Rudd and boat people

Some thoughts on what Rudd is up to, and where this policy might take him.

Firstly, the background:

  • A while ago Australia started getting significant numbers of boat people
  • Howard famously stated “we will choose who comes to Australia” and initiated “tough” policies.  The flow of boat people essentially stopped (in the order of 3-4 boats per year), so whilst these policies were nominally very tough, they actually applied to nobody
  • Of those who did come by boat, the majority were actually getting resettled in Australia, but this was not publicly known, and the Labor opposition banging on about how harsh the policies were helped with that
  • When Rudd got in, the left of Labor pushed to make the policies more “humane”, the result of that was many more boats coming (over 1,000 people per week).  The actual number of people in immigration terms isn’t huge, but the human tragedy associated with loss of life on the boats is huge
  • The options therefore are to go softer still, basically having the navy offer a ferry service where they pick people up just off the coast of Indonesia and drop them at Christmas Island, or to go harsher to stop people coming at all.  Somewhere in the middle is no good – that puts lots of people on very unseaworthy vessels
  • It’s not politically possible to go softer, there would be tens of thousands of people coming in.  And status quo is also not an option

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Education cuts in NSW, the politics

Talking to a friend the other day, she’s a bit left wing. She was telling me about the cuts in NSW education. I expressed the view that they’ll be the normal cuts that a right wing government introduces – they’ll be cutting “administrative staff” rather than “frontline staff”, and they’ll be reducing the numbers of staff somewhat towards the increase in population after years of left wing growth of government.

After talking to her I went to do some research to see whether that was actually true. What I find is the following:

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Rails, MYSQL and clustered primary keys

Rails by default creates every table with a primary key of ‘id’.  This is a sequence generated key that is globally unique.  There are benefits for insert performance, but depending on your usage model query performance can be impacted by this scheme.

Consider the case of an application, a (the stereotypical) blog that has posts and comments.  Imagine that this is a reasonably high volume blog, so we have lots of posts, and lots of comments, and the nature of the blog is that old posts attract comments over time.

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Rudd: what is he up to?

Rudd’s had a good few weeks in the polls and the media, and things are looking up for the ALP.  What do I think is going on here?

Firstly, I have a lot of time for Mumble, blogging at the Australian.  Despite being a definite Rudd supporter, I think he’s calling things as they are.  His view is that Rudd is assuming as much authority as possible, and looking as prime ministerial as possible, so that he can campaign as an incumbent.  And he’s definitely doing that, moving into Yarralumla, holding a tea session with all the ambassadors in Canberra, and rushing around declaring stuff.

He’s also going out of his way to cauterise all the wounds, and campaign as though Julia never happened.  In fact, as though the first 3 years of Rudd never happened either – without a hint of shame he’s campaigning as though he had no record that he needed to defend.  It’s an interesting mix – claim the authority of being Prime Minister, but claim none of the baggage of incumbency.  If he can pull it off, if the media let him pull it off, he could be in with a good shot.

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Creating a history table with Rails and ActiveModel::Dirty

In my rails app I wanted a history table that records all changes to the core entities, recording the object that was changed, the attribute that was changed, the before value and after value.  The aim is that a user can see who has changed this object and when, and over time we can use this in reporting (so, for example, we might care when something became “complete” so we can report completion rate over time.

This post goes through the code to do this – it’s surprisingly simple.

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Rudd: did the party know what they were getting into?

I think I see part of why the ALP really didn’t want Rudd back, because he’s fully taking his new authority out for a drive.  Not certain whether it’s part of a legitimate strategy to get reelected, or just pure vengeance.

So, today he’s putting in place a plan for a Federal takeover of the NSW ALP.  In a political sense, this is logical.  They’re a drain on your vote share because the NSW electorate are sick of the corruption.  So in picking a fight with them you both look like you’re cleaning things up (a bonus), and you ally yourself with the long suffering NSW voter against the NSW ALP.  Very smart move.

Better still, you get to make announcements about what you’re doing – reforming the ALP whether they like it or not.  And they can’t contradict you, and they can’t sack you, because there’s nowhere left to go.  I’d not want to be part of the ALP machine right at the moment – those who were complicit in the original Rudd back stabbing must be feeling awfully uncomfortable.  I think Rudd knows this is the best chance for reform that the party will ever get, and he doesn’t intend to squander it.

Could be interesting times ahead.  And it might even win him some votes.

Date picker, Rails, Javascript

One of the things the future app needs is a date picker so as to select dates in a more elegant way.  The standard Rails/Twitter Bootstrap selection is frankly ugly.  Seems like an easy thing, surely everybody wants one of them.  Turns out not so much.  The better half spent considerable time working this one out, and ended up with ‘bootstrap-datepicker-rails’.

To see her answers, look here:

Date picker