Oh, and my Mac died again. More on that later...
Anyway, she was having trouble getting a couple of her inexplicably large number of blogs up and running with it - and somehow Daniel Jalkut, MarsEdit's author, spotted her blog post and came and helped her out. Wow - you don't get Bill helping the frustrated Vista victims out, do you? And that cost far more than MarsEdit.
He was pretty positive about a change I suggested recently, too.
So, MarsEdit is now even more highly recommended than it used to be.
Firstly, congratulations to Mum for her Blogisattva Awards nomination. Go Mum! (I have asked - apparently, nobbling the opposition isn't very Buddhist, so that's out. Shame. And they won't let me vote 'cos I'm a godless, non-spiritual, positivist, Dawkins-loving atheist.)
And secondly, Welcome, Dougal, to the blogsphere. Now stop shouting. Dougal is my aunt's husband. Err, that makes him my uncle, doesn't it? Weird.
That's over seven grand in real money! Certainly more than the rest of me is worth. ;-)
And check out Simon Willison...
Do I get let off for coming in late this morning for that? ;-)
I'd like to welcome Jay to the blogsphere. Hi, Jay!
Jay's the bloke who introduced me to Python, oh, six years ago or so. And warned me off of Perl, too, which puts me doubly in his debt. Go and read him.
Four jobs I've had
Developer/Programmer/Whatever you call it these days
movies films I can watch over and over again
Four places I've lived
shows programmes I love
Four places I've
vacationed been on holiday
Four of my favourite dishes
Four websites I visit daily (sorry - mine are dull too.)
Four places I'd rather be right now
Four bloggers I'm tagging (you're it!)
Mum rang me yesterday, nagging me about my lack of posting. There's a combination of reasons for it, I think.
Firstly, there's time. This sprinting business is fun, but intense. I just working too damn hard. That can't be a good thing. Hard work never killed anyone, they say, but why risk it?
What spare time I do have seems to be mostly soaked up by reading. I was subscribed to over three hundred and fifty blogs last week. That's just not sane, is it?
What else? Well, there's del.icio.us. Whereas I would sometimes post a link and a sentence or two of comment, now I just bung it on del.icio.us.
And, well, lastly, I have a horrible feeling that I'm developing a sense of perspective. I start writing something, then think to myself: "
Who's going to be interested in that? Nobody, that's who." A true idea of the worth of one's writing is not a helpful thing for most bloggers if they want to keep going.
So, what to do? Well, I'm going to slash my Bloglines subscriptions, and I'm going to make a rule that every time I subscribe to a new blog I have to drop an old one. I'm going to hide my del.icio.us links. And I'm just going to write any old crap, like I used to. Wish me luck.
Over the Christmas period I was attacked by a huge number if comment spammers linking to fake BlogSpot blogs - ocassionally over a hundred posts a day. Gits.
The number of different URLs leading to these fake blogs was large enough that I took the uncomfortable decision to block URLs containing 'blogspot' from comments altogether. So, sorry to any blogspot users who find themselves unable to leave thier URLs when commenting here - that means you especially, Mark and Katherine - but until blogspot sort their game out and get rid of the spammers, that's the way it has to be. :-(
There seem to be quite a few bloggers in Colliers Wood now:
Seven of us. If you don't find that surprising, you clearly don't know Colliers Wood. I'll have to see if I can coax them all out for a drink.
Given how rarely I update these days, you'd be forgiven for not noticing that SVoC has been down. Old credit card detaiuls regisrtered with the host, letter went to my parent's address, yada yada yada. Anyway, it's all shiney again now.
If you attempted to email be and it bounced, please try again now...
And the best-excuse-for-linking-to-a-site-featuring-scantily-clad-women award goes to...
Good effort, sir.
Update: Seems it's a madam, not a sir, and may therefore not be simply a blatant look-at-the-pretty-girls post. Still, I enjoyed it, so good effort nevertheless. ;-)
Sorry it's been so quiet around here. Nothing wrong, just very busy.
I'll blog the sorry tale of the company do at the weekend when Jenny gets around to bringing her camera in and there are photos to show.
Help me celebrate this evening at The Horse Bar if you fancy.
And you know the worst thing about it? I'm partially responsible. I introduced Steve to the world of blogging, and he introduced Tilesey, aka 'Him'.
Jeff, one of my directors, has just started blogging.
It might catch on you know.
Anyway, it might be worth keeping an eye on. He's an amusing writer, and he has, uh, lots of personality. Lots and lots. Unlike me, he feels free to mention the name of the company that I work for. After all, who's going to sack him?
"Let’s assume that you’re reasonably competent, reasonably coherent, and reasonably mature." Oh dear.
Meme of the day: Fun with Bloglines, via boncey.org.
Go to Bloglines. Find your own blog. (If it's not there you can sign up and add it. If you don't have a blog this one's not for you.)
Click related feeds.
Post the top 5 (or more) on your blog.
Here are mine:
- Joel on Software
- Thinking About Computing
- Simon Willison's Weblog
- Martin Fowler's Bliki
- Boing Boing
- Jon's Radio
- Sam Ruby
I hope El Presidente doesn't get any ideas.
Of course, she can't be held responsible for the rubbish that you find here the rest of the time...
Excellent! My next project will involve building a new site which will include some 'announcment and discussion forums', or, well, blogs. I wonder why I'm in the frame for this one? ;-)
I'm thinking WordPress for the blog engine. Seems to be all the go at the moment.
Even more excellent, if a little scary, is that all this is to run on a Linux box. I've not used Linux in anger, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm very much a command line man, so I'm sure I'll get on fine once I've got some momentum up. But getting started...
Which distro should I use? I quite fancy Debian, but I'm not sure that I'm hary chested enough for it. Would I better off with SuSE, or is that a bit desktop oriented? Is Ubuntu ready for prime-time? Or is there another distro altogether that I should be using?
Recently, I was asked to add a site meter to a client's site. The obvious choice for a site meter was of course, Site Meter, so thats what I used.
I've always been a bit wary of metering my blog. I really don't want to turn into one of those hits-obsessed please-leave-a-comment-if-you-are-visitor-number-n-thousand type bloggers. But I was impressed by Site Meter's stats, and I was interested to know what operating systems and browsers people are using to browse my site, where in the world they all are, and that kind of thing. So I added Site Meter to my site - my stats are here.
Why I Fucking Hate Weblogs! I'm just posting a link to this so that El Presidente etcetera have a public forum for agreeing with every word of it.
Bloglines, one year old today.
Via Andy Gimblett.
Ever since I upgraded SVoC, the comment system has been completely shagged. The problem seems to lie not with MT 2.661 as such, but rather with my host, 1&1. I always got the occasional 500, but now I get them all the time, and it seems I'm not alone. Upgrading MT has exacerbated the problem, since it seems a little more resource-hungry now, but the ultimate issue is with 1&1's low resource thresholds.
This is just the straw which breaks the camel's back, frankly, since they've been pissing me off for a while. Their support, well, doesn't, and I can't find anything on the admin screens, even when they don't hang. So, a new host.
I hear good things about 34SP. Any other suggestions? Who do you use?
Oh, and if you comment, don't be surprised if you get a 500 - in fact, you almost certainly will. I'll be able to rebuild the HTML to show your comments manually.
Update: With Dad being ill and all, I'll not be able to get around to this for a while. But the move will happen eventually...
This morning, I came in to find that 1437 comments had been left on SVoC. Of which two were real comments, and 1435 were comment spam of the vilest order. It's taken me an hour to get rid of it all.
I don't think 'bastards' is too strong a word, frankly.
Two and a half years ago, I suggested that my company publish an industry news feed, and build a feed reader into the web applications that we build for our clients. Most of our clients are in a very vertical market, so this could have flown, I thought - we could have delivered useful news, and slipped product release information in there too.
Did my company pick up this idea and run with it? Did they buggery.
Well, it appears that it wasn't such a stupid idea after all. Even Bill Gates thinks that blogs are useful business communication tool now.
This is distinct from the plogging idea I mentioned recently, BTW. Plogging is the use of a blog as an internal communication tool - Gates was talking about using them as external communication tools, too.
The Virtues of Chitchat - A modest proposal for using blogs to keep IT teams and management up-to-date on implementation.
We did this three years back, running Squish on Zope. But The Powers That Be made me take it down - we were collecting lots of useful data on software they didn't trust, and they were afraid it might all got lost. So, instead, we just used email for everything. And it all got lost.
Me? I couln't care less. I'm still running MT version 2.11, so you can see I'm not bound to upgrade. Even if I did, the free version would suit me fine. One shoddy blog, one shoddy author. Even if it wasn't, I'm happy to pay for good software. (I expect to get paid for mine, after all.) Even if I wasn't happy to pay, there are plenty of alternative platforms to move to. And even if there weren't, well, I could always write my own.
Too busy to blog - I'm laying down a bit of rubber here making sure that the still-in-progress project that I'm working on is in a fit state to hand over, and that I have everything I'll need for the next two months on client site.
It'll stay quiet for a while, too; I'm very busy.
Well, I like to think it doesn't, but one day it might...
OK, OK, perhaps it does. :-(
If your blog had a smell, what would it smell of?
My results: You are a casual weblogger. You only blog when you have nothing better to do, which is not very often. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you'd post a little more often, you'd make your readers very happy.
Utter bollocks, obviously. ;-)
Normal service will be resumed shortly.
Well, actually, it's been resumed already. My account with my host had been frozen 'cos I'd cancelled a lost credit card and forgot to register the new one with them. Sigh.
Blogging is passé - it's official.
Well, if Jamie Oliver has one, it must be.
You get it from your children. My mum has a blog: Lotus in the Mud.
Blogging MPs are still fairly rare at the moment. This is a bit strange, really, 'cos it's a cheap and effective way to communicate directly with a potentially large number of people, without the media filtering which annoys politicians so much. I'm sure that we'll see blogging used more in the future.
Labour MP Tom Watson was the first MP to take up the new medium, so far as I know, starting his blog in March this year. Recently, I came across another couple of Blogging MPs: Clive Soley, and Richard Allan.
Both are interesting reads. Today's sound-bite mass media don't really allow politicians to put their views across at any length, so any subtleties in their arguments are lost. In posts like George Bush speech in London and Identity Cards – A Solution Looking for a Problem, Stoley and Allan show that with a bit more freedom, they can make a lot more sense.
I come out OK, especially after moving my archives of to a separate page (which I'm still cleaning up), and cutting down the number of day's posts displayed. It's not too happy about the size of my CSS file, but I don't think that there's any way I could get it below 1160 bytes.
Hmmm. Just about every other blogger on the face of the planet has linked, or will link, to this: Mom finds out about blog.
You know the sad thing - my mother does read this blog, and there's nothing in it that I would want to keep from her. In fact, I can't think of anything in my life that I can't tell my mother.
Sigh. I have to get a life. Can you get one from Argos?
BTW, Mum, when are you starting your blog?
Belle De Jour, a working girl's blog. Very well written, and interesting too. If, like me, everything you know about prostitution comes from movies, The Bill, and a drunken wander through Amsterdam's red light district, a dose of reality will be illuminating.
Entry number 1000! Jesus, I've got to get a life, haven't I?
In fact, this is the 976th extant entry - deleted entry numbers are not reused, and I've had to delete a few duplicates. 24 to be exact. ;-)
The Blogging Iceberg makes for interesting reading.
Blogs are updated much less often than generally thought. Active blogs were updated on average every 14 days. Only 106,579 of the hosted blogs were updated on average at least once a week. Fewer than 50,000 were updated daily. Wow, as few as that? Perhaps ten million was an overbid. ;-)
Also, it turns out that I'm very much in the minority demographically speaking - I'm male (44%) and over thirty (7.6%).
The survey upon which this is based seems only to include hosted blogs. I'm sure that the vast majority of blogs are hosted, but I would imagine that techie blogs would be far more likely to do their own hosting. Tech bloggers are overwhelmingly male (in number, if not in temperament ;-).
Via Rebecca Blood.
Ten million blogs, but most of them are moribund.
I wonder how many are still alive?
Thanks to Ned Batchelder for the suggestion, and Paul for starting me off with an image. I'd like to thank my mother, my agent...
Update 19/11/2003: This isn't how I did it, but it's how I should have done it. And yes, Icon Forge sucks.
An important landmark in the lifecycle of this blog has finally been reached:
For the first time, there are more comments than posts on Small Values.
Small Values had been running for three months when I first got a comment, and comments remained rare for some time. Though I doubt it'll ever be the hive of social activity that El
oonsie or Steve's blogs are, things are picking up.
I suppose that I ought to work out how many of these comments were made by me, and discount them. But life's too short.
Question is, what should it be? "Small Values of Cool" doesn't suggest any kind of image to me. Any suggestions?
Weblog readers often segue frictionlessly into being weblog writers, they build up relationships with each other through their sites, they link to and promote people they respect, and they continually fact-check one another. The end result is a culture in which good, insightful articles and writers build up links, respect and visibility - each weblog given context by its membership of the community.
But as more weblogs appear, these cultural connections are becoming strained. Groups like the highly politicised "warblogger" community have all but split from the contextualising influence of other sites.
Does this actually matter? Perhaps it does - after all, someone might stumble onto one of these sites via a Google search, and believe the utter rubbish that they are reading.
But I've always felt that one of the important things about blogging is the freedom you have to say whatever the hell you like. I write about what I find interesting, rather than about what I think other people will find interesting. The size of the Internet means that there are inevitably other people whose interests overlap mine sufficiently that they read me, and that's great. But I don't actively try to be interesting.
Some of you may have noticed.
But, then again, there is a difference between writing stuff that isn't very interesting, as I do, and writing stuff that isn't true. If I blog it, it's because I believe that it's true. I'm wrong often enough, but not deliberately so.
I'm sure that the warbloggers believe what they write too, though. So what exactly is the problem here?
At the end of the day, you have always to be a bit sceptical about what you read, and take account of the source. This is especially true of what you find on the 'net, yes, but it's true of everything you read - newspapers, books, whatever. And it's true of other media, too - I'm thinking about TV here.
It's not fair! Why don't I get this kind of reader?
Paul Carr, Can't spot a spoof? Meet Google...
Via Tom Watson.
Using RSS in JSP pages offers a nice overview of RSS processing in Java.
Now I just have to think of a use for it. ;-)
For RSS processing with Python, see RSS for Python.
Bloglines was out of action for two or three hours yesterday. I don't know if it was just my account, or the whole thing, but I certainly couldn't see it!
I contacted Mark Fletcher, and he fixed it very quickly, and got a very nice email back. Very good service - especially considering that I'm not paying for it!
Even though I've only been using Bloglines for a couple of weeks now, I really missed it. It's amazing how quickly it's become an essential. What's more, even in so short a time, it's noticeably improved, notably in the subscription management screen.
How could it improve further? Well, I already mentioned that I'd like to be able to configure the text size, and to nest subscription folders within folders. One other thing has occurred to me since; when you select a subscription folder in the left hand pane on the 'My Blogs' screen, it both shows all new posts in the left hand pane, and expands the folder. I'd prefer the folder not to expand unless I click on the '+'.
Keep up the good work, Mike, and good luck. Bloglines deserves to succeed, and I hope it does.
Update August 13th: The folder thing is fixed now. ;-)
Prior to this week, I'd been using FeedReader. This was OK, but on Monday morning it threw all my subscriptions away, and not for the first time. So I consigned it to the bit bucket, and went looking for something new. Andy's post was timely.
I've been playing with it since Monday. Works pretty good. There was a problem with configuration for a short while, but I emailed thier support team, and it was fixed PDQ.
I'd like to be able to configure the text size, and to nest folders within folders. I'm sure that this sort of thing will come with time. And success. ;-)
All in all, I like it. I hope they make some money.
Pretty accurate, too.
Interesting. (Though the whole RSS/Dave Winer/Mark Pilgrim saga isn't - at least not to me.)
Me, I frequently edit my posts to fix typos and the like. I occasionally go back and fix what I see as bad style, too - is that OK? I don't deliberately alter the meaning of my posts, but I suppose that it's possible that I do.
I also often add Update: sections at the bottom of old posts. Other than that, I leave them alone.
Via Simon Willson.
So there's this question "What is required to make a large, long-lived online group successful?" and I think I can now answer with some confidence: "It depends." I'm hoping to flesh that answer out a little bit in the next ten years.
As a participant (to one extent or another) in several online communities, I found this a fascinating read.
So now you know what a link whore is. ;-)
The Google Toolbar 2.0 is in beta. The popup blocker is fab, and I'm sure the 'Blog This' button would be great too, if I were a Blogger user.
But what happened to the info button? Version 1.0 if the toolbar had one, and it allowed quick access to English translations and back references (amongst other things). I miss it!
On the off chance that I'm in the UK at the time, this sounds like fun.
Only one, but when has that ever stopped us?
From the Lightbulb Joke Warehouse.
Offer something new, Mr. Mahoney suggests. So what do I do? Link to him.
Great writing can’t be taught, but bad writing can be avoided.
Well worth a read, if you blog. Certainly, I need to try to add more content, and not just to link to stuff all the time. After all, it's hardly as if I don't have opinions...
Via Null Pointer.
Labour MP Tom Watson has a weblog!
One day, everyone with something to say will have one.
Via Simon Willison.
It looks like Anthony has made it back to the US now. Sleep well, mate - you need it. ;-)
Meeting other bloggers after having read their blogs is a funny thing. Some are pretty much as you'd expect them to be. Andy Todd, for example, has the same gently self-deprecatory sense of humour as I would have expected, the same not-quite-smile while he's joking. Good techie, too. And Eloon, well, the only way she could have been more herself if she was wearing several pairs of shoes.
Anthony, though, wasn't at all what I was expecting. In his blog, he comes across as rather serious, very focused, and just a little irascible. In reality, though, he's a funny guy, who suffers fools (i.e. me) easily enough. He was just, well, warmer as a person than I'd expected. Nice chap.
I'll cover his presentation in a little detail later, but it was really good. His demo showing the automation of a simple Java app made my hair stand up on end. It was just so easy.
On, and in the subject of bloggers - this is a take off, right?
It seems pretty obvious, but it seems to need to be pointed out from time to time.
Russell Beattie is a tech blogger who writes about Java and mobile technology. He's got a big readership - a lot of people want to hear what he has to say.
It seems that he caught a little flak over, amongst other things, his lack of impartiality. In his reply, Of COURSE I Hate Microsoft, he points out that he's never pretended to be anything other than biased - he hates Microsoft, doesn't trust them, and makes no bones about the fact.
He also points out that all weblogs are like this to some extent. They are by their nature personal expressions.
Nice anti-Microsoft rant, too. ;-) I agree with every syllable.
Welcome to the world of blogging, Kelvin!
A few things. Firstly, get ieSpell installed ASAP. ;-)
Secondly, you don't seem to have set yourself up a blog title - look at IE's title bar, and you'll see what I mean.
Lastly, since Mike Bruce is one of the nicest people I've had the privilege to work with, I can only assume that there was some lapse in communication somewhere along the line. My theory is that the recruitment consultant saw the, uh, the name of our erstwhile employer on your CV, and sent it off to Mike on this basis despite that fact that the job was wrong for you. Rather than admit to this, the recruitment consultant laid the blame at Mike's door. Recruitment consultants are lying bastards, you know.
The one consolation of the shocking state of the IT job market at the moment is that the recruitment consultants have it worse than we do. ;-)
Good luck with the Milton Kenyes thing, by the way.
A couple of days ago, the Movable Type instance that I'm running this blog on started throwing lots of nasty Perl-type error messages whenever I tried to do anything. I had assumed that something was corrupted somewhere.
But today, it sprang into life again. Perhaps my host, 1&1, were mucking about with their Perl installation, or something.
Any road up, now that SVoC is back up again, I'm in much less of a hurry to move away from Movable Type than I was over the last couple of days, but I still think I will. Why? A couple of reasons. Partly, I've been unable to to donate, and I feel a little guilty about using it without paying for it. Only a little, 'cos I've tried to pay for it, but still.
The other reason is that If I use a Python-written OSS blogger, I'll be able to add any functionality that I want, and perhaps fix it if it goes wrong.
Vellum looks nice.
Python Programmer Weblogs is an online aggregator, feeding off thirty or so Python oriented weblogs, including mine.
If you've not read The Pragmatic Programmer, you should. Well, if you are a programmer, that is. Not a lot in it for accountants, for example. (Or maybe there is - 'No broken windows', anybody? Still, there is certainly a lot of techie stuff in there.)
Via Ned Batchelder.
The blog bug is spreading - my chum Stevan Rose has started his own blog - neveratoss. (Can you spot where the name came from?)
He's a Yorkshire lad, and never short of an opinion or two, so it should make interesting reading.
I'll see you for a beer, Steve, after you get back from skiing. Enjoy!
A list of Python programmer's weblogs. I've added those that I read. Any more?
No Python equivalent of java.blogs around. There may not be enough Python around to make it worthwhile making one. Or are there?
Via the effbot.
java.blogs is here.
Already pointed me towards the new release of AspectJ. About which more later...
Vattekkat's News Aggregator is pretty groovy.
I'll steal it, when I have the time.
Currently, I'm using feedreader, but I'm not that fond of it. Nothing wrong with it, as such - I just don't feel affection for it.
In addition to the changes that Vattekkat plans to make, it would be nice to externalize the list of sites to read, and to provide a mechanism for maintaining the list. Hey, this is open source - he has to leave something for the rest of us to do!
There seem to be a fair number of people blogging on the subjects of Java, J2EE and/or Eclipse.
- Brett Morgan's Insanity Weblog
- Niel Eyde's Weblog
- Russell Beattie Notebook
- Erik's Weblog
- Sam Ruby
- All Things Java
- Cafe au Lait
A disproportionate number if these are Radio weblogs. I wonder why?
Also well worth reading for J2EE news - The Server Side.
Update 13th September: Pushing the envelope is another interesting Java related blog.
Waste more time more easily than ever before!
Also from b3ta - the 500 most popular sites on the Internet. According to who? I've not heard of most of them.
Update 26th July:
Both interesting reads.
I wonder if there should be a Python related web logs page on python.org?
The weblog guide at Guardian Unlimited discusses British blogs, which are pretty popular at the moment as I have previously pointed out.
Via Off on a Tangent.
Oh yes, also interesting - the Picture of Weblogs.
A list of the 40 most popular (as in most linked to) blogs is on troubled diva, and blogjam has BLOGPOP, listing the most popular by traffic.
I make neither list, which is probably due to the fact that no one visits my site 'cos it's so tedeous.
I have found some interesting blogs through these sites:
- b3ta - Funny links and pictures. Good taste not a requirement.
- fish in a pint
- Mo Morgan
- The Edge of England's Sword - Calls itself right wing, but it mostly seems like common sense to me. Am I drifting to the right in my dotage?
- Swish Cottage
- Wherever You Are
- Life As It Happens
- That's it
Update 17th July: Hmmm. Perhaps The Edge of England's Sword is a little to the right after all.
Python owns us lists some Python related web logs, kindly including my own modest effort.
Hmmm. Link oriented, eh? Fair enough, but that wasn't the plan...
The London Bloggers Tube Map - who blogs where in London.
Some other interesting weblogs that I've come across recently:
- ESR's Armed and Dangerous. Interesting on technology, gun-crazy and Islamophobic, and just plain weird on sex.
- my 2p
- Doc Searl's
- Tech Goddess
- Works in Progress
A rather more important use of weblogs than mine...
Weblogs (AKA blogs) are quite the in thing at the moment, so far as the internet goes.
A couple of good places to see what's going on in the blogging world: weblogs.com, where you can see what has been posted recently, and Daypop, where you can search weblogs, or see what everyone is linking to at the moment.
Babu seems to share a lit of interests with me. I'll keep an eye on his blog in future.
Another blog of interest to Movable Type users is [the girlie matters] tips, tricks, and things to do to my site.
Well, everyone seems to have one these days.
I chose it because Mark Pilgrim recommended it on his Blog, which I read regularly. Probably not the last idea is his that I'm going to steal, either. <wink>
So, yet another toy to keep me from doing anything useful, like finishing version 2.2 of the Python quick reference...