Author Archives: Justin

Mae’s OK!

Well, that was a really scary few days. On Monday, the lovely C was nearly 2 weeks overdue, and was scheduled to come into the Rotunda for induction the next morning; then contractions started on Monday afternoon. We were happy, as avoiding induction was good news for a natural birth, allowing the process to be […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Michael Woods saying “the Brits made us do it”

If you were listening to the Marian Finucane show on RTE Radio 1 last Saturday afternoon, you might have heard the mind-boggling stuff coming out of Michael Woods, the Fianna Fail former Education Minister with a “strong Catholic faith” who brokered the controversial backroom deal back in 2003 which allowed the Catholic Church and its […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

New EC2 Features

Amazon Cloudwatch: This is nifty. Monitor EC2 instances and load balancers; CPU, data transfer rates, disk usage, disk activity, HTTP/TCP request counts/latency, “healthy/unhealthy” instances (see below). This data is both exposed via web service APIs, but also usable as input for their new “Auto Scaling” elastic scaling feature. Ideal for someone to write a Nagios […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Pay-No-Attention-To-Our-Tiny-Logo Party

In the current run-up to the local elections here in Ireland, it’s pretty obvious that Fianna Fail, the ruling party who’ve screwed the economy with mismanagement and rampant cronyism, are in line for a massive drubbing. So much so, in fact, that their own candidates are attempting to hide their party affiliations. Check out this […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Spoon’s Rhubodka Recipe

Today on Twitter, the perennial rhubarb topic — ie. what to do with all this rhubarb — came up. Here’s a recipe I picked up from a man called spoon which may help: I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case…. Rhumember kids: 1 empty 2 litre bottle 4 or 5 sticks of pink rhubarb […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Angry GAA Examiner

hahaha. a lovely Google AI “doh” moment: Needless to say, “Angry GAA Fans” is not a recurring section on the Irish Examiner’s site…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Spirit of Ireland

Spirit of Ireland looks very nifty. It’s extremely simple — a group of Irish ‘entrepreneurs, engineers, academics, architects and legal and financial experts’ are calling for Ireland to achieve energy independence and become a net exporter of green energy within five years, by building a number of wind farms on our western seaboard, buffering the […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Irish Examiner innumeracy

Here’s a great example of numerical illiteracy spotted by my mate Tom: some classic reporting in the Irish Examiner today… “Department staff clocked up 20,000 sick days in the three years” is the headline. Closer examination of the article reveals there are 5,000 people in the department. Do the maths (which the paper doesn’t – […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

omgwtfbbq

life imitates art:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Reminder: Irish computing history talk next Monday

Don’t forget — next Monday, the Heritage Society of Engineers Ireland, in association with The Irish Computer Society, and the ICT and Electronic and Electrical Divisions of Engineers Ireland, will be hosting an evening lecture entitled “Reminiscences of Early days of Computing in Ireland”, by Gordon Clarke (M.A., CEng., F.B.C.S., C.I.T.P., F.I.C.S). Sounds like it’ll […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Linux per-process I/O performance: measuring the wrong thing

A while back, I linkblogged about “iotop”, a very useful top-like UNIX utility to show which processes are initiating the most I/O bandwidth. Teodor Milkov left a comment which is well worth noting, though: Definitely iotop is a step in the right direction.Unfortunately it’s still hard to tell who’s wasting most disk IO in too […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Big table desking

We have an extremely open-plan layout in work — no partitions, just long benches of keyboards and monitors. It looks a bit like this, but with less designer furniture and more Office Depot: Aman pointed out that this is a new trend in workplace design, which Workalicious calls “Big Table Desking”: I’m still not sure […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

YouBloom plug

Last week I got a very nice mail looking to plug a new music site: ‘I’m not sure if this would interest you at all but wanted to pass on the link to a new website called YouBloom. It’s a new social networking and e-commerce website set up with independent artists in mind – to […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

UPC.ie’s new Channel 4 frequency for MythTV

So, after spending an hour or two attempting to figure out where the hell UPC had moved Channel 4 to, I eventually found out that it was now being broadcast on 543 Mhz. I also found out that this wasn’t part of the standard list of A1 to A30 channels in the “pal-ireland” range. :( […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

“you are, in fact, in the message queue business”

Oh man, this Twitter Ruby-vs-Scala language spat is hilarious; talk about handbags at dawn. I loved this exchange in the comments to this post in particular: BJ Clark: I’m mostly surprised that a guy who wrote the book on Scala comes out and says that Scala is better than everything else and someone actually listened […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

URL shortening services: my experience

A good post from Joshua Schachter about URL shortening services. For what it’s worth, I ran into the unwanted-interstitial risk. At one stage, before I’d bothered registering jmason.org, sitescooper.taint.org or my other domains, I used a URL-shortening service to provide a memorable, short URL for an open-source application I wrote — http://zap.to/snarfnews/. At some point […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

“Report Says Deal”

Twitter has this “Trending Topics” sidebar now, which lists the following topics: Trending Topics TGIF National Cleavage G20 Easter #grammarsongs France #rp09 French Grand National Report Says Deal Now, I’m not going to go into the topic of National Cleavage right now. ‘Report Says Deal’ is intriguing because it makes no sense, until you click […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

OSSBarCamp this weekend

It’s two days until OSSBarCamp, a free open-source-focussed Bar Camp unconference at Kevin Street DIT, this Saturday. I’m looking forward to it — although unfortunately I missed the boat on giving a talk. (Unlike the traditional Bar Camp model, this is using a pre-booked talk system.) Particularly if you’re working with open source in Ireland, […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Talk: Early days of Computing in Ireland

On Monday April 20th, the Heritage Society of Engineers Ireland, in association with The Irish Computer Society, and the ICT and Electronic and Electrical Divisions of Engineers Ireland, will be hosting an evening lecture: ‘Reminiscences of Early days of Computing in Ireland’: In 1957 the Irish Sugar Company installed the first stored program computer in […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

4chan Memes, circa 1889

In the comments to this unremarkable story about 4chan’s Boxxy fad, I came across this gem from CSClark: I don’t know why I didn’t think to see if this sort of phenomenon was covered in Extraordinary Popular Delusions… Of course, it is. Walk where we will, we cannot help hearing from every side a phrase […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

“Fundamentally flawed”

Killer presentation — “RPC And Its Offspring: Convenient, Yet Fundamentally Flawed” from Steve Vinoski, who presented it at QCon London last week. It’s full of reminders of the mid-90’s, hacking away on CORBA technology — Steve was one of the key players at Iona while I was there. But never mind where we’ve been; let […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

A plug for Kiva.org

I just made a loan using Kiva.org to a weaver in Nepal and a group of Vietnamese broom makers. You can go to Kiva’s website and lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Google Reader productivity hack: change your Home

So, if you use Google Reader, read your news with the “All items” page, and are subscribed to hundreds of feeds, it can be pretty overwhelming. I’ve found a better way to deal with this. Select a ‘most important’ subset of feeds. For each of those, click through to the feed details page, hit the […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Beckett on error detection/retransmission

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett, via Alyssa Henry

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Ready for the blackout?

Reminder — Ireland’s Blackout Week starts tomorrow: Take part in Blackout Week To demonstrate your feelings about [IRMA’s censorship demands], you can make your avatar black on any websites you have a presence on. This is inspired by Creative Freedom New Zealand’s blackout campaign. From Black Thursday on the 5th of March, for one week, […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Using VC to track system config changes by mail

Here’s a great idea from a thread on the SpamAssassin users list, from Roger Marquis: Karsten Bräckelmann [questioning the utility of a mechanism to dump the entire contents of the SpamAssassin configuration database]: ‘postconf’ without the handy -n switch dumps about 500 lines. The equivalent dump for SA including the rules is about 6000 lines. […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Blackout Ireland – a response to IRMA’s censorship demands

As Adrian noted last week, IRMA are demanding that Eircom block the Pirate Bay — first on a list of websites they don’t like — on pain of being sued. On top of that, they intend for the other Irish ISPs to follow suit — here’s a key line from the letter they sent to […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Ubuntu to bundle Eucalyptus

Introducing Karmic Koala, Ubuntu 9.10: What if you want to build an EC2-style cloud of your own? Of all the trees in the wood, a Koala’s favourite leaf is Eucalyptus. The Eucalyptus project, from UCSB, enables you to create an EC2-style cloud in your own data center, on your own hardware. It’s no coincidence that […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Blimey, I won

Somehow or other, I seem to have won the 2009 Irish Blog Award for Best Technology Blog/Blogger! To be honest, for the last year I haven’t been spending as much time on the blog as before, due mainly to a rather compelling distraction, so I’m doubly grateful for winning. Unfortunately, I was out of the […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Blog Award Finalist

Blimey, I’m a finalist for one of this year’s Blog Awards: Best Technology Blog/Blogger – Sponsored by Bitbuzz contrast.ie/blog taint.org bytesurgery.com/blog mneylon.com/blog patphelan.net Unfortunately I’m going to be in LA this weekend, so I’ll need to give a written message to John, just in case the impossible happens ;)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Plenty of money for Dublin’s bikes

So it seems that JC Decaux have been complaining about the costs of running the Velib scheme in Paris: Since the scheme’s launch, nearly all the original bicycles have been replaced at a cost of 400 euros each. Of course, this won’t be a problem in Dublin. Going by Newstalk’s estimates of how much the […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Fixing the Gmail Tasks window bug

Hey Gmail users! If you’re using Tasks, there’s a slightly annoying bug in Gmail right now — you may see the “Use this link to open Tasks” tip window appear every time you access the inbox page. Several other people have reported it, and apparently the Google guys are ‘working to resolve it’ at the […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Continuous deployment

This is awesome, if a little insane. Continuous Deployment at IMVU: Doing the impossible fifty times a day: Continuous Deployment means running all your tests, all the time. That means tests must be reliable. We’ve made a science out of debugging and fixing intermittently failing tests. When I say reliable, I don’t mean “they can […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Config management as cookery

interesting to see Chef, a configuration management framework using cooking as a metaphor. Back in the early ’90s in Iona, I wrote a user/group synchronization tool called “greenpages” which used a cooking metaphor; “spice” (data) was added to “raw” (template) files to produce “cooked” output. Great minds, eh!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

IR book recommendation

Thanks to Pierce for pointing me at this review of an interesting-sounding book called Introduction to Information Retrieval. The book sounds quite useful, but I wanted to pick out a particularly noteworthy quote, on compression: One benefit of compression is immediately clear. We need less disk space. There are two more subtle benefits of compression. […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Good reasons to host inelastically on EC2

Recently, there’s been a bit of discussion online about whether or not it makes sense for companies to host server infrastructure at Amazon EC2, or on traditional colo infrastructure. Generally, these discussions have focussed on one main selling point of EC2: its elasticity, the ability to horizontally scale the number of server instances at a […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Ice Cycling

I seem to have invented a new extreme sport on the way into work: Ice Cycling. The roads were like an ice-skating rink. Scary stuff :( Here’s some advice for anyone in the same boat: use a high gear: avoid using low gear if possible, even when starting off. Low revs mean you’re more likely […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

UK’s proposed anti-filesharing quango

Wow. The IFPI’s strategy of “divide and conquer” by taking individual ISPs to court to force them to institute a 3 strikes policy, as successfully deployed against Eircom this week, is possibly marginally better than this insane obsolete-business-model handout proposed by the UK government in their Digital Britain report: Lord Carter of Barnes, the Communications […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Eircom forced to implement “3 strikes and you’re out” for filesharers

Eircom has been forced to implement “3 strikes and you’re out”, according to Adrian Weckler: If the music labels come to it with IP addresses that they have identified as illegal file-sharers, Eircom will, in its own words: “1) inform its broadband subscribers that the subscribers IP address has been detected infringing copyright and “2) […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Switched to Magnet

I’ve switched my home broadband from Eircom’s 3Mbps all-in-one package to Magnet’s 10Mbps LLU package. It’s about a tenner a month cheaper, and significantly faster of course. The modem arrived last Friday, about 2 weeks after ordering; that night, when I went to check my mail, I noticed that the DSL had gone down, and […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed