Monthly Archive: August 2004


Just recently I have been reading about luck and whether there is such a thing a lucky person.  It’s a big subject, but two ideas stuck with me:


  1. People interact with so many people and things in so many different way these days that statistically “miracles” happen.  If you define miracles as events that have less than a 1 in a million chance of occurring then I read somewhere that most people will hear of one about once a month.  That means that people are going to come across someone being very lucky/unlucky , (perhaps 1 in 10,000 chance events),  pretty much every day just based on chance.

  2. The second idea is much more interesting.  It seems that people who describe themselves as lucky seem to know more people than those that describe themselves as unlucky.  Not surprisingly the more people you know the better the chance that one of those people will be able to help you out in some way, or will know someone who knows someone ….This networking theory although obvious once it’s explained is pretty powerful.

Prize winners at the library

Our local library celebrated its centenary today, there was a fete and a fancy dress competition, my wife loves making costumes and the girls all love dressing up so it’s no surprise that they all entered.  Stephie as Catherine Linton, Jenny as Heidi, Tessa as Mary Poppins and Anna as...

Productivity before elegance

In this article, discusses the rate of adoption of .NET compared to J2EE.  Its conclusions are quite suprising.  It seems that the rate of .NET adoption continues to grow at quite a rate, and puts usage on a par or slightly greater than J2EE.  It puts .NET success mainly down to increaded developer productivity and ease of deployment and management. 

This is signifiacnt for three main reasons:

  1. In the hard nosed business of IT software development, even with all of Microsoft’s woes, when it comes down to making business decisions, many IT companies still seem to make decisions based on rational criteria, and long term strategy and architectural elegance or portability don’t win out in many cases.

  2. There is likely to be a lot of new software developed for the Windows platform

  3. Mono is going to be a pretty important Open Source project

3 Monitors is the way to go!

I have been quite happy with my two monitor setup at home,  but using maxivista I am now able to drive three monitors from my main desktop PC.  This is just great.  I can now have my email in one, my RSS feeds in another, be using Office in another...

Open Document Formats – XML to you and me

This is one of the areas I am going to be looking at so its good news that there has been a recent flurry of activity around it.  here are some of the more important links.  The debate was started by the EC report into this topic which is summarised...

RSS and it’s impact on productivity.

I just read this post by Greg that describes the impact RSS has had on his productivity,  it’s as if I wrote it myself so for once I will repeat it here in full!

My RSS reader saves me about 300 hours a week

The one about how using RSS opens up information to me in a way that is so reliable I could only do it this way manually if there were two of me…

Okay, so maybe it’s a little exaggerated. But seriously, I read an incredible amount of information these days. So much more than I ever did, and a lot of it on the Internet. Not only that, but I get the information I need (or want) so fast now that I can practically always act faster than most people when news breaks. Research that used to take hours and hours of searching and browsing now takes just minutes. I’m consuming much, much more information and doing so in much, much less time. What I can accomplish today in the information gathering department would have taken two of me just a year or so ago, before I found the real beauty of RSS.

I use RSS feeds …

Get it working then make it better.

I have recently been doing some research into Open Source, its an interesting subject from so many perspectives.  That’s not what this article is about but if you want to follow up on it I recommend The Success of Open Source.  Anyway reading this book prompted me to think a bit more about daily builds.  Yes I know I already posted on this topic a few days ago but I can’t resist linking it with the Linux philosophy which can be summarised as:


“get it working then make it better”  


Now this really appeals to me for a few reasons:


  1. I am a pretty poor programmer, a reasonable designer and a pretty good architect, (hopefully :-)).  So I incline to grand concepts, but I can never get them to work in code unless I start really simply.  In fact in most cases I start with someone elses code first and hack it around until I have proved the basic concepts.

  2. My real background is in systems integration so I never expect anything to work as documented.  In fact when I started programming with VB 2, I fell found of a whole …

A Cinderella Story.

I am not feeling too well at the moment so in search of an easy afternoon I took Jenny, Tessa and Anna to see A Cinderella Story.  Its sad to say but I found it quite watchable which must mean I am becoming much less demanding, and much more accepting of the fact that kids really enjoy these simple romantic comedies, and I just need to sit back and accept the fact and enjoy it as best I can.  In this case the story would have worked slightly better for me if poor “cinderella” had not had a mobile phone, car, personal computer, friends, and a whole host of loving adults around her to compensate for a nagging step mum and annoying sisters.

A visit to Scotland.

The girls on top of a moutain, (at maximum zoom):

Debbie and I took the girls to Scotland for the first time.  We only went for a few days so we did not stray too far into the highlands but based ourselves near to Ayr.  I love walking and the walk from the site to Ayr along the beach, we also did quite a bit of easy climbing and visiting of National Trust sites, but one of the highlights was a visit to New Lanark, and finding out about the amazing contributions of its owner Robert Owen to social reform.  Robert Owen: Owen of New Lanark and New Harmony is definately on my reading list.

We the media.

Dan Gillmor has written a book about how the web and blogging in particular are changing the nature of journalism.  Its available online here there is a companion blog here.  This is the marketing spin:

Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media’s monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news.