Pither.com / Simon
Development, systems administration, parenting and business

Podcasts I hear in 2018

It's been over three years since I last wrote about the podcasts I listen to, so I think it's past time for a revisit.

Looking back at my list from 2014, I think the only ones I've stopped listening to are those that have stopped publishing content. I've certainly added a few more to my regular listening list though, especially …

Podcasts I Hear

Once upon a time, a time that feels a very long time ago but I think was only a couple of years in the past, I spent some time regularly commuting to one of my clients.

Armed with a smart phone and headphones I discovered audio books and podcasts as an excellent way to make use of this time. I …

Extracting a subdirectory from git as a new git repository

Some time ago (about 2 years according to the file timestamps) I created a git repository to house all of my random personal files (letters, tax returns, random notes, etc).

Unfortunately at some point in the last two years I started to add in assorted other bits that really didn't belong, just because I needed somewhere to put them. To …

Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex released today

Ubuntu released Intrepid Ibex earlier this afternoon, just as scheduled. It comes with lots of new features. While new versions of all the key software is certainly good, a convenient encrypted directory is handy and the VM builder is very convenient, it's actually a couple of very small additions that I'm enjoying the most.


Until I switched to …

Supajam competition launch

One of my customers today launches their latest competition. This contest is looking for unsigned bands to upload their best track and after a few rounds and filtering and a public vote the winner will get to perform live in Spain in front of thousands of people!

Certainly not my idea of fun, but I'm sure many will disagree …

Tags: work supajam

Not a week to plan

This week really hasn't gone to plan, in any way for any one.

Monday started out innocently enough. I had some out of hours work to get done during the evening, but it wasn't anything major.

When I went to bed at 4am on Tuesday morning, I was of a different opinion. Monday was a disaster! The work was at …

PNG compression

Having failed to find the option in the GIMP to create colour mapped PNG files, I have just had to discover a couple of handy commands...

  • pngnq - tool for optimizing PNG (Portable Network Graphics) images
  • pngcrush - optimizes PNG (Portable Network Graphics) files

The first of these takes a RGB PNG and gives back a colour mapped (by default, …


I am now officially trying the freelance approach to employment (complete with my first project, thanks to Tim Small)

I have my own limited company, lots of highly marketable skills (Linux (high availability and clustering), Java, Perl, etc) and lots of real life experience making a large web application work better, faster and stay alive longer.

Things I am …

Tags: work

Digitalbrain departure

Last week I officially (and finally, having stayed on from my initial leaving date in August) parted from Digitalbrain, where I have been working for over five years.

I decided to leave partly due to having been there five years and it being time for a change and partly due to the fact that my life is changing, with …

Tags: work

How to not get a sysadmin job

Following on from the last post, here is my favourite failing answer (so far)...

Details of how I formatted test.csv

Highlight I1 -> Insert Function -> Proper -> Text A1 -> Highlight Col I -> filldown
Highlight J1 -> Insert Function -> Proper -> Text B1 -> Highlight Col J ->filldown
Copy and Paste Special Col I into I …
Tags: work

Recruitment homework question

This is one of the homework questions that Digitalbrain has recently been giving out to prospective candidates for a Linux system administrator role.

Working with a large, complex application with many thousands of users, we very often have to manipulate significant amounts of textual data. Perhaps as part of a process to create new student accounts within a school, or …

Tags: work sysadmin

Where are all the SysAdmins?

Digitalbrain has been looking for new systems administrators for it's main platform services (Linux based) since the first of the old team resigned in April. During this time we've hired two new people. Ie it seems to take over two months to find each sysadmin!

Digitalbrain is still looking at least one more systems administrator.

So where are all the …

Tags: work

For a new job

August will be the fifth anniversary of my employment with Digitalbrain. While I have enjoyed much of my time there a great deal and learnt a lot, it is now time for me to move to a new challenge.

Along with this change I am wanting to move from systems administration into development (probably perl or java, although ruby …

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