Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Listening List

I've recently been able to use my pretty purple ipod nano, and I've started listening to podcasts. Currently on my listening list are:
- rails envy podcast
- pragmatic programmers podcast
- ruby on rails podcast

I'm looking for more things to listen to - I'm interested in minimalist design (of homes as well as code), languages (python, haskell and ruby primarily), coding best practices, books, wine, coffee and tea. Suggestions anyone?

Monday, 20 July 2009

ruby on rails brisbane brigade meetup

So I made it to the Brisbane Ruby on Rails Brigade meetup.

Talks for tonight and notes:
- Widgy by Flexa (sponsoring this meetup)
Javascript widgeting framework
Make doing interfaces easier, automate a lot of the coding involved. For eg, ajax uploader, dynamic data form widget.
Doesn't work well under IE, fine under firefox.
Data forms take a JSON object; properties are top-level entities. Makes referencing very easy.
Looking to open source soon, and looking for developers to volunteer to work on it.
facebook group: "Flexa"

A side note: apparently I'm not at #rorobne, but at #brrb. Learn something new every day, I guess.

- Intro HTML5 & CSS3 by Bo
HTML5 - Being drafted by W3C. Semantic and clean markup. New elements such as section, article, header, footer, nav, time, figure, audio, video.
Lots of new APIs for interactivity.
Browser-based validation.
CSS3 - More selectors. Media queries - context sensitive rules (eg, auto-mobile column breakdown). Multiple background images, rounded images, and multiple column flowing content.
(DrNic is That Guy who trolls and heckles in meetings).
HTML4: What's wrong with it? - It isn't semantic. Classes being used as style elements instead of descriptive elements. You can do it cleanly, but most people don't.
Semantic web is a lot easier to work with both as a user and a developer. Browsers can display information contextually. Graceful degradation of elements such as email, url, and date to text.
Good resource at http://camendesign.com

Damn. I'm going to have to learn HTML4 properly now.

- sort_by by Ryan
Apparently, this talk is a biblical epic.
Used for sorting tables. Hooks into will_paginate. Simple api, sensible defaults. Patches welcome.

- Javascript Testing by DrNic
Intro of cord wrestling.
Unit testing for javascript that is easy. Plugin by name of 'blue-ridge'. http://github.com/relavence/blue-ridge .
Rails generators, screwunit, and rake task for headless testing (without using a browser). Reproduction of errors should be a lot easier (eg, for IE errors). Quick demo of doing validation of a form prior to post. Must tell the guys at work about this. We use waaaaaaaaaay too much js and have waaaaaaaay too few tests.

- make_resourceful by Alan
Attempts to solve the non-DRY of restful methods which are basically empty. Interesting. Will have to look at that too.

- FutureRuby by DrNic
Will have to google this. Heroku mentioned, for deployment from git. He should write a blog post about it, I don't quite follow.

Running out of battery, oh no! May have to do a follow-up post after I get home.

- web based iphone by Nathan
Some quick tricks to scale your website nicely for display in iphone, including rotating.

- bundle updates by Greg
cd to bundles, loops through bundles, does .git, or .svn. He's been told to make a gist.

.... no battery left! Beer and food to come.

BarCamp 3: The Search for Flock

BarCamp Brisbane 3 was held on Saturday, 18th July.

Things about the day:

- The venue was good - having a variety of areas to have different clumps of people with reasonable sound isolation was good.
- The DIY whiteboard of post-it notes and butcher's paper was awesome.

On startups - examples of opposite methods was very interesting. Traditional vs http://upstarta.biz . Lawyers and when to get them involved, and how to work with them. How to analyse your potential product from a target-market PoV. Git basics.

So many awesome shiny people! It was good to see many people I haven't had a chance to see since RailsCamp5. Also, meeting new people was very good - the lightning networking sessions were especially good for that.

Upstarta - non-traditional startups, which operate on a $0 budget, no VC, and have a very different approach to becoming a going concern. Starting up a group to share more ideas, methods, and perhaps incubate a few along these lines. Drop me a line if you're interested in attending.
RailsRumble - in a team, looking forward to the competition! Wonder if I can get rockstar to sponsor my team?
Lightning networking - perhaps doing this as a BoF at OSDC, or as a lunch/morning tea/short break feature activity. Will have to see if that flies with the organisers.

Many thanks to the organisers for putting together such an awesome event. I'll be sure to attend the next one.

Of food and delicious things ...

As anyone knows who knows me well, I love food. I love pretty much all sorts of food (except sushi). I love cooking, but I don't seem to have as much time/energy for it of late - well, not for the last six months.

And I'm not all *that* fond of packet food.

Are there any good resources for from-scratch, relatively brisk (eg, an hour or less from start to on the table) recipes, that use fresh ingredients?

While I'm on the topic, I've been thinking of starting up some sort of herb garden, but I have no idea where to start. I'm sure I want to grow coriander (for seeds and for leaves); galangal; ginger; garlic; lemongrass; basil; chillies; thyme; rosemary; lavender; peppermint; and kaffir lime (for leaves).

This list is mostly assembled from the list of fresh herbs I frequently buy (or wish I could). My only real option is in pots, in a courtyard that gets sun for perhaps 1/3 of the day. Can any green thumbs out there suggest what arrangement/s would work well, and which of the named herbs are likely to be a complete failure? Links to general care such as pruning, feeding, watering frequency etc would also be appreciated - gardening is something I am highly inexperienced with.

Back again

I've been busy, lately. Mostly I'm twittering/denting these days as @ysabet.

A few quick updates:
- I've been unemployed
- I'm re-employed, as well as doing contract work and trying to start a small business
- I went to railscamp at the Gold Coast, and it was awesome.
- I went to barcamp 3, and it was also awesome.
- I've started making it along to btub events now and again, which is good.
- I'm going to the brisbane.rb meetup now and again, which is also good.
- I'm helping Jerub prepare for OSDC 2009

Current things on my mind.
- money, and how to manage it; gnucash is driving me nuts.
- upgrading from rails 2.1 to 2.3 at work at some point
- writing something for LCA2010. Still looking for inspiration there.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Work got me a corded Mighty Mouse, but after a couple weeks of using it, my shoulders were wrecked. So being the sort of person I am, I did a 'Dear Lazyweb' tweet, and shortly had recommendations for mice.

Aside from finding some awesome cool trackball mice, I also found what I now own: the Logitech MX Revolution. It met my critiera of rechargable, cordless, fits my hand, and compatible with linux and mac osx. As an extra bonus, it has lots of customisable buttons!

It is now happily integrated into my workflow, with change desktop, cycle through tabs, view desktop, and dashboard bound to various buttons. Yay new toy!

Of aeroplanes and other things.

So, LCA is now over for another year. I had lots of fun! And learnt a lot of stuff. And met some really shiny people.

And spent most of the week with the worst headache of my life.

Turns out my sinuses are doing it wrong. Currently on stupid painkillers, and antibiotics.

I'll live. But I haven't been blogging lately because I've been pretty unwell.

Monday, 19 January 2009

May you live in interesting times


I must say, the joy of travel palled for me a little yesterday.

The airtrain bit was great. Checkin with Qantas was fine - although my flight was early (wtf?) so I nearly missed bagcheck.

Anyway. Got on the aeroplane, spent ages just sitting around. Obviously there was at least one other person who had planned to turn up on time instead of early. Finally took off, the flight was ... flight-like. Nothing particularly of note.

Got off aeroplane in Melbourne. Retrieved baggage, checked back in with Jetstar, and wandered the terminal looking for food (it's only 8pm or thereabouts). Finally found a vending machine, and paid ridiculous prices for a snack. My flight to Hobart was scheduled for 10pm. Which was fine.

We left at 11pm. That sucked.

Disembarked at the airport ... and no taxis. It's midnight, it's chilly, and there are no taxis. 20 minutes later, after sitting on the concrete and security staff making phonecalls, a taxi turns up. The taxi dude is kind of cool, though - he knows what linux is, and dicks around with electronics in his spare time. Awesome. Get to the uni and press the silver button and ... I've fallen off a list. After about an hour of digging through, they say 'sleep here, check back in the morning'. Kudos to those lovely reception people - it was *really* late, and they went above and beyond.

So, after leaving home at 8am brisbane time, I crawled into bed at 1.30am Hobart time. The downside to all this?

I haven't had a coffee yet.

Friday, 16 January 2009

I feel all growed-up

So, this morning at 3.30am AEST, my first major public-facing project went live. It went off without a hitch, and whilst there is some polishing left to do (stylistic, and some functional) I am pretty impressed with it.

This project has only been a 2 month effort, true, but it has been a pretty massive effort. I am perhaps excessively pleased with myself for actually getting it over the line in that time.

I am really enjoying this new place of work. The atmosphere is great, the people are great, and there are lots of really exciting things on the horizon.

2009 - BRING IT ON.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

How distributed teams are broken

Distributed teams can work. There are several examples of this in the open source world.


Sometimes, they are just really annoying.

Like right now, when the senior developer is a 3hr time difference away, which makes having strategic meetings somewhat difficult - especially when they have to be rescheduled to later in the day. Were this other person in the office, we could all just go down to the pub and have this meeting, despite the office boardroom being occupied.

Oh well. Could be worse. Actually, next week, it will be. I'll be in Hobart, most of the office is in Brisbane, and our senior developer will still be in NZ.

It's mostly the time differences that make things awkward. For instance, I can spend an hour searching for the answer to a question that the guy for whom it is 8pm could have answered in 30 seconds flat.

The physical separation also ensures that there is not watercooler chat - meetings have to be organised, days or weeks in advance, to make sure that two-way communication is possible. Impromptu discussions about code or process issues simply can't happen, between the remote and local members of the team.

There are some benefits - flexibility in workplace hours and location is nice. But it does come at a cost.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Been a while ..

So it's been some time since I posted on this blog.

I have news!

I've been selected as a Google Diversity Delegate (http://linux.conf.au/media/news/66) for LCA2009, and I'm thrilled.

See all you shiny people there!