Tidy is a great little HTML lint tool, that goes a lot further than the W3C Validator, but it requires you to remember to run it. The FireFox HTML Validator extension uses tidy and the FireFox status bar at the bottom of the screen to show you tidy output from the current page. This extension removes the need to run tidy by hand, you get it for free on every page you visit, but it does mean you need to visit any pages you want to run tidy against once you get spoiled by its output. Read on →

I’m not a huge fan of the Man of Steel, I find his comics boring, the Christopher Reeve films were watchable but nothing that stands out from my childhood and Smallville is mostly dull. I’d heard the hype about Superman Returns and considering how well the second X-Men film went I thought I’d give it ago. On opening day. Because it’s a comic book based film dammit. And Spiderman 3 is taking TOO LONG. Read on →

Hell is other peoples code. – Not quite Sartre. I don’t mind using other peoples code. I’ll even submit patches if I find a problem, but discovering the same mistakes in almost half-a-dozen projects is enough to drive me insane. Here are three common red flags involving the find command and how to get around them: If you want to be portable, don't use GNU/Linuxisms. Compare these two commands - `find -name "*.log"` # not portable `find . Read on →

I played a lot of ADnD at school, and while I only took part in a couple of short DragonLance campaigns, I’m a Forgotten Realms man, the books written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman really grabbed me. Over the years, where ever ADnD fans gathered in sleepy, huddled masses, the topic of a DragonLance movie would occasionally crop up and we’d all say how great it’d be but that it’s never happen; looks like we were wrong… It seems that a DragonLance Movie based on the Dragons of Autumn Twilight is undergoing production. 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.

I’d originally planned to get to all of these, and even though I’m no longer sure which ones I’ll be able to attend I thought I should at least mention them: LUG Radio Live 2006 - Sat 22nd and Sun 23rd July 2006. Jono Bacon and one of the most talked about events from last year (which I’m gutted I missed). This is going to be excellent. YAPC::Europe 2006 - Brummie Edition - 30th August to 1st September 2006. Read on →

This one’s as much for my own memory as for everyone else, I’ve already used it at two companies and had to rediscover it at each… If you have a number of load balanced apache servers serving the same site and you use ETags to help reduce the number of page requests make sure that the generated ETag doesn’t consult the file inode; these will hardly ever be the same across servers - unless you build from a gold image - and will cause the client to download the page again each time it hits a different server. Read on →

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 →