Monthly Archives: February 2006
Marmaduke Duke

I logged into Last.fm
this morning to look at my recommendations and among the more obscurer
suggestions was Marmaduke
Duke
, who apparently are similar to Biffy
Clyro, Hell Is For Heroes, Reuben and Million Dead, who are some of my
favourite bands. So I decided to log into Amazon to look to see how much it was,
and guess what was the music recommendation on the front page:




I think someone is trying to tell me something. I’m now looking for
some samples to listen to.

No comments yet Categories: music
Geek Girl
22:07 <@Laura-> no, there is another

Not only does my girlfriend use irc, she quotes Star Wars.
*squee*

1 comment Categories: life
Slef-Harming

Slef
Did it ever occur to you that the comma rather than period in the email
address might possibly have been a genuine mistake rather than an attempt to
target you. Your excessively and increasingly paranoid and biased blog postings are
starting to piss me off. You managed to suggest that Madduck thought
that cookies should never be used. Reading his post you see he
referenced Sesse
who only said that people shouldn’t use cookies if they didn’t need to.
As for your assertion that wikipeda has a “extreme right-wing
viewpoint”, I sat and read both the blog entry you posted to and the
discussion page in question. You conviently failed to mention that
wikipedia’s problem with the FAQ is that it is the collective work of
anonymous contributors and edited by a person that google ranks below
the profile of some games player. (Oh sorry, forgot google is in on the
anti-mjray conspiracy). Wikipedia’s policy on sources clearly states
that primary sources should be “made available by a credible
publication”.

When you’ve finished complaining, you might want to fix the link
element in your rdf to not point to itself.

1 comment Categories: general
"That’s not fair!"

A thread on a mailing list reminded me of this.

A Bit of a Confusing Morning

So far, in the last 12 hours, I’ve discovered that my payslips from
this time last year bear no resemblence to reality, my pension company
has failed to recieve approximately 1900GBP of money that should have
been paid into it and O2 have managed to transfer my mobile number to
completely the wrong SIM. I’m still waiting for April so I can call the
Inland Revenue to find out what happened to all the student loan
repayments I made at my previous company (Approx 700GBP).

Have spoken with O2, who are going to transfer my number ot the right
SIM, hopefully in the next 2 hours. Need to speak to the guy that does
payroll in the office, when he comes in next.

Sucks to be me.

Update: Phone now works.

2 comments Categories: life
Valentines Day

I don’t think a card says “I love you” so much as “Society
expects me to buy you a piece of paper, so I felt obligated to get you
this.”

Discuss.

3 comments Categories: general
Perl Style and readability

Which of these two fragments is more readable?

$self->{catalina_base} = $ENV{'CATALINA_BASE'};
if (!defined $self->{catalina_base}) {
    $self->{catalina_base} = $self->getTomcatHome() ;
}
if (!defined $self->{catalina_base}) {
    CCM::Util::error ("CATALINA_BASE unset and TOMCAT_HOME undefined", 3);
}

or

$self->{catalina_base} = $ENV{'CATALINA_BASE'} || $self->getTomcatHome()
   || CCM::Util::error ("CATALINA_BASE unset and TOMCAT_HOME undefined", 3);

Update: or

$self->{catalina_base} = (
   $ENV{'CATALINA_BASE'}
   or $self->getTomcatHome()
   or CCM::Util::error ("CATALINA_BASE unset and TOMCAT_HOME undefined", 3)
);
7 comments Categories: computing Tags: ,
OMFG Google evil

MJ
Ray
, I think you’re distorting what is going on. Google are,
rightly, protective of their search results and work actively against
people that try to manipulate the search results. This is what BMW.de
had done by giving a spam page to google and using javascript to
redirect users to the right page. As an aside, this would have broken
for text browsers or anyone without javascript. It’s not the pinicle of
accessibility is it? Google were protecting their index, not using it as
a vendetta against people it doesn’t like as you were suggesting. Stop
being so paranoid and stop distorting the story, or you’re no better
than the devil you’re trying to paint Google as.

1 comment Categories: computing Tags: ,
SQL::Translator

Today, I discovered SQL::Translator,
which seems to have some very interesting use cases. Basically, it is a
perl module for translating a database schema from one of a number of
formats and turning it into another format. Parsers include:

  • Live querying of DB2, MySQL, DBI-PostgreSQL, SQLite and Sybase databases
  • Access
  • Excel
  • SQL for DB2, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite and Sybase
  • Storable
  • XML
  • YAML

Output formats include:

  • Class::DBI
  • SQL for MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLServer, SQLite and Sybase
  • Storable, XML and YAML
  • POD, Diagram, GraphViz and HTML

Several things spring to mind with this:

  1. Defining your Schema in XML and using SQL::Translator to convert it
    into SQL for several databases and a set of classes for Class::DBI,
    which would make your application immediately target any of the
    supported databases.
  2. Documenting an existing database for which you’ve lost existing
    documentation by pointing it at a running database instance and
    outputting HTML page and, thanks to the Diagram output module, visual
    representation of the structure.
  3. Convert one database from product to another. Point it at a MySQL
    database and generate SQL for postgresql. If you generated some
    Class::DBI stuff you could possibly quickly write a script to copy data
    too.
  4. Using the sqlt-diff script, compare you current SQL to what is
    running on the database and generate a SQL script to upgrade the
    database structure using ALTER TABLE etc. Presumably you’d need
    to convert any data yourself, but is still a time saver for large
    databases.

I’m sure other people could think of some interesting uses for this.
Having looked at the Class::DBI stuff, I think it could do with some
improvements. I can’t see a way to set the class names, although I
haven’t spent that much time looking and it insists on having all the
classes in one file. Also the XML and YAML formats
generated are rather verbose and I haven’t looked to see how much I
could cut them down to use as the source definition. I suspect that I
can make it a lot shorter and rely on sensible defaults.

My initial reason for wanting to use SQL::Translator is that
Class::DBI::Pg has a large start up time and isn’t really suitable for
CGI use if you have a complex database. This might be mitigated by using
mod_perl, but in the mean time I was hoping I could speed up startup by
telling Class::DBI my column names, rather than it querying the
database. SQL::Translator should allow me to save duplicating the
database structure, whilst allowing me to support multiple backend
databases. If I get this working, I’ll write up a short HOWTO.

UK Acts online

I can’t believe in this day and age that OPSI (formerly HMSO) still don’t have
copies of UK acts of parliament before 1988 online. According to their
website:

Q. Why do you only display legislation back to
1988?

A. The website was launched in 1996. Initially, legislation was only
available from that year. In 2000 we took the decision to include older
legislation for which we had electronic files. These files only dated
back to 1988. Prior to this, legislation is only available in its
original print format.

I don’t think it’s acceptable to say “Oh it’s a bit of work to make them
available.” If Project Gutenberg
can make 17,000 out of copyright works available, I fail to see why the
government, who have resources at their disposal, can’t make the text of
approximately 3000 acts from the last 100 years available. This makes
several key acts which govern us today unavailable to the UK public,
including the Telecommunications Act 1984, Sale of Goods Act 1979,
Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and Unfair Contract Terms Act
1977.

On a similar note, they have only just started making PDF files
avilable for download (since October 2005). They don’t appear to be
planning on making existing documents available in PDF. Again, I don’t
think it would be too hard to make all their content availble in
alternative formats.

4 comments Categories: politics