So, what's new?

by Nick  

December rushing on already.

Ros has a proud bump, and is looking very cute and motherly. :D

Aside from work, I've made much progress in my long-term project to rip all the old vinyl that's been hanging-around-the-house-not-getting-played-for-years into MP3s. Once I wrap that up, I'll probably share a few 'fair use' snippets for fun. My other autumn project has been a photography course at Warwickshire College, the fruits of which I'm going to have to dedicate some time to organising - quite a bit of technical stuff rather than focusing on the 'pretty', but so many photos produced...

Jess is getting bigger, brighter and bossier. She's lots of fun but relentlessly hard work. I suppose it's better that than supine! She has learnt the concept of the joke, and now has a surefire one which she proffers remarkably frequently. We've given up trying to come up with a new reaction... Want to hear it? Tough, nor do I but I have to several times a week:

What's grey and wibbly?
A jellyphant.

Finally, I've stopped resisting and bought an iMac, which is a thing of much beauty and omigod power. All I need is to make time to use it. It arrived on Tuesday, but I've not really had chance to do a huge amount with it yet, as I've had to spend best part of two days recovering the linux box that acts as mailserver and fileserver for the family. It chose Monday night to keel over and die. XX( Not helpful, but I suppose at least we don't use it for TV or webserver any longer.

Right, having been up until 1am fixing that yesterday, I want an earlier night, so I'm off to bed! If you want to keep up-to-dater than my rare forays into the blogosphere, you'll find me most days on twitter.

I've been busy

by Nick  

Well, I say I, but I can't take all the credit...


Due on 19 March 2010.

Summer catch-up

by Nick  

OK. I get the message. What can I say? My excuse is that I've been too busy elsewhere. Over the past few months I've got my head round twitter, and tend to update things there. It's convenient to be able to write a sentence here or there, rather than try to construct a narrative after the fact. Also, whilst I've taken plenty of photos, I've not managed to keep up with uploading them. So, given that, what's the recent (and not so recent) narrative?

  • We have a new car, a Volkswagen Golf Plus, having traded in our 11 year old Mazda. It was shortly before the scrappage scheme was introduced, but we got a cracking deal!
  • We've remortgaged, with an offset tracker from First Direct. They've lived up to their reputation for excellent customer service. Can't rate them highly enough so far.
  • I've bought an iPhone 3G S which is just lovely. I'm turning into a real Apple fanboy.
  • Is this is a convenient point to mention my 'hackintosh'?

    A netbook running Mac OS X. Cute; see the video.
  • I've had another set of phototherapy treatment at Warwick Hospital to keep the sunshine at bay. So far so good.
  • Jess is happily three, fully toilet-trained, and looking forward to pre-school in September.
  • We've had our summer holiday, once again in Germany. We drove the new car across to the Mosel, where the weather was nothing special, but it was nonetheless a good change.

So, some pictures. Jess having some summer splashing fun:
Getting ready Jump! And splash!

And a few holiday pics. Enjoy!
CIMG1919 IMGP2644

IMGP2626 IMGP3764

ExpandPath() bug in ColdFusion 8

by Nick  

I rarely seem to write about the day job in my blog, but I want to make sure that this gets recorded somewhere that google might find, so that it might save someone the 4½ hours it took me to resolve.

We've got a development environment based around virtual ColdFusion 8 development servers which run a codebase from across a couple of subversion working copies (WC). The webroot maps to one WC, there's a common folder (with common code/resources for several applications) which is aliased below the webroot in apache, and another WC for custom tags. When we commit working, tested code to trunk, post-commit hooks on the repos update the relevant working copies on the public web servers.

So, the problem yesterday was that code which worked fine on the test environment was failing on the live server. The code was using ExpandPath() to (try to) return the absolute filesystem path for a web-relative path supplied. It worked on the test server (let's say it returned /etc/webroot/ for /), but on the live site, it returned something like instead. Obviously this isn't a valid filesystem path >:XX

Googling pulled up a link to a page by Mark Drew which didn't reference my particular bug, but there was a comment by Mark Mandel which suggested that in the absence of a CF mapping for the webroot, it looks to the apache mappings (and possibly mod_rewrite rules) for its path resolution. As our live server sits behind a load balancer, this fits with the very broken ExpandPath() result we saw.

In the end, there's a very simple solution. Set a mapping in the CF Administrator for / to the actual filesystem path for the webroot. It shouldn't have any other side effects, but it completely fixes ExpandPath(). Methinks that CF8 is trying to be too clever...

Anyway, that's that for today. At some point I'll get back to normal service and post some cute photos of Jess.

Privacy reply

by Nick  

Just a note to mention that I received a reply from my MP the other day to my recent letter about data sharing. He gave me a thorough reply, pointing out several benefits of responsible data-sharing (reducing red tape and cutting bureaucracy by permitting departments to share information). The thing is that I don't have any problem with responsible data-sharing. It's the risk of irresponsible stuff that worries me...

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