Monthly Archives: January 2009

Update for Feburary

February has been busy – some of the highlights (and lowpoints) of this month has been the release of my new billing system (good) and repeated problems with my libretto laptop (bad).


On the 18th of February, I release my new open-source accounting, service billing and time keeping product, the Amberdms Billing System.

This program has been written from the ground up by me for use by small & medium businesses, with particular focus on supporting the needs of IT businesses, including consultants and ISPs.

Take a look at the Amberdms website for further details about all the exciting features. :-)

In other Amberdms news, the amount of consulting work is increasing and I’ve also started offering budget NZ-based virtual machine services which is also helping to grow Amberdms into the next corporate empire. ;-)


My libretto is now back in fully working form. After replacing the hard drive, I had been suffering from instability issues where the machine would randomly hang and crash.

I believe I have tracked these problem to a BIOS issue, as after I reset all the BIOS options back to factory defaults, the issues resolved themselves.

Still, this caused many wasted hours and lots of annoyance.


Everyone keeps pestering me to create a Twitter account, so I have gone and created one. Follow my exploits at

Time will tell if getting Twitter was a good idea… I had just gotten over my email addiction, so I’m not sure how safe I’ll be with Twitter.

The uptime that was not to be

I just arrived back in Wellington today after a week away at 2009 in Hobart, Tasmania. More on the conference in future postings, but I can summarise it as “awesome” meanwhile.

This particular posting is a tale of how my file server was cursed to lose it’s uptime:

Whilst I was away there was a large power outage in Wellington, across the entire city including the CBD and Suburbs for about 30mins.

My trusty home file/xen server kept on running without a problem on UPS, but it seems that it could not escape the fate of being taken offline due to power issues…

I arrived home this afternoon and noticed that the server was making more noise than normal, due to the intake dust filter being a bit clogged.

I took off the front panel, cleaned out the dust filter and began to put it back on, when I knocked the fan filter metal across the fan speed control circuit.

A spark later, I realised I had shorted the exposed fan control circuit at the front of the case which promptly caused the PSU to cut power to the server.

The server survives the Wellington power outage, then dies and loses my uptime when I simply clean out the dust… just typical…. :-(

(Fortunately after re-plugging the mains cable the server came back online successfully. Phew!)

Update for January

First up in 2009 is the most important event of the entire year – – which will be held in Hobart, Tasmania. If you will be attending, you can see my flight details on the wiki.

I will be staying at the uni accommodation as usual. Whilst a hotel would be a bit nicer, the uni accommodation always ensures you end up hanging out with heaps of other awesome geeks.

It’s now been 3 months since I left Prophecy to work on Amberdms fulltime. During this time I’ve been doing a very large amount of programming and I’m scheduled to release my first version of the Amberdms Billing System under an open-source license by the end of Jan – hopefully before I go away to

This billing system offers a wide range of features, including:

  • Double-entry accounting
  • PDF invoice generation
  • Various financial reports and tools
  • Timesheets & billing for hours worked
  • Data-usage billing – ideal for ISPs or other service providers
  • Migration utilities from SQL-Ledger.

The code is all written in PHP and I’m preparing developer documentation to assist 3rd party integration and encourage community contributions.

I haven’t forgotten to add an RSS feed, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Will try and make some time to add it in Feburary.

At the moment I have a server being shipped up to Auckland NZ and my old production server in Napier is going to be upgraded to Centos 5. This will provide me with two identical servers to be configured in a geographically distributed cluster to provide high-availability for my software-as-a-service products.

This will be going live in January before I release the billing system – will probably write up some articles about problems and challenges I deal with and the design used.