development database!

More work to be done I think…

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By |November 16th, 2005|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Valuehost – the ongoing saga of nothing happening

Two days have passed since I paid valuehost the money they want to get UDS back up online. The valuehost control panel still says we haven’t paid, and all my messages to them have been ignored. They certainly are not doing anything to counteract the rumours that they are just crooks.

I could set up a minimal service on another computer somehwere, but that would take a blitz of intense work, a few days minimum (possibly longer) and then we would have to endure downtime as the DNS changes propogate, and again when we move back.

This all leaves me feeling a bit helpless, all I can do is work on a long term solution to make sure we don’t have this problem again in the future :-(

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By |November 16th, 2005|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Valuehost – or not

Sometime on Friday night stopped working. After a day or so it became clear that it was not due to a temorary technical hitch. On Monday both Jess and I independently managed to discover the problem was that our hosts, valuehost (link diliberatly not included so no-one makes the mistake of following it!), had pulled the plug on the account. Their justification was that we had not paid the bill, which seems fair enough, or at least would do were it not for the fact that they never told us the bill was due. Ideally we should have checked, but its still not nice of them. After some hasty online meetings with Chris (IVDA president) we decided to pay them, rather than try and take the opertunaty to jump ship and go with a sensible hosting company.

We do still plan to move to a different hosting company, but this way we have the chance to do so at a time of our choosing rather than when its forced upon us.

Anway, valuehost have their money, and now we are just waiting for them to notice, wake up and put the site back online. Lets hope they don’t take too long.

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By |November 15th, 2005|Uncategorized|9 Comments

Job Hunting

Well i’m now well and truely into job hunting. I have finished my CV, though not yet webified it. I have sent of CVs to several worthy employers, and I have attended the less than worthy carears fair at Imperial. Come on employers – I have spent 4 years doing a PhD, don’t tell me that your going to ignore it and just stick me in the same old graduate recuritment program as everyone else. I’m not biting on that line.

So i’m spending my time job searching, dancing, and working on the new university dancesport website, which now has a list of requirements.

Now I need to go and pick up my suit from the tailors, pick up some cooking ingredients and then go buy some new latin shoes. My shoes are to tight, and it does matter, as I have not forgotten how to dance.

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By |November 11th, 2005|General|0 Comments

Python and Rome

Well it’s a while since I have written anything here. I have been having some down time, relaxing after my PhD submission. I now have a date for my Viva, the 1st Dec. I have also been promoted to webmaster for IVDA, so I’m now in charge of It has to change, quite drastically! There are a number of problems with the current site, mostly that it’s falling apart at the seams! Text is overflowing from one column into the next, the forum is a totally different piece of software, and it’s breaking. Probably none of the users have noticed it yet, but the admin side is generating SQL errors left right and centre.

I’m moving in a different direction and am playing with Plone. Plone is a full content management system, written on top of CMF (the Continent Management Framework), which is in turn written on top of Zope, which is an application framework for content management systems. Zope is written in Python, a language I have no prior experience of, but its meant to be nice, and well thought out, with the exception of some strange white space issues. Anyway, the whole project is very well designed, and once you get your head round the strange multi level configuration options, kinda cool. Though it has no good forum products. I have installed Ploneboard, which works, but is missing several features. Firstly it doesn’t let you allow access to some boards to only some groups, but because of the nice security model in Zope, I can set that using Zope (though it’s a bit of a hassle). It doesn’t seem to let you edit posts, not does it tell you how many new posts have been made since you last visited. Looking at the source code for Ploneboard, it’s well structured and clear, so I think I can add the features we need and submit them back to the ploneboard development team for inclusion in future releases.

On a different note, I watched the BBC’s new Rome drama today, and then read the Guardian’s review of it. The reviewer seems to find every fault with it, without much justification, or historical accuracy. Sure, we don’t know that roman women would have showered in bull’s blood for a sacrifice, but given the prevalent religion at the time, it seems more than likely. As for his claim that the political back story is not covered in enough depth, well there is only so much screen time. If you want a good dramatisation of the fall of the republic and the rise of the empire, then Iggulden’s series has to be your first stop. Of course that is 3 books long, and counting…..

Finally I’m writing this in WB Editor 2, which is crap, and I won’t be using it again!

By |November 3rd, 2005|Uncategorized|1 Comment