Thursday, February 25, 2010

The no-name infrared IP camera for DIY baby monitoring

Thursday, February 25, 2010

As a new parent, I obsess about what the baby is doing. Is he awake, asleep, sucking his thumb or even still breathing? I mean I want to be quite, just not too quite. Do I try and sneak in commando style just to make sure he’s all good and risk waking a sleeping baby (this is never a good idea!), or do I sit in anticipation waking for the baby monitor to confirm signs of life? I’m sure new parent paranoia is not unique to me but I like to have a little more control over my environment than just wondering what on earth is going on behind that closed door.

Recently I placed a laptop in his room with a webcam then fired up a Skype session and monitored him from the desktop in another room. I actually found it disturbingly addictive watching the actions of another whilst obscured from vision however I assure you my voyeurism begins and ends with him! The potentially creepy aspect of this aside, it was interesting to watch him go through sleep cycles and how he behaved as he woke up. It was also pretty darn amusing to see his reaction when my voice came out of nowhere telling him to “GO BACK TO SLEEP” :)

This setup was enlightening but unsustainable and impractical. It also became pretty useless once it got dark but by now I was excited and a more permanent solution was on the cards. Enter the IP camera.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Creating Subversion pre-commit hooks in .NET

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A while back I wrote about Creating your own custom Subversion management layer which involved rolling your own UI in .NET to perform common management tasks in SVN such as provisioning a repository or managing permissions. This is a great way of quickly and easily giving users a self-service mechanism for managing their own repositories in a controlled, secure fashion.

Continuing the theme of customising SVN to do your bidding I thought I’d share some info on commit hooks. There are a heap of examples out there in Python and Perl but not much in the .NET realm so hopefully this will make someone’s life a little easier.

As with the previous blog post, all the info in this post relates to a Visual SVN Server instance of Subversion. Having said that, there’s nothing specific to this particular SVN distribution so the concepts and code snippets should be equally relevant to any others.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The hidden costs of building on enterprise software platforms

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Software development has come a long way over the last few decades. We’ve gone from extremely laborious, protracted exercises to create even basic functionality (punch cards anyone?), to the drag and drop, WYSIWYG environment of today. We’ve also gone from a very small number of enthusiast programmers to literally millions of individuals writing software worldwide (there were over 1.3 million software engineers in the US alone in 2008). And we’re all looking for ways to make building software even easier.

As the software evolution has continued, common patterns have been identified and dedicated tools have emerged to abstract these patterns and enable developers to build applications more efficiently. Over time, enterprise software platforms have gained popularity, abstracting common patterns with the promise of readymade frameworks that promote rapid development, greater agility and lower support costs.

But do enterprise software platforms always achieve this objective? Are the gains of rapid development offset by other costs – hidden costs – which don’t expose themselves at the outset? Are these platforms really the panacea they’re cracked up to be?

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