While marketing books ain’t my usual bedtime reading material but as the Open Source movement continues to forge ever onwards the softer skills are going to become every bit as useful as writing code or documentation. While looking for an accessible book on these dark arts I stumbled on Eric Sinks take on the The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and just had to read the original. The “22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” is an extremely accessible book that details, as you’d guess from the title, 22 common elements of marketing that the authors consider to be (near) immutable laws. Read on →

My employer uses a lot of OpenSource software and develops custom applications with Perl. It has a very strong tech team with ties to a number of online projects and where possible it likes to give things back. I’ve been lucky enough to have been handed some money with which to show our appreciation to the different OpenSource communities whose work we use. While it’s not a huge amount of money it is both a nice gesture on the companies part (it shows they understand both the advantages we can reap from OpenSource and encourages it’s technical staff to stay in contact with their peers) it’s also one of the highlights of my job. Read on →

It will happen! I’ve just been a bit slow in getting information out about it. This is the second GLLUG I’ve put together and while it’s fun it does take a little more planning and effort than I have the time to commit on a continual basis. This time we’re lucky enough to have three talks (at the time of writing this entry!), Matthew Block from Bytemark; the people I rent the UML box that hosts this site from. Read on →

Last September I decided to put a basic 2004-2005 Pragmatic Investment Plan together to give me some goals and tasks to accomplish over the following 12 months. Eight months in (and after considering shorter PiPs) I’ve decided to mark last years as finished. While I’ve not completed every item on the list I’ve made a pretty good showing and I’m pretty happy that I could have finished on time. Halfway through the period covered by that PiP I changed job and my interests and areas of responsibility changed significantly; that’s why I ended up taking so long to finish some of the easier ones such as the book reviews. Read on →

It’s been a long while since I’ve been lucky enough to be sent on a training course for anything so I’d forgotten how depressing they can be. I try and get to as many technical conferences as possible for a number of reasons, the fact that all the people attending want to be there and make a genuine effort to chat and learn is a major one and it’s one of the few times I get to meet some of the people I speak to online in the flesh. Read on →

Despite its odd name the Aardvark FireFox Extension is actually damn useful. Once installed, turn it on using Tools->Start Aardvark and move the mouse over the page. As you hover over different parts of the page a red box will outline the current section, show you what HTML tag created it and show the elements “class” or “id” values. What’s less useful but still interesting is that once you’ve selected the element you’re interested in you can do a couple of occasionally useful things to it, remove it, colour the background, remove the element but leave a blank spot etc.

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 always feel both a little guilty and odd when discussing books about sales people and selling. While you need money to survive in any business the IT people are normally quite removed from the processes of bringing it in (technical pre-sales is one notable exception). Like most techs I’m not a natural sales person, add to this my intense dislike of pushy sales reps, both in my personal shopping and professionally (cold call me on the phone and I’ll NEVER buy your product) and I’m probably not the ideal audience for this kind of book. Read on →

I enjoyed the entertaining, if not exactly revolutionary, Blink and went looking for anything else by the same author. The Tipping Point is very similar in style and outcome to Blink; it delves in to an interesting subject in an entertaining way but leaves you feeling a little empty. The book itself is well written and has a pretty wide appeal, the subjects examined and ideas presented cover such a wide range of examples that there is something in it for almost everyone. Read on →

I’ve been out of touch with most of the world (and reality) for most of the last seven days due to personal and professional demands on my (ever so badly managed time). The one thing I’ve concluded is that I need a new, light, laptop and a source code control system that has a sensible off-line mode. The ability to use SSH and the web over my Treo would be a bonus. Read on →