Friday, 21 December 2007

The December push-up challenge

Yay, finished early. We had a challenge running at Canonical to do 2000 push-ups during December. I've just done my 2000th push-up for the month. It has actually been quite good. I've found that the most important bit is just to do a set regularly, and really try for four or five sets a day.

Also I've finished work for the year. Another yay! It has been a good year, with much good stuff getting done. Even more interesting stuff is due to come out in the first six months of next year.

With another year heading past, the girls are a year older. Jessie is starting school in February next year at the start of term, and Maia is now old enough to go to playcentre by herself (and she has done so at least once).

It seems time to start thinking about new year resolutions...

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Cambridge, MA

Well, my body is now almost completely adjusted to US east coast time. I do find myself waking each night between two and three in the morning. I'm thinking that this might be due to me expecting to hear Jessie or Caitlin waking, but here it is only Joey.

The rest of the Launchpadders arrived tonight. I ended up meeting so many of them it isn't really worth me writing them down for fear of forgetting someone. We have the agile training tomorrow, which should be quite interesting.

Cambridge, or the small bits of it that I have seen, reminds me of London. But perhaps that is just because they are digging up the roads all over the place, and the pavement is made up of concrete slabs and bricks that have been laid for so long that they are no longer flat.

I thought the USA was supposed to be cheap, but so far the meals out in the evening have been about the same that I'd pay back in NZ (converting the dollars). However generally books and DVDs are cheaper. I've put through an order to and getting it delivered to the hotel.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Well the laptop has been running mostly well since I upgraded it. Just a few times when it really had problems. Most of those seem to have been solved by making KDE start a fresh session every time rather than trying to use what I had running last time. It means a bit of manual tweaking each time I log in, but I tend to just leave it on most of the time.

I have Jono and James here this week working with me and we are attacking both features and usability issues with Launchpad and Bazaar. I feel that things are coming along nicely.

I've just joined a squash club, but yet to organise my first game. I know that I'll be really stiff after the first smack around.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Going gutsy

I upgraded my desktop machine to Gutsy (Gutsy Gibbon, Ubuntu 7.10) several weeks ago, and it has been going reasonably well, so it is time to upgrade the laptop. The distribution upgrader application happily told me that I needed to download around 1.4 gig of updates that would take around 2 days 7 hours using a 56K modem. I'm happy that I have a decent ADSL connection, although it is still saying that it has got between 4 and 7 hours remaining depending on the current download speed.

The official Gutsy release candidate is in about a week or two. If you feel so inclined, you too can upgrade and help report bugs.

I just wish I could figure out how to use my favourite window picker that beryl has that compiz doesn't seem to (or at least I haven't found it yet).

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Rediscovering stuff

When we left for the UK we only took a couple of suitcases. After a number of years away we sold our house and put much stuff in storage. This stuff has just been delivered to our house.

There is much cool stuff there. As I was helping the guys get the stuff out of the van, I grabbed a box that said "Glass, Fragile" and it was somewhat squashed and at the bottom of a pile. Yes there was a broken glass vase in there, but I haven't gone through everything yet.

I did find a copy of "Ferdinand" that was given to me back in 1975. It is in quite good nick given its age.

More unpacking to happen this weekend I guess.

Crap at blogging

I can't believe that it has been almost a month since my last post.

I'm sure it is because I don't really think that much I've what I'm doing is really interesting to anyone :-)

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

CVu time again

Every couple of months I end up with a busy time for ACCU. This is the time when all the articles need to be with the production editor, and the period just before making sure that they all get there on time (or not too late anyway), and the period after when reviewing all the proofs.

ACCU is great in that it gets developers writing articles for other developers on all sorts of topics, and this month is no exception.

Thursday, 19 July 2007


I've been sucked into the world that is facebook. Invited by one of the guys that I used to play rugby with in the UK. I had been staying away from the social networks (apart from Linked In). I had heard they were addictive, and I didn't really see the point.

However when I received the invite I thought "Why not?", so I registered. The interesting part was when I let facebook check my gmail box for people that I know. There were quite a few people that I knew already using facebook. Yay what fun.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Another week

Well the school holidays are now almost over and tomorrow morning I have to start getting up early again. Not looking forward to that.

Last week was another chaotic work week with the branches for the next release needed to to be ready for review a week ago, and then reviewed and merged by the end of the week just been. By the start of Friday there were around 15ish branches in the queue. By the end of the day over 20. It took some time and a couple of tries but finally my branches made it through.

I really do love bzr. The tool allowed me to merge my three branches into the first. When that failed due to a branch that landed just prior, I merged that first branch (now three branches) into the second (which is one of the three) and fixed the problems. That one failed too but for a different reason. I then merged the second branch into the third and fixed the next. At this stage I also included another branch of a colleague and resolved all the conflicts and errors. That one made it. Yay! Bzr rocks!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Back home again

For my nine elapsed days away, a full three of those days were spent traveling. That really does suck.

Arrived back in NZ very early Monday morning. Quickly through immigration to spend ages waiting at the baggage carousal. There ended up being about 20 people still waiting for luggage. My guess is that the baggage handlers missed a pile and eventually found it. Anyway after finally getting my bag I headed through customs to the domestic transfer desk. The line was huge, and I only had an hour before my flight left. Last time we waited at the domestic transfer desk we got told that there wasn't enough time to get our luggage transferred and we had to make our own way to the domestic terminal. Well, this time I didn't feel like waiting for half an hour to be told to go away, so I decided just to walk to the domestic terminal.

Rachel and the girls were waiting at the airport and it was wonderful to see them again.

Yesterday afternoon we finally got the central heating working. Oh boy it feels good! This morning it did feel too hot, so we went around turning the radiators down. There is another cold snap on the way, so I'm really happy.

I seem to have moved completely back into NZ time already with just feeling a little more tired in the evening than usual.

Friday, 29 June 2007


I have just got back from the team dinner. Me and my roomie both grabbed laptops and are sitting on our respective beds "surfing" the internet. Gee, what geeks!

Some of us left work slightly early today, which really means about 6:30pm rather than 7. We went to a close pub for a drink before dinner. When the crowd arrived, they settled in playing a "pub quiz" game. Funny, but when there were "world" quiz questions, they related directly to either England or if you were lucky, Europe.

The interesting topics of conversation over dinner were games. We played two games over dinner:

  • What movie - given a quote or two from frequently obscure movies

  • Canonical trivia - like "who had their laptops stolen at the first sprint"

All in all a reasonably nice evening. The problem with the movie trivia game, is that you think you've watched heaps of movies, but when it comes to thinking of a quote that isn't immediately obvious as to which movie it comes from, your mind goes blank. Well mine did.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

The "Air Blade"

The Canonical offices are in a much nicer state now than when I first saw them at the start of April. Firstly the construction has finished, all the meeting rooms are finished, and the kitchen now has a fridge. There is even an espresso machine, although the coffee grinder is currently broken and they only have medium grind beans for the filter machine. Nice office though.

One really cool device that they have though can be found in the toilets. Not normally a place where you expect to find gadgets, but I include this device in that category. It is the Dyson airblade. This thing is a hand dryer like you haven't seen before. Surprisingly fast at drying your hands.

We seem to be spending very long hours talking about work stuff. In the office at 9 and not leaving until after 7 in the evening. On Monday it wasn't until almost 8. I did manage to pick up some CDs to pass around back home, and some ubuntu stickers.

Lots of planning going on, nothing that I want to bore y'all with.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Hotel Wifi

It is now 8:44pm London time and I am starting to get a fuzzy head. Internet access at the hotel is £10/day, but it was pointed out to me by my roomie that there was an open wifi access point. So I'm taking advantage of someone else's internet connection right now. They haven't even set an administrator password on the router! This is a first for me. I've heard about it, but this is the first time I've been tempted to use it.

The flight from Auckland to London was long and uncomfortable. A number of times I awoke due to my arms going to sleep from having pressure in odd places from the really uncomfortable arms on the chairs. I did however manage to get some sleep, and have kept awake until 9pm so far. I'm guessing that I'll be completely out by 9:30.

Breakfast is at 7, work at 8(ish).


Here I am sitting in Auckland International Airport slightly irritated that there isn't a Telecom wireless hotspot. There is an Auckland Airport hotspot, but of course they want their pound of flesh to use it.

I very nearly didn't make it this far today.

It snowed yesterday evening. As it was snowing I was thinking "well there it goes, should be gone by morning". I realised that there may be problems when I was up at 2am to see to Jessie, who had just had a bad dream, and I saw it snowing outside again. When I woke up this morning there was a good 5-7cm of snow on the ground. I know that doesn't sound like much to those of you used to a lot of snow, but in Dunedin everything stops.

As soon as I was up, I got on the web to see if I could get any information about closures for roads or the airport. I found the phone number for the airport, but no answer there. Any how, I had to get packed. These days I can pack for international travel in about 20 minutes. That done I thought it best to check with my airport shuttle. I called the shuttle number and talked to the lady at the other end. Before I got much out she said "If you are chasing a taxi, forget it." After a brief explination she said that there would be no chance of me getting picked up, but if I got to their depo, they would get me to the airport. My next thought was "who do I know with a four wheel drive vehicle?" Unfortunately the list was slightly shorter than one.

Walking it was. Dragging my suitcase, I started down the hill to the taxi depo. I only arsed up once going from Highgate onto Stuart Street. It was very icy there. I decided to walk down Stuart Street rather than some of the more direct routes down the hill on the off chance of hitching a lift. I was about 100m down the hill when I saw a van start down. As I was looking at it I decided "I'd rather walk than get in that on this ice." As they went past, a guy hung out the window and snapped a photo of me dragging the suitcase through the snow. The van went about another 20m and then stopped. It tried to reverse a little up the hill, but no chance, it just slid sideways. As I came up next to it they asked if I wanted a lift, and before I thought any more about it, "sure" came out of my mouth. They were just three guys out for a drive to look at other people in trouble. They had reduced the pressure in the van tires to 10 PSI and the driver seemed to know how to handle driving in the snow really well. Since they were just off for a drive, they dropped me off right outside the taxi depo. Here I was, nice an early.

The airport at this stage was closed due to ice on the runway. I had managed to talk to someone at the airport, and they said they were currently doing 360s on the runway, but he expected it to be OK within a few hours. My international flight wasn't until 9:45pm, so I though I had better get myself there.

When we finally got to the airport it was about 40 minutes before my scheduled departure of 11:20am. The queue was HUGE. London huge. Earlier flights had been cancelled, and as I stood there in the queue they let us know that my flight was cancelled too.

When I finally got to see someone on the desk, he looked at my tickets and said "Sorry, there is no way I can get you to Auckland today. You have to call 0800 737 000 to talk to Air NZ reservations. I can't help you since you have an international leg on the flight."

Dragging my bag I head up to the cafe to make the call. "We are experiencing heavier than normal call volumes. The current wait time is in excess of ten minutes." No shit sherlock. Anyway, I hold and finally talk to someone. "All the flights to Auckland are entirely full" she says. I ask about tomorrow. There was one space on a flight to Auckland tomorrow morning, but the international flight was full unless I wanted to upgrade to business class. "How much is that?" I ask. "£6000" comes the reply. Otherwise the soonest I could get a flight to London was Wednesday. Bugger. "The only option" she says "is to go and see if you can fly standby to Auckland somehow and hope you get there before you flight tonight." This did not fill me with excitement. However, I felt that I must do my best to attempt to catch the flights or I couldn't honestly say to the powers that be that I did my best.

I head back to the check-in desks. The queue is still really long. I completely ignore the queue and walk to the check-in desk for the Koru club members. I tell the guy there the situation, and that I had talked to Air NZ reservations and what they had told me. Clack, clack, clack, "this must be your lucky day" he says. Bullshit I thought. He managed to get me the last seat on a flight to Auckland via Christchurch. So here I am, just downed my coffee, and saving this in a text file to upload to the blog when I don't have to pay for it.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Ramping it up

Following the frustration at the end of 1.1.6, I'm ramping up for 1.1.7.

The major thing to think about here is not to commit myself to too much again. Hopefully I haven't done that this time.

Heading over to London on Saturday for a week of planning meetings. The only silver lining to 40 hours of travel to London is meeting some of the people that I work with. Chances are I'm going to spend most of the time completely jet lagged, and then get on a plane the following Saturday and fly back to little old NZ.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Missed it

Well the deadline came and went, and my major feature addition missed it.

And here I thought I had it all under control. The penultimate branch didn't get reviewed until Friday, and it brought up a couple of issues. One was insufficient test coverage, and while increasing the coverage, another ugly problem raised its head. It was at that stage I realised that I really had a problem. I agreed with the proposed changes that the reviewer came back with and that caused a problem. Here it was, around 11pm on Friday night and I needed to make some quite severe changes to the implementation.

While talking to the team lead I decided that there was no point landing the code as it was, and that the changes needed to be made. So I started writing them. At around 1am I realised that it was not going to be as quick as I hoped, and still had about another hour of work to fix the code, then I had to fix all the tests that I would have broken, then I would have had to go through the code and fix all the prose in the doc strings that would no have been out of date due to the changes. So I decided to head to bed.

Saturday morning and I called the project manager. It was still Friday afternoon for him. I talked him through the situation, and we decided to let the feature slide until 1.1.7.

I decided not to touch any code at all for the weekend, and step away from it all for a few days. I had been going hard out to get the whole thing written, and was quite gutted when it all sort of fell apart on the last day.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Pressure is mounting

With the deadline for having code landed looming this Friday, there is pressure to get the features code complete and reviewed ASAP.

I feel that I am almost code complete. Now to just get the code reviewed and landed in time.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Ability lost

Google has seemed to have screwed up my ability to edit in need of caffeine so I've started a new one.