Too Much Time

Stupid things I’ve been sent or found over the past week:-

* Happy Tree Friends – See cuddly cartoon animals horribly maimed
* Waste Paper Bin – Throw paper in the bin
* Bat the Penguin – What it says…
* Googlewhack – Been around for years but still a stupid way to pass time

I’ve found a few Googlewhacks myself, but I suspect that if I list them here they’ll cease to be.

I’ve also finally got my pointed at this server. Not that anyone will notice….

It’s snowing outside now, and the cat wants feeding (one of those is more unusual than the other… can you guess?). We’ve changed the little git’s food as he’s recovered from his blocked bladder and lost a lot of weight. He’s still on a special diabetic food but I don’t think he’s actually diabetic, just lazy. The new wet food is sloppier and he gets some dry stuff too, and he’s very confused by it all. He hasn’t worked out that mealtimes should remain at the same time as they were before, even though he gets different food. He thinks that the new food regime should be made available in plentiful helpings several times per day, on demand. And this cat knows how to demand!

Braving the freezing cold tonight to go and meet up with Danny and some other ex-Netscallies. If I don’t return, check the snow drifts around The Market Porter near London Bridge.

WiFi Hotspot patent

A patent for redirecting browsers to a login page, regardless of settings, applied for in 1999, granted last October, means that pretty much any company running wireless hotspots will have to buy a license. See Wi-Fi Networking News: New License Fee May Face Operators.

I suspect that most hotspot operators will be liable for this as there’s only really one obvious way to do it (transparent proxies).

I’m not very keen on the recent habit of granting patents for things which are pretty much the only way of doing something, such as this. It’s not really an invention but a combination of prior existing technologies (NAT, proxies, AAA systems).

In fact, this one is so obvious that Neil and I came up with exactly the same idea at Trivanti in early 2001 with no knowledge of the patent. We didn’t end up going anywhere with it, due to reluctance of the company to enter into the hotspots business (and eventually , any business!)

Lazy Llama and the D-Boys

I met up with a few of my former Netscalibur colleagues today.

Dan Daemonn and I agreed to meet up in Canary Wharf. We had lunch at the Gourmet Pizza Company with incredibly slow service, and starters and main courses all turning up at the same time.

After that we retired to a coffee shop (no way we were going to spend any more time waiting for a coffee at Gourmet Pizza Company). While we were there, Daemonn mentioned that Danny had been getting mail bounced from my server and at that exact moment, I spotted Danny walking past the window. We hauled him in and had a bit of a chat.

Of the four of us, only Daemonn is working at the moment, and he’s only doing a couple of days per week. Dan has been away in Japan to visit his in-laws, and is looking at doing some bits and pieces with Cobalt servers Danny is applying for jobs, and I’m ummm… idling.

It was great to catch up with the others, and have a gossip about what’s been going on. Everyone seemed much happier than when they were working (no great surprise, I suppose). It also made a change for me to get out of the house, and we’ll probably be meeting up again in the next couple of weeks.

SORBS sucks!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been using the SORBS DNS blacklist on my mail server, to replace some of the blacklists which have gone out of service recently. I found out today that using that blacklist has blocked a fair few legitimate emails (including messages from Amazon and Play USA

Examining their site a bit closer, it looks like they’ll only remove some entries if they receive a donation of $50, which seems a bit extreme to me. I found that they have also listed the ISP I used to work for and Freeserve

So I won’t be using that list again. Sorry if anyone sent me mail which got bounced.

Right Said Fred

Having decided to pause and reconsider on my XML-RPC thing, I’ve spent a bit of time implementing the Javascript CSS stylesheet switcher from A List Apart So if you want this page with the links on the right, there’s a box in the links strip that lets you move the links to either side. Simple but elegant…

So if anyone really doesn’t like the layout/colours of this page, let me know and I’ll add some other styles.

Movable Type blogroll thingy

I’m working on a little script, my first useful one in PHP to allow easy addition of entries to a Movable Type blogroll/link blog. Most of the suggestions for running link lists and/or blogrolls in MT use a second blog for the list entries.

My script, should I get further with it, will use XML-RPC to post an entry to such a blog, but without the blogger having to do anything except give it the URL to add.

It’s a bit like the existing bookmarklet functionality but simpler.

Only really doing it as I’ve not written code in ages and want to have another go. I’m not saying it’ll be any good, but it’ll keep my brain active.

Through Being Cool!

Finally got the last two Devo studio albums (Smooth Noodle Maps and Total Devo. As I feared, they’re not terribly good, no where near the level of Q: Are We Not Men? or Duty Now For The Future but I’ll give them a chance and see if they grow on me. I think I’ve got all the normal Devo albums now, and a few compilations, along with some very strange stuff like the E-Z Listening Disc which is an album of Devo songs recorded in the style of “muzak”.

Online Groceries: Great & Sucky

For a few years now we’ve been using some of the online grocery stores offered by supermarkets. Not having a car means that it’s a major hassle to get all the shopping home, so the delivery services looked really useful, especially for heavy items.

We’ve tried Tesco Sainsbury and more recently Ocado the online service of Waitrose. We may have also used the Iceland online system, but they’ve dropped their service now.

Of those services, we’ve been using the Tesco service the longest, but now use it very rarely, if at all. Sainsbury has also recently fallen from favour too. Why have we stopped using them? Because they suck , big time.
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