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Sunday, 27 May 2007

Back in Watford all day. Traffic was a nightmare on the way home, got in and had dinner whilst watching I, Robot at 21:00.

Tony Blair's talking about stop & question powers for the Police, whereby they could stop and question anyone in the country, without needing to have "reasonable suspicion". Not answering their questions would be a criminal offence. Let's ignore the enormous invasion of privacy and totalitarian nature of the suggestion, and wonder what exactly happened to the Right to Remain Silent?

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Replaced the indicators on the Focus: they were definitely stolen from the train station car park; there's no way they could've fallen out. Also replaced the passenger-side rear brake shoes, but could only get three out of the four bolts loosened on the driver's side.

Doctor Who was, as expected, excellent. I might have to find the book on which it was based after next week's episode.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Code freeze tomorrow, so Pete, Dave and I were in the office until 23:00 working on some fixes. A productive night, even if I did get to bed at 01:30 :-(

Monday, 21 May 2007

Found Tiny Java Web Server which will act as the servlet container for mod_gsp and got the first simple GSP up and running using mod_proxy and mod_rewrite. At the moment there's none of the JSP-like inversion and compilation, caching or proper Apache integration, but it's a start.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Took the Focus round to my parents': both indicators had stopped working and I saw a wire hanging down recently. Instead of just buying new bulbs (the electrics are going a little funny on the console), perhaps a wire got dislodged during the many speed bumps I go over every morning on the way to the station.

Got it up on the rams (using Dad's cool hydraulic jacks) and found that indeed both front indicators had gone. Literally gone. Removed. Not there. Pining for the fjo... no, that's something else.

Ordered new bulb holders and bulbs from an online scraph recycling facility.

More geekily, started thinking about how dissatisfied I am with the Perl application server, "Onyx", which powers the site: it's a bit clunky, the session support's a bit of a bodge and I'm not keen on the syntax. I fancy a change, and not to PHP. The main driving thought was, with Dave's re-invigorated, tag-based diary, I can't be behind the curve ;-).

I think what I want is something akin to Groovy Server Pages (now part of Grails), but for a relatively static site - rather than an application - a Rails or Grails application is entirely overkill and much too hard to administer. I suppose I could finish Commas and have a proper Groovy-based CMS, but .gsp files directly in the Apache root should be sufficient.

So, started work on mod_gsp with the aim of producing a quick, scalable, reliable PHP replacement. With none of its security holes and using Groovy as the underlying base language.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

First day of a three day course on Hibernate at the always excellent SkillsMatter. Initial impressions are very good: its lazy loading using proxy classes is dead clever; although it suffers from a pathological love of overly verbose XML files. It certainly makes you appreciate the simplicity and convention of Grails' GORM (built on top of Hibernate).

Also, SkillsMatter are plugging their Grails eXchange 2007 in October. Hopefully won't be quite as hectic then, so I might try to go (since I missed out on JavaOne <mutter />); it seems to cover a lot more besides Grails, including Groovy, Java EE in general and Web 2.0 stuff.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Interesting: this RSS feed seems to make a good test case for aggregators etc. Because I can't be bothered with a variety of encoding schemes (boring, hysterical raisins), the RSS feed is declared as ISO-8859-1 rather than UTF-8.

An entry containing a pound sign (entered in the source XML as &amp;pound;) gets converted into the ISO-8859-1 character of 0xA3. NetVibes can't handle this - trying always to interpret the feed as UTF-8... would be interesting to know what other feed readers also don't allow non-UTF-8 feeds.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Another weekend working in Watford. Lots of Mel's family here tonight, but not sure if I'll get back in time for the meal.

Caught up on the diary, and even generated an RSS feed: should keep Paul and Tim happy ;-)

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Finally joined Facebook after Pete, David and Robert are all on it and talking about it and prompted by an invite by Niki (probably from the "invite everyone on my address book" thing). Still in the Orkut-style rush to update it, but we'll see how useful it is. Impressed by the overall look and feel and the features, but a few niggles in the UI - such as losing entered data in preference panels - irritate.

Last day of JavaOne: John and Dan seem to have had a really good time and, more importantly, sent back some really interesting writeups. Hopefully next year I'll be able to go...

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