Tracking what I'm doing

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Week to view diaryI've traditionally used a paper diary to record my daily work activities. At our team meetings, I then use this to report what I've been doing in the last week.

I leave the diary on my desk at work, so one problem is when I work at home, I need to try and remember the next day what I did.

I considered another blog for this purpose, but all I need is somewhere private that I can record short notes. Even better if they get timestamped.

The two possible candidates that I'm trialling are Google Notebook and Twitter.

Twitter kind of makes sense, except that I generally don't want these notes to be public, so if it isn't possible to keep them private then Notebook will probably win out.

We'll see if I prefer online to offline, but at least my typing is easier to read (and faster to enter) than my handwriting :-)

Release version of Visual Studio 2008 Web Deployment Projects (WDP)

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Microsoft have published the "Released To Web" version of the Web Deployment Projects. I haven't tried it out yet, but it should fix the problems with the CTP from November/December.

Tour Down Under 2008

Sunday, 27 January 2008

On Friday, I joined in with 3,399 other cyclists to take part in the Challenge Tour from Mannum to Strathalbyn. It's a chance to ride one of the same legs that the Pros do in the Tour Down Under race (though at a considerably slower pace!)

As in 2007, I rode with the "Mud, Sweat and Gears" team. This time we managed all meet up at the end and get some group photos.

And they're off. The Skoda Breakaway Tour begins at Mannum. Picture: DEAN MARTINI rode with my Dad, and we completed the 134km ride in about 6 hours (about the same as last year). However, unlike last year we did manage to ride under the finishing arch this time!

I think Dad's regular Saturday morning rides with the other guys from the team paid off, as I found unless we were coasting downhill that I was having to chase him most of the time.

It did get pretty warm towards the end of the ride (33°C with not much breeze) and I was a bit dehydrated after the race.

We did get to watch the Pros come into Strathalbyn, and saw the unfortuntate incident of Matthew Hayman getting head-butted off of his bike in the final 300 metre sprint to the finish. He's had surgery and should be back on his bike in a week - wow.

AdelaideNow have some more photos of the event, and if that's not enough, the team organiser Gavin (who just happens to run In The Picture Productions) has posted some video onto YouTube.

Yes, that's me peddling madly at around 1:16 :-)

Confluence as a service

Monday, 21 January 2008

I was having trouble running Confluence as a service. It failed with the following unhelpful error:

C:\confluence\confluence-2.7-std\bin>net start

Confluence The Apache Tomcat Confluence service is starting.

The Apache Tomcat Confluence service could not be started.

A service specific error occurred: 0.

More help is available by typing NET HELPMSG 3547.

Support responded with a suggestion that I review this thread in the Java Forums. And turns out that was my problem too. Copying msvcr71.dll into \windows\system32 has done the trick. I presume this is a bug in the JDK installer.

I was also able to set the service to run as NetworkService which is nicer than hardcoding my credentials, or letting it run as SYSTEM.

Confluence Wiki

Friday, 18 January 2008

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.