Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

31 Oct 2005

Bad Hardware Karma

The last few days have not been my most successful in hardware terms. On Friday a production web server started playing up. Then on visiting an old friend from University their dish-washer died. On returning to work on Monday the web server was dead again, this was followed by my desktop PC blue-screening because it didn't know how to boot with a USB mouse instead of a PS/2 one. The day was topped off with the bread machine failing to bake the bread when we got home.

I don't know what I've done to deserve such punishment but I think I've now had my annual does in one long weekend...

27 Oct 2005

IE Again...!

Yesterday I wrote a small web page at work. Nothing fancy, a list of links in an unordered list. As usual it works perfectly in Mozilla Firefox and Opera but it's an utter dog's dinner in IE. Getting it to work is going to be a real pain...

26 Oct 2005


I've actually done some Perl programming recently. It's been good to get back to doing something useful for a change. The module I've been working on is nothing exciting but I'm trying to make it high "kwalitee" perl, so it's got lots of tests, and all public interfaces are fully documented. At the same time I've also updated my older modules, to raise their kwalitee score too.

At the same time I've also discovered how naff the Windows platform is. Previous modules were developed and extensively tested on Windows platforms before being tested on Linux/Unix. This is the first module that started on a *nix platform - Windows just doesn't do stuff it's such a sub-standard toy that it's frightening to think it's what most people are forced to use...

18 Oct 2005


I've started to do some Perl coding again. It's a small project at work, but it's fun and it gets the little grey cells working again. One of the components is a small logging module, that may as well be a stand alone module and it should live free on CPAN

For the first time I'm having ago at the new build technology Module::Build. I tried before and couldn't get along with it at all, but it now seems more mature and properly documented so I've got it and the old style "make" method to work perfectly well side by side.

11 Oct 2005

Blocking Ads

There is an interesting discussion on slashdot: "Why Do you Block Ads?". There are all the obvious explanations, about sound or movement, bandwidth theft, and more recently spyware.

There was however a more philosophical comment regarding annoyance thresholds. If something isn't too annoying you just put up with it, as it gets more annoying you continue to put up with it, then suddenly it gets too annoying, so you react. I think that's what happened with me. At first I didn't mind the odd advert, then it got annoying (pop-ups), then I reacted, and I now block EVERYTHING, including text Google ads that never bothered me.

See also: Blocking Adverts and Malware.

10 Oct 2005


Today I spotted an article on the site about a system monitoring tool called MONIT.

A quick sudo aptitude install monit and it's all installed. There was a nice example to work through from on the site, and it's now all up and running. It's simple, works well and is very cool.

09 Oct 2005

Web Browsers

There has been a lot of activity on the browser front of late. Not only have Opera released new versions, now at version 8.5, they have also removed the advertising banners from the product. It's still a closed source browser but it's very good. Now I have it running in Debian Etch AMD64, I'm a lot happier.

Mozilla Firefox continues to grow, and though there have been some problems* it continues a pace. Soon there will have been over 100 million downloads and the new 1.5 version is now in beta testing. Even the old Mozilla suite is also undergoing some work by a group of keen volunteers.

Now that the Apple Safari and KDE Knoqueror spat is I hope over, the khtml engine will continue to improve. The next version of Knoqueror will apparently have some decent anti-advert tools built it - something sorely missing from the current version.

Apparently even the dinosaur of browsers, Microsoft's Internet Explorer may even get better - it could hardly get any worse. Alas only those running the new version of Windows due Q4 2006 will get the new version. However if you are unlucky enough to be running Windows you can always use Firefox or Opera.

* All software has bugs, even well written programs. You should always keep your system up to date whatever you run!

07 Oct 2005

Customer (Dis)-Service

I've noticed that all too often the customer service and/or marketing department of a company can do more damage to a company that the problem or issue that caused you to contact them in the first place.

04 Oct 2005

Penny Stocks

I get quite a few emails per hour advertising penny stocks. I never pay any attention to spam, but now and then I think about them for a few seconds before purging my spam box.

In the UK all stocks are quoted in pennies, so it's not £3.50 a share, rather 350p. I assume that the spam is some US thing where they trade in dollars not cents, so a penny stock is something very cheap, and under a whole dollar.

In the same vein I always find it funny to receive "lose 10 pounds" emails. To me, a pound is a monetary unit, which is exactly what you lose if you send them any money. Weights are measured in kilos.

Spam evidently isn't internationalised yet, though phising scams are.


My father visited us this weekend and left us a 3D jigsaw puzzle. It just had to be done and now I'm not quite 100% awake.

03 Oct 2005


I've never used IRC. I know what it is and what it does, but it has never been something I've needed to use, so it's something I know very little about.

This Saturday was my LUG meeting, and because of family commitments I was unable to attend. I tried to use a console based IRC client, and managed to say hello, but that's as far as I got.

I now need to find an IRC client that I like, there seems to be quite a few, and then figure out how to use it. I'm sure it's not that hard, but it's new and I need to get up to speed quickly if I want to get any sensible use out of it.