Thursday, December 20, 2007

Google Language-ism ... WTF

Well, I never. You'll never guess what...
I've been disgruntled at the fact that I hadn't got the new version of GMail, nor the IMAP option. In fact I set up a gmail account for handling bounces that used to come into our office, and I was dissapointed to see that this account gets the new look + IMAP while my long serving account still didn't have it.

Guess what?
This morning I installed firefox 3 beta and it made me think that I should have a go at finding out why my gmail account isn't upgraded.

Guess what?
I read this on the help forums...

I'm in the UK and simply had to set my account to US English, which is mildly annoying, but it works.

Three questions spring to mind, Why Google? Why? and Why didn't you tell us?

I hope the answer to the first two aren't that you're language nazis, I'm going to spell licence and colour and analyse and optimise the way I always have no matter what functionality you withhold from me. Actually I'm going to use IMAP and perform daring feats of spelling without the aid of a safety net.

Sadly Firefox 3 beta2 doesn't have an "English UK" spellchecker either, its only a beta after all, so if I lapse into american-ism its because the fiendish plot is succeeding.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blow Your Own Trumpet Award

The Blowing Your Own Trumpet award goes to The Ministry of Truth for this little gem that appeared at the top of a page I was perusing...

"Wikipedia [sic] is one of the few reservoirs of hope left." — Anon.
Oh dear!

That the "facts" they accumulate are, to all practical purposes, anonymous makes the Ministry of Truth a wierd and dangerous phenomenon. One to be handled with extreme caution. That the recommendations are also anonymous is self aggrandisement of a kind not seen since Julius Ceaser wrote de Bello Gallico about himself in the third person, The Great General.

If I was tempted to go down the same route I would flaunt this quote:
"blog.Killerbees is one of the few sources for reliable bullshit detection left" - Anon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

200 Pairs of Shoes

200 Pairs of Shoes, originally uploaded by danny angus.

Amongst the most significant differences between the Old Job and the New Job is the fact that we have designers and we do photography for clients in the office. Here 200 assorted pairs of new season shoes wait for their moment in the spotlight.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What does an IT director do?

That was the question I jokingly asked twitter the other day, @sgala said "make IT happen".
How right he was!

In one week I've:
Tried to support my guys while they launched a new client store, or should I say officiated at its birth. Thankfully after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between anxious client and harassed project manager it snuck into action last night.

I've had to rebuild and redistribute PC's in the office to keep the wheels of industry turning while I sort out my purchasing budget.

I've fixed some annoyances with the internal DNS server and a certificate problem that had stopped us from using Outlook when we weren't in the office.

I've set up a dead letter email account in M$ Exchange for diverting bounces to, first time I've touched Exchange. It isn't Apache James.

I've installed JIRA and provided some initial training to project managers and developers, but there's still a long way to go. At least we're starting to get most of the immediate tasks and all of the new stuff into some kind of workflow.

I've set up the tomcat/IIS ajp "thing", and set up a proxy in IIS, for JIRA. I've never touched IIS before either, and boy was it wierd compared with the king of webservers Apache httpd.
I've chaired a meeting with my managers, and another with the same folks for project status updates.

I've been to a sales meeting at a potential client's printing works, we got lost on the way there but it was interesting and hopefully worth our while.

And last but not least I've been exercising my sysadmin and dba skills (how that will make my SLC former colleagues laugh!) getting tough on slow performance by optimising httpd and applying new indexes to speed up worst offending queries. Now and are flying along in fine fettle for the peak of the christmas shopping season.

So Santiago, you were right it seems like I have just made IT happen. :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Living With an xps m1330, Vista, and office 2007

I recently got my hands on a shiny new dell xps m1330, its a 13" wide screen notebook, and cute it is too.
The sad thing is that it only comes with vista, I would have been happier with xp pro, but ho hum.
So what's nice and not nice about vista?
Well after a couple of weeks the following things are worth sharing

  • Turn off the eye candy, it just uses cpu cycles.
  • Wireless support is brilliant, but figuring out how to change some of the settings is hard.
  • The windows explorer is more user oriented than machine oriented, offering you loads of "my" folders, pictures sounds etc. Which isn't really to my taste, I like a nice clear filepath, like C:\projects\stuff
  • bluetooth support is also pretty solid.
  • The security manager is a royal pain in the arse, how the hell do I know whether or not I want to allow aghsdfjkhasgjkfhgaksdhf.exe to run? Why don't you tell me what it does. And please stop bugging me to update "defender" definitions. I tried it doesn't work, more to the point I'm not even sure what "defender" is actually for, sounds like An Important Security Thing though, so maybe I'm living on the edge here. My point? I know a bit about this stuff, and I'm pissed off and confused. How do Microsoft expect my mum to react to the vague but dire pronouncements? (Actually she'd pick up the phone to the "family helpdesk" i.e. moi. On which note we've finally reached the stage of having to look at multi-user licences in our own home. I spent the weekend buying licences for norton anti virus, one for each of us. I didn't think work-life balance was meant to go like that!)
I'll have more to share as life with vista goes on, but on the whole I'm not tempted to install XP just yet (apparently I'd have to "dumb down" the SATA hdd bios settings), I'll set up a dual boot with ubuntu soon though, I hear it works well on the xps.

As for other bits and pieces about the new toy:
The nvidia graphics card is totally awesome (dude), half-life two on this teenie notebook is fast smooth and crystal clear, and has to be seen to be believed.
The battery life (with the middle range battery) is a useful 4-5 hrs (OMG useful battery life, what an eye opener :-)
None of the ports are on the back so I won't break things off when I pick it up by the front. (I'll break them off because I conditioned myself and my kids to pick up laptops by the side!)
That screen turns night into day, I wonder what its like outside? (Raining, but that's not what I meant.)
The bundled macaffee security stuff is expensive and intrusive, I turned most of it off apart from AV, then binned it after the trial was up and installed vanilla norton anti-virus.

I'm using office 2007, which is turning out to be a mixed blessing, and that's being generous!
1/ I'm no longer limited to 3 custom formats in excel, but the "x" file formats aren't used by anyone else I know, as coherently pointed out by steve so I loose the new features when I save in "compatibility mode" Some kind of marketing ploy?
2/ I can't make the "ribbon" small, its either huge or hidden.
3/ I love word's "reading" view.
4/ Why can't I have menus or toolbars docked at the side of the screen? More and more people have wide aspect displays, so there's a ton of empty space at the side of my document, and I want all the height I can get for my stuff, not wasted by the damned ribbon.

That's all for now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bugger off! email is still great.

Enterprise 2.0 is the term for the technologies and business practices that liberate the workforce from the constraints of legacy communication and productivity tools like email

Bollocks to you, I say, email is still a great productivity tool. We're just starving it of attention, and innovation, because we can't be bothered solving the problem of spam.

IM is not email 2.0, and it is high time we figured out what email 2.0 should be.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today's news..

Just spotted these two in my morning trawl through the blogosphere...

Is Microsoft Building a Flickr Competitor? In which we discover just how much of your plans you can give away in a job description.

And WiFi T-Shirt possibly the geek-most shirt I ever saw. Apache should mod these for a hackathon shirt.

Imagine what a crowd would look like, you'd see the signal fading out as it crossed the room, the inverse square made flesh. Would we, as geeks, congregate round the person with the strongest signal? The Alpha Geek?

Kind of reminds me of Natalie Jeremijenko's feral robots project in which toy robot dogs, you know the things, were fitted with sensors to detect stuff (like bad stuff coming out of landfill) and their movements mapped as they homed in on hotspots.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

James power MarkMail

I blogged the other day about a cool new list archive tool, MarkMail.

Well it turns out that the man behind it is Jason Hunter, and he was kind enough to post this message to the James list the other day.

Turns out that it is none other than our own Apache James that is the spider in the middle of the web, handling all the mail, with, I assume, bespoke mailets converting them into XML and storing them in the the Mark Logic server.

Nice one Jason, and thanks for sharing.

I wonder what other people are doing with James? Do you have a James case study I could share? If so get in touch!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

User Servicable Parts Inside

I've taken delivery of a new Dell XPS m1330 for the New Job, its much the same as the one I bought Nikki, and I like it. In fact I love it.

But probably the most impressive thing about it is the Big Manual it comes with, and the fact that about 1/3rd of it is devoted to instructions, with pictures, for taking the thing apart and putting it back together again.

Given the number of times I've had to figure out how to dismantle notebooks to remove crud from the keyboard or apply some glue to busted connection sockets, and given the fact that I always have bits left over, this is hopefully an omen that this notebook will survive "danny-world" for a long time.

Notebook users... Is this a general practice these days? Or is Dell breaking new ground here?

Monday, November 05, 2007

*How* much mail did I send???

Can't really believe it, but according to this cool new mail search thinggy (via ben) I've so far sent 2751 messages to the James lists since 2001.

That's a lot of email, how the hell have I managed it!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Not often these days that I get captivated by a website anymore, there's an element of "been there, done that" creeping into my cynicism. But this...

...which I found thanks to Sacha, had me hooked. To see it out of its iframe (or if you can't see the image) go here, but it works quite well in the iframe.
I once drew a site, including navigation, on a couple of bits of paper, complete with dymo tape "buttons", scanned the whole thing then sliced up the image. I'll see if I can find any trace of it...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Woooo Halloween!

Trying hard to persuade Ross that as he's Scottish he's "Guising", not "trick or treat"-ing it is falling on deaf ears!
Also heard of at least one young adult planning to go "guising for drink", thereby celebrating two aspect of our cultural heritage at once.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Democracy was too complicated - its official

I blogged, before the Scottish elections last May, that I was pretty sure there would be some degree of chaos.
And I was right, there was. Now its official, the official report concludes, amongst other things, that..

We strongly recommend against introducing electronic voting for the 2011
elections, until the electronic counting problems that were evidenced during
the 2007 elections are resolved
combining the Scottish
parliamentary ballot papers onto one sheet was primarily responsible for the
high level of rejected ballot papers

Friday, October 26, 2007

See both sides

Metrofunk apparently launched Metrofunk today. The press release describes it as...

the world's first invite-only social network devoted entirely to nightlife, fashion, film, and music.
Oh how Way Cool it sounds! However when you read how you will benefit from having an account they say...
specially created to allow trendsetters to easily build a viral online promotional empire
Not only that but also this...
you will have the ability to send a mass message out to everyone in your entire promotional network with a single click
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, or as Yoggi Berra said, "its like deja vu, all over again"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oracle Buys...

BEA have upped the ante, asking Oracle for $21 per share compared with Oracle's original $17 offer. here

Meanwhile, spending like money is going out of fashion (as my granny would say) the big O have just made their tenth acquisition this year buying Interlace.

If you want to know what that timeline looks like, google for "oracle buys"

Hopefully they are now going to stop acquiring companies and start focusing on the quality of their products... As if!..

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We here can cope with using JAXB generated models with hibernate HBM.XML mapping. But Colleague X, working with Axis 2, is struggling to find a way of using ADB and Hibernate together without having to write converters or delegates or whatever by hand.

I know one of you knows how to do this, after all how unusual can it be? So please... Send Help to the usual address (danny at apache dot org)!

Quote(s) of the [Specify Timeperiod]

This [timeperiod] there are two winners. In no particular order they are;
This one from the notes at the bottom of a government press release:

... followed postgraduate studies at King's College, Cambridge, before an academic career which has taken him to the Institute of Psychiatry...
And this from the English ruby coach Brian Ashton, during the build up to the world cup final:
I don't care what anybody says about England, it has nothing to do with me.


Thursday, October 18, 2007


From the Register: Erratic fleshies sabotage, wreck innocent flying robot Lol.

Why Oracle's Middleware sucks...

"for a large company like Oracle, if your products are good, they can’t be great because there’s more risk in being great."

Does this tell us why, seeing their middleware products are poor, they daren't be mediocre? I can feel an award coming on.

Update. For what its worth, and in the interest of not appearing to just be a loud mouthed asshole, this comment on TSS reflects some pretty commonly held opinions of Oracle's J2EE container OC4J, and for those of you who haven't had the dubious pleasure of working with OC4J you should know that those of us who have consider that 10.1.2 is significantly better than 9.0.4 which itself was a huge improvement over the woeful 9.0.3, and 9.0.2 was just a joke. Little wonder then that the big O don't have many fans in Java-land.

57 channels and nothing on

MySpace are planning to reveal an API for external developers, says the bbc.
They also say "Facebook already has more than 6,000 applications running on the website" and imply that MySpace's move is a result of facebook's competition.

I gave up using facebook 'cos I couldn't see the point. In fact I only started to use it in the first place because I thought with all the noise there was that I must be missing something, but as far as I could see, 6,000 applications or not, it doesn't really add value to my life, on or off-line. I have accounts on all sorts of social platforms, but the only benefit I can see is that it makes it easier for people to find me, and read my blog :-) I suppose that if I hadn't already built up an entire personal domain of on-line presence these things might offer a handy ready-made presence, but 6,000 applications I ask you. I wonder how many of them are "hello world" or variations on the virtual drinking theme?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Planet Apache AWOL

I don't know what's happened but Sam has put up a temporary replacement here .

cart-before-horse-FUD-ism award for the [specify timeperiod]

The cart-before-horse-FUD-ism (or "I can talk FUD out of my arse") award for the [specify timeperiod] goes to Carl Howe for his post about why the iPhone doesn't need 3g.

But the question left unasked as been, "Does 3G really improve the user experience dramatically?" Most pundits would reply, "Well, of course Internet experiences improve with higher bandwidth. That's why the world went broadband." And if the pundit is having a bad day, they'll add "Duh."

Funny thing though. They're wrong. Bandwidth doesn't affect the mobile phone experience nearly as much as most people think. And in some cases, high bandwidth Internet is actually worse for the user than a low-bandwidth one.

This IMHO is possibly the worst example of cart-before-horse-FUD-ism that I've read for a long time.

Here's why: Higher bandwidth means that you have a higher capacity for transferring data, in other words you could up and download more items concurrently or up and download larger items more quickly.

You could, that's what it means, go look it up. However your ability to benefit from this may be constrained by the phone you are using.

If, as he seems to suggest, the iPhone hasn't got 3g because it couldn't cope with the bandwidth then he ought to blame the people who designed the phone, not the people who provided the bandwidth. Better still, if its true someone ought to tell Apple, because an engineer needs to be fired at once!

My Sony Ericsson k810i works in both 3g and gprs modes and listen up, it is noticeably faster to download feeds and synchronise email when it has a 3g connection. Go figure.

So you get an award, Mr Howe, for cart-before-horse-FUD-ism. What you should have said is "Apple's iPhone probably wouldn't benefit from higher bandwidth because it would show high data error rates, and its battery and processor performance aren't up to the job of coping with data arriving in those quantities." And as for the part about http, I guess you haven't heard of keep-alives.

Apple respond

An update to yesterday's post about Greenpeace report on the iPhone.

Apple says iPhone complies with eco standards

Like all Apple products worldwide, iPhone complies with RoHS [Restriction of Hazardous Substances], the world’s toughest restrictions on toxic substances in electronics
Complying with legislation isn't the same as "being green", its being law abiding. Which is OK, I suppose. I expect we'll see people with more of a commercial or lobbying advantage to be gained taking the opportunity to get headlines at Apple's expense before this is over.

In some ways its a bed of their own making though, if Apple had been serious about addressing environmental concerns then at least they should have made the battery removable. That might have signalled that they were paying attention if nothing else.

I see that they are also being threatened by The Center [sic] for Environmental Health, because
products that can expose consumers to ... chemicals that are reproductive toxins or carcinogens must carry a warning label
Hmmm, I don't see how that would really solve anything, a label.

Monday, October 15, 2007

All your data are belong to us

The BBC are reporting that Hitachi are predicting a 1 Terabyte laptop drive by 2011.

This is a popular theme of mine of an evening, I reckon it won't be long until consumer storage requirements exceed corporate storage requirements, and the road is paved with wierdness. Pretty soon someone is going to have to face up to the security challenge presented by a disgruntled employee with a terabyte ipod, big enough to steal the whole customer database, not just a few hundreds of credit card numbers. Your big iron isn't big because your data is big, your data is small and getting smaller every day, and someday soon someone will carry it out the building in their shirt pocket.

I reckon it would probably be fairly easy for IT people to do this, even if two or three of them have to collude. Isn't it time we stopped telling people that their data is safe, and started to fix the fact that its really most at risk from disgruntled IT people, before its too late?

Apple piss on their own Green credentials

Greenpeace have published the results of tests on Apples iPhone. The full report is here.

It doesn't make Apple look good. Worse IMO than the technical aspects of the materials themselves, some of the items highlighted just seem to be dumb, careless, and inexcusably they appear to be avoidable.


...the iPhone's battery was, unusually, glued and soldered in to the handset. This hinders battery replacement and makes separation for recycling, or appropriate disposal, more difficult,...

The fact that a product brought newly to the US market in June 2007 still utilises PVC and brominated flame retardants ... suggests that Apple is not making early progress towards its 2008 commitment to phase-out all uses of these materials...

Oops Apple, what were you thinking?

Life in the flock...

Network World has published an interesting article on Gartner's Top 10 Technologies for 2008. (Via Dan Pritchett).

I like these things, but on the whole they don't really tell me much more than awards ceremonies do. Like awards ceremonies I suspect that predictions are, at least in part, about PR for the organisation doing the predicting or awarding.

Gartner can be interesting though, I once heard a Gartner guy (I forget who) speak about the surveys of CEO's and CTO's, as well as reassuring us that you have to apply your own interpretation to what they're saying, he also reckoned that the only thing you could confidently infer from the results is that CEO's are like sheep, with a majority of them sharing the same priorities, and changing their priorities at the same time. Likewise CTO's are out of the loop, their priorities lagging behind CEO's by a year. Lol.

The same guy told us that the majority of companies surveyed were planning to use innovation and new product launches to differentiate themselves. Yikes, how many new products do we need?

However (back to the point) the thing that surprised me about the '08 top 10 was that here@quango X we are currently going all out on variants of 5 of them. Refreshingly there is always chance that the variant we're creating or adopting is a cargo-cult!

Colleagues, see if you can guess which five...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The free-est of all freedoms

I hadn't seen this before, and I like it, so I figured you might not have seen it either... Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License
or perhaps you have.

Via Reg Braithwaite Via Planet Intertwingly

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finite states

Two random thoughts I had while pondering state machines...

1/ I found this: Analog solutions to hard computational problems..
Spaghetti sorter - Cut n pieces of spaghetti in proportional lengths, bang them against the table. Here.

Which made me think of the complicators gloves.

2/If the universe only contains a finite number of bits (10^90 here and here) can it ever contain an infinite state machine?.

On the other hand the Large Hadron Collider might find something new.

Utilise capabilities

Hot on the tail of my curiosity about the difference between capability and ability, I was prompted to look up "utilise" and "use" by a document which also contained phrases like "the SLA of one month requires a lower FTE".

No prizes if you've already guessed it, both mean "to put to use".

So if you use"utilise" to make your prose seem more managerial, try to utilise "use" and get to seem human again.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Obvious? You'd think so.

Am I the only one who feels that there is an unreasonable emphaisis on naming things? Surely normal intelligent IT types can see that

1/ The REST idea of making URL's unique references for individual states isn't an invention but
an attempt to undo the subversion of URL's by products which didn't really get the "Unique Location" aspect of URL, or thought it didn't apply to them.

2/ That AJAX is something that a whole load of smart people wanted, and like the victorians waiting for flight to be invented, waited patiently for key things to be put in place. I remember using Javascript "document.write" to build embeddable product advertising and search boxes for clients' affiliate sites as soon as enough people had browsers that supported it.

3/ Am I alone in thinking that Web 2 is nothing new, its www they way we always wanted it to be?

4/ SOA This is Simply the Obvious Answer. It isn't really anything to do with web services (which are a new invention, and a pretty cool one at that) its a pattern which has been around since forever, web services make it cheap, easy and accessable to build discoverable services and to extend the pattern out from within applications through within an enterprise out to between enterprises. But the real use of SOA is as marketing babble.

Two recent posts, this one from Sam, who is always worth listening to, and this widely slated one from Jason Calacanis, who many think isn't.

Sam's one just made me think, Why. Why do people want to redefine things we already understand? (Sam wasn't redefining he was just commenting). In Calacanis' one he seems to attempt to become "the guy who defined web 3", but his definition doesn't really give us a term which is particularly useful, in other words it looks like it's just a marketing word.

So what am I saying? This, I guess; Friends, smart people, technologists, stand up and be counted, its your work which should be lauded not the pigeon holes its put in or the pigeon holers who put it in there. Resist the lure of the techno-blog cult personality, and call a spade a spade not a "Fork 2.0" or a "Soil Transformation Service".

Friday, October 05, 2007

Blog-life balance

Robert Scoble says

From your 684 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 32,879 items, and shared 1,693 items
There seems to be a phenomenon at the moment whereby people are desperate to make sure they don't miss the "important" posts in the blogosphere. Whats worse is that there seems to be an element of competition about it. Can I be the guy who everyone turns to? Can I be the guy who spots the next big story? Can I boost my ranking on sites X,Y or Z.

I'm not pointing the finger at Scoble, his stats just made me wonder if, for some, life in the blogosphere is a means or an end in itself?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


"After what seems like centuries Fortnum's is 300 years old"

Statue of anti-Liberty

I just read "9/11 is over" an op-ed piece on nytimes, Thomas L. Friedman says, amongst a lot of other good stuff:

Before 9/11, the world thought America’s slogan was: “Where anything is possible for anybody.” But that is not our global brand anymore.
you might like to read it too.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Two Gavin Hastings!

Congratulations Scotland!

"One Gavin Hastings, there's only one gavin hastings" we used to sing, in honour of the man with the most points in a world cup career (227).

Well after watching the devastating boot of Chris Paterson score all 18 points in Scotlands 18-16 victory over Italy to secure a place in the 1/4 finals, a feat which also saw him retain his 100% record of scores from kicks in the tournament (15/15 so far) we think its time for fans to increment the demonimator... "Two Gavin Hastings, now there are two Gavin Hastings"

I must say I'm sorry for Italy, it would have been nice to see them get through to their first world cup 1/4 final, but not at the expense of Scotland, they got their first 6 nations away win against Scotland, and that's enough!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Human Resource Super-Hero

The other day, as Nikki told me about the stuff she'd done in college about the differences between HR and Personnel, I got to wondering if my abilities became capabilities at the same time as I stopped being a person and became a resource?

Is it reasonable to assume that capabilities are like abilities but with a super-hero cape?

The groovy picture of simpsonised me is courtesy of the simpsons movie site, I think it looks a bit like me. Make your own...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

$100 laptop get one give one...

The BBC reported on Monday that the $100 laptop project will be selling some in the developed world, with each sale also funding a machine to be donated to a child in a least developed country.

I found the picture here.

Great idea, I know that there have been many times when a laptop which could allow me to connect to my email and ... "has no moving parts, can be powered by solar, foot-pump or pull-string powered chargers and is housed in a waterproof case" would be a godsend in a world full of of short battery life and unstable coffee cups. What's more the display is readable in sunlight. Coo.

Perhaps they should think about raising funds by selling some of the components to developed world laptop owners, a mechanical charger would go down as a shrewd investment in the Angus household where we tend to buy cheaper laptops, don't upgrade the batteries and keep them long after they've passed their best.

Having said all that Nikki takes delivery of her "cough cough" birthday present from me tomorrow, the gorgeous pretender to the macbook's throne the Dell XPS m1330. A red one natch. And no, we haven't gone for the big battery!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What Americans Think of Scotland.

Americans (Note that google maps confuses America with the Whole World.) in a recent survey about Scotland (Not the whole world according to google.) had this to say:

Students identified Scotland as a backward, old-fashioned, rural country.
Some questioned whether the internet had reached Scotland.
Even among the general American public, knowledge of Scotland was mixed.
They said the rural landscape and history had strong appeal, but still referred to a “backward” lifestyle, suspecting no modern technology such as computers andmicrowaves existed in the home.

God bless America! To be perfectly honest I have tried to have a home free from microwaves and computers, and TV if it comes to that, but it just ain't happening.

"Progress", it would seem, is not pick-and-mix, and by opening the door to microwaved scrambled eggs I opened the door to microwavable-meals, and by choosing to shop online I opened the door to facebook, bebo, myspace, you tube, msn, aim, etc. etc. and lets face it social networking is a weird and lonely world compared to cooking a meal for your friends.

Pastures New...

After four years of working for quango X I've placed a new bet on the table of career roulette[1] and decided to move on.

I'm going to take up the reins of IT at Drive Business which is going to be a new and terrifyingly real challenge, but one which I'm very excited about. Drive Business are growing fast and have some exciting clients, and although I've worked here for four years the previous five years were all in on-line retail, in many ways I'm itching to get back to it.

Because of this career change I'm afraid I've had to withdraw my talk on James from ApacheCon US07, hopefully I'll make it next year.

[1] Not to be confused with dress code rule-ette in which players have to break the "not visibly wearing no underwear" dress-code rule. Losers face the sack.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Only Way Is Up

The New Lift saga has taken an unexpected turn today.[1]

We were surprised, this morning, to find that The first New Lift is now working, and very smooooth it is too.

Sadly there was no grand launch party, or anything of that sort. Perhaps this is because it was, apparently, ready weeks ago, but a flat ceiling had been installed when the plans called for a curved one.

Obviously the new lift couldn't be used without a curved ceiling.

[1] Those of a more "New World" disposition might like to substitute "elevator" for "lift".

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ahoy there buckko another year be over

Would ye believe that it be international talk like a pirate day agin? Yarr it has came round right smartly me hearties, like a handspike.
Scurvy Land Lubbers Google baint hoisted the jolly roger, but sea dogs flickr have:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ministry of Truth

Colleague X put his finger on the reason I feel uneasy about wikipedia. The thought of all those anonymous people with their own agendas constantly writing and rewriting the entries is just a bit too much like George Orwell's Ministry of Truth for me.

Update: I see that Rich is getting frustrated by the sinister rewriting too.. Deleted Wikipedia articles.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The court has spoken. The commission was right.

"the 13-member panel of judges said Microsoft had violated European antitrust law by exploiting its near dominance in operating systems to shut out competitors"

Friday, September 14, 2007

Foot and Mouth

I know a lot of you aren't farmers, please spare them a thought, this foot and mouth outbreak has really happened at the worst possible time, NFU Scotland president Jim McLaren said:

"The impact of this outbreak is horrendous and we’ve had farmers phoning us all day who are in a desperate situation. There are masses of stock in the wrong place and that can’t move. Farms are out of grazing and out of money, so the welfare and financial crisis is getting worse by the hour."

One Nil

I just want to say:

one-nil one-nil one-nil,



Monday, September 10, 2007

J2EE application development

Aaron Farr posted this about the frustration of modern web design, including an exellent pie chart of the time breakdown. Well colleague X has sent me an updated version showing the breakdown of time spent developing tapestry/spring/hibernate J2EE web-apps.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Concordance of insanity

I created an alphabetical list of the words which appeared in search terms people used to find my blog.
This reflects either my readers, or more likely my own, obsessions. Though quite why xxx and sex should play a part I can't say.
Of course publishing it will reinforce the relationship between the words and this blog.

If anyone has a random sentence generator which can use these words I'd be interested in hiring it to cover my absences from the blogosphere. If it works well I'll extend the contract to cover the times I fall asleep at my desk.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Cynicism, what's the point..

Cheap-boat-for-sale suggested that we form a cynics group. I won't be wasting my time, it'll never work.

Open Source, Spectrum of liberty

I just read Stefano Mazzocchi's post "On Version Control Architectures and the Fear of Displacing Innovation" he paints an eloquent picture of a tension which I'm sure is familiar to most, if not all, contributors to open source projects. How far do we have to constrain what we let each other do in order for our project to have a discrete identity which exceeds the sum of its parts, and at what point towards the libertarian end of the spectrum does our project loose coherence and become equal to or even less than the sum of its parts.

Stefano says "how many potential contributors did we miss because we didn't give them commit access soon enough" and I know exactly what he means. I'd like to broaden the question though, and ask why we choose to encumber ourselves with unweildy processes and centralised infrastructure?

I recently proposed that Apache James could lower the bar to publishing news stories if we used a blog. The ASF doesn't provide any blogging infrastructure, and if we used an off-site service, such as blogger (as used to publish this blog), it would be a "turnkey" operation and not involve Apache infrastructure in any effort. However my proposal has been met by a resounding "Hmmm... I'm not sure..." with most of the reservations being around hosting official content off-site. To me there seem to be many concrete benefits and very few drawbacks with out-sourcing this function and I was surprised that others didn't share my point of view.

So reading Stefano's post made me wonder, why *do* we feel that we have to control the infrastructure in order to "own" the project? Why do we want even to consider expending our limited resources on hosting for ourselves services which we can have for free?

Ok Initially we had to own the infrastructure so that we could operate the services we needed, and, yes, today we could argue that we want to retain full control over certain key services, websites, email, source control. But I always believed that the Apache Way was about community, proven processes and best practice, a brand and some world class products.

Don't take this the wrong way, I know that ASF infrastructure is vital to the ability of the projects to operate, and that it will never be possible for me to repay the people who set it up and who volunteer to maintain it on our behalf, but I never really thought the infrastructure was anything other than the key enabler. We have dozens of people hosting mirrors of our downloads, and no one complains about that, why would they, it benefits everyone.

Using a no-cost off-site service doesn't IMHO automatically compromise your reputation or undermine the moral authority of your message.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quote of the [specify timeperiod]

I couldn't quite believe the hype:

"Oracle Coherence enables continuous data availability and transactional integrity, even in the event of a server failure"
Yes, it says "data availability ... in the event of a server failure". Of course they mean one server out of a cluster, but my mind boggled for a moment 'till my common sense caught up.

Perhaps not worthy of a QO[ST] Gold Award, but I'm reckon its worth one of those corporate shards of broken glass handed out for being-a-good-customer, which is surely a euphemism for spending-more-money-than-you-needed-to.

scoes woes - or "I own the internet"

Most of the reports of SCO's defeat in court I've seen have mentioned the share price, as did Fitz, but Ars Technica also makes this point

"SCO's biggest windfall since the start of its legal fiasco has been UNIX licensing revenue collected from Microsoft and Sun, much of which is rightfully owed to Novell under the terms of the 1995 Asset Purchase Agreement."

Does this mean SCO can expect a letter from Novell's lawyers, can M$ and Sun take SCO to court for scamming them with the protection racket, or will SCO just get to keep the money?

If its the latter, then I'm afraid you owe me a fiver for using the internet. I'm currently in dispute with some other people about whether or not I really own it, but if you are concerned about the risk to your business should I be successful (and when I am I won't look kindly on anyone who gets on the wrong side of me at this stage) you can ensure that you are covered, legally, by paying me the modest one-off licence fee. Put your £5 in a brown envelope and leave it at Glasgow Central Station, under the bench beside the lift on platform 13.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Apache James At Apachecon US 07

== UPDATE ==
I've had to withdraw this talk, because it coincided to closely with the New Job. Sorry.


My Talk "Apache James - The Complete Email Application Platform" has been accepted for Apachecon US 07 in Atlanta on the 15th of November at 15:00. Be there!

If you didn't see me at Apachecon EU 07 in May you can look forward to a description of the major features and components of the Apache James mail server, with a focus on how the modular architecture can enable extending, customising and embedding of email functionality into systems and products of all kinds with an email related need.
If you want to integrate email with your enterprise systems, or want to add an open source email application server to your J2EE stack this talk is for you.

Since I first gave the talk in Amsterdam in May life and art have converged, the Mailet API has its own sub-project and the componentisation of James' trunk has proceeded along very similar lines to those anticipated by that talk.

I will be presenting the same outline but with some added detail, news of progress and further plans from the James team, so even if you heard me in Amsterdam I'm sure I will have things to say which will interest you.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Do a lot more interesting stuff with your iSight camera

I'm not a mac owner [cries of "shame" and "boo"] nor do I have an iPhone, iPod, an iSight camera or iLaunch, but I know a lot of you do own some of these things, so when I got in touch with a long-lost friend yesterday and he told me he'd been doing this including a thing called IRIS I thought I'd pass it along.
Find out more about IRIS here, including downloads, according to the blog:

Iris is a kind of “Photo Booth on Steroids”, that allows you to do a lot more interesting stuff with your iSight camera.

Features include:

  • Snapshot mode, with core image filtering.
  • Movie mode
  • TimeLapse Movie mode
  • Security mode, with motion detection and email alerting.
  • WebCam mode
  • A built-in Gallery, with email, send to flickr, and export options. iPod, AppleTV, and iPhone export are supported.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Goodbye School boards

Scottish school boards cease to exist today, replaced by "parent forums"[sic] and "parent councils".

I've been chair of our primary schoool board for the past couple of years, and today also marks my first day of freedom ;-)

I'm very proud to have had this opportunity to be involved in our school, and I hope the new arrangements work out well for them.

Facebook Cache Phreakiness

Robert Scoble, facebook obsessive that he is, blogs about facebook's recent problem with cache headers.

In a nutshell, and facebook's own words:

This was not the result of a security breach. Specifically, the bug caused some third party proxy servers to cache otherwise inaccessible content. The result was that an isolated group of users could see some pages that were not intended for them.
Perhaps not a security breach, but IMHO a worrying lapse in security and wake up call for facebook QA.
I saw other peoples' message inbox, including their messages' subjects and the short snippet. Not their whole messages, but it was bad enough.
What's worse is that because it was a proxy cache issue I saw cached content for other people who used the same proxy, more normally referred to in the human world as my colleagues, and not just for some random facebook strangers.

Zimbabwe $2

$2 not $200,000, originally uploaded by danny angus.

The BBC report that Zimbabwe is introducing a $200,000 note.

I thought it might be worth posting this picture of a $2 note I brought home with me after visiting a Zimbabwean friend in 1993. It is literally not worth the paper it is printed on.

At that time $2 would cost you £0.20 (20p) and $2.35 would buy you 20 cigarettes, the same cigarettes cost £2.35 in the UK, mainly because of duty.

Now (by which I mean *today* as inflation is running so high in Zimbabwe), if a grain of sugar weighs a milligram, this note would buy you five grains.

Zimbabwe is a lovely country and the people I met were very friendly. The sight of the kids in neat school uniforms coming out of traditional mud hut villages to line up for the school bus filled me with hope. Many people I spoke to then believed that Zimbabwe could be a role model for the whole of Africa, that dream must be well and truly dead now. How much longer are we going to sit around watching this get worse and worse?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Distributed drinking, better than virtual drinking but still quite sad.

According to facebook:

Ken Coar has just compared you with one of his friends and thinks you are more entertaining.
I'm not quite sure how to react to this, its weirdness is freaking me out in many ways, but perhaps I should send him a virtual drink via one of the many facebook apps that let you do that.

All good clean fun, but virtual drink doesn't really get you very drunk does it? (No) So this is what we have to do. Instead of using it as an online social metaphor think of it instead as an actual protocol to enable distributed drinking.

Tally up all those virtual drinks your friends have sent you then at 5:05pm nip down to the pub and buy yourself the same list of drinks.

That was my first prototype but empirical data measured in the pub shows that it is wide open to abuse. I inadvertently sent 72 tequilas to 24 people the other day owing to a defect in one of these apps, and while I'm happy to buy tequila for my friends I wouldn't want to overdo it, and I could force you to spend all of your money on drink.

So we need to add robustness and accountability by introducing a contract of reciprocity that will ensure participants don't place on other participants an unacceptable burden which they themselves would not be willing or able to shoulder.

Furthermore analysis suggests that a risk to corporate security or business continuity exists because industrial saboteurs might attempt to exploit this vulnerability to launch dangerous Denial of Service attacks on their competitors.

British companies are already extremely suspicious of facebook (here) and we wouldn't want to fan the flames of corporate paranoia would we? (we would?)

Luckily for us The Native British Pub Goer has already invented a subtle and imaginative methodology, The Round of Drinks, that social institution which allowed the British to subjugate large parts of the world without taking their hands off their gin's and tonics by creating a finely tuned feedback loop of consumption and capability.

More money = more drink, too drunk = no job, no job = no money. Many people will recognise the audible signal that the feedback is working: "I'll just having the one tonight, I have a big day at work tomorrow."

So how do we adapt this to wrest a bit of real life back from the faceless facebook?

Simple, create a pub "event" and let people sign up. At 5pm on the day shuffle off to the pub and buy yourself the appropriate number of drinks.

Calculating the correct number, like predicting the weather, is a chaotic problem but this is normally ok because the behaviour of people in pubs is a chaotic solution (no shit), but also just like predicting the weather a piss poor approximation is usually close enough.

So we'll make some initial, and fairly arbitrary assumptions,
a) everyone turns up,
b) they all stay all night, and
c) everyone buys one round.

So now buy yourself exactly the same number of drinks as there are participants no more no less, drink them safe in the knowledge that everyone else is drinking the same amount, and then go home.

You'll quickly find that you will tend to steer clear, or withdraw from, events with a very large number of participants, or actively encourage others to attend when numbers are low.

It may not be the social interaction of our youth, but it beats online social networking hands down by having real drink, and making you wait for hours in the rain for a taxi home.

Friends, if you have read this far let me apologise, sincerely, for wasting your valuable time.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Numbers Racket

John Levine, chair of the ASRG and author of, amongst other titles, Fighting Spam for Dummies (Lol, I thought spam was *for* dummies!) blogs about ICANN's report on what they plan to do about registry failure.

Although I'm continually reminded at work about our need to design and plan for "business continuity", and even though I'm congenitally opposed to central registries *and* assigned names and numbers (I believe they are all a symptom of our failure to solve a problem of self-organisation, but don't get me started on that here.) I still managed to surprised myself by my failure thus far to put two and two together and work out that central authorities put an upper bar on an organisations ability plan for business continuity. No amount of nuclear bunkers, back up power supplies, and geographic dispersal will save you if the the assigned names and numbers racket gets messed up.
So that's me got another reason to feel uncomfortable about it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

subscribe by email

Two reasons for this post:
1/ to let you know that you can now subscribe to updates by email
2/ to see what the emails look like

I've been adding every feedburner feature I can get my hands on. I added the feed redirect to my blogger account so now feedburner captures stats on all the subscriptions and hits to the feeds for this blog, neat. I already used the rss to javascript thingy to publish the headlines on my home page thats pretty cool and seems to work well so I thought I try out *everything* else, like a kid in a sweetie shop. :) I'm not sure whether people will want to subscribe by email, but its cheap at the price (free as in beer) so I'm buying.

Talking about free beer, if you're a facebook user check out the boozemail application for some mindless virtual-drinking fun.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Told you so!

In the previous post I predicted that postmaster@xxx would be too busy to reply, I got his reply just now..

Thank you for contacting XXX's E-mail Postmaster.
Because of the large volume of postmaster e-mail traffic, this response is automated.


We keep spending most our lives living in the living in the Spama's Paradise

I just got an email today which appears from its headers to be a bona-fide bounce triggered by spam with my @apache address on it. I also googled for some of the people on the list, and they do indeed work where where it says they do. So I think its genuine.

I've quoted the whole thing below, the scary part is summed up by this sentence "A list of all the people to whom these addresses might refer appears below" and sure enough right below the stuff I quote there's a list of people who's address might match michael@xxx formatted like :

name: Michael xxx
send_email_to: mikex@xxx
phone: 007-234-4354
address: 695 XXX Road
department: XXX-Housekeeping

For heavens sakes! I've spent years trying to explain why returning "mailbox does not exist" can be used by spammers to harvest addresses, and then I find out that people are still doing this. Priceless. I've sent a mail to the postmaster@xxx asking him if he's insane. I don't expect a reply from the current incumbent any time soon, he's probably fighting off a mail-storm.

The text of that message:

I'm sorry, but we had problems delivering your mail.
The errors we encountered appear below. If you have any questions,
contact the xxxxx Postmaster as postmaster@xxxxx.yyy.
Please include a copy of this message with your correspondence.

The following addreses each refer to more than one person in our
A list of all the people to whom these addresses might
refer appears below. You should resend to your intended recipient
using the address in the 'send_email_to:' field.

If your intended recipient is not on the list, then the person is
either not registered in the central directory or the address is

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pistolwhippers. The new DDG Champions!

ddg_champ_2006 (283), originally uploaded by rude awakening.

Google sent someone to my blog looking for "detroit derby" trophy. Ever happy to oblige a bona fide reader (as I have so few!) here's a picture of the stunning thing in all its glory.

Congratulations to Pistolwhippers who won the Detroit Derby Girls championship last saturday 96-82 over the Devils Night Dames.

All in all its been a fascinating thing to follow, I'd never even heard of rollerderby before this year, but already I'm a confirmed fan.

I'm Danny Angus, are you?

I've been sucked into facebook and all it stands for, and I searched for my own name (as you do) and discovered about a dozen or so Dan, Daniel and Danny Angus registered.
So, following in the footsteps of Dave Gorman I set up a group "I'm Danny Angus! Are you Danny Angus too?"
Why am I telling you this? Simple, get those Dan, Daniel and Danny Angus signed up for the facebook group.
The actual point of the group? Hell don't ask me difficult questions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nice sound-bite, pointless legislation

"Legislation will stop drunkenness being used as an excuse for criminal behaviour"

What they all fail to mention is that the courts already refuse to accept drunkenness as an excuse or mitigation.

All mouth no trousers?

The BBC quote statistics about the number of crimes committed while drunk,
but there is a conspicuous lack of data to show how many sentences this will affect or how many crimes the politicians think it will prevent. Could this be because the answer in both cases is none?

I was brought up to understand that in this country there are two components to the law, legislation and precedent (or case law). In this move it appears that new Justice Minister Kenny McAskill is whipping up a frenzy of hype and spin behind a get tough headline by legislating something which is already more than adequately provided for by the courts.

Ask yourself why would he do that, and then ask why is that a good use of taxpayers money?

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Abuse will always appear in your quick contacts"

It may not be as funny as the password generator which combined the surname of Kenny Wan with his first initial and the intransigent admins who wouldn't change his username; and it is nowhere near as annoying as systems which can't cope with singulars and the plural, nevertheless it would appear that the practice of using peoples' names in generated messages can still raise an eyebrow even in someone as jaded as me. Sorting out my gmail contacts elicited the message in the picture. I barely managed to resist creating my_arse@killerbees just for the sake of this post, until I remembered that I'm 42 and not 8 anymore :-( .

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Why did we all stop using ICQ?

I have ICQ contacts for dozens of friends and former colleagues going back years, but no one is ever on line any more. I use trillian to log into several IM's at once, its just my ICQ friends who've gone dark.
ICQ used to stride the IM world like a world striding IM application. Did they all just sneak off and leave me? Is this going to be the pattern for newer "social networking" software, like bebo or piczo or myspace or facebook or twitter or flickr or even for newer IM like msn and aim? Will people eventually just move on?

I'd say that permanence and therefore interoperability are two big user needs if you're doing that stuff.

Anyway bring back ICQ I say, or perhaps I should say bring back my friends?

My ICQ number is 31592481 - killerBees()

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

War on terror? This time its personal..

Welcome, originally uploaded by danny angus.

All good things come to an end, and here I am back at work, its my lunch hour, after nearly a week in the sun near Ayia Napa.

It was smashin'.

Sadly our family-fun-fest got off on the wrong foot after what appears to have been a bunch of doctors (surely not?) decided to ram the airport (Glasgow) with a burning Jeep Cherokee filled with butane cylinders. Not only were we then put back by a whole day, but I was worried (well ok, not really worried) that our car (also a Jeep Cherokee) might be destroyed in a "controlled explosion" (isn't that an oxymoron?) while we were away.

Luckily it wasn't because it transpires that we can't claim on our insurance for our missed day's holiday because it was a "direct or indirect result of terrorist actions".

Now I don't know who to be more pissed off with, terrorists, doctors, or insurance weasels. Just let me get my hands on any of them.

The picture was taken from a beach bar owned by a guy named Andreas who, refreshingly for the middle aged visitor to Ayia Napa, played reggae all day long. If you want to know where it is its in the centre of this map.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Stating the bleedin' obvious

I kept meaning to add this one to the awards, but never got round to it, I can't read it often enough.

Debra Chrapaty, the VP of Operations for Windows Live, in an interview with Tim O'Reilly, said

"I've learned that when you multiply a small number by a big number, the small number turns into a big number." (No shit Debra! Have an Award.)

With the ability to get right down to the fundamentals I'm surprised that she isn't a special advisor to the White House and President George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States.

The "What Planet Are you On" award for nonsense uttered in a meeting.

Colleague X said: "You wouldn't gift wrap her, she's a sandwich stealer."

What?! Why would you want to..?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cone of Uncertainty

Accounting web has a good report on the The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report entitled "Delivering successful IT–enabled business change". (Bear with me, I'll get to the cone in a minute.)

Amongst other refreshing expressions of common sense Sir John Bourn (Comptroller and Auditor General) is quoted as testifying that: "In our experience, many of the difficulties have arisen when a project with many elements is sometimes taken forward with a large number of partners, and the client does not have a full understanding of what he is trying to do and alters it as he goes along."

Never mind government IT projects, in my experience this is pretty much true of life. If you want to get the right stuff you've got to know what you want before people start delivering it to you.

Coincidentally I was introduced to Steve McConnell's Cone of Uncertainty yesterday, it certainly seems to imply, according to bar-room geometry, that a programme with many smaller projects is more likely to succeed (or at least behave reasonably predictably) than a more traditional Big Project.

That adds more weight to the notion that while the traditional waterfall method of managing projects may work for small projects it is fatally flawed when projects are large. In other words if they are large enough that phases cannot be completed reasonably quickly and/or that delivery dates are so far in the future that clients needs are bound to change in the meantime, and that's notwithstanding the I-remembered-another-thing-we-have-to-do scope creep syndrome.

However an experienced project manager I was talking to yesterday made the point that agile methodologies can be difficult to plan and manage, and even harder to estimate, without significant experience.

Perversely the risk of not having concrete dates and costs available at the start often seems to outweigh the risks associated with life intervening in between plan and execution.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jakarta Commons is now Apache Commons TLP

June 20th. (yes I know, I'm not very topical this week.) The Board of the Apache Software foundation voted to create a new top level project (TLP) out of the Jakarta Commons sub-project.

The new project will be known as the "Apache Commons Project" and be "responsible for the creation and maintenance of Java focused reusable libraries and components".

This is another significant step in the history of Jakarta.: "...all responsibility pertaining to the Commons sub-project encumbered upon the Apache Jakarta Project are hereafter discharged"

Well done and good luck to all involved.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Peace and Love

Gold, originally uploaded by danny angus.

I Went to see Culture at the Arches on Friday night with a friend/colleague who shall be referred to only as Jonny.

Great stuff.

Don't expect too much from this post though, I'm not your personal gig reviewer, but I can tell you the atmosphere was great, the band were great, Kenyatta Hill was great, (replacing his father Joseph, who sadly passed away last year) and a fun time was had by all.

The things that made it a bit weird were that the audience was 90% middle-aged white people, and that the view of the band was unobstructed by smoke (see pic), what with Scotland having a ban on smoking in enclosed public places.

Undeterred, however, some members of the audience did manage, surreptitiously, to create the right "atmosphere".

All in all the whole evening was enough to convert anyone to Rastafarianism, apart possibly from the wee guy from Edinburgh who, when Kenyatta said "When we return to Africa", was overheard saying, worriedly, to his lady companion "I don't wanny go tae Africa".

Jah Rastafari.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Support your local Roller Girls

I see The Glasgow Roller Girls got a mention and photo in the Glasgow Evening times on the 20th. Great stuff, I can't wait 'till I can go to a bout.

I also see that the Detroit Derby Girls season is building up to a thrilling finale. This coming Saturday's bout between the D-Funk Allstars and the Pistolwhippers promises to be hard fought and is too close to call.

Whoever wins will go forward to meet the Devils Night Dames in the championship bout on July 21st, and with last years champions the Pistoffs already out of the running there's no clear favourite and that promises to have everyone on the edge of their seats.

Impartial observer? Not me! I'm an armchair fan, I want to see the D-Funk Allstars go all the way and I'm not afraid to say so!

New Apache Board

Not exactly hot of the presses (two days ago) but The ASF has a new board.

I'd like to express my own thanks the outgoing board members; Ken Coar, Dirk-Willem van Gulik, Cliff Schmidt and Sander Striker. They worked hard on our behalf, and we appreciate their effort and commitment.

I'd also like to thank the new board members and the continuing ones for being prepared to make the commitment we're asking of them. Without good people prepared to step up to the plate the ASF couldn't survive. The new board looks like this (* = newly elected):

Justin Erenkrantz - President
J Aaron Farr* - Treasurer
Jim Jagielski - Chairman
Geir Magnusson Jr*
William Rowe Jr*
Sam Ruby - Exec VP and Secretary
Henning Schmiedehausen*
Greg Stein
Henri Yandell

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm interesting

Flickr has decided that my picture of Strawberries is interesting. Which is nice.

Election f**K up - Post Mortem

"ORG’s observations from polling places and count centres offer some insight into the reasons behind the spoilt ballot rate"

As I predicted "It was the combination of two different voting systems that also served to
confuse voters and complicate the voter education message"

It also, alarmingly, goes on to describe a count at which one of the candidates challenged the result before it had been announced. They had forgotten to include the SNP column in the calculations, if this had gone unnoticed we would not only have the wrong MSP's but also the wrong party in government.

And finally to the person who commented on my earlier post "... secure counting centres where there is no realistic chance of anyone tampering with the machines or the software." I say, Oh Yeah? Read the report.

Friday, June 15, 2007

<i>Rocky II</i>, <i>III</i>, <i>IV</i> Decisions Overturned After Stallone Caught With Performance-Enhancing Drugs

The Onion

Rocky II, III, IV Decisions Overturned After Stallone Caught With Performance-Enhancing Drugs

PHILDELPHIA— "The only way to make so much physical progress in three to five minutes is to use anabolic steroids," sports medicine expert Bruce Thurman said.

"This is a sad day for fictional boxing," The onion (who else)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quote of the [specify timeperiod]

This [specify timeperiod]'s award goes to an unfortunate metaphor from Jonathan Schwartz (via Geir):

"Most of the world doesn't have access to the internet - that's the enemy to slay"

I'm quite sure Sun's PR people would be turning in their graves if they knew he was in danger of being translated literally like the possibly apocryphal story about coke/pepsi bringing your ancestors back from the dead. Slay your potential customers Jonathan? A worth winner.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I want a pony!

IMG_2217, originally uploaded by danny angus.

Well we finally did it. Unable to avoid the consequences of encouraging child No1 to follow the family tradition and learn to ride, and after nine years of fobbing her off with riding school ponies, our "family" comprising four humans, two hamsters, two dogs, and a goldfish now includes Finkley Joker, pictured, who we're getting on loan for three months, and then who knows.

Tip for parents: When you say to your 5 year old that they can have a pony when they are twelve beware, they won't forget, and it comes round very fast!

In fact we should've done this last year, but she cracked her skull, which is an experience I would totally not wish on any parent. Ironically we've always been very careful to teach the kids that safety equipment isn't optional. So she fell off a swing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Big Bother...

The BBC are reporting that a contestant has been "removed" from Big Brother for using a "racially offensive word".

The head of the commissioning team is reported to have said that "the decision had been taken in the wake of the alleged racist bullying of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year." I watched that, but I haven't seen this.

The problem I had with that is that it was really the bullying that was offensive then, and everyone seems to have latched onto the racism as being the worst part. The racism was wrong but what we saw was mainly ignorant stereotyping, rather than malicious. On the other hand the bullying we saw was malicious and appeared calculated to be cruel and hurtful. Because of this I don't trust their motivation so I'm not sure whether this is Big Brother being sensitive to the issues (which are real and complex) or just protecting their own arse.


Half Life 2 City 17 Train Station
God knows how much money we spend on real buildings but according to this creating buildings in games (yes games) apparently isn't cheap either... "The market for the creation of digital building assets is estimated to be worth up to USD842 million in 2015."

That's the thick end of a billion US dollars spent on people creating empty buildings to go into video games. Yes empty, because they go on to say "The upside market comprising other content such as interiors or cities could extend this market opportunity by an additional USD168-674 million within the same timeframe."

Cor Blimey, what kind of world do we live in? A soon-to-be virtual one I guess.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Find music like ... (help!)

== Further Update ==
It has moved!
== UPDATE ==
I found it 5 Months later!
Its called musicplasma and its here I guarantee you hours of fascination.
I also found music-map, but musicplasma is nicer, nicer to look at *and* more informative, and it now also has a movie search.
== d. ==

I used a website a while ago which let you type a band name in to a box,
then displayed a picture with circles, each a with a band or artist in it
related to the one you searched for.
If you clicked on one it became the centre. I think there were links at
the side to albums you could buy, from Amazon perhaps?

Can I find it again? (no obviously) Can you help? Please...

The original WWW

The original WWW, originally uploaded by ki113rb33s.

I haven't blogged a gratuitous picture of glasgow for a while, so here's the facade of a warehouse in James Watt St. (Anderston) on a day that the sun actually shone.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mime4J version 0.3 released

The Apache JAMES team is pleased to announce the release of Apache
Mime4J version 0.3. Apache Mime4J mime4j provides parsing for e-mail
message streams in plain rfc822 and MIME format.

The 0.3 release is the first official release under The Apache Software
Foundation umbrella.

Distributions are available from the download page here:

More information on Apache Mime4j can be found at the Apache JAMES
project site:

The released packages will be also deployed to the central maven
repositories in the next days.

behavioral competencies

Apparently my employers will be "looking at" behavioural competencies. How alarming.
Spare a thought for us geeks who thought that we'd found a niche that tolerated a degree of social dysfunction.

I consulted wikipaedia on the subject, only to discover that the reason I can never type that URL is because they've misspelled the domain name, surely the c'rect English speling should be wikipaedia if it is meant to reflect similar roots to encyclopaedia?

Anyway I see the Scottish translation, a refreshingly down to earth work, refers to "behavioural competencies" with the reassuring message "The'r nae text on this page the nou." confirming my suspicion that it may be a load of poncy nonsense.

Open Source, Hostile Environment?

Some people have been talking recently about hostile environments in open source software projects. I came across this comment in code (while searching for "f**k microsoft", try it!:-D)
IMHO this truly is hostile and intimidating...

"Every time you put it back, I will come in and take it out again. I'm sorry. This field does not belong here."

... but on the other hand it can be hard to micro manage code in an open project if you aren't able to devote 100% attention to what's going on the whole time.

Didn't we already see this?

Palm, makers of the eponymous "pilot", have a new product, the "folio" which they're describing as "the worlds first mobile companion", which may be factually incorrect.
If we cast our hindsight over the 1990's we'll spot Psion (inventors of the eponymous organiserII) and the Revo. I had a Revo, its still in a cupboard somewhere, and it really was a phone companion, it let me manage my contacts and do my email with a qwerty keyboard. Before ssh was so widespread I even used it as a telnet terminal and re-started more than one server from the pub, though to be honest that was as much because I could as because I needed to.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lifts and learned behaviour

It was bound to happen.
Since one of the lifts is out of action being replaced one of the remaining lifts has now broken down.

This has resulted in a new form of learned behaviour being quickly adopted by colleagues, who have been observed getting into the first lift to stop, no matter where it is going or how many people are already in it, and riding it in whatever direction, possession being 9/10ths of the law.

Dumbest use of [specify thing] of the [specify timeperiod] award

I just signed up for an account at - It should be aggregating my blog and my flickr photo feeds into one stream.
But no the award isn't for that.

However it did make me think what else I could aggregate, and I remembered that I could get feeds from Gmail labels.
So with all the talk about how much we could be doing with atom I felt that this award should remind us that technology is no better than the people who use it...

... The award goes to Google for Gmail's atom feed from the spam folder. :-) LoL.

If you have a gmail account check this out for the 100% most worthless use of atom...


This post should make it to tumblr

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tory candidate who got no votes...

I thought everyone had heard the story of tory Shirley Bowes who didn't get a single vote in the English local elections. ROTFLMAO. But Martin hadn't so I thought I'd blog it for posterity.
What we know is that she didn't live in the ward so couldn't vote for herself, unlike the Arkansas Mayoral candidate who complained about the voting machines when he got zero because he'd at least voted for himself, we must charitably assume that her nearest and dearest were also not voters in the ward, because the other option is too cruel, but that still leaves the question of what she must have done to annoy the fifteen local people who had to have signed her nomination papers?

I know nothing, I'm not a fortune teller, and you'd be insane to think that I am. This disclaimer was cribbed from an email footer I once received. It is so ridiculous I had to have it for myself.

Statements in this blog that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements regarding my expectations, objectives, anticipations, plans, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking statements include risks and uncertainties such as any unforeseen event or any unforeseen system failures, and other risks. It is important to note that actual outcomes could differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements.

Danny Angus Copyright © 2006-2013 (OMG that's seven years of this nonsense)