Friday, May 10, 2013

Partial annular eclipse

While checking my Twitter feed on the train this morning I discovered that Sydney was to be treated to a partial solar eclipse... right now! Fortunately, you can safely view an eclipse with nothing more than a sheet of card and a pin - enough to make a pinhole camera. I had to share this with the kids at Alex's childcare.

As soon as we arrived we got out a sheet of card, punched a tiny hole in it with a pin, held it out towards the sun and projected the image on a sheet of white paper. You could certainly see where a chunk of the Sun had been taken out by the Moon.

Back at the office I made a more "sophisticated" version by cutting out one side of an old tissue box, punching a tiny hole in one end and sticking some white paper at the other. Then I went outside an photographed the results. Unfortunately , the lens protector on my camera didn't fully retract, but, hey, at least I got something for surprisingly little effort.

When I returned to my desk I discovered that the education group had been running an eclipse viewing session outside an adjacent building, but it's kind of nice to have done something yourself.

ABC Science has more information about the eclipse.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

More notes on setting up Sitecore locally

More joys getting Sitecore to run on my machine. For some reason the App Pool of the Sitecore instance was set to .Net 2 rather than .Net 4. This required going into IIS Manager and changing the App Pool setting.

Sitecore had also managed to set the database connection string to my local user rather than a builtin account. I had to edit the username and password in AppConfig/ConnectionStrings.config in Visual Studio and rebuild the solution in order to make it work.

I wish Sitecore would use HTML documentation rather than PDF - it makes jumping to the right spot in Google searches very difficult.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Notes on setting up Sitecore locally

I'm in the process of preparing for formal training in Sitecore development. Sitecore is a enterprise content management system written in .Net. I find Sitecore's development documentation quite poor in contrast to many open source projects. Too much is in PDF format.

In order to practise, I've had to setup a local version of Sitecore on my desktop machine. Sitecore provide an installation file, but I had issues attempting to connect to my instance of SQLExpress as it appears to need an SQL Server user rather than using the default Windows authentication. To resolve this I first had to download and install Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express. I then changed the server authentication mode to permit SQL Server and Windows Authentication.

After entering the credentials of the sa user I was then able to install Sitecore.

I then needed to create a Sitecore Web Application Project in Visual Studio 2010. Note that the Sitecore webroot can be found in the Website subdirectory of the directory setup by the Sitecore install. With replicated folder names in Sitecore directories the instructions can be a little confusing.

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