Archives August 2009

Sunday 30th August 2009 - 21:27:52


I did end up brewing today. I moved my APA into a clean fermenter to condition - hopefully this will reduce the sediment a bit. I put down a batch of Blackrock Miners Stout with some steeped grains and extra hops. I'm also trying out the Nottingham yeast for the first time.

The kids had a great time zooming up and down the drive while I brewed and Liam sampled the different ingredients, he liked the light malt extract, but pulled all sorts of faces for the hops and spent grain (I don't know why he wanted some of that but anyway - I bet he doesn't any more!).

Saturday 29th August 2009 - 21:09:15


The kids had a great time today out in the yard playing with their sandpit. Liam terrorised Emmy a bit and tried to seal her in the sandpit (it's a clamshell design) - she wasn't impressed and lots of screaming ensued.

I put a tap in the hot water system today so I can get hot water outside for brewing. My first attempt failed as I was using a T piece as a joiner with a plug in one inlet. I thread taped it and removed it all and then re-thread taped it, it still leaked - on closer inspection I found there was a fracture on one inlet... I replaced it for an elbow, which looks a bit odd - but it doesn't leak!

brewbox keeps crashing for some reason. Today I pulled it down off the fridge and booted it with a screen. I disabled all the unused stuff in BIOS and also removed a lot of useless crap like IRDA and Bluetooth. The system is now running an even more minimal set of services. Hopefully this nails it and it will be reliable - otherwise I will have to junk it and use the other NEC 1U server which isn't as suitable for the task (no DB9 serial, no parallel, more power usage)

My plan for tomorrow is to throw the APA that's in the fridge into a second fermenter to condition. I've read a lot about this method - hopefully it will help reduce the sediment in the bottle for me. As I'm bottle conditioning the beer I can't run it through a filter before bottling, otherwise there won't be any little yeasties in there to carbonate the beer for me...

To brew or not to brew as well... hrm... It's nearly as much work, I've got to wash the gear anyway to do the transfer!

Friday 28th August 2009 - 07:08:16


Yesterday was good, I now have my sync program crawling the FIFO table and doing inserts and updates. Once the delete facility is wrapped in the ORM I can work on deletes as well. Then it's testing. Hopefully today is as productive!

I scored a lift home and got some of my crap from work home. Scored a PC and a monitor as well as some other miscellany like DL580 hotswap PSUs. I also scored a nice Gigabyte AM2 mainboard with 2 x pci-e 16s.

I need to do a serious cleanup and eBay session so I can buy the compound saw that I want!

Tuesday 25th August 2009 - 21:28:45


A pretty uneventful day. Got called on-site to a customer pretty far from work so I left for home from there.

We set up Liam's Thomas the Tank Engine track thing that we'd stashed ages ago when it was on sale. He loves it.

Monday 24th August 2009 - 23:24:19


What a crapper of an evening. I got caught up on-site until 9PM

The day was good though - I did some pair programming and we managed to nail down some ORM problems we were having. So now, my sync script actually runs and writes stuff to the database!

Monday 24th August 2009 - 07:56:49


Off to work as usual. Hope I get a seat. I'm keen to do some more work on my invoice parser/query tool.

It's a tool used to parse ACCPAC for DOS invoices and stick their contents in a database in a sensible schema that I can report on. Once I can reproduce an invoice, the most basic function - I can move to phase 2, integrating parsing of the payments report and collating that with the invoices in several management reports. This involves porting one of my previous scripts from PHP/MySQL to Python/Postgres. Phase 3 is integration of internet orders data into the bargain. (Python, PHP, Javascript)

Once at work, I'm on a customer job. Writing a database synchronisation script thats designed to replicate a MySQL database into Postgres based around a FIFO table in the MySQL DB. FIFO Records are created by triggers in the MySQL database. The script needs some smarts because of the convoluted way that the developers of the software based around this database do updates. Apparently they didn't know about update - or weren't prepared to plumb in the necessary mechanics to allow the software to decided that it's updating. Their solution: DELETE the record and INSERT every time... Joy.

brewbox (fridge control server) seems to be working away happily - although I haven't connected the controller yet. I need to test the compressor lag routine in the control script. I want to make sure it works before I plug the fridge into it, in case I damage the fridges compressor by turning it on straight after it's been turned off.

Sunday 23rd August 2009 - 13:59:37


It's a nice warm day today. The kids are out terrorising each other in the yard. I cut some pine earlier for another project and Liam is riding around on his bike (his truck) with the pine and a selection of tools in the back. I'm in the shed resurrecting an old 1U server for my fermentation controller project.


I've chosen this old dual P3 server because it pulls under 100 Watts - but still has enterprise server goodies, SCSI hot-swap, ECC RAM (because you need that in a fridge controller). The other reason I chose this server (an NEC 8500 120ra-1) is because it has serial and parallel facilities. The parallel was actually a nice find - I was going to use a USB converter, but I found an entry in the BIOS for parallel configuration. So I took a closer look and found a weird header on the mainboard - I plugged in a DB-25 ribbon cable and tested it with a live CD. Good news! The parallel header-ribbon to DB-25 actually came as surplus electronics in my electronics class in highschool! I was lucky that I still had it.


I replaced the CD with a DVD drive and attempted to install CentOS 5.2. Unfortunately the DVD drive is bad, so I downloaded the net install cd image for Centos 5.3 and re-installed the original CD-ROM drive. Looks like the net install is going to take a few hours.

Saturday 22nd August 2009 - 08:11:06


This will be awesome - pitty it uses apt though...

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