Scary! Only 47 days to go and I don’t feel anywhere near prepared

Scary! Only 47 days to go and I don’t feel anywhere near prepared :/ http://ow.ly/i/6JPrP #marathon #denver @RunRocknRoll @RunKeeper

How to change the timezone on a Ubuntu server

A very simple and quick fix to a rather annoying (especially when searching log files!) issue, is changing the server timezone.

To check your the current date and time on your server, simply run:
$ date

Or alternatively, check the server timezone setting more specifically:
$ more /etc/timezone

Server timezone configuration wizard
How to update your Ubuntu server timezone settings

To update this you’ll need to run through a simple admin screen accessed from:
$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Simples!

The Other Art Fair


Seriously cool stuff by tea lover @HelainaSharpley and @damilolaa at the @TheOtherArtFair – at Ambika P3
View on Path

How to ignore system files in PhpStorm and Git

One of my excellent team members showed me a neat little tip a few weeks ago on how to avoid pushing and pulling all those irritating little system and application generated hidden files in my Git repos.

Most of us here (I say “us” but I’ve hardly touched a line of code at the office!) use JetBrains awesome PhpStorm IDE these days, for the super quick text editor and wonderful integrations. So finding out there’s a nice little way to get rid of those pesky files once and for all, I was all too happy to hear!

Gitignore usage with PhpStorm and Git
Gitignore usage with PhpStorm and Git

Simply head over to gitignore.io, enter your operating system, preferred IDE and any tools you might you might use (Composer, Vagrant, etc.), and click the drop-down to “Download”.

Then copy that file to the root of your project, the same location you did “git init”.

This is not just for PhpStorm however, it’s a Git feature that I only found out about by using PhpStorm.

The rise and fall apart of London

According to Knight Frank, Asian buyers account for as much as 70% of all new-home purchases in London. The majority of whom do not live in the country, and at present won’t pay “second-home income tax” on those properties if they sell them.

The result of this is a 13.8% increase in London house prices (to the end of February 2014), which far exceeds the income rate, which as it stands is actually down 3.8%, leaving good hard working “real” Londoners 17.6% out of pocket. London is falling apart.

Prince Charles recently correctly stated that “This isn’t sustainable and risks driving away talented young individuals who are starting their careers in London and spending most of their income on rent. Home ownership for this generation is seemingly becoming further and further out of reach”. This Guardian article I was reading however went on to ridiculously suggest that building more “affordable houses” would make a difference! Get real! All that would happen is that the foreign millionaires would just take even more advantage of crazy system. Hello Government, where is your common sense?

Affordable housing near Canary Wharf
New apartments by South Quay near Canary Wharf, a good 30% of them made “Affordable Housing”

An effective short-term solution to London’s housing crisis would be to abolish the contradictory demand on property developers to provide “affordable housing”. This immediately pushes up the prices of the adjacent properties, thereby massively harming affordability of those to the general public.

Now, I’m not targeting issues around “affordable housing” (or “social housing”) directly here, this is a completely different subject, one that I won’t cover in this post and is not something that I’m against. The only thing I will say is that I’ve had first hand experience of the moral-zapping consequences of it. It simply shouldn’t be implemented in areas focused on business, such as Canary Wharf.

I spent 2+ years watching an apartment blocks being built around the old site of London Arena, a view I had directly from my old office window. Minimum price to the general public was set at £280k for a studio! On the weekend of build completion, an entire block (what appears to be at least 30% of the entire build) filled with families on income support, disability benefits, people that neither work in the financial services industry nor ever would (even if they wanted to work at all!). Not only is the block and entire development in an ideal location for commuting (and I mean by foot or bicycle here, not cramming more people onto already stretched public transport infrastructure, again another topic!), they were/are occupying all types of apartment; from the basic studio, right up to the mezzanine floored Penthouses!

How much more insulting can it be, when you’re sat working hard in the office across on a hot summer’s day, slaving away, only to peer out of your window and see these people sunbathing on their balconies and terraces!? Over-looking the river with a beautiful view, all amenities and services you could require, all for around £300 a month, the majority of which (if not all) being be paid for by UK taypayer, i.e. me sat in the office!

In contrast, at the time I was traveling well over an hour to work by 2 trains and bicycle, working a 10+ hour day, often struggling to catch the last train, spending nearly £3000 per year on travel, all because buying a property closer was not financially viable. This is wrong.

I’m now live in Zone 3, in a 1 bedroom flat where I’m simply paying the mortgage for someone else. If I were to buy the “box” I rent, it would cost me close to £300k, a price that simply sickens me. Again, only last week I read that Battersea Power Station studios (yes, I did just write “studios”! You know, those 0 bedroom, bathroom and kitchen in the same (small) room as your bed and living quarters, “homes”) are being sold for £800k!!! This is not a “home” this is legal extortion!

At present the UK Government is alienating the young, the old, the educated, the entrepreneurs, even the wealthy UK businessman. It’s heading towards severe instability and has huge potential to implode, not only on the housing situation but also in society as a whole. According to RICS latest figures, UK house prices are at a six-year high and forecasters are suggesting an increase of 9% year on year until 2020 in the capital.

RICS forecast on house price rises in The Times
RICS forecast on house price rises in The Times

This blog is not just simply a moan! I’d like to gather support for changing this situation and will happily campaign and petition for common sense and new structure to be applied. What I see as a simple and effective solution for resolving this problem (which I’m sure the Government would hate!), are two important changes:

  • Lockdown zones 1 and 2 for only UK residents* and workers** (read more at the Lockdown12 official website)
  • Stop buy-to-let mortgage providers from stipulating minimum rents that landlords must command from tenants

The website will be host to all future ideas on this topic and act as a campaign tool going forward. Until the e-petition is agreed from the Government there is direct way to add your support, but feel free to add your comments here and let me know if you want to be part of that. If the e-petition does not get approval, I’ll update the website with a “Sign-up to this campaign” mechanism directly.

Lastly, and to expose the greater scale of the housing situation in London, the transport system should also be considered. With all this new housing (including the “affordable housing”, has transport been reviewed at all? The latest crazy tube station closures come at Bond Street this year, which is probably one of the busiest stations in London and next to arguably the busiest (outside of London Bridge and Waterloo), Oxford Circus. Bond Street is due to close on the Central Line from April 23 until late June, then on the Jubilee Line from December! How exactly do they expect to cope with the already manic commuter, shopper and tourist route on at Oxford Circus?

*A “UK resident” is someone that lives and resides in the UK for the majority of the year, has UK citizenship and has lived in the UK for the last 3 years.
**A “UK worker” is someone that works in the UK and has tax records in the UK dating back 3 years. Similar to a credit check.

My London…

Whilst on my way home last night I was clearing the work brain reading (or more browsing) the Evening Standard, when I found myself reading a section called “My London”. I’ve read it before, I think, but recently I’ve been appreciating where I live and the ease of access I have to things much more than usual.

With such a great respect for how lucky I am to live in such an awesome city, I thought I’d share my favourite parts for others to agree, disagree or add to, in much the same way as the Standard does:

The day starts in…
Greenwich (well actually Deals Gateway, an oddly named pocket between Blackheath, Deptford and Greenwich) – For me ideally situated, close to my favourite areas and with transport links to everywhere

Magical market - Greenwich

The grindstone
CTO @ printed.com/goodprint.com (Tangent Plc), Great Portland Street, London – I absolutely love my job, enjoying every minute of it. I have the best team and we’re innovating and expanding all of the time!

Coffee fuel
Kaffiene, Great Titchfield Street – Amazing vanilla lattes and laidback atmosphere

Breakfast munchies
Scandinavian Kitchen – Just up from Kaffiene, the staff here are awesome.. They have a kind of boardroom area where I occasionally run our Scrums

Lazy lunch
Roka – It’s just cool

Favourite park
Greenwich Park – The place is tranquil amongst the chaos, and the view from the top by the observatory always impresses

Where I like to wander
Regents Canal – A walk up from Limehouse to Broadway Market on a Saturday, taking in Victoria Park and boating lake on route, endearing

Fun dining
Duck and Waffle, Heron Tower – Partly for the view of course, over-priced food but tasty and with delicious cocktails!

Favourite hotel
The May Fair Hotel – swish and pretentious! Really want to try out the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch though, potential to knock this one off the favourites list

Bar
Riding House Cafe – Semi-celebrity hangout, but this isn’t why I like it, it just feels good

Gig venue of choice
O2 Brixton Academy – This proves that size doesn’t matter!

Cinema experience
Everyman, Hamstead – The whole cosy feeling and table service make this an easy choice

Magical market
Greenwich – Again! I know most would say Camden or Notting Hill, but I love the size of this place coupled with the artistic influence and the boutique shops that surround it

Place yet to visit
Dulwich – Always told this is cool place these days, must head over and check it out

London pub
The White Horse, Parsons Green – Unfortunately don’t get over there much these days, but still love the vibe of the place when I do, especially in the summer when the crowds spread to the common

For now, that’s it… Any requests for other topics, let me know and I’ll do a part 2!

How to share your Wi-Fi Internet connection on Mac OSX 10.9

Continuing in my usual vain of writing down things I do as I do them (Tech-related before you say anything!), even though I’ve done this a hundred times, I thought I’d finally list out the steps for others to do this…

Mac Wi-Fi to Ethernet

Connecting to the dusty old computer

  1. Head up to the Apple menu then click System Preferences…
  2. Select the Sharing icon (folder with a yellow diamond icon, no idea why!?)
  3. In the left listbox you should see Internet Sharing, click it
  4. You should now have options to connect from your Wi-Fi connection (if you’re connected via that, I hope so, as it’s the point of this post!). Select whatever you want to connect to, I use my Windows PC (I know, shock horror ok ok!) via Ethernet
  5. This does not automatically start the sharing, so go back to the listbox on the left and click Internet Sharing again
  6. You’ll now be prompted to Start Internet sharing or Cancel, I’ll leave that choice up to you!

Advice: Do not use Windows unless there’s a REALLY REALLY good reason, install Linux (Ubuntu dist is great) or SteamOS (if your machine is powerful enough). I have both, of course :)

Sharing Internet with your Xbox 360

I recently (thanks to the beauty of Facebook’s Groups and a very kind resident on my apartment complex) recovered my old game saves from my hard drive and took ownership of a replacement Xbox 360 after my old baby died a red-ring death early last year. However, since the Playstation has now taken ownership of the living room where the router resides, the poor old Xbox 360 is relegated to the bedroom and in need of some tender-loving Wi-Fi action!

Unfortunately, those amazing brains (serious sarcasm here) over at Microsoft didn’t include wireless capability when it first released or even on the Elite, and as I like to save a few pennies here and there, paying another £60 on a wireless adapter is unacceptable to me. Thankfully, Mac to the rescue again! Only this time there’s a little more to it…

  1. Connect the Mac to the Xbox 360 with an ethernet cable
  2. Follow the steps above to enable Ethernet
  3. Head back to the main menu by clicking Show All and then select the Network globe
  4. This dialog maybe locked, unlock it by clicking the padlock in the bottom left
  5. Select Wi-Fi in the left pane, and then Advanced in the bottom right corner
  6. Click the DNS tab and take a note of the numbers under DNS Servers (you should only have one set)
  7. Hit OK and then select Ethernet (or Thunderbolt Ethernet) and click Advanced
  8. In the TCP/IP tab, set Configure IPv4 to Off using the drop-down menu
  9. Click OK then Apply and quit System Preferences
  10. Now, switch to your Xbox, locate Network Settings (how you get there depends on the dashboard version you’re on), select Wired Network and then select Configure Network
  11. Set the IP address in the Basic Settings tab to Manual and enter 192.168.2.2 into the field
  12. In the Subnet Mask field, enter 255.255.255.0; also set the Gateway to 192.168.2.1 and press Done
  13. Select DNS Settings and insert IP address you noted down earlier
  14. Test the connection on your Xbox 360
  15. Play!

Obviously depending on what you are connecting to, you may have some problems. I’m happy to assist as I have most configurations (with various OS’s) at home. Just let me know and I’ll continuing updating the blog post.