Want to build better tools?

I should point out that Ergnosis (which I joined at the start of this month) are still looking to fill a couple more “senior developer” posts. The company recruitment page gives details, and I’ll be happy to answer any queries by email. Basically, if you’ve been reading this blog for its technical content, and you have a decent software engineering background, then you’d be pretty well placed. The company offices are in Bristol, but I’m working from Edinburgh and flying down to Bristol once a fortnight for a couple of days. So, geography isn’t necessarily an obstacle (up to a point!).

Hello, world

It’s been a while since my last entry, mainly because lots of things have been happening and I haven’t had much chance to Think About technical stuff apart from work.

  • I spent last week down in Bristol getting started at Ergnosis. It’s been good fun, although going from a company where I knew lots about the codebase to one where I know nothing has been sobering! Still, I’m now getting familiar with everything, coding away in Edinburgh on a very nice wifi-enabled linux laptop, and I’ll soon start roaming out into wifi-enabled places to work. I’ll be back down in Bristol next week doing design stuff. Bristol is quite nice. I stay at a backpacker’s hostel, which is more nice and more sociable than a souless hotel.
  • Pavlos has had a recent flurry of interesting writing. I keep trying to write a reponse, but I’d go off on so many tangents I don’t think I’d ever finish.
  • Anthony’s blog reminded me to sort out backups, so I now have a big second drive which gets a copy of Important Stuff each week. It’s not ideal, since my computer might blow up and take both drives with it, but it’s a lot better than only backing up once a year.
  • Craig also left Voxar recently to go to Australia for a year, and started a blog to stay in touch with the UK. Yay, I’m sure he’ll have a great time.
  • It’s turning to Autumn, which means we’ll have to stop playing ultimate frisbee soon. Winter is the time for indoor fun, so hopefully that’ll mean more climbing.
  • This weekend, I’m running my first 10k race, along the Water of Leith. If that goes well, next weekend I’ll be running the somewhat harder Capital Challenge 10k around the streets of Edinburgh. I wince every time I look at the map.


In lieu of anything constructive about programming,I’d like to say that Paris is great and France has the nicest food in the world. I’m just back in Edinburgh after two weeks there, and tomorrow I fly down to start at Ergnosis.

A Brief Rhapsody on Art and Engineering

From microship.com: “It is essential, when designing a complex system, to spend some relaxed time fantasizing about what it will be like when it’s finished. After all, this is what drives the process of engineering: at some level between rigorous and fanciful, an image of the finished product must be held in the mind, savored, and examined from all sides. Only after this playful interlude (which, to a manager, may be disturbingly indistinguishable from unproductive wall-staring) can decomposition of the design into subsystems, tasks, and packaging make any sense.”

Powerswitching with IP

Power supplies which can be controlled via IP seem like a pretty sound idea for sysadmins who don’t want to get called out at 2am to reboot a server.

They’re pretty expensive though, which made me realise that they’re an ideal application for the uCsimm “linux on a tiny low power board”. The boards come pre-installed with Linux, and has builtin ethernet and 18 i/o lines. Add a few relays, install a secure webserver and, hey-presto, homebrew remote power control.