So today is Ada Lovelace day and we’re supposed to “celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.” I don’t know many women in science but I do know a few in technology and one in particular seems to go from back breaking task to another with politeness and grace I wish I could muster. So for my 2010 Lovelace day (and because she’ll need all the happy thoughts she can get now she’s president of the Perl Foundation) I’m naming Karen Pauley. Read on →

Many years ago, in the first dotcom boom, I worked for a website performance monitoring company. I was one of the early employees (developer number 3 and sysadmin number 2) and I remember being in a meeting with the company CEO who was telling us about a new pitch we were doing for $SUPERMARKET, they were going to try this new idea of shopping online and then delivering it to your door. Read on →


It’s very easy to become quite blase or even cynical about new technologies but sometimes a project grabs your attention and coaxes out a “that’s very cool”, the real time augmented Google Earth had that effect on me. How long will it be before you can roll back an overlay by X weeks and see what happened in that game last Thursday or check the traffic on your new route at 7am on every Friday for a couple of weeks?

Is it just me or does everybody seem to go and buy a new laptop just before they leave their current job? Is it the techie version of buying new work shoes?

I’ve been quiet on the PiP front for a while now. While the day to day stuff has kept me busy it hasn’t exactly helped move my career along, I spend most of my time doing things I already know how to do but with a little twist on them. In an attempt to stop myself from further stagnation I’ve put a short list of goals below that should be my bare minimum for the next three months. Read on →

If someone in the audience asks a question that you plan on answering then please repeat it, with your own wording, before you respond. This gets us two things - the person asking probably won’t have a mic so not everyone will hear what he said, they will when you repeat it. Secondly - by repeating with your own phrasing - you’ll get basic confirmation that you understand what’s being asked rather than answering the wrong question; which wastes everyones time and leaves the asker frustrated.

Today has been one of those death by a thousand cut days. We did a migration first thing in the morning (I’m not supposed to be awake at 6am unless it’s from a really late night) and while all the big bits were planned and moved successfully the work list was missing enough little pieces to make the rest of the day very annoying. What made the work a lot harder was that the changes had to be made through a web front end that abstracted about 20 seconds of vim in to four minutes of clicking buttons that were never in the same place twice. Read on →

Near the middle of December I lost a very dear, and constant, companion - my Sony Vaio ‘some model number or other’. After nearly five years the laptop stopped charging and it wasn’t worth paying for the repairs. I put off getting a replacement for as long as I could but while I had the work laptop as a standby I needed a machine I could treat as my own. Something outside the company security policy. Read on →


Like most of the techy part of the Internet I dutifully downloaded Google Chrome today and had a little play around. And just like all those other people I’m going to write about it. The difference is I’m very ambivalent about the whole thing. Chrome seems nice enough. It’s quick, works with all the websites I’ve tried so far and does have a killer feature - the task manager. Finally breaking tabs out in to their own sandbox is an idea whos time should have come years ago. Read on →

And not just on the waist line. Not the worst sysadmin appreciation day ever. I do now have this feeling of dread as I wait for the other shoe to drop though.

Ted Neward is the latest person to get linked to in the ongoing campaign to prove that parrot isn’t dead, sleeping or pining for the fjords (sorry, couldn’t resist). While chromatic rebuffs some of Teds points I can’t help but think something is missing - a little outside perspective. chromatic rightfully points out that the project isn’t dead (and has actually been pretty visible in the perl sphere since the start of the year) but look at it from more of an outsiders angle - unless you are already in the perl community it’s not obviously moving. Read on →

This weeks three things are - MySQL 5.1(.20+) can log errors via syslog (finally) IBM Blades run quite well despite being very wet. (don't ask) Amazon Prime is too helpful. (Wooo individual book orders)

I own a lot of old comics, piles of DVDs and a somewhat smaller (but still decent size stack) of audio CDs. These take up a lot of physical space, the comics decrease in quality, they all attract dust and are a pain to dig through when I want to find that one song on a compilation CD from 2002. Or was it 2001? I have a lot of data - iso images and virtual machines are among the biggest disk eaters. Read on →

It’s not that widely known but O'Reilly offer a user group discount - it’s 35% off the cover price and free delivery so it’s often cheaper than you can get the books new from anywhere else. A few days ago I wanted to order a couple of books and because there are no conferences this month (and so no lovely Josette) I signed up online. The process itself was quick, easy and painless but one step stuck out in my mind - “Password cannot contain special characters or spaces”. Read on →

Linux Journal is getting some coverage again, last time was an advert, this time it’s a headline about Perl that Andy Lester didn’t like and caused him to post that “The Linux Journal owes the open source community, especially the Perl community, a big apology.” You can read the full complaint yourself over at use.perl 2.0 - sorry - Perl Buzz ;) I like his post, despite the fact he’s got a valid point the delivery irks me more than the underlying issue. Read on →


When I worked as a developer I played around with servers and infrastructure in my spare time, now I get paid to worry about that kind of stuff I quite enjoy writing the occasional useless piece of code. This weeks were a patch (well it started as a patch) to Statistics::Lite to make it pass its tests. And then I got distracted in to re-writing its test script from Test.pm to Test::More. Read on →

The topic of budgets came up in the office today (the team I work in wants to spend more than we have - of course - but SUN thumpers are so shiny…) and I was reminded of a tactic used by one of my previous bosses in a VC backed company. The systems team were assigned an amount for the year that was too low for the planned upgrades (which had been signed off) and was a suspiciously round number. Read on →

In one of those serenity^Wserendipitous moments I seem to have an abundance of Science Fiction close to hand. Thanks to Richard I’ve got tickets to see Spider-man 3, Amazon DVD rental have sent me Metropolis, A Scanner Darkly and Triangle. Paul grabbed tickets for the London SciFi weekend showing of Quatermass and I’m now the proud owner of the whole Deep Space Nine run. Sometimes it’s good to be a geek. Read on →

It’s been a week of databases, replication, provisioning and planning for automation. While winding down (it’s an on-call weekend) I found some links I’d marked for future reading. If you’re interested in database provisioning (especially read only replicated slaves), practical autonomics and how they could potentially be useful in a real environment then these papers make for an interesting ten minutes It doesn’t take a massive leap in imagination to see how a similar approach could be used in to horizontally scale web servers in conjunction with an intelligent monitoring system or load balancer. Read on →

I don’t normally write short posts with a single link but the The Great IPv6 Experiment amused me. In an attempt to crack the chicken and the egg adoption problem they have put up an IPv6 only website full of porn. They say porn pushes technical innovation. We’ll see. Although probably not until the videos are over.

Yes, I’m completely behind with this one but it’s Linux geek funny (the images are CC licensed by Chris Blizzard). It is also a sneaky test of the planet.gllug.org image handeling. And then to the Debian and Ubuntu versions.

Digg People: Please note that “Top $FOO of all time lists” should not be completely comprised of $FOO’s from the last two years. You should also dock points for all uppercase words, txtsp3k, leet speak and every use of ‘AMAZING!!111’ and its ilk.

I’m not sure about the basic idea behind Twitter but after signing up, having a little look and noticing the Net::Twitter CPAN module I decided to implement a really bad idea… #!/usr/bin/perl -w use strict; use warnings; use Net::Twitter; my $bot = Net::Twitter->new( username => "username", password => "password" ); chomp(my $doing = <>); $doing =~ s/^\s+\d+\s+//; $bot->update($doing); To make it ‘useful’ you’ll need to run the following in your bash shell: PROMPT_COMMAND='history | tail -n 1 | /path/to/twitter_post.pl' and tada! Read on →

I was more than a little slack in my online activities in February. Between getting back from LCA and preparing for FOSDEM (tip: sleep a lot before you go) I also managed to have curry with both David Cantrells, see Luke Kanies present Puppet at GLLUG, attend a London PM Heretics, a Lonix and two other meetings that don’t have real names yet. And reach another birthday. I’m not going to UKUUG in Manchester (I need some time at home) but I’ve been prodded in to potentially organising another GLLUG evening and a London PM tech meet, Brummie.pm are willing to come down and speak so it’s a perfect time to put one together. Read on →

I’ve been tagged by Dave Cross so here are some things that you probably don’t know about me but I’m not too worried about sharing. Although they ain’t very juicy. I simultaneously broke both my wrists while playing football in secondary school - it involved a concrete pitch and a diving goal keeper. In addition to hurting like hell for what seemed like forever it was also the last time I actually played football. Read on →

Over and above the actual attending and enjoying of talks I’ve got another reason to be here, to see how they organise events on this side of the planet and to see how the wider communities seem to be doing. I’ve been chatting to a number of locals who are involved in different groups and the level of cooperation is embarrassingly good compared to what we’ve got at home. I sat in on the Linux Australia AGM last night and I’ve now got a short list of people to hassle about how they’ve managed to get certain projects off the ground; so if you’re an LA board member watch out for the sunburnt pom with a list of “How’d ya…” questions. Read on →


Your business success will depend on the extent to which programmers essentially live at your office. For this to be a common choice, your office had better be nicer than the average programmer’s home. – Philip Greenspun Although the idea of working more hours is currently on the wane this remains one of my favourite quotes, it nicely summarises my start up experiences. One of the weird things about my current job is that it’s the first technology company I’ve ever worked that actually closes its offices. Read on →

The Register is one of the sites covering ESRs Linux / iPod-compatibility rant and he’s managed to confuse himself, other people and the issues. Once again. Firstly we have this request that the “community”, most of whom cringe when he starts talking, start compromising on closed source platforms and formats. Apparently the OpenSource movement hasn’t given up enough rights yet and he’d like us to back down and hand over a couple more. Read on →

Another day, another Amazon package… This time it had both the laugh out loud funny Penny Arcade - attack of the Bacon Robots and the ever impressive Megatokyo: Volume 4. In addition to the comics the Penny Arcade book has a short paragraph of commentary for each cartoon and, fortunately, they’re as funny as the cartoons themselves. While Volume 4 of Megatokyo isn’t as amusing as the first couple of volumes, and no where near as funny as PA, it’s evolving in to a great story full of impressive art. Read on →

The March 2006 London PM Tech meet went well, we had 35 people turn up and most of them came along to the pub afterwards. While everything seemed to go according to plan there are three things anyone hosting an event should know… Firstly get a copy of all the slides on a single machine (if possible - if you have speakers using magic point, keynote and Powerpoint good luck…). This will make lightening talks run a lot smoother, saves you trying seven laptops with the projector and stops people from bringing their own electronic baby, with a full head of wires, up to the podium. Read on →

Jeff Barr, who we were lucky enough to have deliver an excellent and entertaining talk a couple of months ago, is coming back through London in July. This time he’s interested in having some 1 to 1 chats with developers using Amazons Webservices. More details are on the Amazon Web Services Blog - Calling London blog post.

How much of your work is done based on a request? Does the task you’re working on have a an RT ticket, a Bugilla id or story ID associated with it? If it doesn’t should you be doing the work at all? Even some of the more routine tasks can fit in this model, rather than remembering to check for the expiry dates of SSL certs or domain names have scripts that check and put any actions in to RT for you. Read on →

I’m not a lawyer, so this is based on my uneducated understanding, but from what I can gather, if you use the phrase Web 2.0 in the name of a conference then O’Reilly and CMP are within their rights to send you a Cease and Desist. Even if it’s a non-profit Web 2.0 conference like IT@Cork. Who now have coverage of their event I’d kill for :) I think what’s annoyed a lot of people is that they’ve been dupped in to promoting a clumsy, easy to mock, phrase that’s never been more than a marketing term. Read on →

I’ve seen two posts today, each of them about technical events, that caught my interest and deserve a comment. The Farm on the Rails Seminar Admissions Test is something I’ve thought about in the past and never come to a conclusion about; how do you do an advanced event without pissing people off? The Pragmatic Studio’s Advanced Rails Studio approach is to ask for demonstration code, a site or a decent write up of previous experience. Read on →

Booty Call: “Booty calls can be used by one partner of an ended relationship to obtain sex from the ex-partner, due to lingering emotions and feelings of a need for continued physical connection.” This one’s pretty obvious, it’s a replay attack. You’ve already gone through the authorisation and authentication processes and now you’re reusing previously obtained credentials to obtain access to a resource.

While I’m thinking about magazines I’m going to complain about Linux Journal. I’ve been a reader for over six years now and apart from the horrible “Cooking with Linux” columns (where Marcel Gagme badly pretends to be a French restaurateur) I’ve been happy with the content. Mick Bauer’s “Paranoid Penguin” and “At The Forge” by Reuven Lerner have long been highlights. Recently the magazines tone seems to have changed a lot. Read on →

I’ve recently had to get rid of a bundle of magazine back issues, some of them from as far back as November 1999 (sysadmin mag, an article on Expect that I’ve still not read…) and I’ve decided to put a couple of rules in place to help keep things sane: Any magazine over three months old goes. No more than 20 magazines in the pile at any time. The first rule serves two purposes, it stops me saying “I’ll read that on the weekend” month after month, and it helps keep my information up to date. Read on →

I’m pretty sure I had a reason for adding Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children to my Amazon DVD rental queue, but when it arrived in the post I couldn’t think of it. I’ve never played the game so I went in to the film cold and have to say that it was actually a decent watch, even for a newbie. The plot makes a little sense, the voice cast were forgettable but some of the animated fight scenes were amazing. Read on →

Both Dave Cross and Slashdot have recently commented on Googles problems hiring engineers. I’ve been quite surprised at how much effort I’ve seen them expend on it recently. From a stall of overly enthusiastic people at FOSDEM, to speakers at UKUUG and the Vint Cerf recruitment tour they’re more than willing to throw resources at the problem. Just before Christmas I got an email from Google recruitment asking if I’d be interested in going for an interview, and you know what? Read on →

The way that GLLUG events are organised has changed again recently and bought it more inline with how things used to be done. When I first joined GLLUG the meetings (speakers and venue) were mostly organised by a fearsome man (who was rabid about his privacy so I won’t mention his name) who had a nack for getting good speakers but no skill at organising (most meetings were announced about a week before they happened) or promoting them. Read on →

I’m not a Mac fan, I tried. I really did. After Paul Graham declared Macs supreme and the worthy of attention David Heinemeier Hansson bashed Windows developers I pulled my old iBook out of the cupboard and gave it another couple of weeks. And then went right back to my Dell Latitude running Windows (and Linux in VMWare). While this is old ground for me what’s recently bought my Mac hating to the forefront is the stupidly high number of hardware failures Mac laptops seem to have. Read on →

As the title says, Mozilla.org has announced the Extend Firefox Finalists. Of the 18 plugins that have made it to the last round I’m already using five of them so I’m pretty happy with the list.

I’m on call this weekend so I’m pretty limited in what I can get up to. At least that’s my excuse for watching TV… First up I saw the movie adaptation of Doom. I’ve blogged about the Doom movie before and unfortunately I was right. It was bloody terrible. Almost no plot, insanely bad voice acting from Rosamund Pike and lots of pointless corridors. The only highlight was the first person section that gave a nod to the original franchise. Read on →


I finally got around to watching the entertaining and very well rehearsed OSCON 2005 Identity 2.0 Keynote by Dick Hardt. The presentation itself is very catchy; a large number of very short slides that stop you getting bored (very Lessig). I hate to think how long he spent getting them together. My favourite was the MS Passport slide, which, slide-by-slide, summarises the whole story of Passport in a single element. Sxip itself is an interesting idea and the move from businesscentric silos to user centric ones is well over due but I’m curios as to how you boot strap something like this. Read on →

After the Linux expo at Olympia (more to come on this later) I made a manic dash across London to the only cinema I knew of that was showing early previews of Joss Whedons Serenity. I managed to get there just as the adverts finished and settled in for a very long awaited couple of hours. And I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not going to give anything away but the film is very good, not mind blowing like some of the early reviews have claimed but it’s the best written Sci-Fi I’ve seen in a long time. Read on →

At the last couple of places I’ve worked I’ve ended up being the only real sysadmin in the company. While this gives you a fair amount of control over what you’re doing from hour to hour, it also means you don’t have any one with the same professional interests to bounce ideas off or sanity check you; caveat: most Perl developers I’ve worked with have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of UNIX. Read on →

I’ve been waiting for this one for a while and it’s almost on us. The weird thing is it’s starting to become difficult to not found out what happens in the film. When it was only the occasional geek seeing an early screener or preview I could spot the posts and ignore them. now it’s on general release in the US the sheer quantity of reviews, spoilers and discussions on the film is becoming ridiculous. Read on →

Over at ZDNet Paul Murphy has a rather annoying post about whether the GPL impedes Linux more than it helps. The short answer is: No. The slightly longer version is “who cares?” Linux has become an incredible phenomenon, it’s used in some of the biggest companies on the planet (Google, Oracle, Novell), it runs large chunks of the net and has an amazing community of very smart people moving it forward. Read on →

One of the great things about sites like PledgeBank is that they provide a single service and they they do it well enough that it can be bent slightly to serve another purpose. I organise the occasional meeting for techies and one of the few major worries is “what happens if no one turns up?”. It’s not a complex fear but it can result in some sleepless nights. It’s not even just a case of “will I look like an idiot if this goes wrong?“. Read on →

Back in April of 2001 GLLUG had a meeting, in the CFC preview cinema, which featured a talk by Richard Moore of IBM. Now the speaker obviously knew his stuff, he was a little dry but obviously passionate and enthusiastic about his material. The topic was a new way of debugging the Linux Kernel; it was called DProbes. Now while I understood most of the talk, I’m not a kernel guy so bits were over my head, the idea seemed like a good, if quite ambitious one. Read on →

I’m involved in the GLLUG user group. One of the ideas that came up recently (it was actually discussed on a non- GLLUG list!) was about starting a “Planet”. A Planet is a collection of posts from different blogs (pulled together from different feeds) and put on a single page (also available via different feed formats…). And now we have one; behold Planet GLLUG. The initial release is a trial in a number of ways. Read on →

I used to be a big fan of C.S.I, the original, not the spin-offs, but as the series continued to come it moved away from the science and quirks and more in to the weekly “soap opera” I lost my interest in it. Fortunately there’s now a new contender for it’s place in my very limited TV schedule. House, M.D. The title character, Dr. Gregory House, is played damn well by Hugh Laurie, a British actor best known in the UK for his comedy work. Read on →

I’ve been a Stargate fan since the first series (the ninth series is a ‘little’ flat but that’s a different post) and I dutifully watched Atlantis when it started, and was pretty much disappointed. The plots are mostly from the early Stargate episodes and the characters are too similar to the old SG1 team. Except McKay, who I really liked. Arrogant, cowardly, selfish, brilliant and with a dry, sarcastic wit he was the reason I managed to hang on for half a series. Read on →

I’ve just watched The Butterfly Effect - Directors Cut and I have to say it’s not as bad as I was expecting. The plot outline, from IMDB, is pretty snappy: “A young man (Ashton Kutcher) blacks out harmful memories of significant events of his life. As he grows up he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life.“ What made the film interesting was its pretty bleak view of changing the past. Read on →

I’ve been a member of the UKUUG for a couple of years know and I’m a great fan of their conferences. They always manage to get a good venue, a decent crowd and a lot of top notch speakers. I, on the other hand, have just about managed to get two GLLUGs up and running and almost had a coronary at each one. In an attempt to learn more about how the big boys plan and organise these kinds of events I’ve applied for a seat on the UKUUG council. Read on →

While reading the comments at the Digitial Rights Pledge page I noticed one by D Walker: “Digital Rights” would too easily be muddled up with “Digital Rights Management”, which in itself should be called “Digital Restrictions Management”. It’s an ever so small point but I think it’s important; Digital Restrictions Management is a much better name than “Digital Rights Management”. It pushes the point that it’s taking things away from Read on →

Over the last couple of years comic book fans have been spoiled by some great big-screen adaptations. Spiderman 1 and 2 (which NEED more witty one-liners from the wall crawler), X-Men 2, HellBoy and Sin City have all been enjoyable and lived up to the franchises that spawned them. We’ve also been witness to some truly dire moments, Catwomen and Electra spring to mind. So where does Fantastic Four fit? It’s pretty average. Read on →

I was lucky enough to go to the NTK/UKUUG/BBC OpenTech event on Saturday (July 23rd) and one of the sessions discussed whether we need a British digital rights group to help promote and campaign for our freedoms. While I wasn’t in the session (bad Dean!) I can’t not pledge money and consider myself a decent member of the community. In order to start the group off there’s a PledgeBank fund you can sign up for. Read on →

I ended up seeing two films in the cinema yesterday, and for the record going to the cinema during “working hours” doesn’t make it any less busy dammit! After watching both Sin City and Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith I have only a few comments to make. Firstly I enjoyed Sin City more, Sith seemed to be about 45 minutes too long and, despite the gorgeous backdrops and neat fight scenes I found myself clock watching. Read on →

I had an interest in shared storage FireWire clustering on Linux for a while. After spending a couple of evenings learning about it and having a little play I ended up with a big text file of links and notes. Below is the slightly more rationalised version of my notes. If I ever need it again I’ll try and write them up properly, in the mean time they might serve as a useful pointer to some other traveller. Read on →

I’m a fan of MegaTokyo, it has an interesting (but deathly slow) story, great art, a lot of oddities and some really neat jokes for gamers. In the interest of giving some support back I decided to spend a couple of days roaming through the comic shops of London looking for the three published volumes of strips; it was such a chore :) While I’ve actually read my way from start to current using the online archives the quality of the art is even more visible in the books, while the quality has risen over the years (from a pretty high starting position to be honest) some the drawings are just staggeringly good. Read on →

I worked at three very different startups (two of which are still doing well) and I have a lot of fond memories of the challenges, environments and people I was fortunate to work with. While I was in the trenches it was very hard to not know about, and to a limited degree get involved in, the other aspects of the business. From gearing up for a week of presentations (in a different time-zone) in an attempt to get more funding that would be hitting the system quite hard to the moments of desperation when almost a dozen people were laid off simultaneously (a sysadmins life is not always a pleasant one). Read on →

I have my own Pragmatic Investment Plan that I’ve been (remarkably slack) in following. It’s the first one I’ve done and it covers a whole year. Which I’m starting to think is a mistake. My circumstances have changed a fair bit since I wrote that PiP and a number of the tasks, such as learn Mono and write a CPAN module, are no longer very relevant to me and where I’m heading; although the fact I couldn’t pick goals that were valid for a whole year might say something about me :). Read on →

Between being ill, attending FOSDEM, putting a GLLUG on, actually reviewing my review copies of books and a couple of other bits I can’t yet mention, the things requiring my attention have been not-so-slowly piling up. I’ve taken a large chunk of this weekend to clear down the multiple mail boxes, RSS feeds and saved book-marks that I was supposed to read weeks ago. One thing I have noticed is how much more productive I am when using client-side tools I can customise. Read on →

If you are on some of the more useful security lists like full-disclosure then there is a pretty good chance you’ve seen posts from Billy B. Bilano, a very amusing writer who gets people that should know much better to bite. Have a look at the the Tao of doing it right thread or Possible First Crypto Virus Definitely Discovered!. While both of these emails are tragicly funny some of the responses are every bit as good. Read on →

Over at use.perl there is a short call for funding from TPF to help fund the development of Perl6 and Parrot. I’ve long been a Perl 5 fan, it’s flexible, powerful, CPAN rocks and there are a number of smart, helpful people involved. As much as I like the community the killer feature is letting me get things done quickly and easily. When it comes to Perl6 I’ve just not found anything that really interests me. Read on →

I heard about a job a couple of days ago that I’d have taken a pretty big pay cut to get, I won’t mention details as the position isn’t formally open yet, but it got me to thinking. While I’ve been pretty lucky with my employment over the years (Hi Boss!) there are a couple of places that I’d pretty much consider my dream job (and that I’d crawl over most peoples bodies to work), anything in the security, Linux or Open Source departments in IBM for example. Read on →

Over at MegaTokyo they have an Evil Leet T-shirt that I think is excellent on a number of levels. I know it’s sad but so what. I’m not really a T-shirt person (plus I’m not really allowed to wear them in the office) but I do have an OpenBSD baseball cap I’ve very fond of… So why not combine the two? I now want an Evil Leet baseball cap and after looking around the custom cap printing companies it doesn’t look that expensive to do.

David Black is in London and the London Ruby people (both of them :)) are planning a meet-up. It’s happening on Monday, February 28, 7:00 PM at the Holiday Inn near Russell Square

I’ve already ranted about FarScape returning to our screens so I’ll try and keep this a little less enthusiastic! Over on BBC3 (Digital TV) they seem to be showing a FarScape episode pretty much every week night at 00:10 (midnight plus ten) and it’s started from episode one (and it’s still on the first series). If you’ve never seen it before then it’s well worth watching.

Carly Fiorina was (oh how I like the sound of that) the CEO of Hewlett Packard, she was the woman that ushered in the Compaq merger (of which most techs mocked and laughed at), sold off their best assets, allegedly undertook some pretty shoddy deals to get it all going and then, while laying off thousands of staff bought herself and her upper echelons cohorts half an air force. And now she’s been asked to step down and get the hell out of the way while the company still has a chance in hell of getting out in the market and actually making some money. Read on →

I’ve recently read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and I found the section on Implicit Association Tests (IAT’s) to be really interesting. The short version is that the tests display a number of words that you have to put into one of two or four categories, depending on how long you take to assign them the test can make some guesses as to your implicit associations. It’s well worth having a play with some online implicit association tests.


I’ve done my time in the first person trenches, from Single player Wolfenstein, all the way to Halflife and its expansion packs along with a diversion into multi-player Jedi Knight 2 (If you played online I probably kicked your arse :)) and the early Doom games hold a warm place in my nostalgia but lets face it, a Doom movie was always going to be bad. The script writer, David Callahan, has made a couple of comments online, the full Doom Screenwriters open letter is available but I quite like the Penny Arcade Doom Movie Strip which summarises the article quite nicely. Read on →

Quite soon the Chinese government won’t have to try to censor the net. The western world will just filter off all the traffic coming from China, doing the job much more efficiently. The above quote came from a Slashdot article on China and its Relation With Spam. I don’t normally read the comments on Slashdot articles but I had a hunch some of the posts to this one would be quite extreme; SPAM is one thing that drives most geeks nuts. Read on →

From an article called Faster Python grabs programmers: The new version of Python includes a new module that allows system administrators to use small Python programs instead of shell scripts, said Michael McLay, a consultant who is the resident Python expert for the nonprofit Center of Open Source and Government. Shell scripts, written to execute routine system administration tasks, have more security vulnerabilities and offer less feedback when errors occur, McLay said. Read on →

I started out in IT as a developer working on financial systems using VBA, after a very short period of trying to do flexible string manipulation I stumbled on to Perl, Regular Expressions and the Win32::OLE module; I was hooked. About a year later I had the chance to work at a mostly Perl shop (at the tail end of the dotcom boom) and I was exposed to Unix systems, thats when things got interesting for me. Read on →

As many of my incredibly intelligent, talented and loyal readers will already know the European Union and the asshats lobbying for it are trying to get Patents bought in. Apparently the economy and IT industry haven’t had enough problems recently so they’d like to add a new, all-encompassing one. As you may gather I’m not a huge fan of patents and I’d hate to see Europe adopt them, something which has come way too close to happening a number of times; but now we have Poland! Read on →

I love The Bile Blog, it captures the crude yet funny humour that way too many geek / techie hangouts no longer contain. For those of you that have never been lucky enough to stumble upon it the aim is to provide a public mocking for stupid projects, ideas and even people. Every community needs one of these.

This is going to be my last TV post for a while now, I promise! While in general I don’t watch more than four or so hours a week of TV (mostly comedy shows like Have I got News For You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks) the magical combination of an always on ADSL connection, Torrentcasting, a new 250GB harddrive and two monitors (one for work and one for playing TV shows) has rekindled an interest that was almost destroyed by the ending of Angel, FarScape and Wonderfalls. Read on →

I finally had a chance to sit down and watch this over the weekend and while I wasn’t as blown away as I thought I’d be (I had stupidly high expectations) it was still very good TV and tied up a lot of loose ends that the series never got to close. While four hours may have seemed like a long time in which to have one last outing, when you look back at the series and examine the three episode arcs such as “Kiss the princess”, “Liars, guns and money” and “We’re so screwed” they gave any Sci-fi film a run for its money and, for me, were defining achievements for FarScape. Read on →

And people seem to want to talk to me about it. While I’m waiting for it to download, yes I own all the DVDs and I will buy this when it comes out so no I don’t feel guilty, I’ve had to add another rule to my mail filtering. If you so much as mention FarScape in any way shape or form then your mail gets filed away till later. Read on →

There is a quote I’ve always liked, “It’s like a swan on a lake. On the surface everything is calm but underneath the webbed feet are paddling furiously!” While this is equally true of many things it’s always seems to be most apt when I think about the start-ups I’ve been lucky enough to work at. The sales team and management doing the VC road-shows make the company appear to be a stable, healthy environment where everything is working fine and nothing un-expected arises on a daily basis. Read on →

Firstly I’m going to disclose the fact I have a Mac, it’s an old G3 iBook which has three very important features, it’s got good battery life, weighs very little and has easy to install and use wireless. This is what I call my convention computer and it gets taken to all the tech events I attend; but thats about it. I had a discussion with a couple of GLLUG members this weekend about laptops and the fact soon emerged that I’m not exactly fluent with the Macs GUI. Read on →

Crossing the chasm is possibly THE book to read on marketing and selling in tech start ups, I’ve done three of them and it gets really disturbing to sit in the office and say “Oh no, we’re entering chapter two.”; it really is that insightful. One of the basic premises from the book is that technical adoption follows a pattern, firstly you get innovators and early adopters. These are followed by the pragmatists, the conservatives and eventually the luddites. Read on →

I recently re-read the very interesting slides from the How To Keep Your Job presentation, if you’ve never seen them and you work in a technology field then I suggest you spend some quality time with them, they might just save your salary in years to come. I spent a good few years working in an investment bank so this approach sits well with my view of the world, the whole investment and portfolio analogy seems very apt. Read on →

There are rumblings about Sendmail and it’s future distribution, both it’s involvement in the IETF and Microsoft circus known as Sender-ID and it’s own new license are topics worthy of discussion and attention, a brief collection of useful links can be found at the OpenBSD Journal. I normally don’t get involved in subjects like this until it’s community rallying time (such as European Patents) but I have a vested interest in this one, I’d like to see Sendmail make itself expensive, propriety and (even more) difficult to distribute. Read on →

My name is Dean, and I’m a Farscape fan. I have just one thing to say: W00T! Why am I making gamer noises of joy? The FARSCAPE Trailer has been released. For those of you that don’t know the back story the best place to start is the Save FARSCAPE site. The short version is that the TV execs meddled in the show and then shut it down. The fans rebelled and, considering that it’s back, I’d say we won. Read on →