ps is an incredibly flexible command but it also has a checkered maintenance history in the Linux world. Yesterday I needed to output just the username, the command and any arguments passed to it. And it was hell. After reading through the man page a couple of times I settled on the following: ps -e -o user,args. But this doesn’t work. It shows the command and the full arguments but it trunks the username at 8 characters (which doesn’t help with things like exim on Debian - which has a username of Debian-exim). Read on →

I really liked Building Scalable Web Sites, its topic coverage is impressive - the author obviously knows what he’s doing - it’s written in a practical, easy to follow style and the text explains the theory while remaining pragmatic. There are few books on the market that contain this much useful information in what has always been an under-documented “niche” and it’s sure to save every admin at least a few scalability related headaches. Read on →

“What do you think of the Getting Things Done book?” “I’ll worry about time management when a tech publisher has a book on it.” “Have you seen Time Management for System Administrators?” Queue the sound of being loading in FireFox I’m happiest when I’m bouncing between lots of different tasks - whether they’re all independent or part of a larger project. This is great in an emergency or when I’m working in a small team with a decent workload but not so good when it comes to simultaneously juggling small, quick turn around requests with longer, concentration demanding projects. Read on →

Today I was fortunate enough to head down to the JP Morgan building in John Winter street for, my first and, the second UK Subversion User Group Meeting. First up the audience, it was in the high twenties, which surprised me, and included a lot of people in suits; only a handful of us were casually dressed in jeans, untucked shirts or trainers. I didn’t get to stay too long afterwards to chat, although my employer was gracious enough to allow a couple of hours in the middle of the day to attend and I didn’t want to push my luck too far. Read on →

If I was a bad man I’d suggest it might be time for a separate Javascript developers room at FOSDEM 2007 (looks like the 24-25th February 2007). They had a couple of talks on JS related subjects last year (Dojo and Selenium) and they seemed to go well. dConstruct and the London Javascript nights have proved the interest is there… And you’d have a bundle of the Mozilla people at the same conference as potential speakers. Read on →

I’m not a huge fan of Visio but the ability to connect the MBSA to individual hosts and trigger scans is very neat. I’m also assuming that you can use the Visio scripting interface to mark machines that fail as a different colour. Full details over at the Visio Connector for MBSA article.

Your business success will depend on the extent to which programmers essentially live at your office. For this to be a common choice, your office had better be nicer than the average programmer’s home. – Philip Greenspun Although the idea of working more hours is currently on the wane this remains one of my favourite quotes, it nicely summarises my start up experiences. One of the weird things about my current job is that it’s the first technology company I’ve ever worked that actually closes its offices. Read on →

The Perl Testing Developers Notebook (PTDN) is the first of the O’Reilly Developers Notebook series I’ve read. The format’s good, a mix of the cookbook and hacks series, but does the substance match the style? At nine short chapters this book packs a fair amount in. It starts with how to write, run and read tests in chapters 1 and 2. Moving on to using Devel::Cover (a chunk of chapter 3) and, in chapter 4, introducing Test modules that’ll help you cover your bases before releasing a module (or depending on your perspective make you jump through cargo coding hoops.) These early chapters provide a well written, nicely paced, introduction to Perl testing. Read on →

A couple of months ago a friend of mine changed jobs and went to work with some mutual techie acquaintances. What made this job interesting to me was the confidential nature of the project and how little he was allowed to say about it. In one of my flippant comments I mentioned that if I REALLY wanted to know I could find out what he was working on. And the bet was made. Read on →

I was completely unprepared for DOA, I’d heard nothing about it, seen no trailers and didn’t know it was based on a game (which I’ve never played) - if I’d have known anything about it I’d have stayed well clear. Which would have been a shame. I missed the first five minutes or so of this film so I’m not sure if they actually explained the, um, plot? In essence there is a fighting competition where “the best representatives of each style” come together and kick the shite out of each other. Read on →