Welcome to the Andy Sanc’tree

Hi! Thank you for stopping by the Andy Sanc’tree – the personal website – and window into my world - of me, Andy Shellam. Amongst plenty of other things, you can find on this site:

continue reading

Heartbleed - I’m safe… are you?

Earlier this month, a serious vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic software library was made public.  This vulnerability allows a hacker to exploit a TLS (secure) connection to a server and remotely retrieve up to 64k of that machine's working memory.  This compromises the secret keys that are used to identify that service and protect data that flows between users and that server, allowing hackers to impersonate users and read what should have been encrypted data.

continue reading

Shelving and Unshelving Changes in Visual Studio 2012/13

Shelving is a useful process during development that allows modifications to source code to be checked in to TFS but without being included in the source code repository.  This allows you to make changes to your local source code, shelve them, then change your modifications (and potentially undo them) without affecting other co-workers using the same repository.

In Visual Studio 2012 (and consequently 2013), Microsoft have changed the way you unshelve pending changes, and it may take you a little while to figure out how to do it.

continue reading

Ashfield redefines healthcare outsourcing

Until today, I have worked for a pharmaceutical outsourcing company called Ashfield In2focus since December 2010.  As of today, I work for Ashfield or, to give it its full name, Ashfield Commercial & Medical Services.

The Ashfield division of UDG Healthcare plc - which comprises a number of companies that all traded under different names - has today re-branded all its businesses to "Ashfield", with each business providing a different service within the Ashfield umbrella.

continue reading

Apache, Nginx and PHP (php-fpm) on Ubuntu Server 12.04

Apache is still the work-horse of the Internet when it comes to extensibility and dynamic languages such as PHP, however Nginx (pronounced engine-X) is gaining more ground and reputation due to its light-weight build, ease of configuration and improved performance - particular for static websites.  Apache has a number of useful features (such as .htaccess files), and a lot of webserver control panels only support Apache, therefore it's not always possible to remove Apache completely.

By following this article, you will have a web server that has the flexibility of Apache for PHP (which also uses PHP's FastCGI Process Manager for improved performance) and the high-performance of Nginx for serving static content, rewrites etc.

continue reading

My Hopes and Ambitions for 2014

Today - Wednesday 1st January - heralds the start of a brand new year: 2014.  A new year always brings with it the promise of a fresh start; time to finally fulfill those dreams and ambitions we've locked away.  Yet even with all that alcohol-fuelled enthusiasm you have at 11:59pm on New Year's Eve - full of promises that this year is going to be THE year you turn your life around - don't you sometimes know deep-down that you'll be saying the exact same words in exactly a year's time?

I know I do...

continue reading