Tuesday Nov 14, 2006

Open Solaris User Group in London

The London open solaris user group is meeting in Sun's Customer Briefing Centre (Regis House) tonight (18:00) in the City. I'm just about to set off to it.


Sunday Nov 05, 2006

Finding stuff I said last year!

Since the introduction of tags, I have slightly re-organised this blog site.

 It now has two new features, Yesterday's Words and About Me. These features are available through the small font menu bar above the category list. Yesterday's Words is an archive feature, allowing you to look for things in this blog by Category, Tags, Publication Month, Keyword Search and review titles of the last six months article titles. I have done this because we now have tags, and people ought to be able to see the tag cloud, and I have come to the conlusion that the front page side bar was begining to be hard to use. In order to improve the ease of use I expect to move my del.icio.us feed to another back page, together with some of the bookmarks I have stored. At the moment it remains on the front page and on Yesterday's Words.

Both these new pages have tuned and smaller sidebars. I have done this by utilising the roller #includePage() macro and hold the banner (with the duck & licence) and the sidebars as seperate files. The content for Yesterday's Words is also held in an external file. This should all make updating the site a lot easier, and allow me to move from HTML tables to CSS at some time soon.

I hope to introduce a reading list page about the books I am or am planning to, or have just read.

The navigation bars at the top (and side) offer a page called site search. This is safe checkpointed version of Yesterday's Words; I created it to permit a "roll forward from" point in case I made any silly and drastic mistakes. I will delete it some time soon, so I recommend that you don't bookmark it.


Monday Oct 30, 2006

Three Wise Men

My colleague, Stephen Davis started blogging at sun, a week or so ago. Stephen works in Sun UK's marketing department. I know that as we read Cluetrain and join the blogosphere, we need to sneer at marketing and marketers, but Stephen is definitely not a member of "the department of colouring in". He and I agree that the job of marketing is to understand customer businesses, and hence their customers so we can make propositions of value and understand the business cases for change. The best marketing people need to understand their own business and their customer's, and Stephen is one of the best. I'm sure that Stephen's blogs will be of interest to many who work in the IT and Telecommunications markets. Stephen Davis started blogging

Richard Barrington, the Sun UK's public policy officer has also started blogging. He says in his first post that,

I spend my time working with some amazing people who are trying to 'save the world' from itself with regard to climate change and who are working to create a more fair and just society within which we all can participate. I get to talk to people from all walks of life, political persuasion, colour, caste and creed and have been given fantastic and passionate support from the leadership team in Sun UK to be the 'voice crying in the wilderness'.

He is one the most articulate people I know in the benefits of green computing. Sun's green computing propositions are based on CPU design, thin client and server design, but Richard paints a great picture of classrooms full of silent sun rays, instantly available as the students slot their Java cards into the card readers, compared with thirty PC's spinning up their disks and fans, and the opening of the windows to dissipate the heat. Another blog to enjoy.

A third wise man, is Eric Bezille, who apart from being the owner of the nose mentioned here.... and the organiser of Sun France's wine drinker's club is Sun's lead architect in the Systems Practice in France. His professional interests and expertise range from database platform solutions architecture, through service management to business alignment. As one of the ambassador community organisers, he presented to Sun's data centre ambassadors about aligning Sun's bids and the win themes with business strategic planning techniques. He is Sun's lead architect supporting Orange (Telecom France) who have a split site Oracle RAC database platform, one of the first in the world of this size and distance.


Thursday Oct 26, 2006

About Bloglines

I have just put a subscribe via Bloglines button on the sidebar. I've subscribed a while but am just getting serious as I move from RSSOWL and Mozilla to reduce my requirement on system caches. Here's how you do it:-

<A HREF="http://www.bloglines.com/sub/${RSSURL}"
    <IMG SRC="http://www.bloglines.com/images/sub_modern5.gif">

Obviously substitute the environment variable for your true RSS feed URL.


Wednesday Oct 04, 2006

Video Diaries at CEC

As CEC 2006 approaches its finale, I have posted the video competition winners, Brendan O'Neill and Didier Heck's entries are on the Sun mediacaster, here... & here...


Hello Jonathan

In Jonathan's Blog today, he welcomes us all at CEC.


Tuesday Oct 03, 2006

A night off...

I like many attended the CEC last night event. A number of entertainers were working, a number of which appear on Brendan's Video and at the cec 2006 technorati photo page, although you may have to page back a couple of pages. I was rather impressed with the Hula-hoop lady.


The Hula-Hoop Lady


This picture was taken by Lou Springer and is (CC) at-nc, and is a hyperlink to the published version at www.flickr.com.

tags: General

Pile'm high! Sell'em cheap!

I cannot believe it! Tescos are going into the software distribution business. Reported here... by vnunet. Unfortunately its not Star Office!


Monday Oct 02, 2006

Customer Engineering Conference

Welcome to CEC! 3000 of Sun's field engineering force are gathering in San Francisco for a techfest and training event. Those of you who can't get there, can virtually attend by checking out Sun Newsour CEC RSS Feed. This is periodically updated allowing you to subscribe using your favourite RSS browser, or you can pick up the news at tiour technorati page.

Dan Berg, one of the conveners, posted his greeting here.... Have fun! We'll be in touch.


Friday Sep 29, 2006

Dense & Slow

I have just posted my notes on Andy Bectolsheim's presentation on Tuesday, which I have back dated.

Friday Sep 22, 2006

Off again to America

I'm flying to the US on Sunday to attend Data Center (sic) Ambassador training and Sun's premier field technologist training, the Customer Engineering Conference, CEC2006, on the west coast in California.

I'll keep you all up to date with my adventures on this blog


Tuesday Sep 12, 2006

Building a Yahoo MapApp

I wrote my first Yahoo Map application awhile ago, but at the time, sadly, Yahoo were not yet supporting UK or european maps, so it looks a bit crap. I had been trying to build a map showing the home & work locations of the membership of my school classmates Yahoo group in order to arrange local reunions. Yahoo now have UK coverage and so you can find my notes on how to build a Yahoo Map App. immediately below.

You can see below, that the application has three areas, a legend, an item list and a map area. The final area, displays a map with icons representing the items accurately located on the map. My map has three objects, a home location, a work location and a City icon.

  • At Home at home  
  • {short description of image} at work  
  • City a city  

By placing a number of cities on the blank map, I can at least give readers some idea of the location of any clusters that exist. I shall be polling the club to see if its any use, and hope that Yahoo extend the maps application to the rest of the world. At the moment, I have placed Portsmouth, Bristol, Farnham, London, Oxford, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh on the map. This might be best augmented with Exeter, Penzance, Aberystwyth and Aberdeen.

The key Yahoo documentation resource is here.... The application needs a name which can be obtained from Yahoo. This is really easy, you fill in a form and they check if someone else has it and you get it or not. The next bit requires some more work and thought. You need to build an XML file that describes the applications resources and most importantly holds the geographical descriptors for the icons. The Yahoo resources have a sample resouces file and application to test. The XML document type is best documented at Brainoff's World kit page here..., where they document GeoRSS.

First we have some applications meta data. A title, a return-to page, the map's centre on opening the window and a zoom level. (The Yahoo application has a number of zoom levels.)

    <title>Application Title</title>

Having created the applications wide data, we need to define the properties of each of the map icons we're going to use . These are held in a group ymaps:Groups and each object is a Group. Each group has a title, an id (used to reference from the items) and I chose to define the BaseIcon URL here. This means that the application can write a legend and the items, which are the individudal icons located on the map will inherit the icon using the group id. The URL needs to be available on the internet i.e. not be behind a password, or require a cookie etc., etc.


The group element can be iterated, but needs to be encapsulated within a <ymaps:Groups> </ymaps:Groups> tag pair.

Now we can define the items. These require a Title, Description, location and the group id to allow the icon inheritance. The title and description are displayed on pop up boxes on the map and hyperlinks can be added at the item level.


Actually I found this easier than I expected as I am not an XML guru. The Yahoo application will locate the icon using an address or the long/lat parameters. I chose to use the long/lat parameters because the address funtionality requires US addresses and this isn't good enough for me. I used Google to find some long/lat pages. My del.icio.us tag:geography lists those I've found. Some of the cities are dead easy, but I selected Brainoff's geocode page, which wasn't good for Farnham. I checked Farnham using www.streetmap.co.uk and this should work as I begin to create individual item entries.

The Yahoo reference document also documents the HTML string that finds the application. The string needs the application key and the resource file URL.


The URL needs to be readable by the application. My first instinct was to put the icons and resource files in a Yahoo Group Files Folder. Unfortunately these locations can not be read from the internet unless you login to the group. The Yahoo application can't do this so I've put the files on a web server, not my Qube smirk. Here's the finished screenshot.

Screenshot of Yahoo Map App

This picture,was made today, I put the city icons in; they gave a sense of geography before the maps became available.

On another matter, it's quite interesting how geographically distributed that class now is, with quite a few of us living abroad. What seems odd, or underlines how much times have changed is that we were at school at a time when foreign travel was much more limited and in fact you could only buy £50 of foreign exchange per annum.

Some acknowledgments. The city icon came from the Iconarchive and is charityware icon. The author asks users to make a donation to a homeless charity. The people icons come from FamFamFam Silk icon set, although I had to convert the .png to .jpg; the app does not render .png.


Sunday Jul 23, 2006

Statues, Sculpture & hyperlinks

I'm looking for a statue for my back garden, so I was checking the 'net, and tagged them into del.icio.us/DaveLevy/sculpture. The linkroll in the sidebar, is thus a bit less eclectic than usual, but it'll change when I tag up this weekend's Guardian

tags: General ""

Friday Jul 21, 2006

Refreshing the theme

I re-arranged the sidebar yesterday, hopefully in order to make using the sidebar gadgets easier. I have the OpenSolaris, RSS and Page Hit counter at the top, followed by "Recent & Interesting", where I shall leave links to stuff I think is recent and interesting. Next I have some links about the site and the search box, followed by my recent del.icio.us links, followed by my roller links list, Blogroll, News, Links and Stuff.

The Links section includes the blog administration buttons, which could have their own section (or page).

I then list the recent Article Index, which lists the last 125 articles with the current category, and finish the sidebar with archives panel and blogosphere affinity badges.

I plan to add a reading list gadget, and also to create a second page, which will hopefully present a better interface to what I have done previously and help you (and me) find stuff. I also may do a third page about the site and usage to hold the cluster map, the referrer stats and maybe the technorati references. These will be made available by the roller macro which lists all pages in the directory.

I hope you find this minor re-organisation helpful and an improvement.


Sunday Jun 18, 2006

Rebuilding Kabul

So it's back to work but I must just make a note about three things in the week-end Guardian. I've noted the "Blue Turquoise Foundation" on my del.icio.us bookmarks (See my sidebar...). It is a British based charity supporting reconstruction in Aghanistan, particulalry Kabul with a view to preserving Aghanistan's culture, history and architecture. These are my words not thiers, but they seem to be looking to avoid the worst of the bulldozer and concrete pourers arts, not to mention the attentions of the military twat {not necessarily all the military, merely those that qualify} and the well meaning aid workers. The article is also a political polemic against the US/UK's failure to invest in the necessary [disinterested] nation building after the wars our countries wage. The original article is here....





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