Like, uh, whatever, I guess


  Wednesday, March 31, 2004
    [10:33:35 AM]

Those white iPod headphones

Having just read an article on the register (via RSS Bandit, via Slashdot) about muggers targeting iPod users by noting the colour of their headphones, I have a few problems with the people the muggers are targeting.

Maybe it's because I bought mine a good year or so ago, and now that every tom dick and harry all have them it doesn't feel so special, or cutting edge. But this quote really annoyed me:

"I always pick out the iPod people when I'm walking down the street. I know who all the cool people are."

I mean, come on you sheep, get a life ;-)

  Friday, March 19, 2004
    [5:32:13 PM]

Whilst digging around earlier for various dot net stuff, I happened accross this open source regular expression designer on GotDotNet.

It's a WinForm app and allows you to create and test your regular expressions before using them in code (or your FlexWiki TopicIndex behaviour Ross)

Here's the home page of RegexDesigner.net

Regular expressions are notoriously tricky and hard to use, and this quote sums that up rather well (source):

Indeed, the syntaxical language of RegEx is as much intuitive as writing with my feet

    [1:58:23 PM]

Pretty sad I know, but I'm becoming addicted to checking my website logs for http://www.jurasource.co.uk/

The only page that ever really gets hit is atom.xml and that's probably only because of people at Numerica who subscribe :-)

Though the other day I had a referral from http://www.google.com.ru/ (thats the Russian version of Google btw).

All very exciting, but it'd be nice to know what word or phrase someone used to find my site... maybe I need to look around for a better site stat service.


  Thursday, March 11, 2004
    [8:47:18 AM]

We all know the typical nerd stereotype, but who'd of thought that serial killers have a similar image problem?

Can you spot the programming language inventors amongst the, uh, others?

I couldn't... (6/10)


  Tuesday, March 09, 2004
    [4:53:23 PM]

Trying to delete phone numbers from a mobile phone shouldn't be a a hair pulling, teeth grinding and rage building excercise.

Thats where I ended up after attempting to rid my phone of all the rubbish numbers it's accumulated over the past year or so.

Here are a couple of default unlock codes that I ended up needing:

For a Vodafone SIM: 12345

For a Sony Ericsson T610: 0000

  Monday, March 08, 2004
    [2:05:10 PM]

Star Spotting

What with working in Londons west end, you could be forgiven for thinking that I'd be tripping over celebrities every time I popped out for a crayfish and rocket sandwich. Not so.

front cover of heat
Having said that, in the past week I have noticed a couple of famous-ish faces, John, Saffys husband in the BBC's Absolutley Fabulous seems to share my barbers, and I glimpsed Justin and Colin from the Million Pound Property Experiment wandering down Oxford Street earlier (no doubt muttering about house dressing).

It's not that I'm some crazed Heat reading stalker or anything, I just thought I'd see more of 'em, thats all...

    [12:49:25 PM]

Being the super geek that I apparently am, I took the opportunity over the weekend to work on some code involving the System.IO.FileSystemWatcher.

In the end I created a windows service, that basically monitors a directory for input files.

When it finds a new input, it sets some parameters, dynamically load the referenced assembly (which provides an implementation of an interface I defined), kicks off a new thread and sets the whole thing running.

I'll post more on the specifics later (I learnt quite a lot so would be good to share).

Anyway, this post is about Sofware versus Hardware, at least from a protective point of view.

As a developer I am easily more attached to my source code than any machine it might run on, for example you can always buy new hardware, but how do you retrieve a weekend of coding?

This all flashed through my mind on the way to work earlier as |

    [10:25:45 AM]

ReShaper popped up in Omars blog this morning, and from his text and the website it sounded like a great little tool for Visual Studio.NET 2003.

JetBrains Resharper is a Visual Studio .NET add-in that brings intelligent C# code editing and coding assistance features to VS.NET. By intelligent features we mean usage search, powerful refactorings, smart type completion, using assistant and more. In brief, ReSharper truly understands C# code !

And it may well be, at some point anyway.  I'm hoping the fact that it's unusably slow on my machine (a mere P4 1.6GHz w/ 2GB RAM) is due to the fact that it's an "Early Access Program"

Goodness knows what kind of hardware Omar's got.

Here's the link, may well be worth keeping an eye on http://www.jetbrains.net/confluence/display/ReSharper/Home

  Wednesday, March 03, 2004
    [3:41:40 PM]

One of the shortcomings of DasBlog, is that in order for multiple people to have their own blogs, you need a seperate installation for each person.

Not a big deal in itself, but rolling out updated files becomes a bit annoying when you have to copy them into the relevant folder for each instance.

Whilst wondering whether or not we could create some sort of virtual folder for the DasBlog binaries, so that they all pointed to the same "base" folder, I scribbled something along those lines on our whiteboard and thought no more of it.

Along came Steven and dredged out from that scary memory of his, a scrap of something that he thought might give me the answer.

Five minutes on Google later, and I find myself on http://www.sysinternals.com.  Apparently NTFS supports directory symbolic links, where you can "point" directory A at directory B, and although A behaves as a perfectly normal folder, and gives no indication otherwise, it is to all intents and purposes folder B.

Pretty cool I thought, and there's a little DOS utility written by Mark Russinovich for free download here.

I'll have a play around and see if this sorts out my DasBlog maintenance problem...

    [9:09:29 AM]

Finally, a way to stop people from using their phones in public places

You know the situation, sitting comfortably on the train home, quietly pondering the higher truths of life love and happiness, when some oik starts barking into his mobile phone right next to you, shattering your zen like state of bliss and contemplation.

Perhaps that's not strictly true, at least not on South Central Trains, apart from the oik part of couse.

Someone posted a link to our internal IT portal the other day, it's a warning about bluetooth vunerabilities on a number of nokia and erricson phones. Apparently with a bit of cunning would be attackers can grab your phone book, calendar, and even use your phone to suf the web. Sounds a bit ominous doesn't it? But in all liklihood who's really going to bother?

Further down the article, this appears:

Nokia also said that its 6310i handset is vulnerable to a denial-of-service attack when it receives a "corrupted" Bluetooth message: "A DoS attack would happen if a malicious party sends a malformated Bluetooth...message to reboot a victim's Nokia 6310i. We have repeated the attacks and found that there are some corrupted Bluetooth messages that could crash the Nokia 6310i phone," said the representative, who sought to reassure customers by saying that following the crash, the phone will reset and function normally.

Right, how do I create a "corrupted" message suitable for sending to top of the range snazzy phones commonly used by bond traders aka shouting oiks?


  Tuesday, March 02, 2004
    [9:20:17 PM]

Open versus closed source software

The open versus closed software debate is not a new one, and one that looks to be hotly argued and discussed for some time to come.

Earlier today I noticed this interesting open letter written by Clemens Vasters (of DasBlog fame, amongst other things), directed towards a young software developer he'd met at a conference in Dublin.

The letter basically said that although the programmer was very enthusiastic about open source software, at the end of the day you can't really set out on your career aiming to create stuff that's given away for free. It doesn't put food on the table for instance, and although you might garner some whuffie how is that going to help you catch the eyes of members of the fairer sex?

The letter provoked a big old debate on Slashdot, as well you might imagine, and in fact Clemens published a response letter explaining why he said what he did.

Personally, I'm firmly in the "look at your business model, your costs, your products, your customers, and the staff you need then decide on an OS/package/etc basis what best suits you" camp, and do agree with Clemens.

For instance, the company I work for (and it's by no means unique in this respect), uses a number of closed source systems (the accountancy package for example). We also use some open source software: DasBlog, FlexWiki, and a range of tools that lots of people from sysadmins to developers use. Finally there is a swathe of in-house custom built systems and tools, that serve our specific business need.

Where the open source model works nicely for us, is that it allows us to use what we consider to be the most feature rich blogging tool available at the moment, but any time it doesn't do quite what we would like, or find some bug, we are able to add the feature, fix the bug, and check it back into the main code base. So apart from everyone else benefitting from that bug fix, we don't have to maintain a whole seperate code branch and all the time and resource that involves.

Of course working on something that is out there in the public domain does mean that you can just drop a url onto your cv and any prospective employers can go and see for themselves what you've been involved with, rather than just relying on convincingly explaining what you got up to in your last job. And there is the geek kudos, can't totally forget about that ;-) but it won't feed my cats on it's own.

In the end I think it all comes down to the fact that if you're a good programmer, you should be able to make some decent money using all those skills that make you a good programmer. Problem solving, grasping complex abstract models, lateral thinking, they're all there and more, just hard to define. If you can give a little back to the open source community in your spare time for fun or as a hobby, then why not just perhaps don't rely on it in the first instance.

  Monday, March 01, 2004
    [8:31:27 PM]

More John Kerry Referral Spam

Just noticed this url in my site logs: http://blog.johnkerry.com Turns out to be some democrat in America who says We Will Beat Bush. Ok, maybe ... but why'm I getting referrals from his site?

It might make a bit of a change from porn referral spam I suppose, but it's still dammed annoying.

Amongst others, I see Omar Shahine's been having the same problem.

There's a nice article on Wired about all this (but posted at 02:00 AM Oct. 26, 2002 PT, so where have I been!)

    [8:03:14 PM]

Sunsets are so cheesy

London, Wigmore Street
Images of sunsets are cheesy though, though quite why isn't that obvious.

Perhaps it's because you see so many pictures of them, after all, who hasn't ever had the urge to try and capture what can arguably be one of the most stunning sights you're likley to see?

Or maybe it's because when you catch a good one, no image could ever possibly convey quite the same beauty and experience of wonderment.

Leaving work today I was half way across the road when I noticed the sun, big fat and orange, sitting perfectly between the buildings on Wigmore Street. I couldn't help myself :-)


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