Rodney Gedda's piece of the Web

May 30, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

Watch those default power saving settings

If you’re using a KDE-based Linux distro inside a VirtualBox VM keep an eye on the default energy saving settings as you can get caught out with an unusable system that needs to be shutdown, possibly losing data.

KDE power settings can be disabled when run as a virtual machine

KDE power settings can be disabled when run as a virtual machine

The “on battery” power profile will trigger a suspend state after a number of minutes of inactivity. That’s fine if you’re on a laptop, but inside a VM you get a blank screen not receptive to any input – not good.

I just disabled the events and use the VM manager’s pause feature when I want to disable the guest OS.

April 30, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

TV chef Adam Liaw stumbles into an Hoffice

On his culinary journey through Scandinavia, Adam Liaw shed some light on the “Hoffice” trend in Sweden where people gather at a house to telework in a group. Any in Australia? Well, there’s two in Sydney, and one in Melbourne and Perth which is a start.

There's one Hoffice in the Sydney CBD

There’s one Hoffice in the Sydney CBD

Will Hoffice join the digital disruptor ranks of Airbnb and Uber? What will something like Hoffice mean for office leasing, particularly within knowledge worker industries? In these cases the “disruption” is simply overlaying a portal or social network on top of infrastructure that is already there – cars, dwellings, etc.

The whole concept of teleworking is itself a disruptive trend, but looking at Hoffice it see a lot of synergy with incubation hubs and shared office spaces popular with tech startups.

March 31, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

More Markdown madness

After my previous adventure of Markdown editing with Kate, I took another look around for a cross-platform editor which can provide a similar outcome. Yes, I am aware Kate runs on non-Linux platforms, but that’s the topic of another blog (or 10).

I was gravitating towards JEdit which is a fine open source project and very mature. But I thought I might as well keep looking for something new which led me to Atom – a relatively new open source project from GitHub.

Markdown editing and previewing with Atom on Windows 10

Markdown editing and previewing with Atom on Windows 10

Atom not only has Markdown syntax highlighting but a module for previewing the HTML output right in the editor – nice!

Atom is one of those fancy new cross-platform apps.


February 28, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

How to create an editor account in WordPress

If you would like someone to make changes to your WordPress site content without allowing full administration privileges then create an “editor” account for them.

Start by adding a new user account. Go to “Users” -> “Add New” in the dashboard navigation menu. There you will see all the requirements and options for adding a new user account.

Fill in the form and where you see the “Role” drop-down list at the bottom, select “Editor” (change it from the default “Subscriber”).

That’s it! Your new editor can create and edit content, hopefully without breaking anything. The WordPress Codex has the full list of permissions afforded to the “Editor” role.

Creating an editor role in WordPress

Creating an editor role in WordPress

Tip: WordPress will generate a strong password for the new user and this password can be emailed to them, so it’s probably a good idea to ask you new editor to log in and change it and keep the password in a safe place (i.e. not an email inbox).

January 17, 2016
by Rodney Gedda

Messing with Markdown

A few forums I’m on – most notably Github – support Markdown so I thought I’d take a look at how i can work with it.

There’s a great little how to on that shows how to generate the HTML output right from the Kate text editor. Kate supports build profiles (which can just be a shell command) to make the code-to-build process seamless.

First, install Pandoc to convert the Markdown markup to HTML and create a build profile to run a command to convert the working text file into a HTML one.

pandoc -r markdown -w html -o %f.html %f

Then hit your keybinding (in my case Ctrl+Alt+B) and voilà the html file will be generated. You can also go a step further and spawn Firefox (or any other browser) to open the file so you can check the HTML output immediately.

pandoc -r markdown -w html -o %f.html %f && /usr/bin/firefox -new-window %f.html

Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that Kate supports Markdown syntax highlighting too.


December 29, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

New notebook

So I finally get around to purchasing a new notebook as a functional alternative to the one I’ve been relying on for the past four years.

Nothing fancy – 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 2G GPU – which makes it a definite step up, but not a 2-in-1 if you know what I mean. It shipped with Windows 8.1 and the upgrade to Windows 10 went smooth enough. Yet to install Linux on it, but looks like a good opportunity to try something new.

Now I’m left with an old-old notebook that’s well past it for me, but could be useful to someone else. It’s free to a good home if anyone wants it.

What’s a “good home”?

  • Charity
  • Student
  • Open source project
  • Etc…

Ping me if you want to suggest something.

November 29, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

Bridging the desktop-mobile development gap

It seems Google’s Chrome browser is making waves in write-once, run on all desktops development environments. Projects like NW.js and Electron (renamed from Atom Shell earlier this year) provide an environment to use Web technologies for native apps on Windows, Mac and Linux desktops. And in the mobile space there is no shortage of cross platform frameworks like Apache Cordova and NativeScript that connect the code between Android, iOS and Windows Phone-based devices.

Apache Cordova for open source mobile development

Apache Cordova for open source mobile development

Is there a need for a toolkit that targets the six main desktop and mobile platforms? There is the Haxe project, but that’s its own environment and not “Web technologies” as the others are big on promoting.

This could be a focal point for 2016, including support for larger screens like smart TVs, etc.

October 31, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

AsteroidOS: An open smartwatch platform

Last week I came across an interesting open source project in AsteriodOS. It’s a free and open-source smartwatch platform based on OpenEmbedded, libhybris and Qt5.

AsteroidOS: A free smartwatch platform.

AsteroidOS: A free smartwatch platform.

I have a Samsung Tizen-based smartwatch so it’s great to see a community project in this space.

Hack your wrist!


September 30, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

The IoT value chain

I had a chat with a journalist this morning about IoT and the opportunities for IT service providers. The whole concept of the “Internet of Things” seems to be quite nebulous. We know that the potential for real-time information gathering is there, but how we apply that to process optimisation and new product and service development still depends on the individual business case.

Where do suppliers fit in? Well there is an entire value chain consisting of:

  • Sensors
  • Wireless networks
  • Gateways and routers
  • Wired network infrastructure
  • Device monitoring & management
  • Data collection (storage)
  • Data processing (big data)
  • Actionable information (analytics)

Oh, and what is the definition of IoT? I like to think it is Internet-enabling devices which traditionally haven’ t been networked. Devices have been connected to the Internet for decades, but “things” could be anything from fuel gauges to fertiliser dispensers.

See Stuart Corner’s IoT Australia publication for news and views on the emerging trend.

August 31, 2015
by Rodney Gedda

The film every project manager should watch, over and over and over…

The Bridge on the River Kwai poster

The Bridge on the River Kwai poster

Faced with the irrepressible Imperial Japanese Army, to which his own doom appears certain, and ordered to construct a bridge to aid enemy combatants what does Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness) in the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai do? Build the best possible bridge he can.

Nicholson is a lover of engineering and quality standards, something sorely lacking in today’s “built so it can be thrown away and replaced” world.

Not satisfied with the quality of the first bridge Nicholson orders a second to be built downstream since to him starting a new project is better than a living with a poor quality project.

IMDB has a page with quotes from the movie, like:

One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it – Colonel Nicholson

The film is an excellent reminder of how project managers, even in the face of adversity, should care about the quality of the final product – be it a bridge, building or business improvement.