Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Managing a distributed coding project with

Recently I've been working on a project which mainly involves web development. It is a small project with only myself and one other person working on it. However, the other developer is located in a different city so it's somewhat challenging to keep up to date with what's going on.

We've been using to manage the project. It seems like a nice tool, and I recommend people checking out the free trial at least. The interface allows you to set up multiple projects and assign members of the team to them. As such I have the main project with both of us on, and then some ancillary projects with only myself on. This may sound silly having a collaboration tool with only one person listed, but I find that using this documented and structured approach helps me straighten out my thoughts.

Within a project the tool lets you list Tasks, Bugs & Ideas. Luckily at the moment we are only on Tasks & Ideas, but I'm sure Bugs will pop in soon! :-) We ping these tasks off to each other, picking them up when we're ready. There are loads of stages that a Task can be in, and I must admit I don't fully understand these or follow them particularly well. This may be a reflection of my naivety to management tools, or maybe not.

Incidentally the most useful feature that I find is potentially the most basic feature of the tool: the activity feed. We use subversion to manage our code revisions, and plugs directly into this. Most of the time I want updates on what has been happening in the last few days on the project. By checking the activity feed I can see not only all the changes in the projects, but also all the subversion commit changes.

Go have a look, or pester them on Twitter @playnicelyapp

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Top CashBack

This site is pretty cool for cashback. I use it, and they actually do payout, which is nice.

Top CashBack

Monday, 6 September 2010

FlyBe Rewards4All Points Expire

Just a warning for anyone who has, or is considering getting, a FlyBe credit card. I have one and today I checked my points statement which I hadn't done for a few months (I assumed that I was just accumulating points which I could spend when I was ready). Actually I had been losing 2 points (which is £500 spend on the credit card) every month for 3 months now, that's £1.5k of spending!! I received no email or warning that these would expire.

Clearly it's a good thing for FlyBe because they don't have to honour these points now, but it's just another thing that is super annoying about their scheme. Another is that once you've got the points, you then still have to pay taxes and charges (OK, other airlines do this), pay for bags, and then pay a payment charge for these payments on your reward flights!! When the cost of the flights is sometimes only £5 I'm really not sure it's worth my while.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Setuptools (easy_install) can't find vcvarsall.bat

So, using easy_install very regularly ended up with the following error being produced:

error: Setup script exited with error: Unable to find vcvarsall.bat

I'd read that I needed to install Visual Studio, so I installed version 10 and set the Path variable. The command prompt could see vcvarsall but not easy_install. grrr!!

The trick seems to be to install mingw from here ( and make sure you select the base tools, g++ compiler and make stuff. Then add `C:\MinGW\bin' to your Path and create a file called disutils.cfg in C:\Python26\Lib\distutils and put the follow in it:


Then exit from your command prompt, open it up again and all should be fine! The solution was found in a comment here:

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

SPSS Using String Variables in a Binary Logistic Regression

I recently performed a binary logistic regression using SPSS 18 on Windows. I've discovered a rather annoying bug! One of my independent variables was a rather long String variable, with 33 categories. SPSS only recognised two of them though. SPSS has two internal String variables: long String and short String, which is only 8 chars long.

Despite defining the variables as 100 character Strings in the SPSS variable view, the regression only recognised the first 8 characters, and hence cut the whole lot down to two possibilities!

Nice. Solution: recode as some kind of String that is less than 8 characters!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

SPSS (PASW) 18 bug

SPSS seems to be a very hand application. Great, just button click your way through your stats, this is very good. Well, the application is a little unstable though! I think it's written in Java (which isn't a bad thing). Using my data set, which is fairly large with 608 thousand data points, I would like to copy and paste a column of data from one sheet to another. In Excel this is a fairly lengthy operation, it takes in the region of 4 mins. I did this in SPSS also and it has now been running for somewhere in the region of 18 hours. This is using a full CPU core, so there must be some number crunching going on there!

Let's hope this get's fixed in the next release. If someone were to wish to debug it this has been tested on a Windows 7 computer, based on an Intel 4 core processor. It's also been replicated on a Windows 7 Intel Atom based netbook.