Saturday, December 29, 2007

Morning links.....

A review of The Rails Way can't wait for my copy to arrive.

iPhone 1.1.3 firmware rumours makes sense, getting ready for the SDK by letting people manage their home screen.

Aw Kitties!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Well, thats another series of Spooks wrapped up. If you haven't watched the last episode, look away now...



I enjoy Spooks, but there it has now just established itself as utterly misogynistic.

This series ends with the death of Jo, who despite being a solid staunch strong character goes from 0 to wreck in less than two jump cuts and a fade in. And so yet again a Spooks series ends with a female character dead because they were weak. This just keeps happening. The men are strong and get a million second chances (cf Adam, who should have been retired after the last series as he was a wreck, but oh no, he can manage it). The women are 'apparently strong', but always break. The next series, as soon as a new female character walks on, you will find yourself wondering how she's going to end up dead or disgraced. Take Ros this series, she was a strong, possibly too hard, character, and bish bosh, she's broken by torture, she's off helping Yalta (the chaps who torture her) and it's all down hill from there for her and off she's shuffled to a life of hiding... organised by the chaps.

It's not just this series, this has been happening from the start, from the deep fat fryer in episode one, series one. And it just keeps happening.

It's all so bloody infuriating, as the big arc story in Spooks this series worked really well, but when it comes to the character management, there's a big "Spying's a blokes game, watch us break the little ladies" theme running through.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Read XKCD?

Then you may want to watch this.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

BBC's iPlayer works* on Mac and Linux

Hussah! (and w00t!)

And the volume control goes to 11.

Class work.

* Streaming only. Now about those downloads........

Pope notes* - Rails - restful_authentication --stateful

* Pope notes - things that I've just worked on, and got halfway, but need to press on with. Like little papal snapshots, mainly for my reference so I can come back to it later.

I like state machines; they make life cycles much easier to manage and acts_as_state_machine is a nice way of expressing state machines. The problem I just hit though was that restful_authentication plugin just added --stateful, which generates up an authentication setup that includes the Stateful authentication setup. It went well enough getting it to work, but there seems to be a mismatch in statefulness and the use of an observer to generate mail. The observer watches save and creates, and then uses the state of the user to decide what should be done. But, it does this for all saves, and because there's no indication of a state change having just occurred, then having the after_save observer mail when the users state is active triggers off multiple "you have signed in mails" and the variant, checking for a pending state, triggers an activation mail. What struck me was it should be better to move the mail generation into the user model, using the same hooks that the state machine uses for when a state is entered. I had a quick hack, and it seems to work, but does generate two activation mails.... this is probably fixable if I understood the acts_as_state_machine plugin better, so I'm going back to another part of the code which does use that.

Oh, and I'm in day two of my "coding rails without an IDE"... it's all TextMate and Terminal here for the next fortnight. No better way to know what an IDE is doing right or wrong than getting back to basics.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Logitech do the right thing...

I've just noticed that Logitech have released Logitech Control Center 2.4. In the past LCC has sucked because it installed APE. Well, now thats changed... "Unsanity's Application Enhancer (APE) is no longer installed and needed". Heck, I might even give it a try.

Update: Eyw, read the comments. I'll wait for 2.4.1....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Busy Busy....

What I find hard? Testing. Doubly hard, TDD. Triply hard, BDD. But dammit, I will do this new code base right for a change. Well, righter.

Busy at the moment working on Lendery. A simple application, I suspect, but I thought I'd mention it.

Lendery replaces my previous Libr project as I realised that Libr was a lot of work for users creating a library which they may only get one use out of per thing loaned. And thus Lendery was inspired. It lets you record who you loaned something to by their email address (initially) and uses email to tell them (after authenticating the account.... a once only event per email address)... sign up and you can create an identity of multiple email addresses (akas) and the ability to manage your loans on the web.

Well, thats the plan.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Twitterific defined

Twitterific: An application designed to display a nice yellow box over one third of it's UI explaining why Twitter isn't working at the moment. Alledgedly, twitters from your followed folk occasionally leak past this yellow box.

What I'd like in a clock/radio....

I like alarm clock/ipod playing/radios. I also like dawn wake-up lamps. But currently my bedside table has both on it. Now this is a tad redundant. I'd prefer just a straight lamp and an alarm clock/radio.

So here's the idea. An alarm clock/radio which had a connection (wired or wireless... I think wireless might be easier, and be easier to make international) to a plug adapter (which would be country specific). You plug your favourite lamp into the adapter and plug it in. You now control your lamps on/off and brightness from the alarm clock/radio. And when the alarm is due to go off, the alarm clock/radio starts ramping up the light brightness half an hour earlier.

Better still, the plug adapters could be sold seperately, and you could "pair" one or two of them to the radio so you could raise the lights on two lamps. And there could be a version for permanant installation in a socket, so you could have a "dawn enabled" socket.

Would you want one?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Touched up

Well, this I'd my first posting here with an iPod Touch via wifi and Safari. Neato.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

iChat supports "/me"

iChat now (apparently undocumented) supports "/me"

/me is happy
/me does a little dance

So when you go to the chemists....

You've got a question to ask them... "Are you a Catholic Pharmacist?" because now, there's a good chance your Catholic pharmacist will not be doing their job and instead be trying to apply their "morality" to your life.

"We cannot anesthetize consciences as regards, for example, the effect of certain molecules that have the goal of preventing the implantation of the embryo or shortening a person's life"

On the plus side, at least Pope "But I wasn't a Nazi" Benedict XVI has made it explicit, welcome to the "War On Molecules".

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just a warning for Leopard upgraders.... You may have APE even though you never installed it.

The following appears to be true... APE screws up the Leopard install. What people may not realise is that they may not know they have APE installed. If you have ever installed Logitech Control Center, then this installs APE. If you uninstall Logitech Control Center, it doesn't get removed. It's why I don't install Logitech Control Center any more, and I bet that a metric shit load of the people getting 'blue screens' are people who've installed Logitech's mouse/keyboard support software.

So, if you are going for an upgrade, if you have Logitech Control Center, uninstall it and manually remove APE... This is the FAQ for APE.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I am integral to the project!


That's me, in a whole frame or two of the Pet Shop Boys New video.

No2ID are promoting it, and you can see the whole thing here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

So I'm writing code....

Well, I'm back to writing code, though I'm enjoying working in Ruby on Rails and Netbeans 6.0.

So what am I writing? Well, it's called Libr and the idea is that you can use it to keep track of things that you have loaned to other people. Say you have a book you want to lend to someone, and lets assume that you are 'Adam' and the someone is 'Joe' and you have accounts on Libr already set up. Adam creates a taggle for the book; a taggle has all the essential information about the book and it can generate a taggle code, which you can write/label the physical book with. Adam then goes to his "Borrowers" list which are all the people Adam has a lending relationship with. Adam adds Joe to his list, then goes back to the books taggle and selects lend, and then selects Joe and sets a date when he wants the book back. The taggle is now lent.

When Joe logs in, possibly after being prompted via RSS or email, he can see that Adam has lent him a book. If Joe has the book, then he selects "Confirm", and the book is now a confirmed loan.

A couple of days before the loan period is up, Joe is reminded that the book is due to be returned. He returns the book, and then clicks Return next to the taggle. Adam is notified by email or RSS and can confirm his reciept of the loan.

And that's the basics of Libr.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007


You've seen the television ad for the ClearBlue pregnancy tester?

"The most advanced technology you will ever pee on".

That bugs me. I keep adding "deliberately".

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Not Overheard

"So like Vista came up and offered 'Revert to last good configuration' so I selected it and it rebooted in Windows 2000"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Safari searching....

I like searching from the address bar. I liked Sogudi, the plugin for Safari which let you do just that. But it don't work with Safari 3 Beta. So I went hunting and found SafariSIA which doesn't claim to work with Safari 3 but, after a brief try out, I can say, it does appear to work.

And yes, I'm trying Safari 3 again, the 3.0.2 beta seems to have addressed a bunch of issues I had. So here we go again.

E70 Fanboys....

The iPhone is a piece of shit, and so is your face. is the delightfully titled, E70 vs iPhone page, complete with sweariness, dubious animations, suspect illustrations and stickiness.

Of course, as an E70 owner, I can point out that the UI sucks, and double sucks with J2ME apps, but yes, native SSH client and IRC clients do work remarkably well.

But I still want a iPhon€....

Right, let's try that again....

Yes, it's been quiet. Maybe I should remember to leave MarsEdit open.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On Microsoft Surface Computing

"It's half arsed, under specced and no, you *can't* buy it" - Sarah

And that kinda sums the entire feeling of underwhelmingness that I got from Microsoft's Surface technology. A vaguely productised rendition of a multitouch surface device aimed at people who can afford $10000 to have it installed.

It feels more like Bill Gates attempt to slap his cock on the table at the D conference today. A Digger nailed it for me...

"Awesome, a touch screen table.
Now if only it could fit in my pocket, hold songs and video, had a phone built in and only cost $499 or $599...." - Fitzfan

And that's the difference between Apple and Microsoft. Apple release consumer products, Microsoft release statements of intent and demos of things which they hope will make a consumer product one day.

Anecdotally, I was playing with the concept of touchable desks back in 1984... We're still not where I was imagining things then...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Beans, real Beans....

Richard Bair's posted about JavaBeans and what makes a real Bean. Food for thought. And no, JavaBeans don't make you do this....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Repurposing

[ I'm playing around with getting some oped out of my head, so this is a developing article ]

Adobe, Microsoft and Sun have all rolled out their Web "Rich Application" Platforms. Now that the wraps are off the WRAPs, there's one thing that's obvious. They are all based around repurposing each companies existing platform. Adobe took Flash, gave it a programming language that didn't sit on a timeline and glued it into Eclipse so code developers don't have to step out of their IDE to develop for it. But basically, it's Flash, with a pony tail and sandals and a tool bag. Microsoft took their .Net platform, created a bucket of glue for Python to run on it, called the glue the DLR, and made it web embeddable. Sun took Java, fixed up the long standing issue of Java being a big download, popped a new scripting language on top, and called it JavaFX.

What does the repurposing achieve though? It does establish dynamic scripting languages as a first class platform, rather than its more traditional position as the left-field platform of geeks and hackers. But beyond there, they still have a lot to do. Adobe and Microsoft have delivered not so much open platforms as ajar platforms; they both have open sourced elements to their offerings, but both have proprietary lock-ins, Adobe on the server side (with the Flex platform playing 'best' with Adobe server extensions) and Microsoft on the development tools (Silverlight might run on a Mac, but to develop it you'll be wanting Windows and Visual Studio). Sun have a more open offering but they also have a different problem; over ten years of "Java's too slow, too big" folk analysis is a lot of baggage to take into a fight, a fight which Sun started on back in 1995 when they launched Java.

But there's also another competitor to all these technologies. The repurposing of the browser. Five years ago if you'd said people could drag and zoom maps, work with documents and spreadsheets, drag and drop components and all this in a web browser with no embedded virtual machines or components, folks would have called you a fantasist. And yet that is where we are with the whole host of Ajax related developments. All they miss is the ability to step "outside" the browser, but even then it's not a huge leap to think of using the core of the browser, the rendering canvas as the run time for non-browser applications; just lose the back button and address bar and you have the repurposed browser. What this approach lacks is a big hitting company behind it.

So now we have four approaches in play...

[ to be continued ]

Friday, May 11, 2007

Freaky Friday Idea...

I have this idea, it's like Freaky Friday crossed with Life On Mars but it follows an IT pundit getting swapped with some one else.... It'd start something like this

"My name is Guy Kewney.
I had an accident and woke up at the BBC.
Am I mad, back in time or in a Goma?"

Hmmm... maybe not.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bestest iTunes Visualizer Evah


It actually *reacts* to the music and looks fabulous.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Microsoft have no sense of irony

Er, guys, you know going up to eleven really didn't do anything.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Things I hate ....

People who use Flickr Notes to *comment* on a picture.

That is all - © The Hodge Man

Friday, April 13, 2007

On the Leopard delay....

Me, I'm not overly perturbed. What Apple are doing is making sure they hit the "Just Works" target and they are going with an old strategy of Sun's, "All the wood behind one arrow", that arrow being OSX. The odds are that they are building all the OS's, AppleTV OSX, iPhone OSX, Leopard (and dare we say iPod OSX, I think we can) from the same source base and it's that which has diverted resources as they avoid the cul-de-sac approach of taking a branch of OSX, porting it to the phone and then spending the next few years running independent dev teams and trying to keep things in sync.

This "All the wood behind one arrow" does have the potential to pay back well for Leopard, especially if people want that funky sub notebook which really knows how to handle location independence and "On The Plane/Down the Tube" modes. And the experience of being tight and lean and mean for a phone is going to be good for the development team, who have been a little spoilt as Apple's hardware chaps have been giving them more performance in the last couple of years than they've had previously; the desire to burn performance for features is always high, and reigning that back in can pay back in a faster tighter slicker desktop OS.

And, what, boohoo, I have to keep running Tiger... It's not like I actually need an update, it's not like Tiger is collapsing under the weight of it's own patches. If I really want Java6, I can download it from Apple and run with it. And I can keep making backups as I always have done. The only people who are going to be groaning are the ISV's who've been romping through the Leopard APIs and deciding their next version will be Leopard only. They will have to rethink what they are going to do for the bulk of 2007, and probably roll out a new Tiger version of their applications in the interim. It's all down to development roadmaps in the end and roadmaps are aspirations with a timeline attached.

So, in summary, sky not falling, sun will come up tomorrow, and the only things that are certain are death and taxes; no one added "Leopard in June" to that short list.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Yahoo thinks iPod owners are pirates

In an article on TechCrunch,Yahoo’s New Media Device, a sterling quote from "Ian Rogers"...

For those of you about to complain about the $12/month to get unlimited tracks (like, um, Steve Jobs), check yourself before you riggity wreck yourself. Labels and artists get paid for every radio play and every Yahoo! Music download to the Sansa Connect, whereas we all know iPods are mostly full of not-paid-for MP3s.

To which I respond, "Oi, Ian Rogers.... you just made sure I wouldn't even suggest a Yahoo music subscription to anyone, let alone think about it myself, because you hold consumers in utter contempt."...

Friday, March 30, 2007

AAA Cellphone

Philips Cellphone Supports AAA Battery Use - What a neat idea.... Damn you Philips, it'll probably suck in implementation.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yeah, Applets are slow...

JPC - Computer Virtualization in Java, the dry and stuffy name for an x86 emulator written as a Java Applet, and yes you can try the demo in your browser, complete with games.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

TFL mashing up

Check out TFL's own little mashup, google maps and traffic cameras as live travel news. Nice work. Now, can we tear off the camera bubbles and make a dashboard of live feeds?


So who reads this blog I wonder? Go ahead, drop a comment, and what you read it for.

Or I'll um.... post bad YouTube videos... Bwahaha!

Update: Apparently hardly anyone. So I resort to good YouTube videos first.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Reading problem...

A story about a Methane sniffing Mars Plane on Engadget... which I initially read as saying ...

then be able to detect methane at levels as low as a few farts per billion,

But, hey, that's kinda right isn't it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You've used the font....

You've used the font...

Now see the movie

(Actually, it sounds quite interesting...)

(Via Helvetica (

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

AjaxTerm - Thats quite neat...

AjaxTerm is a rather impressive bit of work. It's a python script you run which lets you point your browser at a port on that machine and get an Ajaxy terminal session which you can login in with.

Continuations for Curmudgeons

After the last LRUG meeting there was much discussion of continuations, and following up from that Ross pointed the LRUG irc channel at Sam Ruby: Continuations for Curmudgeons which explains continuations pretty damn well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Acts_As_Ferret - Full text searching

This tutorial, Rails Envy: Acts_As_Ferret Tutorial strikes me as jolly interesting, and alleviates my fear that it would feed my models sugar candy till they go hyperactive like Kiki.

Did I mention I've been Railing?

Yes, I've been getting into Ruby on Rails and it is quite a pleasant place to work. I came to it with a purpose, to understand it's mojo so one can compare with the various Railsy frameworks popping up for Java, but it is tempting me to settle in and work a lot more with it. The current challenge, Converence; the prototype works, now to make it all shiny and slick. Oh and scalable. Ish.

Trying Marsedit....

As there's no widget at the moment, I thought I'd check out Marsedit.

Apparently it plays nice with New Blogger.

Update: Well, it does play well so far. This might be a goer.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Well.... The prototype worked.....

My little project "Rix" which was meant to be just an experiment with Ruby on Rails. Well, the experiment went pretty well; for the first time, I felt confident enough to try it out on a couple of folks and it seems to work. So, I'm killing "Rix", or more coopting it as the basis for Converence. What's Converence? It's my long running attempt to glue the threaded message style of conferencing with the immediacy of IRC and IM. I'm well impressed with Ruby On Rails, it's let me get something that works together far quicker than in the past. Now, the real test is how it'll all work out as I push the design forward and make the UI as natural and slick as possible.

I'll need something to think about over the next few months to stop me worrying about getting an ingrown toenail removed (and though that isn't that much of a deal, it is for me for when I was young, the same operation went bad and it has stuck with me since)... So I'll be getting plenty of screen time.

I do wish Blogger would sort out a MacOSX widget for the current Blogger; blogging is lacking it's immediacy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why I say no to ID cards....

Because the government just can't help hiding the truth and lying about facts. Trust em with my dabs? Not a chance... It's not just the fishing expedition, it's the "Well there's quite a high step to get onto the trawler to go fishing, so we'll call that a restriction... and don't mention how big a trawl we can do when we're out there". The clock starts now for Mr Plod to arrest someone on the strength of a match.

"Neighbours" to change palette...

Australia to be lit in crappy faintly orangey light.... horrible bloody things them CFLs are.

via SBisson who thinks it's a good thing.

Friday, February 16, 2007


So the CEO of Macrovision has responded to Steve Jobs Thoughts on Music.

Next week, Vlad the impaler on why todays young people need more, not less impaling.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bah Blogger

I like Blogger, but, does anyone find it hilariously bad that they don't have a working Dashboard Widget for the "New" Blogger? You'd have thought "Hey, lets make sure our few tools we distribute actually work with New Blogger before we take it out of beta" would have been... on the to-do list?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The real Wow...

Steve makes me go Wow!

Now maybe the record labels would like to step up to the challenge.

Windows Se7en....

So apparently "Vienna", Microsoft's code name for the version of Windows in which the things Vista didn't deliver will have (honest, no word of a lie) is now called Windows 7. Or is that Windows Se7en where Microsoft implement all the seven deadly sins. Obviously, Sloth and Greed are already a well established foundation technology for Microsoft. And Bill Gates has been hands on working on Wrath, Envy and Pride in interviews. Gluttony will be implemented by the acquisitions department, leaving only Lust for the developers to work on. Ah... Redmond, I think we have a problem...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Working on a phone

Well, the Nokia E70 amazes me again. I'm using it's browser to post this!

Saturday Morning Bible Quiz....

I blame Pharyngula....

You know the Bible 87%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

And it's still a load of mystical mythic cobblers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Oh The Consumer Frenziality

Sounds like the world's going wild^H^H^H^Hmild for Vista....

It's what the PS3 doesn't have, stupid

So Peter Moore can't think of anything the PS3 has that the 360 doesn't have... True, there's one thing the PS3 doesn't have though that the 360 shouldn't have. The Noise. The 360 is the noisiest console I have ever owned, it whirrs fans frantically, spins the noisiest DVD drive ever and hums my desktop in a finger trembling stylee. And it's because of that that I'm taking the 360 out from under the big TV, because the noise makes it a complete non starter as a digital entertainment hub. I don't want to watch a movie with it droning away, heck, after a while the hum gets to drill through you while playing games. And thats not good. At least Sony approached the PS3 as a device for the living room and have by all reports made it a quiet beast. Microsoft on the other hand have used a cheap noisy DVD drive. Thanks Microsoft. I SAID THANKS MICROSOFT. WHAT? SORRY I HAVE MY 360 ON... SPEAK UP!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mitchell (PC) and Webb (Mac) Rock....

So Apple got Mitchell and Webb to do the UK version of the Mac ads....

See them here.

Thought for the day....

"Microsoft is People Ready like a wood chipper is People Ready"

Microsoft are thieving bastards

Say you developed a nice way of making objects visible to people learning how to program. And the software you developed was free....

And then one day, Microsoft copied the idea and incorporated it into their Visual Studio product.

Well, like any reasonable person who writes free software, you could applaud their taking that idea.

But fast forward a few months... How would you feel if Microsoft went and patented your idea claiming it as their own. You would be reasonably fell somewhat unhappy.

Guess what? That's exactly what Microsoft have done with Blue/J. Read the gory details here.

Update: StevePa tells me in the comments that the application has been withdrawn and there's an investigation ongoing into why this happened. Which is good.

Love Will Tear Us Apart

It's one of those songs you don't really think can be covered well...

And then someone goes and does a heart breaking cover like this.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

A kinda new beginning

Well, I thought about it, and I've promoted this blog into my main personal and geeky blog. While I was at it I finally switched to the new Blogger. So.... to quote a movie... "Let's START RUNNING!"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Logitech - Todays Suckage Winner

So, you've got a Mac and a Logitech peripheral eh? Installed Logitech's Control Center? You'll regret it when I tell you this then.

It installs APE, the "Application Enhancer" in the background and uses it to do it's messing around with your apps.

Now APE has a reputation for being (a) clever (b) making machines quite unstable.

Your machine behaving at all oddly? Have you just gone and uninstalled Logitech's Control Center? If so... sorry, but Logitech don't wipe up their crap after them, and they leave APE installed. With no uninstaller.

Want to remove it? Check this out.

Right now, I'm running Steermouse... it's $20 but it works with all mice.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My iPhone Take.....

(a) It's very nice. It basically aims to deliver the experience that people have sold in concept videos. Remember the Origami videos?

(b) No, it's not for everyone. It's *one* product in it's first release. This is the iPod 1G. Yes, everyone can point to same or similar features in other devices. They can point to features the iPhone doesn't have (like 3G) that other phones have. That's not the point; like the iPod 1G, this is about establishing a position and an experience.

(c) This is the first of what I suspect are many product releases from Apple this year. My hope, a phoneless iPhone, with wifi and bluetooth, which acts as the Apple Remote for all your kit.

(d) I still want one. But I'm not rushing out for it. Thanks Steve for using America as the final test area.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Some PS3 thoughts....

Blu-ray is the next Betamax? Not really. Betamax and VHS were physically incompatible. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD share the same form factor so we can have Dual Format players (Hurry up LG!) and we can have dual format discs (Total HD). So it's not a Betamax/VHS style war.

PS3 will kill Sony? Unlikely; wheras Sony's competitors yank the oxygen from their previous generation of console as soon as their new unit hits the market, Sony are keeping the PS2 as a live product, to mop up the low end market in the same way the PSone did when the PS2 arrived. Thanks to aggressive back compatibility, you get a much longer product life for Sony (and the current slim PS2 is very nice) and for the low end consumers there's good protection on their investment in games.

So, that's the two big myths nailed. What this is really all about is how well Sony execute their strategy in the market. It's been a rocky start, but they are being ambitious, and that never hurts when you are designing to repeat the same process you did with the PS1/PS2 and PS2/PS3, sliding in new generations instead of traumatically transitioning.