Cornelia Funke’s new book ‘Reckless’

by on Sep.15, 2010, under internet

Well here I am at 1:50am doing server watching duty.

Why? It is the release of Cornelia Funke’s new book called Reckless, and the server I’m watching is the official website. If anything goes wrong then I need to scramble around and fix it. I didnt create the website, but I’ve been tasked with making sure it can scale to stand up to the barrage of visitors from the Official New York premier of the book. Every single book has the URL in it so its not a small feat.

It should go well. :)
Few more hours and then the worst will be over and I can get a little bit of sleep before real work tomorrow.

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Why global warming should be taken with a pinch of salt

by on Sep.10, 2010, under environment, global warming

Just the other day, a prime example of why you need to take global warming stuff with a pinch of salt. The problem? Not enough data.

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite data has been used to make an estimate of ice melt from Greenland and Western Antarctica. Why Western Antartica? Cause the rest of Antarctica is actually gaining ice. No one has the faintest idea why. That satellite data has now been shown to estimate 3x more melting than there actually is.

Just like in 2008 when the Arctic was predicted to melt completely. No ice at all during the summer. All the data was saying that it would be a bad year to be a polar bear.
But none of the predictions came true. The data was completely off.

It would be nice if the politicians made us stop wasting resources sure, but we dont have the faintest idea how the environment works, as shown by Antarctica growing and dozens of other examples. Do we know enough to create policy that has severe impacts everywhere especially the economy?

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Clickatell automated SMS combined with Real Estate

by on Sep.10, 2010, under realsauce, update

One of my latest projects has been a cool idea for Real Estate where you SMS a property id to a number, and it sends a text message back instantly with more details about the property.

PropertyText is the first one I’ve ever seen that automatically creates the text messages from property feeds. That makes it extremely easy to use and very fast.

The idea is the property id gets put on the real estate sign so if the sign doesnt have stuff like price and so on, you can easily find it out. The agent gets the enquiry in a control panel and can ring the enquirer back.

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I’ve gotten rid of Drupal

by on Sep.09, 2010, under update, website

I’ve gotten kind of sick and tired of Drupal so I’ve gone back to WordPress. Its just too big and bloaty for a simple blog.

I found a very good post on how to convert Drupal to WordPress. It made it quite painless. I just needed to reupload my images.

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VoIP cheaper than Telstra

by on May.10, 2010, under internet, voip

Believe it or not, but I found it cheaper to get a second internet connection (TPG 512k 10gig limit) dedicated to VoIP, than to continue paying Telstra.

I mostly only call Queensland from New South Wales but the bill gets up to $70 to $80 a month. The main problem with VoIP is someone might call while I’m uploading a large file or doing other work. The solution to that is a cheap slow net connection solely for VoIP.

I’m saving $20 a month, and the extra equipment (VoIP ATA + cheap used router) and setup fees will be paid off in 6 months. After that its just lower bills.

Telstra simply cannot compete with 10c untimed national calls.

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Google Maps Real Estate and Drawing Floor Plans Online

by on Apr.15, 2010, under gearman, google, voip

I’m very impressed with how Google Maps Real Estate has been going. Their coverage these days is extremely good and its only getting better. They are actually giving and Domain a run for their money.

And RealSauce has released our floor plan drawer which is exciting. Its actually free to try out so anyone can fiddle around with it easily.

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Floorplans and jQuery

by on Mar.31, 2010, under gearman, voip

We released our floor plan builder the other day. It meshes in nicely with our interactive floor plans and I’m very happy with the setup. The response from real estate agents has been extremely positive.

In other news I’m working on a fresh version of our real estate software. Plenty of jQuery is being used to make it very shiny. Can I just say that jQuery UI is one of the most useful things ever?

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Bunny watching Good News Week at night

by on Mar.16, 2010, under club penguin

She is quite a fan of TV and will sit in her paper watching TV at night.
This was taken last night while GNW (Good News Week) was on.

Bunny watching Good News Week

Bunny watching Good News Week

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Colourful large spider

by on Mar.16, 2010, under club penguin

I’m not sure what type of spider this is but its very colourful, and its massive. The web is also very large covering the space between two poles and is very intricate.

Only way to get my N85 to focus on it was to get very close to the spider. The picture was taken about 2cm away from it.

Large colourful spider

Large colourful spider - Close up

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Complex PHP daemons and Gearman

by on Mar.13, 2010, under internet, Linux, realsauce

Well I need to redo a property handling system from scratch. Code to move properties from one site to another.
Not only does it need to do that, but it also needs to only send what has changed, and it needs to do it very quickly.

So that means I’ll need a complex forking PHP daemon, one master to set tasks and then some slaves to focus on specific types of property transmission (e.g. REAXML) and then some more slaves for just minor tasks which can be run in parallel. E.g. fetching images.
All the communication will be via Gearman. Its a lot easier that way because Gearman handles queuing and can also do priorities.

Most methods of moving properties around is just XML deltas where a element is only specified if it has changed. When a new property is made then the full data is sent. There are hacks to emulate that, but I will be going will a full history system where every single change is stored, and if required can be replayed.

The main thing I’m not looking forward to doing is working on the code which makes sure that all the separate slaves are still running.
It needs to be able to reset its self if anything goes wrong, and log errors. Not easy stuff.
I’ll probably create some kind of heatbeat system.

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