The Power Of Twitter

Written by Ashley Broadley on Tuesday, 17th January 2012 at 11:40

I love Twitter. So much more than I like Facebook. Both have their uses, and with the advent of mobile internet, they both prove to be rather useful tools.

I've had a Smart Phone since not long after the iPhone 3G was first released. I currently use a HTC Desire with MIUI ROM running on it. Not that the ROM has much to do with anything. I love my Smart Phone. I really couldn't imagine going back to a time without it.

That said, there are a few gotchas with Smart Phones. Like, how you need a data connection to do anything other than make a phone call, or send an SMS. If you don't have a data connection, you might might as well not have a Smart Phone. Or, if you're in a foreign country and your data service provider charges you an extortionate price per Megabyte transferred.

Recently, I welcomed my sister to the world of Smart Phones and even more recently to the world of Twitter. Or, rather, the Twitterverse.

For those that aren't aware, my Parents & Sister immigrated to Canada from England back in 2009. Since then, I've investigated many different ways in which I can keep in touch with them. Skype being one of the best ways, when we're all available to talk to each other, which isn't as often as I'd like. I've tried texting them, using Skype not just for Skype to Skype calls and even tried using the messaging side of Facebook to message each other regularly. Texting them was turning out to be expensive (International SMS are not included in my monthly allowance). Skype calls and Facebook messaging both required a data connection or WiFi.

I've had Twitter setup to text me tweets I'm mentioned in and Direct Messages for a little while now, but I've never used it the other way. Sending a text to Twitter to tweet or DM and such. But that's changed recently. I did have to double check that texts to Twitter were included in my monthly allowance, which I discovered in fact, were.

I managed to persuade my sister to use Twitter and setup her phone so that Twitter can SMS her too. I also had to make sure that these SMS were included in her bundle. Now we can both send an SMS to Twitter containing a Direct Message for eachother and receive one containing said message.

This basically means that, via the medium of Twitter, I can SMS my sister, who lives over four thousand miles away, with a time difference of 6 hours, for free. Plus, it's more convinient than having to open a browser, load the website, navigate, compose and send. All I need to do now is compose a single SMS sending a Direct Message to my sisters twitter account.

Twitter, thank you for making this form of communication so simple and convinient. Please continue to provide such an amazing service to the masses for free.

Tags: @twitter,, #smartPhone, Comments: Be the first!

That Horrible Question: "Where Do You Want To Be In 5 Years?"

Written by Ashley Broadley on Thursday, 6th October 2011 at 13:45

As a person in somewhat of a minor position of power within the company that I work for, one of the responsibilities I have been charged with is recruiting new developers. I recently hired a junior who, when meeting the CEO for the first time after a week of employment, was asked the question "Where do you want to be in 5 years?". I hate that question. I really don't think you can get a good idea of a candidates future prospects from any answer they could give. 

I remember being interviewed for my first position in my chosen industry, and I still remember the answer that I gave when asked the worlds most horrible interview question. My answer went a little something like this:

"I guess in 5 years time I'd like to be in a position where I'm leading a team and able to help lesser experienced developers become great."

It's not an in-depth answer, but I thought it addressed my (then) current state of mind really well.

I answered that question before I had ever been employed in my chosen industry. I'd been using PHP for 2, maybe 3, years in a non-commercial environment. I had no experience of OOP, or any design patterns. No server management experience, and I definitely had zero experience of managing people.

When my junior was asked that question I started to think about the answer I gave and where I've ended up almost 5 years after being asked that very question. It seems that I had very clear aspirations when I first started out. I hope I still do. 

I think if I'm ever asked that question again, my answer will be "In 5 years time I want to be sat off the coast of Monaco on my £100million yacht drinking expensive Champagne from a Diamond encrusted Champagne Flute while surrounded by a hundred attractive, scantily clad women."

What do you think of the question "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"?

Tags: #interview, #question, Comments: 3

Git Tip: Creating Zip Of Changed Files

Written by Ashley Broadley on Friday, 30th September 2011 at 13:10

A lot of my current projects in my new job require making changes to files where the main application isn't cloned from a repository. To combat the problem of having to upload each file that's changed between release tags, I used the following to create a zip file of all the changed files:

git archive --format zip -o HEAD `git diff --name-only HASH`

Replace HASH with the version you last used to update your live application and the end result will be a zip file called '' which contains all of the files that have changed since the changeset you specified in HASH.

All done. Simples!

Tags: #git, #protip, Comments: Be the first!

A Voyage Of Discovery - Git - Starting A New

Written by Ashley Broadley on Sunday, 21st August 2011 at 10:23

As a continuation of my "A Voyage of Discovery" series, I'm also going to delve into the power that is Git. Git is what's known as a Distributed Version Control System, similar to Mercurial. As I mentioned in a previous post back in September last year, Git is something that I've not had a chance to really get to learn about. So I'm taking this opportunity to document the things that I learn about, mainly for my own reference.

For this mini series, I'm going to be using Github to begin with, then I'll move on to setting up a remote git server and using that as the centralised location for our repos. Also, for reference, I think it's worth noting that I'm running Ubuntu 10.10 on a laptop. To complement one of my Phing articles, I'm going to be using the build files in the examples there as the file I want to track.

Is It Running Yet?

Git installation differ depending on what OS you're running, but I choose to do it via the command line. So to install Git I run:

ashley@laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install git-core git-doc git-gui

Let the package manager install everything and you're done. It's that simple.


Github. It's an online git repository hosting website. It's free for personal and open-source projects! So first of all you should sign up there. 

Ok, so once you're signed up with Github, we can now set up our SSH Key so we can actually commiunicate with our repository. To start you need to have an SSH Public and Private Key. Thankfully, these are pretty easy to create. On the CLI, run the following and just press enter when it asks you about the location to save:

ashley@laptop:~$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -C ""
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/ashley/.ssh/id_rsa): 

It'll now ask for a passphrase. You don't need to enter one, but I highly recommend it. 

Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): 
Enter same passphrase again: 
Your identification has been saved in /home/ashley/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/ashley/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
The key's randomart image is:
+--[ RSA 2048]----+
|     .+oo+oo     |
|     oEoo.+ o    |
|  . . . oo o     |
|   o = = .       |
|    = + S        |
|   . o   .       |
|    .            |
|                 |
|                 |

What you need to do now is add your public key to Github. 

So, to add your public key to Github, simply open the file '~/.ssh/' in your favourite editor and copy the contents to your clipboard. Now navigate your browser to Github and login. From here click on Account Settings -> SSH Public Keys -> Add another public key. In the dialog that appears, give the key a name, for example "Me@HomeLaptop", then paste the public key into the big text area. Whatever you do, DO NOT, alter the contents of that box at all. If you malform your public key, it won't work. Save the public key and we're sorted.

Now we can test our SSH Key by doing the following:

ashley@laptop:~$ ssh -T

It will ask you to set up the RSA fingerprint between your machine and githubs servers.

The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is 16:27:ac:a5:76:28:2d:36:63:1b:56:4d:eb:df:a6:48.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? 

If the connection was successful, you'll get a response with the following:

Hi ls12styler! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.

If you see the message above with your username instead of mine, then it means we've got the green light and we're almost ready to rock. We've just got to set a couple of global config options. So in your terminal do the following:

ashley@laptop:~$ git config --global "Ashley Broadley"
ashley@laptop:~$ git config --global ""

Once you've done that, we're all done. Next time we'll be going through the basics of using git.

Tags: #git, #dvcs, #github, Comments: Be the first!

I'm Disabled!

Written by Ashley Broadley on Thursday, 26th May 2011 at 15:25

Ok, I'm not actually disabled... Well, not officially. And I'm pretty sure my friends would say that I'm mentally disabled for not getting myself looked at sooner.

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this to be honest. I think I want to keep this updated with the progress of fixing all the injuries I've sustained while snowboarding.

To start, I guess I should really list the injuries I've sustained and am planning on/getting fixed.

Dislocated Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint

You can read about what the hell the AC joint is on Wikipedia. It basically means I've dislocated my clavical from my actual shoulder. It looks just like this x-ray

It's not painful. Although it does start to ache after doing exercise. And it is no way near as strong as it used to be. Although I do quite like freaking people out by showing it to them. It kinda looks like a little golf ball under my skin.

As of this moment, I've been to see a specilist who recommended having surgey to fix it. Apparently, it's a pretty simple operation, details of which can be found here. The procedure is called the "Open Weaver-Dunn". Basically, I get sliced open, holes drilled into bones, artificial ligaments threaded through such holes, screws screwed into said holes, then sewn backup again. The opertion will put me in a sling for 6 weeks and physiotherapy for 6 months. I went to see ther specialist back in April (I think!) which was when I signed my life away and agreed to have the surgery done and I haven't yet had any correspondance from the hospital regarding dates or anything. The specialist did say that the waiting list was between two and three months, so I should be getting something through shortly. 

Hopefully I'll haven something to update this with soon, and I'm sure I'll update this post with all the news that comes my way.

Knee Problems

Many people might read that title and think "Oh, I bet that's just bad knees...". Well, news for you! It's not. Unfortunately. 

I did this injury back in November 2010, at Mt CasVegas, before I went to Scotland. Two weeks before in fact. I did it by going off the side of a kicker (ramp) and dropping onto both my knees from about 6ft in the air. Needless to say, that was poainful. In hindsight I should have gone straight to A&E to get it checked out, but hey ho, you live and you suffer learn.

I've not actually been to have this injury checked out just yet, but it's definitely on my list of "things to do sooner, rather than later". So I'll have to update when I actually know whats going on.

Tags: #fail, Comments: Be the first!