Monday, October 08, 2007

The Frustrations of Software (2)

Note to reader: Things here are seriously geeky :) !

Well, as you will have read in the last "episode", I was getting pretty frustrated with Ubuntu's installation system.

So, I did something else for a while and then went to bed. This morning I was slowly recovering conciousness when a stray thought wandered through my mind ..... was I looking at an error message about my instruction, or one about myself ??? When you try to do an installation in Linux you either have to be an administrator or provide the admin's password. What I had done was create the system and a user ID for me without ever setting up a password for the root (or administrator) ID. OK. Look up how to do that, and do that. Great. Now go find the instructions on how to set up LAMP again. The ones for this that I used are here and seem pretty accurate.

Next, set up Apache and try out looking at the localhost site. It works - yippee ! OK. I'm doing something right here, so let's try for PHP too ! I'm going to try out PHP5, as that looks like the one I'll need to use in the future, at the very least.

Two swift commands later it seems that I've done it. I create a small php test file and get FireFox to look at it - it does, and shows all the php versioning, which is great !

Finally, MySQL. This is a database system very popular for use with web sites. Actually installing the database isn't particularly difficult, but the intricacies of some of the later setup have to be addressed carefully.

After all this said, however, I have to say that setting up a LAMP system is an amazingly easy thing to do. I have set up AMP systems on Windows before, and none of them have been as easy as this. The easiest thing these days appears to be getting your head around what appear to be crazy insane Linux/UNIX commands, but, in fact, they do make sense after a surprisingly short period.

Next; onwards and upwards: a small intro page and some tricks !

Note to reader: End-of-geek :) !

To finish with, the AG's daughter is learning the saxophone. I can see that she has a political career ahead of her !

Other good points of the weekend have been two-fold. Firstly, England beat Australia by 12 points to 10, and then France beat New Zealand by a similar margin - 20 to 18. Boy but it was tense in the last few minutes ! Now it'll be England vs France in one semi-final and South Africa vs Argentina in the other. Association Football appears to be standing aside gracefully over there for Rugby Union Football to be seen, which is a great spirit to show: I just hope the Pumas can show really well against the Springboks. We shall see.)

That's it for now. Have fun.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Frustrations of Software (1)

Being a software engineer provides me with plenty of [Aaaaarrrgghh!!] moments - a my own expense, as you can imagine ! Despite this, I still haven't learned not to do things like tear my hair out, grit my teeth, and claw at the wall when things don't work the way the documentation promises faithfully that it does ! [Grrrrrr] is, I think, the technical term for it, but I haven't ever been able to find it in the dictionary.

Note to reader: from now on things get seriously geeky :) !

[Grrrrrr] moments normally happen when you're working on a piece of software that's (for you) totally new, so not only have you not much idea where to get help from, you also don't really understand what the help says when you do read it, as it assumes that you've got lots more experience than you actualy do have! The most recent [Grrrrrr] moments have been coming courtesy of the installation packages of an operating system called Ubuntu - a version (or "distribution") of Linux.

As I don't just have a spare PC for this I created what's called a Virtual Machine (sort of a PC in software, not hardware) to put the new OS into, and then downloaded the system and installed it with no problems whatsoever. Of course, my luck couldn't last ! According to the OS manual the installation is a simple one-liner, but as soon as I started trying to install the popular set of programs (Apache, MySQL, and PHP) that one can use for developing web sites I got a very persistent error message seemingly telling me I didn't have permission to do the installation.

Like I say, a [Grrrrrr] moment, so I'm writing this while deciding what alternative strategy to follow, as the online bug-reports, etc., seem to show that this isn't an unknown problem. Others may have got around it, but I don't have the time.

Oh yes, and all the lights went out, so I should post this and close down my other PC, I think !

Back later !

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Back by Popular Demand !

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends ! Step inside ! Step inside ! ............. Yes, well. Since my last blog, that broke a fast of several months, I've been castigated for leaving it so long between blogs. Ok ! Ok ! I didn't actually realise that anyone out there read this stuff ([grin]) !

So, I've decided to make a to-do list (I can hear the cynical sniggering already ) of topics to cover soon:
  • Internet Music
  • Agile and Extreme Programming
  • A Second Riiview (see here on April 14, 2007)
  • TBA
  • I'll try not to wait 3 months between episodes! I would guess that some people will have no interest in programming, so I'll add light entertainment too !

    Today I'm sitting in the bat-cave programming, so taking a moment off to write this. The AG just sent me this site - you should introduce you 7+-year-old to some of these tricks
    . However, there are some others:
    • Is it Prime? For starters, not if it ends in an even number, 5, or 0 (that means divisible by 2 or 5). To check further, add all the digits, and keep adding until you have just 1 left. If that is 3, 6, or 9 then it's divisible by 3 and definitely not prime.
    • The site gives an easier way of subtracting from 1000 (or similar). I find easier to take 1 from 1000 leaving 999. Then I don't have to carry at all. Afterwards I can just add the one back to the result !
    Bye !