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 →

I’ve added two more semi searches to my Mozilla/FireFox search page. First up we have a simple Google Maps (UK) search, I like Google maps and this puts it closer to my reach. Next up we have another phone number lookup from Dave Cantrell, this time for Ireland Phone Info. Note: both of these use existing images as I’m not really the arty type.

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’ve added another blosxom plugin to the site, this one is called google_highlight and does what you’d expect. It highlights any Google search terms that lead you here. I’ve had a play and it seems to work fine so I’ve added it to the live site. If you have any problems with it please let me know.