It’s time for a little 2017 navel gazing. Prepare for a little self-congratulation and a touch of gushing. You’ve been warned. In general my 2017 was a decent one in terms of tech. I was fortunate to be presented a number of opportunities to get involved in projects and chat to people that I’m immensely thankful for and I’m going to mention some of them here to remind myself how lucky you can be. Read on →


It’s been a while since I posted anything here but now seems like as good a time as any to get back in to the wider world of tech. Where’s a good place to start? Since this years YAPC::EU only has two or three talks I want to see I’ve decided to use the cash (and holiday time) and invest them in to PyCon UK instead.

I’m far happier than I should be to announce that as of about 39 minutes ago I am once more unemployed. My two month contract finished on time and I’m looking forward to being a strain on society for the entire weekend. I start a new role Monday morning (not sure what I can and can’t say about it yet) but I’m looking forward to getting my teeth in to their technical challenges rather than just advising. Read on →


I’ve been quiet recently for “medical reasons”. I’ve been suffering from a pain in the side that seems to strike strongly when I’m sitting, laying or standing up - yes, that doesn’t leave a lot :) It’s present most of the time but tolerable unless I sit in certain positions or chairs. It’s not been too bad at work as the office has very nice seats but I drastically reduced my time spent online (my home desk setup seems to annoy it) while I waited to find out what’s wrong. Read on →

I went to the Nordic Perl Workshop. I had a great time. I also got sunburn. The legal issues surrounding my grandfathers estate are heating up again. Which takes a lot of my time and energy (and money). Builders have been in and redone the kitchen in the flat. It flooded a couple of months ago and now looks shiny and new again. Which means I’ve not been able to move about in here much for the last week or so. Read on →


The work is done, the script is written and from this Sunday night my RSS aggregator will kill any post that’s from before noon on Saturday. This is all part of my (proably pointless) attempt to prevent backlogs and pile ups of unread things. I’m not going to release any of the (very hacky) scripts as they all assume lots about their running environment but I thought I’d mention it in case I can inspire anyone (Lee) to clear out their queues every now and again. Read on →

If you want to contact me then please use the gmail address given on the About Me page. While dean.wilson3@virgin.net was my main address for a number of years (about seven) it’s been getting less and less use over the last 18 months, I now send all my mail via a different address, and it’s finally time to put it to sleep. It’s gone as of the end of February.


I’ve been out of action for the last week and a bit due to illness, this may have something to do with all the windows where I live being removed and left out overnight by incompetent, unprepared builders. Nothing like trying to sleep through a minor gale. In WINTER. When it’s raining. And you have NO WINDOWS! On the plus side I know my email system’s working fine, I’ve got a big enough backlog to prove that. Read on →

In what is just another in a long line of things that have been sent to test me over the last couple of weeks, today one of my sites got hit by a group of machines trying to do not nice things. The result? A load of 56 and a very slow machine. I stopped apache for a while, put some “measures” in place and we’re back up running. I’ve never bothered to make blosxom cache or anything to keep the load low, not having that much traffic always achieved the same goal, but I’ll try and pencil some time in to take a look. Read on →

I’ve just finished upgrading the server that hosts my mail and websites from Debian woody to sarge. The upgrade itself was pretty painless (except for apache vanishing…) and should now allow me to install modern perl modules without a lot of messing around. If you’ve tried to mail me and got a bounce then please retry, everything should be working again now. Of course if it isn’t then you can’t email me to let me know anyway ;)

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 was pretty surprised when Slashdot accepted my submission, a Pragmatic Version control Subversion book review. I was even more surprised when it hit th front page and for about twelve minutes my name was one of the first things on slashdot! After this short lapse into geek I logged into my bytemark machine and battened down the hatches. I shut down all unneeded daemons and prepared for the server to go down. Read on →

You may have noticed the abscense of my sites and received bounced emails yesterday, this is due to the machine that this site was being hosted on getting cracked via a vulnerability in a PHP application. That machine was a shared box that had a number of people looking after it, but with no central responsibility or formal plans in place. I’m now running on a Bytemark box, which I bought for this purpose about six months ago, and just never got around to finishing, which is going to be my new home. Read on →

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 →


This year has been a pretty rough one for me, too many good people gone forever with nary a replacement in sight, the proving of “no news is good news” (one more “are you sitting down” phone call and I’m either gonna go boom or crack) and lots of crap rained down from above. In response to life taking a firm hold of my dangly bits I’ve decided to take the next eleven days out and then start afresh from January (I know it’s only a symbolic date) with a clear head, a lot more enthusiasm and a lighter tone. Read on →

As anyone who has ever read this site will have noticed, I have no artistic ability; and a love of torturing innocent punctuation :). Even the comet tail / mosaic at the top of almost every page was done for me by an amazingly talented guy called Pete Jones. One of my side projects (which typically move at near glacial speed) could do with a splash of colour and some photos. Read on →

It’s been pointed out to me that while I’m willing to endlessly type about such thrilling subjects as “Incomplete Ideas – Knoppix, UML and CDs in books” and Apache Logging directives I’m very lax about covering events, talks and workshops; or as it’s known, things people actually care about :) Two good examples over the last few months have been EuroFoo and the UKUUG Linux Techcon in Leeds. I started out intending to blog at least some of the sessions at each conference but two things stopped me, the talks were too interesting and I felt rude. 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. Read on →

I’ve not had a good week as far as computers have gone, my trusty P2-350 with 512MB finally bit the bullet and died, it’s not even reaching the BIOS anymore so I’m looking to dump it. I’m currently using my backup machine, a P3-866 with 128MB running the evaluation version of Windows 2003 (which is quite nice but more to come on that) but its dog slow when I’ve got FireFox, SharpReader, winamp and half a dozen terms open. Read on →

Is this thing on? With a little luck you’ll be seeing a spiffy UnixDaemon mosaic across the top of the screen and me blathering on underneath it. I finally decided to stop just reading blogs and start writing my own. I’m not sure how its going to go update-wise but i should be able to stretch to a couple a week. I’m using the quite excellent Blosxom so expect the site to go through a lot of small changes while i get everything just the way i like it. Read on →