Apollo 11 50th Anniversary

Thanks to the fabulous work by the people at Apollo 11 in Real Time, I’ve enjoyed the weekend reliving the excitement of the Apollo 11 mission, minute by minute.

I was only 5 years old when it all happened back in 1969. Because of timezones and other constraints I didn’t see the moon landing or Armstrong’s first steps live, but I well remember the general excitement of the time, and seeing the replays on the television.

Well done to all!

App failure

As a software developer I well know that software and information systems can have bugs. But it still astonishes me when software from big companies that is being used thousands of times each day across the world has egregious errors.

For example, look at this screenshot from the Malaysian Airlines iPhone app, where the top of the screen has a prominent and scary message about there being no e-mail address provided, while the bottom of the screen has a notification that an e-mail has just been sent to the address which is supposedly not available. And yes, an e-mail was received.

 

Common People

My June article for The Local is out now, this month on the Newcastle Pasturage Reserve, also known as the Commonage. Coinciding with this article, I’ve finally completed a task that I’ve been working on for some time, which is to compile a list of all the people who applied to purchase allotments after the passing of the Newcastle Pasturage Reserve Act in 1889. The list of names comes from the 41 days of Land Court hearings held in 1890 to adjudicate on the applications. The list of names is available either in Excel Online or as a PDF.

There is a two part map that shows the Newcastle Pasturage Reserve with the lot numbers as mentioned in the land court hearings. Click on the thumbnail images below to view the map.

Sheet 1

Sheet 2

Steaming along

After years of intending to go, I finally visited Richmond Vale Railway Museum yesterday. On the short trip on the steam train I was standing at the rear door of the passenger carriage. It was the the perfect position to take a time lapse video of the return journey as the steam engine pushed the carriage back up the hill.

Tacky

My ride to work this morning was aborted by this little tack that I picked up while riding on the bike path alongside Ford Oval in New Lambton. I hope this is just a random bit of debris and not some idiot deliberately having a go at cyclists.

Salesforce Summer ’19 issue with ADFS single sign on

This is a work related techie blog post for the benefit of others who may experience the same problem.

We have a production Salesforce Org and a number of sandbox Orgs, all set up with a Salesforce “My Domain” and configured to use Single Sign On authenticating against Microsoft ADFS. On the weekend, after our sandbox Orgs got upgraded to the Summer ’19 release, we were unable to login to any of our sandboxes using Single Sign On. We were just getting a very unhelpful “An error occurred” message on the sign-in screen.

Comparing the Single Sign On settings in our Production Org (which was still working), I noticed that where the “Login URL” SAML endpoint used to have an “so=OrgID” parameter, this was now gone in the updated sandboxes. Jumping on to our ADFS management console, and editing the relevant Relying Party Trust to remove the “so=OrgID” parameter from the Endpoint was all that was needed to fix the problem.

Curiously, when I checked the release notes for the Summer ’19 update (which is 480 pages long!), there appears to be no mention of this change in Single Sign In configuration.

Production (not yet updated to Summer ’19) had an “so=” parameter in the Login URL SAML endpoint
Sandboxes that had been updated to Summer ’19 release did not have the “so=” parameter in the Login URL SAML endpoint
Removing the “so=OrgID” parameter in the ADFS settings fixed the sign in problem.

Lizotte’s building

My article for the May 2019 edition of The Local is out. This month I clear up two errors that have appeared in a number of history books regarding the Coronation Hall (now Lizotte’s) in Morehead Street Lambton.

Error The truth
The Coronation Hall was built in 1910, the year George V became king. The Coronation Hall was built in 1911, the year of the coronation of King George V.
The Coronation Hall was built on the site of the Criterion Skating Rink/Star Theatre.

The Criterion Skating Rink was built on the south-west corner of Morehead and De Vitre Streets in 1888. In 1892 it became the Star Theatre.

The Coronation Hall was built on the corner of Morehead and Kendall Streets.

Lambton Council Update

I have just finished making quite a few updates and additions to my Lambton Council Chambers page. In light of Newcastle Council’s impending and controversial move of their council chambers to Newcastle West, I was quite amused by a quote from Alderman Dent in March 1887 in connection with the need for a new Council Chambers for Lambton …

“The present building was a beastly place. When they looked around they saw the very walls in mourning, whether for the sins of the aldermen he knew not.”

Alderman Dent’s desire for new chambers was fulfilled just a few months later when the Council building in the corner of Lambton Park was formally opened on 21 July 1887.

Lambton Council Chambers, September 1890.