Yearly Archives: 2010


Since I don’t have full control over the look and feel of this blog, I had a look at I have downloaded stylish and installed it into one of the copies of Firefox that I use. I then made some changes to my test site and installed a user style locally in Firefox, so it all worked quite well. I need to examine how to upload a style to the internet and allow a page to offer the download, as do some of the style pages in the gallery on their home page at

The two use cases I was considering were

  1. offering you a different user experience while reading this blog,
  2. seeing if a user style, embedded in Chrome would make consuming the blog, and static site easier on an Android phone.

I have a feeling that since I control the HTML & CSS for my static site, user styles are not part of the answer and that taking full control of the blog so that I have control over the HTML & CSS is a better answer for the blog.

I  might however write a user style for the NWN Vault, whose visual style, I find old fashioned and cluttered. I was reminded of how bad it is  since I have used some of my xmas break to catch up on some playing time in Neverwinter Nights; I was using the vault to find some new games.

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You can prove innocence

I was reading an article in the Guardian, that was inspired some of the #wikileaks documents relating to the murder of Pat Finucane, a solicitor in Northern Ireland. He came from a Republican family and acted for Republican defendants in the Northern Irish courts.  This happened in 1972 and a lot of time has passed.  Lord Justice Stevens looked into the events surrounding the death due to the persistent allegations that UK security forces were involved in the murder and he said among several things in 2003,

“The failure to keep records or the existence of contradictory accounts can often be perceived as evidence of concealment or malpractice. It limits the opportunity to rebut serious allegations. The absence of accountability allows the acts or omissions of individuals to go undetected. The withholding of information impedes the prevention of crime and the arrest of suspects.”

This is a lesson we can all learn. It is possible to prove (judicial) innocence in all walks of life, if you prepare for it.

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Pie of Pie in Excel

I used an Excell 2007 Pie of Pie chart the other day for the first time. It may be that these are not very sound statistically but they can be powerful graphics. It wasn’t exactly intuitive at the first glance. Here’s how I did it.

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I’ve not been to Technorati for a while, and the process of claiming one’s blog and site have changed a bit. I hope that now I am using WordPress that it’ll be easier; roller, my first blog technology at Sun was a pain, and snipsnap which I used from August ’09 until last July was impossible. (It’s one of the reasons I decided to adopt WordPress, more people develop for it).

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Hello World, again

I have decided, that despite progress towards the resurrection of my now defunct 2nd blog, a Snipsnap bliki,  that I can’t wait until then to start blogging again. So I have started this blog. BTW that blog was available a and some the posts are available via Google Reader, [RSS/ATOM],

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BCS EGM 2010

I actually got the BCS EGM last Thursday. I think it important, as is IT professionalism in the UK, but I am not sure that last week was a beacon for the values most of us would hope for. The meeting’s atmosphere was a nexus of CPSA annual conference, “back to the future” and “The History Man”.  I tweeted that it reminded me of Camden Labour party which I was a member of during  the 80’s, but that’s deeply unfair. While local Labour Parties and conference have been known to over indulge in the procedural, it was much more reminiscent of CPSA. The Camden party that met around the Finchley Road area  in the early ‘90s was one of the most politically educated and broad based branch parties I have been to; almost certainly helped by the fact that no faction had a majority.

So first matter of debate, a 50 minute point of order on whether the President of the Association, Elizabeth Sparrow should chair the meeting. Her right to cast discretionary proxies was also challenged. This sort of stuff is deeply unattractive to the non-aligned, although I am not sure how many of them there were. I know that I went to listen to a discussion on the future of the BCS and IT professionalism in the UK and had not made up my mind on how to vote, although I was predisposed towards supporting the leadership and the transformation programme. I don’t need to know more about stitching up meetings, and I am not sure the BCS Leadership do either.

Now, given that the first motion was a no-confidence motion in the Board of Trustees, I think it questionable that since the President is a member of Board that she should have chaired the meeting, or certainly the debate on that motion however the rules make it clear that if present the President shall chair the meeting, and so she did.

Having been deeply impressed by the opening scene from the TV series of Malcolm Bradbury’s “The History Man”, I have a theory that the academics present from their organisations and trade unions bring a ready and handy knowledge of proceduralism to the table, one that (some of) the business people find themselves lost in. Everyone needs to remember that there is a debate around ideas of substance, and that rule No. 1 is that,

Those ideas with membership support will win in the end

So what was the debate about? I am still not sure. It seems that it boils down to two things,

The transformation programme, which is about establishing the BCS, or the “BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT” as the premier guardian for IT professionalism in the UK, and maybe elsewhere needs greater financial transparency than it has today, although the first speaker, Ken Olisa, against the requisitioned motions presented a long list of financial reports made to the Board of Trustees. I think some people’s expectations of where we can go are Read more …

My snipsnap bliki fails

I originally announced a new blog on this page a while ago, but set it up to redirect to my bliki. The host system, my Cobalt Qube died yesterday and I had also come to the conclusion that there are significant difficulties with blogging using snipsnap,

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Return of the Fleet

I popped down to Pompey to see the boats of the Ondeck Atlantic Challange since a friend won a place on one of the boats.

He got in at 3:00 in the morning after crossing the Atlantic and had sensibly tried to get some sleep on the land. I took some pictures which are in a set called Ondeck in Pompey.

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Follow the sun, the moon, the action and money

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a webinar with Cloudsoft, a suggested partner for Citihub in order to evaluate their offering and market positioning. They are seeking to solve the application mobility problem in Cloud Computing and have named their product solution Monterey. I had read their white paper, which they publish on their web site, via a resources page, which you need to login to.

They have a the idea that using their middleware, an infrastructure manager can on a policy basis optimise the deployment of an application for performance, cost, data, or liquidity, which they summarise as

Follow the sun, follow the moon, follow the action and follow the money

In order to offer this scale of applications mobility, they can and do offer wide area mobility; their design goal is clearly intercontinental. They position their product as middleware, although they have a platform in California, which they also describe as a reference architecture.

Their sales entry point is the applications developers. To use Monterey, you must have source code engineering rights and capability, and it works best with an application with a highly partitioned architecture, and possibly limited state. They have a Java API and the application must be architected to exist as multi-nodes, although it’s possible that a multi-node set of 1 might work . The Java IDE used is Eclipse. They have a C language pragma, and others such as C# are planned. Monterey is a truly distributed architecture, so it consumes cycles and memory on all potential application hosts. The partitioned architecture minimises the need for both shared disk and bandwidth consumption. It sees the potential hosts as either hypervisor VMs, such as Xen & VMware or bare metal resources, although since the mobile applications are java objects, there needs to by a JVM; they move the application, not the JVM, nor the OS instance nor the VM.

Their EZ Brokerage demo is awesome, they showed the effect of a follow the action and follow the sun policy rules and demonstrated their interface. I asked them for a Video so others can share its awesomeness.

The reference architecture uses Citrix Xensource, Intel and SuperMicro. They are also using Arista Networks and strongly recommend the use of 10GE network and layer 7 switching, although they and their partner switch vendors, Solarflare seek to position themselves as offering something better and cleverer. It’s another example of the re-coming of the conflated system and switch. If varying the components in the platform architecture, then one will need to ensure that it meets the requirements, especially the required network functionality and speed. One of the differentiators that Cloudsoft have is their appetite and success in selling to the financial services industry’s low latency solutions builders.

I am unclear as to how many of their customers use Monterey to implement co-tenancy.

I think it is a brilliant niche positioning. It’s an important problem to solve, they’re focusing on solving it well, and so meet one of Read more …

Free Wifi in London

Boris Johnson has promised to wifi enable London , speaking at Google Zeitgeist and proposes using lampposts and bus stops.

Fantastic! Some correspondents are suggesting there might be some DE Act constraints, but we’ll see.

The article above also links to this video,

demonstrating the undoubted subtlety of Boris, his mastery of rules and laws and his approach to international relations.


Slightly amended in 2013, certaintly there was no London wide WIFI by the Olympics last year, and little sign of any progress. DFL 12 Aug 2013

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Copyright, a constitutional right

For some reason, I had a quick peek a the US Constitution earlier today, I wonder if Congress’s powers,

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

would permit nationalisation? What gobsmacked me though is that artists, authors and inventors copyright protection is a constitutional right. The constitution grants congress the right, or maybe duty,

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Mind you, I don’t see where it says that companies have the right to buy the copyright and pursue the author, artist and inventors customers. In fact, the consitution states that these rights should accrue to the authors and inventors, not their agents. Perhaps the current legal framework is unconstitutional.


Several people are exploring in the US, the limits of useful Arts, in particular looking to see if Porn films can be considered ‘useful arts’? DFL 12 Aug 2103

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What happens next?

So we have a new government, I have been fearing a repeat of 1979, but I think some important things are different. I was taken with this article at Though Cowards Flinch and quoted at Socialist Unity and Lenin’s Tomb in an article called Labourism and the working class, which together with some of the results suggests to me that Labour may have found its heart (or stomach, if you prefer). They suggest found its soul, I think that’s a bit optimistic. Although the Liberal Democrats decision to join the Tory led coalition will not be forgotten by those who expected something different. Labour now needs to turn its back on neo-liberalism and find a way of posing a social democratic vision against those of the CONservative/Liberal DEMocrat coalition. It may even have found the confidence to find its way to truly oppose this government.

I may of course be badly let down by the Labour Party’s leadership election, I can’t see anyone that wants to take us there throwing their hat into the ring. The real problem is that Blair gutted the Labour Party’s internal democracy, so while they’re all busy thanking the foot soldiers or a magnificant campaign I am unsure if they know how to listen to us in the next few months.

I look forward to meeting and making new friends; I am one of those that came home to Labour last week.

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Electing a Prime Minister

It’s been an exciting couple of days in British Politics. One interesting fact that I was pointed at by Paddy Ashdown on the Radio this morning is that of the 12 Prime Ministers since the 2nd World War, only 6 came to office by winning an election. i.e. Only 50% of post war Prime Ministers came to office by winning an election.

How 1940’s 1950’s 1960’s 1970’s 1980/90’s Post 1997
General Election Attlee Churchill Wilson Heath Thatcher Blair
Between Election Eden & MacMillan Dougas Home Callaghan Major Brown

The table above doesn’t show Wilson’s second administration. Also Ashdown says that it was five who became Prime Ministers on the basis of the ability to command a majority in the House of Commons, rather than on the back of a general election, so I may have made a mistake. I used Wikipedia’s British General Elections page as my source.

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