Many Pies

Many Pies

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to convince your boss you need a second (or third) monitor

Look straight ahead.
Now look approx 30° to the right.

Look straight ahead again.
Now look approx 30° to the right again.

How long does it take for your eyes to flick between the two positions?

Now Alt-tab, or take the mouse to the task bar and click a different application (or whatever your computer needs to do the same).
And back to the first.
And back to the second again.
And back to the first.

Which is quicker, moving your eyes, or switching applications? Which will mean you're less likely to lose where you where? Now can I have a new monitor?

Monday, January 28, 2008

A "proper" development environment

I've got some thoughts on how to manage volunteers who write programs/do systems for your non-profit floating around, but I'm going to write something about a "proper" dev environment first.

Writing programs is not like doing things the proper way. I'm assuming you've written some sort of script/program/macro to help you in your job, and you work in a small organisation (probably non-profit/charity), and there's no software development structure in place. You have this nagging feeling that there's something else you ought to do. You're right. I think the priority for those things you need to do are:

  1. Document - What does it do? What does it use? How does it work? What things are you most likely to want to change in future and how do you change them?
  2. Test - How do you test it without running the real thing? How do you make it easy to test everything and check that your latest change didn't break anything? How do you test it (see 1)?
  3. Deployment - How do you move the thing from where you test it to where it runs for real?
  4. Version control - What's the history of changes?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cocomment exposes your emails from flickr

What happened was this:
I installed the cocomment Firefox extension. While on flickr I sent a flickrmail to someone. I didn't turn off comments, so cocomment tracked mine. I have an RSS feed to comments similar to mine, so anyone else with the same extension who sent an email from flickr (flickrmail) showed up in my feed reader:

Something to be aware of. Although it's tempting to read those emails, I haven't.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Executive Director for Wycliffe UK

Wycliffe UK (which is where I work) will have a new Executive Director from 1 March. His name is Eddie Arthur and he has a blog. He's been in the organisation a number of years. It should be interesting to see what changes he brings.

As part of the transition into the job, he will be Acting Executive Director from the end of January.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Raiser's Edge database schema

I just found a really useful resource on the user-powered site for Blackbaud customers. For those wanting to dig into the RE SQLServer database you can get details on the database schema in the file C:\Program Files\Blackbaud\The Raisers Edge 7\Help\RE7Schema.chm

All credit to Dan Larson.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Converting a real machine into a virtual one

I've just followed some very helpful instructions on taking an image of a real (Linux) machine and turning it into Virtual Machine.

It boots, but at the moment I can't get the display (i.e. X-windows) to work.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mozzarella Firefox

One of our kids was about to start their turn on the computer.
"Do we have to use Mozzarella Firethingy?" they asked.
"You don't have to, but IE keeps crashing," I said.
"Only about once a year," they said. Browser views in one so young!

As it is IE crashes every so often with the flash games they play, so more than once a year. I'm not sure if they prefer it because of familiarity, or because they don't have to type in URLs, because their favourites are in the dropdown in the address bar.