Last year Ben spent some time evaluating Wiki software. He quickly came to the conclusion that the SharePoint offering was not that impressive. He also looked at some other versions which were much more capable.
I'd noticed that quite a number of sites globally were using Atlassian's Confluence Wiki software. We managed to purchase a 25-user license to test the waters. Apart from anything else, Atlassian are based in Australia, which is nice.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to install it and get it up and running. I found the process surprisingly straight-forward.
It is written in Java, and requires JDK 1.6, but otherwise it was just a matter of following the instructions step by step (including grabbing these JTDS drivers as we're using SQL Server for the database backend).
It defaults to running on port 8080, but after stopping the default web server in IIS, a quick edit of conf\server.xml swapped to standard port 80.
The database setup went flawlessly. I just pointed Confluence at the server, and ensured the username was in the db_owner role, and it created all the tables it required. I've since removed it from the owner role.
We have our own Active Directory so using LDAP for authentication made sense. This too proved simple to configure. I just followed the instructions again, and used an existing AD account.
About the only thing I haven't got working is configuring the whole thing to run as a service. There's documentation on how to do this, but it doesn't work for me. Hopefully I'll hear back from their support people shortly.
I was quite pleased with the whole process. It isn't quite as nice as just double-clicking on an .MSI file, but it was still relatively painless.
Later on, we can try out the SharePoint Connector that lets you integrate Confluence with a SharePoint site.
I mentioned previously that Microsoft released an update for their desktop and server operating systems in late November. This included the new daylight-savings ending for South Australia.
For some reason, we're still waiting for a similar update for Mobile Devices. The last release was from August 2007, and that doesn't include changes for South Australia or Tasmania.
What's the holdup? Daylight savings will have finished if they don't hurry up!
Mitch announced that Code Camp Oz is on again this year in Wagga Wagga.
I've attended every one so far, and plan to be there again this year. About the only thing that could throw a spanner in the works would be the early arrival of G3.
I thought it would be useful for posterity to document which add-ons to Firefox I'm currently using.
Does what it's name says - keeps your bookmarks free of redundant entries.
Let's you find out what colour something is on the current web page.
Download manager (I'm using 1.0b2) which makes big files downloading a lot faster. Not 100% compatible with all sites, so you do need to resort to the built-in manager sometimes.
The best web page debugger and inspector.
I use this to synchronise my bookmarks between work and home.
I don't use this as much as I once did, but there are some pages out there that unfortunately only render in IE.
One of those nice productivity enhancers - it modifies the cursor when you hover over a link to indicate what the target file type is. Notice in the image below how it tells me that this is a link to a Word Document.
Let's me launch LiveWriter to blog about the current web page.
Roger's fantastic add-on that makes debugging ASP.NET applications so much easier.
The original web developer toolbar. Firebug supercedes some (but not all) functionality so I don't use this as much as I used to.
Requires Firebug and gives you a "performance report card" of the current web page.
I haven't mentioned DOM Inspector or Talkback, as they both come with Firefox.
Photo by rongzoni, used under the
Creative Commons License
When I was at Primary School, I had the opportunity to learn to play the 'cello. I continued to learn until year 10 at High School, when I realised that:
- As I wanted to do some kind of computing degree at Uni, choosing Music as a year 12 subject wasn't useful.
- I hadn't really ever put the effort in to practising regularly so I probably wouldn't do very well.
I'd reached a level where I could "bear to listen to myself playing" - if you know what I mean. Not in any danger of being head-hunted by a symphony orchestra, but I could muddle along. So apart from the odd time playing at my old Church, my 'cello pretty much stayed in the cupboard after that.
That changed a couple of years ago, when some musical friends of mine invited me to be a part of a band they were putting together (this later became Sevenfold). We practise about every two weeks, so the 'cello got dusted off and used a bit.
Then just before Christmas I was asked to take part in a 'Cello ensemble that was going to perform at my church's "Road to Christmas" event (where they transform the front carpark into "Bethlehem", complete with animals, food, beggars and roman soldiers!).
The ensemble was organised by Shinduk Kwoun, who is an accomplished 'cellist. She asked some of her students to come along (ranging from one who had only had 3 lessons, to others who have a few years under their belts) and also roped in Kym Worley (who's graduated from the Conservatorium, so he's pretty good)
Sadly (for me), Shinduk and her husband Robin are moving to Melbourne. But before she left, I asked her if she could suggest anything that would improve my playing. I was thinking maybe new strings, but her immediate response was "get some lessons!". And then she offered to give me some free tuition before she left Adelaide.
It was the Christmas break, so I was able to cram in quite a few sessions, and for the first time in a very, very long while, I was practising every day.
And you know what?
It does make a difference! Having someone to both encourage you and tell you what you need to work on really helps. Even in this short time, I've noticed some small improvements, and I'm now aware of some things I need to keep working on.
As well as the token of appreciation I plan to put in the mail to Melbourne, I'd also like to say thanks here for her help. Now it's up to me to see if I can keep the more regular practising and maybe get some more lessons.