So I’ve come up with the idea of a Guanxi Shibb Kit (GSK). Basically what it is, is a shibb portal for Sakai. It’s minimal, has no traditional tool or site support. All it does is log a user in and then redirect to the main portal, which at the moment is Charon.
But surely that’s a security hole? having a portal that does auto-login? You might think so but in fact it’s not as the shibb portal will be protected by a Guanxi Guard. To access the logic that automatically logs you in to Sakai, you have to go through the shibboleth process of going to the WAYF and authenticating at your IdP. When you arrive back at the shibb portal, your SAML assertions are inspected, the attributes are unpacked from the SAML Attribute Assertions and are placed in a Pod in your Sakai session.
At the point of Pod injection, the shibb portal considers you are fit to enter Sakai, so it logs you in and redirects you to the main portal, Charon. Now Charon should recognise your session is set up and you’re ready to go so it should just redirect you to where you want to go in Sakai.
The GSK will come with a Pod specific UserDirectoryProvider and GroupProvider, which will be chained into the system using Caret’s chaining system. So whereas LDAP providers get their user and group information from an LDAP store, the Pod providers will get their information from Pods.
I’ve got the shibb portal installed. Now I just have to figure out how to forward to the Charon portal. I suspect it’ll be something to do with ActiveTool.forward().
However it’s a real bind debugging Sakai. It just takes so much memory the laptop is really really struggling. In Eclipse which hogs most of the memory anyway, click, wait 30 seconds, toggle breakpoint, wait 30 seconds, click, wait 30 seconds, open declaration, wait 30 seconds. All while Sakai is taking a few minutes to start up.
So I’m off to debug the Mercury portal to see how it forwards to tools.
So yesterday it snowed on Cairngorm. Today it’s all gone and the forecast is for milder weather. They’re forecasting a wet and mild winter this year.
The mountain forecast has been forecasting snow for the last couple of weeks. It’s now arrived on Cairngorm:
Well, I’ve just launched WeegieTech, my new wiki, with the first in my RST series (Really Simple Tutorials). The Sakai tool just parses the RSS feed from the Cairngorm Summit weather station and renders it using RSF.
So enough of the fanfare. On with the RST
Well the weather warnings have started again for the winter. Today we’ve had severe gales and torrential rain, enough to fill Dingwall’s streets to 6 feet! Broadford bay was very impressive with huge white breakers rolling in from an angry grey sea and it looked truly wild out beyond the islands.
However, it seems no-one can forecast the weather any more. With this month being the warmest since ninteen-canteen, today’s forecast, according to the main BBC news was southerly gales. BBC Scotland said northerly gales. Both said mild with rain. The mountain forecast said snow to 700m! So take your pick.
It was actually northerly gales and torrential rain. I checked the Cairngorm and Buachaille Etive M??r webcams (see the front page of the blog) but no sign of snow. I even checked the Snowdon one too.
The mountain forecast has been predicting snow for the last week or so but it’s never materialised.
Here’s a composite image I made from the weather charts:
First, you’ll need the sysdeo Tomcat plugin : get it from here
Stop Eclipse, download the sysdeo zip file and copy it to your Eclipse’s plugin directory. For me, that’s:
Edit your eclipse.ini file, which for me is in:
and make sure Eclipse has enough memory as you need to feed the plugin as much memory as it’ll take:
The above starts Eclipse with 500Mb minimum heap size, increasing to 1Gb.
Start Eclipse and go to:
Window -> Preferences -> Tomcat
and setup you Tomcat version (I used Version 5.x) and point the plugin at your tomcat installation directory, which for me is:
as I’m using it with Sakai
Next, click on the JVM Settings under the Tomcat option and add these JVM Parameters or you’ll get java.lang.OutOfMemory and java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: PermGen space errors:
These give Tomcat enough heap size to load all the webapps.
Now click on the Start Tomcat icon in the top left of the Eclipse window. The normal Tomcat logs won’t be created in your tomcat directory. Instead, everything will be captured in the Eclipse console window
If you haven’t heard of it, go read it now
This is an ordinary(ish) day for me.
I got up about 7am, still dark and the Knoydart mountains are cloaked in mist, not much wind about and no midgies as it’s October. Global warming has meant the temperature is quite mild for the time of the year although they’re forecasting snow for the hills by the weekend. Shave and shower, put the bike in the car and get a lift halfway to work with the mrs, then cycle the other 9 miles. I’ll cycle the full 18 miles back, to get work out of my system.
The sun is just coming over the horizon as I reach work and the roads are empty and quiet. All the tourists have gone for another year. A small white van passes me too close at the college so I shout at him and gesticulate in his general direction but lacking any cerebral cortex he doesn’t notice. I wonder if he’s sentient. Then again he drives a white van.
Get in, change in the bog coz there’s no cycle facilities. Hopefully no-one’s had a curry the night before. Sometimes it’s soaking in there. I mean, *how* can you miss? And those twats who piss all over the seat. Some people should be made to go outside.
Coffee from the machine, sit down in front of the mac, take the mouse off the power charger, shake it awake on the desk. Email client bursts into life, another pack of complainers complaining about things that don’t work. It’s them that don’t work though. Sometimes I wonder how they find their way to work.
Megalomaniac on a project I’m working on informs me he’s rewritten most of my stuff and requires me to write some more by midday. I don’t reply, instead, I read a mail from the FC describing the upcoming VLE user tests. I spill my coffee. The megalomaniac tries to contact me via chat (instant messenging). I contact a colleague to see how their attempts at writing a method are going. I spill some more coffee. Spend the next 15mins going round in circles on chat.
I spend the next 3 hours trying to shove 3 web applications into one, merging their web.xml files, setting up web services to even more web applications and when I start up tomcat the whole lot blows up and I spill the last of my coffee.
The megalomaniac sends me an email which I file for later reading.
The FC phones from Cambridge and we have a 3 way conference with the holidaymaker next door, who goes out for a fag in the middle of it. FC is ranting about testing and recruitment. Holidaymaker is ranting about the lack of an eFramework. I’m ranting coz I’ve spilled all my coffee trying to wire crappy web applications together instead of designing an eFramework.
Nothing more from the megalomaniac. Maybe he’s jumped on a plane and his coming up. Talk to the hand, pal.
There’s a package waiting at the post office, wonder what it is. Maybe it’s a bomb from a disgruntled user. A horse’s head perhaps?
That’s it so far. I’m off to get some more coffee to spill.
The redwings were overdue this year and we were wondering what had happened to them. They normally descend on the rowan tree and eat it clean of berries. We were watching autumnwatch on the telly and it was suggested this year’s delayed redwings were waiting for an east wind to help them over from Scandinavia. Sure enough, we’ve just had a couple of days of strong south easterly winds and this morning they turned up!
Yesterday was the start of Autumn I think. It was the first day that actually felt cold after the superb summer we’ve had. The leaves were blowing off the trees although mostly they’re not turning yet. The Sound of Sleat was boisterous in a northerly wind. Very autumnal indeed.
This morning about 6am, just as it was getting light there was a cloud inversion over the loch and the peaks of Beinn Sgritheall and Ladhar Bheinn poked high above the layer of grey shifting mists. Everywhere was damp after yesterday’s rain. The light was ochre brown and the loch still and calmn. Then I heard the first stag roar of the rutting season. Sends a shiver down your spine.
Just in case readers think I’m anti-Conservative, I thought I’d take the opportunity to have a look over the fence and see what the lib dems are up to. Charles Kennedy is my local MP. He has a croft near Fort William apparently and to me, he’s a thoroughly decent chappie. He has charisma although he doesn’t seem to say much worth listening to. Well he is a politician after all. Normally I wouldn’t bother with internal party strifes, back stabbing and general wringing of hands, except in this case.
Charlie had a bit of a problem. He was an alky. He’d get up on stage and start sweating, presumably gagging for another swally while the politicos down the front row would wring their hands and wonder what to do with the old booze bag. To me, the lib dems have never been a serious political force. They’re just a bunch of nice people saying daft things, like “penny in the pound” Ashdown. But lately they started to get nasty and turned on their leader. Now I’ve no problem with someone being an alky. If my esteemed colleague though the wall turned up pissed as a fart and bouncing off the walls (he’s Welsh you see) and boaked all over his keyboard, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Not because he’s done it before but because I don’t care if someone’s stotious just as long as they can do their job i.e. as long he fixes those Bodington bugs before he renders his keyboard useless in a carroty tide.
But the lib dem movers and shakers, or should that be shufflers and blockers of supermarket isles, for they are mostly crumblies, think otherwise and have ousted Charlie and replaced him with East Coast Man, Ming Campbell, Ming being short for Menzies. Menzies is the Scottish Shibboleth, with how you pronounce it determining your acceptance or otherwise into polite society, i.e. the Auld Reekie intelligentsia. Get it wrong and you’ll find yourself on the next train back to Weegie land. When I was at school in Glasgow we always pronounced it Menzies, i.e. say how you see but that’s the Glasgow way. Nip over the Pentlands and they say Mingus. So to avert another Scottish civil war the ever thinking lib dems have renamed the old duffer a neutral Ming. He’s still showing his east coast roots but stopping short of full Auld Reekidom to allow his western Mingophiles to join in his adoration.
But there are a few things wrong with this. For a start, he’s a jakey. I bet he farts dust. He’s also from Edinburgh and he’s a Campbell. There’s the apocryphal tale of the pub in Glencoe that had a sign hanging outside stating in no uncertain terms, “no dogs or Campbells”. The local cooncil objected to it after puzzled queries from tourists and the landlord eventually relented, letting dogs in. Mingy also looks like Mr. Dead in the Harry Enfield sketches (“here’s Mr. Dead, he’s just a talking corpse”). The party try to bring him into the 21st century by surrounding him with members of the nubility, scantily clad chicks with clipboards hanging on his every word but they just look as if they’re trying to help him across the road. When he’s being interviewed on the telly you can’t see his eyes as he screws them up, presumably coz the lights are too bright or he can’t hear the interviewer properly. “What’s that sony? you’ll have to speak up, I’m 89 you know…”
There are another two unfortunate similarities dredged up by the choice of name for the man. Ming, to anyone my age, means Ming the Merciless. Not Ming the Jakey. To equate Ming the Jakey with Ming the Merciless is like equating John Prescott with culinary restraint. The other boo boo is ming is short for mingin’ which in Glasgow, the capital of the universe, means, well, mingin’.
So here we have a party that has ditched it’s charismatic alky leader from the west coast with a dust farting crumbly jakey from the east coast and a Campbell to boot. He looks like Robocop after falling into one of those old potato peeling machines. He’s a blast from the Victorian past. Ming should sling his hook.