Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Once upon a time...

Another chapter of my life closes today. I have been at OSCC for almost 2 years. And those 2 years have brought so much memory of struggle and joy, pain and happiness, friendship and love. From the first time I saw the job on JobStreet I was already thinking, "Yeah, this is what I want to do. Open source for the good of the Malaysian public". Patriotic sentiments were oozing through my pores like sweat after a heavy workout (ok, probably that's not the best metaphor for that.. :P). So I applied and was quite suprised I actually got it.

Almost immediately once I was in OSCC I got involved with MyMeeting (Version 1 at that time). And before I came to OSCC while working with Abdullah Solutions I was creating my own CMS, here at OSCC I finally had to learn to use Joomla. I hated both products at first. Joomla was confusing and foreign for me. And MyMeeting... well.. MyMeeting was quite a big mess at that time :P. But soon I got used to how Joomla was organized and became more comfortable with it. So comfortable to the point I even though "If one day I was to redo Abdullah Solutions again, I'd just package for my customers Joomla and customize it with some add-on products to meet their needs. It's so much easier than crafting your own each time." And MyMeeting? Well... MyMeeting grew. It grew till it can hit 2.0. We refactored the whole thing to cater for multiple committees using CakePHP as the framework. Now it is something that I'm rather proud about and would recommend to people heartily. And would actually be supportable because of the clean codes. Extensible even to those who can code PHP because it's so easy to follow the logic of the application. JPA did this and I was amazed. I'm not being very modest here but when I saw their demo, it flashed in my heart "Oh my baby have grown.. " :)

Of my co-workers, what can I say? They are the best team anyone can ask for to work with. We sticked together through rough and easy times, we stayed back late at night working furiously to get the products ready for demo or some other things, we came over on weekends when it was too obvious we could not get the job done on time otherwise. We did what it took and never backed down. And through it all, we were glorious (ok... ok.. I've got to work on my being modest a bit more, I know :P) Seriously, it couldn't have been better. Eavay, Saro, Nuhaa and Mr Foong. I can never find the words to express how much I appreciate what we've all been through together. Thank you. And not only that, I personally consider Eavay and Saro as my students and they have made me proud. :D

And of course OSCC doesn't consist of only the App Team. The whole of OSCC was one big family. Jacob was almost like a father figure to us. Watching over us as we play our little games of mischief :P. Kak Ct like a mother, so garang but loving and always available to refer to whenever we needed anything (like printing CD's and pamplets :)). Cikgu Haris teaching us things we didn't know and even something extra ;). Fauzi, Nicholas, Ella, Achik, Indhran, Shima, Leen, Eric, Ejat, Yana, Hafiz, Gopi, Kak Aida, Correen, Stanley, Nadia. They've all played their part into making OSCC that magical place where Open Source happens in the Malaysian Government. And not forgetting also the alumni of OSCC, Jamal, Alin, Hisham, Maisarah, Khairil, Firdaus, Amir, Azizul and many others (and there is many of them). I've now also joined their ranks :P. To all from OSCC, thank you.

But OSCC wouldn't be there if it wasn't for MAMPU. And who else in MAMPU whose name, in regards to Open Source in the government, would stand out like a glorious beacon of light in the middle of a storm if not Madam Tan King Ing? Oh.. so many memories. Oh so many memories... ooooooh... oooooh.. *faints* ( I kid.. I kid.. :P) . Seriously, she was a tough customer. But only because she cared so much to make it the best it can be. Yes, I know a lot of people might argue there's certainly better ways to do that, well.. all I can say is that she can sing Frank Sinatra's "My Waaaaaaaaay" :D. And who could forget her protege, Jaja. Fuh.. now that's a work of art. I have no idea how she handles things the way she does. Balancing all the stuff at work (which she had a lot considering she was Madam's right hand man (woman actually) at that time) with all the stuff in her life. Just read her blogs. It's amazing. And of course to everyone else at MAMPU too. Ananthi, En Omar, Yana, Joseph, Tn Hj Rosli and many others. You've all made Open Source a serious consideration in the Public Sector. Thank you.

They say, when one door closes, another one opens. For me, it was more like, one door opened so I close this door. Working at OSCC, I finally met and worked with Khairil. He's a legend. An open source rock star :D. And when he asked me would I like to join Inigo and make it the BEST open source company on this side of the globe (well he didn't actually word it that way but that's the impression I got.. :P) I immediately said YES... :D So that's where I'm going off to. Making Inigo the BEST open source company on this side of the globe and maybe even more. So I quit OSCC not because I loved it any less, but because I loved Inigo even more. And so I ride off into the sunset (actually it was already dark when I rode home)

Opens a new chapter...

Friday, July 17, 2009

More reading

Last weekend my family went to my in-laws. Because there is no comfortable working space there, I did not bother to bring my laptop along so I have quite a lot of time on my hands. Alhamdullillah I brought along and finished a book. It's title was "The Darkeing Sea" by Alexander Kent. It's written there on the cover, "The Master Storyteller of the Sea". Now I'm not much of a sea adventure fan, but decided I'd give it a try when I saw it at Carrefour last week. Especially one written by the "master storyteller". Well... I didn't enjoy it as much as "The Isle of Joy" but it was pretty enjoyable. And Alexander Kent being the "master storyteller of the sea", the details given were quite.... well.. detailed. Specific name of types of ships and all their parts and how the crew worked them. It is quite impressive I guess if I was a fan of ships and sea adventure.

The story revolves much around a certain Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho. Set in the year 1809, Britain was at war with France. In the midst of things even America got involved and the British trade route was at stake. It was up to Sir Richard Bolitho to make sure of it's safety. It was quite interesting to read how battle on the high seas was done. The decision and maneuvering involved. Quite interesting.

A few nights ago I went to Carrefour again to do a bit of shopping and realized the second hand books pile was left only 1 (before this there was 2) and now the price is only RM 3 (before this was RM 5). So bought another 2 books. Would write about it later once I finally get round to finishing it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sending out email by python gaierror

I had to debug an instance of Plone that had an error to send out email today. First there was the whole problem with configuring sendmail to properly relay email. Finally I gave up, uninstalled sendmail and installed postfix.. :D Once I've verified the server can actually send email out, the problem still persist. It came to my mind that since the program (Plone) itself can send out email on other machines, it must be something else specific to that machine. Maybe python itself cannot send out email from that machine. So a quick google and I copied the code to send email out using python. It gave out the error more verbosely:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "tryemail.py", line 24, in ?
server = smtplib.SMTP(SERVER)
File "/usr/lib/python2.4/smtplib.py", line 258, in __init__
addr = socket.gethostbyname(socket.gethostname())
socket.gaierror: (-2, 'Name or service not known')

Googling some more and I found this thread which basically says that python smtplib requires the hostname to be resolvable to send out email. So after some more googling (don't you just love google? :P) I found out how to change the hostname. So basically you need to change the HOSTNAME setting in /etc/sysconfig/network. But that requires a reboot. To avoid reboot just echo the hostname into /proc/sys/kernel/hostname. Finally. Now it's all done.. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I am Caine, I will help you...

Waaaaaaah... I haven't felt like this for so long. What feeling am I talking about? You know when you read those Kung Fu comics and the masters meet up in a lone path in the valley and as they pass each other they both know, "He's a master of his craft". Last time I felt this way was when kaeru was still a "Marketing" manager at OSCC. Now my replacement at OSCC is able to give off that kind of vibe, I know OSCC is in good hands.

His name is Chang Phui Hock or just "pH" as he likes to be called. He's well versed in Java & Python. I know he must be pretty good but wasn't sure how good he really was. Until today. We were doing some modifications to the TaskManager this afternoon. First thing I noticed, this guy is quick. I didn't need to explain much, he's already got it and doing it. That is already pretty cool. Then while editing the files I saw it... his vim-foo was better than mine. OMG!!! He was editing the files like a beatiful dance, and fixing the tabs and spacings with grace and speed I've never seen before. I was awe struck. Okay... so maybe this is too early an assessment just based on his competence on using my favourite editor, but just seeing him work it dawned on me that "This is a master of his craft".

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I haven't read a good fiction for a long time. It was the 'usual resistance' (tm) like I'm too busy, I have no time, I've got better things to do and stuff. But last week I've finally decided enough is enough. I've got to get a more balanced and less (much less) critical view of my life. So I picked up a book at Carrefour for 5 Ringgit (LOL... even then I didn't want to invest too much into something which I considered as 'a waste of my time'). The book was 'Isle Of Joy' by Don Winslow. It was only 296 pages but took me a week to finish. Just last night I've finally finished it.

The book is about a Private Investigator by the name of William Withers who was assigned as a body guard for the young presidential hopeful Senator Joe Keneally. Things went wrong and the Senator's girlfriend got killed and everyone was trying to pin it on Withers. With his cool charm and sharp wit he handled it all. The book started off pretty slow at first. But once it picked up pace it was a very nice read.

But what I actually liked most was the effect of reading the book on me. I haven't exercised my imagination for quite a long time. And to see the action in the eyes of my mind (as compared to the eyes in my head), it was great. It made me more relaxed as my mind loosened and didn't grip too much on whatever problems I was working on. And I think this is actually important and rather than being a 'waste of my time', it was a pretty 'good use of my time'. Not sure when I might just pick up another random book to start reading, but I'm hoping it'd been soon.

Haiya ala Solah