Saturday, 25 October 2014

In the garden–Spring 2014

Not a lot of veggies planted at the moment. It has been an unusually warm spring so far. This week we had one day that got up to at least 36°C. That's more common for January than October.

Globe artichoke
A globe artichoke that Narelle planted last year has shot up again.

Lemonade fruit
The lemonade tree has been been very productive again. There's still a few fruit left. We've made quite a lot of juice this year.

Cabbages
These cabbages are growing well, though the cabbage moths (well actually their caterpillars) are doing their best to get in first.

Tiny lime fruit
We planted a lime tree a couple of years ago. It doesn't like our cold winters, but now the weather has warmed up it has put on a fresh lot of leaves. I'm hoping this tiny fruit will stay on the tree and grow to full size!

The roses are having their first bloom after winter. They are looking very colourful.

Roses in bloomPink standard rosePing roseIceberge rosesPink rosesYellow rosesDSC_4040DSC_4038DSC_4039

 

Lavendar flower with beeBearded iris flower
Lots of lavender and bearded iris are also flowering. The bees really like the lavender.

Plenty of weeding to do at this time of year too – but I'm not going to take photos of those!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A healthy start

This week was my first working for RL Solutions, a software company which provides solutions for the healthcare sector. RL have their main office in Toronto, Canada (checkout the pictures on their careers site). I couldn't find a bus that would travel that far each day, so (sensibly) I've joined the development team based in their Adelaide office.

Backpack with RL Solutions logoI get the impression from the four interviews I had before being offered the position (including with Sanjay, the founder and CEO) that RL have definite ideas about the kind of people they want to hire (not just looking for technical expertise). One of the things that appealed to me was the approach RL is taking in creating a modern, mature, healthy, fun and social work environment. That seems to manifest itself in a number of ways (some just relevant to Toronto or Adelaide and some in common) and I think it's a really positive thing.

My first few days have been spent getting to know the other Adelaide staff (helped in no small way by going out to lunch together on my first day), working through the company's induction programme (they are pretty organised around this), and starting to familiarise myself with the application and codebase that I'll be calling home.

I will also say it is nice to work in a modern building again – one where you don't have nagging doubts that the lifts will deliver you to the floor you requested, and that (a bonus for occasional bike commuters) has shower facilities! I'm still in the CBD though, so no changes to my daily commute.

A nice surprise was the 'welcome' pack waiting on my desk on my first day – including a company-branded backpack.

It's going to be an interesting time, especially learning a whole new business (hospitals etc.) – quite a contrast to my previous industry areas of commodity handling and higher education online teaching and learning. It might prove quite useful to be married to someone with a nursing background, not to mention that our family seem to be rather regular consumers of the health system!

I'm looking forward to it Smile

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Grand Final

Riders having a break on the way to Outer HarbourYesterday was my last in the office at Eka (formerly MatrixGroup). It was great to catch up with everyone one last time after just over 3 years being on staff. A few final handovers, farewell lunch, attending and presenting at my final Developer meeting and monthly company meeting. I'll miss working with the people there, but I'd decided it was time to move on.
In the meantime, I'm taking a short break. Time to relax, get some kms on the bike, enjoy Adelaide's beautiful spring weather, one or two jobs around the house and do some family things for the first week of the school holidays.
After that I'll be starting something new – more about that in a couple of weeks time!
The photo is from my ride on Tuesday with the Mud, Sweat & Gears blokes heading to Outer Harbour. That turned out to be a handy 93km round trip! I must be doing ok as I pulled up pretty well. It is pretty flat for most of the ride, which probably helped.
(Oh yes, it's also the AFL Grand Final today)

Friday, 19 September 2014

Beware of Invoke-WebRequest in PowerShell DSC

PowerShell has a handy cmdlet named Invoke-WebRequest. I was making use of this in a Script resource as part of a DSC script.

The weird thing was that most of the time it worked, but sometimes the DSC script hung, and as best I could tell, it was within the Script resource that was calling Invoke-WebRequest, but I couldn’t understand why.

Eventually on one particular server, I was able to cause something surprising to happen – calling Invoke-WebRequest caused a modal dialog to appear. The interesting thing was that the server had Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration enabled. Not surprisingly that’s the default for Windows Server.

I posted a question to Stack Overflow and a comment added to the answer made me realise what is actually going on.

I had naively assumed that Invoke-WebRequest is just a nice wrapper around the .NET Framework’s WebClient class, but it turns out it is a bit more than that. It also appears to reference IE-related code.

If you're curious as to what Invoke-WebRequest actually does, then fire up your favourite IL decompiler and point it at C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\assembly\GAC_MSIL\Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.Utility\v4.0_3.0.0.0__31bf3856ad364e35\Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.Utility.dll (that's the path I found the full assembly at).

While the implementation of Invoke-WebRequest actually uses System.Net.WebRequest, it also creates an instance of the IHTMLDocument2 COM object, and I suspect this is the trigger that causes the IE warning to appear.

So if you just want to hit a web address without requiring all the extra features of IE processing, just call either WebClient or WebRequest directly from PowerShell, or Use Invoke-WebRequest but probably not in a 'headless' environment.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Structured JavaScript within ASP.NET MVC

First off, run (don't walk) and go and register for next week's ADNUG talk.

Done that?

Great, I'll see next Wednesday evening!

What? You need more convincing? Ok..

I've worked with Ben Laan for a number of years now and I'd have to say he's probably one of THE best developers I know around the place. He seriously knows his stuff, and is just as comfortable optimising a SQL query on the back-end as he is tweaking CSS layout in the frond-end UI. So I was really pleased when he agreed to come and speak at next week's Adelaide .NET User Group (ADNUG).

To quote from the presentation summary:

Modern web development calls for more JavaScript than ever before. Loose, unorganised script files are no longer acceptable – or sometimes manageable. It is important to ensure those scripts are logically organised, structured, and testable, to ensure code quality.

This presentation will review techniques for organising code to meet these goals within an ASP.NET MVC context using RequireJs – a system for dependency management and Qunit – a unit test framework build by the JQuery team.

Ben's been living and breathing this stuff recently, so I know it's going to be a really good evening. Even if you don't do .NET I think you'll pick up a lot of tips on the writing better JavaScript.

So now I've convinced you, go and register and I'll see you at there Smile

ADNUG meets monthly on the second Wednesday of the month, at Marcellina Adelaide (273 Hindley St, Adelaide). Pizza from 6pm followed by presentation(s), finishing around 7.30pm

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

An inspiring afternoon

This afternoon I attended a funeral. The church was packed with friends and family, I have to say it was one of the best celebrations of someone’s life that I’ve been privileged to attend.

Yes, there was sadness and grief, but overwhelmingly a sense of joy of a life well lived - a passionate husband, father, and faithful man of God.

In his late 50’s, John was not an old man when he passed away last week, but the impact his life and love for others will continue to be felt for years to come.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Adelaide Windows User Group - PowerShell 301

Some more PowerShell from me, this time at this week's meeting of the Adelaide Windows User Group:

If you're not automating repetitive tasks with PowerShell, you're probably doing it wrong! In this presentation, after a quick language recap, we'll look at a number of best practices that will make your scripts even better. We'll look at tips for reliability, ease of use and making your scripts work just like the built-in cmdlets.
To top things off, we'll also give a brief overview of PowerShell 4.0's new Desired State Configuration feature.

Yes, it's similar to the talk I did at the .NET Group last month, but instead of covering hosting PowerShell in your own app, we'll spend a bit more time looking at DSC.

The group meets this Tuesday August 5th 2014 12-1pm at Microsoft Adelaide, Level 12, Aurora Building, 147 Pirie Street, Adelaide.

RSVP to Pete at adlwug@live.com.au if you plan on coming. It would be great to see you there!