While reading through Red Handed, a Ruby blog, I stumbled on to an entry about Akira Tanaka’s CVS repository. If you like Ruby then it’s well worth spending ten minutes having a look through his projects, while the code does what it’s supposed to some of his little tools are real niche fillers; and project-name is an ideal example. When run with a single argument project-name goes away and queries a number of different sites, it checks the availability of domain names that consist of the query string and a number of different .tlds, it polls SourceForge, Savannah, the Ruby Application Archive, Freshmeat (but only checking the string against existing projects short names, not the full names!) and does a google count of the term you’re searching on. Read on →

Any attempt at explaining why I wanted to do this will sound odd so for now I’ll just post the one liner… perl -MLWP::Simple -e 'get("http://www.dhs.gov/") =~ /dhs-advisory-(\w+)\.gif/;print "Threat level is $1!\n";' This gets the current threat level for the US and prints it to standard out.

I’ve just discovered Tada Lists (via Jim Weirich’s blog and I’m very impressed, while I’ve seen the Rails video and read the hype it’s only when i use an application like this, written in 579 lines of Ruby code that it becomes clear how powerful Rails is. Tada Lists itself is a very neat site in both the technical and design stakes, it uses XMLHttpRequest (which seems to be very popular at the moment, thanks Google!) to interact dynamically with the host and cut out the submit, delay, refresh phases. Read on →

I’ve written a short Perl script that, when run locally with your credentials, will retrieve all your del.icio.us bookmarks and attempt to verify if they still exist or not. The Delicious Link Checker is written in simple Perl and should be quite easy to customise. I’ve added a (now deprecated) Delicious Link Checker home page that contains the notes, the next batch of TODO tasks and other miscellaneous bits of information.

I’ve added reviews of The Art of The Start and the The Bootstrappers Bible to my book review page. The Art of The Start is a decent enough look at what you should and shouldn’t know but for me the winner was The Bootstrappers Bible, it covers a lot of the same subjects but its pace was better suited to me and it seemed to be more pragmatic and less preachy.

Authors: Seth Godin ISBN: B00005R2F8 Publisher: Do You Zoom, Inc. The Bootstrappers Bible is a 100 odd page ebook, that was available for free and is now available cheaply from Amazon, that provides a pragmatic and realistic overview on the hows and whys of starting up a business with nothing but limited resources and your own intelligence. This book focuses on the essentials of competing with bigger, better funded players and contains more ideas, practical advice and essential knowledge than most books treble its size. Read on →

Authors: Guy Kawasaki ISBN: 1591840562 Publisher: Portfolio The Art Of the Start is a short, pithy and to the point look at some of the essential knowledge that any aspiring entrepreneur should have. The eleven concise chapters cover a range of topics including the old favourites, positioning, pitching, and raising capital and the less common bootstrapping, rain-making and even “The art of being a Mensch.” The author’s experience on both sides of the road to starting up a business, as an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist, is very visible in the text and helps convey context with his advice. Read on →

Author: Kent Beck ISBN: 0321146530 Publisher: Addison Wesley Summary: An interesting book that presents a useful approach, some good idea’s and many pithy quotes but not a classic. Testing is one of the most overlooked phases of the development cycle. From the worst case scenario of not being done to the more common case of all the testing being done at the tail end of a project, when time is most precious and least available, it is more often a rushed afterthought than a real part of the process. Read on →

I’ve added an IE plugin that allows you to validate the mark-up of an entire web-site, starting with the browsers current page, using the WDG HTML Validator tool. The plugin is called Validate Sites HTML and can be found on the IE Plugins page.

Well at least the main page does for the first time since I added the Google Search on the left hand side. I’ve had a fiddle with the HTML and between removing some styles, turning some in to CSS and re-arranging the tags it now passes validation. The other occasional problem I’ve had is Blosxoms desire to auto-wrap each post in <p> tags. In a casual conversation a very smart chap named Simon Rumble pointed out that you just need to start the post without a <p> and end it without a closing </p> and it works perfectly. Read on →