Thursday, April 10, 2003

Rally School

On Monday myself and six colleagues spent a fantastic day at the Shropshire Rally School. A full day spent learning to drive classic Ford RS Escorts through a rally stage with an exceptional instructor who is competing at high levels. The bottom line is that we all had the most fantastic time, and would all recommend it to anyone who fancies giving it a try.


The total distance spent in the cars was around 30km, split into eight runs through the day. At the end of the day the instructor drives you through the stage to show you how it should be done. We all found this an exhilerating and amazingly humbling experience. Despite having improved continuously through the day with the tuition provided the very first corner with the instructor shows you how little you know! Danni took the car I'd driven all day through each corner of the stage with corner entry speeds that seemed like twice anything I had been able to achieve and exit speeds that seemed three to four time faster.


The whole party managed to get sunburnt which is quite an achievement in the UK in early April. We travelled down the night before and stayed at the Hanmer Hotel which was very pleasent.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

RedHat 9.0

I just used BitTorrent to download the latest RedHat ISO images. BitTorrent is a swarming P2P client which you can download/share specific files from as needed. The process was absolutely painless, I left it running for 48 hours, and when I came back I had all three cd images (1769.2MB) ready to burn. I'm not sure how long the downloads actually took - I deliberately left the client up so folks could upload from me for a period after I'd got the full set. Whenever I examined it, the figures certainly suggested that I was downloading at approx 30kB/s and uploading at around 20kB/s which seemed to pretty much saturate my ADSL link.


I upgraded my development machine at home with the ISO images - everything was painless except for my XF86Config getting stomped on by the installer (thank heavens for backups!). Its a fairly lightly configured box really only running cvs and my Java development tools (Eclipse) along with Evolution and Mozilla. The one thing I did spot instantly was that the fonts in Mozilla seem to be much clearer than before - I assume this means I'm finally running a copy of Gnome that supports ant-aliasing.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Cruisecontrol Upgrade

I decided to bite the bullet today and upgrade our Cruisecontrol environment from 2.0 to 2.02 today. I decided to after finding that we just couldn't live with ant v1.4.1 and the old version of junit that used assert rather than assertTrue.


In the hope of saving others pain and as a little Google bait I'll describe the main issue I had when this was complete. There has been a change in the point releases that has introduced some options for cutting down the size of the logs that cruise produces. The effect on my project was that none of the ant output from the build was written to the console during the build cycle. Whilst this isn't a major problem, our build process is fairly complex and the clean build running all tests/deploying the application takes around an hour - which is a very long time to take on faith that everything is going well. It is especially frustrating if you are tinkering with the build file itself.The good news is that although this is the default behaviour it can be changed by altering the antbuilder tag.


i.e. change

<ant buildfile="mybuilder.xml" target="cruisebuild" multiple="2"/>

to

<ant buildfile="mybuilder.xml" target="cruisebuild" multiple="2" useLogger="false"/>