History always repeats itself and sometimes that's good. Here's a second chance to be part of it: tmdtc.com

Monday 31 March 2008

First training day... as a trainer

Today was the first day of the training about "Mastering Unix shell scripting" that I'm giving for Zeropoint.it. As a lot of fellow FOSS people, I've learned a lot by myself and I have only followed a couple of trainings, so I can't say a lot of things like "it's strange to be on the other side".

What I find the strangest thing however is to be considered the specialist. I've never considered myself a specialist, as I prefer to learn a lot of different things. A trainer however is by definition the specialist in the room, and I hope I've made honour to that title :-)

It's hard to evaluate my performance though as it's really really hard to have interaction with the attendants. It's as if they don't dare to ask a question during the class. I've made sure however they understood what was taught today and I answered all questions that surfaced along the day. I hope I'll get to know the content of their anonymous feedback form at the end of the training!

I really enjoyed it, so thanks Bart for giving me this opportunity. I could even start to think to prepare trainings I would love to give. For example about "Mastering vim". Any takers?

Saturday 22 March 2008

Google Translate API

I just saw Google published an API to their translation service. That's something that will be very useful, and the first Google API I'm really looking forward to use with a direct personal benefit!

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Start of presentations day

Bart will talk about MyOwnDB at Plugg, and I'll be talking at LinuxWorld for Profoss. Thanks to Murphy those 2 talks were planned simulteanously....

Sunday 16 March 2008

Server alias superfluous III

I'm sure the IBBT one should be corrected rapidly.
See you tomorrow at Barcamp Gent hosted by..... IBBT ;-)

Thursday 13 March 2008

Which professional insurance?

Today was another milestone in my transition to freelance: I resigned from my position at Easynet. There's no turning back now!

And I need to look for a professional insurance. Imagine I'm at a customer premises, and I step on one of these power block with a power switch and I stop the central server, that doesn't want to boot up again, leading to losses for this customer.

Or there's data loss in the course of my project (this being my fault or not). Or a config change corrupts a database leading to 2 hours downtime. I'd like to be covered by an insurance. But what should I pay attention to? And how much does it cost? What do such insurances costs?

I'll have to look around, but any advice is welcome of course!

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Quand "Ikben kwaad" devient "Je suis très fâché"

Un extrait d'interview d'un politicien par la VRT est passé sur la RTBF. Comme toujours, la RTBF a la bonne habitude de traduire par une vois supperposée, ce qui fait qu'on ne comprend parfois aucune des deux voix: ni l'originale, ni la traduction.

Lors de cet extrait, j'ai pu cependant comprendre le politicien commencer par "Ik ben kwaad", et le journaliste traduite par "Je suis très faché".

Un bon petit rappel qu'il est nécessaire de garder un exprit critique face au média. Si des nuances sont introduites dans une info directement vérifiable, que se passe-t-il avec les infos plus difficilement accessible?

En dit is gewoon een voorbeeld, het zelfde mag gezegd worden voor de alle media, ook de vlaamse media. Laten we dus critisch blijven tegenover informatie die wij door de media voorgeschoteld krijgen.

Monday 10 March 2008

Going for it!

So now it's decided. I'll go as freelance.

As I was already freelance in addition to my full-time job, paperwork is very limited: I only have to change my profile at Acerta, where I am currently affiliated, but who I could leave next year as they're far from responsive....

I'll possibly take one of two profiles:
  • specialist in data structuration and management with web applications, in which I have multiple years experience, as employee at Easynet, as freelance, and with MyOwnDB
  • As I'm not sure I'd like to do only data management, and as I did a bit of everything in the past and still love learning new things, maybe I can propose to handle whatever problems a company encounters: database, LDAP, mail, web, networking, etc
As I am working on an EZ Publish project and enjoy it, I also might continue in that direction.

And I hope to also bring Profoss to the next level!

Looking at that, I guess you can see I have had to decide rapidly :-)
I haven't had the time to iron out all details, but getting in the action without time to ask too much question might be a good thing.

Sunday 9 March 2008

Lack of usability costs money

I needed a cartridge for my printer, and it all started well: the printer has an embedded webserver with a page displaying a button "Order supplies". I decided to give it a try.

Clicking on the button asks you if you want to send the printer information to HP so you don't have to enter printer details yourself. Great idea, there's no risk of error here!

As to spread sending costs over several cartridges, I decided to order 2 additional colors, which brings the total of 3 cartridges.

Until then, all went very well, and now HP will redirect me to an online shop, a partner of them. They actually let me choose between two shops, and I choose the cheapest. The problem is that when they transfer your order to the shop, they online transfer 1 product, and you're supposed to search and select yourself the additional products in the shop's products. Why? Didn't I already do that earlier? Why introduce a risk of error that was avoided earlier?

I gave up ordering, I'll do it another way.

HP will certainly not care a lot, I'll have to get the cartridge anyway (refills for these cartridges don't seem to be widely available at this time. The best I found was a kit with empty cartridge and refill ink, but costs 140$, or this one for the C7180. I'll keep these option for later). But the partnering shops should, as they're loosing sales. Mine at least....

Thursday 6 March 2008

Random image in Ez Publish

I'm working further with Ez, and it's an impressive tool. There's a lot to learn and discover, but it is a really powerful system. Here's how you can have a randomly chosen image displayed in your page:

{def $nodes=fetch( 'content', 'tree',hash( 'parent_node_id', 68 ,'class_filter_type','include', 'class_filter_array', array('image')))}
{def $number_of_images = count($nodes)}
{def $to_display = rand(0,$number_of_images|dec)}
{def $image = $nodes[$to_display]}
{attribute_view_gui attribute=$image.data_map.image}

Some lines and assignments might be superfluous, but were helpful when learning how to put that together. With this code in your template, one of the images stored as a child of the node with id 68 will be displayed.

One gotcha is that arithmetic operations don't work in the .tpl files, hence the use on |dec to decrement the variable $number_of_images.

Also, be sure to put this outside of all cache-block, or your image will be chosen once and for all the first time the template is compiled as it would be cached from then on!

And notice the call to attribute_view_gui to render the image.

You can do this with any other type of nodes, for example for the latest news, or customer quotes. I already see a use for the future Profoss website :-)

Wednesday 5 March 2008

webdav in Ez publish on postgresql

So you're running Ez Publish 4.0 backed by a Postgresql database, and you want to use the webdav functionality. You followed the howto, but to no avail. Your webdav client does not have access (I had the message "folder or file does not exist" with Konqueror).
Here's a good advice: enable PHP logging, and take a close look to it. I found this error message for every webdav request sent:

PHP Fatal error: Call to undefined function mysql_real_escape_string() in /var/www/ezpublish-4.0.0/lib/ezdb/classes/ezmysqldb.php on line 908

The solution is simple, just install the php-mysql package.

I hope this saves you some time :-)