Linux Journal is getting some coverage again, last time was an advert, this time it’s a headline about Perl that Andy Lester didn’t like and caused him to post that “The Linux Journal owes the open source community, especially the Perl community, a big apology.” You can read the full complaint yourself over at use.perl 2.0 - sorry - Perl Buzz ;) I like his post, despite the fact he’s got a valid point the delivery irks me more than the underlying issue. Read on →

Since the release of Perl 5.10 (back on 2007/12/18) there have been a fair few articles discussing all the shiny new features - including smart matching, a built-in switch and state variables but my favourite three haven’t really received much coverage. So I’ll add to the pile of blog posts. First up is a tiny (from the outside anyway) change that may have the biggest impact of all the new features on my day to day perl - the display of the actual name of uninitialized variables. Read on →

As of 6PM yesterday (or midnight - depending on how you interpret my employment contract) my current role is redundant and I’m no longer a member of the working world. It was a mostly good 28 months and I was lucky enough to work with some damn smart people. This wasn’t unexpected. Between the Register articles and a generously lengthened consultation period most of us were pretty sure we’d be on the market again soon. Read on →

I’ve been quiet recently for “medical reasons”. I’ve been suffering from a pain in the side that seems to strike strongly when I’m sitting, laying or standing up - yes, that doesn’t leave a lot :) It’s present most of the time but tolerable unless I sit in certain positions or chairs. It’s not been too bad at work as the office has very nice seats but I drastically reduced my time spent online (my home desk setup seems to annoy it) while I waited to find out what’s wrong. Read on →

While dabbling with Puppet I’ve spent a fair amount of time investigating facter, one of the tools (although puppet uses it as a library) it’s built on. While I quite like the format it uses to define a fact I’m hampered by my lack of ruby experience; simple things take me longer than they should. So when I noticed Pfacter while looking for a module on CPAN recently I thought I’d have a look at how it could be done in perl. Read on →

The current trend with config files is to fill them with comments (let’s ignore the fact this isn’t a substitute for documentation) and while this is helpful watching people arrow through them line by line looking for active options drives me nuts. If you’re using vim (as all good people do ;)) you can jump from uncommented directive to uncommented directive with /^[^#] as a search. Pressing n will then move you to the next uncommented option. Read on →

It’s been a long week that began with half the systems team coming down with colds and ended with no water at home and dealing with plumbers. A number of little road blocks cropped up and late Friday night I decided to do the adult thing - and ran away. I’ve not really had a non-tech break since January so about 10 Friday night I grabbed my “conference kit” (I’ve learned to pack for short trips both quickly and lightly - and with only cheap items) I went and bought a ticket to the coast, used the wireless in the train station to find a small “hotel” (that’s a glamourous term for where I ended up staying) and buggered off to enjoy the beach for two days. Read on →

A tech friend of mine has spent the last four months in Chennai doing the ground work for his first VC backed start-up. He’s got a years funding (at Chennai costs), he’s just got the building (including decent aircon and a generator - which were apparently harder to get than you’d think) and now he needs to grow his tech team from five to about thirty over the next couple of months. Read on →

While working on my Nagios display tools I wanted to modify our existing Nagios deployments to easily link the information in but after a quick dig I discovered that something was very wrong - the Nagios CGIs are written in C. While shell and perl are my current languages of choice I can write (a very little and very basic) C but the idea of customising webpages in it, especially pages this critical to the company, stopped me in my tracks. Read on →

Continuing the release of my Nagios code - here’s my Nagios Simple Trender. It parses Nagios logs and builds a horizontal barchart for host outages, service warnings and criticals. It’s nothing fancy (and the results are a little unpretty) but it does make the attention seeking services and hosts very easy to find. While the tool isn’t that technically complex I’ve found it useful in justifying my time on certain parts of the infrastructure. Read on →