Thursday, 30 October 2008

Doh! Server is down

Bugger, think my server has gone down. Its an Amazon ec2 instance, and been up for awhile. But now it cant be reached, not even within their cloud. Tried to reboot it via elasticfox, no luck.

Never got time to make the disk persistant, with the new Elastic Block Store. Doh! Again.

Havent synced to S3 for a while, probably months. Doh! 3rd time.

Don't think Ive lost much critical stuff. All changes are gone, but google cache may retrieve some of it. All logs is also gone, and any recent changes to application databases...

And my subversion server was on the same server. Doh! 4th.

Wish I could afford to run more than one instance on ec2, so that I could spread load, seperate concerns and not have a single point of failure which kills everything!

Better start to get another server up and reconfigure it. But not sure when Ill get the time. But I also wont receive any email till then as it was also my email server!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Not always flurdy

Ive been using the username alias flurdy since probably about 1994-95, when at university I had to start picking a username for different sites in the early years of the internet.

Flurdy, came naturally as I had to pick something unique, and being a Norwegian lost in England, some friends called me flurdy-gurdy, with some references to the Bork-Bork Swedish chef in the Muppets show. (Actually it was the nickname "Fjords!" that stuck, and some friends from uni still call me by that today!)

Flurdy has been a good username as I haven't needed to use flurdy-012 or some random extension to use popular services. So I dont have to remember what username is used for what and where. ( Hackers be aware, there is something called PwdHash, so these are not the accounts you are looking for... I dont use it but hopefully that will disinterest them...)

I become so attached to the username, that it is the alias I use for all my development work, and is my main web site, even though would be more natural. So it has become my identity, so much that I even now sell t-shirts with the logo. If I start a business (again) I would probably use flurdy brand more than the eray one I had planned.

However flurdy is not 100% unique, and does not always mean it is me. On some websites, the flurdy user is not actually me. I dont think I have fans, especially not copycat ones. :) But I found some people actually named Flurdy, mostly irish, and there are probably a few that also use that username for some reason or another.

So for instance on, flurdy is not me! Nor is it in Yahoo, eBay, Digg or Stumbleupon.

In I am flurder instead. Actually on Digg and Yahoo, it might be me, I just cant get the password reset!( I never put in my real birthdate and similar, as I dont think they need to know. And never the same spammable email address either...) But definetly in delicious and stumbleupon it is someone else!

I just wonder if people mistakenly assume all flurdys are me, and presume it is my links in for instance. As is turns out that person has similar links to me, so probably doesn't cause any problems! Been weird if it was some tree-hugging artist living in the pacific, but then he probably wouldn't use

But I shouldn't complain, a google search on flurdy is mostly me for pages, especially if you remove gurdy. But the odd non-me are still on each page...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

groovy netbeans so far

been hacking away at groovy with netbeans as IDE for the past few weeks. Also using it with spring for a facebook application.

Well, I am still coding the java way... Hard to take the red pill. Groovy is nice, but not sure Ill use it for all coding in future applications. It can certainly be partly used, for often changed code. It may however replace my perl scripts.

As for netbeans and its groovy support. It does not seem finished: Its useable with neat tricks, but still fiddly, and some things just dont work. E.g creating a project from netbeans, then wouldnt let you add groovy classes to groovy folders only java source folders. Creating a project from scratch using maven archetype got working, but new java sources arent' happy then...

As in general use of netbeans it is very good, however a nightmare on a low memory machine, especially with encrypted disks. If I type one word, ill have to wait 10 secs before I can type the next word. Infuriating. So notepad++ is my general editor on that machine.

On a still low spec machine but without an encrypted disk it is better than eclipse. However all popups take 10secs before they finish "scanning", so they are irritating.

As for general development with groovy, it certainly increases developer velocity. However I keep flicking back to Java as certain mixture of architecture and technology is not quite there yet.

One thing that does work well with groovy and spring is spring's new annotation based configuration.

One thing I hope will soon work is dynamic beans, which spring has, but does not as yet work with annotations.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Why waste money with inferior equipment?

Single most expensive element of any project and regular company expenses is the salary of people, ie human resources.

Then why do companies insist on saving money elsewhere which increases the cost of staff? Ie. why so restrictive on hardware and software tools?

I think most managers see the expenses on e.g. new PCs as the only place they can make cuts, and are too blinkered to see the effect. Which is increased salary expenses as people take longer to do their job.

Yes, they should not be frivilous, and people always want new gadgets, which some are unneccassary and cause distraction. But they restrict people far too much which in the end costs them more.

For example (and the reason form my rant):
I am a consultant contracted out to a client. Both from my employer and client I have really inferior PCs. And they fail to see this costs them more than it saves.

( This is not specifically targeted at my current client, which is one of the better ones Ive encountered, but they suffer from the same problem. )

The PC I must use have a really slow single core processor with little memory, so most of my time is spendt waiting for the screen, IDE, explorer to refresh.

And the disks is encrypted, which really causes everything to slow down to a halt, especially due to low memory, that the swap file is used a lot...

I don't help by having weblogic, jetty, 1 or 2 eclipse workspaces and netbeans, and 10+ firefox tabs up at the same time, but the machine should handle this.

I would guess as much as 1/3, minimum 1/5, of my time is wasted waiting for the pc to catch up. If you add that up, for 40 hour week say ~10 hours a week is wasted. That is 10 000kr or £1000 per week of invoicable time.

Sure, some waiting will always happen. Especially with inneffective build scripts, wandering concentration... etc.

So they save an initial £1000-2000 by giving my an old machine. But it costs them e.g. £4000 every month! Blinkered wastefullness.

Not to mention only supplying 1 small screen slows down productivity when Im not waiting....

Why restrict developers? If I had a 4gb+ multicore laptop/desktop, or if running linux/osx server processing access, 2 screens, my productivity would be nearly doubled!

( Yes, slow maven scripts (and little use of jetty etc) means I tend to wander onto for too long while building, but that is another issue... )

As for my real employer, the direct saving is not so obvious if supplying better hardware, as I am mostly working on client pcs. But there are also consequences of that the one they supply is rubbish.

So doing internal development, evening personal development is more and more difficult, or even absent, as the hardware tools is not there. The one I have from them is even less capable, so it is fast becomming just an email reader.

It is a risk for them, as I ( and I presume the others ) are contacted weekly by recuiters offering gadget budgets, macbook pros etc.

So several articles, research papers have been published to inform managers that salary expenses outweight all other costs so much, then why do they not see to optimise that expense? It is very annoying / tempting when reading / hearing of people being given the right tools to do their job, when you are not. :(

Thursday, 2 October 2008

too much sports!

I do too much sport.

Not that looking at me that would be your first impression, :) but sometimes I think I do.

Clarification: I don't play sports 24/7 anymore. But I am interested in and pursue too many sports. And no, not just as a spectator, but active participant.

As a kid I would play all sports all the time. I would play football (soccer) once or twice a day, I would play ice-hockey all winter, I would ski, swim, etc at any oppertunity etc.

This continued with a lot of football and hockey throughout university. Large quanteties of beer and kebabs at university, followed afterwards with no time due to work, technology and girlfriend meant my physical shape no longer reflected a sporting interest...

But my moan today is that I still do too many different sports, and I enjoy them all, and I do none often enough to get good at any of them. Im not bad at any sport, but not great at most.

Once a week, which in reality works out to twice a month, I still play football, mostly 3-a-side indoors, and now also floorball (innebandy).

Before I changed contract to down the road I used to cycle to work. Now it is only the occational trip at weekends.

Squash, played twice this month. Before that it was two years.

Tennis, got the gear, used to play a few times a year. Last time: two years ago.

Ice hockey - go skating a few times a year, no-one to play with anymore....

Rollerblades - Go 5-10 times in the summer, which are brief in Norway.

Kayak - did beginners course last month. Loved it. Cant imagine Id go more than once or twice a year.

Sailing - still waiting to get round to do my beginners course.

Climbing - ditto

Downhill skiing - More now I live back in Norway. About 4-5 times during winter.

Crosscountry skiing - An option again now Im in Oslo. 3-4 times a year.

Jogging/running - finally a sport I don't enjoy. but get dragged along. about once a week at the moment, hoping to cut down to once a month.

Gym - stopped paying membership when I moved.

Keen on any other sports as they come along: badminton, basketball, (beach) volleyball, surfing, snowboard, you name it.

So in the end its all different sports every time, and a long time between each time I do the same sport, so I don't think Ill make the olympics. :)