Choffee/ John's Thought Splurge

Welcome to my thoughts splurged out onto the electronic page. Have a look at the most recent posts below, or browse the tag cloud on the right. An archive of all posts is also available.

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what language are you

I am Prolog what are you?

You are Prolog. You enjoy looking for different ways to solve a problem. You take longer to solve them, but usually come up with more than one solution.
Which Programming Language are You?

Posted Sun Apr 29 19:23:57 2007
fruit and veg

Able and Cole deliver fruit and veg.

Pick your favorite fruit and veg

Just as I was leaving this morning I noticed a receipt in the post from Able and Cole. Our first box has arrived!

Just a small box to start with but it looks really nice. I had only a moment as I had to catch a train but did steal a pear as I went out the door. Next up is to compare prices with the supermarkets to see just how much it does cost!

Posted Thu Apr 12 12:45:45 2007 Tags: ?food ?fruit ?green ?organic ?veg
linux on the train

Twice this week people have asked me about Linux on my laptop.

I travel on the trains quite a bit and you can normally find me sitting at a table, assuming I can get a seat, with my laptop on, tapping away. ( Yes sometimes I am asleep!)

Twice, in as many weeks, I have been asked if I was running Linux on my laptop because I have an Ubuntu sticker on the lid. The first time was somebody just interested in how it works, and the moment he started talking I started to kick myself for not having a current copy available to give him. ( I have since got myself a few feisty ubuntu copies on back order). I told a fairly honest story and said that he should probably try a boot disk and see how it worked with his computer. The second chap was an AIX engineer in a previous live and was now selling clusters only to people who wanted more than 512 cores!

I wonder if that is just because I have not been wearing my headphones for the last week or two?

Posted Thu Apr 12 12:33:07 2007 Tags: ?train,ubuntu,linux
readers comments

Readers comments.

My reader complained that she (kaff) could not leave a comment. Worse than that, after crafting a nice reply in the discuss window, having got herself a OpenID, she lost it when it did not work.

Whoops! There is nothing in the logs that suggest any errors and I have just added a comment to a discuss page using the web and it all looks okay. I have upgraded to ?ikiwik 1.48 recently so that may help. If you do get some time then have another go and drop me an email/im/voip if it does not work.


Posted Thu Apr 12 12:33:07 2007 Tags: general
p990 flip trivia

Useless P990i fact for the day.

The flip sensor is a little magnetic switch on the right hand side of the screen at the top of the closed flip. So when you put it into your case with the magnetic clip on the front, the phone thinks you are opening the clip then closing it again. That is why the screen comes on every time you try to put the phone away and not because you are pushing any of the buttons. Tune in tomorrow for more exciting trivia

( A geobar for the first to guess what my latest toy is.)

( Hint: It was upgrade time on my phone contract!)

Posted Wed Mar 21 13:53:31 2007 Tags: ?p990 phone
do we need hdtv

Do we need High Definition (HD) on Freeview?

A news story on the BBC site explains that Ofcom are looking to sell off the spare spectrum on from the old analog networks. This could be bad news for Freeview as they will only be able to squeeze a couple of HD channels into tier existing spectrum ( We will ignore the fact that everybody will have to upgrade their shiny new Freeview TVs and set top boxes). I think that this should be seen as a huge opportunity to move from broadcast to on-demand.

Instead of using all the available bandwidth for broadcast of Trisha, Quizcall and Countdown it could, instead be used for Mesh networks or wireless broadband. In this way we could start to replace the generic TV with a more truly interactive service. This would greatly increase choice as you would then be able to choose not only the Freeview services that you want but also any other broadcaster or end user that is available on the wider network.

I understand that Ofcom has a role to make money for the government but perhaps it should think about setting aside a not small amount of spectrum for a more open type of broadcast. Rather than selling the spectrum to the highest bidder give it to the network provider that will give the greatest choice for the end user. The drive for profit rarely gives the user the best product.

Posted Thu Mar 15 09:54:29 2007 Tags: ?tv,tech
computer training

Should all staff be trained in MS Access?

As part of one of the government initiates for IT they require all of their staff who use computers to go through the Computer Driver training course. This might be considered great and for a lot of people it is probably a real help at the start. It gives them a good grounding in what to do with the big scary box on the desk how to make it do some of the stuff that they might want it to. This is a good thing as computers are still not as simple as they could be ( considering the type of tasks that most uses want to accomplish they are hellishly over complex) but at what level should it stop?

I propose that the average user should not be sent on a course to learn how to do complex spreadsheets or databases but should instead be sent for training on how to set out what they are trying to achieve. This would then aide the Business and IT analysis to fit what they are doing in with the rest of the business needs and stop the them wasting their valuable time creating another copy of the data.

Take for instance the average database that is created. It will have a fairly poor user interface (They are very hard to do properly). It will probably duplicate data found elsewhere in the business. It will probably, if my experience is anything to go by, mean re-entering data that is held electronically elsewhere and more than likely overlap more than one other database or report elsewhere in the business.

My proposal is simple. Train the users in defining what they want to do, not how they want to do it. By this I mean not asking for an access database but asking for a way that their staff can change or report on a set of data. Then hand this off to somebody who has a larger understanding of the business systems and can slot your request into it with ease. Then get staff who understand user interfaces, the tools they are using and the business systems to code the required extensions to the main applications in a structured manor.

I think that this can work but it takes a large shift in how managers see IT. It has to be less of a basic support need and more of a crucial part of the business. The benefits of that swanky new billing system or customer management platform are fully dependent on the end users being able to spec out what they want and then for that to be integrated in a timely manner. The main change in this will be that you don't see the major costs of an IT project being soft and hard wares but in the people who are implementing the solutions.

Posted Fri Mar 9 11:09:16 2007 Tags: general

If it's good enough for Wesley Crusher...

Then why are we not all using Linux. He is from the future you know!

Posted Fri Mar 2 11:36:58 2007 Tags: ?geek linux

We all need a thumbs up.

All I can reach.

Still having some problems with the reach of my thumb but it's getting better. I can now touch my little finger but only just and it hurts a bit.

It have been quite an enlightening experience. When I had my foot and thumb in a cast walking was a very slow process, every journey was a while in the planning and then as I progressed it was small sections at a time. Spot the easiest looking piece of street and head for it. Stop, rest, plan and set off again. It's quite scary how much you miss just being able to get around.

Later as my foot was released and I regained full use of my foot I still had my thumb in plaster. You just don't realize what you use that second thumb for and how you are so used to have it just there and ready to go. Picking things up was sometimes an interesting experience as I had to pause for a moment and rethink how to do things again. Sometimes I found myself having to completely reposition my body back so that I could instead use my left hand to do something.

Still I am one of the lucky ones as I seem to be making a full recovery.

Posted Thu Mar 1 21:46:56 2007
creating a bigger home

Increasing the size of your home directory on the fly.

For a long time now I have used LVM to manage most of my disk space on my machines. It's simple once you have understood what it is talking about and it is quite flexible.

I have been running out of space in my home directory on my desktop at home. I have a load of random disks in the box and they are all under LVM. I have been putting off sorting this out for a while now as all the times before that I have wanted to resize drives it's a boot disk job. Not any more.

# lvextend -L +10Gb /dev/maindatavg/homelv # resize2fs /dev/maindatavg/homelv

That's it. I now have another 10Gb of disks space in my home directory. All online, all in about 30 seconds!

Note: I already had some spare space in the maindata_vg to play with so this was simple but if I had added a new drive I could have just added it to the group and done the same.

Posted Wed Feb 7 23:56:59 2007 Tags: linux lvm tech
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