Git Tutorials

March 11th, 2011 Comments off

Recently I’ve been hacking on some projects that I’ve been thinking of releasing under an open source license. I’d been looking around for places to host the project and was considering sourceforge or google code, I decided to tweet asking if anyone had any opinions on these tools and @HeyChinaski replied suggesting I look into using github.

I’ve use SCM tools as part of my development process for quite a while but, apart from a couple of quick dabbles, have only properly used CVS and Subversion. If I’m going to use git for my project I want to make sure I fully understand how it works and how it should be used, so I went a googling. This post is mainly a collection of useful links to articles I’ve found on my travels. It’s primarily so I don’t lose useful stuff but am sharing it here so they may help other peeps.

Git Project Homepage

The main project homepage for Git.

Git Project Documentation

A load of useful documentation and links to tutorials on the git project homepage.

Git Reference

A site containing quick reference material for using git.

Git Ready

A nice site that has tons of little tips for using and understanding all of Git.

Paul Bouwer’s Blog post series “Git, GitHub and an open source .NET project”.

This is a brilliant series of blog posts that detail how to contribute to open source projects hosted on GitHub. It takes you from how to install and setup Git (windows specific but still plenty of useful information) through to forking a project, committing changes and finally to sending your change to the upstream maintainers for inclusion.

Starting an Open Source Project on GitHub

Very useful beginner blog post describing how to set up a project on GitHub.


Cross compiling for i386 from x64 Ubuntu

January 8th, 2011 Comments off

I’ve recently been playing with making programs using Qt and c++, overall I’ve been very happy with it, it’s a nice clean API and very nice to work with. I do most of my development on either my desktop machine or my laptop, both of these run the 64-bit version of Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat. I also have a Acer Aspire Revo, running Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat but this computer is running the 32-bit version. I wanted to get some of my Qt programs running on the Revo but didn’t want to install all the development packages and compile on there (it’s a little slow for compiling code and the screen on my main machine is nicer :-D), so I set about working out how to cross compile my applications to run on 32 bit linux from 64 bit.

The easiest way to do it seems to be using pbuilder to create a 32 bit chroot environment, install all the development packages in there and then compile there. So how do we go about doing that? Well here’s some simple instructions…

First of all we need to install pbuilder and it’s dependencies so first of all run…

sudo apt-get install pbuilder

Now we want to create the 32 bit chroot environment…

sudo pbuilder create --debootstrapopts --arch --debootstrapopts i386

This takes a while to create and requires the downloading and installing of a number of packages. Once this is complete the chroot environment will be setup. We now want to login to the environment and install the extra packages needed to build our application. By default when you exit pbuilder sets the chroot environment back to how it was when you entered, as we don’t want to have to install these packages every time we go in we add an extra parameter to tell it to save any changes we’ve made when we exit.

sudo pbuilder login --save-after-exec

Now we’re in the chroot environment we’ll install the packages needed for development, I needed a couple of packages from universe so enabled it with…

echo "deb maverick universe" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update

As I was playing with building 32bit .deb files for my applications that use qt-webkit and vlc I installed the following packages (along with some extras like subversion, vim and openssh-client for convenience) with apt-get…

apt-get install build-essential autoconf automake autotools-dev dh-make debhelper devscripts fakeroot lintian pbuilder libvlc-dev libqtwebkit-dev vim openssh-client subversion

Once this completed I made a couple of other changes that I wanted to persist between chroot sessions (copying in gpg keys, etc) and then exited the chroot environment with…


This should take a little while as the system compresses the chroot environment so the changes you made persist between sessions. Now whenever you want to go into the chroot to compile just run…

sudo pbuilder login

Incidentally, if you want a good simple tutorial on createing .deb files you wont go wrong looking at this one.

Proud of the BBC

October 15th, 2010 Comments off

I love TV, it’s one of my most popular pastimes, though I generally watch specific shows rather than just general TV. Whilst the majority of what I watch is American TV Shows, the BBC have created or broadcasted almost all of the UK TV Shows that I watch (the only exceptions being a couple of comedies on Channel 4). Some of the best off the top of my head are; Spooks, Dr Who, Sherlock, A bit of Fry & Laurie, State of Play, Blackadder and Alan Partridge.

In addition to brilliant TV shows they haveĀ  one of the few news channels that I can stand watching, an absolutely brilliant news website that is on my daily website rotation and some brilliant radio stations. It’s only recently that I’ve started listening to Radio 4 and I think it’s brilliant, it has some brilliant comedy; (Unbelievable Truth, The News Quiz, Just a Minute, That Mitchell & Webb Sound and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue), the Today Programme which I wake up to every day and finally is responsible for the awesome Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (though the sooner they get rid of The Archers the better we’ll all be :-p ).

Mitch Benn has just put up on his website the video for his brilliant song, Proud of the BBC. It’s a brilliant fun track and I believe absolutely every British person can watch and find at list 10 items in there that they love. He’s releasing it as a single on the 1st of November and it would be brilliant if it managed to get into the top 10.

The BBC is an integral part of my life and if it disappeared or shrunk I would be very upset, I believe the TV License is worth what it costs me 10 times over. Personally? I am very Proud of the BBC.

Update 01/11/2010: The single is now available and here’s a comparison of the places you can buy it.


SpriteClub and Braid

February 23rd, 2010 Comments off

Last month saw the first meet up for Sprite Club, a group like a book reading club but for computer games. It involves playing a single game for a month and then getting together in a pub (with people skyping in from Sweden and Japan making it awesomely international) and debating the pros and cons of the game.

This month the game to play and review was Braid, after the get together and debate session we had to write a mini review to stick on the website. Below is my amazingly articulate review…

Really got mixed opinions on this one! Braid for once uses the rewinding time ability as an interesting core gameplay mechanic rather than just saving you from your own lameness (PoP). The puzzles are difficult and give you a great feeling once overcome but the learning curve is very steep and by the time you’ve properly grasped a mechanic you stop using it. Games like Portal slowly introduce you to the concepts and teach you to think laterally, Braid chucks them at you and sits their gloating when you’re too stupid to complete the puzzle.

The art style really is beautiful with a wonderful hand painted effect and the music compliments the visuals and the gameplay, hauntingly beautiful yet nightmarish when you are failing to solve a puzzle and continuously reversing time.

For the vast majority of the game the story is pretentious wank and the mechanism used to convey it is far to dull for you to bother to take it in, but if you manage to get to the final/first world (I admit I cheated for 2 puzzle pieces in order to get there) the final reveal makes up for the previous hard slog. The final levels are brilliantly designed and executed and manage to convey the story in an interesting and engaging way. Shame it couldn’t all have been like that.

In summation; clever if irritating gameplay, beautiful presentation, stupid story but made up by a wonderful ending.

7.5 / 10

Learning OSX

January 19th, 2010 Comments off

I’ve finally managed to get around to updating my 2nd hand macbook to Snow Leopard and getting a replacement battery for it. Whilst I’m not convinced I’ll ever switch to it fully from Ubuntu as I want to start doing iPhone development I need to start learning my way around OSX.

One of the things that has always really annoyed me using OSX is not knowing the keyboard shortcuts to do things, in Ubuntu I can do pretty much everything without touching the mouse so having to continually move my hand away from the keyboard is frustrating.

Today I found a couple of useful articles that go through some shortcuts for OSX…

The short cut I’ve found most useful so far is Command-Spacebar which opens up spotlight’s search facility so I can quickly launch programs without browsing menus.

Next mission to work out the shortcut key for deleting files in Finder, dragging them to the waste bin is really starting to get annoying.

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Books and Me

December 27th, 2009 Comments off

Since I’ve moved up to London and had to put up with 2 x 40 minute commutes each day I’ve been reading more and more books. As a child I used to read a fair bit but they were mostly Hardy Boys and other such non-taxing books. I never really made the step past those types of books, partly due to rubbish English teachers, partly due to preferring to spend time on the ol’ Computer but mostly just me being lazy.

Since I’ve got back into reading I have decided to educate myself as much as possible in reading and have tried to find a broad range of books from vintage classics, modern classics, current blockbusters (this less than the others) and graphic novels (read “Comics” :-) )

To keep track of what I’ve read and what I want to read I’ve been cataloguing the books on the living social website. It’s a good website and allows you to see what your friends have read and what they thought of it. However I understand that not everyone wants to join another social networking site so I decided to create a plugin for WordPress that allows you to view the info in your Living Social account on your website. It’s still in a very early state and currently only really works for my account, though I’ll hopefully get some time to develop it into a fully fledged plugin.

The result of this? My website now includes a Books page that uses the plugin to view all the books I’ve read, want to read or are reading currently. Have a view of my book catalogue and if you have any suggestions for books that you think I might like stick ‘em in the comments.

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Website modifications

July 19th, 2009 Comments off

As you can probably see I’ve changed my website again. The big change is that I’ve decided to switch to using wordpress instead of my own custom software. It has a lot of cool features (like an app for the iPhone that I’m using now) which would have been a lot of effort to write… and I just couldn’t be bothered. Maybe at some point I’ll try and bring the old theme across or find a more interesting one… but for now this will do.

In other news I’m now on Twitter. You can see my last couple of tweets in the sidebar or if you want to follow me I’m @Mrs_Kensington.

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14 Easy Steps to a froggie cake

July 19th, 2009 Comments off

It was Karen’s birthday this week, as is now customary whenever it’s a friends birthday, I made her a birthday cake. Unfortunately I have only ever baked cakes in a pyrex bowl so my cakes are a little… round themed. This year I decided to get a bit more adventurous… but not adventurous enough to ditch the round design.

To make it a little more interesting I decided to document my progress on twitter and provide some nice easy steps so people could make the cake with me. Recreated below for posterity.

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bowl as the recipe says. Then cook it.
  2. Put some more ingredients together (this time to make fairy cakes). Stick in baking cakes and cook.
  3. Try not to burn beautiful assistant. Fail.
  4. If you’ve accidentally washed up the sieve. Swing it around wildly in the garden to dry it out.
  5. Once the fairy cakes are cooked remove them from oven. If they aren’t completely round that’s fine.
  6. Make buttercream icing. Add essence of green.
  7. Make more buttercream icing (+ green) cause you didn’t do enough the first time.
  8. Hopefully the cake should be cooked by now (check with a skewer). Remove from oven and leave it to cool.
  9. Turn the cake out onto a plate (you may need a knife to pry it out).
  10. Take two of the (24) fairy cakes and glue them to the top of the cake with buttercream icing.
  11. Eat the other 22 fairy cakes.
  12. Cover in green buttercream icing.
  13. Use ready-to-roll black and white icing to make eyes and a big smilie mouth.
  14. Cut a little bit of red ready-to-roll icing and add it as a Tongue. Put in fridge to let the icing set.

If you manage to follow all of those instructions correctly you should end up with the following creation…

Froggie Cake

Froggie Cake

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Yip Yip Yip Yip

August 9th, 2007 Comments off

Whilst some people like to discuss high-brow topics and participate in intellectual debates on their blog. I shall do no such thing… instead allow me to introduce, the Yip-Yip’s….

Thought provoking I think you’ll agree.



May 28th, 2007 Comments off

A while has passed (as usual) since I last updated this website and a lot has changed in my life. My girlfriend of 7 years and I have split up, though in a very amicable way. I moved out of my flat in Poole and back in with my Parents at the end of January though next weekend I will be moving up to London to be with all my friends and working in the London Office.

As for my projects… not a lot has happened… I’ve started some… stopped working on some and currently thinking about new ones.

As I’ll be moving back and forth between the London and Poole office I thought it was time I had a go at Linux on my laptop and finally fixed a load of issues with it. I’ve finally managed to get the onboard network card working, the wireless is working though NetworkManager wont connect. The only functionality that I’ve had to disable is the MMC Reader as whenever I load the module the whole system hangs. It’s similar to the problems with the network card though there are no settings to change in the kernel. Not a huge issue though… To read my latest guide to my laptop visit this post.

Hopefully once I’ve moved up to London I’ll be able to start playing with XNA and start making games on the XBox360… it’s a nice thought anyway…

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