At $DAYJOB I’m working with a strong team of Python (and Django) developers so over the last couple of months my interest in the language has grown. Thanks to YAPC::EU not being very exciting this year I had a spare slot in my “conference schedule” and went to the highly recommended (by me and previous attendees I’d spoken to) PyCon UK. I’m glad I did. I was more than a little out of my depth in most of the talks but a lot of the speakers were excellent, especially Raymond Hettinger - who I ended up stalking (by accident) and seeing all of his talks. Read on →

I recently went to the London 2008 Google Dev Day (the title of my post doesn’t lie!) and while it was lovely to be near that hallowed grass (only half of which was actually down) the talks themselves left a lot to be desired - actual technical content. I’m not sure if I’m the wrong audience in that I’ve already looked at the front pages and the code samples but I hoped, given the word developer in the events title, that it’d be a bit more tech heavy. Read on →

When it comes to spinoffs the BBC isn’t doing too well. After two, very, very bad series of Torchwood we’re now ‘blessed’ with Spooks: Code 9. It’s got nothing to do with the main Spooks series (a series I do like), has very… inexperienced acting and dull plots. What’s good about it? A lot of the cast are very pretty and it’s only 6 episodes long. Luckily it’s been panned by nearly everyone who’s posted a review of it (I like to be on the bandwagon every now and again) and with a little luck it’ll be canned after just one season. Read on →

While I’ve always been a bit of a perl guy I don’t want this post to be “perl has x and python doesn’t” in tone. Which is lucky really as Python has exceptions and threading as first class features where as perl has… ahem. So after spending a chunk of today reading a python book and spending some time writing code here’s my initial short list of gripes - except IOError print adding newlines Significance of whitespace in blocks. Read on →

In the past I’ve written up a small list of general goals to help measure my technical progress. Over the last few years I’ve become a lot busier and this habit fell by the wayside. But no more! I’ve got a quarter left and I’m going to try and complete… Write and publish a technical article. Attend two technical events. Read and review 3 books. Write and publish two Perl modules. Read on →

While Google Chrome has been getting all the press coverage recently Ubiquity, from Mozilla Labs, is where all the interesting action seems to be happening. Ubiquity ticks all the boxes for me, it’s a simple, easy to use idea, that’ll save me time. It’s easily extensible and already has a huge community of people working, enhancing and just trying new things with it. All the things I’ve come to expect from Firefox and the Mozilla using community. Read on →

Like most of the techy part of the Internet I dutifully downloaded Google Chrome today and had a little play around. And just like all those other people I’m going to write about it. The difference is I’m very ambivalent about the whole thing. Chrome seems nice enough. It’s quick, works with all the websites I’ve tried so far and does have a killer feature - the task manager. Finally breaking tabs out in to their own sandbox is an idea whos time should have come years ago. Read on →

We’ve been hitting some load issues on one of our monitoring machines recently and while it looks like the munin graph generation is the culprit we also decided to keep an eye on how many services and hosts Nagios was checking. One of the downsides of having a very automated server deployment system is how easy it is to suddenly find yourself with an extra dozen hosts you no longer really need. Read on →

As part of my ongoing attempt to stop myself from silently making mistakes (I don’t so much mind the ones I notice) I’ve added another couple of Nagios Plugins. This time validate_feed and validate_html. As both of these checks call out to an external, third party resource, if you use them be sure to tweak your Nagios polling interval down to a respectful level.

I’m not exactly a demanding user of version control systems so I’ve not been heavily motivated to ditch my personal SVN repo (which I don’t use as much as I should) and plunge in to the shiny new distributed ones. However (and this is my excuse) I’ve recently wanted to put a handful of my own Nagios plugins under a public VCS. While we use a number of the checks at work I don’t necessarily want the local changes to be made immediately public so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to have a fiddle with git. Read on →