May 24

Travel stories from hell: Part 2, San Diego

Personal 450 Comments »

I had a lovely Sunday travelling. Man it is such a pleasure. :/

I was meant to fly from Boston to DC to San Diego.

Right off the bat this was not the case, as the flight from Boston to DC was delayed, and I wouldn’t be able to make my connecting flight.

I got onto a flight to Chicago, and was going to make a connection to L.A., and then get to San Diego.

Needless to say, the plan wasn’t perfect, as every single flight I was on was delayed. I spent more time sitting at an airport, and on a stationary plane… than I did in the air!

What really took the biscuit, was when the Customer Service people in L.A. managed to rebook us on a flight (since we missed that connection too) and somehow double booked us on two days. The boarding pass for my wife had the wrong day on it, although they DID let us get on the plane and take our seats (good security).

They then yanked us off before the flight left, and it was too late to get on another one.

Luckily there were rental cars, so I booked one of those… and waited patiently for the baggage people to work out where are bags are, and how they will get them to us. Eventually they agreed to mail them to the hotel, and I hope they come soon!

It was such a pleasure driving from L.A. to San Diego at 3a.m. which was crazy late for my body clock that was still on the east coast.

Oh well, as soon as my clothes come I can head out to Microsoft TechEd and see my first MS conference!

May 21


Personal No Comments »

We make decisions based on assumptions all the time. Some of the time this makes sense (e.g. survival skills). However, I have been talking to people from various walks of life, and issues that come up often come down to assumptions that are made.

As a white male, I am fortunate in may ways, in our current culture. Although even being a white male has its own baggage.

After thinking about the assumptions I make, it has been really interesting to try to capture those moments. Normally they are totally unconcious decisions and mini-thoughts. When you bring them into the concious brain you see how screwed up your thinking can be. It is an interesting little quest.

I apologise for the assumptions that I have made :)

May 20

Design Eye for the Usability Guy

Tech 55 Comments »

I found Design Eye for the Usability Guy hilarious! (thanks Sam!)

I hope they make a series out of this. In fact, wouldn’t it be cool to do the same thing, but in our world.

Enterprise Design Eye for the Coding Guy

We could get code from projects, and a group of experts could do a walk through and point out areas. We should try to setup a series of these on

We would have to think of the topics for the experts:

  • Code Style (anyone but Cameron and his weird brackets!)
  • Enterprise Scalability
  • Build System
  • Design Pattern use ;)
  • Right tool for the job

Any ideas?


May 20

Consilidating scripts with Groovy (Merging .sh/.pl/main()/etc to .groovy)

Groovy, Tech 2 Comments »

One small side effect of embedding groovy into a project is that I have noticed the cleanup of some scripts.

In the past I would often have:

  • This would have a main(…) to do something
  • These would munge a few things, and then call java … Foo …

Now we just have Foo.groovy. The script will itself do some munging, and will just call into the Java packages which have business logic.

So fresh and so clean.

Well, it is a small thing… but still a pleasure :)

May 20

Shrek 2: As good as the first

Personal 1 Comment »

I saw Shrek 2 yesterday evening. They managed to do a great job, and it was just as good as the first in my opinion.

It is different. You already know some of the characters. So you get right to it.

The CG is fantastic. There are some scenes in which it looks so real. They have done a great job there.

The new characters are fun, especially Antonio’s Puss in Boots character. Jennifer Saunders (From Ab Fab, and French and Saunders) was really good as the fairy godmother.

The fun comes from the small side gags, like having a “Sir Justin” poster, FarBucks, and the like. They somehow make a movie that is fun for kids, and that adults can get something out of.

I heard that they are already working on Shrek 3 and 4. Wow.

May 18

Adrian kissing Girls (using AspectJ and Spring)

Tech 6 Comments »

Adrian was so shy about creating his blog, yet he is coming out with great stuff! In his latest entry he gives us a simple (yet clean) example of using AspectJ with Spring.

This is the first of what I envisage will be several entries exploring how AspectJ and Spring can be used together. Today I’m just going to introduce a very simple example that I can build on in later posts, and that shows an aspect working seamlessly (if unsurprisingly) in a Spring application. The example takes its inspiration directly from Aslak’s pico container talk at TSS.

From a Spring perspective (the AspectJ pieces of this example could equally well be used with pico, nano, or HiveMind), the example hinges around a Girl kissing a Boy, and the question of how our Girl finds her prince charming.

Read Adrian Using AspectJ with Spring – part 1

May 17

Mathematical Proof that Girls are Evil :)

Personal 6 Comments »

I found this quite funny :)

Proof that girls are evil:

First we state that girls require time and money:

Girls = Time * Money

And as we know that “time is money”:

Time = Money


Girls = Money * Money = (Money)2

And because “money is the root of all evil”:

Money = sqrt(evil)


Girls = (sqrt(evil))2

Which leads to:

Girls = Evil

The only part that we haven’t solved is why guys don’t care and do it anyway… or maybe that problem is too obvious ;)

I saw this here

May 16

When is Groovy (or something like it) better than XML?

Groovy, Tech 1 Comment »

Mike has written his first bile (although a bit more tame than Hani): Groovy scripting madness – don’t get fooled!

There certainly seem to be a lot of blog entries on how XML is suddenly evil, and that we need to move to something else instead.

As with everything there are pro’s and con’s involved here.

I like Groovy when…

I really like moving away from XML as soon as I need some kind of logic. An obvious example is Ant, and the build.xml file. If you want to do a simple if() test you have to have a target which sets up properties, then have targets with the right depends=”" and if=”property”. What a hack.

I much prefer being able to have the power of a real agile language here. I can modularize my build system as much as I want (not just with <import> and co.)

I like XML when….

XML isn’t suddenly evil. It is often a good choice for a document format. We have lots of tools that can work on it, and if you keep your document fairly simple then you won’t be in tears just because it has angle brackets.

It *does* go crazy when you look at documents that use 10 namespaces, and especially when people try to write programming languages out of it!

So, in the Spring example, I agree with Mike. There isn’t enough of a difference for me to care. I don’t tear up at the sight of angle brackets, so why do something else. If the requirements change and I need to do some smart things with the xml I have the choice of:

a) Writing something that builds the xml file
b) Use something like Groovy where it kinda IS the xml file

May 15

Pageant + Tortoise

Tech 1 Comment »

I am a TortoiseCVS/SVN user… and I always thought it was annoying that I had hardcoded the “-i path/to/ssh/key.ppk” in the CVS preferences. I always wanted Tortoise to be able to save a key linked to a CVSROOT.

Anyway, I was shown pageant.exe from Putty. Tortoise will automatically look there for the key if you don’t have a -i in the extra parameters.

It is a little annoying that pageant doesn’t remember your keys, so you have to do something to work around this.

I created a shortcut in my Startup folder which points to:

pageant.exe /path/to/SSHKeys/first.ppk /path/to/SSHKeys/second.ppk …

Not perfect, but does the trick. Anything better out there?


May 15

Super Size Me

Personal No Comments »

After celebrating Emily’s last class at Harvard, we swaggered into the cinema in Harvard Square to see Super Size Me.

The movie is a documentary that is very much in the style of Michael Moore. Morgan Spurlock (mini-michael) wrote and directed this piece, which delves into the issue of diet in America.

Just like the Michael Moore movies, it uses humor to cut close to the vein. Morgan decides to go through an experiment on his body. He eats MacDonalds 3 times a day for a month. He puts on 20 pounds in a matter of days (he limits his exercise to that of “normal” americans). By the end, all of his vital numbers are crazy (cholestral etc).

The scariest part is when he delves into the kids of today, and how they are brainwashed. The majority of school lunches are painful to see. Really scary.

So, if you want to shock your system into not wanting a Big Mac (or even the salad or parfait) for a looooong time, then this will do the trick.