Friday, October 31, 2008

12 months later, Opposition has changed the Liberals

Just a quick note on Friday evening, whilst watching the SBS news, I heard Malcom Turnbull advise the Ruud government to "USE COMMON SENSE" with regards to the doctor with the disabled son which is doing the rounds in the Aussie Media at the moment.

As I heard on ABC News Radio, apparently the doctor got bad advice and should of applied under a different visa.

Anyway, what a difference 12 months in opposition makes...

The Howard Government had perhaps the worst record of any Australia Government when it came to immigration policy, children overboard and the Hannef debacle to mention just two..

So it did sound rather ironic to hear the Liberals calling for some common sense in regards to handling immigration, how refreshing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How bout Mandatory Renewable Energy for Business Climate Control

The biggest challenged faced by power companies in Australia is peak load capacity, which usually co-insides with really hot sunny days. As a result, we need to keep building base load capacity for such times. Times when solar power for example comes into it's own.

Climate Tax for Climate Changing in the Office? I like the Idea.

It's pretty simple, if a business runs heating or cooling, the need to subscribe to green power or they get taxed to the cost of green power + say 25% for all power they use to keep their office air-conditioned.

Sure the fine print needs to be worked out, but it solves the peak load problem in Australia, enlarges the renewable energy market and as a result reduces greenhouse emissions.

Side Effect: Old in-efficent air-conditioners get upgraded, creating jobs in itself !

Introducing MapGuide Central

I have created a quick site which I have called MapGuide Central. It has links to all the major resources I use and a google custom search engine which indexes the same resources.

MapGuide Central (url changed 3/sept/09)

I just found discovered Get Satisfaction whilst returning to Ubuntu (which has been great, blog post to come) and using songbird.

I think it might be really useful for MapGuide as a project for support. Thoughts?

Cool Jackson Pollock Fun with a mouse

I made this @ Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas, original design by Stamen, it's my own squiggle ;)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Outrage! Censorship Downunder

As the world becomes a little more socialist, the Australian Government is marching down the doomed path towards more internet censorship, just like the with the Henson debate, the tone has been less than stellar.

Your from the ALP and meant to be (centre) lefties for crying out loud!

Filtering out the fury: how government tried to gag web censor critics

Kevin Rudd, is a man who likes have reviews. They allow for a fuller picture to be developed prior to making a decision.

The verdict is in, Censorship on the internet doesn't work, the technology moves faster than policy and let's face it, kids these days are the tech support in the house.

Every effort the Federal Government has made in this area has been a bad joke, wasting millions of dollars just so the Government can be seen to be addressing the issue. It's just so Hollowmen, thanks for reinforcing the stereotype, Kevin.


Write an email to the idiot pushing this turkey Stephen Conroy and ask him to fix the Broadband instead, illegible prices on all them sex lines and ringtone ads and the Liberals demise. That's more than enough to do and just stop wasting time waving on bad policy.

Censorship is a tired old idea which is very shallow, people with bright minds should already understand this. Children wrapped up in cotton wool tend not to learn as much about the world as those who aren't. We look down on China for their Censoring, maybe we should listen to what we preach...

Online mirror of the MapGuide Web API doco

I have mirrored the MapGuide Web API documentation over on my public server. It's not currently available online but it is installed with the MapGuide Server.

There is a custom google search site I setup, it might take a few days to be indexed tho. I'll post it when this blog entry starts helps get the site indexed.

The Nabble MapGuide archives are also a great source of information about MapGuide.

The MapGuide Enterprise Whitepapers are also well worth reading, they are pretty much all applicable for MapGuide Opensource.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mapguide 2.0.2 can be pretty darn Reliable

I have been running a heavy tiling job on a dual quad core server for about a week without error, which is really a great milestone for MapGuide OS 2.0.2.

It's been good timing for this upcoming project I've been working on for a while. The mapset I'm working with at the moment is 9.6Gb and we've generated about 660k of tiles in the last week.

There was some issues with a rouge SHP file which kept making 2.0.2 crash, but after sorting that out, it has been really stable. I bounced the server this morning for another reason, but I hadn't had to restart (or kill) the service once (on windows, sigh) in over a week.

I did have the SDF & SHP providers excluded in this configuration from the connection pool.

In other Mapguide Related News

Mapguide OS 2.1 beta is going to drop soon

Helio has posted his MapGuide CMake patches, this should make building MapGuide one hell of a lot easier on linux!

Fusion is at 1.1 RC as well and hopefully makes it into 2.1..the speed at which the Sheboygan sample loads in 1.1 is enough to usher in a lot more users

I'm just hoping the Mapguide stability issues with GDAL are finally resolved in this build set ( 3.4 & 2.1), I am yet to see it really reliably working without crashing the server either MapGuide 1.2 or 2.0

What do you need to do?

If you use any of this software (MGE Users as well!), check the osgeo trac for any known bugs you have and make sure they are logged, add any useful insight into existing issues if you have some. then try and find some time to test those problem with the upcoming beta's

Remember, if you don't report your bugs, how do you expect them to get fixed?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PNG8 compression with custom palette - advice needed!

Jason Birch filed a bug a while ago for MapGuide about using custom palettes for PNG8. I am working on a large map of Australia at the moment and there are some issues with palette inconsistencies between tiles.

I did some quick xpath and was able to produce a list of colors, as used within all the layers of a mapDefinition. From that I was able to produce a JASC PAL file.

My planned approach for now will be produce map tiles in PNG-24 and then post process the tiles using a custom palette. This has the added bonus of being faster than making PNG-8 tiles.

I have been searching around for a free command line tool which will do batch PNG8 compression based off the generated palette file. There are heaps of PNG compression tools out there, but I am yet to find one which supports using a palette.

Some thing like pngsomething -recursive folder -palette generated-palette.pal

Can anyone suggest a free tool? Preferably one which runs on both Linux and Win32...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Free Australian weather feed from the Bom

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology publish their data feeds in rather ancient text format, but it works! Please note the copyright requirements.

There is a description of the file and the ftp info to be found over here Australia Weather Forecasts data feeds. It's not XML but CSV files..

It was pretty easy to read into Coldfusion, just put something between the empty delimiters so the Coldfusion, skip empty list elements behaviour doesn't bite.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A quick speed tip for my Mapguide Tiler

Depending on the speed of you map when your using my OpenLayers based MapGuide tiling tool, the browser might actually be the bottle neck.

I did a little experiment today, it involves using google chrome and adding
some css to the page to stop the browser rendering the tiles.

Simply add the following style definition to the tiler script

<style type="text/css"> img {display:none;} </style>
This speeds up things quite a lot, especially when you already have some of the cache already seeded.

It also helps to use multiple urls to avoid the browser limitations of http connections per host name.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Voting Green in the Senate pays off

I am proud to say I voted for the Greens in the Senate last election
and on reading this blog entry Greens Luxury Car Tax amendments already working! I feel even better!

A lot of people winged about this, but here's proof, regardless what might be seen as a "discriminatory tax", it's actually working....

There's a lot of hot air from the totally discredited right wing about this sort of stuff. Good regulation can produce great outcomes.

As for Truffles claim he forced the banks to pass on 80% of the rate cut, let's not forget he was a Merchant Banker before he got into Parliament, now ain't that a profession which is held in high regard today.

Can anyone image where we would be today, if Howard n Costello had got back in and had put all their excessive spending plans & pork barreling in play... The Aussie dollar would be back below 50 cents and we'd be even more up shit creek with a paddle than we already are..

He would do well to watch the 7.30 report and Alan Kohler's smart analysis of the Rate cut and how most likely Rudd and Swan negotiated an outcome where the banks didn't raise rates out of cycle which would of totally spooked the market....

As usual, the right screws things up and it's left to the left to fixes the mess.

Steven Keen was also quite brilliant on the 7:30 report last night, probably should of been on Lateline though with an R rating. I think a lot of people who are mortgaged to the hilt would of been shit scared watching his calm and rational explanation...

It must be quite a shock for Gen-Y who grew up during a boom binge on fake money, it will be interesting to see which direction university enrollments go next year..

Improving Mapguide Builds with CMake

There's a very interesting thread going on over at Mapguide-internals about adopting Helio's work with using CMake to make the linux build process a lot more streamlined.

It was originally suggested for FDO FDO RFC 21 - New Linux Buildsystem Cmake Based and resurfaced in this discussion MapGuide open source builds as Trevor has some spare hardware in his basement as he is looking at producing nightly builds. I split it out into an another thread for clarity MapGuide open source builds - Linux & Cmake

Helio already has it all working and it addresses the complexity of the current build process, which is quite scary for most people. It also supports producing linux packages (rpm etc), resolves a lot of grey areas with regards to the dependencies and allows for building MapGuide without most of the bundled thirdparty software which is currently in the tree.

The third party stuff in the MapGuide source tree is generally speaking out of date, which means it's not 64-bit compliant and also blows out the rerquired compile times.

What do people think? In think this could be a major win for the MapGuide project...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pagination can be so 1990's

Coldfusion Bloggers is a real cool site aggregator, but I have to confess, even since Ray switched over to jQuery from the heavy native CF stuff, the pagination is really annoying.

Why do we need to page 10 records at a time? why not 50 or 100?

There was a time when computers where bloody slow and pagination helped reduce system load, but it's 2008 and as Google proved, things have improved and we can do things differently.

Personally I like the planet style blog aggregators, but I prefer the CFBloggers style as I get some nice stats on whether or not people are reading my blog. Currently, the readership for my blog bobs between 100-500 hits a day.

It's a great feeling when I go to a conference or even quite randomly meet people and I get some nice feedback that they read my blog....

So Ray, what do ya think about bumping up the pagination size?

Update: Ray has tweaked cfbloggers, the following url will set an cookie which sets it up for 100 rows per page, tho 50 is probably enough

"Americans" - the documentary

Some friends from Melbourne are traveling around America at the moment making an independent documentary, "Americans" - the documentary, blogging along the way.

Tim just posted on Facebook that they are looking for interesting people to interview, so if your in the US of A, drop them a line over on their blog and see what happens.

Personally, I would love to be in the States at the moment, as readers of my blog would be aware, I'm a typical foreigner and oh so pro Obama!

Watching the GOP spin itself into a horrible mess is making the rest of the world very happy!

My birthday is the day before the election and there's only want one thing for my Birthday...

My mate Ben who's a Union bloke from Melbourne is over campaigning for the election at the moment and I have to say I'm quite jealous. This election will/has/must affect the the entire world...

I did a round the world trip last year and spent some time in NY, LA and at Burning Man. One of the strongest, lasting and refreshing memories of the entire trip was the sheer number of Americans who were deeply concerned and interested in how I perceived them as a foreigner.

jQuery IE7 load url problem

I blogged a few days ago about what I thought was a solution for an issue I
am having with jQuery and IE7. Alas the fix didn't work and I deleted the misleading post.

Ironically, the removed post has generated a lot of hits which end up 404-ed, so I thought I'd put this back up and see if someone can help.

For some strange reason, some urls just seem to not work in IE7 with jQuery Load().

IE7 doesn't even fire a request off to the server, which I monitored with Fiddler2. It's rather wierd, coz all the pages work fine in Firefox (no suprise there) and other links which re-use the same code on the same page also work fine in IE7.

Using trustly old Javascript Alerts I confirmed that the code was being run.

I am using the excellent CFJQAJAX jQuery ajax tags for Coldfusion which are nice and lightweight when compared to the rather heavy bundled CFAJAX tags. I highly recommend trying them out.

With Nokia and Microsoft getting on board, it's starting to look like jQuery is becoming the defacto standard ajax library.

IE7 does feel rather prehistoric these days... Anyway, anyone got any ideas on how to solve this?

Update: fixed the case of jQuery in this entry, also this works on some IE7 machines and not on others, same build too!

Update2: Thanks to Dan I fixed it, Damn stupid IE caching, that's so 1990's... why can't they just make their browser faster and not just think people use that pile of rubbish for business

265 entries later, time to explain my blog's name

Before I got into working in IT, I was involved in the theatre. I was lucky enough to go to a school, St Michael's Grammar School, which had a really strong theatre program and we did two big shows a year, one at the National Theatre in St Kilda and one (or two) at the Malthouse

In Grade 6 the school did a musical where I ended up as crew, coz I didn't really want to sing in a musical and couldn't either! I pursued this throughout high school and ended up doing a year at WAAPA studying Production in the Lighting stream.

I loved doing theatre, I worked as a Production Manager and Lighting Designer, learning skills which to this day, I find really useful in the world of IT.

As a Production Manager, you have to be a jack of all trades and be able to converse with people with a diverse range of skills .

With lighting, you work with a complex network of cables, bulbs, gels, scaffolding and are challenged to make it all the technology work seamlessly to achieve something artistic.

In both fields, when you do your job properly, most people don't even know you exist. Unlike some other professions, in both fields, the real job satisfaction comes from doing your well enough that people don't notice it.

So back to the name of my blog. Often backstage in theatres, people write things in chalk on the walls. There was one I read at the National Theatre that has always stuck in my mind:

Do not adjust your mind, It's reality which is out of focus.
I have no idea if it's an original quote or just a great idea someone had backstage, but I love the quote and thus I adopted it, (at least the first half) for the name of my blog.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Mapguide Performance Tips

Here's a quick list of things which will really help you make MapGuide reach
it's full performance potential.

  1. Avoid RDBM's for static data, SDF is dramatically faster and lower system load
  2. Always use tiled maps, tiled maps are cached, which means scalable
  3. Always use Managed Resources, that is SDF's uploaded into the repository
  4. Enable SDF connection pooling in serverconfig.ini (requires changing DataConnectionPoolExcludedProviders)
  5. Increase the cache size to 3-4 times your layer count per map (CacheSize)
  6. Never filter, use theming or pre-cook you data as SDF only is spatially indexed
  7. Use the latest Mapguide 2.0.2 it's by far the best release yet
  8. Pre cook your tiled maps using my Mapguide Tile Seeder
  9. Consider using Openlayers as your client interface, legends are a bottleneck
  10. Use Linux, MapGuide really sings on Linux, on Windows it doesn't
And lastly, buy a license for MapGuide Enterprise and support the ongoing development of the project, be smart about it and go thru an Autodesk partner who actively takes part in the MapGuide community and contributes to the project.

Personally, I recommend sticking with MapGuide Open Source, even after I buy a license, as the release cycle is faster than the fully tested Enterprise release. But remember, you also get a really cool stable Raster provider with Mapguide Enterprise which you can also use with MapGuide Open Source.

I work for a company called Ennoble Consultancy, we are an Autodesk Partner and are here to help, so if even if you feel like sticking with MapGuide Open Source, but you'd also like to support the project, give us a call or email us and lets see what we can do!

I really love my Job, I'm a Solution Architect who codes and also is client facing. That's the really cool thing about working at Ennoble, we are a team of young people who have a passion for making things work.

Technology has changed a lot these days, a lot of Companies are still using organisational structures and roles which date back to the old pure C++ and C era's. Times have changed...

The old approach IMHO just ain't up to the task of being responsive to business needs anymore...

At Ennoble we like to collaborate and be responsive with our clients. It makes work fun, let's face it, we spend most of our time working in our lives...why not make it enjoyable?

In the next few months I will be blogging about some rather nifty projects we have been working on...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sarah Palin's Facebook Page

this one is going around the web at the moment, pure genius!

n95 Firmware Version 30.0.015

I flashed my N95 which is getting a little battered (and held together with gaffa tape) a few days ago. The latest firmware is listed on the Nokia N95 Firmware versions thread over at the all about symbian forum.

Amongst other things, it has the new version of Nokia Maps 2.0 (PDF), which is being advertised for some of the newer Nokia phones. Having a search box directly on the screen is a big improvement.

It seems quite stable and I haven't noticed any problems with it yet, so I will recommend anyone with a n95 to upgrade to the latest version.

As for the new Nokia share online stuff, I'm not really that fussed about it..

My Mum reckons Paul Keating is a Statesman

Check out the interview from lateline last night, RESPECT!

If McCain reckons he's a straight talker, he needs to study this man

Maya Festival 2008

Must be summer again, the Maya Festival rocked it last year, so I'm really looking forward this one.

It's at Ceres which is just round the corner from me, Northside! in Melbourne, Australia. Public transport is really easy, just take the 96 tram from Bourke street and it takes you with 500m of Ceres, which you can see on the map below

View Larger Map

Brilliant Politicial Stuff

Newstopia, it's Australian, but lets face it it all
about the US at the moment

Brilliant, check it out

The Qantas spoof ad is especially worthy

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

When will Adobe open up the CF bug database?

Back at CF_CAMP last year in Melbourne (which was great BTW),
there was some positive talk about opening up the CF bug database,
which is in JIRA I seem to recall.

Having an open bug database is a major advantage for any programming
language, it saves a lot of development time and should be always a
factor to be considered when choosing software.

Now that we have at least five implementations of CFML engines out
there, this becomes more and more important to maintain consistency.

Anyone heard anything more about this?