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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Google App Engine... ready for prime time?

Google recently announced the availability of google cloud and google app engine in Australia. Since that's where my users are located I decided to migrate my Google App Engine application to the Australian availability zone.

Google don't make it particularly easy to do this, there is no button in the console to move your application, you must do the following manual steps:

  1. create a new application
  2. upload the code to the new application
  3. disable datastore writes on your existing application
  4. grant permissions to the bucket used to store your datastore backups so the new application can read them
  5. backup the data store of the existing application
  6. then restore the backups to the new application 
  7. then create a mapping of your custom domain to the new application
at this point, I tested my new application and I could see that google was serving the new application, so it looked like everything was working and I went to bed.

The next morning, my application was no longer working. It was configured to accept secure connections only, and when I remapped the custom domain, app engine decided to delete my certificate without telling me.

Well, that's not so bad, all I need to do is upload the ssl certificate to my new application, right?

Trouble is, app engine won't let me. Every time I try, it fails with an extremely unhelpful error message.

This seems to me to be some unexpected error in the backend, which is no surprise as the whole App Engine infrastructure is a little half baked. Turns out I had uploaded the wrong private key file, which I figured out by using a certificate checker site.

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Firewire i1394 and Skylake H170/Z170 incompatibilities

I have an old M-Audio projectmix IO audio interface - it's a nice unit with 8 inputs, 6 outputs, motorized faders and a firewire interface that's rock solid.

After upgrading my computer to a Skylake H170 chipset i7 6700 and expecting to have a screamingly fast digital audio workstation (DAW) I was extremely disappointed to discover my project mix was basically unusable - the audio was constantly crackling.

I had a cheap VIA firewire card, so I upgraded to to a new, quite expensive firewire card with a TI chipset, which are generally recommended for music apps.

But no joy, it still crackled. It turns out that TI no longer recommend the XIO2200A chip used in these cards for new applications.

After some google fu I found this thread confirming firewire issues with certain chipsets.

Anyway it turns out you need the TI chipset XIO2213B, or VIA 6315 or  LSI FW643.

I picked up a card with VIA 6315 chipset on ebay for $15 AUD shipped from china and it works perfectly with the lowest buffer size of 64 which means low latency audio.

Happy days!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

HackerX Sydney, 2nd March 2017.

If you haven't heard about it before, HackerX is an invite only networking event for software developers and companies seeking to hire.This event was held at Fishburners in Ultimo, which is a shared workspace/incubator for tech startups. It is structured like a speed dating event where each candidate gets 5 mins in front of a prospective employer.

Anyway, since my contract with my current employer is up in a few weeks, I thought I would head along and check it out, more out of curiosity than anything else.

They put on free beer, soft drinks and pizza so at the very least you get a free feed and a few drinks if not a new job. And it what other situation would it be acceptable to interview with a few beers under your belt?

After about 1/2 an hour, the event kicked off, with the company reps lined up in in two rows of tables, while the candidates queued up for their 5 minutes to shine in front of a prospective employer.

Now, 5 minutes isn't very long, so if you are serious you better have your pitch down pat and some copies of your resume to hand over. I happened to run into a friend and was having a chat and ended up on the end of the queue. I highly recommend you get yourself on the front of the queue.Why?

Well, it turns out that there wasn't enough time for every candidate who rsvped to get some face time with every company. As it turned out, the speed dating ended before about 10 of us got a chance to speak to any of the companies on the second row of tables.

 However, in spite of this I think it is quite a worthwhile event, in terms of being a really efficient way to get your resume into the hands of companies that are definitely hiring... much better than the broken method of using recruitment companies as intermediaries.

So check it out if you get the chance.


I actually got a callback from one of the hiring companies who invited me to their own group recruiting event for further interviews, unfortunately I was on holiday in  Fiji and could not attend.