Jason Statham has found himself a Hollywood niche, action films that don’t set the box office on fire but provide a decent level of “leave your brain at home” entertainment. The Transporter movies and now Crank are shining examples. Despite the trailers (and my expectations) Crank isn’t as action packed as I’d expected, in between a number of fight scenes there is a surprising amount of plot and amusing dialogue. While the plot itself isn’t exactly original the films constant changing from one scene to another and some decent dialogue makes it a lot less painful than it could have been. Read on →

When I was at school I was an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, over the years I’ve lost contact with most of it (the occasional novel, issue of Dragon or, very rarely, a source book is as close as I get these days) but one of the few things I did see was the first Dungeons and Dragons film. Which was BAD. But I’d waited so long that I watched it. Read on →

Severance had a lot of potential, it could have been Dog Solders meets The Office, but this time with The Office actually being funny. Instead, it’s an OK paced generic slasher film with a lot of attempted humour - only a handful of which hits the mark. Laura Harris puts in a decent performance, Tim McInnerny is completely wasted (if you’ve seen him in Spooks or Blackadder you know he can act when given decent material) and Danny Dyer does an acceptable job as the very two dimensional everyman. Read on →

The Ten Career Commandments isn’t my usual kind of book, I got stuck in a friends office waiting for him to finish up for the day and ended up reading it because it was the only thing on the desk, and they only had a 2Mb office ‘net connection - the barbarians ;) The Ten Career Commandments is an easy read that will best serve people just starting out in the world of work. Read on →

Let’s cover the basics, if you’ve got two machines working as an identical failover pair then THEY SHOULD BE IDENTICAL. Adding services, hell, adding nearly anything, to only one of them is a mistake. You’ve now created a bias on which one you need running and you can no longer assume they’ll both do the same thing in the same situation. Which defeats the whole point of having them. This might seem obvious, but the number of people who break this simple rule never fail to make that pretty little vein in my neck dance. Read on →

Once a machine has settled in to a rack how long does it take you to turn it in to a working server? How many of these steps are automated? The longer you can go without making manual changes the more comfortable you can be that the machine’s running as it’s supposed to be. What little tweaks do people make once the machine is up? How do you know they’ve been done correctly on each machine? Read on →

When it comes to system administration, the system part can refer to the paperwork, processes and procedures as much as actual machines. Among the modern admins worries are such evil beasties as section 404 of Sarbanes Oxley, the data protection act, log retention for the lovely police state powers of our government and, in some industries, ISO17799, BS15000 and other similar standards. One of the topics I’ve been interested in recently is the ITIL approach. Read on →

Over the last week both Ruby and Python have had moments in the sunshine, between Jim Hugunins (now of Microsoft) IronPython 1.0 release and Sun hiring JRuby developers it’s nice to see the bigger players notice how far dynamic languages have come. So what do the little languages that can get from this? It’s a decent sized list - a huge range of well written libraries (both .NET and Java have a ton of supporting code available and a lot of it is damn good), a large potential user base (especially for IronPython) and enterprise recognition; while more forward thinking developers know all about the benefits of dynamic languages there are a lot of late adopters that are about to see the shiny things for the first time. Read on →

I’ve been very remiss about blogging the July Ask Later evening, organised by Steve Coast and Tom Carden. The format was different to any presentations I’ve seen before, each speaker had 20 seconds to present each of their 20 slides, and no way of altering the timing. BWHAHAHA. The first speaker had me worried, without trying to sound harsh, his timing was off and my fears about sudden rushing as a slide changed before he was finished and awkward silences in between came flooding back to me. Read on →

Here are three nice, simple, general rules regarding releases that you should try and stick to. If you don’t then you’re running on luck and eventually you’ll get called while doing something way more fun than deploying yet another bug fixing release. No releases on the day before a weekend / national holiday. No releases within two hours of the official end of your work day. No releases before you go away on holiday. Read on →