Saturday, March 12, 2005


Today started out fairly normally , until I flooded the kitchen that was. Water was everywhere. Including through my cutlery and cupboards. So everything has had to be rewashed, and the cupboards washed out with bleach, and so-forth. The draws are still wet, I'm hoping they will be dry enough to restock before bed. I really don't want to leave everything out while I'm at the conference. I was planning on listing this blog in the various blog directories around the net today. I guess that will just have to wait. I did register with Globe of Blogs and Blogwise. There wasn't any special reason for picking them to be first, that's just how it happened. Still have to pack, but my heart really isn't in it. Sure I'll get it done before bed, but <shrug> Might write later if I get a chance. Otherwise I'm not sure when I'll next have an opportunity.

Friday, March 11, 2005



It's been a long day at work, so there's not much extra-mural stuff to report. I feel pretty tired & reading this before posting I can see I'm not my normal chatty self. Today was Campbell's last day. He kept busy finishing off open issues until the end of the day. It was a sad occasion for him, but he kept sounding positive. We had a few drinks to say goodbye to him. And so it goes. My day was kept busy with administration, getting ready for the conference (making sure I have everything I need), and a meeting to discuss the development projects plan for the rest of the year. Doesn't sound like much, but I'm getting worn out by it. I'll be so glad when it's over and I can do some programming. Sean's doing a sheet that will take 3 or 4 days of solid coding. I'd love to be doing that one. If I wasn't so pre-occupied with the conference I'd probably still have given it to him, but it would have been so nice to have had the option.

For the first time in 7 years

In 1998 I got glandular fever. Before I realised I had it, I had three glasses of chardonnay after work one night. With the illness, my liver couldn't tolerate alcohol & I reacted very badly "Throwing up in the gutter" is how I usually describe it. After I got well, my body remembered the incident and if I as much as held the stuff to my nose I felt ill. So I've been avoiding it ever since. Tonight I had a glass of wine. It was nice. I looked at the bottle & saw it was chardonnay. This means I've finally got over the reaction. It's so nice to have the choice back in my life.


I had a brief play with webmin tonight. Downloaded it & installed it on a machine inside the firewall. Had a brief play. Not enough study to really judge, but it could be interesting.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Google Sitesearch and more cache

Interesting night struggling with a few options. Well, probably a boring night struggling with a few options, but it kept me amused.

Google Search

I've been playing with the Google Adsense version of their website searching tool. I've seen them all over the web, you get a Google search box on your page and have the choice of searching the current site, or the whole web. The search in PHP-Nuke isn't great, so even before I signed up for Adsense I thought it would be good to incorporate Google search, it wasn't a high priority, but it was there. Then when I signed up for the ad program I discovered that many of these search boxes are actually part of the Adsense program, so webmasters that employ them get something back if someone searches from their site and then selects an advertisement. Wahoo. Count me in. So far I've made a small number of cents in a single click through from my sites. That's right, one click through. Maybe if I put the search boxes up, I'll get people using G to search from my site, and I'll get a second person clicking an ad. Maybe one day I'll actually get my cents earned up into the double digits. Seriously, I wasn't even expecting a single click yet. I'm surprised I got that. Early days yet. If I'm not getting close to having my costs covered by September, then I'll worry. So, I've tried it out, configured it to my taste and put a search box into the page header of the pages. Another interesting thing is that while I'm not allowed to put Google Ads on a 404 page, I am allowed to put their search box there. <smile>

More on Google Cache

I went back to have another look at the weird search result I mentioned the other day. To recap, someone had got to an error page on by following a Chinese language link from Google search. So just out of interest I went back tonight & searched Google for this domain. I thought I might find a dozen or so old pages. Wrong. It said "Results 1 - 20 of about 7,010 from". What have I stumbled on here, an abandoned portal? Then I looked again. This wasn't my Domain. LOL. So I tried my domain This was much more believable. 27 pages. I wouldn't have the luck to pick up something potentially that valuable. The content is all (apparently) Chinese. I couldn't duplicate the content, but I wonder is it ethical for me to put up pages of the same name? Oh well, that's a problem for another day.

LOL Left hand, right hand.

Before publishing this entry, I just went to check for typos it using the spell check tool on the Blogspot authors page. It complained that Google wasn't a recognised word. Ha! Blogspot AKA Blogger is owned by Google! Google, Adsense and probably one or two other words I've used are trademarks of

Work - Phew

Well I got my presentation slides done ... almost. For the GL presentation I'd previously joined Leonie's slides with mine to make a joint presentation & sent it off to her to see what she thought, she decided that the combined set was far too long & chose to just use my slides. So I cleaned them up, reformatted for the conference and asked her to reword one of them that I wasn't happy with & that was done. David was sick today. I knew that I needed his input for the joint presentation, but couldn't get it. I tried emailing his account, but mistyped it as "compuserv" (no 'E'). Well, what do you know? There's a sleazy typo-squatter that owns that domain name and likes reading other people's mail. I'll break my rule about giving clickable links. While I was waiting for David to not receive the email, I worked on the third presentation, the one on sales order changes. I got it done, and was just sitting back at my desk; hands on head when David arrived. He decided he liked my slides & has taken them to do a couple of changes to his bit. He'll forward them on to Chris for inclusion in the conference CD-ROM. So all that was left for me to do was to forward the other two to Chris. Typically, I sent him the wrong version of the GL presentation :(. Luckily I was the one that spotted the mistake & got the real version off. Left work at 5 with a clear conscience. Yeehaa!!!!!!!!

Posting by email?

I found this option on blogspot to publish to the blog by email.

Inveterate fiddler with technology that I am, I just had to try it.

Here's a quote that appeared in my in box, so at least I have a little content.

"We must practice the skill of listening instead of speaking, of acknowledging and celebrating difference instead of recoiling from it, of putting ourselves, as squarely as we can, into the experience of others." -- Andre Carothers, Writer and organizational consultant


(Added later) Well that was ugly. I think I'll avoid posting by email for now

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Working ... Working ... Working

Day Job

I'm feeling disorientated at work this week. The week before last we had consultants and implementors from our international branches in town for a conference. My regular routine was shot as I had to do a couple of presentations and sit in on a few sessions. I expected that. What I didn't expect was that I'd end up sitting in on several extra sessions and be asked during the week to present on a technological "futures" idea for our premier product. That plus my boss was supposed to phone & warn me if a preceeding session was running over time. He often managed to do that. The one time I was really quite annoyed was when I came in from home on the Saturday for my last presentation to find that the previous session was only just getting under way.

Then we have a customer conference coming up next week. So again, more prep. I've been scheduled for 3 presentations, more than any other developer. But I think I'm on-time for getting them done in time. Need to have my slides in by Thursday so they can go on the CD-ROM for the delegates, but I can do it.

Complicating the week, David, the CTO, has come down from the UK for the user conference & his six-monthly catchup with his staff. First thing Monday the team leaders were summoned into the conference room & he announced that he had decided to step down as boss of the software team & concentrate on being CTO for the hardware business. A new "MIS" CTO has been appointed and my boss' position has been disestablished.

So, it's David running around doing the David things, Campbell running around doing the Campbell things, and at the end of the week they both stop being my bosses. I keep thinking about a portion of Jonathon Dimbleby's The Last Governor where towards the time of Hong Kong's hand-over to China when the Chinese had made it clear that new laws passed by the British administration would not carry on, when relationships between the British & the Chinese were at a low ebb, Chris Patton continued with "business as usual" and was hurt that increasingly the Hong Kong Chinese turned towards the mainland. The same mainland that was about to resume control of their island. I feel a bit like those HK Chinese civil servants who had to go through the motions of supporting their outgoing boss while knowing that the real future lies with the new boss.

And the home business?

Nothing much really. Too cabbaged by the day job to be creative. I did sign-up for Amazon's affiliate program though. The way I read, I might as well build links to their books

Relaxation, then?

Ha! Blogging. In a quiet moment I did press the see next blog link on my blog before. It took me to a blog by someone calling herself Falsafah. Her site says "Falsafah means the love and pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. Serenity ; Calmness." I like that sentiment. Good luck with the job search Falsafah.

And that's all from me tonight.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Getting Serious About The Web

Domain Portfolio

I've built up a portfolio of "investment" domain names I've "banked". OK, it isn't much of an investment, because all I'm doing is sitting on them & paying renewal fees. The idea was to turn them into real sites, and do a little business, maybe use them for information and make a little of advertising, in a couple of cases it was just for support of a cause. Some I'm getting serious about turning into domains, as for the rest I've though about my exit strategy.

The idea I've come up with is rather than just abandoning them, or trying to sell a raw name, is to to make them into real "mini-domains". Useful content, a bit of traffic. Then sell them on.

Finding Hosting

So I've experimented with finding some hosting. Now that was a job and a half. There's thousands of little resellers out there all trying to make themselves look like real hosting companies. Complicating the issue I needed to host multiple domains.

After a few nights of staring at hosting offers until I went crosseyed I gave up. I found an interesting site at I placed a description of the type of hosting I needed. The little resellers clustered around and placed answers to my queries. This whittled it down to about 20 replies. I then checked each of them against my stated requirements. Most of them were dreamers. They had non-functioning sites, didn't offer all the features I said I needed, or their terms and conditions disallowed what I said I wanted the hosting for. This got it down to a very few sites; then I used "feelings" this got be down to two I felt comfortable about. Eventually I made my decision.

I'm not associated with devshed, just a happy customer of their free service.


I've started shifting the domains. It's slow work, but each time I do one, it gets easier.

Some little funnies have popped up

  • I got a google hit on my main domain for the search term "Albanian Musak." Totally blank look from me, how on earth does my little domain about pacific rats get a hit like that. Google cache to the rescue. I had a random quote dongle on the page, turns out that when the google spider came through, the quote it got served contained exactly that phrase. Won't happen again, I've put rat related quotes in the file it uses. There's a small irony there, "Kiore" is also the name of a town in Albania.
  • I also found a 404 on When I went to look at the referring page it was Google ('natch), but in Chinese. I asked a Chinese co-worker. He said the search was about AUT, and so was the page in the google cache. He said the page was unusual. It was written using simplified chinese characters, but the wording suggested that the person writing was more at home with traditional Chinese. We then had a conversation about how it's just a transliteration (or to coin a word, transpictoration) and how a simple search/replace could do someting like this. Programmers, huh?

Missed opportunity

I got caught up with some stuff at work today & clean forgot that the local Linux users group had its meeting tonight. I finally remembered at around 6:50 when I was in Broadway standing at the bus stop opposite 277 with 4 supermarket bags of shopping. At the time I was annoyed at myself, I have an interest in virtual servers, the subject of the talk, but I also realised that by the time the perishables were in the fridge and I'd eaten it would be too late to get there. Luckily I've since realised that the virtual servers being talked about are the cluster style, joining many machines into a super computer, not the partition one machine into several virtual slices. Still would have liked to have gone, but never mind.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Quite a while has elapsed

I'm living in Epsom North, been here 8 months. Had one brief relationship. Right now I'm not meeting anyone, but I'm not really looking either. I don't know, it all seems too hard. I guess I'm settling in well to the single life.

I'm back playing bridge again, this time at the Royle Epsom bridge club. LOL. Getting back to how I used to be before the November 12th event.


Dad's fading, Mum's soldiering on. There's been a few scares with Dad's health. I don't like to think about it, but I have to accept that one day not too far off he won't be with us. I can't remember when I last said I loved him. Weird. I'm 47 and I don't know if my Dad knows how I feel. I remember a few years back when I gave him a hug and he didn't know how to react.

Michael's coming back from Australia for a week's holiday in a couple of weeks. He'll be staying with Mum & Dad. I don't know if he'll be coming over for their 50th in December.

I'm backdating this a few days because I wanted to set the scene for a couple of recent pages.