Not very nice weather for golf

I got up early today so I had time to take a few photos of the snow in Leam before I went to work. The ones I took on campus came out better than them though.


On a slightly related note, I spent a good few hours last night tinkering with the PHP code from the old and eventually managed to get it working again. Or at least, I got the photos section working to the extent it was when I replaced the lot with MT.

The photos will all be uploaded to when I get round to it, but they’ll be static HTML versions, rather than being generated on-the-fly using PHP. This means nobody will be able to add any new comments, but instead it’ll all be preserved more or less the way it was twelve months ago. Which seems somehow apt.

Meta Photos – Part 1

I got my camera back on it, having found it lying on the side of Gibbet Hill Road yesterday afternoon. Amazingly, it still worked fine too! So here’s the first installment of photos from Friday night…









Calm before the storm

Got into work at 8 today, yay me! I feel so much calmer for having done so, not having had to rush in to get the last of the free parking and not having had to crawl up Stoneleigh Road to the lights at 10mph.

I’m the first one in the office and hopefully I’ll be the first one out this afternoon. Don’t get me wrong – its not like I hate my job, I just have plans 🙂

Behind the times

Wikipedia is simply amazing. It’s possibly the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen on the Internet – a searchable repository of information on just about every topic under the sun, compiled by civilisation, for use by civilisation. And I’ve just discovered it tonight.

As a random collection of topics that mean something to me, there’s information about the island I grew up on, the town I went to school in, the University I studied at and which I now work, and the Students’ Union in which I’ve spent far too much time and money over the years. This rocks so much.

I’ve so far managed to restrain myself from editing anything so far, but as I’ve registered an account it’s probably only a matter of time…

Hula Hula

Everyone on Planet GNOME is talking about Novell‘s latest efforts in the open-source arena: a brand new email and calendar server called Hula. It’s apparently based on an old Novell product called Netmail, which they’ve open-sourced and developed a hell of a lot of new ideas around. You can download this now should you wish to, but the really interesting stuff is some of the stuff they have planned.

So what’s all the fuss about? Why is Planet GNOME filled with so many people talking about this? Well, it’s more about what it says about Novell and their strategic direction than the product itself, as exciting as it does look.

Novell are talking a lot of risks at the moment, there’s no doubt about that. Amonst other things they’ve taken on a popular Linux distro, a fully-fledged Outlook clone that they’re now porting to Windows, a programming framework to rival Microsoft’s .NET and even brought out their own desktop Linux product. Most of these open-source products are competing with established proprietary alternatives that they already have out there in the marketplace.

Perhaps this is the last ditch attempt at survival from a company that’s been so hammered by its rivals over the years and seen the market share for most of its products plummet, but you’ve got to respect the people who are willing to take this many risks.

And I’m not Microsoft-bashing here. No doubt Microsoft used their trademark dodgy business practices along the way, but they killed the old Novell by producing software that basically works a hell of a lot better than anything Novell ever made. Netware, Groupwise and the rest of the old products really do suck ass, and I really quite resent the fact that we have to spend so much time coaxing them back into life at work when they break time and time again.

But the new Novell has something that they’ve never had before. They have energy, they have a determination to succeed and they’ve got guts. And as a result, they’re producing software that Works.

Just like the Mozilla Foundation did with Firefox and Thunderbird, they’re breathing new life into areas of the software ecosystem that have stagnated over recent years, to say the least.

They’re innovating, both in terms of software functionality and in terms of the development models used to produce it. And I for that reason I really do hope they succeed.

Not all that bad after all

OK, so maybe Valentines Day wasn’t all bad. Or at least the end of Top B wasn’t. By which point you could argue it wasn’t actually Valenines Day any more, due to it being past midnight. So perhaps my cynical attitude to it all was spot on all along.

I think I did alright in the end. I managed to juggle the desire to drink with the need to not get too drunk (c.f. last Thursday), and I even kept up the pretence that boys are silly and not worth bothering with for a couple of hours. Well, almost. Then we went to dance and everything seemed better anyway.

That’s what I want to remember when I (eventually) leave Warwick. Because you can never have enough memories of dancing in the middle of a packed-out Marketplace with a bunch of friends, collectively fighting to hold onto the tiniest bit of space and yelling out the lyrics of various top-notch anthems at the tops of your voices.

So next time I’m fucked off about random things on a night out, somebody please drag me onto the dancefloor. Then I’ll be happy, I promise.


Yesterday I was kind of ambivilent about the whole Valentines Day thing. For once I wasn’t getting depressed about the fact that the day on which single people are made to feel like a big bunch of rejects was looming around the corner. I was mindful of the fact that aside from a few recent family things, I’m generally happy with the way my life is at the moment.

But now it’s fucked me off. All day I’ve been bombarded with messages by the popular media that Valentines Day is such a really big thing that really can’t be ignored. At all. Not even for ten minutes.

First there were the random overheard conversations in the hospital earlier. Then Colin and Edith nattering away about it all on Radio 1 in the car as I drove down through Wales. Apparently Valentines day is only about straight man-woman relationships, or at least that’s all they appeared to be interested in hearing about from the listeners. So not only do I not matter because I’m not in a relationship, but I also don’t matter because I’m not straight. Great.

Even Kerrang wouldn’t stop talking about it. Although they were slagging it off and playing songs about breaking up with people, there was still no escape from it all.

Finally, everywhere round Leamington there were couples. And there were people on their own, nervously eyeing up the slightly-battered-looking flowers by the cigarette counter in Tesco, trying to find something to take back for their loved one in the name of Valentines Day.

I don’t mind the whole Valentine thing, but it really should be optional. It seems no matter how happy you are in yourself or in a relationship, it still manages to make you feel inadequate that you can’t live up to the idealist stereotypes that we’re all bombarded with for the sake of selling a few poncy flowers and posh meals out. The fact that there’s no little box you can tick on a form to not receive information about it annoys me.

Rant over. I’m going to cook my meal for one. I’m going to turn the TV and the radio off and I’m going to enjoy it 🙂

Different uses for RSS feeds

I gave up blogging about my work a while ago, but sometimes you just want to share your acheivements with a wider audience.

Today I finished writing the first version of a perl script that actively monitors a list of servers, and generates a RSS file showing when devices (or any defined services running on them, such as HTTP, POP3, etc.) go up or down.

There’s still loads of things wrong with it, cheifly a problem with the system clock running slow that makes all the times and dates wrong. But it’s a proof-of-concept exercise more than anything, to show how RSS feeds can be used for things other than syndicating blogs. I think it does that, if nothing else :-).