Connect 2013 Drinking Game

Sat on the Virgin Flight over to Orlando the wretch Ben Poole and I had time and booze on our hands and thus was the IBM Connect 2013 drinking game born!!

Rules: if you have a valid trigger but are not near any booze (how is this possible), tweet it (hash tag #icBooze), find someone you know ASAP and hark your self to a bar. If for some reason you are not able to do that and are being professional, tot your list up during the meet ups at the bar that night (yes this means you will have to go to a bar and be ‘Social’ {sound of Stickfight throwing up at the use of the word} , but no skulking in your room!!!)

1 Finger
  • A non-IBM employee says “social business” and looks like they mean it
  • You see someone buy David Leedy a drink
  • You get a question right at the [great geek challenge](http://www.greatgeekchallenge.com ).
  • You greet or introduce your self to someone by name in the rotunda
  • You actually make it to a session AND fill in the bloody evaluation afterwards (lazy sods)
2 Fingers
  • You see Ed Brill book signing a book
  • A senior member of IBM says lotusphere by mistake
  • When you make it to Kimonos take 2 fingers for each party/meet up you have attended already that night.
  • You hear the call of the Wild Kipper (if you don’t know what this sounds like, you soon will, you soon will!!!)
  • while you are in a bar someone sends at tweet with either the hashtag #ic13 or #IBMconnect and 4 or more exclamation marks (fake ones don’t count!!!!)
3 Fingers
  • You are guilty of committing one of the worst practice’s from Paul and Bill’s sessions.
  • For each client that actually asks for your card, if you are not a vendor then take 3 fingers if you have found something you are going to recommend to the powers that be when you get back to the office.
  • You see an un-signed Ed Brill book (only once per each book)
  • You find you are already drinking with a session speaker (both of you take 3 fingers)
1 full drink plus one for the person you see
  • You find David Leedy without a drink (don’t forget the hash tag).
  • You see [Bill Buchan](http://www.billbuchan.com ) trying to have a cigarette (don’t forget to take the cigarette off him).
  • You find a vendor from the show floor sitting exhausted outside looking like they have been though the bowels of Hades.

If you are running short of drink for this game while out and about, find a member of the London Developer Co-op and we will help you with that (if you look a good sort).

Migrating to Markdown Pt1 The Rant

A couple of months ago that wretch Ben Poole introduced me to the joys of markdown (he is looking at octopress) I fell instantly in love with it. The fact that it was a simple format that I could edit on any machine with a text editor and I did not have to remember much in the way of formatting was a winner – being a bit slap dash I tend to make a lot of mistakes and while I compensate on clients’ work by double-checking everything, it can get in the way when all you want to do is write a quick blog entry.

I also did not want to use a system such as Squarespace even though that was what I set my dad up on and also what a lot of my colleagues use, because I love to roll my own and have the complete control over my content that only my own server will give. On that note, there are some things I do want to give up and stop paying for as I’m using amazon webservices so I’m being stingy on every cpu cycle and byte transferred, so search is out, I will use a custom google search (which I will enable once this new site has indexed), I’m also bored of content moderation (I get more spam than comments but don’t want to be an arse about forced logons for comments as I dont leave ANY comments when other people make me jump thought hoops) so I’m going to use disqus and I’m not hosting any files I can push to another server (such as jquery).

Finally there is connectivity. I write the vast majority of my blogs and stuff when I am offline (if I was online then I would be working) and I am sick to the high teeth with connection issues or having to have a special client to be able to write a blog entry. I just want to write it in a normal human readable text file which I can then just sync up to my server is just what I want.

Next blog entry: the nuts and bolts of the set-up on the platforms I have chosen statamic on an amazon web service box using Dropbox to handle the syncing and updates.

See you in a day or so.

Explaining Managers

I have a well know hatred for a lot of Team leaders/Managers/PM’s, this is because I have worked for some exceptionally good ones over the years, and now realise how badly a poor quality PM can screw over a project, I have always lacked the words to explain what exactly narks me about bad PM’s ,thankfully a clever friend has put it into words

It is statistically improbable that all managerial roles would take up the same amount of time (i.e. a standard working week). Front end staff are usually close to capacity, due to their larger numbers, and the option of using freelance/contract/part time. What this means is there are a lot of managers with time on their hands. Good managers use this as an opportunity to go for lunch with friends/external contacts. Bad managers become “time thieves”. They have nothing to do, so they e-mail 10 people, or organise a meeting with 10 people, because they don’t want to be seen as lazy. This rule is even more extreme with Directors, MDs and CEOs. It’s just improbable that each of these roles would really use a five day week (or whatever your organisational norm).

“Time thief” – Now I know what to call them…

Connect 2012 schedule

In 2 weeks time I and the rest of the LDC founders will be pounding out to Florida for the first IBM Connect conference (or 20-something Lotusphere depending on how you look at these things)

This is my 5th time going and the first one where I will be speaking on my own, I suspect it will be chaos, but there will be 5 places I am sure to be:

UKnight (sponsored event)
Monday 20:00-22:00 shulas bar
In which the British companies at Connect attempt to bring their favorite bit of home with them, that is a dark bar stuffed with fun people drinking a serious amount for free
Its invitation only so you have to grab one of us to get your sticker before hand (we have big ugly doormen)

Great geek challenge (sponsored event)
Tuesday 20:00-22:00 dolphin ice cream bar
Each year the nerd girls organise a quiz to separate the geeks from the chaff, we are sponsoring it (more free booze), allow the freaky geek in you out of the can and win prizes

BP203 : Limitless Languages In The IBM Social Stack
Wednesday 17:30 – 18:30 Swan Pelican 1 & 2
My first solo presentation, and one on a subject I’m quite rabid about, learn about all the alternative languages you can use on any prodect that supports java what they give you and why, if you can pull your self away from Paul and Bill’s worst practices session, then let me rant and blow your minds.

SHOW104 : Buried Treasure: Finding the Hidden Gold in Lotus Notes Data
Thursday 08:00 – 09:45 Swan Osprey 1 & 2
Julian Robichaux and I show you how to get all that valuable data that’s in your notes applications and integrate it with every system under the sun, your managers will love you for it.

Gurupalooza
Thursday 10:00-11:00 swan ballrooms
The best practices speakers are forced to sit up on stage and answer to our crimes by answering questions from the ravening horde, I will be trying to keep my mouth shut this year

Matt white is also speaking there , you can see his blog on it here

IBM connect is the main conferences I go to each year, (the others are LUGs and conferences of convenience in London) so there is lots of stuff I have to do while I’m there

  • Have a LONG talk to the connections developers, as I have been developing on the platform for the last few months and while I now have a good handle on it and its functions there are a lot of inconsistencies in its interface and I want to feed back to them (or discover if I have got it wrong and need to change how I look at the system)
  • Find our clients and buy them drinks, along with the rest of LDC I have had a lot of new clients in the last year as well as more work from existing clients, quite a few of them will be at IBM Connect and I want to meet them in person and have the odd tipple with them.
  • Find more new clients, this is a professional conference after all, LDC has a great portfolio, skill set and a proven history of delivering against all the odds, I’m hoping to introduce this to more people. (mind you as a lot of the people there are techs the initial conversations tend to be a bit like a technical interview which wipe you out)
  • But most of all there are about 200 named people I need to find, chat to, shake hands with, exchange tech ideas and project plans with and finally catch up and have a laugh with

    IBM Connect 2013…Bring it on.

Migrating to Markdown Pt2 Nuts and Bolts

Setting up the awesome Statamic on Amazon EC2 and syncing via Dropbox is straight forward and once set up is dead reliable, I love the fact that I can edit files anywhere I can access Dropbox and they appear straight away on my site(s) with backups all sorted

Prerequisites

A) A drop box account, I would recommend a new one just for this otherwise you end up either having stuff you don’t need on the server or having to exclude loads of directories which have to be updated every time you add a new one, just get a standard free one to start with as that will give you 2 gig plus data and that is well enough, then just share the directory you will be storing your website in with your normal dropbox account.

B) An Amazon web services account you will need one of these as that is where the site will actually be hosted.

C) A licensed version of Statamic

Soo..
  • Create a EC2 instance (just use the quick start wizard) using Amazon Linux AMI 2012.09 (32 bit)
  • I prefer static IP address, so these instructions assume you have requested a ‘Elastic IP’ address and associated it with your new EC2

(I’m not putting in blow by blow instructions for creating an EC2 as the Amazon AWS site is as easy as their shopping one, kick me if you need full instructions )

Once you have your EC2 instance up you will need to connect to it via SSH for the Linux and Mac boys this is easy, you can just open up a terminal, for windows peasants I would recommend putty, use the command below remembering to have your pem (the security file you created when you make the EC2) file in the same directory as the one your are running the command from.

ssh -i xx.pem ec2-user@xx.xxx.xxx.xxx

Now you are on the server we want to install Apache and php, this is dead easy

sudo yum install httpd php

Next we will be installing Dropbox with the following command ( note: that this is for the 32 bit version )

cd ~ && wget -O - "https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86" | tar xzf -

Next, start the Dropbox daemon which will try and run drop box on the server

~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd

If you’re running Dropbox on your server for the first time, you will be asked to copy a link into a browser, do this and when asked to log into your new Dropbox account,
While you’re there create a folder in your Dropbox that you are going to store the site in, in this example mine will be called “XXXXX”
you will see that a folder called ‘Dropbox’ will be created in your server’s (or more precisely the ‘ec2-user’) home directory.
(by the way I had to do a ctrl-c to get my prompt back so I could carry on)
Now we need a cool little package called Dropbox.py, this is the Dropbox command line tool.

$ wget -O ~/dropbox.py "http://www.dropbox.com/download?dl=packages/dropbox.py"

(we are storing it in our home directory root, so when you are calling it, you will either have to be in your home directory or reference it as ~/dropbox.py)
Now we’re going to add a symbolic link. This links our Dropbox folder to our web root. first run this command to stop drop box

python dropbox.py dropbox stop

This should give you the message ‘Dropbox daemon stopped’.
Now Link the Apache www root to your new website directory on Dropbox

ln -s /var/www ~/Dropbox/XXXXX

Next you will have to change some security rights so that drop box can write to these directories

sudo chown -R $USER /var/www
sudo chmod -R u+rw /var/www

and restart Dropbox

python ~/dropbox.py dropbox start

you will now find that the contents of the www directory is appearing in your Dropbox folder. 🙂
you should see 4 folders , ‘cgi-bin’ , ‘error’ , ‘icons’ and ‘html’
extract the contents of your Statamic zip download into the ‘html’ directory
that should be it really and you should just be able to go to the IP address and see the default Statamic website, but I got a odd error message regarding default date formats when I tried it.
to fix this we need to set a timezone in your php.ini file, edit your php.ini file like this

sudo vi /etc/php.ini

find the “data.timezone” by typing

/timezone

It will most likly be like this

date.timezone = ""

I changed mine to

date.timezone = "Europe/London"

To update a file in VI, press “I” to go to edit mode, change the text, then press the escape key to move out of edit mode and “:x” to save and exit.
vi is a bit of a pain to use, you can find a nice reference [here](http://www.lagmonster.org/docs/vi.html)
That should be it, Statamic should work fine and you should be able to see the default website and update it via Dropbox.
##### Extra Notes
If you want to use the online content manager for Statamic you will need to set the following security so that it can write to directories

sudo chmod -R 777 /var/www/html/_config/users/
sudo chmod -R 777 /var/www/html/_content/

and finally you want the Dropbox daemon to restart if the server gets restarted
so enter

crontab -e

This will give you a blank text file in vi (see above on how to navigate in vi)
add the following line and save

@reboot ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd

kick me if anything is unclear.

Missing in Action

Well, how long has it been since I have written to my blog?. The answer is bloody ages and the reason is work. LDC has simply been flat out with work. With both day work and all nighters. The months have been stuffed with a mixture of major client work, smaller independent projects and community actions such as presentations for conferences such as UKlug and IBM connect. ( which I will talk about In the next blog entry) in fact I am writing this entry sat in bed as I can’t sleep on my first early night in months which strikes me as bloody dumb.

Anyway this entry is mainly a year in review and a look to the future in case people read my blog during IBM connect and wonder why I have been so lazy.

This year has been quite amazing, with the work I have been doing at LDC really showing me where I want to go in the future. The variety of work as well as the variety of clients has been staggering from hideously complex websites to training, from nasty nasty Java to Amazon Web services consultation

Most of all I have been very lucky with the people I have been working with, its quite the most amazing thing to be the dumbest person on the team as you learn shit loads on each project (although it’s terrifying to see how fast Julian can Code, the quality of Matts design and the fact that that even the bloody wretch Ben Poole is getting even better at UI design) and that’s not even including the partners we have worked with such as Gab and Mike from the Turtle partnership ( if anyone says they can keep up with Gab or know a better project manager than Mike then they are a fibber and need a kick in the fork)

Continuing on with this theme will be 2013. Keeping up with all the tech and business design that clients seem to need at the drop of a hat, though I’m fairly sure my brain won’t hold much more than it currently seems to be stuffed with but what is life with out the odd challenge

🙂