I’ve been spending the festive period with my family and have almost enjoyed not having a computer, online and logged in, within eyesight for the majority of my waking hours. I’ve read and responded to my email and forums and was checking my blog when I noticed I wasn’t running the latest version of WordPress, so I thought I get back in the saddle and upgrade.
I started by backing up the database using the handy Backup Plugin and creating a copy of the entire blog directory using cp -R. I then downloaded and extracted the latest version of WordPress.
I deleted the wp-admin and wp-includes directorie as well as the files in the blog’s root directory, saving wp-config.php and .htaccess, and set about moving over the new files and replacing the default theme and bundled plugins. All that was left to do was log on as admin and click through the upgrade process and viola, version 2.0.5 up and running and using my site’s theme. Quick and painless, job’s a good ‘un.
It’s that time of the year again and is customary at the VDA we had our Secret Santa jollifications this morning. Once again, Paul proved himself man enough to fill the big guy’s boots and surprised us all by making his entrance with a guitar and serenading us with a rendition of Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. Good show old chap!
Next up was the main event: the distribution of gifts, yee ha! About a fortnight ago the names of all participating staff (yes, some choose not to partake in the festivities, humbug!) were put into a hat and we each drew one. I only got my act together yesterday but got creative with the wrapping and printed out a couple of full page images of neurons within the neocortex from the Blue Brain Project, thanks Google Images!
Upon receipt of a copy of Huxley’s Brave New World Sinead instantly guessed I was her Secret Santa and she is either an accomplished actress or she genuinely liked it, result! I was handed this ominous looking package:
I couldn’t even guess at what it was and when I opened it this was awaiting me:
How appropriate! And by the power of Java here is an action shot of my new paraphernalia:
Also included in the set were some cinnamon sticks, a mini grater and some “French Vanilla” coffee powder: I forgot completely about the cinnamon when I was getting the Joe, but might well give it a go later. I don’t know about the coffee powder though, I only resort to instant when I can’t get the real thing. All in all a very thoughtful gift given my reputation about the office as a coffee fiend. Phil on the other hand got an edible posing pouch…
I got into the office this morning and went through my usual routine; I’d put in a good workout and the weekend is fast approaching: life seemed good. I was logged on to my workstation, launched Outlook (I know, I know) and attempted to connect to substance via Jabber and SSH. My heart fell.
That Slackware box has been online for nearly a year now and other than my own lack of technical ability, the only problem I’ve had was when I upgraded my version of OpenSSL and OpenSSH refused to restart. Hooking up my KVM to the box and grabbing a fresh OpenSSH package solved the problem and I didn’t even have to restart the machine. A similar procedure will probably be required now.
The funny thing is that I can write this post, which indicates that both Apache and MySQL are functioning. I’ve just tried using telnet to connect to port 22 and I’m getting a response, but no joy with PuTTY. Checking my AWStats installation sometimes gives an Internal Server Error from Apache, but other times not.
Ah well, there’s nothing I can do until I get home other than to attempt to connect periodically. Not being able to get a VNC connection to my home desktop and the Debian box I use for downloading from Usenet is going to reduce the distraction from finishing off the next version of the application I’m developing. Expect an update later.
In my time honored tradition of bulk purchasing I placed an order with bulkpowders.co.uk, which arrived last week. I refrained from documenting it at the time as I’ve only just had the opportunity to sample the produce and here is what was waiting for me at reception last Tuesday:
I’d been meaning to start buying my supplements online for a while but I wasn’t going to be saving much going for brand name products, especially when delivery costs were factored in. I scoured through uk-muscle.co.uk and compared the online retailers I found discussed there and decided on the aforementioned site which specialises in no-frills, bulk orders:
As you can see, the goods came packaged in food-grade buckets, with the contents described via an ink-jet printed label:
My main objective was to find a cheaper source for whey: I’d been buying my protein powder locally and I knew from reading various forums that there had to be a cheaper solution. A 2.27 Kg tub of Instant Whey was costing me £34.95 approximately every 6 weeks, so I was pleased to find a 5 Kg bucket of unflavoured whey for only £24.99:
My breakfast/pre-workout smoothie has contained this stuff for the past 2 mornings and I’ve had no complaints. Along with the whey and the dextrose, I ordered a couple of “flavouring systems,” chocolate and strawberry cream. I put a minuscule amount of the strawberry cream powder into into my post-swim shake and was rewarded with a pink-hued liquid which was actually quite tasty! When it comes to food, flavour isn’t particularly important to me, so I suspect that I could get away without adding flavouring to my shakes but it’s good to have the option if need be.
Post and packing was a pain to the wallet at £10.99, but the saving far out-weighed this cost and is unfortunately unavoidable when buying online and my only gripe with the company is that they have been out of stock of fish oil capsules for the past while. I’m pleased with the purchase and I suspect I’ll be ordering from bulkpowders.co.uk again!
The past fortnight has proved fruitful: each weekday I have risen early, went to the gym and spent the rest of the day at the office plugging away in Visual Studio. It’s been good to get back into developing vdaExtensions: it’s first incarnation was completed in August and I asked a few members of staff to try it out and Phil was the only one to give me feedback, I don’t know if anyone else even used it! I made a note of his suggestions and then proceeded to work on something else, the nature of which escapes me at this moment.
As usual I found the code easier to rewrite than to read and proceeded to tear the thing apart; if you were sitting near me you would have heard a sigh of relief escape my lips the first time I got the solution to build again. I separated as much of the logical operations from the user-interface code as I could and the data manipulation is now a bit more abstracted within my class definitions. I’m sure you can easily imagine it took persistent effort to bring the application back to the level of function it had before I started “improving” it.
A sticking point I’ve reached is in using the ReportViewer class to generate a saveable/printable version of the applications data: I knew very little about reporting until yesterday and I had a lazy day of it today, but I’m sure with a bit of research I’ll get it. Besides a few minor interface tweaks the only other issue that comes to mind concerns the layout and docking of the controls in my main form, but again, a job for another day. I suspect that for the size of the application my solution is over-engineered, but as the saying goes “half measures availed us nothing” and I just wouldn’t be capable of sleeping at night if I thought I didn’t put my absolute best into everything.
I’m currently sitting at home, sipping on some espresso, contemplating a weekend of serious chillaxing and first up is a viewing of Night Watch, laters!