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Ranguard (1858)

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Journal of Ranguard (1858)

Wednesday August 20, 2003
02:33 AM


After a lot of discussion and input from the mailing list (thanks to everyone for their feedback) I've created SVG::TT::Graph. I'm waiting to get full authorization from work before putting it up on CPAN (but I don't see it being a problem). The first version is available from my project page, you can see examples of what can be generated here.

The main aim is to be able to create high quality (and customisable) graphs that can be used for presentations. There are other SVG graphing tools out there and they're great for representing information in different ways, but don't lend themselves to corporate presentations.

Currently we support line, bar and horizontal bar graphs, we're working one Pie charts now and will then go back and add more features (multiple data sets on bar graphs arn't handled very well).

Why I'm doing this 3 days before my wedding is anyones guess! - probably to avoid thinking about it and getting nervious :)
Monday August 18, 2003
05:10 AM

Stag / Wedding

Well, I survived my Stag - those photos have been censored - there's some I'm just not going to put on the net!

This weekend I get Married! :)

Just hoping the weather will hold.
Thursday July 24, 2003
06:53 AM

YAPC::EU 2003

Lots of other people have commented on what's been happening so I won't go into detail. Lots of good talks.

Was very good to see the over view of XML modules and SAX as I've played with a lot of them, but my general approach was just to try different modules until something worked, but I feel more confident in choosing the right module for the job now. I still hate UTF-8, but realise it's somethng I'm going to have to understand more and get used to using.

As usual the best part of YAPC is talking to people about what they are doing, talking through ideas, the CPANTS BOF was interesting for example, and Visser persuaided me to go to his talk about using wxPerl and creating perl Applications as I can already see several places I could use this at work.

The Tequiela - ummm, I mean Siesta talk it about to start, you'll understand my confustion over the title later on!

Once again I am convinced that where there not this wonderful community I could not be the programmer I am today, and even if I was, it wouldn't be half as much fun.

Sunday June 01, 2003
03:43 PM

FlyFan - Cool!

It was my birthday last month and a friend just gave me my birtthday present A FlyFan - basically a usb powered fan that has rubbery blades and kicks out a loverly stream of air. The cool thing about it is the cable it's mounted on is flexable but stays where you twist it, so you can have it on a laptop sitting on your knee!
Friday May 16, 2003
09:16 AM

Text::vCard Binary - help

Well, Jay and I got together after my positing about Business::vCard and there is now Text::vFile and Text::vCard, both on CPAN, both not quite finished, but almost.

I'm trying to work on binary stuff in a vCard, photo, sound etc, but what ever I use (Apple Address, MS Outlook) none of them actually export the the binary. So... does anyone know of an app which does, or even better, could send me some examples (mail to vcard at

I'd also be interested if most apps are already using the latest RFC format (version 3 - which is what we currently support) or are still on 2.1, so any other examples would be much appreciated.
Friday April 25, 2003
12:53 PM

BD & Business::vCard

Slightly late write up of my Birthday...

It was my Birthday last weekend.. and I got older. Had a BBQ - of course on the one day in 2 weeks that it was actually cold and not magically sunny.

There was much drinking and eating and people getting to know each other (this is the first party I've had in our new house - the old one being a large shoe box).

I would just like to point out that being given the bumps at ages 28 is an odd experience, and my bruises are just about healed! I do however think that I came of better than the 10 people who decided to do it. I thought they were about to give up after number 12, but to get 'em credit they carried on!

I managed to get a nasty cold the day after and have been off ill since (I hate being ill, especially when looking at a screen hurts your eyes!).

In perl related news I'm working on Business::vCard feed back welcome, more work still to be done before it's ready for CPAN but it's almost there.
Monday March 24, 2003
04:45 PM

SQL table & docs from XML

About two years ago had a project which required creating 76 tables, it seemed that it was a better idea to auto generate this as the spec kept changing and I wanted to ensure that it was documented at the end. There was no way I was going to be arsed to do it later!

Life being what it is, I had totally forgotten about it until this afternoon when I started another project with many tables. Anyway, it's not perfect but did the job for me and with some tweeking might be useful for others so feel free to do with as you will..

Tuesday February 25, 2003
04:17 AM

XML::LibXML - tracking the error

XML Import system on staging server works fine - then goes intermittent, then stops completly.

Error message: "Can't coerce UNKNOWN to string in entersub at /usr/local/lib/perl/5.6.1/XML/ line 239"

Guess 1 - search google for answer - nothing

Guess 2 - the system which generates the XML is going wrong (has happened many times - nasty VB thing). - Wrong - can run the import on the development machine fine.

Guess 3 - hmm, the libxml2 library is a few versions different, role back to the same one that is on the development machine, still not working.

Several hours of trying stuff at random later - nothing, then I notice that we have a problem with a CGI script on the staging server - in fact it's spawning child processes and reaching MaxClients then freezing apache.

Then the answer hits me - the XML has ENTITY tags - which are found on the local web server (e.g. which ever server the import script is running). So if XML::LibXML is trying to parse the file and can't read the .ent files (as the web server isn't responding) then it dies with that - oh so helpful - error message!

An hour later - having written a 'hello world' script, that still takes the apache server down and stripped the config to the bones, I find that someone has both a 'ScriptAlias' and ProxyPass (with the ProxyPassReverse) set up for /cgi-bin/ - obviously you should never have both - but I wouldn't have expected it to cause some sort of spawning loop.

Anyway - removed the ProxyPass stuff restarted apache - it no longer hung - ran the import script - it worked fine - every time.

I wish the error had been clearer in the first place as it would have saved me half a day of work.
Thursday January 16, 2003
11:51 AM

Server down and all's well

Having posted to the mod_perl list at the start of the week that our fail over system had never been tested in anger, one of our servers died today (should have known it would!)

We use wackamole on the front end (HTML / Images and proxy to apps) so if one goes down the other automatically takes on the IP address. We have two back end machines, one for DB and one for Apps. So all the front end machines proxy to the apps box and that then connects to the DB machine.

Anyway, it was our apps server (sun box - been up for over a year) that has died, I'll take a trip to the hosting company next week to see if I can fix it. So, install all our modules (already on the box because of rsync) on the DB (also sun) machine, restart mod_perl, alter the front end machines /etc/hosts file so that now points to the DB machine and vloa - it all works.

You get a really good feeling when the shit hits the fan and it only takes ten mins to clean it off!

Considering just swapping out the sun box as it doesn't have a support contract and we don't have a test box (everything else is debian on Compaq).

Oh, one last note, we've had 5 compaq servers over the last year, three of which (after about a years continual use) have died and needed a new power supply. On the plus side Compaq have always had an engineer there within 4 hours as their support contract dictates (though we've never _needed_ them there in 4 hours).
Thursday December 05, 2002
09:25 AM

Nice feedback

I just got this loverly email, which makes I feel warm and good and sort of tingly... *cough*, anyway, it's really nice to get feedback on my first module from someone other than people I know...

"Hi Mr. I-Created-Data::Pageset-Leo!

Just a few bytes to say I have started to use Data::Pageset, and it is just peachy!

If it turns out to be just as helpful as I think it will be, you might even get another chuffed email from me!"

It reminds me I don't send enough of these my self to people who's modules I've used.