Archive for the 'today' Category

Today: 10-Mar-2010: Recruitment Training!

March 11th, 2010 | Category: today

Almost entirely my day was in recruitment training. Starting at 9:30am and finishing around 4pm it was a full on day of training which was something different. Training for it is mandatory and a requirement of recruitment panel membership for interviewing new staff. I’ve now done it and it is out of the way. It was in a weird way valuable, I feel it might have been compacted better. They provided food almost as a way of preventing escape more than anything and ensuring that you didn’t leave the building – or even the two joined rooms.

Beyond this I didn’t do much beyond a few emails, a small amount of fixing of code and helping people out. To round out my day I did some debate adjudicating and had teams that were starting their debating career in the last year of high school debating. They gave it a go whichis the most important part.

No comments

Dec 2009 to Feb 2010 – A cumulative review

March 09th, 2010 | Category: today

So I used to do daily blogs but I got out of that habit, but I really need to work on doing it. Having a daily blog was a good way of me logging down what I was doing so that I could keep it in my mind or for reference later if I wanted to work out what I did. Good idea, poor consistency. I’m going to try to work on doing this again.

So for the last three months after I got back from my US trip I have started a new position within USQ. Instead of being an Analyst Programmer for the Division of ICT Services (or just “ICT”), I’m not a systems co-ordinator for the Division of Academic Information Services (or just “DAIS”). This is a new position for me which involves a whole heap more meetings that I was doing previously and I don’t have the ability to do as much coding any more and that portion of my ob has been unfortunately replaced with direction and meetings that I asn’t previously tasked with. I do still have a portion of coding and I also have an aspect of system administration in a sense more than I had previously. Some of the systems that I worked on as an analyst programmer were Library related so now I’m the owner of these systems a bit more than I was earlier.

So now within the Library I seem to be tasked with the following items:

  • ePrints – more management than development that I was previously involved with
  • Access All Databases – more development, this is a new system for me
  • Finding Information Tutorial – this is a custom CMS that was made that I am hoping I will be able to port to Joomla! instead
  • Library Catalogue Search – another new system, the unified search system for the Library which is pretty cool
  • Library Blog – various versions of WordPress, almost all of them out of date
  • Mobile Services – a new research project in general for the Library which is fun
  • Cleaning up all of the inconsistencies in the services
  • A few other things that I’m sure I’ll complain about when I get to them

In the short time I’ve been here, we’ve done a library management system upgrade and accordingly I’ve had to update the library catalogue search. Fortunately in this case most of the work was done so it was a matter of putting parts together to make it all work. I’ve also managed to replace four virtual servers off a legacy virtual machine box that was about to die (four RHEL5 VM’s rebuilt entirely and data transfered in a single day, yay!), recovered a system that was hacked and reconfigured it to meet the start of the semester. I’ve also rebuilt the internal library systems development support environment helpfully called “libtrac”. It is now running Subversion, Trac and a new JIRA instance that I’m using to bring everything together.

Throughout the period I’ve done the typical support tasks, diagnosed issues and in some cases been able to resolve systems. I’ve managed to fix some problems for people but some others I haven’t been able to resolve yet but I’m getting there. One step at a time. The new tracker and Subversion items will allow me to do more items and record things without having the chance to lose them. I’ve also started shifting operational systems into Subversion to allow control of them to ensure that we don’t lose something along the way and we have a consistent methodology for ensuring systems get migrated between one system to the next.

In February I managed to go to my first conference for the Library to VALA 2010 in Melbourne. Even then I managed to present a session for Joomla! which hopefully brought new people into the fold. I’ve also met with different people and learnt a whole heap of things which is pretty cool in the grand scheme of things.

I’ve also had a new staff member (I now supervise two people, scary!) start and they’re now working on the mobile services project primarily as a developer. My other staff member I’m hopefully going to work on skilling them up to be a better programmer than they are previously. I’ve got to get in line with the University’s “BUILD” system for goal setting and performance management. I do wonder if the data goes into a system somewhere or if it is just being dropped somewhere.

Coming up for me is a complete rebuild of some of the oldest of the library’s systems. This includes upgrading horribly vulnerable WordPress installs to better versions and keeping them up to date and upgraded in future. It also involves replacing ancient CentOS boxes and replacing them with newer RHEL5 boxes to get everything almost on a similar version to make everyone’s life easier. This means that the library catalogue system will be rebuilt from dev through test and prod. I’m also shifting “Access All Databases” the other way, creating a new production environment and cloning that back through to a test and dev environment as the production system has issues with availability and SAN presentation problems causing the file system to go read only. Lots of other little things, and small tasks but the world is slowly moving.

No comments

How-To: Setting up depositor reassignment in ePrints

September 24th, 2009 | Category: eprints,today

ePrints is one of those projects that I seem to spend a lot of time doing minor tweaks to and changes to help the Library do their job effectively. This shifts from major projects like Author ID to mundane tasks like refreshing their templates and style to match the marketing departments wishes. One of the things I’ve done recently is setting up ePrints to be able to reassign the depositor field.
Read more

1 comment

The reality of employment

July 29th, 2009 | Category: employment,today,work

There are times when 140 characters just isn’t enough, microblogging works but in this case I have a quote which would be put 86 characters over twitters limits (I tried):

And generally speaking, “large, deep-pockets organization(s)” are no more stable than a startup, from the grunt’s perspective. At any moment, you’re one spreadsheet away from being laid off to improve the quarterly statements.

It’s taken from a comment on the Slashdot article about the JRuby guys splitting from the Oracle/Sun behemoth. It is an interesting statement and something I feel is a rather accurate representation of the way life really is and a quite straight forward and direct statement of fact.

Yay for Macroblogging!

No comments

Today: 29-May-2009: An interesting day

May 29th, 2009 | Category: today

Today was an interesting day. The usual Friday things happened: I came in, read my email and responded to those that required it, we had our 15 minute daily team meeting and I had my half an hour (or so) meeting with my master’s supervisor about metadata filesystems. Of course the usual occurs with work progressing. Today’s work is UniHIRTS again and I think I’m at the point where I’m happy enough with it. I’ve gone through and wiped out a few of the simpler tasks that I could handle with a few remaining tickets that are nice to haves. I’ve done a bit of a reskin and unfortunately it doesn’t all look good in IE but it still looks tolerable.

But most interesting today I heard word from my old Council friends that they’ve finally gotten to ditching Novell. Whilst I was there a project called “Get Rid of Novell” and “Get Rid of Legacy” which seems to have been given a heightened priority since Novell decided to double the licensing cost of their software. Council now has 90 days in which to remove all Novell software. This should be interesting as they have a lot of Novell supplied software: SLES, SLED, the Netware servers, eDirectory and its client, Novell’s IDM product, iPrint and  Zenworks. One of the things that kept Novell software around was the fact that it was half the price of the Microsoft equivalent, however with this it appears that this isn’t going to be the case so one of the reasons for retaining Novell, cost, is gone. And whilst it is a great solution for a lot of problems, the software that is slowly being deployed within the organisation is increasingly dependent on Microsoft’s software: running on Windows, integrating with Active Directory and providing management tools that integrate into Microsoft’s management console tools. Should Novell had let them be at the original price for another year, they’d have the money instead of doubling the price and well ending up with nothing. But life moves on.

No comments

Today: 28-May-2009: A day of small victories

May 28th, 2009 | Category: today

Today I had a lot of small victories working on the Uni’s safety incident and hazard reporting system. It’ll be a while before this cycle is over so it will be a bit longer before it ends in production but it will also mean a lot more testing. Tomorrow I will try to get a few more things knocked off before I move onto something else. At some point I have to do some more work for the portal project to give them a feed of courses from Moodle. That shouldn’t be too hard to achieve however it will take a bit of time to see what permissions are required. At some point I also need to do a release as well.

In other news last night I wrote a quick WebDAV interface for Joomla! – its a slow thing and it also works like a bit of a composite as well with supplying an interface into the filesystem. It is using SabreDAV to handle the DAV interface into PHP which is cool but I’m wondering if it is slowing things down.

No comments

Today: 25-May-2009: Monday comes but once a week

May 25th, 2009 | Category: today

So I haven’t been blogging for a while which is a bad habit to get out of but I’m sure I’ll get there sooner or later. Today was an interesting day, I spent half an hour having coffee finding out just how bad the USQ Student Guild really is – so much worse than what I thought they were which was already pretty bad. I also spent an hour or so trying to get AC/DC tickets and noticed that they offered a second date and managed to get A Reserve Seating which is good, I’m not entirely sure what that means but anyway (since the A reserve standing was the same price). So yeah, there was some time out.

So with some admin tasks and meetings about different things including Camtasia Relay and ugly administrative tasks. The afternoon was spent working on UniHIRTS. I added a whole heap of code to basically add a workflow check to ensure that incidents or hazards can’t be closed when there are open actions. Something I thought would be really simple turned out to be a pain. But I couldn’t work out why it didn’t appear to work. I ended up putting it at the lowest layer possible and working backwards to find out why it wasn’t being caught earlier. It turns out that there were two functions next to each other that achieved effectively the same thing, except one didn’t run through any of the data validation checks. So once I found that I managed to update the code to use the same code path as the other storage code path that validated the data. Unfortunately in doing this it took me all afternoon digging through the layers of code to find where it actually was after I’d managed to get it partly and badly fixed. Another day in the office.

No comments

Today: 08-May-2009: Paperwork and administrator day

May 08th, 2009 | Category: today

The bulk of today was wasted getting paperwork together to get everything put together. I spent some time finalising stuff for next week at JAOO (which is looking exciting) with car bookings and the like. It looks like everything has gone through fine but it is going to be a bit awkward switching cars but such is life. On the paperwork I had some more debating fun with the Queensland Government finding new and interesting ways to obstruct people. If I had more money I would love to fund a comedic ad pin pointing how ludicrous the system is but I don’t have money or acting talent (lets just assume I could bang out a half decent script at this point). Paperwork unfortunately ate a large chunk of my morning in what is turning out to be a white wash for my mornings but anyway.

I spent the afternoon planning for JAOO with Sally and Jon which was fun. Sitting down deciding which sessions we were going to do and how that works. It looks like a really good event to go to and I’m excited to be attending. It also expresses the confidence that the organisation has in me, something I don’t want to disappoint on delivering.

I spent some time trying to work out why some times a before insert trigger on one of the tables for UniHIRTS didn’t work properly. The closest I got was an Oracle “mutating tables trigger error” which sounds sort of close to what the trigger is doing but doesn’t feel right. Every so often the trigger fails to update the composite primary key for the entries which means we need to manually do it, the mutating tables sounds right but we don’t have a record of the error in the log files to work out why it isn’t working. It does seem strange that majority of the time the database updates perfectly but in some situations it doesn’t, especially when the item in particular should be executed in the database.

No comments

Today: 07-May-2009: Slowing down the library workload

May 07th, 2009 | Category: today

Today marked the slowing of a the library workload though I still ended up spending half a day cleaning up after the change yesterday to ePrints. Minor things and various paperwork to get stuff working again. We missed one of the firewall changes for the ERA stuff and it looks like our security guy is having issues with the fact that it isn’t one of the machines that we control or are a part of our section (our section being ICT as a whole). I spent the morning following up some work with that but moved onto UniHIRTS/USQSafe in the afternoon. I spent a bit of time playing fix the build with the initial scp transfer I did dereferencing all of the symlinks that I had which means that when the build script goes looking for those links it breaks because the link doesn’t exist but a copy of the file exists. It’s a bit of a shame I guess but at least I have a good copy of everything and something to keep in mind for future when I’m working on things – perhaps pipe things through tar to transfer things properly (SSH and SCP are really cool technologies for what they allow you to do with your computer). Whilst I was doing that I also got set up to deploy applications to the build server. Unfortunately in doing so it appears my application broke on the build server so I’ll have to roll it back again and work out what is going wrong there before continuing. But all in a days work.

No comments

Today: 06-May-2009: ePrints and DiReCt

May 06th, 2009 | Category: today

Today I finished the migration of ePrints from its old environment into the much newer, much shinier environment. It has been moved from its old RHEL4 systems into a newer RHEL5 environment with a non bodgy mod_perl 1.99beta something that is supposedly version 2 but lacks a few things from version 2. Yay for Red Hat. Anyway, its now up and running with everything we need. As the main driver of the entire change, I went to check with ADFI to see if their SWORD  integration works. Thankfully after all of this it is up and running so they can now use ICE to submit stuff to the system. Lucky them.

I also spent some more time to research into iTunes U. It appears that there is a Mobile Learning Roadshow down in Brisbane later this month which should be good to go to and have a look at. We might never go that way but you can’t argue with their price.

DiReCt is also crashing again, with the databases dying yesterday and the application server today. They both have th same root cause: a lack of disk space. Cleaning up the transaction log for the databases (which was on the same disk as the database) and removing some extra logs and backups on the application server (no log rotation with backups made locally before being archived off). Causes are quite obvious in hindsight and I think discussions have been taking place to get everything resolved.

Weird file type of the day:     JET database attachment (.snp). It appears to be some form of form thing that we ended up printing but it is certainly something I’ve never seen before. Evolution apparently recognises it which is good and a Window box can print it so I’m happy. The USQ travel office appears to deal in these forms so I guess that’s life. It is a minor problem being a Linux user in this case as I don’t have anything to open it and my supervisor person who is presently seconded elsewhere also hasn’t seen it, doesn’t recognise it but is happy that Windows opens it. So am I

Outlook Web Access Contact Search on IE7 doesn’t actually search properly, looking for the “USQ EXECUTIVE COMMUNIQUE” using the terms “EXECUTIVE” (either case) or “COMMUNIQUE” (either case) results in nothing sane, thankfully they appear near the top of the list when searching “USQ”. Interesting I found a reference to USQ in Dubai as a mailing list still which is quite strange as it was supposed to be killed off ages ago, it appears remanents of its legacy still remains. It was a rather large scandal for the University at the time so it is interesting that everything was scrubbed.

No comments

« Previous PageNext Page »