BarCamp Cometh

I’m now at BarCamp, hyped up on free coffee and looking forward to the upcoming geekiness.

It’s been years since I set foot in a lecture theatre at Queen’s and in fact, I think I used to attend Computer Architecture lectures in the very room I’m in now.

The line-up for today includes both technical and non-technical topics. and unsurprisingly, it’s the techy stuff that’s appealing to me more, in particular the planned talks on Zope and Ruby.

Geek on!

BarCamp Belfast

It looks like I’ll be attending BarCamp this Saturday. I had initially ruled it out, what with my hectic schedule, but my employer is sponsoring the event and as such I’ll be able to get Monday off work in exchange for representing the company. Happy Days.

Eurofeeds upgrade

Not 2 days after mentioning my initial impressions of EuroFeeds usenet service I get an email notifying me that they have upgraded retention on binary newsgroups to 60 days, with a planned upgrade to 85 days over the summer, as well as doubling the number of simultaneous connections on unlimited accounts from 4 to 8. Nice.

I’m looking forward to testing this out :)

Update: Ninan is now maxing out at 1.3 MB/s. My previous newhosting.com account had it peaking at 1.1 MB/s.
Ninan - 1.3 MB/s

Change in usenet provider

My annual subscription to NewsHosting expired recently and as I had a huge backlog of media to get through I put up with the lack of new stuff for a while. I managed to leech a couple of releases from my ISPs servers but was unable to obtain a few others which piqued my interest, so I endeavered to remedy the situation.

A credit card is not something I currently have access to, so I had no option but to go with a European based provider which would accept payment via Maestro. I studied the available information, compared and contrasted and decided to sign up for a one-off month with EuroFeeds.

I opted for the unlimited 12Mbit/s account, reckoning that it would be capable of saturating my 10 Mbit cable modem, even though I’m only allowed 4 simultaneous connections compared to 8 with NewsHosting. So far my impression is that the EuroFeeds subscription I went with isn’t as fast as my previous one, even with their servers being based in Romania and NewsHosting having theirs in the US. I haven’t tested the limits of article retention yet, but I don’t think it will be in the same league as before.

All in all, I’m glad to have access to binary newsgroups again ;) I’m even willing to overlook the price being comparable to the unlimited offering from the current leader in premium usenet access, Giganews. I now have a month to either track down someone with a credit card or even do the unthinkable and apply for one myself and if that’s the case I might well go with Giganews.

Leech on!

Synchronising production and development code with subversion

Now that MacServ has been deployed keeping development and production copies of the code synchronised has become an issue. The app is still very much a work in progress, with daily requests for fixes & tweaks from the technicians using it and instead of keeping track of modified files and then manually updating them via scp, I decided to let laziness motivate me to utilise a less painful system.

I spent a bit of time researching the use of rsync but decided that subversion would better suit my needs. I started by adding a new user and creating a directory for my repository:

$ su
# adduser svn
...
# su svn
$ cd ~
$ mkdir repo

Next was to create the repository and make it writable by all accounts in the users group:

$ svnadmin create repo/
$ chmod -R g+w repo/

Just to be awkward, I decided on having multiple access methods to the repository. For local access I added a username & password for myself into repo/conf/passwd and fired up the daemon, restricting it to repo/, thusly:

$ svnserve -d -r /home/svn/repo/

In order for remote access to preserve file permissions on the repository, wrappers for svn, svnserve, svnadmin and svnlook had to be created:

$ cat /usr/local/bin/svn
#!/bin/bash
umask 002
/usr/local/bin/svn-real "$@"

To prevent the logs on my development machine from filling with failed login attempts, ssh connections to it are on a non-standard port, so the final step in enabling remote svn+ssh:// access was to tweak the ssh settings on the hosting account:

$ cat ~/.ssh/config
Host nulltheory.com
Port port-number

Finally I was able to perform the initial check-in of my code and then check it out on the production side of things :)

I’ve still got a lot of things to learn about the day-to-day use of version control: for instance, I had problems with some configuration and .htaccess files which are required to be different between development & production. Having to enter my password multiple times to perform an update is also a bit of a drag, but it might motivate me to look into the use of ssh-agent and public-key access to my development machine, doing away with login passwords altogether…

Geek out!