Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolutions

Well having seen that Greg has done it, I feel I should, since it is a good idea, so here is some stuff I should do or do better:

  • Use GTD more effectively and actually get things done!
  • Sort the DIY/House work – one new Kitchen!
  • Learn more things! – need to get my Technical Architecture qualifications
  • Attempt to sit a formal qualification in Chinese (!)
  • Actually try playing Go regularly 🙂
  • Practice my Chinese – at least one blog post per week in Chinese
  • Keep going to the gym
  • Attempt at least one kind of physical activity outside of the gym
  • Try and keep my blogging up to date!
  • Sort my photos – nearly 5000 of them now 😦
  • Build more stuff!

I’m sure there should be more, but hey there you go.


A small tidy up

Well I’ve managed to get around to refreshing the links you see on the left of the blog to reflect the slightly more sanitised reading list I really have. To be honest Sage seems to manage to keep my links so I’m not going to duplicate it here 🙂

What else has happened, well not a lot, I have read Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make me Think” which was a very worthwhile read and one I recommend for anyone having to deliver a website… which has also painfully pointed out some of the flaws in this layout 😦

The other thing to get my attention is Mirror’s Edge, which is annoying primarily as I don’t have either an XBox or PS3. However I do now have the OST as it’s frankly awesome, and the theme from Lisa Miskovsky is currently on repeat on my iPod. For some reason this song and the game remind me a lot of Shenzhen, which I’ve spent time in.

Evolution Fail

So at work I have an aging Ubuntu desktop… by that I mean it’s a whole year and a half since I installed with 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). Since I’ve had it, I’ve wanted to get my mail on it, for the simple reason that I can login into this box from outside the particular site I work at for the majority of the time.

Lately our local admins installed Exchange 2003, which was a departure from 5.5, which did improve things a lot (less then a thousand sync errors per day!) and also brought in OWA.

Aha, I though, now I can use Evolution with it’s nifty OWA plugin… and I can 🙂 So I have email, and it is much faster then Outlook which means I get time and CPU back to do other things on my other main desktop (yeah I have two…).

Now, a colleague sits next to me and has similar issues, so he’s looked into creating an Ubuntu box with the same kind of set-up. I’ve advised getting a newer version of Ubuntu as mine is old which he has done.

That was a mistake, what was a whole 10 mins setup for me is going to be about a week of pain simply because of this. Now why don’t I rely on Ubuntu as my mail desktop again… ?

Backup Plan!

Spotted at my local bus stop…



So, recently I went and had a look at, and decided to register. And got presented with the whole OpenID fiasco…

Thankfully the creators of the site that runs this blog are OpenID suppliers and thus I had a ready made ID. So I’m good to go.

Then I read that the BBC had hosted a meeting of the OpenID foundation after having joined a year ago. The article goes over the main bugbears I also have with the OpenID experience (quoted directly):

  • First, you can be redirected from one website (the one accepting the identifier) to a different domain (that of the provider) and then returned to the first. This is confusing for an average user, especially if different wording, layout and styles are used. The attribute exchange part of the OpenID protocol works: it’s a good idea to exchange the registration parameters and to simplify steps at the receiving site. However, if implemented badly (or not implemented at all), it adds even more confusion to the journey. The confusion also adds a weak point where scammers and phishers can jump in.
  • Second, all users are familiar with the username and password as the login paradigm. Suddenly using URLs, like, may be difficult for a mainstream user to understand.
    (However, the so-called “Generation @”, which uses instant messaging and social spaces as well as traditional email, is aging, and so the main audience segments will be people used to representing themselves with the URL of a blog, MySpace profile or Flickr account).

Now apart from the parallel the process seems to have with the Credit Card processes (Visa’s “Verified by Visa” and Mastercard’s Securecode) which is in itself a little scary, the main gripe for me is that OpenID is using a token which is at least one step removed from me.

The assumption is that each one of us has a unqiue URL, which you might argue could work if we are all signed up to MySpace, Facebook and so on. But those are social network sites, which by definition do not represent the individuals, so those URLs are out.

Ok, what about that vanity domain you have…

…well so long as you are the only one that has it, and that it matches an OpenID system somewhere and you don’t let it expire…

No. Frankly the one constant we can cope with is that email is the common denominator and that the user scheme for that is very well defined down to an individual. The idea of ” person@place ” has been around for a long time and been refined. If you have an Office PC the chances are you use the same thing, albeit reformatted slightly as: ” \\place\person “, or even ” user@host ” or some other set of synonyms.

The difference between these and the URL, is that the URL is a presentation of your data at an application level, not a user credential for access, it is an index to find your stuff, not “you”. Never mind that a URL is often a symbolic link to information, rather then the actual information, which is all good for information hiding.

There has already been some work done on the usability of the URI vs EMail and  OpenID authentication process, which makes an interesting read and ends up with the idea of suggesting possible Ids based on emails. The inconsistency of the flow does worry me, in a world where most websites have become farily sensible about logins, this is just an extra barrier. The oft understated part is also that the OpenID provider is the party that vouches for you. The thing is, I might trust you, but not your provider, and I’m fairly certain my bank – amongst others – will not trust either of you. So while this is supposedly making it easier for me to login into to many places, it does so at a level that suggests that my reputation is now based on the “trustworthyness” of my login provider, rather then “me”.

I’ll be sticking to my person@place for now.

Running to stay in the same place

Just managed to catch up on Chris’ blog, and phew that’s a lot of writing, but then that’s a lot of life!

I’ve got a lot of sympathy for the job situation, I think it’s a matter of some public record that things are not all that great where I’m working and that’s down to the lack of clarity amongst other things. But before I land myself in the proverbial soup…

Today was a break from that and to go have a look around Kingston. The verdict is… “meh”. Sorry, you have the river, and some nice shops, but we will be getting our own version of Paul soon, so we might leave that one 🙂

Actually while I’m at it, big mention for a new culinary find in London, which turns out to be around the corner from my Chinese Class. The restaurant: Ten Ten Tei on Brewer street turns out to be a good choice for those wanting a decent Japanese meal without taking out a mortgage.

Ok, now time to tango with the Immigration authorities. Ok guys, Bring it!

Currently Listening to: The Corrs – Borrowed Heaven

Talk like a pirate!