Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

25 Nov 2005

London Perl Workshop

Tomorrow is the 2005 London Perl Workshop, a free Perl event organised by the kind souls of the London.pm. I shall be going up to town by train bright and early in the morning for what I hope will be a great day out.


22 Nov 2005

Window Managers

The window manager you use with X is very personal. I currently use KDE on my main desktop system. My test system is under-powered and runs Fluxbox. I've tried GNOME several times and can't get along with it.

Even on my AMD64 desktop system KDE is quite sluggish to start when compared with Fluxbox. I don't run KDE on low powered systems and I appreciate that Fluxbox is the Damn Small Linux default.

I think I just need to get a little more use to Fluxbox and I'd probably switch to it full time. It's not as if I use all the eye-candy in KDE anyway, the main reason I like KDE is that I can turn most of the effects off.


21 Nov 2005

Power, or Lack Thereof

This weekend we had to turn the power off at work to carry out power supply upgrades at work. On the day most things went well, however it couldn't last. The logic board on the uninterruptible power-supply failed, then the redundant logic board failed, then the power was cut off from the SAP system - which wasn't very pleased about that.


20 Nov 2005

OpenOffice.org 2

 Use OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org version 2 has been avaialable for some time. It's not yet available for Debian Etch yet or in a 64-bit version. At the moment I'm downloading the official 32-bit tarball and later on I'll see if it will install as is.


19 Nov 2005

Training Pro

Today marks a new adventure in life. My better half has just started her own IT training business: Training Pro. Her initial plan is to target schools as they have lots of new ICT hardware but most teachers have had little or no training with it.

The web site went live this week on my server here www.iredale.net/trainingpro.

2011-01-09: Page edit to remove invalid link.

OPALS Meeting

Yesterday was our monthly OPALS meeting. We had another new member this month and while we over ran somewhat and didn't quite go through the agenda in the correct order - it was a good meeting.

I now have to update the web site, write a letter to the council and start to write a monthly column for the village newsletter. The UK government may be happy to hand over vast sums of money to foreign monopoly software providers but at least in one small village people will at know that there is an alternative.


15 Nov 2005

Save €29.3m by upgrading to OpenOffice.org

The French tax agency claim that by upgrading 80 000 desktop systems from Microsoft Office 97 to OpenOffice.org rather than Microsoft Office XP, they can save €29.3m. Upgrading all those machines to Office XP will cost €29.5m and upgrading to OpenOffice.org will only cost €200 000.

It's quite a claim, but the French tax office has slowly and quietly been migrating more and more of it's software aware from closed source proprietary applications to best of breed open-source alternatives.

The usually pro Microsoft ZD Net UK site has quite a nice article listing all the open source tools used, the partners involved, and even talks about the longer term goal of migrating the desktops to Linux: French opt for laissez-faire Linux.


12 Nov 2005

Perl Tidy

This week I bought Perl Best Practices. Recently I've actually been using Perl again and this book has proved to be a reminder of how to write clean code.

Perl Tidy is a script that takes a Perl file and reformats it in a standard format. I've used it before but never been happy with it. This time with the PBP book in hand I can see the point behind some of the things it does and how to configure it the way I want it.


10 Nov 2005

The Server Room

Today I spent most of the day in the server room installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux on a HP ProLiant server. It was an easy install, it didn't actually take all day but it's not so warm in the server room so as soon as I'd changed CD I came out to warm up and I didn't go back in just as it finished - so I know I could have had it all installed quicker if I hadn't been doing other things too.

Once it was all installed I ran the Red Hat Network update tools which take a while to pull down files when you have a few megs of them. One painless reboot and it's all running.

Given a choice I'd rather have been installing Debian but until SAP certify SAP R/3 on Debian I won't be allowed to use it.


08 Nov 2005

Laser Printer

I think I need to get a small work-group class printer for home. I've a nice Epson colour ink-jet printer which is fine for a little colour work, but no good at volume B&W work. My needs are basic:

  • Network interface
  • Duplex printing
  • Reliable
  • Low running costs
  • MUST work with Linux

A quick scan round the linuxprinting.org web site suggests that most printers above the bottom of the range, use either PCL/emulation or PostScript/emulation, and are therefore well supported by Linux. Some of the manufactures supply their own driver files, some of them are even fully open source.

I don't know what I'll get yet, but the Kyocera FS-1020DN looks quite nice and gets good reviews.


06 Nov 2005

Homicidal Hardware

This week really hasn't been my week when it comes to hardware. It started with an unreliable SCSI disk on a production server at work. Then there was the dead dish washer, and the rebellious bread machine.

The week was completed with an IBM @server pSeries Server trying to kill a colleague by electrocution. Just before home time on Friday I received a cryptic email from AIX on the box. I went to investigate and a colleague was playing with the power-supply unit of the server. We disconnected everything and shut it all down. On restart one of the redundant power-supply units exploded quite impressively and scared the living daylights out of me. Thankfully no one was hurt and the offending unity is now sitting on my desk awaiting replacement on Monday morning.