Monthly Archives: August 2005

Strawberry Beer Forever

Last night I went to the The Porterhouse in Convent Garden. If you like beer, you’ll like The Porterhouse. Its beer menu is huge and it has all kinds of beer from all over the world with interesting names, and tastes. There’s Crocodile beer brewed in Sweden (how many crocodiles have you seen in Sweden?), kosher beer from Israel and even Palestinian beer. I am not so sure what’s so Palestinian about it though as it is brewed in Belgium, conforms to some German purity standard and is sold in the UK.

I tried a beer from Russia but I can’t remember the name. I do, however, remember not being able to pronounce the name of it. I don’t recommend it though. The Russians should stick to what they know best: vodka and communism. I also had strawberry beer from Belgium. It was actually quite nice. There were other fruit flavours too, including passionfruit, but that’s just a little too weird!

Speaking of the Future

I have been using Skype for around 6 months or so now. Skype have a service called SkypeOut that allows me to make phone calls to landlines or mobile phones, either locally or abroad, from my laptop or PDA. It’s cheap too, much cheaper than calling from a landline. I always thought it would be cool if you could do reverse: make phone calls from a landline or a mobile that get routed to wherever I happened to be logged in. Well, now you can with SkypeIn.

Continue reading

Occasionally I have more to say than a few sentences but if I write a long post I don’t want all of the text showing up on the front page. What I want is a link that says something along the lines of “Read the rest of this post”. I never could figure out how to do that with WordPress, until today, thanks to a handy tip from Miles.

Add <!- -more- -> at the point where you want to break the text. At this point WordPress will add a URL that links to the full text of the entry. Easy eh? Well not exactly.

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Walk On

Over the last few days I have been playing around with Google Maps. To be more precise, I have been building an online pedometer tool for Wendy Bumgardner over at Users can draw their walk on the map and the tool tells them how long the route is as well as giving the user the ability to bookmark a walk etc.

There’s a link to the tool from here. If you have any suggestions please add a comment or send me an email.

The script that does all the work is here (after you download it remember to remove the .txt extension). I will be adding to it and improving it during the coming weeks. Feel free to use it for your own purposes.

New Article

I have just completed a draft version of an article I wrote this afternoon titled “Distributed Computing”. It gives a brief overview of web services with examples using Amazon’s web services API. More importantly it describes how to read Amazon’s WSDL file. It doesn’t contain all the details, just enough to get you started.

If you have any comments, let me know.


Keep It Simple Stupid. Yes, that’s right. Simplicity. Simple isn’t it. Apparently not. Somebody clearly didn’t tell the guys over at the World Wide Web Consortium when it came to writing the specifications that are supposed to define how the web works!

The other day I attempted to use Amazon’s web services API. In order to figure what methods were available I had to read the WSDL file. All well and good providing you can actually read a WSDL file, especially one as extensive as Amazon’s. Anyway, not being completely familar with WSDL I trudged over to the W3 site to the read the spec. I won’t bore you with the details but needless to say it was painful. I was lost after the first couple of paragraphs. This seems to be the case with all of the W3C’s specifications. They are unreadable! Contrast this with the specification for XML-RPC: short and easy to understand. Sure it may not have all the bells and whistles of SOAP, for example, but it’s good enough. How are developers supposed to implement the W3C’s specs if nobody understands them. Could the reason why we haven’t seen an explosion in Semantic Web applications simply be the fact that nobody understands how the damn thing works? Well, except Tim Berners-Lee, and he doesn’t give interviews to the media.

If specifications are to be implemented they need to be understandable. So the next time you are about to write a technical specification remember, Keep It Simple Stupid!

Corre, Corre

So you are heading off to New York for the weekend. What are you going to do? Visit the Statue of Liberty? Go shopping on 5th Avenue? Go for a run? Me neither, but if you do feel like dusting off your trainers then check out Running Dave’s running database. No, it’s not a database with legs, it’s a database full of routes that people have suggested for running around New York. It’s pretty cool. It lets you plot your route on a map, courtesy of Google Maps, simplying by pointing and clicking.

It’s day 2 sin café. Yesterday wasn’t too much of a problem. I had a few cravings during the day but nothing I couldn’t resist. One more day and I will have equalled my record. Not a very high bar to clear is it.

Coffee CupNo coffee or tea for me for the next week. The last time I tried doing this I lasted about 3 days. Why? Mostly for health reasons but I will probably save a lot of money as well. I overhead a guy in the gym the other day tell somebody how he stopped going to Starbucks because his accountant told him he had spent about £900 on coffee at Starbucks last year. Good enough reason as any I guess, although presumably if his accountant told him he must have been keeping receipts. Who the hell keeps receipts from Starbucks, that’s what I’d like to know.