Birmingham feedback

Just got back from Birmingham.

I have to say that I enjoyed today – It was a great opportunity to get some valuable feedback from others taking part in the Summer Student of Innovation scheme. I’ve read all of the comments that you guys submitted to me at the end of the event (there were so many!) and I’ve compiled a list of the most common suggestions.

Good points

Many people said that NoteDump is a solid idea and that it has potential – thanks guys, this is what I like to hear 🙂

Many people said that this app should exist – again, thank you 🙂

Many people said that the app looked easy to use – goooood, I spent many hours making the app intuitive.

Many people said that they liked NoteDump’s design – awesome!

Bad points

Many people were concerned about the uploading of copyrighted notes – I’ll be writing a blog post about this soon, but for now I can’t say much more about this issue. I’m not a lawyer so these sort of things are not within my domain.

Many people complained that my idea was too similar to Google Docs – Although I agree with those people in some way, I have to disagree at the same time. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this project by making it a note management tool with pre-organised module data. The note editor is just a bonus and is actually different from Google Docs in many ways. Google docs can’t actually edit PDFs for a start :p

Good and bad (neutral?) points:

Some of you said that you didn’t like my video because it didn’t really build up excitement to the pitch. Then again, some of you said the video was good as it was straight to the point. – Seen as 50% of people are happy about the video,  and 50% are not, I consider it to be okay.

Some of you said that you wanted to see a demo. I did supply demo login credentials about 20 seconds after I shown the video – so some of you might have not heard me correctly.

I’m pretty happy about the feedback I’ve received so far. I will be releasing NoteDump to 20,000 Cardiff University students soon, so this should be another excellent opportunity for me to get feedback about the app.

One thing I did really badly today was that I completely screwed up my interview for Jisc. The words just didn’t want to come out of my mouth correctly and we had to have about 20 takes before I finally made sense. I can’t believe this happened! I’d just like to apologise to the camera crew in advance if any of you are reading this haha.

Anyhow, I’ll try to improve on all of the bad points above, as well as keep up to standard with the good points. I’ll hopefully see you all at the next event in London!

Time for a well deserved hot chocolate and bed time. I’ve been up since 5am so today slightly killed me :p


Phew, that was close.

Well it’s the night before I head off to Birmingham to pitch NoteDump and I have to say I’m rather excited.

After doing an all nighter last night I managed to get all of the work done on the project that I wanted to – Boom!

Today I decided to upgrade the server so it could cope with higher amounts of traffic. I contacted my project administrators and luckily they were available to change the billing permissions for me so I could make the server upgrade purchase (thanks guys!). I made the purchase and waited patiently whilst my was data migrated over to the new server.

30 minutes later the server migration was complete and so I booted it up hoping that I wouldn’t need to make any changes to it. By default, my web server should start automatically as this is how I set it up. However, this time it didn’t. I was pretty worried that something bad had happened!

The error shown in my console window looked something like this:

(98)Address already in use: make_sock: could not bind to address [::]:80
(98)Address already in use: make_sock: could not bind to address
no listening sockets available, shutting down
Unable to open logs
Action ‘start’ failed

I spent 3 hours reading through server file configurations and on Google. Everything looked good to me (not that I understand half of the stuff going on in the config files). So I started to panic.

I eventually solved the problem by finding a command that allowed me to find which processes were listening on server ports.

Here I am now writing this post with a smile on my face – NoteDump now has TWICE the amount of server power now. Woo!

Just for the record, this is how I fixed the error:

netstat -antp | grep 80

sudo kill -9 [process_id]

I still don’t understand what the root cause of this error was. I don’t have any other services running on port 80, so who know what happened there? I’m pretty sure it has something to do with my SSL certificate as this is the last thing I configured.

Time to practice my presentation for a few hours and attempt to have an early night – 6am start tomorrow!

Modules are finally organized!

Well it’s taken me just short of 3 whole days to organize all of the module data for NoteDump, but it’s finally done!

database courses

Registrations for beta testing NoteDump will be open for every single student of Cardiff University just after freshers week. We will be posting further updates on our Facebook page soon.

You can ‘like’ our Facebook page here:

NoteDump’s User Interface

As the JISC deadline date is coming closer, I’ve decided that now is the perfect time to show off NoteDump. Over the past few days I have been working non stop on creating an awesome user experience feel for NoteDump. I’ve completely re-written pretty much all of the CSS in the app to make it feel much more natural and self intuitive to the user.

So, here it is – the first public sneak peek for NoteDump. Expect to see this coming to your screens in just a few weeks. We still have quite a bit of work to do before then, but I’m confident we’ll get something out there that will change our lives as university students!


Our email server is online!

Well I have to admit, I never thought setting up an email server was so hard / time consuming. I initially put “setting up email” as one of the last tasks on my priority to-do list for NoteDump as I thought it only consisted of routing a DNS entry to a database of emails or something, and only took a few minutes to setup. I was sorta right in guessing how email worked, but boy was wrong about how long it took to set everything up… It took me just under 2 days to get everything working. This time included doing some pre-reading on the topic, configuring all settings, as well as troubleshooting issues though. 

As my server runs the ubuntu operating system, I decided to use Postfix, Dovecot, and MySQL for configuring my email server as this was the suggested setup for the kind of system that I wanted according to other professionals online.

I hit a massive issue after configuring my email server for the first time. This issue being that I was only able to send emails from my server, and not receive anything. After a few hours of debugging DoveCot and Postfix, I had finally found what the problem was:

dovecot: lmtp(5304): Fatal: Error reading configuration: Invalid settings: postmaster_address setting not given

This suggested to me that I was missing a setting called ‘postmaster_address’ somewhere in my configuration files, so I started googling the problem. I spent a few hours googling for a solution, but whatever I tried, I kept receiving the same error when I sent an email to my server from Gmail. I then decided to go down the manual route of opening each and every file manually and searching for a setting called ‘postmaster_address’. It took a while, but I finally found a setting with the name ‘postmaster_address’ in a file called ’15-lda.conf’ in ‘/etc/dovecot/conf.d/15-lda.conf’.

I set a value for the ‘postmaster_address’ setting within the ’15-lda.conf’ file and restarted DoveCot, then went on to send yet another email to my server using Gmail. I waited about 5 seconds and BOOM! my email client started to go crazy by spitting out all of the email messages that I had sent to my server whilst debugging things 🙂

It seemed pretty bizarre that missing out this simple setting would cause the entire incoming mail server to fail when fetching emails, but it certainly did for whatever reason. Anyhow, everything works now so I’m extremely happy.

Here’s 2 diagrams showing how my email server is setup:



Now it’s time to add security to my brand new mail server. Wish me luck everything works instantly this time…

Oh no :(

Well I’m back from Greenwich after a long day of traveling with Sam and Antonio.

Sadly, I’m not back posting the content that I was hoping to. I was hoping to reflect on what I had learnt from attending the event and how it could change NoteDump. Instead, I’m posting why and how we missed the event 😦

Antonio, Sam, and I arrived at London at 2pm ish on the first day of the event via a bus from Cardiff. However, we somehow got lost in the capitol and spent just over 5 hours traveling around tube stations. We asked for help at one of the underground stations, but the guy working there seemed to have no idea what he was doing and directed us to the completely wrong place. After spending a while panicking, we eventually got given a London underground map by one of the kind staff, and we’d finally cracked the London Underground after he gave us a brief tutorial on how it all worked. 

We got to the event at 7pm, only to find out that everything had finished for the day 😦 We did mange to attend the BBQ and catchup with some of the other contestants, but sadly we didn’t manage to do much apart from speak about the overall project progress to people.

We decided to head back to our student accommodation at around 9pm and settled down for the night as we were extremely tired from spending the entire day traveling. I was going to work on NoteDump for a few hours, but I was faced with the news that there was no on campus wifi available, so I just decided to go to sleep.

The next morning we all woke up feeling unwell. We went for breakfast and decided to just head home so we didn’t miss our bus back or make anyone else ill.

I’d like to apologize to JISC about us having to leave so early. I was hoping to make the most out of the two days, but sadly things didn’t go to plan.

I’d also like to personally thank Clau, one of the other contestants in the scheme. He  came to find us when we got lost in Greenwich. Without him we would probably still be searching for the event right now. 

Lessons learnt:

– Never buy a bus on such short notice again. 

– The London Underground is very confusing (although I think I understand how it all works now!)

Hopefully the next event will be a little more productive than this… Also, I’ve been asked by a JISC staff member to start posting project progress more frequently. I will start doing this from now on. Time to get back to working on the project. Things are starting to look sexy now, and I will soon start posting some screenshots of our progress.