Older blog entries for Killerbees (starting at number 203)

FIFA win the Queen Victoria memorial reactionary fuddy-duddy-ism award

In the spirit of the World Cup I'm going to veer off into football for this award, possibly for the only time ever.

I'm not a football fan, I prefer to follow "another code" (rugby union for those who don't speak in riddles) and I've been amazed and appalled at the number of times in this world cup, that the ref has appeared to have his hands tied and his eyes poked out by the victorian attitude to refereeing as expressed by FIFA.

International Rugby has sucessfuly benefited from video replays and from penalty-tries, and indeed from a clock that counts the seconds of play, cleverly pausing for injury or other "time out". None of these things interrupt the flow of the game. None of them compromise his authority.

The introduction of goal line "technology" however, would. That would delegate the decison to a machine.

In both codes the ref's decision is absolute and final, as it should be, and he has the option to exercise his opinion and experience at every stage of the game.

But by FIFA denying ref's access to the *option* to consult a video ref (or tv match official) or the *option* to award a goal for goal line offences we are saying that we do not trust their judgement. If FIFA do not trust the judgement of their referees what does that say for the game? Not to mention the appaling messages the handing of these incidents sends to our kids.

Decisions forced on ref's in this world cup undermine sportsmanship, and for that reason, FIFA, you get the Queen Victoria memorial award for reactionary fuddy-duddy-ism.

Syndicated 2010-07-05 20:20:00 (Updated 2010-07-05 20:23:17) from Danny Angus

There's more to running a railroad than just laying down tracks, you know (nine reasons that diaspora will struggle)

I have to say that although I don't have anything against Diaspora, there's a strong sense of dot-com naievety in the web site and the press reports that I've read. As someone once said in some movie I once saw sometime;

There's more to running a railroad than just laying down tracks, you know.*
Those of you who were around during the unfettered madness in the last stages of the dot-com boom should know better than simply to believe the hype here, and let me explain why.

Diaspora have nothing, they have some pledges of funding and apparently a bit of code that may or may not work.
Nothing bankable there, and no business model that I can see which will give any real investor even the promise of a return.
We've seen friends reunited fail to capitalise on the very similar oppportunity their idea created and the enthusiasm with which it was greeted, and that is because they chose to charge for parts of the service.
Anyone wanting to get into this space is going to have to burn through a lot of cash before they get a big enough audience to make money from by any indirect means, if they ever do.

If they've been pulling allnighters and sleeping under the desks their development methodology is unsustainable. I would consider myself to have failed in a big way if I had to ask someone to sleep under their desk, geeks need their beauty sleep if they're going to do a good job for you.
They're going to crash and burn if the don't fix that one. I know that some of the most sucessful dot coms have evolved from student's developing something on a shoe string, but they have largely been gamechangers.

Diaspora isn't a game changer. It is an evolutionary development of social networking.

They have a HUGE competitor in facebook. And potentially another in Google's OpenSocial. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde "To challenge one gorilla may be regarded as a misfortune. To challenge two looks like carelessness."

Privacy and security are not sexy, they won't sell this to normal consumers (c.f. industry insiders like ourselves) people like facebook, and don't really know or care about the the privacy issues.
You only have to read the comments on facebook's status update posts to realise that very many of their users have a very sketchy understanding (and thats me being flattering) of what the web is, never mind how it works.

Distributed is sexy, but only to sad geeks like you and me! The emphasis in "social network" is on social not network.
In practice this is going to manifest itself in questions like who will opeate a diaspora server? and how will I choose my diaspora provider?
Either that or there will only ever be one operator of diaspora, and the distributed thing will be obsolete from the start like so many internet technologies who's technical capabilities are sidelined by business and operational issues: The way we misuse "trust certificates" (I don't trust verisign, who the f**k are they?), they way that we don't use multi-hop SMTP because of spam, the way that theJ2EE servlet specification was never really adopted for anything other than http, the way that teleco's won't let us use our mobiles (cellphones) as modems, but they will sell us dongles.

They don't appear to own the domain name diaspora.com. A small thing, but perhaps a glimpse at a lack of joined up thinking?

And the big one ... Someone has to persuade all of the people who are happy using other social networks that they need to be bothered using diaspora.
Now I know that we've seen people move from bebo and myspace to facebook, but that seems to have been driven by two factors, one is the fact that facebook's offering is different, its a slighly different service, the other is the demographic, facebook targets (or seems to) an older demographic, producing the perception that myspace and bebo are for kids...
When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.
...and that as facebook is more "grown up" it becomes cool to move your social network activity to facebook.
Where is the comparable hook that will attract people to diaspora? Privacy? give me a break!

The technology exists to create diaspora, but is there enough time?
It takes a lot more than a list of techical ideas to make a robust system. If all you needed was enthusiasm and an understanding of the technology most of us would be billionaires, and we know it!
Each one of their to-do's has to be implemented, that implementation will be beset with technical challenges.
Integrating them into a coherent single service adds a whole extra degree of complexity. This kind of development needs to be properly managed by people who understand the risks and know the trick of avoiding them.
Those people exist, I like to think I'm one of them, but the point is that their intervention will move the goal posts, and dilute the "purity" of the mission.

So, IMHO Diaspora may well be what the thinking geek would have liked facebook to be, but it is never going to replace it. Sorry, but there you go.

* (if you know what movie it is let me know!).

Syndicated 2010-05-15 09:08:00 (Updated 2010-05-15 09:25:26) from Danny Angus

privacy, what privacy? do I look like I care? the jury is out.

I've recently added the much talked about facebook "like" button to this blogger blog. (For those that are interested the code is at the bottom of this post)

And as I was doing it I wondered how to gain access to the stats this will inevitably collect. I don't have the precise answer to that one yet, but I did find some interesting things on the Facebook Query Language page.

Just for example, this link https://api.facebook.com/method/fql.query?query=SELECT%20total_count%20FROM%20link_stat%20WHERE%20url=%27blog.killerbees.co.uk/2010/04/no-i-dont-have-my-ipad-with-me.html%27 will show you how many times that blog post has been shared on facebook.

Why don't I care that this information, and a whole lot more, is in the public domain? Mainly because I assume that if I use facebook everything is available to everyone and I should be careful what I say, we need to educate each other, as we do with our kids, not to post things online that give away the secrets of our private life.

But also because facebooks attempt to predict the result of the election (here) has predicted a victory for the lib-dems.

This is something that is clearly not going to happen, but is also something that a quantative approach to predicting the election will always come up with. Why? Hopefully its because we lie to pollsters, even if that includes lying to ourselves. We're not rational or very sane, and as long as we don't publicise information that can be used to harm us predicting future behaviour using facebook data is no better or worse than using any of the other sources of information available.

Why should I be worried? The one doubt I have in my mind is that it would be possible to track all of your associations, and you may not want me to know who your friends friends are, or what interests you share, particularly if your friends achieve notoriety or your shared interests reveal your social circles in an unfavourable light.

That fb code:

1st put these in the top of the template html, I had to put them directly under the opening "head" tag to stop blogger from removing them.

<meta content='your site name goes here' property='og:site_name'/>
<meta content='your app id goes here' property='fb:app_id'/>

Then put this beneath your posts, look for div class='post-footer', you may need to "expand widgets"

<div id='fb-root'><div/>
  window.fbAsyncInit = function() {
    FB.init({appId: 'your app id goes here', status: true, cookie: true,
             xfbml: true});
  (function() {
    var e = document.createElement('script'); e.async = true;
    e.src = document.location.protocol +

<fb:like action="like" colorscheme="dark" expr:href="data:post.url" layout="standard" show_faces="true" width="500">

Syndicated 2010-05-05 09:40:00 (Updated 2010-05-05 09:40:38) from Danny Angus

No I don't have my IPad with me...

Ok, this morning when I arrived at work there were a stack of IPad's waiting to be unpacked and dealt with, and I got my first taste of the Thing Everyone Wants.
I have to say I'm left feeling "Meh" about the whole thing.
For one thing it is pretty heavy to hold, I wouldn't want to  sit and read one instead of a book or a newspaper, in fact I can't even read electronic stuff on the train with it instead of with my phone, 'cos its not connected.
I can't even rest it on my lap at an acceptable angle unless I prop it up with a pen and two blobs of blu tac (that actually works quite well by the way, and you heard it here first). So:
  • I'll keep my ipod nano thx, because it slips into my jeans pocket,  I can hold it in my other hand while strap hanging on the tube, and I won't need to find somewhere safe to put it when I get wherever I'm going.
  • I'll also keep my phone, because I can use it to call people, txt them, twitter, facebook, email and surf the web while I'm on the train or outside, and indoors without paying for wifi access.
  • I also have my wallet, 'cos it has my cards and stuff in it
  • And I'm keeping the fags, 'cos a man has to have one vice.
Which means I could always use the 'pad as a handy tray for carrying them all around on.
I like it as an artifact, but I think its clear that however more portable it is than a laptop the 'pad isn't a mobile device, and given the choice I think I'd keep my hp mini netbook for surfing the web in my kitchen or using public wifi.

Syndicated 2010-04-08 14:29:00 (Updated 2010-04-08 14:31:54) from Danny Angus

What can we infer from this Oracle statement on java.sun.com?

Oracle is reviewing the Sun product roadmap and will provide guidance to customers in accordance with Oracle's standard product communication policies. Any resulting features and timing of release of such features as determined by Oracle's review of roadmaps, are at the sole discretion of Oracle. All product roadmap information, whether communicated by Sun Microsystems or by Oracle, does not represent a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.
Now I'm not a lawyer but this would seem to imply that Oracle reserve the right to abandon any commitment that Sun may have made over the future of Java and anything that may have been commited to via the JCP.
Knowing Oracle this will involve abandoning anything that doesn't generate revenue.

Syndicated 2010-02-16 14:55:00 (Updated 2010-02-16 14:55:45) from Danny Angus

Quote of the [specify time period]

No awards for a while, but today Tim Bray made me smile on twitter with this comment on the HTML5 shenanignas

This is getting weird even by Standards standards.
Have an award Tim.

Syndicated 2010-02-16 14:40:00 (Updated 2010-02-16 14:41:48) from Danny Angus

ubuntu gmail imap thunderbird lightning google calendar etc etc etc

I thought I'd post this because I handlessly failed to get it sorted 1st time, and that ole internet didn't have nice how to for n00bs.


Ubuntu, install thunderbird
sudo apt-get install thunderbird
sudo apt-get install lightning-extension
sudo apt-get install calendar-google-provider

will install thunderbird and the lightning calendar extension.

this guide will get you started with imap http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=77662

NOTE: don't use the "gmail" account type, as this will only set up a POP connection, not IMAP.

This guide http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=540330 will get you started with lightning, the crucial paragraph is this: NOTE: ignore the installation instructions, you've done that using apt.

Install both plugins, and restart Thunderbird, you will then be shown, a Calendar in the left pane, this calendar has 3 tabs Agenda, Todo and Calendars. To setup Google Calendar, click on the Calendar tab.
Click on the New Button, in the Calendar Tab, and you will be given a choice, you need to select, On the Network. Click on Next, there is an option for Google Calendar, select this.
In the Text bar under the Google Calendar you will need to enter the Link URL which allows you to write to your Account, you can find this, buy logging into the Google Calendar account you created earlier.

Create a new Calendar, or if you already have a celedar created, click on the down arrow next to the calendar. And click on Share this Calendar.
You will be taken to a new page, where you will need to click on Calendar Details on the top of this page.

Then Select the XML button, next to the Private Address, this will allow you the read/write access to the calendar, if you need read only access, or wish to share calendards with read only access, use the XML button next to the Public Tab.

When you click on the XML button a URL will be displayed (i’ve edited the whole strin below for security reasons) Copy this URL , and paste it into the Thunderbird Text box, then click on Next.

Give the Calendar a name which you will use in Thunderbird to identify this calendar, and choose a colour, this is the colour which will identify your Google Calendar, if you are using multiple calendars. Then CLick on Next and then Finish.
You will then see your calendar listed as available. you should now be able to add an event in either Thunderbird, or the wEb Interface, and both will update to show the events. You can set reminders, repeat events, and all the usual type of Schedule details.

Syndicated 2009-12-23 13:16:00 (Updated 2009-12-23 13:16:54) from Danny Angus

concordance of inanity (How many monkeys?)

A while ago I published  a concordance of the words used to search this blog Which really only highlighted the fact that people who like to search for "penis" and "secretary sex" were probably quite disappointed when they came here.

However another day another list. According to my tweet cloud these are the most popular words in my tweets, arranged in order of popularity.

time home world blogged
w00t using night google
power people trying office friends hell
start apache anyway
phone mysql client week
android mini-note
hello theres stuff yeah apparently
help london
Seems to me that they make more sense as tweets than some of the nonsense I take time to write. What's that you say about monkeys and typewriters?

Syndicated 2009-11-30 11:04:00 (Updated 2009-11-30 11:04:29) from Danny Angus

Apache James is 10 years old too.

Happy Birthday Apache!

I was checking out the 10th anniversary press release

Several Apache projects also celebrated their 10th anniversary
and realised that Apache James is 10 years old this year as well. Way to go James Team, 10 years and we still haven't resorted to physical violence. Check the wayback machine if you don't believe me.

The top level project was established by the Board on January 22, 2003, with these ugly dudes on the 1st PMC:
Serge Knystautas
Danny Angus
Peter Goldstein
Noel Bergman
Charles Bennet

And I read the two documents The ASF was sent, I think I'm going to move to Oakland, or at least adopt their public holidays.

The Mayor of Oakland's proclamation that november 4th is Apache Software Foundation day wierd, but cool.

The Letter from Arnie. Question: Will he be back?

Syndicated 2009-11-18 12:27:00 (Updated 2009-11-18 12:27:34) from Danny Angus

What people are saying about Apache James

Here are some links I found for James related things,

Most notably I found this site JavaEye I can find a few mentions of James but the content is in Chinese. This really begs the question how can we encourage Chinese, Japanese, and people from other cultures who are not as likely to communicate in English as Americans, Europeans, and people from India, to engage with our projects?
I would love for the people who are writing on JavaEye to make themselves known to the James community, we'd be happy to help spread the word about James, and are always grateful to people who can help us to get in front of a non English speaking audience.

"James is a very solid and reliable piece of software" Thanks Ant, nice of you to say so.

Niall Commiskey wrote EMAIL notifications with Oracle SOA Suite 11g which illustrates nicely what a useful role James can plan in enterprise systems. Even if it is only used to provide a development or test environment for email, James gives java developers standards compliant protocols *and* full control over the message content and routing, you can create testing stubs, reports, and integrations into other systems that will fully expose the output from your system.

And finally this Yet another email client – Apache James Hupa from Sree Balakrishnan, talking about the latest James sub-project Hupa (IMAP-based Webmail written in GWT) If you're interested in Hupa check out the site first but you may want to read this, if there haven't been any releases yet.

Syndicated 2009-11-17 09:14:00 (Updated 2009-11-17 09:15:09) from Danny Angus

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