Archive for April, 2007

Womack & Womack in the lab

I’m once again in DEC-10 working on coursework, this time on graphics. The number of late nights I’ve racked up lately is quite simply ridiculous. To keep me company in the pits of code despair and mild elation when that darn file that wouldn’t compile for the last hour finally does I decided to connect up to my home machine and play some of my music collection though my headphones.

I’m currently listening to Womack & Womack and I’d forgotten how good this stuff is to listen to and work along to. I’m currently half way through the Love Wars album and will be moving on to Conscience shortly. I’ve not decided what other music is going to keep me company throughout this evenings late night work session in the lab, so why not make some suggestions of music thats enjoyable to listen to and motivating to work with in comments. If I play it, I’ll say so in reply. Be quick though, I’m only here until 2am!

Comments (7)    

Public news


I was pondering today just exactly WHY the Leeds School of Computing newsgroups are public.

Every time support remove a post for having inappropriate content the reason that is almost always cited is that the groups are accessible from the outside without a SoC username and password. My question is that if this presents a problem, why is it so? I mean, the groups are SoC related and if they are not they are most certainly predominantly aimed at SoC students.

Why should our freedom to post be governed not only by the fair use policy (which I accept and respect) but also by the potential offense caused to outsiders who have nothing to do with the school just because internal groups are world readable with no authentication. Just seems daft to me that if a post doesn’t contravene the fair use policy it cannot exist because it might be read by an outsider. If a post or discussion abides by the school’s policies the answer is to block the outsiders, not us from posting. That is all.


As an aside, if someone from the school wishes to give me a good reason that I am staring blindly at as to why news is public without authentication then feel free to post in comments.

Comments (2)    


Heather is a fan of horror films so last night we decided to watch Hostel. Although IMDB didn’t have it rated very highly we weren’t looking for a masterpiece so figured it would be an OK way to spend the evening.

Sadly this was not the case. The plot was non-existent and what little of the film you could call a plot you could figure out in five minutes or less. The violence was senseless and irrelevant. It was supposed to be a horror film but instead it just presented its self as an opportunity to watch senseless violence. There was no horror in the violence, just disgust at how the film makers could ever have though people would enjoy this type of “horror” movie.

We didn’t even finish it. We reached about half way through and then looked at each other and said words to the effect of “Do we really want to watch this?” and with a resounding no we hit the eject button.

In short we both thought the movie was complete and utter crap and isn’t worth watching whatever the reason given. Personally I think watching paint dry would be more worthwhile use of your time.

Comments (2)    

Calendar plugin updated to v1.1.2

After a recent report of incompatability of my calendar plugin with MySQL 4.0 I have refactored the 4.1 and above only queries to be much more backwards compatable. If you previously had problems installing the calendar (strings of SQL errors at the top of every page) then you might like to try reinstalling it. You can grab your updated copy from my programming page

If you discover any more bugs please continue to report them. This plugin is actively supported and I will update any and all bugs or errors discovered.

Thanks to all who have already installed and started using my plugin and to those who have thanked me personally in e-mail and over MSN.

Comments off    

Happy birthday RouterTech

Its a very special time of year for RouterTech – we are officially 1 year old! Little did I know when I first made the site live by removing the beta testing password that it would be as much of a success as it has. We now never fail to have a user online at any one time and frequently have over 10 concurrent users browsing and posting in the forums. We have produced a resource valued and respected by many and succeeded in releasing firmware that allows many people to get far above the factory specification out of their “budget” routers.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have lots planned or lots still to do. Our overall aim is provide open source firmware that works on all AR7 routers, and furthermore provide exemplary technical support where no problem goes unsolved and no releveant question goes unanswered. We’ve come a long way in this but we still have some way to go. In this regard special thanks go to thechief and biro for their amazing work on the development of the firmware and to Neo and Shotokan101 for their support responses on the forums and for the testing and authoring of tools and scripts to assist users of our firmware.

This is a fabulous project and one we hope to continue to work hard on and make thrive in the technical world.

Comments (1)    

Losing patience

It really pains me to say this but I’m losing patience with the phpBB group. I respect that all their work; development, website and support is done in their own time, but it strikes me that recently they have got their priorities all wrong.

One day I wake up to find they’ve had a hard drive crash and they need to take some time to restore the site. Fair dos. When the site finally comes back they have this amazing new design and they have started using version 3 (very nice it is too), but half the site was broken (mods and styles mainly) and there was no version 3 release for the users! So they get to state that we can’t use v3 supported in a live environment but use it on their own site with over 1000 concurrent users, furthermore they stop us from getting the most out of v2 by breaking the system for submitting and downloading mods and styles.

Don’t get me wrong, I love phpBB and work with it regularly, but this attitude is taking the piss. If you have time to develop a new site, surely you have time to finish v3? I flatly refuse to create another site using v2 because it would need too many mods and style alterations that an “upgrade” to v3 would be impossible. I’ve got several sites that I need to create for business that need forums and I’ve been delaying them in order to use phpBB v3.0 RC1 but it really does look like its never coming.

Well, despite the fact it probably won’t be read, I have a message for phpBB group; If you dont release what is clearly RC1 worthy in the next couple of weeks to your users, I’m going to move EVERYTHING to vBulletin. Your software is miles better in my humble opinion, but if we can’t use it on our sites without you bitching at us saying its not ready when you are using it on your own site, then I’m going to have to pick the next best solution in the chain, and that’s vBulletin. I’ve been very patient, but I just don’t have the time to wait anymore and I can’t be creating extra work for myself by using v2 with mods just to get v3 functionality and then because of that not be able to upgrade to v3 (or making it very difficult to upgrade to v3).

Get your act together phpBB; I and I’m sure many others are tired of waiting for software to be finished that is obviously already finished.

Comments (1)    

NHS will not be free

I read this article on the bbc this morning about how the NHS is unlikely to be free in the not too distant future according to a large number of doctors polled.

This concerns me because we are pouring huge amounts of tax-payers money into the NHS at the moment, and what is the point in doing that if down the line we are going to end up having to pay for some or all of any major treatment we might need? Generally speaking a public service should be free because it is funded by our taxes. Likewise a private service should not be expected to receieve any public funds, but we should expect to pay at point of use for any use we make of that private service. How can we have an NHS that we have to pay for? National Health Service doesn’t really have a “we’re going to give you a nice big bill” kind of ring to it really, I mean why not just call it Expensive Private Health Service and give us more money in our pockets each month that we currently give the NHS in tax!

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a public health service, I believe in taxation for its funding. What I don’t condone however is the taxpayer forking out money for a public health service which is really a private health service in public sector clothing. Blair and his government should be ashamed.

Comments off    

Coursework progress

I’ve been doing a lot of coursework lately but over the last couple of days it seems like a lot of it is really coming together in a big way, which is always a nice feeling. Today I wrote a function that worked first time and I didn’t even have to look up any of the syntax that I was convinced I would need to check. It just goes to show that when you start coding a huge amount in one or two languages that they really do become second nature.

This weekend is most certainly going to be a continuation of the huge workload, but Heather comes back to Leeds tomorrow so it will be nice taking a break to spend some time with her.

Comments off    

Tuesdays with Morrie

I was recommended a book to read by James a while ago called Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I bought it on amazon shortly after the recommendation however I only just finished reading it. Its an account of an ex-student’s weekly meetings with his favorite professor from university, Morrie, who is dying of ALS. They talk about the meaning of life, friends, the world, a vast number of things, all recorded on a tape recorder and ending up in some form or other in the book.

This is the first book I have read in a long time that really touched me quite so much. Its the honesty of the whole book, the way every word you read seems to bring you closer to the reality of the account and how you start to feel so much more human somehow, simply by the act of reading it.

I’m not going to write here about every little thing the book as I would still be writing late into the night, but it suffices to say that you really should read this book. I’ll happily lend it to anyone who lives nearby. It might just change your life. I seriously think its changed mine.

Comments (4)    

Blogosphere point-scoring

The Guardian levied an accusation against the blogosphere in todays paper. They suggest that it “… risks putting off everyone but point-scoring males”. When I first read the headline I felt a typical bloggers outrage at having my corner of the web criticised, but then I thought about it for minute and realised that it is my immediate reaction, were it to be put down on my blog, that brings about that outsiders view of the blogosphere. As such I’m going to address this in a much more matter of fact way and give my straight up honest take on the very fabric in which I express my views.

The WWW (World Wide Web) is a collection of communities, much like those we find in any country you care to name in the world. The main difference with the WWW is that each of these communities are in easy reach of each other. A matter of milliseconds in fact. The big question I have though, is how is any given offline community different from one, say, in a particular area of a city?

A city community will have an accepted way of behaving, of conducting your life, the way you speak to other people etc. An online community will have the same. To illustrate this, consider a technical forum where off-topic discussion is frowned upon and those who display more knowledge are respected above others and users expect to speak to other users in a certain way and for that to be reciprocated.

Our city community isn’t perfect however. Some people do things others don’t like, say things that are offensive, rebel against the status quo. These things are frowned upon and often cause an uproar, but none the less they go on, and simply get shouted down when they occur. Back then to our online technical community where occasionally someone offends someone else, perhaps by telling them they are wrong in a derogatory fashion. This is frowned upon by others and the offender is shouted down. These incidents still go on however and simply get shouted down when they occur.

See where I’m going? Just because its online, doesn’t mean we should expect everything we find to be tailored to us, just because we see it though a computer screen we call our own doesn’t mean everything we display on it should be suited specifically for us. We live our lives expecting some facts of our lives to offend us. Why should we demand that the WWW be exempt from this quite ordinary, accepted fact of life?

The blogosphere is a place on the WWW where anyone and everyone can express their opinions in articles or comments. We cannot and should not expect that the way others express their opinions to always match our preferred standards. In fact the very nature of the WWW is such that we can easily avoid things we don’t wish to see, or comments we don’t wish to read simply by choosing not to navgate to places on the web where these things reside, or when we find ourselves reading something we don’t want to read we can navigate away from it.

I don’t expect everyone to like what I write, I don’t expect everyone to read it, but I do expect EVERYONE to stand by and let me write it in the first place.

Not everyone likes tabloid newspapers, but I haven’t ever met one person who has been put off by reading ALL newspapers simply because tabloids exist. The sooner people start seeing the WWW and in particular the blogosphere as an extension to their everyday lives rather than a whole new environment the sooner they will see that the way it all works is not really any different to everything else around them. On that day, perhaps us bloggers will finally be left in peace.

Comments (1)    

« Previous entries