Freelancing Gods 2015

11 May 2008

Updates for Thinking Sphinx

I’ve been working away on Thinking Sphinx when I’ve had the time – and we’re nearing what I feel is a solid 1.0 release. I say we, because I’ve had some very generous people supply patches over the last few weeks – namely Arthur Zapparoli, James Healy, Chris Heald and Jae-Jun Hwang. Switching to git – and GitHub in particular – has made it very easy to accept patches.

Mind you, all of these changes aren’t committed just yet – and even when they are, there’ll still be a few more things to cross off the list before we hit the big 1.0 milestone, namely PostgreSQL support and solid spec coverage. Slowly edging closer.

In other news – to help share the Thinking Sphinx knowledge (after some prompting by a few users of the plugin), I’ve created a Google Group for it – so this will be the ideal place to ask questions about how to implement Sphinx into your app, suggest features, or report bugs.

If you’ve been pondering how to deploy Thinking Sphinx via Capistrano, I recommend you read a blog post by Wade Winningham – or if you’re interested in better ways of handling UTF-8 characters outside of the ‘normal’ set (ie: without accents and so forth), make sure you peruse James Healy’s solution.

And one last reminder – if you’re in Sydney on Wednesday evening and interested in learning a bit more about Sphinx in general and Thinking Sphinx in particular, come along to the monthly Ruby meet at the Crown Hotel in Surry Hills, as those are the topics I’ll be presenting on.

22 Oct 2007

Web Directions South 2007

It’s a bit delayed, but I just wanted to write a little report (read: link to everyone and reminisce) on my trip to Sydney for Web Directions South 2007. So, in chronological order…

The Conference

I hadn’t been to Web Directions before – but I had made it to one of the preceding Web Essentials conferences, which had been great. This time around though, far better – for a variety of reasons. One difference was finding it really helps knowing a few people who are also attending – that strengthens the whole social side of the conference.

Some of the speakers, though, were brilliant. Andy Clarke ran an interesting session about the design of comics, John Allsop’s passion for the web was evident in his entertaining talk, and Scott Berkun’s presentation about the myths of innovation was fantastic as well.

The highlight, though (and I think most people who were there agree with this) was Mark Pesce’s Mob Rules. Grab the podcast of his talk and listen to it (any parts that interrupt Mark are clips from Robot Chicken). Mark’s an amazing speaker, and his content was thought-provoking. A fantastic way to end the conference.

The After-Party

After that, it was to the Shelbourne Hotel to drink, chat and party into the early hours of the morning. While I didn’t really contribute to drinking through the Microsoft-provided tab, I did get to meet several interesting people. One of which was John Allsop, who was one of the organisers of Web Directions. I’d like to say we discussed politics, social issues and the web – but to be honest, it was more John ranting and me listening (not that that’s a bad thing, John’s always entertaining).

John also pseudo-introduced me to Michael Koukoullis, which, joined by Nick Pellow, lead to further opinionated discussion about politics. There’s a blog post prompted by the topics we covered (and one of John’s blog posts) sitting in my head – hopefully I’ll get it down into some textual form at some point soon.

Web Shack at the Nerf Palace

The following day was filled with code – well, that was the plan. Most of us were pretty drained from the previous night, and I also got distracted by the AFL Grand Final.

I did manage to get pagination working in Thinking Sphinx though, and technorati support for this blog. I also got to experience the the tasty delights of Bourke St Bakery (particularly their raspberry and dark chocolate muffins) – so it definitely wasn’t a waste of time. Was also great to catch up properly with some of the roro crew.


And then onto the fantastic WebJam – which involved more drinks, partying, presentations of funky web stuff, and meeting people. Once that eventually wound up, I was introduced to what is apparently a Sydney institution, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels – their Tiger Pie tasted far better than what I was expecting.

Which pretty much brings us to the end of my Sydney adventures (for this journey north, anyway). Massive thanks to all involved in the events, each was awesome.

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Freelancing Gods is written by , who works on the web as a web developer in Melbourne, Australia, specialising in Ruby on Rails.

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