I’ve been to every Linux World Expo at Olympia in London and each year it gets a little bit more depressing. Earlier events have had such marvels as a giant ice penguin (provided by SGI) that had vodka flowing though its veins and Jon Maddog Hall pointing out how insane it is to refuse entrance to students to a Linux focused event (watching the management squirm was great fun) this year we had… well nothing of any real note. Read on →

A little bit of online technology I’ve been using for the last couple of months is the pool.NTP service provided at (surprisingly) pool.ntp.org. NTP is used to keep your local system clocks synchronised by using some of the bigger, more accurate clocks such as atomic or radio clocks. Traditionally you would add three or four server names/IP addresses to your NTP configuration file and the time would be pulled down and used, the downside to this included the need to ensure the remote servers were still available and the issue of being a burden as the teeming hordes of NTP clients hit the same servers again and again. Read on →

If you are working on a modern Unix machine (no, thats not an oxymoron) then it’s annoying difficult to determine the operating system name and version running. Where you should just be able to type ‘/etc/release’ and get the relevant details you instead need to either guess or brute-force your way through the possibilities. Debian stores this info in ‘/etc/debian_version’, Redhat in ‘/etc/redhat_release’. You know the world is going to end when Solaris makes the most sense and puts this information in ‘/etc/release’. Read on →

I had a little rant on this subject a while ago about the practises of some companies when it comes to evalling software. After some more digging I found a solution I was happy to recommend for the task; webMethods Glue. I had some trouble using the generated WSDL with a Perl SOAP::Lite server but it was nothing ten minutes fiddling didn’t solve. While I’ve only looked at the java2wsdl converter that single component did exactly what I wanted.

While testing a small FireFox plugin in both 0.9.3 and PR-1 I noticed a small oddity. Open 0.9.3, leaving this window open try and open an instance of PR-1. When both windows are open click on the Help menu, now select ‘About Mozilla FireFox’. Both windows are version 0.9.3. I’m note sure if this is a bug with FireFox opening new windows with a ‘getobject’ call rather than a ‘create object’ call (that is a serious over simplification! Read on →

If you are expecting an email, call or anything else from me this week then there is a pretty good chance it ain’t coming. I’ve come down with the flu and I’ve been going to work, doing the minimum hours, coming home and crashing out. What’s that noise? Violins? For me? ;) While I’m typing I’d like to note that my packetstorm feeds actually seem to be getting more users, any other time I’d be ecstatic but come on people move to the official ones so i can shut mine down.

I finally got around to reading the very good Pragmatic Project Automation, the short summary is that it’s excellent for new Java coders, a good read for new developers of .NET or dynamic languages, a useful but not critical read for people with four/five years experience in delivering software and working in small teams. The review is now up on the London PM Reviews page and also, surprise surprise, on the Liverpool Java User Group. Read on →

Author: Mike Clark ISBN: 0974514039 Publisher: The Pragmatic Programmers Pragmatic Project Automation is the third in the Pragmatic Programmers starter kit trilogy (so far…) of books. As it is also the first one not written by Dave or Andy the first question is, does it live up to the high standards set? The answer is a very strong yes. While the first two books in the series increased the developers workload (using CVS and writing unit tests) the third installment focuses on pushing the work back to the machine. Read on →

Here is a rarity, something that annoys the hell out of me :). If you have a website then your goal is to get people to view it, or at least it should be if you’re sane. So why the heck do so many site admins require me to type in the ‘www.’ before I can view the site? All it needs is a “ServerAlias domainname” in the Apache config; or what ever you IIS people use instead. Read on →

I’ve never been a huge IRC person but I do like amusing quotes, if you get a bored five minutes it’s well worth having a sift through both Bash.org and QDB.us. The quality of the humour varies a lot but some of it is good wholesome geek humour. And a lot of it isn’t :)