Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Problem Solving

John Resig's recent post about the life cycle of finding a bug and reporting it, is well worth reading...

Whilst titled A Web Developer's Responsibility and containing a little bewildering geek stuff for the non technical, the principles and approach involved are applicable to nearly all team based problem solving...


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So population growth is stopping us tackling Climate Change?

I caught some of Kevin Rudd's launch of Australia's white paper on climate change on Monday, and this really caught my attention:

Australia's population is projected to grow by around 45 per cent over the 1990-2020 period,so Australia's target range translates to a 34-41 per cent reduction in the per capita emissions of every Australian over this period. Page 20, Volume 1
Is it time to curb immigration and for a one child policy down under?

45% population growth isn't really sustainable, predominately, because we are running out of water!

Thankfully, Nuclear power is off the table down under but like coal, they both require a lot of water which Australia, the driest continent, doesn't have much of.

More wind and Solar, now, pretty please!

A while back, Peter 'Smirk' Costello with his baby bonus was encouraging families to have have three kids, one for mum, one for dad and one for the country.

In Melbourne, we are under advanced stages of water restrictions with the water storages something like 100 Billion litres lower than this time last year.

Isn't it obvious, that dramatically growing our population at the moment is like sowing seeds in the desert? This is just plainly environmentally unsustainable.

Malcolm 'Truffles' Turnbull is MIA on this again, don't forget Rudd has shaped this policy to fit the political reality he has to deal with in the Senate. 2010 v 2012 is the best you can come up with? pffff...

The Green Lobby is also involved in some pretty ridiculous grand standing when it comes to claims that Rudd has given up on saving the Murray and the Great Barrier reef.

I hate to be a realist, but we could stop all Australian CO2 emission's today and they would still be doomed. I'm not a climate change denier and I am really disappointed in the Government's response.

Alas, I don't have the answers, but I see the problems.

The main problem is that the CPRS doesn't inflict much pain, quite simply it needs to, it needs to provide incentive for people and industry to change, excessive compensation negates the whole point of an ETS.

Regardless, except for the excessive compensation, the most important thing at the moment is to get the damn thing in place, the policy will change (and improve) over time.

The compensation is the problem, because it's sooo hard to claw back handouts.

PS: the white paper shouldn't be in PDF's but as plain old web pages, IMHO!

Friday, December 12, 2008

XUL Profiler Addon profiles your Javascript too

Check it out, useful for anyone doing stuff with javascript (not just XUL)!

easily confirm your performance hunches


Interestingly, Facebook is running load most of the time..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Freeing up the digital Economy - Spatially

Geoff just posted an interesting entry, Contribution of Spatial Information to the National Economy.

The linked report about Australia highlights the 'dumb' (my own interpretation) situation with regards to Spatial Data in Australia. Spatial data like that should be free, period.

The existing situation is just crazy, earlier this year google was sued and paid about a million bucks for publishing co-ordinates of Australian locations via google maps. I can't find a link for this, so it's hearsay, but it paints a pretty lame picture!

It looks like the Aussie Internet Filtering debacle is close to a end, the word on the street that Labour will let it die in the new year.

Lets make sure it happens, get out and protest this weekend! I'm gonna.

Why not abandon the trials now, redirect that funding to our spatial data agencies and do something positive and progressive, rather than attempting to introduce regressive ideas? That was John Howard's speciality...

Some how I expected Truffles to be a bit more modern, lets face it, he's in dire need of a new policy which he can stand by for more than a sound grab for the nightly news!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Reflections on Ubuntu Usability & Appearance

So, i have had my desktop running Ubuntu for a while now and I'd though I'd share some reflections. I'm pretty happy with it as a whole but here is some things which need work

  1. Nvida TV out support is good, but the UI still as brain dead as windows is. Save to Xconf doesn't work and something that common shouldn't require googling
  2. Still ugly, if you compare an XP desktop running Firefox and an Ubuntu Desktop running Firefox, XP wins hands down for appearance.
  3. File Management is visually horrible, compared to Windows Explorer, out of the box it feels like I am back in the 800x600 days, whilst being on a big screen
  4. Compbiz Fusion is cool, but still waaaaaaay to geeky, who wants to remember x million keys strokes and the Control Panel doesn't even explain what the features are
  5. Installing desktop themes is a total usability disaster for the average user, Gnome Art manager feels very 1990's.
  6. Packaged Applications are great, anything which falls outside that is still way to painful
  7. Mirror Selection, I live in Australia and my ISP iiNet has a free mirror, except sometimes it's not up to date. There needs to be an option to select a favourite mirror with fallback to others when that one isn't up to date
These things aside, it's starting to show a lot of promise

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Best 'Out of Office' Automatic E-mail Replies

1. I am currently out of the office at a job interview and will reply
to you if I fail to get the position.

2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of
the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything
at all.

3. Sorry to have missed you, but I'm at the doctor's having my brain
and heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.

4. I will be unable to delete all the e-mails you send me until I
return from vacation. Please be patient, and your mail will be deleted
in the order it was received.

5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99
for the first 10 words and $1.99 for each additional word in your

6. The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection. Your
message has not been delivered. Please restart your computer and try
sending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see
who did this over and over and over...)

7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing
system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a
reply in approximately 19 weeks.

8. Hi, I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by
your PC for my response.

9. I've run away to join a different circus.

10. I will be out of the office for the next two weeks for medical
reasons. When I return, please refer to me as 'Lucille' instead of

Bad potential Mapguide FDO dataloss bug

I just posted a test case which demonstrates a rather bad poential dataloss bug with $featureService->UpdateFeatures.

FeatureService.UpdateFeatures doesn't log errors and reports them as successful

Basically, if an error occurs, the operation doesn't throw an error and just returns the error message in the result which needs to be manually inspected.

This is bad, none of the code examples do this and usually developers would expect an exception to be thrown. You do not know if your FDO Update was successful UNLESS you check the result as demonstrated in my test case.

Anyone using MapGuide should check this out and decide whether they need to update their code to add checking for such errors.

Personally I think update features should just throw an error and not 'silently' return the error.

The nasty aspect of this bug (besides not throwing) is that no error is logged to the error.log and the access.log reports the operation as being successful, when it has failed.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A few tweaks needed for Google Blog search

Google Blog Search is cool, there's only one thing which bothers me about the interface.

Being able to refine your search by time is cool, ie last hour, last 12 hours and so on, but, when you refine a search and get no hits, rather than redisplaying the refine criteria, you land on a Your search did not match any documents page.

This page could be really improved by including the refine parameter used in the message and secondly by including the refine parameters on the no results page.

Dead end pages are so 1990's ....

Julie Bishop [aka Darth Vader] goes the cat scratch

Just a quick one, but I think it should be shared wider, I saw this on the ABC news Last night.

Julie Bishop, Shadow Treasurer and Deputy Leader of the Binary Opposition really doesn't like Julia Guillard at all!

Showing a complete lack of maturity, she gestured a cat scratch in Federal Parliament.

more here - Turnbull seeks end to Bishop bashing

It's obviously going to be a long time till the Liberals get elected...