1 dedicated server and 2 VMs later…

Hey guys, I think after about a week of failed efforts I can now say I’ve hit one of the key issues with open source software, the sometimes lack of support. Ok, for work I’ve been asked to use an Internet Filter called Poesia. This filter was created on a European project to try and create a filter to help filter material like text, photos and video of an explicit nature. So naturally because in the project I am working on filtration of this sort of content is needed using this tool and integrating it with our prototype seemed like the most feasible idea, ofcourse until I attempt to install it somewhere.

Now to start with we have a dedicated server at work which annoyingly is not accessible physically by us and has ridiculous security restrictions placed on it (because they are trying make our lives easier aren’t they?). So anyhow I installed all the prerequisites for Poesia, but the Poesia ./configure couldn’t find the package netpbm.  So, anyhow like anyone would do they download the source and attempt to compile and install it. Though finding out that lots of the dev packages that really should have been installed with the OS are missing. I then trail to try and find compiled versions of these packages to save me time but some i have to compile and install separately. But just when you think you’ve had enough fun for one whole day you then find that netpbm itself does not make properly.

Anyhow I lose patience and decide to scrap the idea of the SUSE server at work and decide to try on my good friend, fedora at home. To do this on my fedora server (which this blog is hosted from) I setup a x86_64 VM using  kvm/qenu. Everything is working fine, I managed to install most packages needed for the installation using the my favourite package manager YUM. Everything installed, well I had to compile and install Boehm’s Garbage Collector as the one shipped with the distro didn’t allow for pthreads which apparently is needed. Anyhow the Poesia ./configure can’t find the garbage collector (don’t they come early in the morning?).

I question if they maybe caused by the fact that I was using a 64bit OS, and maybe this was causing the error with SUSE with libraries being in slightly different places e.g. lib64 instead of lib etc. So I create another VM, this time a 32bit one. This time everything installed ok, but Poesia ./configure completed ok, but now a error occurred.

Now I am at the point where I don’t know how to proceed, and hope I can find a source to help me through. Though on the plus side I’ve learnt a considerable amount on managing VMs in bash that I’m sure will come in handy another day.

until next time.

Current Activites – Joining the Mob

Hey guys! Been rather busy lately as I’m sure you all can understand with the Tour De France app for the iPhone. Now I am just finishing an update for the app in my spare time and now beginning a new project with MobsVentures. This project is involving working on their social networking CMS. The purpose of this system is to try and reach and engage people of perhaps a lower level that aren’t getting the chance to make something of theirselfs. There are some interesting functional requirements of the new system which I may discuss at a later date when its ok to.

Though, lately I have had some problems at home which have made focus really difficult to do, I do hope to get over the problems as quickly as possible.

Anyhow, until next time

Tour De France Screenshots

Sorry about the wait, I’ve been busy creating the standings program for mammoth graphics to create their standings feed for the iPhone app. Here are the screen shots:

The app is still in review stage, to which I hope is all approved as soon as possible. Hope the app gains at least some popularity, at least till the next app is done 😉

BTW. The name of the app is TDF2009, support will be greatly appriciated!

Speak to you all soon


Rightio last week I spent two days in birmingham for two events. The first day started abut on a bad note because of train delays which made me a hour late even though I left earlier. But was an interesting day, got to hear about other projects going on. We then went to a dinner at a french style restaurant which was nice, maybe it was the wine that sweetened the night. After dinner I went drinking with a few of the guys and ended up getting slightly over easy. Was funny though setting up our project poster up still drunk. Was a shame though how little the guests interacted with the various project stands, obviously the food stand was more important. Anyhow the trip back was ok, with no delays. Overall good experience with pictures of my room below below.

The Desk

The Desk

My Bed

My Bed

Dev8D :: Thursday 12th February



Today I went to the dev8D event sponsored by JISC at Birkbeck University. Though the event is being held over the duration of this week I was only able to attend today. Today the main agenda was community activities with discussions into real life systems and how they can continue to grow.

In the morning there were two sessions running;

  1. Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) including Blackboard, Moodle and Sakai.
  2. Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) including library catalogs.

I chose to attend the session on VLEs. The talk/discussion facilitator was Sarah Sherman, where we were told about the various systems used including a talk about a single blackboard instance that is ran and shared with 6 brands and how this is managed. A talk was then given about Imperial College’s web ct system, though was quite surprised to see that they used it for short question assessments, though the fact that no wiki was being used didnt surprise me.

A close look was then done for LSE’s system which runs on Moodle. I was quite surprised to see that well since college the layout of Moodle had been kept the same (the college i studied at implemented a VLE running Moodle). The moodle system still is a flat structured system will alot of the functionality being on the homepage. The system is used for content delivery, discussions(class and group) and presentation tools. Wikis are not used because of the lack of power and turnitin is not currently used.

The VLE used by Cambridge was then domonstrated, which was Camtools for their current system and their currently in development Sakai system.  The interface of the Sakai system was similar to the Blackboard V9 with the draggable widgets, though it was said that those system provides the user with the option of changing the layout to their preference, only approx 4% of the userbase had actually done this.

Blackboard V9 was then presented. This version I felt had a slightly improved interface to V8 that i have been using at University currently. Some of the new features included allowing the user to move the screen widgets to different parts of the page which is also implemented on the Cambridge systems. There was further work to make the system easier to manage and help make tasks easy to be carried out by academics. There were also features that had been improved on since  V9 including the wiki system.

Some interesting discussion was brought including talking about using a single blackboard instance for more than 1 brand. Though it was mentioned that you can not have more than one customisation of the system for one instance. Perhaps this maybe sorted in the future?

Lunch was then served with an array of different sandwidchs, that definately put a smile on my face! Just sat around chatting to a nice bloke from Southampton University and talked briefly about Remora which I am involved in.

For the afternoon sessions I chose to attend the talk/discussion on Collaberation Tools including Instant Messaging, VoIP and various online cloud-based tools including Google Mail and Google Docs.

This talk was very interesting with talks from Westminster University and about how they moved their University wide email system to Google (Though perhaps quite a funny turn with the 2 1/2 hours downtime that happened yesterday). This talk did show that money can be saved by using services over hosting your own systems but then there comes a problem which some including myself is an extremely important matter, trust.

Some people could already express concern at the amount of reliance on Google for their email and documents that what happens if Google decide to either charge you or perhaps use your sensitive data?

The talk then basically turned in a grilling by a security consultant from darq# which was very interesting to be inbetween. Some talk was given into the advantages of using Instant Messaging and VoIP tools such as Skype, and disadvantages including the problems with bandwidth if your an unlucky soul to become a “super node”.

Overall I enjoyed myself alot and got to speak with some very interesting individuals. Perhaps Happiness did come of this event?