I’m in the process of clearing out things I no longer need from my house, and I have the following computer books (all in excellent condition) which are free to a good home:
- Agile Web Development with Rails (4th ed.)
Learning Android The Exim Book
- Dive into Python
- Foundations of Python Network Programming
- The Definitive Guide to Linux Network Programming
- Webbots, Spiders and Screen Scrapers
As with previous clearances, I’d prefer to give the books to people who will be able to take them off my hands in person.
Post a comment or drop me an email if you want to claim anything. Anything unclaimed by this Saturday (though you don’t have to have collected it by then) will get donated to MadLab for their library.
posted by Paul at 10:28am on Sunday 12th August 2012 | 2 Comments »
For the past few months, things have been quiet at work due to a lack of technical projects. Whilst the company I work for is getting plenty of business, the IT side has slowed down as our main product (commercial motor insurance) is largely feature-complete. As a result, I’ve moved to a four day week, which usually means I’m free every Wednesday.
Since there are no restrictions on what I can do on this extra day—apart from not working for a competitor—I’m looking to fill it with additional experience in one of the following ways:
- Contracting: Primarily PHP development, but I’m also open to Perl and Java, though I haven’t used the latter two in anger for a while.
- Volunteering: Ideally at a strategic level—e.g. reviewing finances, policies, compliance etc.—as that fits my skillset better than on the ground campaign work.
- Paid directorships: I’d like to get some more experience as a non-executive director on the board of a small company, especially as my only non-work directorship (UKUUG) is coming to an end in September.
I do get the odd contracting enquiry, although I find that the rate expectations of firms requiring PHP developers are extremely low, so I haven’t picked up any work yet.
posted by Paul at 1:01pm on Monday 2nd July 2012 | Comments Off
Over the course of the bank holiday weekend I have been tinkering with my CV to bring it up to date. At the moment I’ve got a full time job where my employer has to give three months’ notice, but given the economic climate I think it’s prudent to have a CV ready just in case.
The things I am thinking about/looking for feedback on are:
- How can I make more of my current job? It’s the most senior role on my CV, but I want it to be more than just a list of the systems I’ve implemented.
- How can I make more of my various directorships? They are all at small companies, but together they total 8 years.
- Should I cut back my education section further? My impression is that employers outside specific industries care more about experience than academic qualifications, and I don’t know if anyone still cares about my GCSE results.
I’d be grateful for any feedback, either via the comments or email. Both CVs are generic as whichever one I use (currently the bullet point one) will be on my website, rather than tailored to any specific role, and for the same reason I have left off any details of referees.
posted by Paul at 9:33pm on Tuesday 5th June 2012 | 3 Comments »
A few weeks ago I asked on Twitter if anyone would be interested in getting the train to somewhere outside Manchester and going for a walk, followed by a pub lunch. The response was more enthusiastic than I expected, and so I am pleased to announce Geek Walks, the first of which will be taking place on Saturday 5th May. Full details can be found on the mailing list archive, and you can also subscribe to receive emails about future events.
posted by Paul at 1:31pm on Sunday 22nd April 2012 | Comments Off
Now that my house is finally sorted and hopefully requires no more immediate work, I’m looking through my volunteer commitments for things to do in my spare time. At present my only major commitment is chairing FLOSS UK/UKUUG, but that will come to an end at some point this year because I want to start the handover process well in advance of me stepping down from Council in September 2013.
One thing I would like to do is get involved in politics again—as in party politics, not an NGO which focuses on political campaigning or lobbying. The difficulty is finding a party where I agree with most of the policies—total agreement is both unlikely and boring. I did enjoy my time in the Conservative Party, but they were a bit too extreme on issues like immigration, human rights and law and order. Ideologically I probably fit somewhere in between the Tories and the Lib Dems, closer to the former on Europe and to the latter on equality and liberty.
posted by Paul at 8:59pm on Sunday 4th March 2012 | Comments Off
Recently I’ve re-learning C, partly for fun but also in case I ever need it for work – at my current job or a later one. In the process I’ve come across some articles which may be of use to others who are already programmers but not C experts.
- CERT article on why your compiler might optimise away security functions
- Stackoverflow thread about whether using SecureZeroMemory() makes your program more secure
- Setting pointers to NULL after call to free() – Stackoverflow thread on avoiding dangling pointers
- Open source development using C99
- Visual Studio 2010 doesn’t support variable length arrays (and other parts of C99)
- Top 10 Ways to get screwed by the C programming language
- What is C For?
- Writing Insecure C, Part 1
- Writing Insecure C, Part 2
- Writing Insecure C, Part 3
- Linus Torvalds on Why C++ is a horrible language and C is the only sane choice (not sure I agree with everything he said, but it’s an interesting thread)
- A response to Linus Torvalds on C++
Feel free to leave a comment if I’ve missed off any particularly useful links.
posted by Paul at 12:14pm on Sunday 16th October 2011 | Comments Off
After a few weeks of house hunting, I have found a property I like enough to put in an offer (which has been accepted by the vendor). It’s near to my parents and grandparents, on a reasonably quiet road and with elderly neighbours who keep their gardens in top shape and are unlikely to have late night parties. It needs a new boiler and a rewire, but there are no other major jobs which need doing before I move in.
I’m hoping to be in by Christmas, although that depends on everyone involved moving at a reasonable pace. I’ve also moved house often enough to know that nothing is certain until you actually have the keys in your hand (even after exchange of contracts, someone can still pull out), so I’m still keeping an eye on other properties should this sale fall through.
posted by Paul at 4:28pm on Monday 29th August 2011 | Comments Off
As some people will already know, I’ve now moved back to my parents’ house in Bury. Partly this is because my flat was too small to live and work in, but also because I’ve decided that I’d prefer to buy a three bedroom semi on a nice estate in Bury than fork out for a one or two bedroom flat in Didsbury for the same price. I know how stressful moving is, so I’d rather jump straight into a house than buy a flat and then have to sell it a few years down the line when I’ve outgrown the space.
In terms of house hunting, it’s been a mixed bag so far. I saw one property which had a lot of potential on a good estate for a reasonable price with no chain, but unfortunately someone else got in with an offer before I could go back for a second viewing. Another property was far too small and a third had been taken off the market because the owners decided to rent it out instead of selling (they had already signed a tenancy agreement, so it won’t come back on for at least six months). On the positive side, there’s a good sized dormer bungalow with room for extension within my price range, and I have five other properties to see today which look promising from the initial descriptions.
posted by Paul at 11:48am on Saturday 20th August 2011 | Comments Off
For the past six months or so I’ve been seriously looking for a place to buy. Although there are no major problems with where I live now—the rent is reasonable and my landlord doesn’t give me any trouble—I’m starting to outgrow the space, especially as I work from home. There’s also the financial implications, if I bought a flat roughly the size as the one I’m in now, my monthly mortgage (repayments, not interest-only) would only be a bit higher than my current rent, and probably lower than the market rate.
So far my success has been mixed. I’ve more or less given up on buying a house in Didsbury, as the prices are outside what the banks will lend me, even if I can comfortably afford the repayments. I’ve looked at a few flats, one of which was a grotty student place with damp throughout, one was in reasonable condition but in a huge block mostly inhabited by students, and the other was similar to what I’m currently renting—albeit in Fallowfield. I’m considering putting in an offer on that one, although I need to scout round a couple of other areas which contain houses but might not meet my ‘desirable neighbourhood’ criteria.
posted by Paul at 11:47am on Friday 22nd July 2011 | Comments Off
For the last couple of months I’ve been working on Pub Gateway, a guide to pubs within the British Isles. I’d spent too long attempting to create a perfect setup, trying out all the PHP frameworks, as well as Django (Python) and Catalyst (Perl). In the end I figured out it was quicker to put together my own PHP code than learn how any one framework did things—particularly because most of them make it difficult to bring in code from other sources (e.g. if I used symfony I’d also want parts of Zend Framework).
There’s still a lot of features to be added, such as pub ratings, a ‘find pubs near postcode’ feature (mostly done, just need to build the interface), forums and many more. However, the basic functionality of the site (register, suggest pubs, add comments) is done and ready to go.
I also need to find someone to produce a design and logo for the site, as a piece of paid work—please drop me a line if you know someone who is UK based and able to do this.
posted by Paul at 3:58pm on Thursday 21st July 2011 | 2 Comments »