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Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

Chris Samuel: The True Meaning of Myki

Sat, 2015-04-25 18:26

Those around Victoria will be familiar with our public transport payment system called “Myki” which has had, shall we say, some teething troubles. It appears this was well known to the Vikings over 1,000 years ago as this list of Old Norse words that made it into English has:

muck – myki (cow dung)

So there you go, Myki is actually Old Norse for bullshit.

This item originally posted here:



The True Meaning of Myki

Michael Still: Tuggeranong Trig (again)

Sat, 2015-04-25 11:29
The cubs at my local scout group are interested in walking to a trig, but have some interesting constraints around mobility for a couple of their members. I therefore offered to re-walk Tuggeranong Trig in Oxley with an eye out for terrain. I think this walk would be very doable for cubs -- its 650 meters with only about 25 meters of vertical change. The path is also ok for a wheelchair I think.



             



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150415-tuggeranong_trig photo canberra bushwalk trig_point

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; One Tree and Painter; A walk around Mount Stranger



Comment

Donna Benjamin: Peace and Freedom

Sat, 2015-04-25 09:26
Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 09:02

It's ANZAC day.

It's the 100 year anniversary of a particularly bad battle in Turkey, that has somehow come to represent the apex of Australian and NewZealand glorification of war. Sure, we say it's not glorifying war - but seriously how is this wall to wall coverage not glorification? The coverage in all media over the past week has numbed my senses. Not made me reflect on sacrifice.

All our focus on this one stupid battle? I'd like to put some focus on those efforts to stop the slaughter.

Gallipolli was ultimately a battle lost for the ANZACs.

So too was the attempt by over 1000 women who came together in 1915 to try to stop war. To call for resolutions for peace. To identify and disarm the causes of conflict. If only we could reflect more on that effort.

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - http://www.wilpf.org.au/centenary/100years

Image: Screengrab from http://honesthistory.net.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/WILPF_posters_72dpi-FI...

Text in the image says:

As the British army, including Anzacs, is invading Turkey more than 1000 women from both warring and neutral nations meet in The Hague for the International Congress of Women. They set out resolutions for ending all war and resolve to take them immediately to all heads of state in Europe and the USA. They name themselves the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace.

"I know that the idea that lasting peace can be gained through war is nonsense" - Eleanor Moore

Andrew McDonnell: Why is the Arduino IDE so stupid?

Thu, 2015-04-23 22:26

If I perform the following actions:

  • File, New

    Opens a new editor window. Reasonable enough, although I would have preferred a default single-window GUI model like QtCreator or even gedit.
  • File, Save

    Opens a save as dialog. In spite of the Arduino ‘sketchbook’ directory, it opens in my home directory.
  • New Folder

    Creates a directory New Folder, but doesn’t shift the focus to it, leaving you confused when this is done in a directory with a lot of files…
  • Click on ‘New Folder’ and rename it, say, Test123
  • Navigate into Test123/
  • Type in a filename for the project, say, TestTest1
  • Hit save.

    So now Arduino IDE dutifully ignores what I typed and proceeds to create a tab called ‘Test123′.

    It will even do this if ‘Test123/’ already existed.

    What?
  • File, Save As.

    It forgets where you where in the hierarchy and starts in the home directory again(!)
  • Navigate to Test123/ intending to use it as a container for multiple projects
  • Type in a filename, say Hello, then hit Save
  • The sketch is _still_ called Test123.

    What?

So insanely enough, it seems you essentially create a director and thats where the sketch gets its name.  Within that directory it creates a file with the same name with the extension ‘.ino’

Lets try something else:

  • From the shell, create a directory, Test456 and create a readme.txt file, and a directory Test456a and a file Test456a/readme2.txt
  • File New
  • File save
  • Navigate into Test456
  • Type in helloworld for the name
  • Again, the project gets called Test456
  • But take a look in the directory Test456: the contents are now gone (all, including the sub directory Test456a) and replaced with Test123.ino

    Wait, what? THIS SHOULD NEVER EVER HAPPEN!!!!

Luckily I discovered this in a directory in a git working copy with no modifications so I didn’t lose anything important.

Testing done using Arduino1.5.8 amd64 for Digispark. So its a little out of date but not exactly the oldest either.

I have used Arduino before and to be honest I don’t recall it being this stupid, but maybe I just got lucky.

One difference is this time I got sick of the massive latency opening the windows and tried a few different Java JRE (openjdk6, openjdk7, gcc4.7-jre) before discovering that with gcc4.7-jre the menus are as snappy as the openbox right click menu, or even a (*sharp intake of breath*) brand new Windows 7 corporate desktop… maybe there is some API implementation difference between the JRE’s that affects the file save dialog functionality.

I don’t seem to have any issues opening projects.

So my workflow for creating a new project now consists of:

  • From the shell, create a directory in the relevant part of the git working copy I am using
  • Create a new empty .ino text file with the same name as the directory (or copy a template I made)
  • Open it with the IDE and start working

 

Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2015-04-13 to 2015-04-19

Mon, 2015-04-20 00:26

James Purser: A letter sent, a disappointment received.

Sat, 2015-04-18 21:30

While I was distracted from the whole blogging thing, something did actually get me hacking at the keyboard on something that wasn't code. That was the metadata laws and the actions of the Labor party in allowing them to pass through with a few amendments that in the long run are going to be meaningless.

So I hacked out an email to my local federal member Stephen Jones (which I've included below).

I didn't actually receive a response from Stephen Jones until after the legislation passed through the Senate, and I have to say that I was seriously disappointed. I don't expect a lot from my representatives, but what I would like is something that actually addresses the points that I set out in the original email. What I got was the stock standard "we need to do this because [INSERT SOMETHING ABOUT TERRISMS HERE]".

Sigh.

Dear Stephen Jones,

I've always found you to be a decent person and someone who cares for his electorate. However I am deeply concerned at the fact that you and Labor seem to have allowed the governments Data Retention Legislation to pass without either looking at the amendments or in fact seriously considering whether it is needed at all.

Leaving aside the near Orwellian prospect of the entire nations communications being tracked for a rolling period of two years. There are a huge number of problems that seem to have been overlooked in the name of "national security".

- No warrants. There is no judicial oversight of the access to this data. I cannot believe that this is a thing that is supported. Why do we now think that it's not possible for police and other services to misuse their powers? Checks and balances exist for a reason and any move to water them down is dangerous.

- The actual data to be retained still has not been defined. In fact the legislation with amendments requires the ISP's to determine what "type" of communication it is, which means that the ISP will need to look at the content of the packet. This is not just "envelope" stuff, this is looking inside the envelope and working out what the letter you're mailing is about. This is bad.

- There doesn't appear to actually be a need for it. What problem does it solve that hasn't already been solved? The police and intelligence services seem to be operating quite well already, arresting those who would do us harm and relying on targetted communicates intercepts.

- The possibilities for abuse are through the roof. Not only for official abuse but you've just created a massive honeypot for every script kiddie and cracker around.

- What safeguards are there against using this information retrospectively? Say a new government comes into power and decides that something should be illegal and it should be illegal retrospectively? What's to stop them using this great store of data to start prosecuting people?

Labor and the government have both just told the Australian public that they are now suspect. That their every action needs to be tracked, just in case they may do something wrong. This is not something I am comfortable with, and frankly neither should you be.

 

Blog Catagories: Politics

James Purser: Dare Devil

Thu, 2015-04-16 23:30

So we've been watching Dare Devil over the last couple of nights, we're up to episode 3 and I have to say I'm really impressed.

I've never been a big fan of Dare Devil the character, and dear god the movie was complete shite (up there with the first Hulk movie featuring Eric Bana for badness), but this series has really sucked me in.

For episode 3 what really brought it home for me was Ben Urich. A journalist for the Daily Bugle in the comics, Urich represents the every man and is often used to tell the story of the normal people caught up in the semi regular destruction rained down upon New York (which has included the Hulk taking over, everyone in Manhatten being turned into Spider creatures, the almost annual flooding by Namor and of course an alien invasion or two).

I'm really liking the shorter series formats for the Marvel shows as well (well leaving aside Agents of Shield). They carry the comic book story arc feel much better than trying to drag things out for 23 episodes. Agent Carter proved that and now so is Dare Devil.

All in I'm pretty happy with the state of Marvels Cinematic Universe, and am looking forward to seeing the next tranche.

Blog Catagories: mediamarvel

Leon Brooks

Tue, 2015-04-14 21:05
Imagine a roadblock which is a wall of perfectly transparent AeroGel.



Here you are, barrelling down a highway at the speed limit, when suddenly you realise that you have come to a halt, so gently that you weren’t aware of as much as having slowed down.



Viola! You now have some idea of what is like to have been Gaslighted for over 5000 days by a person who is an emotional vampire: their goal is not to kill you, it’s to keep sucking away your self in order to present a façade of having a self themselves.



If you have been “told,” tens of thousands of times in indirect ways (never directly: you only become aware of an increasing number of knives accumulating in your back over a span of time), that you cannot succeed, that establishes just such an emotional roadblock.



Right now, teaching a Raspberry Pi to sing is not happening. I know what needs to be done. The resources to discover exactly how to do it are freely available. It simply does not happen. Welcome to the AeroGel roadblock.



The self-righteous Psychopath who spent so much time installing this roadblock in my mind can do no wrong in their own eyes. To actually imply that their integrity is less than complete inspires a rage attack (which is not the same as anger: there is no control at all). Deprogramming each of these blocks will not take place instantly.

Tim Serong: Get off my Lawn

Tue, 2015-04-14 02:28

When I was about the right age to first think that taking compromising photos of myself might be good for a lark, technology was a little different. Mobile phones that weren’t actually bricks anymore could show maybe two lines of pixelated text on an unpleasantly glowing background, terrible quality digital cameras were barely affordable, and connecting to the internet actually had a sound – kind of like KSShhh-aaa-KWEO-pung-pung-drhdrhdrhd-KHH, but it went for longer than that. Or maybe it was: mobile phones only existed in gangster movies where they were installed as part of a car, digital cameras didn’t exist, and I only had access to a few local BBSes. I forget the specifics, but that’s not the point – the point is that when I was in my teens, technology was shit, and nobody had any of it. Now, technology is excellent, everybody has all of it, it’s really easy to use, and the ways in which we interact with our technology shape the ways we expect our technology to work.

If I write an email to someone, I’m thinking “I will type my message in this box here, hit SEND, and then they will receive the message and read it”. I am not thinking “I will type my message in here, hit SEND, then it will be transmitted in plain text across a vast network of computer systems, through a number of mail servers, possibly be recorded by several government agencies in case I’m a terrorist, be stored for a little while in a mail spool and possibly backed up by some ISP, before eventually being downloaded and read by the intended recipient”.

Same with photos: “I will take a picture and share it with my wife” is a distinctly personal experience (regardless of what it’s a photo of), and that’s what I’m thinking at the time. I am not thinking “I will take a picture with my phone which will then be uploaded across that same vast network to a cloud system somewhere and stored for Eris-only-knows how long in some other jurisdiction which can probably be hacked by script kiddies”.

Technology now is all about communicating with people, and about sharing our experiences, and that we can do this without having any idea what’s actually going on is fantastic. The price though is that with each service we use, we give up a certain amount of privacy, and what privacy we give up is not necessarily obvious.

To go back to the compromising photo example: When all I had was a little film camera, nobody I knew ever took photos they wouldn’t be happy for random strangers to see, because we all knew that we had to take the film to get processed – the mechanics of how the technology worked were at least somewhat obvious to the people using the technology. As far as I am aware, there are no nude photos in existence of my teenage self and partners, because we didn’t want those perverts in the photo shop to see them.

I want a world where user experience accurately reflects potential privacy – not “sharing to circles”, or allegedly private “private messages”, but where any share that could conceivably result in non-private communication is preceded by a dialog that states “I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record”. Because privacy is important – as Bruce Schneier said: “Privacy is not about something to hide. Privacy is about human dignity. Privacy is about individuality. Privacy is about being able to decide when and how we show ourselves to other people.”

Dave Hall: Managing Variables in Drupal 7

Mon, 2015-04-13 23:30

A couple of times recently the issue of managing variables in Drupal 7 has come up in conversation with other developers. This post outlines the various ways of managing variables in Drupal sites. The three things this guide ensures:

  • Sensitive data is kept secure
  • Variables are correct in each environment
  • You are able to track your variables (and when they changed)
The Variables Table

The most common place you'll find configuration variables is in Drupal's variable table (aka {variable}). The values in this table are often managed via admin forms that use system_settings_form(). Users enter the values click "Save configuration" and the data is stored in the database.

If you prefer to manage your configuration via the command line and know the variable you wish to set you can use drush vset. This does exactly the same thing as admin form, without needing to click on a mouse.

$conf Array

While the variables table is great at storing our variables, there are times when you want to enforce a setting. This might be because you want to prevent users from changing it (accidentally or otherwise) or because you need it to be different in each environment. The $conf array in settings.php always overrides any values in the variable table.

Acquia, Pantheon and platform.sh all provide environment variables so you can use different values in your $conf array depending on the environment.

Exporting Variables

In Drupal 7, the common way to export your variables is by using Strongarm with Features. I'm not going to cover how to do this as there is loads of documentation already available on this topic.

If your variable changes on a per environment basis or if it calculated on the fly, then you won't want to use strongarm+features as the exported values are static. You will need to put them in settings.php.

Note to self: I should debug and reroll my patch for adding support in alter hooks strongarm.

My settings.php is Out of Control!

This is a common problem, especially on more complex sites. To avoid this I recommend creating sites/default/settings/settings.[env].php files. Your settings.php file should check for the environment in an environment variable and then include the appropriate settings.[env].php file.

What About Sensitive Data?

You can encrypt variables on a case by case basis using the encrypt module and some custom code similar to what I recently implemented in the Acquia SDK module (see on store and on read examples). Warning: This doesn't encrypt the data if you're using drush vset.

If you are storing sensitive data in your variables table I would recommend you implement hook_sql_sync_sanitize() which will delete the sensitive data from your db when drush sql-sanitize or drush sql-sync --sanitize are run.

How to Decide?

This little code snippet should help you decide.

<?php // Don't try using this code in your Drupal site. if (!using_version_control()) { // Seriously there is no point in doing this without version control. abandon_all_hope(); drupal_exit(); } if (is_data_sensitive($var)) { $var = encrypt_var($var); if (!we_use_drush_based_workflows()) { learn_and_implement_drush_based_workflows(); // I'm serious! } } implement_hook_sql_sync_sanitize($var); } if (is_unique_per_environment($var)) { store_conf_array($var); } else { store_in_db($var); if (!we_use_features_based_workflow()) { learn_and_implement_features_based_worflows(); // I'm serious! } export_using_strongarm($var); }

Leon Brooks

Mon, 2015-04-13 19:27
Would a book entitled “I married a Psychopath” or the like sell well?



One of the risks here for even a strong Empath is that there are no “red flags” in the differences between feelings and expression of them (body-language etc), for the very simple reason that there are no feelings, so there are no differences to sense.



It must be a lonely, empty life for someone who consists only of an empty bubble of Ego. Yet they are the only person who could change that. It begins with genuine humility (which has nothing to do with acting humble). They need to think nothing of themselves.



This may not sound so difficult until you understand that they think everything of themselves, full time. Religion (including Atheism) is not possible for them, as the only person they worship is themselves.





Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2015-04-06 to 2015-04-12

Mon, 2015-04-13 00:27

Tim Serong: Pigs and Bread

Sun, 2015-04-12 23:27

In farming related news, we have pigs again, and I’ve finally written up my bread recipe on our new blog at downsouthfarm.com. My random commentary about food and farming related matters will henceforth be posted there, while everything else I usually rattle on about at length will remain here.

Enjoy

Michael Still: One Tree and Painter

Sun, 2015-04-12 17:28
Paul and I set off to see two trigs today. One Tree is on the ACT border and is part of the centenary trail. Painter is a suburban trig in Belconnen. Much fun was had, I hope I didn't make Paul too late for the wedding he had to go to.



 



Interactive map for this route.



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150412-one_tree_painter photo canberra bushwalk trig_point

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; A walk around Mount Stranger; Forster trig



Comment

James Purser: So, it's been a while

Sat, 2015-04-11 22:31

Well as you can see it's been a while since I last posted here, just over a year in fact, so it's time for a bit of a clean up.

As you can see I've started redesigning things, updated the theme so that it's a bit more mobile friendly (as in will be viewable on mobile), added in the feeds from Angry Beanie and I'll be doing more work around including information about the projects I'm working on such as Govchecker and Zooborns for Android

I'm also going to try and do more writing here. I think I've fallen into the trap of not writing because I use twitter or facebook instead. Blogging though helps me to focus my thoughts a bit more so we'll see how that goes.

Anyway, this blog as ever is a work in progress, so we'll see what comes.

Oh and one more thing, you'll see that I've replaced the drupal comments system with disqus instead. This way we can hopefully avoid the comment spam problem I was getting before.

Blog Catagories: Developmentangry beanie

Ben Martin: Tiny Tim improves and gets Smaller

Fri, 2015-04-10 23:11
I finally switched Tiny Tim over to a lipo battery. Almost everything worked when I tested the new battery, the only thing that failed in a major way were the two 2812 LEDs which, either didn't come on or came on for a very quick moment and went dark. So Tim is now smaller again without the "huge" AA battery pack at it's tail.





The 2812 story was interesting. It wasn't going to be happy jumping to the 7.6v of the 2S lipo. So I tried various voltage divider setups which didn't work either. I ended up using a common 5v regulator and the lights work fine again. I think I was maybe using too high resistor values in the divider and the 2812s didn't like it. At any rate, they apparently want a good regulated power source, and I wasn't giving it one before I switched over to using the regulator.



On the whole, going from 5-6v of the AA pack to 7.6v has made it a snappier mover. I tried it initially with the battery on the bench and found it would lift the back off the desk under hard break.



Next up is probably attaching a claw or drop mechanism and ultrasound sensor and then take on the Sparkfun autonomous ping-pong ball into cup challenge. I'll probably control it via wireless from a second on board micro-controller. The drop, ultrasound, and autonomous navigation micro (and additional battery) can all be put into a single "module" that I can then bolt to Tim. All the navigation micro needs to do is control the differential drive like a remote control would. This way, the existing micro etc on Tim doesn't change at all in order for the challenge to be accepted.





Clinton Roy: clintonroy

Fri, 2015-04-10 19:28

Writing your first conference proposal can be difficult, so we’re running a working bee at UQ on Saturday 11th (in conjunction with Humbug). If you’ve never written a conference proposal before, or you’d like yours given the once over, please come along, register over at meetup.



Filed under: Uncategorized

Stewart Smith: Towards (and beyond) ONE MILLION queries per second

Fri, 2015-04-10 17:26

At Percona Live MySQL Conference 2015 next week I’ll be presenting on “Towards One MILLION queries per second” on 14th April at 4:50pm in Ballroom A.

This is the story of work I’ve been doing to get MySQL executing ONE MILLION SQL queries per second. It involves tales of MySQL, tales of the POWER8 Processor and a general amount of fun in extracting huge amounts of performance.

As I speak, I’m working on some even more impressive benchmark results! New hardware, new MySQL versions and really breaking news on MySQL scalability.

Michael Still: Thinking time

Fri, 2015-04-10 09:29
I've had a lot of things to think about this week, so I've gone on a few walks. I found some geocaches along the way, but even better I think my head is a bit more sorted out now.



Interactive map for this route.



Interactive map for this route.



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog canberra bushwalk

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Geocaching; Confessions of a middle aged orienteering marker; A quick walk through Curtin; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches



Comment

Brendan Scott: brendanscott

Wed, 2015-04-08 16:30

The WSJ has an interesting article about an investor who is funding claims to invalidate patents. The logic is that he shorts the stock. When the patent is invalidated, the stock plummets. He sells the stock – profit.  Hat tip: Andrew Wilson