Feet up!
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
 
Happy New Year!
As this is likely to be my last post of 2002, I'd just like to say Happy New Year to everyone.
Monday, December 30, 2002
 
Break in the clouds
John and Annette take a break from Xmas shoppingOk, the weather's not been too great over Christmas, but at least it's been pretty warm as you can see from the picture.

It's not actually me in the picture, but my old friend John Pointer and his better half Annette, and to be honest it's not the isle of Sheppey in the background either, but a small cove just off the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Ho hum...
Monday, December 23, 2002
 
Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Looks like he picked "Go"...

So farewell then Joe Strummer, it seems to be the season for heart attacks, be careful with that mince pie Eugene.
Saturday, December 21, 2002
 
More FOAF goodies
First off, FOAFNAUT a rather funky relationship explorer, which needs Adobe's SVG plug-in installed. If that's not to your liking, here's a rather good FOAF explorer instead.

And finally RDFWeb's FOAF description gives you the background on the "Friend Of A Friend " project.
Friday, December 20, 2002
 
Good deeds for the New Year
Ben's got some good ideas for making the world a better place, I've done the first one and I'm feeling lovely and smug.

Behold, here is a quick (and still rather sparse) FOAF file, thanks to FOAF-a-matic
Thursday, December 19, 2002
 
Ho Ho Ho!
Sober Santa game, your aim? To keep the old fellow on the roof guzzling champagne.

Puerile? Juvenile? Irresponsible? Yes!

Funny? Yes, that too!
 
Diving in where others fear to tread
He's at it again, yet another step in Mark's series of diving into things, this time it's XML that gets the lucid intelligible write-up.

Mark has been commissioned to write a monthly article for O'Reilly's xml.com yet another example of making money from blogging the smart way.

The first article is entitled What is RSS? A damned good question, answered well.
 
RooDolF the red nosed Google app
Yes, I know that hasn't got quite the right meter...

The toy for the day is RooDolF a web service which uses the Google apis to perform a Google search of your choosing and returns the result in RDF format. There's also RooDolF2 to play with too!
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
 
Tarpitting the Spamsters
Yet another approach for inconveniencing these scum, Marc Merlins shows how to use SpamAssassin with exim to tarpit incoming spam.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
 
New twist on the mobile phone front
This is something I've been musing about for a while, but not something that I really expected to be built yet, IXI mobile have built a personal mobile gateway that operates as a gateway or router between GSM/GPRS and Bluetooth (or 802.11, 802.15) and also as a micro server and app server.

Using one of these with a lightweight Bluetooth headset and/or pda is an interesting prospect, imagine the possibilities of having one of these boxes in your pocket, briefcase, or even leaving one in your car glovebox for ad-hoc usage. If you think mobile phones are small now, just wait until GSM/GPRS wireless functionality migrates into a box like this, power requirements for the handset will drop by a factor of ten or more, meaning wafer-thin, flexible, or even roll-up "phones" will become the norm, maybe the keypad, display, and headset will seperate further into components.

Infosync has a article on IXI's personal mobile gateway.
 
Coffee and Christmas
As something to keep me mentally occupied over the Christmas break I'm going to update my Java skills, I did a little years ago, but it's very rusty.

Certification would be useful to put on my CV, I suppose the question is whether I should go for jCert or Sun's certification programmes?

Update: Erik has just suggested that I have a look at Certy's Free Certifications - thanks Erik!

Maybe I should steer clear of JSP, Marc Hedlund certainly doesn't appear to be a big fan...
 
More MP3 appliances
I mentioned these back in August, and I've not seen any new ones since then (well none that weren't completely vapourware), now just like buses along come a load more, mostly culled from a review in the Grauniad:
  • SliMP3 - one that slipped the net in August, looks interesting, if a little Heath Robinson.
  • Philips Streamium - I saw the hype about this ages ago, but my usually reliable mole at Philips hadn't heard of it, so I assumed it was just vapour; not so, it's actually shipping in the UK in January.
  • I-Merge - a UK based manufacturer of a whole range of players and servers, cool stuff!
Monday, December 16, 2002
 
Great ISDN resource
Seems to be telecoms week here...

I've been playing with ISDN and BT's Business Highway at home and work for the last couple of days, and needed to know how long a cable we could use between the ISDN wall box and the equipment without playing with termination resistors and switches, Phil McKerracher's site turned up the goods, thanks Phil!
Sunday, December 15, 2002
 
Siemens/BT 2010 DECT phones...
We've had a BT Diverse 2010 DECT (a rebadged Siemens Gigaset 2010) phone for years now and it started playing up, so I got another DECT handset to use with the base station. However I'd changed the security code for the base station and lost the manual I'd written it down in...

The Siemens site turned up a manual (PDF) for the phone, which implied there is a master reset for the base station, which clears the system pin code, and restores factory settings in the base station.

I finally found it in Harold Hufenbecher's forum and for those of you who aren't into reading German (and I couldn't find an English language description on Google), you can reset the 2010 base station as follows:
  1. Turn off power to the base station.
  2. Press and hold down the button on the base station.
  3. Restore power to the base station.
  4. The led on the base station will start flashing (about 10 seconds).
  5. When the led stops flashing (another 10 seconds or so) release the button.

Warning this will clear all settings from the base station, including registration of handsets, so you will have to re-register any handsets that you want connected to this base station, the base station's system pin code will be "0000".
Friday, December 13, 2002
 
Whisky Galore
Somehow I've ended up "owning" land at a couple of distilleries, unfortunately I'd have liked it to be in the bottling halls, but no such luck. These seem to be devices to make hostile takeovers harder to accomplish, i.e. "yes, you might be able to buy the distillery, but we've leased the land to these 100,000 people all over the globe, and you'll have to get their permission first".

Anyway it means I get various odd things through the post, calendars, Chrimble cards, newsletters and the like; whisky would be nicer, but I suppose I can't have everything. Cutting to the chase however, I've had a couple of Xmas cards from Laphroaig (do I have two plots there?) and the distillery's manager Iain Henderson is retiring. As part of his retirement gift Laphroaig are donating 10p to Guide Dogs for the Blind for every comment left on Iain's website, so please get posting comments (sane stuff, no comment spam please).
 
Prediction software beats human tipsters
I wonder if they're looking for beta testers?

Well, one can but hope. This weeks' inspired gambles have seen me lose money on Man Utd winning, Newcastle losing and Arsenal drawing, due to some in-running betting I had some audacious wins lined up if there were any last minute goals, but I've had to suffer a small loss instead.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
 
The Pepys Project
Yet another meta-blogging site, this one does a weblog to physical location linkage rather than blog to blog linkage like Organica et al.
 
Tiny Encryption Algorithm
Tiny Encryption Algorithm, this is really very neat, encryption (and decryption) in 20 or so lines of C

The 80x86 assembler version isn't very compact though, I'm sure I could do significantly better, maybe their version is optimised for speed, as it certainly looks a bit bulky.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
 
I'll buy ten days of sunshine and sell you five of snow
Xelsius.com trading the weather.

This sounds like a wacky idea until you remember that all of the big players in the soft commodity markets, grains, beans, sugar, coffee, cocoa and other crops already use futures and options to effectively insure their crop or supply prices, if they can also hedge against poor weather then that's even better for them. It also provides yet another opportunity for those modern day buccaneers the day traders to make (or more likely lose) money.
 
Things not to try at home, number 5491 of a never ending series...
Update Python on a box with limited free disk space.

Ok, I was very ham fisted, but half a dozen failed installs can leave a lot of cruft lying around on a Linux box, and the good news is that I've got Python installed and running fine. I haven't got any docs or demo or Mac stuff, but I don't need that on a server. One bonus is that I removed Xemacs in the clean up process, I wonder why and how I installed that when I hadn't knowingly installed X...
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
 
Disused London Underground Stations
Wow, what a site! This extensive site covers the disused London Underground stations in detail, if you ever wondered what that tunnel or shady platform you saw out of the tube train window was, this site can tell you, fascinating stuff.
 
MyDomain.com down
So that's why I didn't get all my usual "interesting" emails exhorting me to borrow money which I could use to buy cheap viagra, get a bigger penis (and breasts) and send to gentlemen in Africa to help them move funds overseas.

This Register story explains that Mydomain.com were down for a while yesterday, so if you sent me email yesterday, please resend it as I'm not necessarily ignoring you on purpose...
Saturday, December 07, 2002
 
Mid voyage blues
The epic voyage continues, quick sms exchange with Russ whilst he was in Amsterdam.

Me: Hi mate, welcome to Holland! Enjoy your trip. Jim.
Russ (sarcasm I think): You are so funny! Thanks! I'm in another line now.. Only 14 hours to go!
Friday, December 06, 2002
 
Mobile news
Lot's of interesting news on the mobile phone software front this week, consider some of the evidence so far: Exhibit A, Symbian to make Psion's OPL dev language open source; exhibit B, Java community to nail mobile phone spec; exhibit C, Orange's SPV MS smartphone - developer hostile bugfarm? Exhibit D, Orange plans SPV bugfixes, and developer info for Q1; exhibit E, France Telecom fights 'financial noose'

All very interesting in their own right, but pull them together and it looks like Microsoft are a long way behind Symbian, let's consider the exhibits one by one.

First OPL, as a variant of Basic it's a bit of a comedy language, but some people like this sort of thing and who am I to refuse them their fun. Plus there is a lot of freely available OPL software that'll run on Symbian platforms, have a look at 3-Lib for some of this; tons of small useful apps that run on their Psion handhelds which would transfer wonderfully to a smart phone.

Java getting its act together, this is obviously a "good thing", developing Java apps on mobile phones is a nightmare and a long way from Java's "write once run - anywhere" goals. No prizes for guessing which smartphone platform is pro-Java and which is anti...

Orange SPV, or as I've heard it dubbed "Service Pack Vehicle", there's no doubt that this product wasn't ready for release, it's no surprise that Sendo aborted the Z100. It's not helped by Orange not appearing to understand that assisting developer take-up and getting apps available helps platform take up; hint to Orange, OS/2?

However Orange are restricting smartphone apps to those approved by themselves, which kills it stone dead for many users. From my perspective it's comical, I'm a developer and if I wrote an app Orange wouldn't let me run it on my own phone, doesn't that seem a little bizarre? Sure this might suit some big businesses who have the corporate structure to get their apps through Orange's hoops and onto many phones; but the future is small businesses, fast, light, agile and this doesn't fit the Orange approach. Orange are a big business, so maybe that's why they don't "get it", certainly having a parent company with finances like a third World country can't help them think straight.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
 
Ben, mine's a pint of Winter Warmer
That young Mr Hammersley has left himself open to a rather high bar bill, I'm sure his new book Content Syndication with RSS is a cracking read if it's anything like the weblog.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
 
Fingers crossed
Just remembered I've got a few quid riding on a couple of the football games tonight, I'm hoping for Everton to beat Chelsea and Fulham to beat Wigan, if so I think I've got about 500 quid coming my way :-)

It's all down to a rather complicated bet that I've had running since Monday night (a Super Yankee for those in the know), and so far Southampton (beating West Ham in injury time), Man Utd (ok, I don't like them, but the least they can do is make me a few quid), and Sheffield Utd (beating premiership strugglers Sunderland) have kept it all looking rosy.

Update: as Jim Ley pointed out, they both lost so I wasn't even close. Fortunately I still turned a small profit from the wins on the other three games, it'd have been nicer to have been 4 out of 5, or even 5 out of 5, still there's always this weekend!
 
Mouse Gestures with Mozilla
Thanks to Jan for spotting this one, what a neat way to drive Moz: Mouse gestures
 
Midnight Oil finish
No, not that Midnight Oil, but this one, it'll be a shame to see them go, fine music and fine deeds, not that common an occurance.

The sun sets on Midnight Oil says the announcement in The Age, put like that it sounds a bit final, but it's not, Midnight Oil have ceased to be but Peter Garrett is still going to be around and the rest of the band are going to continue making music.
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
 
Russ changes jobs
I'm sure Russ will kill Erik for this survey, my money is on about 6-9 months, although statistically it's likely going to be lower, and I don't think he's blogged his next interview yet...
 
Listen, I can hear it over there in the corner!
Years ago I had a vinyl album with loads of weird 3D sound effects by a chap called Hugo Zuccarelli, hugely effective but I couldn't see any obvious point to it musically.

However what do I stumble across today, but a load of holophonic samples from this very album, the most effective one for me is the matchbox being shaken.
 
Dumb site of the week
Hotpoint a UK based manufacturer (re-brander?) of white goods, who seem to think that I want IE4 or Netscape 4 (or above) when I try to view their site with Mozilla, I wonder why? Does their site carefully use some aspect of Netscape 4s infamous cruftiness to enhance the browsing experience?
Monday, December 02, 2002
 
Python and beer
Sounds like a damned good idea to me, I wonder if I can make the next Python South-East UK booze-up.

I've got a vague suspicion I'm supposed to be up to something else that night, but I hope I can mis-arrange that.
 
Free O2 PAYG sim
Quick info-mercial: I heard on Locust last night that O2 (the artists formerly known as Cellnet, and still known as a million and one other unflattering things) are giving away free Pay-as-you-go sim cards, simply txt "FREESIM <name> <house no> <postcode>" to 80202, normal SMS charges apply.

I might get one of those, it could be handy when I'm in one of those holes of no-coverage, then again most of those seem to be in pubs!
 
Java.Blogs goes mega
Since I mentioned the Java.Blogs the other day, they seem to have gone mad. Not content with having a nice little aggregator running on Flock they've now got a fully blown portal, aggregator, community server, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all at JavaBlogs.com

Nice work chaps; now you've just got to see the light about Hungarian notation, it's not nice, not nice at all...
 
Blimey, hello December!
Well that one crept up a bit quickly, I'm only just getting the hang of this new century and we're already nearly three years in (or two if you're one of those old-fashioned people who starts counting at 1).

Doesn't time fly...