“Yahoo has gone from not as good as Google to a very interesting company” – Ben Hammersley. To most of us Jeremy Zawodny is Mr Yahoo, he’s the only face we see (and blog we read) from one of the bigger tech companies and while his blog is well worth reading it’s always good to hear someone with his background speak in person. The session covered a lot of small bits and pieces such as the need for a standard way to authenticate to webservices and APIs (without using the whole WS-* stack). Read on →

“What are you wearing?” “A kilt.” “No man, that’s a skirt…” “It’s a kilt. I’m telling you…” “Uhhh it’s pink, has flowers and shoulder straps.” “It’s a pretty kilt.” From: bash.org. The third session of the day was introduced by Ben Hammersley in a kilt. Which he then pulled up as he ran up the stairs and gave the first three rows, and the speaker (who he obviously knew) a view of his arse; fortunately this was after the lunch break. Read on →

I’ll be honest, I had no intension of sitting through this session but after buying Perl Testing: A Developer’s Notebook and Perl Best Practices I was too late to even stand in the Media Hacking session so I went back to the big theatre and sat through what was possibly (in my opinion) the worst session of the day. Now I know Ted Nelson is a smart guy and he’s got some very interesting ideas and perspectives but as a speaker I didn’t like him. Read on →

On Saturday (July 23rd) I made my way across London to the NTK/UKUUG/BBC OpenTech event, carrying on the tradition of NOTCON and sponsored by the BBC it had an impressive list of speakers including Jeremy Zawodny (Yahoos best PR) and Ted Nelson. The crowd was a pretty varied one, along with the usual London Perl Mongers, London Linux users, Debian dudes and UKUUG people there were a lot of people that seemed to be more culture and media orientated. 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 →

The right to improve and better yourself is, in my opinion, one of the most important things a person has. Whether you’re from a repressed minority that is unfairly denied opportunities, a broken home you never want to re-create or ‘just’ a poor family that never seems to get any breaks the hope that you can do better if you’re willing to work hard, persist and keep trying is something you can hold on to in the darker hours, days and, unfortunately sometimes, months. Read on →

I’m a Londoner by birth, by dwelling and by choice. I’ve travelled through Liverpool Street station, twice almost every weekday, for the last seven years. I work about 5 minutes from Russell Square. I’ve worked in Aldgate and it contains some of my favourite restaurants and fondest memories of friends I no longer see. My new job is at Old Street. To me these weren’t just acts of “random terrorism”, I’m taking them personally. Read on →

Fate offers you opportunities for a while, and if you don’t take them, Fate says to itself, `Oh I see – this person doesn’t like opportunities,’ and stops giving them to you. – Douglas Coupland I have two (among many) rules, one that goes along the lines “if it doesn’t feel right then don’t do it” and one about opportunities that Douglas Coupland phrased much more eloquently than I ever could. Read on →

Twice today I’ve suddenly stopped what I was doing and thought, they must have set out to make this awkward… The first incident was also the simplest one, in xinetd config files you’ll often find “disable = yes”. Firstly this is insane because you should assume something’s off and people will turn it on if they want it. This is a basic principle that should be stuck to. Secondly the option is strange to read. Read on →

After an initial problem with the projectors that looked like it was about to sink the whole day (if you saw me at that point I looked like I was about to either explode or cry :)) we managed to get the equipment sorted and all four talks (with five speakers) went almost perfectly to plan. The only talk that overran was the Xen talk, which was due to the number of audience questions. Read on →