Documenting

I decided early to add comments to the code I'm putting together for my early-alpha application for the 10Centuries.org social network.

I've now also begun to document the install and first run, the basic usage of the application, and spent more time cataloguing and resolving security, usability and efficiency issues.

In addition to a sense of directed purpose it's surprisingly absorbing.

Take a look here:

https://github.com/bazbt3/10cbazbt3

I still have 10Centuries invites available, if you're interested in clearing out your social networking cobwebs. The site's web interface kills my thing, easily!

Conversations tbere are heading healthily away from discussing the network and towards real-life stuff.

Does anyone like coffee?

10cbazbt3 app update

Although it sounds a bit grand, I'm just updating my 10Cv4 app at Github - it's a bit late here so I've commented the code rather than updated the documentation (such as it is!) You can see it at: https://github.com/bazbt3/10cbazbt3

Plumbers

3 plumbers were asked to quote for work - to replace 2 radiators. Here's a mercifully shortened tale of woe…

Dear Plumbers, how difficult can it be to:

  1. Visit when someone asks for a quotation?
  2. When a potential customer is visited, to prepare a quotation, estimate, something, in a reasonable time, i.e. not simply disappear?
  3. Do a good job when you get the work? And that's the key here; we got a crap 'un…

He changed the radiators, that much is true. The rest though, naah,' twas a bit crap.

  • Rescheduled twice, from times that suited us to times that emphatically did not,
  • Flexible plastic piping to join up to the rigid copper stuff,
  • The cut ends from the copper pipes left by the side of the bed for me to stand on,
  • He obviously hadn't doors at home; Ruby dog got out, he'd left the front door open as far as it could possibly go. Twice,
  • Left the packaging materials for us to clear away,
  • The hall carpet is soaked,
  • Black gunk left in the bedroom carpet and outside, he mustn't have put a sheet down - or used the packaging materials,
  • Didn't bleed the air out of the system before he left,
  • When he returned to get heat into our home he spent more time telling me we had a crap system, that our new boiler wasn't working, that…

The worst bit though, when he told me he was on a course in London today & tomorrow. My wife mentioned afterwards that he'd spoken on his phone (loudspeaker of course) with a woman just around the corner about a job he was doing there today.

During his followup call later, after I'd got rid of him, he let me know that I could ring him today and if we were having problems he could look on Thursday. The thing is, consistency is all in attempting to spread positive feedback about a business. To tell me "I'm not being evasive" when telling me why he couldn't make it today; sorry mate, I'll be looking for tradesman review sites now.

So I spent time bleeding the system until it just worked.

2am.

Today for lunch I went around to the café and bought a spam & egg butty and blueberry muffin, and sat at my desk to eat them.

Feeling much better now.

Mothering Sunday

This Mothering Sunday (aka Mothers Day) we went to church - it was the Brownies' and Ladybirds' Flag parades too.

I thought about my dear departed mum and the sacrifices she and dad made to keep us comfortable and to support me until I started to work…

During the service the choir sang Psalm 127, and the temporary vicar asked us, with a smile, to follow along too - if we could.

Yeah, it's impossible without choral training and a safety net, so I simply traced the words with my index finger. I was lucky that I could read the words; I'd taken my reading glasses along this time!


So, here it is, Psalm 127, from the King James Version:

1 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
>
> 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
>
> 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
>
> 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
>
> 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.


I occasionally have dark thoughts about the results of my quivering arrows, but overall, in a non-spiritual sense, I've been blessed by my 2 girls.

The thing is, I don't really care if I've misinterpreted the Psalm; I took something good away from it.

Will it?

I'm hoping the ppost date I intend should be added to the post will remove my need to create a post slug (for I know not how to do that.)

Again incompetence

This may or may not work. I'm hoping it does, obviously! Python!

Snow

It snowed in Rochdale today, and Rochdale ground to a near-halt. My drive to work, a journey that normally takes around 20 minutes, took 2 hours!

It happens every winter, every time it snows.

The utterly clueless idiots-behind-their-wheels appear to make my desire for a 4-wheel-drive car a near-irrelevance.

'Near' isn't total; that'll do for me.

Hello World

print ("Hello World")

What's the next step into my journey towards learning some Python programming language?

Creating an application to authorise, authenticate and then post to the 10Centuries social network.

Baby steps.

Yeah.

(I gave up on bash shell scripting early.)

Spacetime

I got married late in the third quarter of 2006, but this isn't about anniversaries, family, lazing about in a tropical paradise, no; it's about technology. Again.

I gave away a phone; I don't recall whether it was before or after my wedding, I just know when I got married I no longer had it as a daily driver, and I know what I replaced the phone with.

The chronology of all this isn't particularly important.

What is, is the fact that around 9 or 10 years after I stopped using the device, the lucky recipient sent his first SMS. Not first on that phone, but first ever.

Last week.

I'm someone who believes it's an absolute necessity to be always connected to the Internet, or at least a mobile network. Always able to communicate with family, friends, people who can do jobs for me, my girls' school, etc.; so it's not an overstatement mentioning it was quite the revelation.

A life without convenience.

I don't intend to change the way I approach my current state-of-the-art portable computing device on the strength of this new understanding of our modern life, but it's an interesting concept. A life without alerts, without beeps and blurps and bloops; it sounds relaxing.

But could I cope?

I'll probably never find out, not unless the power and phone grid fails.

Technology

The mists of time have of course dulled the memory, but it was the early nineteen seventies, was probably a very early, very basic, very Casio pocket calculator (replacing a slide rule) that started me off down the road to…

I'm pretty certain my dad bought the thing whilst we were on our annual 2-week holiday, somewhere on the south coast of England. It was awesome, it was perfect with its green LED display. It just worked. Little did I know at the time where it would lead me…

To live in an age of such rapid technological advancement is a constant source of wonder for me. Though the transistor predates me by a significant number of years, the miniaturisation it enabled brought possibilities unimaginable a few years earlier.

My dad was an electronics hobbyist; his life spanned the time after the creation of the first thermionic valve devices, through the transistor revolution, through amateur radio enthusiasm, right up to the home and business computer boom.

He might have viewed younger generations' disdain for learning about the technology which makes things 'just work' and their 'need' for the newest, fastest, best devices their parents (or disposable income) can buy. He wasn't, as far as I can recall, an old curmudgeon, he simply liked to get his hands dirty.

So do I, to a point; but I'm as guilty as the next child in wanting 'improvements.'

I did my bit in the nineteen-eighties though. Computer hobbyist! My third computer had a rich collection of programming languages available, and so I used most. It had analogue/digital interfaces, and those briefly opened up a whole new world to me.

I typed magazine program listings 'in', fixed the typos introduced by the technologically-illiterate publishers, and adapted the knowledge I gained to create even better routines.

Heck, I even flowcharted my programs!

I designed and built a digital joystick (microswitches) and, from rotary potentiometers and microswitches, an analogue joystick and a baseboard-mounted 2-arm graphics tablet. I wrote software to control what happened onscreen, taking inputs from the…

I messed about with a few variants of BASIC, played with Forth, Pascal, steered around anything to do (with (Lisp's braces)), and even dabbled with 6502 Aasmbly language (a text character Space Invaders clone that ran way too fast to play.)

And then life got in the way, though I did play games during the interludes between life and work. Programming was largely forgotten, consigned to history.

We don't need to create stuff nowadays though; talented developers, designers, creators - they can do it all for us. Pick up a modern computing device - computer, network, tablet, phablet, phone - and stuff is but a quick download away. Life is easy.

Things indeed just work. There's the expectation that they just work, but a very basic lack of understanding of the 'how.' It's fine, I recognise that not everyone had the desire to spend time, is capable of, designing a program to do even the simplest of tasks. Life is easy for a reason - we're standing in the shoulders of giants every time we breathe, it seems.

Ive been blogging - stream-of-consciousness style - of my Raspberry Pi Linux playtime. I started with the intention of creating a niche blogging aid, yet the 'something' that's followed me from the early nineteen-seventies persists still.

I could blog on any number of host platforms, yet I choose to restrict my words to four:

  1. I self-host. This option brings by far the most enjoyment, but it's fraught with unforeseen technical difficulties and the need to slide a learning curve.
  2. I use GitHub Pages. Slightly less complex, though I used the framework the service provided as the base for my self-hosted site.
  3. I use 10Centuries v2. A personal project by Jason Irwin, it saw a fair amount of traction with App.net users, me included, for its simplicity. It's in the process if being superseded.
  4. I recently started to use 10Centuries v4, v2's successor; and would very much like to migrate all my v2 posts there eventually.

10Centuries isn't simply a blogging platform though, there's:

  • Blogging (of course),
  • Podcasting - almost painless,
  • A burgeoning social network (posts are Blurbs, not Tweets.) Until this weekend the network was a limited private beta, everyone followed everyone else, but now it's about to expand - with a limited number of user invites available,
  • Developer access to the 10Cv4 API (application program interface!)

I've already had a brief play with the API; created an app authorisation token, and then an access token to interact with the API before my first 'hello world' post - at which point my head asploded!

It's not every day I'm programming on a computer controlled by the computer on my lap. (SSH is magic, pure and simple.)

I'm not alone attempting to develop stuff. Fortunately everyone else has relevant skills!

For its freshness, newness, openness and all-round friendliness I can easily recommend 10Cv4. It's a place that both promises and delivers on the promise that App.net emerged with and, to a degree, still retains.

Owning your data, no ads, no sophisticated algorithms to re-order posts in what often seems like a totally random manner elsewhere - all powerful draws. It worked for me.

The 'paint is still drying' on a few features, some are in a state of rapid development and heck, some aren't even implemented yet! But there'll be nothing obvious getting in your way.

If you're like me and simply want to chat about 'stuff', have no message to spread, no desire to attract legions of followers just for the sake of numbers, then 10Cv4 is for you.

If you're dissatisfied with the state of your social network (or 'social' in general) and want a change, a fresh start perhaps, and would welcome my invite, let me know!

Don't expect me to be there all the time, or be a social network evangelist though, I'm spreading myself too thinly as it is! Neglecting you on more than one network is weighing heavily.

But I'm having fun and that, for me, just works.

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