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 →

Jason Statham has found himself a Hollywood niche, action films that don’t set the box office on fire but provide a decent level of “leave your brain at home” entertainment. The Transporter movies and now Crank are shining examples. Despite the trailers (and my expectations) Crank isn’t as action packed as I’d expected, in between a number of fight scenes there is a surprising amount of plot and amusing dialogue. While the plot itself isn’t exactly original the films constant changing from one scene to another and some decent dialogue makes it a lot less painful than it could have been. Read on →

When I was at school I was an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, over the years I’ve lost contact with most of it (the occasional novel, issue of Dragon or, very rarely, a source book is as close as I get these days) but one of the few things I did see was the first Dungeons and Dragons film. Which was BAD. But I’d waited so long that I watched it. Read on →

Severance had a lot of potential, it could have been Dog Solders meets The Office, but this time with The Office actually being funny. Instead, it’s an OK paced generic slasher film with a lot of attempted humour - only a handful of which hits the mark. Laura Harris puts in a decent performance, Tim McInnerny is completely wasted (if you’ve seen him in Spooks or Blackadder you know he can act when given decent material) and Danny Dyer does an acceptable job as the very two dimensional everyman. Read on →

The Ten Career Commandments isn’t my usual kind of book, I got stuck in a friends office waiting for him to finish up for the day and ended up reading it because it was the only thing on the desk, and they only had a 2Mb office ‘net connection - the barbarians ;) The Ten Career Commandments is an easy read that will best serve people just starting out in the world of work. Read on →

Let’s cover the basics, if you’ve got two machines working as an identical failover pair then THEY SHOULD BE IDENTICAL. Adding services, hell, adding nearly anything, to only one of them is a mistake. You’ve now created a bias on which one you need running and you can no longer assume they’ll both do the same thing in the same situation. Which defeats the whole point of having them. This might seem obvious, but the number of people who break this simple rule never fail to make that pretty little vein in my neck dance. Read on →

Once a machine has settled in to a rack how long does it take you to turn it in to a working server? How many of these steps are automated? The longer you can go without making manual changes the more comfortable you can be that the machine’s running as it’s supposed to be. What little tweaks do people make once the machine is up? How do you know they’ve been done correctly on each machine? Read on →

When it comes to system administration, the system part can refer to the paperwork, processes and procedures as much as actual machines. Among the modern admins worries are such evil beasties as section 404 of Sarbanes Oxley, the data protection act, log retention for the lovely police state powers of our government and, in some industries, ISO17799, BS15000 and other similar standards. One of the topics I’ve been interested in recently is the ITIL approach. Read on →