Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

27 Jun 2008

Open Slowaris

I have an old SPARC 5 box in the loft running Solaris 2.5. We don't have enough space to have it out an used, so it's currently sitting unused gathering dust. My current AMD64 based desktop system is way more powerful and Debian Lenny is a vastly more modern and sophisticated operating system than Solaris 2.6.

This week I've been playing with various alternative operating systems on VirtualBox virtual machines. Today I thought it would be nice to give Solaris another go and OpenSolaris is a lot more modern than Solaris 2.6 so I'm hoping it will be a lot more useful.

At the moment OpenSolaris is installing it's self inside a virtual machine, a bit slow compared with Linux but still much faster than Windows systems which seem to take for ever and a day.

Once it's all up and running I'll see if Solaris still deserves the moniker "Slowaris", it really did have a reputation for being awfully slow as Unix goes...

26 Jun 2008


This week I've been working on XML::RSS::Tools. It's mostly a test/build fix, no real new features are being added.

Now that Perl has evolved to version 5.10, the 5.8.x branch is now legacy and the 5.6.x branch is "antique". While I don't want to deliberately exclude people trapped on older versions of Perl it is getting hard to work and test on them. This release may contain a warning that 5.6 isn't officially supported anymore because of the complex dependencies that exist.

24 Jun 2008


Over the weekend I bought myself a new wristwatch. I didn't technically need a new watch, a strap for my existing one would have been sufficient. I've had a few watches over the years and I found it weird not wearing one, even for a few days.

My first watch as a child was a small cheap red Timex mechanical watch. I had it a number of years before I received a Timex digital watch. The digital watch lasted just over 12 months to be replaced by a Casio digital watch. The Casio watch lasted many years but with several new straps, until I was given my grandfather's Record (part of Longines) Swiss watch. My grandfather's watch while very nice isn't water or shock proof so after several years of service I was given another Casio watch for general use. The strap on my second Casio has also been changed several times and this time I decided to get a whole new watch - so I got a cheap titanium cased Lorus (part of Seiko) quarts analogue watch.

I now have a selection of watches, a mechanical Swiss watch (most delicate and least accurate) a Casio analogue/digital (battered and prone to gaining) and a new Lorus quarts analogue watch (probably the most accurate). It's quite interesting how you read time with the different watches, on a digital display it goes straight into your mind without thinking - so I often have to look again whereas on a traditional analogue display you have too think for a second to comprehend what the hands mean and I think it sticks in your mind as a result.

22 Jun 2008

Redirection.. Not

When we moved house I completed a postal redirect form with the Post Office. I paid good money for them to redirect post from our old home to our new one. We happen to know the builder working on our old home at the moment and he keeps dropping off post that the Post Office haven't redirected. I'm not happy with the Post Office, I send a complaint but they would probably lose it...

Microsoft Admits ODF Has Won

Microsoft has all but admitted that the existing ISO Open Document Format has won the current round in the file format wars. Not content with being ratified by the ISO first, Microsoft will also support ODF before they are able to support their own competing OXML standard and they now believe that ODF will probably be "the standard" going forward that everyone uses.

Their grudging support for the standard has been formally endorsed by them joining the committee that runs ODF. The cynics would caution that as they haven't been able to kill the standard from the outside they will now from the inside embrace, extend and finally exterminate the standard, a technique long practised by Microsoft. Thankfully they were not able to exterminate the world wide web and there is some hope that they won't be able to exterminate ODF.

With luck the various challenges against OXML from several national bodies will mortally wound OXML and Microsoft will really commit to using the cross-platform ODF format properly and OXML will quietly die.

18 Jun 2008

Firefox 3

As predicted the Firefox launch broke their servers... Anyhow I took part in the record attempt and downloaded a copy for my Windows box at work. A few add-ons don't work yet and as they are important to me I can wait for them to be ready before I upgrade my Linux box. Seeing as I use Debian's version that will be a few days, which should give the add-on authors a bit more time to update.

So far it mostly looks a little difference and doesn't seem any faster. The bookmark section appears to have had the biggest change, though I've not dug in deep enough to see the advantages yet. No doubt there will be a rush of fixes, as there usually are with .0 releases, but so far so good...

17 Jun 2008

New Browsers!

Today Mozilla released their brand new Firefox 3 browser. At the moment they are trying to break a world record in number of downloads in just one day - however I think they are most likely to break their download servers...

In a virtual system I have Debian SID which comes with the latest release candidate of Firefox 3 already and the release version will no doubt appear over the next day or so. It won't help the record attempt but it less messing than downloading and trying to install a third party application.

Over the weekend I downloaded the latest version of the Opera browser, version 9.5. It looks very much like the earlier 9.x series but like Firefox has very much changed innards and is at long last available for Linux in a 64-bit binary.

It's nice to see continual improvement in browsers, for so long Microsoft's IE dominated and there was total stagnation in web design as everyone contented themselves with designing within the considerable limits of Microsoft's antique platform. Since Firefox gained significant share and other browser have gained a small but increasing share the design market has opened up and everyone can see good design works well everywhere but on Microsoft's dinosaur platform. IE7 is a step in the right direction but until IE8 comes out Microsoft users are still left in another world...

15 Jun 2008

There is Hope...

Microsoft appear to be coming unstuck in their OOXML/OXML/Ecma-376 plans for world domination. Several countries have formally appealed against the decision to fast-track their ISO proposal, and in the UK, the UKUUG have taken legal advice regarding the BSI for their support of the Vole's plans. It looks like the ISO have even responded to the media attention by suspending the process while the appeals go through.

14 Jun 2008

Back On Line!

At long last we not only have a phone line but we now have an ADSL service too. Nildram even managed to get in enabled a day early! It only took less than an hour to update my two Debian Lenny boxes and one Debian Etch system, which just leaves one Etch box yet to update. We don't live as close to the exchange as previously, so we only get around a 6 MBit/s connection rather than the 8 Mbit/s we use to get but we are paying less for the contract so I don't care too much.

11 Jun 2008

In Between The Meetings...

In between the meetings I do actually do "actual work". This week I've been doing some very tedious but important asset revaluation stuff and some SAP Scripts. It's all very boring and not at all fulfilling.

Next week I'll start some Perl/SAP integration work, which could be much more interesting. The only pain will be it's going to have to work on a Windows platform, which is always a pain, but at least it will be more challenging than SAP Script.

09 Jun 2008

ADSL Provision

Next weekend we will have ADSL at home again after the inconvenience of the house move. The Debian stable boxes won't need much of an upgrade but I suspect the Testing/SID systems will be bandwidth hungry for an hour or so.

In the enforced absence of Internet at home I've watched plenty of TV and seen the odd DVD. On balance I'd have to say that I miss the Internet more than I miss the TV, DVD being about in the middle.

05 Jun 2008


We have rejoined the 20th century at home. It only took BT a mere 12 days to move our telephone number from one house to another on the same exchange. In all honesty the chap that came to the house to put the land line in was very polite and helpful.

It will now take my ADSL provider a further 7-10 days to reestablish a useful Internet connection, giving me about three weeks without a network connection at home.