Archive for the 'General' Category


July 9, 2007

After a lack of posts I went and did the same thing again – This time, another hardware issue. I decided to wait for a new system as I’d be building up a new system from scratch anyway and it took longer than expected for everything to come together. I was also doing extra hours at work which made it easy to put the new system on the back burner in favor of sleep!

No more downtime!

The install of Fedora Core 7 went smoothly – I downloaded the boot ISO from a official mirror and used that for the basis of my install. My major issues were 1 – The boot installer asks for a location and mirror to install from, it’d be nice to select from a list at this stage (or even browse for the img file). and 2- when the img file is downloading there is no progress indicator – I went into town and left it, it took a little over an hour I think. I then left the computer over night while I went out of town and came back to a screen asking to restart the computer – Easy!

Tomorrow I’ll start installing a Java environment and begin a project I’ve been wanting to start.


May 17, 2007

Havn’t updated in a while, I’ve been quite busy with a few other things. Excuses aside, I’ll be posting much more frequently. In fact I’ve set a goal – To make a simple hosting website for my flat. The goals are:

  • Nice clean interface
  • Allow comments
  • RSS Feed
  • Database backend (of course).

I’m 50/50 Java vs Ruby on Rails. I’d love to do either. I decided Java as its something I’d like to become more experienced in. I’m interested in learning Ruby for scripting though.

I’ve read many interesting comments on slashdot recently (I often just read the comments as it summaries/picks apart the articles and you get some very intelligent people posting). My two favourites recently being:

The Rise of “Hybrid” Vinyl-MP3s for the quote:

“Making a legal, paid-for version of the file less useful than a copied or pirated one doesn’t make sense.” First World Records co-founder.

Rethinking the Linux Distribution? for the many quotes echoing my opinion such as:

“Collaboration can happen without application hosting. It’d be better if we focussed instead on creating a great P2P collaboration framework, and build that into many applications, such as OOo, or the Gimp, or any other system you might want to use for multi-authored documents.”

“Yes, it’s an inflammatory subject, but it’s exactly what needs to happen. “Software as a service” is the wet dream of many corporations right now, because it offers a per use pricing model and offloads an enormous amount of control to the vendor. When their machines run everything, it’s DRM heaven.”

Will be getting in touch with Dreamhost next week RE: Hosting. I’ll be keeping this theme with a couple of enhancements, namely having a more prominent RSS feed icon (not huge, but more noticable).


May 2, 2007

I didn’t manage to follow the uproar unfold as digg started censoring posts related to the HD-DVD processing key, as I was working, but I did have a look in the afternoon and was stunned at the communities response! Power to the people is all I have to say. Digg may have done it this time!

Slashdot coverage



Getting Sorted

April 4, 2007

I’ve recently been thinking about how I can best manage my time after work to actually get things done – the result; I’ve set the following short term goals:

  • Design a new blog and get hosted off site (thinking of dreamhost because of their excellent service or because of their flexability)
  • Create a Java RSS feed reader (I have a design in mind that I think will be quite useful)
  • Learn some basic Python
  • Improve my GNU/Linux knowledge
  • Continue with my SQL learning – I’ve had a lot of experience in this recently and would like to continue learning towards a DBA type position. This would fit in well with my interest in GNU/Linux.

Should be enough to keep me busy – Will update on progress, I’d like to see how efficiently I can get these done.

‘echo $?’

February 28, 2007

No, this blog hasn’t crash and burnt , and yes, I’m still alive!

The last few months I haven’t been blogging at all due to lack of an Internet connection. Long story short I needed some new network gear that would have been redundant when I moved a month later, this down time ended up being longer than expected (never again!).

Well… during this downtime I have moved to a new flat, graduated from my degree, been employed as as a software engineer in a great company, brought a new car and sorted an Internet connection. I have been flat out!

Expect some new posts very shortly!

Gmail chat offline messages

November 2, 2006

I noticed yesterday when chatting to a friend that I could send messages to him when he went offline, previously it would tell you the recipient is offline and will not receive your message. This only works If they go offline during a chat session, otherwie the quick contact list takes you to the compose mail screen.

I got an email reply from my friend this morning containing the few messages I sent him, complete with timestamps and horizontal rule separating messages.

Very cool new feature, espcially for those chat sessions that tend to get lost when somone closes the browser window by mistake!

Trace listeners

October 3, 2006

In my post Solutions for basic logging I gave a very brief look at some solutions for implementing basic logging in an application. One of the tools I forgot to add was Trace listeners. I decided this was by far the best solution for my particular need: I can specify if the application is to perform logging or not by changing an XML value, I can easily choose the medium of the output, and writing the trace is simple.

I’m currently outputting to a text file but this could easily be the windows event log or XML fragment for example, and writing the message is as simple as writing to the console. I will deploy the application with logging off; If any issues arise I can tell the client to change the value (or include a script that will do it) and have them send the output. Easy!

I’ve noticed my application would benefit rethinking my logic (order of events, processing methods). This is to be expected really as in my initial builds I just wanted to make it work. I now want to make it as efficient as I can.

Trace Listener resources:

Tracing in .NET and Implementing Your Own Trace Listeners

TraceListener Class

Trace Listeners

Debugging once you go live: Trace Listeners

Ariel for ruby and Netscape daily WTF?

September 18, 2006

Ariel was featured on the front page of today and is a ruby libary for extracting information from structured documents, for example HTML files. This looks like a very useful libary and may be the perfect motivation for me to learn ruby! From what I have seen and played round with I’m looking forward to doing more 🙂

I also found a link to the Blake Ross on Popup Suppression daily WTF, quite a funny post regarding Netscape 7.

SQL – XML in SQL Server 2000

September 13, 2006

I managed to try out the sp_makewebtask T-SQL stored procedure for exporting the result of an SQL query to XML file that I mentioned in an earlier post. I’m happy to say that it works a treat! I’m quite excited about it and would love to know if there is something similar for mysql now that stored procedures are supported (mysql 5).

The conversion is as simple as creating a .tpl file with the following (root can either be removed or changed to represent a doc type definition, much more useful then just root!):


And then calling the stored procedurce in the query analyser, or however way you wish to call it.

sp_makewebtask @outputfile = ‘c:\temp\myxmlfile.xml’,
@query = ‘select * from sysobjects for xml auto’,
@templatefile = ‘c:\temp\template.tpl’

The result is an XML file created in c:\temp called myxmlfile.xml. I tried a few different queries such as: select * from customer where custID=1… which created a node called customer with the customer details as attributes.


<Customers custID=”1″ custFirstName=”John” custLastName=”Smith” custAddress=”123 Queen St”/>


I see this as being useful for sites such as where a user may want to export their url list to a file ( actually offer this service, just using it as an example).

Content management system

September 11, 2006

I’ve decided I’m going to go ahead with the porting of the basic content management system I wrote in Java EE to PHP. For a while I decided I wouldn’t due to the flexability of systems such as WordPress but I want to do it to extend my programming knowledge as well as to use as a demonstration of what I can do, as I created it from scratch.

I’m going to start by revising my class diagram and writing the Java classes into PHP classes. This shouldn’t be too big of a deal! I will also be revising the GUI as I didn’t have time to put a good effort into the design before. There are a few bits and pieces I want to add (XML feeds for example) ,so should be quite fun. It will also have no blogging features as this is not the scope or intended use of the system.

I have a couple of other projects on the horizon as well 🙂 Not going to say anything till they are underway but I’m hoping to start making some progress. Stay tuned!


I’ve also downloaded XAMPP. XAMPP is a package containing Apache 2.2.2, MySQL 5.0.21, PHP 5.1.4, phpMyAdmin 2.8.1, XAMPP Control Panel Version 2.3 and FileZilla FTP Server 0.9.16c and is perfect for portable media (I installed it on my portable hard disk). There are also Perl and Tom Cat add-ons available.

I have a meeting today with some developers for the company I am doing my project for to discuss the requirements and implementation so fingers crossed they like what I have done and agree on the plan of attack 🙂