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...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A little broadband journey downunder with a ST585v6

As anyone who has suffered the sad joke that Australian Broadband situation will attest, it's sucks. Unlike most other 1st world countries, in Australia you buy a connection which has a certain allocation of bandwidth per month. Depending on your ISP they will count uploads and downloads which sucks even more, the better ISP's then cap your connection at something pathetic like 64k, rather than starting to gorge their customers by charging excessive amounts for anything over your quota.

Sounds like trying to achieve something in a corrupt third world country?

I have been using Optus Cable for a couple of years now, because I didn't want to pay the Telstra Tax ($30 AUD per month) for a phone connection which I would never use. Optus changed their plans recently to include uploads in your quota, which really sucks. You can stay on the old plans but they are limited to 20Gb, that's it.

The plans with the uploads included are still limited to 30Gb, no really much of an improvement in the end.

What's even worse with Optus, apart from waiting on hold for support (or sales which only does limited hours) is that there is absolutely no free content or mirrors, even their old sourceforge mirror wasn't free.

Now recently I hit my cap two thirds of the way through the month and I was stuck, I couldn't upgrade my plan or anything. So I got extremely pissed off and decided to bite the bullet and get iiNet Naked DSL.

For $10 less a month, I could get ADSL2, 30Gb peak and 30Gb off peak, heaps of free unmetered content and a free VOIP service with free national and local calls.

So far so good, except my old phone line was no longer connected and had to be reconnected for a $300 Telstra tax. Extortion, sure a technician came out to my place, but all they are doing is plugging some cables at the exchange. Grrr....

The kicker is, you can't tell how good the line is until it's connected so it's a gamble to see if your going to get a decent line speed.

So I gambled and when it got connected on Thursday, much do my annoyance, my modem was getting only 1.5Mb which ain't very fast at all.

Here's my results from the Facebook | Broadband Speed Challenge

Basically, Optus speed was all over the place, but I was getting 9Mbs last time I tried it with only about 25k upload speeds. Then in the middle, you can see the really low speed I was getting with iiNet ADSL to start with.

But then it gets better :)

The modem I am using is a Thompson Speedtouch ST585v6 which my dad got for free when he signed up for his AAPT broadband, he wasn't using it because I had already setup a D-LINK router for him.

This modem was running a really old firmware, so I googled around and found this version international being recommended on whirlpool in this thread about the ST585v6.

Reading this thread I saw that there was speed gains to be had, simply from upgrading the firmware!

A couple of hints when upgrading using the SpeedTouch upgrade wizard,

  1. Make sure your using a cabled connection not a wireless one.
  2. Change your connection config from being dynamic to be statically configured, otherwise I found the upgrade would fail while it tried to do DHCP each time the modem restarted during the upgrade.
The net result? As you can see in the graph I went up to a 4Mbs connection with the new firmware :) Whilst it's not fantastic, I am now happy with my iiNet Naked DSL.

My upstream went from 30k to 90k with this upgrade which is very useful.

iiNet also have a great feature with their phone support, if you wait more than 5 minutes you can leave your number and they will call you back when your place in the queue comes up.

Firmware upgrades are risky, so your doing it at your own risk!

Please don't ask tech support questions on my blog about doing this, use whirlpool, but if you have a success story, please share it :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Coldfusion Needs

it probably is just not public yet?

http://bugs.adobe.com/jira/secure/BrowseProject.jspa ?

Working with open source projects make me happy, because project databases make being a geek much easier.

Coldfusion needs one, badly, it will help evangelise the platform and make it more attractive to new developers. Not having a open project database is just so 1990's.

Even if they started from scratch and let the community fill it, it's pretty easy to setup a project in Jira.

Ralio has a Jira Project, even more reason to give it a go I reckon.

Wasting developers time by not having such a resource is almost shameful, IMHO.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Falling water pressure in Melbourne

Hot on the heals of the Liberals, Nationals and Greens, fiddling in the Senate with the water policy, it appears, that Melbourne is really having major serious problems.

Fiddling while Rome burns?

I live in the Democratic Republic of East Brunswick and last week I noticed during my morning showers that the water pressure had dropped off really drastically.

After the heavy rains last week, the pressure returned, but only briefly. Even with a water efficient shower head, the trickle could barely be called a shower.

Talking to friends in and outside the republic, they have also noticed the same problem.

All this in the week where the (Binary) Opposition, Greens move to stop North-South pipeline.

The thing is if you delve into the detail, the Victorian Government is spending $2 billion bucks to improve the efficiency of irrigation in the north of the state. This will return a lot more water to the Murray Darling basin than the 75 billion they want to siphon off.

Even the State Liberals understand this. Seeing Barnaby Joyce from the water logged state up north that is Queensland, ranting on the news last night really got my back up. I guess you have to be good at something...

So there's a big problem... it's not time for politics any more, we need real solutions or Melbourne might be screwed...

Then again, there might be another explanation for the drop in pressure. Lets hope...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Problems already with filtering trials

Just got a tweet from the KevinRuddPM on twitter...

Thanks for the ISP Filtering comments. We’re waiting for tech evidence from a live trial but we’ll have more info online soon. #KevinPM Team ... 12 minutes ago from web
Now I do respect Kevin from his evidence based approach, but I can't really see how this will generate useful results coz:
  1. If the blacklist ain't published and it doesn't tell you a site is blocked, but the site just doesn't appear, how do users know and report wrongly blocked sites?
  2. If users bypass the filter with a VPN, encryption, proxies or whatever, how will you know they are doing that?
  3. Ironically, during the trial, people are likely to attempt to get blocked just to see what happens which means just like the failed 2am lockout, the stats will be useless
  4. Google Search is the default gateway for Australians, by default moderate safe search is on already
Technology, bright kids and hackers will always move faster than the filtering technology, let alone policy and regulation.

The internet being a wonderfully inherently chaotic mess, it's rather hard to measure. Besides it's almost summer and internet usage does change when the sun's out :)

Stop wasting your time and valuable political capital on bad policy..

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recovering with Rudd, post the Cocaine years

So it's been a year since Howard and Costello got thrown out by an electorate tired of their style, ideology and policies.

As many commentators have highlighted, Paul Keating's quote "When you change the government, you change the country" turned out to be very, very true.

Australia, despite the Global Economic Crisis, is actually a lot more relaxed and comfortable. Kevin Rudd has a record 70% approval rating after a year and the only people appear to be really upset are the Liberal Party and the poor journalists who don't have a political scandals in sight!

The Liberals have completely lost the plot, the latest being the The Debt Merchant of Venice saying that a Deficit would be failure in economic management is quite hypocritical.

I was listening to the BBC World Service last night and they were talking about how in times of Crisis, parties tend to fall back to their political roots.

During the Cocaine Years, Australian's were lectured ad nauseum by Peter Costello about Beazley's black hole. Add to that their childishly simple mantra of interest rates always being lower under the Liberals, it leaves the impression that their decade of economic mastery was quite everything they promised.

Like most spin, it only lasts as long as the spinner itself. Unfortunately, the Legacy of Costello is now hanging over the Government which are facing a recession the right had to give us!

Howard and Costello's Cash Cropping of the economy for polical advantage left us with a big mess of crumbling infrastructure, failing monopolies like ABC Learning, duopolies dominating the supermarkets, debt debt and more debt, a mountain of complex laws, welfare churn and red tape all of which are holding back the Nation's productivity.

A year later on, Australian's reputation in the world is being restored. I remember being shocked in Berlin to see how the world perceived Australia, mainly with regards to Aboriginal Land Rights, Mabo and Wik.

I am still waiting for a response from the ABC archives over my request of a photo of John Howard, fuelling fear and racism with his map of Australia, 80% of which was covered in blue, allegedly at risk of Native Title claims. Maybe it will appear in tonight's edition of the Howard Years.

Some people have dismissed the Apology, signing of Kyoto, getting the kids out of detention as being purely symbolic. Symbolism is not something to be trivialised, it's something which forms the National Identity and makes us proud.

That is what changed in Australia under Kevin Rudd, interestingly (for change), we were ahead of the bell curve on the shift to the Left and now that Obama has also won, we enter a new positive era of change for the better.

The next few years are going to be tough, but I'm glad we have some real good leftie leaders at the helm.

Watching socialistic ideas becoming a central pillar of our capitalist society is an interesting and positive development.

As I read in readers page of the The Age a while back, we are no longer Chardonnay Socialists, but Sauvignon Blanc Socialists.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Mapguide Best Practices wiki

Over on the MapGuide-Internals list, Tom just posted about a new resource for people working with MapGuide.

Arnab Ganguly at Autodesk has created a MapGuide Best Practices Wiki at http://sandbox.mapguide.com/index.php/Main_Page

It has some good information about how to best configure MapGuide.

I have added it as a link to MapGuide Central, my one stop resource for everything MapGuide related

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gmail now has themes!

I quite like the new GMail themes, particularity Night Shade, as seen above.

It's a bit rattling to not have the classic gmail view I have burned into my retina after four odd years, but I really like the contrast and focus of the color scheme, my eye is drawn straight to the content, not the app!

Two great free defrag programs for Windows

There are two programs I have in my windows tool kit for defragging the mess which drives can becomes these days. grrr!

The first is Defraggler, which I love because it allows you to defragment individual files.

After loading a lot of spatial data into Oracle today, the oracle table space (CDM.DBF) has hit 10Gb and has 92 fragments, Defraggler lets me choose to defrag only that file.

It also provides a graphic map and preview, so you can exactly how the file has been spread out across you disk like roadkill.

Of course, it does depend on how fragmented your file and disk is, as well as how much free space you have, but at least you have some fine grained control.

JkDefrag Gui lets you tweak JkDefrag without using the command line.

Whilst not providing the fine grained per-file control of Defraggler, JkDefrag has a lot more options on how you defrag. Like moving all the files to the end of the disk as well as a defragmenting screensaver and a heap of other options.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

one of my favourite photo's

From Zac & Katja's Roadtrip 2004

shot on a very slow old automatic digital camera, challenging but possible

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick PNG Raster Compression Comparison

After reading this blog entry about using PNGNQ which I have also been using,I thought it would interesting to do a quick and dirty comparison

All images where created just using the default command line options,

i.e. util.exe filename.png

Imagery was sourced from http://www.unearthedoutdoors.net/global_data/true_marble/download

MapGuide PNG32 2.0.2  138.174 Kb NQ8 pngnq 0.5   56.055 Kb
NQ8+pngcrush 1.6.10   49.762 Kb NQ8+OptiPNG 0.6.1   49.420 Kb MapGuide PNG8 2.0.2   38.728 Kb

It turns out that MapGuide comes out on top in when configured for PNG8 :)

Now if only the GDAL FDO provider was stable...

The Dangers of Binary Opposition

I'm entertained, angry, annoyed and alas not that disappointed or surprised.

Being a media slut and loving the sound of your own voice is a dangerous addiction which the Liberals seem to have developed whilst they come to terms with life in the wilderness that is Opposition.

The recent personal attacks on Ken Henry and the constant dull puerile calls for explanation coming from the Binary Opposition is starting to form a worrying trend.

1. of or pertaining to a child or to childhood.
2. childishly foolish; immature or trivial: a puerile piece of writing.
Hearing Helen Coonan on Newsradio complaining that the Aussie government changed it's stance on Israel is really starting to get annoying. They are acting like spoilt brats...

Opposing Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and supporting the Geneva Conventions in the Palestinian territories, doesn't really need explaining. It's common sense! It's not the like current policy has achieved anything...

From do not adjust your mind

It must be hard to sit back and watch Social Democracy replacing Neo-liberalism as the new status quo in the western world, something like standing on the beach and feeling the waves wash the sand away from under your feet.

My real concern is that the current approach of the Liberals is undermining general confidence, even tho most of the population probably don't even understand what point they are arguing.

Consumer and Business Confidence is falling faster than the Liberal's 2 party preferred vote.

Rudd despite some REALLY dumb policy like the Net-Filtering rubbish is generally handling things quite well, even The Australian agrees!

There is no way the Liberals can realistically make gains from this behaviour. Given the benefit of recently being elected, Labour is going to remain on top for a while. I thought Truffles might understand this, as he was once a Merchant Banker, but alas no
So just what are the Liberals trying to achieve via their constant trash talking of the Government?
It better be good, because obvious side effect of damaging confidence in the Australian Economy is really not helping, anyone at all!

I feel better for getting this off my chest, phew....

JxLib AJAX Library released into the wild

Paul Spencer announced on the Fusion mailing lists today that JxLib has been released as a seperate project up on google code.

JxLib is another AJAX UI library based on Moo Tools which is used internally by Fusion.

I know there are a lot of AJAX UI libs out there, but check out the examples!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

GITA GIS Technology Workshops 11th, 13th Nov 2008

I will presenting at the Sydney (PDF) and Melbourne (PDF) legs of GITA's GIS Technology Workshops next week.

There are two workshops, Automated CAD & GIS integration for better asset data management and Open Source Geospatial: How Can Your Organisation Take Advantage?

The speaking lineup includes Andrew Bashfield, Steve De Rosayro, Omar Awny, Jody Garnett, Milton Loftberg & Cameron Shorter.

I am involved in the Open Source Geospatial workshop and will be presenting a Case Study: Open Source Deployment at Ballarat University and Explore Australia.

Explaining how Ennoble leveraged MapGuide Open Source and OpenLayers on these projects to deliver flexible, scaleable, low cost solutions, I'll also be talking about some of our experiences and benefits that come from using open source from a business perspective.

It's more like cooking dinner with a great selection of fresh produce rather than settling for a frozen dinner!

Autodesk organised a similar workshop up on the Gold Coast a few months ago and it was really interesting day. Milton Loftberg's practical demonstration of MapGuide, which included my favorite moment when one of the audience, an ESRI user was completely jaw-dropped at the speed which a new MapGuide map was opened and displayed.

Sorry I haven't blogged this earlier as I know it's late notice, but I hope to see you there.

I always enjoy meeting people who read my blog, so if you are coming along say hello!

Friday, November 07, 2008


It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals
throughout the company have been using foul language during the course
of normal conversation with their colleagues.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily
offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.

We do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to
accurately express your feelings when communicating with colleagues.

Therefore, a list of 13 New and Innovative 'TRY SAYING'
phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas
and information can continue in an effective manner.

1. Try Saying: I think you could do with more training
Instead Of: You don't have a f***ing clue, do you?

2. Try Saying: She's an aggressive go-getter .
Instead Of: She's a f***ing power-crazy b*tch

3. Try Saying: Perhaps I can work late
Instead Of: And when the f*** do you expect me to do this?

4. Try Saying: I'm certain that isn't feasible
Instead Of: F*** off a*se-hole

5. Try Saying: Really?
Instead Of: Well f*** me backwards with a telegraph pole

6. Try Saying: Perhaps you should check with...
Instead Of: Tell someone who gives a f***.

7. Try Saying: I wasn't involved in the project.
Instead Of: Not my f***ing problem.

8.Try Saying: That's interesting.
Instead Of: What the f***?

9. Try Saying: I'm not sure this can be implemented within the given timescale.
Instead Of: No f***ing chance mate.

10. Try Saying: It will be tight, but I'll try to schedule it in
Instead Of: Why the f*** didn't you tell me that yesterday?

11.Try Saying: He's not familiar with the issues
Instead Of: He's got his head up his f***ing a*se.

12. Try Saying: Excuse me, sir?
Instead Of: Oi, f*** face.

13. Try Saying:Of course, I was only going to be at home anyway
Instead Of: Yeah, who needs f***ing holidays anyway.

Thank You from Management and the letter F, it must be Friday

BTW I ran out of *'s, if anyone has any spare, please send them tru

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Groundswell Exhibition 7th Nov 2008

My mum is taking part in a group exhibition Dantes, the opening is next Friday 7th November.

Thats just one of the pieces my mum's has done recently, I'm quite a proud son :)

Come along to the opening, it's a stones throw from the CBD of Melbourne

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fusion 1.1 Released

I would recommend that anybody who is currently using fusion should try out this release.

Fusion Supports both Mapserver and MapGuide (that includes MapGuide Enterprise installations too)

MapGuide Studio also uses fusion so keep that in mind.

This release is much faster and resolves a lot of little niggling problems with Fusion, you should be seeing less errors in the mapguide server logs which the older versions of Fusion generated.

Here's the announcement, it contains all the info. There's a follow up thread on mapguide-users from jason with a few additional installation tips.

Friday, October 31, 2008

12 months later, Opposition has changed the Liberals

Just a quick note on Friday evening, whilst watching the SBS news, I heard Malcom Turnbull advise the Ruud government to "USE COMMON SENSE" with regards to the doctor with the disabled son which is doing the rounds in the Aussie Media at the moment.

As I heard on ABC News Radio, apparently the doctor got bad advice and should of applied under a different visa.

Anyway, what a difference 12 months in opposition makes...

The Howard Government had perhaps the worst record of any Australia Government when it came to immigration policy, children overboard and the Hannef debacle to mention just two..

So it did sound rather ironic to hear the Liberals calling for some common sense in regards to handling immigration, how refreshing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How bout Mandatory Renewable Energy for Business Climate Control

The biggest challenged faced by power companies in Australia is peak load capacity, which usually co-insides with really hot sunny days. As a result, we need to keep building base load capacity for such times. Times when solar power for example comes into it's own.

Climate Tax for Climate Changing in the Office? I like the Idea.

It's pretty simple, if a business runs heating or cooling, the need to subscribe to green power or they get taxed to the cost of green power + say 25% for all power they use to keep their office air-conditioned.

Sure the fine print needs to be worked out, but it solves the peak load problem in Australia, enlarges the renewable energy market and as a result reduces greenhouse emissions.

Side Effect: Old in-efficent air-conditioners get upgraded, creating jobs in itself !

Introducing MapGuide Central

I have created a quick site which I have called MapGuide Central. It has links to all the major resources I use and a google custom search engine which indexes the same resources.

MapGuide Central (url changed 3/sept/09)

I just found discovered Get Satisfaction whilst returning to Ubuntu (which has been great, blog post to come) and using songbird.

I think it might be really useful for MapGuide as a project for support. Thoughts?

Cool Jackson Pollock Fun with a mouse

I made this @ Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas, original design by Stamen, it's my own squiggle ;)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Outrage! Censorship Downunder

As the world becomes a little more socialist, the Australian Government is marching down the doomed path towards more internet censorship, just like the with the Henson debate, the tone has been less than stellar.

Your from the ALP and meant to be (centre) lefties for crying out loud!

Filtering out the fury: how government tried to gag web censor critics

Kevin Rudd, is a man who likes have reviews. They allow for a fuller picture to be developed prior to making a decision.

The verdict is in, Censorship on the internet doesn't work, the technology moves faster than policy and let's face it, kids these days are the tech support in the house.

Every effort the Federal Government has made in this area has been a bad joke, wasting millions of dollars just so the Government can be seen to be addressing the issue. It's just so Hollowmen, thanks for reinforcing the stereotype, Kevin.


Write an email to the idiot pushing this turkey Stephen Conroy and ask him to fix the Broadband instead, illegible prices on all them sex lines and ringtone ads and the Liberals demise. That's more than enough to do and just stop wasting time waving on bad policy.

Censorship is a tired old idea which is very shallow, people with bright minds should already understand this. Children wrapped up in cotton wool tend not to learn as much about the world as those who aren't. We look down on China for their Censoring, maybe we should listen to what we preach...

Online mirror of the MapGuide Web API doco

I have mirrored the MapGuide Web API documentation over on my public server. It's not currently available online but it is installed with the MapGuide Server.

There is a custom google search site I setup, it might take a few days to be indexed tho. I'll post it when this blog entry starts helps get the site indexed.

The Nabble MapGuide archives are also a great source of information about MapGuide.

The MapGuide Enterprise Whitepapers are also well worth reading, they are pretty much all applicable for MapGuide Opensource.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mapguide 2.0.2 can be pretty darn Reliable

I have been running a heavy tiling job on a dual quad core server for about a week without error, which is really a great milestone for MapGuide OS 2.0.2.

It's been good timing for this upcoming project I've been working on for a while. The mapset I'm working with at the moment is 9.6Gb and we've generated about 660k of tiles in the last week.

There was some issues with a rouge SHP file which kept making 2.0.2 crash, but after sorting that out, it has been really stable. I bounced the server this morning for another reason, but I hadn't had to restart (or kill) the service once (on windows, sigh) in over a week.

I did have the SDF & SHP providers excluded in this configuration from the connection pool.

In other Mapguide Related News

Mapguide OS 2.1 beta is going to drop soon

Helio has posted his MapGuide CMake patches, this should make building MapGuide one hell of a lot easier on linux!

Fusion is at 1.1 RC as well and hopefully makes it into 2.1..the speed at which the Sheboygan sample loads in 1.1 is enough to usher in a lot more users

I'm just hoping the Mapguide stability issues with GDAL are finally resolved in this build set ( 3.4 & 2.1), I am yet to see it really reliably working without crashing the server either MapGuide 1.2 or 2.0

What do you need to do?

If you use any of this software (MGE Users as well!), check the osgeo trac for any known bugs you have and make sure they are logged, add any useful insight into existing issues if you have some. then try and find some time to test those problem with the upcoming beta's

Remember, if you don't report your bugs, how do you expect them to get fixed?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PNG8 compression with custom palette - advice needed!

Jason Birch filed a bug a while ago for MapGuide about using custom palettes for PNG8. I am working on a large map of Australia at the moment and there are some issues with palette inconsistencies between tiles.

I did some quick xpath and was able to produce a list of colors, as used within all the layers of a mapDefinition. From that I was able to produce a JASC PAL file.

My planned approach for now will be produce map tiles in PNG-24 and then post process the tiles using a custom palette. This has the added bonus of being faster than making PNG-8 tiles.

I have been searching around for a free command line tool which will do batch PNG8 compression based off the generated palette file. There are heaps of PNG compression tools out there, but I am yet to find one which supports using a palette.

Some thing like pngsomething -recursive folder -palette generated-palette.pal

Can anyone suggest a free tool? Preferably one which runs on both Linux and Win32...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Free Australian weather feed from the Bom

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology publish their data feeds in rather ancient text format, but it works! Please note the copyright requirements.

There is a description of the file and the ftp info to be found over here Australia Weather Forecasts data feeds. It's not XML but CSV files..

It was pretty easy to read into Coldfusion, just put something between the empty delimiters so the Coldfusion, skip empty list elements behaviour doesn't bite.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A quick speed tip for my Mapguide Tiler

Depending on the speed of you map when your using my OpenLayers based MapGuide tiling tool, the browser might actually be the bottle neck.

I did a little experiment today, it involves using google chrome and adding
some css to the page to stop the browser rendering the tiles.

Simply add the following style definition to the tiler script

<style type="text/css"> img {display:none;} </style>
This speeds up things quite a lot, especially when you already have some of the cache already seeded.

It also helps to use multiple urls to avoid the browser limitations of http connections per host name.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Voting Green in the Senate pays off

I am proud to say I voted for the Greens in the Senate last election
and on reading this blog entry Greens Luxury Car Tax amendments already working! I feel even better!

A lot of people winged about this, but here's proof, regardless what might be seen as a "discriminatory tax", it's actually working....

There's a lot of hot air from the totally discredited right wing about this sort of stuff. Good regulation can produce great outcomes.

As for Truffles claim he forced the banks to pass on 80% of the rate cut, let's not forget he was a Merchant Banker before he got into Parliament, now ain't that a profession which is held in high regard today.

Can anyone image where we would be today, if Howard n Costello had got back in and had put all their excessive spending plans & pork barreling in play... The Aussie dollar would be back below 50 cents and we'd be even more up shit creek with a paddle than we already are..

He would do well to watch the 7.30 report and Alan Kohler's smart analysis of the Rate cut and how most likely Rudd and Swan negotiated an outcome where the banks didn't raise rates out of cycle which would of totally spooked the market....

As usual, the right screws things up and it's left to the left to fixes the mess.

Steven Keen was also quite brilliant on the 7:30 report last night, probably should of been on Lateline though with an R rating. I think a lot of people who are mortgaged to the hilt would of been shit scared watching his calm and rational explanation...

It must be quite a shock for Gen-Y who grew up during a boom binge on fake money, it will be interesting to see which direction university enrollments go next year..

Improving Mapguide Builds with CMake

There's a very interesting thread going on over at Mapguide-internals about adopting Helio's work with using CMake to make the linux build process a lot more streamlined.

It was originally suggested for FDO FDO RFC 21 - New Linux Buildsystem Cmake Based and resurfaced in this discussion MapGuide open source builds as Trevor has some spare hardware in his basement as he is looking at producing nightly builds. I split it out into an another thread for clarity MapGuide open source builds - Linux & Cmake

Helio already has it all working and it addresses the complexity of the current build process, which is quite scary for most people. It also supports producing linux packages (rpm etc), resolves a lot of grey areas with regards to the dependencies and allows for building MapGuide without most of the bundled thirdparty software which is currently in the tree.

The third party stuff in the MapGuide source tree is generally speaking out of date, which means it's not 64-bit compliant and also blows out the rerquired compile times.

What do people think? In think this could be a major win for the MapGuide project...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pagination can be so 1990's

Coldfusion Bloggers is a real cool site aggregator, but I have to confess, even since Ray switched over to jQuery from the heavy native CF stuff, the pagination is really annoying.

Why do we need to page 10 records at a time? why not 50 or 100?

There was a time when computers where bloody slow and pagination helped reduce system load, but it's 2008 and as Google proved, things have improved and we can do things differently.

Personally I like the planet style blog aggregators, but I prefer the CFBloggers style as I get some nice stats on whether or not people are reading my blog. Currently, the readership for my blog bobs between 100-500 hits a day.

It's a great feeling when I go to a conference or even quite randomly meet people and I get some nice feedback that they read my blog....

So Ray, what do ya think about bumping up the pagination size?

Update: Ray has tweaked cfbloggers, the following url will set an cookie which sets it up for 100 rows per page, tho 50 is probably enough

"Americans" - the documentary

Some friends from Melbourne are traveling around America at the moment making an independent documentary, "Americans" - the documentary, blogging along the way.

Tim just posted on Facebook that they are looking for interesting people to interview, so if your in the US of A, drop them a line over on their blog and see what happens.

Personally, I would love to be in the States at the moment, as readers of my blog would be aware, I'm a typical foreigner and oh so pro Obama!

Watching the GOP spin itself into a horrible mess is making the rest of the world very happy!

My birthday is the day before the election and there's only want one thing for my Birthday...

My mate Ben who's a Union bloke from Melbourne is over campaigning for the election at the moment and I have to say I'm quite jealous. This election will/has/must affect the the entire world...

I did a round the world trip last year and spent some time in NY, LA and at Burning Man. One of the strongest, lasting and refreshing memories of the entire trip was the sheer number of Americans who were deeply concerned and interested in how I perceived them as a foreigner.

jQuery IE7 load url problem

I blogged a few days ago about what I thought was a solution for an issue I
am having with jQuery and IE7. Alas the fix didn't work and I deleted the misleading post.

Ironically, the removed post has generated a lot of hits which end up 404-ed, so I thought I'd put this back up and see if someone can help.

For some strange reason, some urls just seem to not work in IE7 with jQuery Load().

IE7 doesn't even fire a request off to the server, which I monitored with Fiddler2. It's rather wierd, coz all the pages work fine in Firefox (no suprise there) and other links which re-use the same code on the same page also work fine in IE7.

Using trustly old Javascript Alerts I confirmed that the code was being run.

I am using the excellent CFJQAJAX jQuery ajax tags for Coldfusion which are nice and lightweight when compared to the rather heavy bundled CFAJAX tags. I highly recommend trying them out.

With Nokia and Microsoft getting on board, it's starting to look like jQuery is becoming the defacto standard ajax library.

IE7 does feel rather prehistoric these days... Anyway, anyone got any ideas on how to solve this?

Update: fixed the case of jQuery in this entry, also this works on some IE7 machines and not on others, same build too!

Update2: Thanks to Dan I fixed it, Damn stupid IE caching, that's so 1990's... why can't they just make their browser faster and not just dumber....to think people use that pile of rubbish for business

265 entries later, time to explain my blog's name

Before I got into working in IT, I was involved in the theatre. I was lucky enough to go to a school, St Michael's Grammar School, which had a really strong theatre program and we did two big shows a year, one at the National Theatre in St Kilda and one (or two) at the Malthouse

In Grade 6 the school did a musical where I ended up as crew, coz I didn't really want to sing in a musical and couldn't either! I pursued this throughout high school and ended up doing a year at WAAPA studying Production in the Lighting stream.

I loved doing theatre, I worked as a Production Manager and Lighting Designer, learning skills which to this day, I find really useful in the world of IT.

As a Production Manager, you have to be a jack of all trades and be able to converse with people with a diverse range of skills .

With lighting, you work with a complex network of cables, bulbs, gels, scaffolding and are challenged to make it all the technology work seamlessly to achieve something artistic.

In both fields, when you do your job properly, most people don't even know you exist. Unlike some other professions, in both fields, the real job satisfaction comes from doing your well enough that people don't notice it.

So back to the name of my blog. Often backstage in theatres, people write things in chalk on the walls. There was one I read at the National Theatre that has always stuck in my mind:

Do not adjust your mind, It's reality which is out of focus.
I have no idea if it's an original quote or just a great idea someone had backstage, but I love the quote and thus I adopted it, (at least the first half) for the name of my blog.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Mapguide Performance Tips

Here's a quick list of things which will really help you make MapGuide reach
it's full performance potential.

  1. Avoid RDBM's for static data, SDF is dramatically faster and lower system load
  2. Always use tiled maps, tiled maps are cached, which means scalable
  3. Always use Managed Resources, that is SDF's uploaded into the repository
  4. Enable SDF connection pooling in serverconfig.ini (requires changing DataConnectionPoolExcludedProviders)
  5. Increase the cache size to 3-4 times your layer count per map (CacheSize)
  6. Never filter, use theming or pre-cook you data as SDF only is spatially indexed
  7. Use the latest Mapguide 2.0.2 it's by far the best release yet
  8. Pre cook your tiled maps using my Mapguide Tile Seeder
  9. Consider using Openlayers as your client interface, legends are a bottleneck
  10. Use Linux, MapGuide really sings on Linux, on Windows it doesn't
And lastly, buy a license for MapGuide Enterprise and support the ongoing development of the project, be smart about it and go thru an Autodesk partner who actively takes part in the MapGuide community and contributes to the project.

Personally, I recommend sticking with MapGuide Open Source, even after I buy a license, as the release cycle is faster than the fully tested Enterprise release. But remember, you also get a really cool stable Raster provider with Mapguide Enterprise which you can also use with MapGuide Open Source.

I work for a company called Ennoble Consultancy, we are an Autodesk Partner and are here to help, so if even if you feel like sticking with MapGuide Open Source, but you'd also like to support the project, give us a call or email us and lets see what we can do!

I really love my Job, I'm a Solution Architect who codes and also is client facing. That's the really cool thing about working at Ennoble, we are a team of young people who have a passion for making things work.

Technology has changed a lot these days, a lot of Companies are still using organisational structures and roles which date back to the old pure C++ and C era's. Times have changed...

The old approach IMHO just ain't up to the task of being responsive to business needs anymore...

At Ennoble we like to collaborate and be responsive with our clients. It makes work fun, let's face it, we spend most of our time working in our lives...why not make it enjoyable?

In the next few months I will be blogging about some rather nifty projects we have been working on...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sarah Palin's Facebook Page

this one is going around the web at the moment, pure genius!

n95 Firmware Version 30.0.015

I flashed my N95 which is getting a little battered (and held together with gaffa tape) a few days ago. The latest firmware is listed on the Nokia N95 Firmware versions thread over at the all about symbian forum.

Amongst other things, it has the new version of Nokia Maps 2.0 (PDF), which is being advertised for some of the newer Nokia phones. Having a search box directly on the screen is a big improvement.

It seems quite stable and I haven't noticed any problems with it yet, so I will recommend anyone with a n95 to upgrade to the latest version.

As for the new Nokia share online stuff, I'm not really that fussed about it..

My Mum reckons Paul Keating is a Statesman

Check out the interview from lateline last night, RESPECT!

If McCain reckons he's a straight talker, he needs to study this man

Maya Festival 2008

Must be summer again, the Maya Festival rocked it last year, so I'm really looking forward this one.

It's at Ceres which is just round the corner from me, Northside! in Melbourne, Australia. Public transport is really easy, just take the 96 tram from Bourke street and it takes you with 500m of Ceres, which you can see on the map below

View Larger Map

Brilliant Politicial Stuff

Newstopia, it's Australian, but lets face it it all
about the US at the moment

Brilliant, check it out

The Qantas spoof ad is especially worthy

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

When will Adobe open up the CF bug database?

Back at CF_CAMP last year in Melbourne (which was great BTW),
there was some positive talk about opening up the CF bug database,
which is in JIRA I seem to recall.

Having an open bug database is a major advantage for any programming
language, it saves a lot of development time and should be always a
factor to be considered when choosing software.

Now that we have at least five implementations of CFML engines out
there, this becomes more and more important to maintain consistency.

Anyone heard anything more about this?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Re-introducing Australian's Sarah Palin

I have to admit I am absolutely fascinated by the the US Elections. Sarah "Expalination" Palin reminds me of Pauline Hanson.

This clip is a song by Pauline Pantsdown, once again, it's made up of quotes from a right wing politican. To this day I think it's still banned in Queensland..

John Howard, famously once called the Deputy Sheriff by George Bush, pandered
to her views and took Australia in the wrong direction.

While this is all very amusing, it's also extremely scary stuff.

Fortunately for Australia, these days Pauline Hanson seems to only run to make money for the votes she gets and since Kevv-e got in, Australia is becoming a better place.

Recent themes in Australia have been some real action on climate change, the wonderful moving apology at the opening of parliament ( why didn't Midnight Oil sing tho ), a solid commitment to introduce paid maternity leave and down in my home state Victoria a move to Legalise Abortion.

Of course the Catholics and getting their choir boys in a knot over the fact they run a 1/3rd of the state's hospitals and that they won't offer abortions and are threatening to pull out all together.

A couple of points here:

1. A Catholic hospital would be the last place any woman would go to get an abortion.

2. Some doctors object to being forced to offer a referral if they have moral problem with abortion and then are threating to quit the profession.

It's not about the doctor, it's about the patient! Go watch some Boston Legal

3. I don't understand why they (the religious right) don't let this one through. When something is technically illegal, but is permitted, you can't have any control over it.

Legalise it and suddenly you can tinker with the law..

i guess that's a bit too complex an idea for the religious right...

So that's the kind of stuff America can look forward to when Obama wins...

But Obama should keep Sarah Palin at the front line of America's foreign policy, watching the Russian coastline...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sarah Palin in depth interview on SNL

The really scary thing about this is, nearly the entire script comes from Palin quotes

Kevv-E Meets Wall-E

I saw this on SBS news tonight, easily the best Kevin Rudd spoof yet, IMHO

UPDATE: some people seem to be searching for kew-e for this, i guess vv and w look pretty similiar

Friday, September 26, 2008

Costello finally shows he knows something about leadership

Peter Costello showed some real political nouse this week when he backed Kevin Rudd's view of the economy over Malcolm Turnbull.

I was quite suprised by this refreshing change, casting my mind back to before the Election last year, I remember Kevin Rudd establishing himself as a credible alternative by actually agreeing with the Government. (shock horror!)

so far has been exhibiting some pretty lame binary opposition tactics, calling the government incompetent at every turn doesn't really get you very far, in fact it's counter productive, people just stop listening.

Kevin Rudd quite rightly called for a more co-operative approach from the opposition after the leadership spill. Alas, so far it's just more of the same.

Julie Darth Vader Bishop so far has been a total disaster. I know it's hard for the Liberals to fathom, but after failing to acknowledge plagiarising the Wall Street Journal, she then proceeded to make perhaps the dumbest attack in recently parliamentary history.

Attacking Wayne Swan for making a speech which contains the same material as the assistant treasurer is absolutely moronic.

A quick lesson for Darth Vader, usually political parties have what's called "the party line" and they tend to usually stay on message and deliver what's called "policy".

I know that might be hard for her to comprehend, but that's the way it is...

Sometimes as others have said, it's better to fall on your sword gracefully. Just because Joe Hockey thinks it's a good idea doesn't mean much these days

Anthony Albanese is really starting to be a top performer these days, he is full of great lines such as

When (Ms Bishop) became the shadow treasurer she didn't ask for extra staff she asked for an extra photocopier in her office,
that's almost Keatinesque

A mandate isn't a gay thing

Just a quick note to both Truffles (or is it the Merchant of Venice) and the unrepresentative swill that is family first...

The Rudd government has a Mandate, they went to the election and won, therefore they should respect that. I know it's confusing these days, having grown up with non-core election promises and other such rubbish leftover from the Howard years.

Maybe Mr Fielding thought after hearing the word Man-date that it was something homosexual...

Negative Gearing needs to be addressed

In the midst of the American financial crisis, Australia seems to be doing ok, touch wood.

Finally addressing issues of executive pay and golden parachutes is good to see and should of happened a long time ago.

One of the untouchable policies over the last few decades is Negative Gearing.

Deduction of negative gearing losses on property against income from other sources for the purpose of reducing income tax is illegal in the vast majority of countries, the exceptions being Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. - Wikipedia
Negative gearing sucks IMHO but a lot of people are deeply committed financially to this. It's middle class welfare and market distorting...

I want to see it gradually rolled back, it shouldn't be so hard. Housing should not be the investment industry it is today, make your money investing and creating jobs.

How do we address this? It's pretty simple. People should only be allowed to negatively gear one property. But we can't just change this over night.

I propose to kick this of by capping it, starting next financial year at 5 properties, reducing by one each financial year, ending up at only one negatively geared property per person in 6 years time.

What do people think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

F9 Group Inc spins the truth

Mission accomplished, the offending unattributed content has been taken down, complete with all other CF blogs. they cite the fact that the RSS feeds don't provide enough information to attribute the blog articles back to the author... ahem, bullshit!

Reading on they are going to steal unattributed content from .NET and PHP blogs instead (same RSS problem right?), super guys, thanks for reinforcing my great impression of marketing people....

It was also suggested that I should remove my public RSS feed if I had a problem with them syndicating my content!

As marketers they should also understand language.

Calling a site a blog as in http://blog.f9group.com implies that it is their own content, http://blogs.f9group.com also implies it's their content.
www.cfbloggers.org on the other hand, clearly implies it's an aggregator.

they claimed to always link back to the site, but as the cache shows this wasn't true.

Note the blog title is not a link as can be seen by the cursor and I don't see my name on that page, which they admit in the Coldfusion removed entry, despite the legal notice claiming that they do?

"does not provide the article in its entirety and displays both the author of the article and the Uniform Resource Locator back to the original article from which it was obtained."

UPDATE: 25/09/08 The legal note has been changed but listed under the same entry and date, so for completeness of the record, I present the cached version which looks like this:

The other issue I had was that this page was presented as being indexable by google.

This marketing company seems to really have a good handle on public relations....

Google Reader Australia SSL problem

The recent change with Gmail which allows you to force SSL only access
is great, but there's just one problem down under which is worse due
to the brain dead way Firefox 3 handles invalid SSL certificates.

For the non geeks, SSL keeps things secure and private, if your using Gmail your should enable SSL only access, now! If your webmail provider doesn't, you should request that they implement support for this immediately, otherwise, your email is just not secure!

Using the reader link from SSL Gmail in Australia, https://www.google.com.au/reader/view/?tab=my results in

Meanwhile, whilst Firefox needs to improve the way this error is handled, Google just needs to tweak their web server config, I am sure they can afford a SSL cert for www.google.com.au !

Update: Looks like this is a problem with google worldwide

Mapguide 2.0.2 - the viagra edition

MapGuide 2.0.2 was posted this morning, this is THE MUST USE build of MapGuide.


I did some testing with the first test build of 2.0.2 using our KL dataset. The result? I successfully seeded the entire map on XP using managed SDF's without the server falling over or producing a single error :) 30k tiles

The memory usage hovered around 60-63 mb, whereas with 2.0.1 it would
blow out to 600mb+ before crashing..

I did make two tweaks to the standard serverconfig.ini before testing

CacheSize = 1000 (was 100)
#DataConnectionPoolExcludedProviders= OSGeo.SDF,OSGeo.SHP

This is really great news, as prior to this release I was having a lot of trouble with MapGuide server stability. I haven't tried the final build just yet, but it includes a newer version of FDO than the build I tested, which might even resolve the issues with the GDAL provider crashing :)

More unethical syndication of my blog

It's happened again, another company is abusing the works of CF bloggers for their own benefit.

They call themselves "Internet Marketing Experts" but others would call them freeloaders or unethical cheapskates. There is nothing wrong with traditional aggregator sites, such as cfbloggers or the planet style sites like planet osgeo

Whilst googling up on the use of Malcom Turnbull's new nick name Truffles , I found this link when I searched for truffles emo, the first link was mine and the second was this unattributed rip off

This is blatant content stealing, not properly attributed and should not be indexable by search engines. They have a lot of CF bloggers on there as well.

There is no excuse for this. Period, no discussion. If your smart enough to program a website, you should be smart enough to realize that this is wrong, really wrong.

I know people are hard pushed for idea's, but writing yet another blog aggregation site and then SEO-ing it to compete with the original authors site's is really scraping the barrel, dumb... Even McCain could understand that!

I am going to fire off a stern email to sales@f9group.com

Monday, September 22, 2008

Truffles replaces Emo Man

Over at crikey, I noticed they have started to call Malcom Turnbull Truffles which I think is worth around of applause. here here!

The announcement of the new Shadow Ministry is showing the lack of depth in the Liberal ranks at the moment. Julie Bishop as treasurer is a poor choice, she is such a dull and boring communicator at the best of times, making her talk about economics surely contravenes several of our human right's treaty obligations.

Helen Coonan, previously Minister for Communications makes for an interesting choice for Foreign Affairs, I will need time to develop an opinion on this one...

Poor old Tony Abbot, Religious Saviour of the Australia Parliament who is still the most fun character and my favorite interviewee on Lateline, missed out...

Meanwhile Kevin was on Rove, the moose comment is brilliant...

As Andrew Bartlett said, they should Give Petro a go!

I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy as well after the return of The Australian's liberal party cheers squad. As many have pointed out, statistical error is not momentum :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fighting page zoom with tiled maps

I like the automatic page zoom with Firefox 3, it rocks, for text. It kinda sucks with images as they get stretched and it looks rubbish and blurred. This is a problem with tiled maps, as they just shouldn't be scaled like that.

There are a few workarounds out there but none seem great. I would like to be able to disable page zoom, or even better would be detecting the page zoom and then maybe decreasing the tile grid size so that when the tiles are zoomed to match the screen resolution, they actually end up at the same resolution.

Can anyone shine some light on this issue?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New FusionHDTV release 3.68.04

I'm just downloading it now......

Lets see if it crashes less often.....

the release notes do mention other minor bugs, cough! :)

Bitten by Patch Tuesday

Well, thanks to the team at Microsoft, my laptop is screwed and needs a re-install....

It stopped booting properly after the recent batch of Microsoft Patches, grrrr

What i find really annoying is that system restore didn't work as this morning,
after a system restore yesterday, I find M$ has reinstalled the patches, despite
automatic updates being turned off......

Basically it hangs on the "Windows is starting" screen, safe mode still works

Please enjoy the lack of swearing, it took some self control...

Update: Coldfusion wouldn't start either and after the system restore, gdiplus.dll has been renamed.... more here

Monday, September 08, 2008

CFTREE Variable DEBUGGER is undefined. help!

I get this error working Coldfusion ajax tag CFTREE, i have googled around and looked thru the CF docs but I couldn't find the answer... anyone?

Does anyone have a working example of the error handler?

update:1 this url parameter causes it... "_cf_nodebug=true"

I also had cfdebug set as a url parameter on the calling page

update 2: I was looking at CFTREE and not the tag I was binding with which is
cftreeitem that has a onBindError parameter.

I can now nicely display "500 Variable DEBUGGER is undefined"...

The sheer irony of google chrome

Calling your speedy browser chrome is ironic, as most people seem to think the UI sucks

I'm waiting for Chrome-Tab ( like IE-tab ) for Firefox.

I like their browser engine, but lets face it, the overall experience is a
bit like couch surfing compared to staying in a 5 star hotel...

Google started Chrome because they could make drastic changes, more so that they could within the Firefox community... sometimes the community knows better!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Location bar addon for Firefox

If you want to make this

look more like this

or even this

then try out Location Bar addon for Firefox 3 with these settings

Double Dissolution Election Down Under?

With Peter "smirk" Costello releasing a book next week, some old wounds are going to be reopened and the world famous "Emo Man" Brendan Nelson is already in total free fall... and then this weeks events in the Upper House just raised the temperature a notch or two..

Once again Australia has a new Senator Fielding, who acting in a rather undemocratic fashion. He blocked the government's attempt to raise the tax on Luxury cars, citing farmers and tourism operators as being unintentional victims.

Bob Brown, leader of The Greens criticised his lack of flexibility in negotiating with the government.

On Lateline the same night, Fielding acted like a rich, little snobby private school boy, showing little political nous.

Every child in Australia deserves the right to be picked up from school in a luxury 4WD which only attacts a 25% sales tax
Source: Family First internal mission statement

Due to quirks in our electoral system a man who received 80,100 votes can hold the government to ransom. Sure it's his right, but after watching the guy on lateline, I don't like him. He's even almost making Brian Harradine look ok, almost....

So the government can submit the bill again next week and if it's knocked back, suddenly we are starting to get into the realms of a Double Dissolution election.

There's no point trying to fix the mess left by Howard et Al, if your going to be dealing with prats like Senator Fielding all the time. If he keeps acting like a spoilt child, just call an election Mr Rudd, go on, do it.

It would be a nice finger gesture to Costello, that way we can have seen both Howard and Costello personally loose elections on behalf of the Liberal Party.

The Coalition have been pretty petty, over the last few months, the journalists are starting to get a bit short with some of the their "antics". At the moment the Opposition can get away with blue murder, policy wise, as even Nelson admitted recently.

They aren't the government and their populist policy of the week are not being taken seriously or critiqued. Looks like a turd, smells like a turd, I'd rather not taste it personally, thank all the same.

Force a Double Dissolution election Kevin, it's would be the ultimate public dakking of the Liberals in front of the entire country!

They deserve it, plus a lot of people would just so love to see that horrible Smirk properly wiped off Costello's face...again!

Plus there will be fall out from the US elections for sure... I reckon G W Bush is feeling a little lonely at the moment in the big old white house, after McCain's abandonment of his administration's record...

who's missing their deputy sheriff now? ... now there's a good baby :) suushhh

Friday, September 05, 2008

Efficiently using Oracle sequences which have increment set greater than 1

Some application's create sequences which auto increment by say 200, Map 3d does this for example with the ENTITYID sequence. It means Map 3d reads the sequence once and then waits until it has used 199 values before grabbing another sequence.

This can be inefficient if you loading data via a INSERT into SELECT approach, each row will up the sequence by 200, not really what your after.

Oracle's PL/SQL functions to the rescue

MAXVALUE 999999999999999999999999999

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION getseq( rn integer, incred integer )
RETURN number IS
calc_seq number;
IF mod(rn, incred) = 0 OR rn = 1 THEN
select seq.nextval into calc_seq from dual;
RETURN calc_seq ;
select seq.currval into calc_seq from dual;
RETURN calc_seq + mod(rn, incred);

-- populate currval for the session so the next query doesn't error

SELECT SEQ.nextval from dual;

-- handy way to get 30 rows from dual, using 10 rather than 200 to keep it simple

SELECT rownum, zac.getseq(rownum,10) seq, mod(rownum,10) mod_result, seq.currval
FROM dual connect by rownum < 31;

---------- ---------- ---------- -------
1 201 1 200
2 203 2 200
3 204 3 200
4 205 4 200
5 206 5 200
6 207 6 200
7 208 7 200
8 209 8 200
9 210 9 200
10 401 0 400
11 402 1 400
12 403 2 400
13 404 3 400
14 405 4 400
15 406 5 400
16 407 6 400
17 408 7 400
18 409 8 400
19 410 9 400
20 601 0 600
21 602 1 600
22 603 2 600
23 604 3 600
24 605 4 600
25 606 5 600
26 607 6 600
27 608 7 600
28 609 8 600
29 610 9 600
30 801 0 800
30 rows selected

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chroming with Google's Chrome, my impressions

After chroming around with Google''s new Chrome browser for a few hours and I gotta admit, my head is spinning a bit...
  1. It looks too much like Vista on XP, wrong..
  2. It's fast, super fast, but Firefox 3 still ain't too shabby, 
  3. Tab's on top annoy me, scanning over my address bar and bookmark icons each time, and it means to much mouse movement compared to them FF3 style.
  4. As an IE user it would be more exciting, but I am now used to FF3
  5. The new tab start page is very cool..
  6. A problem for developers might be that some things run differently speed wise and might fall over as a result, just like with QBASIC back in the dos days.
  7. Microsoft must be really, really worried to be thinking anti-trust
  8. What will the corporates think IE6 is getting crufty....
  9. Remember, this is only the first beta
Honest have I spent a lot of time with FF and I like the 'weight' of it's browser chrome. I know where the page ends and the browser starts. IE7 & IE8 look distinctly like they couldn't decide what to do with the browser asthetically.  Safari feels wrong to me, it's too light.

Consider holding a piece of 70gsm paper in your hand to read, and then taking some 180gsm paper, what feels nicer? for my tastes i like the solid feel.

I'm still waiting for someone to revolutionise the UI for these wide screens displays, asthetically I prefer full screen windows, it's less noisy.  There is usually whitespace either side of a page, but even the changes with Chrome, it fails to use that space and instead persists with gobbling up valuble vertical space.

even thinking about the word Sidebar give me shivers..