Bed's Stuff - Articles by bed

And now its really goodbye, AMC, forever

Only one day after I wrote my farewell to AMC, we were brought into AMC's boardroom and told by the Appointed Controller that the acquisition terms could not be agreed upon, and that it was being shut down immediately and liquidated. The timing for me personally was pretty unbelievable, but not at all good for my colleagues who are now out of work. Its turned what was a reflective event into a very sad event, for those now without work, and that a company with a 20 year legacy would end like this. Rest In Peace AMC Enterprises. Rest In Peace.

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A personal landmark occasion

There are various significant parts of one's life; junior school, high school, university, the first 'grown up' job, getting married, and so on. Changing jobs isn't usually a remarkable event, but in this situation, I do feel its a significant event. As I exist in my final week after thirteen years with AMC, I'm remarkably surprised to find myself reflecting on the past (as I'm normally such a Vulcan-like logician, this sentimentality does indeed surprise me).

Unlike many university graduates who get an entry level job and then bounce around from one company to the next (because lets face it, company loyalty is for the most part a thing of the past), I was very lucky to have stumbled into my first real job whilst still studying. Having just finished my first year at university doing a double-degree, with no money, my parents rightly pressured me into finding a temporary job for the summer. So off I went, walking up and down a main shopping strip, giving my resume to pretty much every shop on both sides of the street. I got a phone call when I came home,  from a retail outlet who needed late night data entry work; as they were putting a new point of sale system into place. It was the perfect temporary work I needed, so I accepted and went to do a weekend of 6pm - 2am data entry. It was there where I met a man who would shape the next decade of my life and the first stage of my career. I joined AMC for summer work experience as a casual junior developer, and then changed the double-degree to a single degree while continuing to work part time at AMC until I graduated, then joined up fulltime. AMC and university was a great match, as I was learning how to do things the 'proper way' at uni, while learning how things were done 'in the real world' on the job.

Twelve years and ten months later (I'm still surprised at that length of time), I'm handing over the Software Development Manager's role to my replacement, amidst the company being acquired and my long mentor, friend and former owner no-longer involved with the company. I had been looking to move on for the past year or so, as I was so very tired of dealing with barcodes, point of sales, stocktakes and all related …

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Setting up a Trac Server Under OS X 10.6

Trac is an excellent open source tool that allows you to manage a software project;s development life cycle, incorporating a wiki with issue/bug tracking while integrating with a source control service such as subversion. Months ago I had set up a subversion server which was working great on my iMac. I then wanted to setup a Trac server to go along with it so I could manage all aspects for my projects properly. Here's how I did it.

Installing and setting up Trac

Trac is written in the python scripting language, also requiring a number of other third party libraries. While a compatible version of python comes pre-shipped with OS X 10.6, these prequisite libraries do not. However its extremely easy to install trac along with all its prequisites by using python's great 'easy_install' feature. Simply fire up a command line by launching Terminal.app and run the following command:

sudo easy_install trac

This will download and install everything you need for you without further input, so let it do its thing and when its finished we are ready to create our Trac environment. Because I had previously set up my subversion server under a dedicated OS X user 'svn', I wanted to run trac under the same user. Thus I was going to create my trac environment in the /Users/svn/trac/newproject directory and do so by ensuring it was created with appropriate permissions for the svn user. This can be done by prefixing any command with 'sudo -u svn', which will run the command as the svn user. For steps on setting up a dedicated user for this purpose see my previous subversion howto. Run the following command (after ensuring /Users/svn/trac/ has been created) in the terminal:

sudo -u svn trac-admin /Users/svn/trac/newProject initenv

This will create a whole bunch of directories and files and you can then run the standalone Trac server manually to check that these first steps have worked:

sudo -u svn tracd --port=8000 /Users/svn/trac/newProject

This will make the trac server listen on TCP port 8000, so we can then browse in Safari or the browser of choice to http://127.0.0.1:8000 and see that we have a trac server running. Its not terribly useful yet however, as we still need to create users, assign administrator privileges to somebody and …

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What Bed's Been Doing Lately

So I admit, as recently pointed out to me this blog has been pretty boring lately, focusing primarily on my articles at The Apple Blog, and updates to my little iPhoneOS app that rotates photos. Thusly I will henceforth try and amend the issue, beginning now, although since this post is called "What Bed's Been Doing Lately" and I've been doing what many consider pretty boring stuff, I may not succeed.

Firstly my full time job of the last 12 years is still keeping me busy, managing my small software team producing Windows and Windows Mobile software for the retail market. 12 years of working with barcode scanners. Still, I have been pushing the sales team towards these babies, because it would be immensely more fun writing software for a well designed platform, as opposed to Windows Mobile.

I know this because most of my after-hours time lately has been spent deep within XCode cooking up Cartoon Studio for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. We are currently in version 1.0 feature freeze and are a brewing up something that is hopefully full of spit, polish and shiney. Speaking of spit and polish, I have a post about just that over at HawksBed Studios. HawksBed studios is the company founded by myself and my good friend Bort (of Twitter and FARK fame). We make a good team since I can implement things, but have no ideas, while he can't implement anything but is full of ideas. The first (of many) ideas is Cartoon Studio and we think that so far we're on track for something exciting. Check us out and if you're interested in joining our wider (but still private) beta release let us know.

Meanwhile, back in March, an old friend was resurrected: PCW Entertainment. When I first discovered them in 2001 they had a big impact on me. Sure, Professional Wrestling is not a legitimate competitive sport, it is theatre. But it is physical theatre and very much so. As I trained to be a referee, learning how to take bumps and flip around I found a great respect for all of these athletes and new found ability within myself that I could do anything I wanted to, if I wanted it badly enough (even become a local tag team champion being thrown off the top of the ringpost through a table and loving it; me, a geek …

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One time… at bandcamp...

A friend brought to my attention the site bandcamp, which is really quite an awesome site for musicians of all sizes, easy to set up tracks and maintain a clean looking page with streaming and downloading capacities. While my really older stuff is just too low quality to put up there, I've created an account put my more recent stuff up in an album. More will follow; for the last six months I've been getting itchy feet with regards to developing some more music, I have some ideas and some new tools, the pressing issue is always time. Time is something that needs to be allocated and just done. Motivation is the key and this is rising. To be continued….

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About

Andrew Bednarz - otherwise known as Bed, is a Digitarian who love avant-garde/black/folk metal, jazz, sci-fi, pro-wrestling, point & click adventure games; and of course his wife and cats.