I love the whole world!

I just got some flowers from a friend!

Somebody loves me!

These are a thank you gift for helping to make Shea Bliss – Natural Shea Butter Body Care – the webshop is now open and ready for business! :) I personally use the products, and they do wonders for my skin … really good quality, and they make excellent gifts too!

My job continues to go very well indeed. Most of this week i have been working on Nudo Italia – a site for olive groves in Italy. You can adopt an olive tree and receive all its produce for a year. So all week i have been looking at stunning views of Italy! :) I ordered a pot of their olive oil … it came last night and tasted absolutely delicious in a salad dressing!

Today we are going to Portsmouth … a bit of shopping and a treasure hunt and barbecue this evening. I hope this lovely weather holds out! :)


Ruby patches

So i hear now is a good time to upgrade Ruby!

Unfortunately i downloaded 1.8.6 patch 230 and it gives an error trying to start up the web server. Does anyone know what this is about?

*** glibc detected *** double free or corruption (out): 0x0000000000daabc0 ***

Looks like a C warning about memory deallocations or corruptions. I’m not the only one having problems. Oh dear, looks as if today is not going to be a happy day for Ruby.

Hello World

Resumo: Mi trovas min tre okupata, sed ankoraŭ tre feliĉa. Mi estas multa lernanta kun mia laboro.

It would be accurate to say that i have been pretty busy! My job has been totally excellent. I’ve been learning a whole bunch, but it’s difficult to grasp and i have been slightly frustrated with myself at times for not picking it up as fast as i’d like to. I recommend peepcode.com for some really great video tutorials about Ruby, Rails, REST, Git, Rspec, Ajax, Prototype. It makes me realise that i was never a Rails programmer before. I was a Rails dabbler! Now i can see myself getting becoming super proficient at Rails, but it’s going to take a while!

In my spare time i have also been busy with a PHP project for a friend: a web shop sheabliss.co.uk. My friend sells some top quality products made with shea butter. I use them every day, and thoroughly recommend them. It has been fun to work on the site, which is FreeWebshop with some heavy modifications. It’s an opensource community project so i have shared my mods on the forum and some of them are being included with the next release version! :)

For the experience, and to help me get used to it, i have installed Git at home and i’m using it for revision control on the web shop. It’s really amazing how you can switch branches and it instantly modifies the necessary files in your filesystem. It means i can work on separate things simultaneously without worrying about them interfering with each other. When the time comes and the changes have gone live and been verified, i can merge the changes back into the master branch.

Git branching

This is a trivial example showing how i branched this evening to do the reCAPTCHA separately from icon changes and then merged them together later. At work we get far more elaborate branching, quickly resembling a map of the London Underground! It’s fun! :D

Speaking of London, we are going there tomorrow! :) We’ll be meeting a friend for lunch and then going to a midsummer party. Should be excellent, i imagine! :)

Work going very well

I feel i have settled in extremely well at my first week of my new job. I love the people, the environment, the work we do … it’s fun and enjoyable, challenging, inspiring, makes me feel worthwhile. Most of the week i have been learning and paring with others, watching what they do, asking questions and making suggestions. Today we switched around and i was doing the typing, with help from one of the others.

They are very opinionated about how to do things – what works and what doesn’t. We follow test-driven development rigidly: before we start any task we write a story about it. We run the story to see that it fails which means we need to write code. But before we do we write specs for the code. We run those to see them fail, then we write just enough code to make it pass. We keep iterating in small steps until we have it working, then we go back to the story which tells us what is to be done next. It sounds long-winded but it really works well. I am embarrassed at how haphazardly i wrote the code for MyChores … but i didn’t know any better! MyChores is going to become so much more reliable, i can tell!

The other great thing is we are using Git and, now that i understand the power of branching, merging and rebasing, i realise what an awesome tool it is to use! It’s so exciting when we’re all working on the same project, Git allows us some very fast simultaneous development … and gitk makes it very exciting to be able to visualise what is going on! :)

Anyway, this is not interesting for the vast majority of my readers, so i will stop now!! Instead i will give you some pictures!

Here is a nice picture i took of the poppy fields near where i work. I love the accidental over-exposure of the sky!

Views of Winchester

This evening, inspired by the iMacs we use at work, i made a Leopard-style wallpaper!

Leopard-style explosion wallpaper

Good, good. That’s all for now. I’m going to go watch someone get evicted from Big Brother! :)

My passion

Resumo: Mi tre ĝuis mian unuan tagon de la nova laboro!

I had a really great time at my new job today! I woke up stupidly early this morning because i was so excited. Had a lovely walk to work, thinking, “I’m going to do this every day! This is actually my regular walk to work from now on!!” I got there by 09:30 and met the rest of the team. There was a new person started last week, so i bring the team up to 5, as big as we’re planning to go for the moment.

I had an introduction to the company and the way they do things. I am impressed in so many ways. We went out for a lunch at the pub … a “welcome” lunch for me and the other new person! :)

In the afternoon i installed TextMate and Git, and watched video tutorials about Ruby on Rails. They are keen for me to learn Rails properly, even though i’ve done so much already. I’m very pleased by this because i’ve sort of picked it up as i’ve gone along and i’m sure there are big gaps in my knowledge.

With a gentle breeze coming through the open window, it was hard to believe this is actually my job! It felt more like a holiday! The people are lovely, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed … i think i’m going to be extremely happy to work there. It’s not a job … it’s a passion! :)

How to install Beryl/Emerald on Debian

Beryl provides neat 3D desktop features, and Emerald is a beautiful window decorator.

Acknowledgement: this information came from debianadmin.com. I am reproducing it here for two reasons. Firstly, it’s nice to have my ultimate personal Debian setup guide all in one place. Secondly, the page i got it from has so-called “smart-quotes” which would confuse the xorg.conf file.

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Greening, and thoughts on population growth

Resumo: Mi diskutas la problemon de la eksponenciala kreskado de la mondloĝantaro. Mi estis hodiaŭ matene ĉe la kunveno por agado sur klimatŝanĝo.

This morning i went to the Winchester Action on Climate Change meeting. It was really very good; well-attended, with exciting ideas and news about greening projects in Winchester. One idea which particularly intrigued me is the plan to buy a farm in Winchester and get volunteers to help work on the farm, produce food and sell it. It sounds really exciting, especially as it is so difficult to get an allotment around here.

Later on i went to look at the Facebook I Am Green application, and was delighted that i can now tick “I do not commute; I live close to work/school” – hooray! :D

There is an item that has generated a bit of discussion: “I (will) have no more than 1 child, or I will adopt additional children”.

Someone called Júlia Babos made a comment:

What?! Having more than one child would be a green crime? I highly disagree.

Gray Little also disagreed:

Ya I’m with Julia I’d like to think that I’m living a pretty green lifestyle but i want a large family when I’m older, this in contrast I’s basically saying that having more than one child is a crime against the earth, I disagree completely to such a statement, and would appreciate if someone sent me information pertaining to its reasoning.

Well, i happen to know a little bit about this, so i made a comment in reply:

@Júlia – it doesn’t say you can’t have more than one child – but it is asking us to consider adopting children. The world’s population is growing exponentially, unsustainably.

Until the 1800s there were always under a billion people on the planet. It took 130 years to get to 2 billion, 30 years to get to 3 billion in 1960.

1974 (14 years later) 4 billion.
1987 (13 years later) 5 billion.
1999 (12 years later) 6 billion.

I believe it’s around about 6.7 billion now, and this massive growth is due to our dependence upon oil to fuel mass production of food. The amount of sunlight that falls on the ground in a typical year is enough to support about 1 billion people. Therefore the impending oil crisis is also going to be a population crisis.

Read “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight” by Thom Hartmann. And to anyone who is thinking about having a child, consider adopting an orphan instead.

I realise that my argument is completely one-sided and i am sure there are many more sides to this debate. I would like to hear more opinions. What are the advantages of having more children and continuing to expand the world’s population? Is the oil argument soon going to be moot because nuclear fusion will provide a clean, limitless source of energy for us? What are your views?


Have you ever done a search in Windows, and kept the search window open for a really long time? That ridiculous dog starts going crazier than usual!

Here is the dog, not looking at its best …

Dozy dog

In case anyone is worried i drugged the dog, or forgot to feed it or something, don’t worry! It perked up later on!

Give the dog a bone

I don’t want to be accused of cruelty to pixellated animals, heh!

Today i found out that a 24″ iMac is waiting for me at my new job! WOoooHOooo!! I have been watching videos, boffing up on how Macs work! I have never seriously used one before, but i’m very excited! I’ll be able to honestly compare Windows, Linux and Mac. It also means that Microsoft products will no longer be a part of my life!

This final week seems to be going terribly slowly. I can’t wait to get started at my new job!