September 12, 2008
Off to PyCon UK

See you there.

I might even see one or two people at my talk, if I'm lucky. Though since I'm clashing with Simon Willison, I don't expect many.

BTW, we still need more session chairs. Don't be shy!

Slides here.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
September 04, 2008
Apress eBooks

Buy a book from Apress (such as the superb Definitive Guide to Django) and you can get the PDF version for a fiver, so you can keep a copy on your laptop when you are on the road.

What a great idea. I don't want only the PDF - I much prefer to read the dead tree edition. But you can't carry dozens of chunky tech books around with you, so I want the PDF too. Clearly I shouldn't have to pay full whack twice, but the fiver that Apress is asking seems fair.

I wish O'Reilly did this.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
June 27, 2005
Tube Hell, The Movie

Tube Hell, The Movie, via Going Underground.

Is it just me, or does the Northern Line show up a lot?

To be honest it doesn't actually feel all that bad. Perhaps it's because even relativley minor problems show up. I had to stand on the way in today, 'cos the gaps between trains were around five minutes as opposed top the usual two to three, but I still got in OK.

I can't say I'm looking forward to The Big Closure, though.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
September 16, 2004

It's gonna be hell in the Tube tonight...

Still, nice idea for a site. Via Ollie.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
June 02, 2004

Sigh. Extended again. I look like I'm never getting out of here.

I need a pint. Badly.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)
May 20, 2004
Show Time

Finally, they are system testing the code I've written and unit tested over the past couple of months.

They've tested two out of eleven modules so far. One passed first time, and one had a single field set incorrectly - a 10 second change. Plus 10 minutes struggling with the change control system, naturally.

This is a worry. There has got to be more wrong than this, surely?

Still, I'm sure that there will be some major screw ups further on.

And don't call me Shirley.


Message ID . . . . . . :   MCH1202       Severity . . . . . . . :   40       
Message type . . . . . : Escape
Date sent . . . . . . : 20/05/04 Time sent . . . . . . : 14:28:11

Message . . . . : Decimal data error.
Cause . . . . . : The sign or the digit codes of the packed or the zoned
decimal operand is in error. Valid signs are hex A-F, valid digit range is
hex 0-9.


Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
May 12, 2004
I'm back in my office tomorrow

Just for the day, though. I'll download about a million things, burn a CD or two, delete about a million emails, and have lots of beer and curry for lunch. Lush.

Oh yes, and move desks. :-(

Posted by Simon Brunning at 05:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
March 29, 2004
Bugger; no Wi-Fi

So, here I am in the Hammersmith office of A Large Record Label.

No Wi-Fi means that I can't connect Roadwarrior (my notebook) to, well, to anything. This in turn means that I can't get to my email, nor to my company's timesheet system. So if you've emailed me, I'm not ignoring you.

I hope that I can sort something out - my in-box will be pretty impressive if I don't read it for two months!

It's a bit early to tell how it's going to go here. The work all seems easy enough, if a little unexciting. But then it usually looks easy until the unexpected starts to crop up.

The office very nice. There is constant background music, which I'm not used to, but then this is a record company.

The people seem nice enough, too. I'm in the 'legacy' team; two people I know, a few new faces. The '400 world is like that - you are constantly running into people you've woked with before.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
March 22, 2004
Karmic feedback

I'm getting a spot of Karmic feedback for taking the piss out of Mark for his burger flipping VB6 programming - I'm starting on a six week RPGIV project at a client site next week!

This is bad: in decreasing order of love, my used-at-work programming languages are:

As you can see, RPGIV isn't high on the list. Sigh.

Still, I'll be working with one or two people I know and like, so it isn't all bad.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)
October 06, 2003

I'm glad that's over, I must say. If I never install Client Access again as long as I live, it'll be too soon. 38.5 minutes per PC, we took, as if that means anything to anyone. The wonder is that we managed to edit well over a hundred registries without screwing anything up. Remarkable.

Now, I have a thousand emails to get through, and probably several hundred blog entries to catch up on.

Yes, really a thousand. for the best part of a week. ;-)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
Another day, another dollar

We are hoping that we have nearly finished cleaning out the Stygian stables. We are running 20% ahead of estimates, so we are hoping to finish today.

Well, it's a shit job, but it's a job.

Normal service should be resumed shortly.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
October 02, 2003
This just in...


Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
October 01, 2003
This week I will mostly be installing Client Access Express

One of the nice things about working for a small firm is that you get to do a variety of stuff. Mainly system development, from inception, through architecture and design, right through to testing, coding and UAT. But we also support the systems that we've developed.

And if the money's right, we'll do just about anything.

One of our clients wants Client Access Express installed and/or upgraded on nearly 200 PCs. I'm not actually doing chargable work at present, so I'm one of those in the frame for this. Sigh. But you have to take the good with the bad, I suppose.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)
Morning Mayhem

Never, ever, try to get to work early. Sod's Law dictates that something will go wrong with your journey, making you end up getting in late.

Colliers Wood was flooded this morning. I don't mean Colliers Wood tube station, mind you, I mean Colliers Wood. Ankle deep it was.

Update: BBC coverage: Homes flooded after pipe bursts. Colliers Wood hits the big time!

Shit, my parents live on Cavendish Road. I hope that they aren't flooded out. They aren't answering their phones, landline or mobile. But then, they never turn their mobiles on.

I also hope that I still have water, but clearly this isn't critical.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 08:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
August 11, 2003
I'm back...

I'm back at work after my week off, buried under a ton of email.

The highlight of the week so far as the girls were concerned was our visit to Whitehouse Farm. Feeding the sheep, goats and donkeys, having their bags of feed snatched by the goats, a picnic, holding baby rabbits and mice, ice cream and a huge slide, the girls loved it all. Highly recommended if you have kids and are in the area.

(BTW, is is only me who finds goats really scary? It's the eyes...)

The weather was easily good enough to take couple of trips to the beach. So we did. No sunburn, for a change, either. Wonderful stuff, factor 60.

And thank Christ I wasn't down south last week. I doubt I could have taken the heat. Sunday was bad enough.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)
August 01, 2003
I'm off

I'm on holiday next week, in Newcastle, visiting my Mother. I'm taking my two girls, and my sister is taking her two girls.

Four small girls, between the ages of 2 and 6. Should be nice and quiet. ;-)

I'll be on the 'net now and again - I've promised to help my mum put a web site together. But probably not often, so Small Values will be quiet, which will probably be a relief to the lot of you.


Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
July 21, 2003
The next time I fly...

I want to fly CurryJet.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
July 14, 2003
This week, I will be mostly...

... in the UK. Makes a nice change.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
July 11, 2003
Forty seven degrees in Madrid yesterday

Forty bloody seven! That's too hot, by about twenty degrees, as far as I'm concerned.

Before the invention of air-conditioning, how did people live in this country?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 09:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)
July 07, 2003
I'm beginning to recognise the air hostesses...

Once again, I'm off to Amsterdam this afternoon.

And once again, I don't bloody know if I'm going to Madrid after that, or whether I'm coming back to London. Sigh.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)
July 02, 2003
This weekend

I'll be back in the UK tomorrow - the Madrid thing wasn't organised in time, so it'll be next week at the earliest now. After another Amsterdam visit, that is.

No girls this weekend. Steve has kindly invited me down to sunny Haslemere for The Guilfest (no, really), which will be cool. And I'm sure we won't get drunk or anything. Honest. ;-)

I usually meet up with Steve during the week, after work. All this gadding about the Continent means we haven't had a beer and put the World aright for ages. It's a wonder it hasn't fallen to pieces.

Anyway, it will be really good to see Steve, Sam and the lovely Cathy again.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
July 01, 2003
Back in Amsterdam

And the weather is gruesome.

Tomorrow, either London or Madrid, I don't yet know.

I'm getting very bored of planes and hotels now, it has to be said.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
June 26, 2003
Long time, no blog

It's a good thing I didn't have any readers, 'cos if I had, I would have lost them by now. ;-)

I was in Amsterdam most of last week, without much in the way of 'net access. Back in London, I had another client visit, then a day off.

This week, I've been in Madrid, again with dial up access only. (That's dialling the UK, so I've not been using it much!) On Madrid, just this - I hate the place: it's far too hot (mid to hight thirties), people work too long, and I can't find anyone able to understand me. Unfortunately, I'm back there next week. :-(

Straight from Madrid to Amsterdam last night. It felt like coming home. Pleasantly cool, friendly, I know my way around and how to order a meal and a beer.

What I want to know is, if the Dutch are as relaxed as they seem, how come the trains are always on time?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
June 18, 2003
Next week, Madrid

First me, then David Beckham. What a trend setter!

Posted by Simon Brunning at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
June 16, 2003
On the road again

In Amsterdam, with friend & colleague Tulna, at a different client with limited dial-up 'net access. Later.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
June 12, 2003
I should have just drunk all night

At somewhere around five in this morning, I woke up with hideous cramp in my left calf. Really painful. I waited until it subsided, then went back to sleep.

The alarm call came at 6:45 - 15 minutes early. I made the fatal mistake of letting my head touch the pillow again, and BANG, suddenly it's half past eight.

I jumped out of bed, only to discover that my left leg isn't working. The cramp must have pulled something. I really must remember to warm up and do my stretches before getting cramp next time. Anyway, I hobble to the shower.

I make it to my client's office, limp and all, by nine. (No time for breakfast.) Only to find that I've left my mobile, its charger, and crucially, the power converter back at the hotel.

Ever had one of those days?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
I love this town

Another good night out.

I went to the Leidseplein again, 'cos I was especially keen to go to Bourbon Street and the Wednesday night resident band, The Bourbon Boys. Of which, more later.

As I did yesterday, I got the tram to Fredericksplein, and walked from there. But rather than walk along the main road, I dived into the back streets. Many of which were, in fact, canals. Amsterdam really is a lovely place. Green, quiet, elegant old buildings. It feels rather old-fashioned, in a good way - people were sitting outside their houses, playing badminton. (That bit wasn't a canal.)

After some rather un-memorable (and rather overdone) pasta, I went to Bourbon Street. The reason I was particularly keen to go last night was that Tom, a Solaris sysadmin at the company I'm visiting, is on drums there on Wednesdays. I was also meeting his flat mate, Ingrid, whom I've met before, and she brought along another nice chap whose name I couldn't remember if you put a gun to my head.

Excellent band. The first couple of sets were blues, mostly covers, mostly Eric Clapton covers, in fact. A couple of nice original numbers, too. Then a set of rock, old and new (from Chuck Berry to Robin Williams via the Beatles and the Stones, amongst others). Then, one more blusey set before oh-shit-is-that-the-time.

The rhythm section was tight and pacey, driving everything along nicely. I couldn't take them entirely seriously when they did some high-pitched backing vocals, though - you want skinny girls in tight dresses for your backing vocals, everybody knows that. And it's not like Amsterdam is short of skinny girls... The Pianist was fairly jazzy, but it seemed to work. The guitarist and singer (an ex-pat Londoner) played awesome slide and lead, and had a gravelly voice, which probably ended his operatic career, but which suits blues and rock just fine.

For some reason, they played this gig under the name 'Bourbon Street Unplugged'. I can't think why. Acoustic guitar and bass, yes, but wired for sound. Even the Piano was well amplified, which makes a nice change. The only thing that was unplugged was the decibel monitor.

Yes, a really good night, on the whole. A bit on the late side for me, though - I'm used to pubs which close at eleven. Two and three on consecutive nights is not what I'm used to. Things didn't start to go pear shaped, though, until I got back to the hotel...

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
June 11, 2003
A night out in Amsterdam

I had a very pleasant evening yesterday.

Amsterdam is a very nice city to walk through, on the whole. Green, plenty of pretty canals and bridges, nice little bars. There are very few cars on the roads, (to a Londoner's eyes,) so it's very quiet.

Deceptively so - there are plenty of bikes and trams, too quiet to hear, but more than ready to run you the fuck over if you don't watch where you are going. And looking where you are going isn't all that easy, either - there are lots of pretty girls in Amsterdam. I wonder if all those fine bottoms have something to do with the fact that everyone seems to ride bikes everywhere...

One niggle though - Amsterdam seems to have too many people in the digging-up-roads-and-pavements department, and not enough in the putting-the-roads-and-pavements-back department.

Anyway, I had an excellent steak at El Rancho just off Leidseplein. They do know how to cook a steak - wipe its arse, and show it a candle, as Steve would say. A good vet could have had it on its feet again. (Where is that line from?) In most places in the UK, 'medium' means cook it 'till you run out of gas, and 'well done' means cook it 'till the North Sea runs out of gas.

I then went to the Jazz Cafe Alto. The Hein van der Gaag Trio were playing, and they were very good indeed.

A bunch of loud-mouthed Americans came in for a while, which took the shine off, but they didn't stay long. (Don't take this as an anti-American rant - there were plenty of other Americans there. It was just this one group which irritated the living shit out of me. As for my attitude to Americans, well, I agree with Mil Millington's view of Americans. I could have written that. If I could write.)

Tonight, Bourbon Street.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
June 10, 2003
From 22,000 feet

I took a rather earlier flight than usual, and the sky was clear, so I had a fabulous view out of the window of the plane.

We flew just north of Mersea Island, and I was on the starboard side. Odd to see a place I'm somewhat familiar with from such a radical angle.

We were too far north to see much of London. I spotted Canary Wharf, and i think I spotted Tower Bridge. But that was about it.

Good view of the Channel, too. My God, it's like the M25 down there! Well, OK, perhaps not that bad, but those ships are a lot harder to stop, and a lot harder to steer. I'm surprised that there aren't more collisions.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
Wherever I lay my notebook...

That's my home.

Here I am again in Amsterdam. I'm here for the rest of this week, then back again for the first three days of next week. Thursday and Friday I may be home, or I may be in Madrid. Sigh.

You get bored of Hotel rooms very quickly, I can tell you.

I flew business class this time. The extra legroom was nice, 'cos I'm pretty tall, but on the whole I'd consider it a bit of a waste of cash, especially for such a short flight. A packed lunch and a 'free' drink are hardly worth the extra money. The 'quick check-in' queue was longer than the economy check-in queue! Still, if I were flying a long way, the legroom factor might swing it. Especially when on expenses. ;-)

BTW, I'll be visiting the Bourbon Street Blues Club on Wednesday. Anyone in the area? Fancy a beer?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
May 27, 2003
The arse end of nowhere

I'm in Amsterdam again. Unfortunately, Amsterdam's hotels were incredibly busy, and the hotels near my client were all fully booked. So, I've ended up on the wrong side of the airport, here. Sigh.

Naturally, it sounds OK according to the website, but it's their website, so it would. In fact, the hotel is stuck in the middle of a huge office complex - I've got a 30 foot Microsoft logo opposite my window, for Christ's sake!

There is nothing at all within walking distance, so I'll probably just end up in the hotel bar, drinking weak lager at 4 the 3/4 pint. Glamorous, this traveling business, no?

Posted by Simon Brunning at 06:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)
May 23, 2003
International man of mystery

Off to Amsterdam again on Monday night, and for a couple of days a week for the next couple of months or so.

I'll be on-line, but probably fairly busy, so not to much posting. But then, I've not been posting all that much recently anyway, have I?


Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 14, 2003
Coming home today

I really like Amsterdam, I must say. The city is beautiful, clean and easy to get around. The natives are friendly and speak ridiculously good English.

Workwise, pretty much the same goes. Nice office, nice people. The work is pretty challenging, which is also good. Since I'm likely to be spending a fair amount of time over here over the next few weeks, it's really a bit of luck that I like it. :-)

I managed to get out for dinner last night - a very nice steak at a place called "El" something-or-other, near the Leidseplein. This probably isn't enough to help anyone track the place down, but hey, I'm a blogger, not a restaurant reviewer. A couple of beers, doing my best to ignore the football, and bed. Nice. (I'm getting old, aren't I?)

Posted by Simon Brunning at 01:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
May 13, 2003
Made it to Amsterdam in one piece...

I forgot to leave my Swiss army knife at home before setting off for the airport, so I sent it home by post. Other than that, no major mishaps.

I did leave the house at ten to four this morning, so I think a little incompetence is understandable. Shame I don't usually have the excuse...

Very busy - more tomorrow, perhaps.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
May 09, 2003
Another day, another language...

I'm off to Amsterdam next week to support one of our clients, who have a lot of JavaScript. Which I've never used.

Anyone know a good tutorial? ;-)

I've just got a funky new laptop, so I should be online OK. We'll see.

Posted by Simon Brunning at 04:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)