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Monday 28 February, 2005
# New Python Eliza release. Much better at chatting now I've beefed up the regexes.
anonymous said hi [added 9th Oct 2005]
anonymous said hello

[added 21st May 2006]

Eliza said Why do you say that? [added 24th May 2006]

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Sunday 27 February, 2005
#Pay attention Googlebot
Moseley in Bloom
Moseley Neighbourhood Forum
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Friday 25 February, 2005
#The Sun Has Got His Hat On
He must be new ...
Marc. said What's an ice-cream van doing out and about in the depths of winter ? Must have escaped from somewhere. [added 25th Feb 2005]
smellygit said It's 27 degress in our office - I don't know what season it is :) [added 25th Feb 2005]
Well, he wasn't stopping ... [added 25th Feb 2005]
It must be getting onto the mid-twenties here, now I think about it. I'd never really noticed how much heat this big machine kicks out, but it is getting a little close in here now. [added 25th Feb 2005]
smellygit said at least you can open the window [added 28th Feb 2005]

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#Plasterers in the Attic

Stuffed a wireless networking card (Gawd bless them) into the back of my big machine, and lugged it, the monitor, my desk, Nat's desk, her machine, and a small pile of other officey gubbins down to our bedroom. This is my new "attic" while the plasterers, decorators, and carpet fitters go about the plastering, decorating, and carpet fitting business. For the first time in seven or right years, I can see a window from my desk. It is extremely distracting, all the more so because it's snowing very prettily at the moment.

mattb said I find all that snow kind of dismal... I'd prefer rain even... [added 25th Feb 2005]
It was bit sad it wasn't settling, but dismal? Snow is never dismal. [added 25th Feb 2005]
Marv said Try looking through the window. I recommend it. ;) [added 25th Feb 2005]
Gevs said If i'm right, then your last 'view' was into our (totally underused and rather horrid yellow) back bedroom in Kensington Rd.

luckily Zoe never found out the history of the place until

we left otherwise teh view may have been a sad little man

eating pot noodles on his own : )

[added 28th Feb 2005]

Ah. You mean the murder? [added 28th Feb 2005]
Gevs said The very same. I found out the week before we moved in. I must say you did well not to spill the beans to her, i know i was tempted to many a night. A bit disapointing as far as spookyness goes tho. even meg and mog were non plussed! [added 28th Feb 2005]

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Wednesday 23 February, 2005
#[elsewhere] I could bang on about this for ages
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Monday 21 February, 2005
#[elsewhere] tiny nuggety flakes
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BindOTron is an early experiment in XML databinding, which I'm releasing now for historical interest. BindOTron reads a DTD and generates a C++ or Java class hierarchy mirroring the DTD's structure. Pretty much, anyway. It maps elements to classes and attributes to member variables (properties).

The C++ support is pretty good actually, generating classes, deserialisation stacks of SAX filters and XML output serialisation. The classes it creates are value classes, so includes all the handle-body ref-counting gubbins you need to pass around arbitrarily large object trees cheaply. The Java support is pretty token, generating only the class definitions, and largely exists to prove that once you have an in-memory representation of the DTD creating class hierarchies in whatever language is a case of cranking the handle.

Given that DTDs were never intended to define anything other than document structure, generating class hierarchies from them wasn't ever going to produce sparkling code. It is possible to produce reasonable and useable code though, as BindOTron demonstrates. These days, schema languages like RelaxNG and W3C XML Schema provide a much richer base for code generation, and its use is quite wide spread in many areas. That's particularly true for Java - see JAXB and Zeus for instance. They're quite large and full-featured bits of kit though, and I suspect there's still room for BindOTron style quick'n'dirty/straightforward* binding.

* - Delete as you feel applicable.

smellygit said I used Castors XML data binding a couple of years ago and that was pretty quick and easy too. [added 21st Feb 2005]
In my copious free time (TM), I'm toying with the idea of driving the whole thing through XSLT. Stick a RelaxNG or WXS schema in one end, get code out the other, that kind of thing. Not sure when I'll actually do anything about it though ... [added 21st Feb 2005]

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#[linkfarm] Hunter S Thompson, the American counterculture writer, has been found dead at his home in Colorado.
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Anna and Matt have just left. They brought food with them when they arrived. They can come again.

I thought Anna was taller than Matt, but closer inspection revealed that they are, as they claimed, the same height.

mattb said A very nice night out it was. I liked hearing about your trip to 'TJ'. [added 21st Feb 2005]
anonymous said Thank you for a very nice night. I am taller than James if I wear heels. [added 21st Feb 2005]
... and slightly shorter if you slouch ... [added 21st Feb 2005]
Marv said Hamlet, Act V, Scene I. [added 22nd Feb 2005]

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Sunday 20 February, 2005
#It's like busses ...

No trips in two years, then two in four days. The splendid city of Bristol, that is. Swept down by rather comfy train on Wednesday for a spot of lunch with programming chum Kevlin. I'd spent the previous few days in what Bertie Wooster would recognise as "a funk". Although I probably spent most of our time at Wagamama's and Boston Tea Party talking complete tripe, I feel considerably cheered by it.

Travelled down by less comfortable car yesterday for an ACCU committee meeting. It turned out to be one of our more productive get togethers. We even made a decision. It's an interesting if slightly uncertain time for the ACCU at the moment. The ACCU began as a club, as a hobbiest organisation. Over time, and largely by unintentionally I think, it now has around a thousand members, runs one of the better programming conferences in the UK (if not the world), publishes 12 magazines a year which stand up pretty well against DDJ and CUJ, and describes itself as standing for professionalism in programming. Much of the way we operate though still harks back to those hobbyist roots. The committee is not especially good as communicating what's going on the membership for instance, although we are trying to change. The 12 magazines comprises of 6 issues of two seperate journals, both of which come out on the same bi-monthly schedule. Our website isn't what it might be, although this too is about to change. Things are moving. We need to work out in which direction and how far.

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Friday 18 February, 2005
#[elsewhere] So long as we get bank holidays and blue moons off.
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Thursday 17 February, 2005
# The new Bravissimo catalogue has arrived. Of course, I only read it for the articles.
smellygit said I haven't click it - is it work safe :)) [added 18th Feb 2005]
It is for me :) [added 18th Feb 2005]

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Wednesday 16 February, 2005
#[linkfarm] University scraps maths degree
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Tuesday 15 February, 2005

Silly little thing from mid-93. a Coffee Time comic means it was drawn directly in ink.
anonymous said Shortly after my brother was rushed to hospital with appendicitis (he was fine by the way), a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on our door.

Small cute girl/Jehovah's Witness, "We want to tell you about God's truth."

My mother replied, "No thank you, I've got enough problems as it is."

Exit Jehovah's Witnesses. [added 15th Feb 2005]

There are cute girl Jehovah's Witnesses? [added 17th Feb 2005]
anonymous said wow you're really funny. [added 4th Aug 2005]
anonymous said You idiot! [added 25th Aug 2005]

[added 12th Jul 2007]

alexis said ur really stupid I mean I bet you neva realyy listened to them. God! People are soo stupid these days.... people ike you!!! [added 13th Nov 2007]
alex said im a JW. there are witnesses from ages 1 to 100. ppl realy never listen to us. some think that we are really dumb. one min they have the tv blaring, we knock, all of a sudddn the lights go off, the tv is muted and they think we dont know they are there. then we come back and they are all mad and screaming at us. if they give us a chance to say what we want to and they are still not interested, then say "no thank u". If u hide or dont answer, we keep coming back. and see... once u say no thank u, (gasp) we go away. its that simple ppl. [added 20th Jan 2008]
Emily [e] said haha alex your right ive never gohn to talk to ppl about it but i know thats what they do. im a jw too so i understand what you mean ppl make fun of me all the time for it but whatever thas ok i just dont undersand whats so wrong with being a jw i mean if its ok to be jewish and christian whats wrong with jw? [added 21st Aug 2008]
Fergie Fernandez [e] said Well...as you people have said, JW's dont go to harm you they go with the purpose of helping you. Now as for the people that hate us why dont you stop and for once listen to what we have to say? What are you scared of? being proved wrong? Think about it... [added 31st Dec 2008]
anonymous said these people such as alex and emily r not real jw if they were they wouldnt try 2 smear the name of there on religion online or anywere [added 3rd Feb 2009]
Abby [e] said I'm a JW also and you guys are all right if people knew that we are just trying to save their live then the would be grateful and they would listen, they dont know what their doin when they slam the doors in our faces. If we all stick 2gether we will sav more live than any super hero ever could. [added 22nd Apr 2009]
scrappy [e] said hi hey hi hhahahahahaha [added 17th Sep 2009]
anonymous said i am a jehovahs witness also and i don't understand why you can't treat us with respect like you would with any one else. we're normal people.All we want to do is help others and they just slam doors in our faces. how would you feel if you were trying to help people and every time you go to talk to them you get shouted at or have a door slammed in you're face?

please at least try to tell us kindly that you are not interested in our religion and receiving everlasting life and that you would prefer to live a short life and die relatively young and perhaps we will stop calling on you're door form then on. [added 15th Mar 2010]

anonymous said I m a jw n i wanna ask...............y cnt u pplz jux treat us likee u treat any other normal person??? y iz it ok to b jewish catholic cristian n all those other religions bt wen it comes jehovas witnesses pplz act likee itz a crime?!?!?! if u dnt wanna listen then thats ur problem bt at least have the decency 2 b kind about it!!! [added 28th Oct 2010]
anonymous said Why is it that when you interrupt people going about there own business and try to tell them about your version of [insert deity of your choice here] and you get the response of a slamming door, do you think they are the ones being rude?

Your time might be better spent organising a mail shot, or a tele-sales campaign to reach the non believers?

Most people are perfectly aware of religion and probably have their own beliefs, why do you have to try and change that?

People hide because they don't want to be harassed or 'converted' and if you just informed people where you are and when you meet they could come along if they were interested. I don't get Satanists knocking on my door so why do you? [added 31st Oct 2010]

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Monday 14 February, 2005
# Bumped into Matt, Moseley's finest cartoonist and tech journalist, while walking Dogger and Halster. After he'd let me persuade him that the environmentally sensitive thing to do was not buy flowers for Anna, he accompanied me to the park. I wasn't the sunniest company, but he remained cheerful and talkative throughout, which was jolly decent of him. Thanks, matey.
Matt B said Funny, I was thinking I was the gloomy one!

I guess Jez gloom is like most people on a good day... [added 14th Feb 2005]

mbroersma said just testing adding a comment with a user account [added 14th Feb 2005]

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#Stop me and buy one
First ice cream van of the year just jingled past. That's one day later than last year, contradicting evidence that spring arrives sooner and sooner.
Matt B said Interesting, I must have missed it. Or maybe spring arrives earlier the further north you go? [added 14th Feb 2005]
He came right past the door, about quarter to two, travelling from Church Road to Anderton Park. Perhaps you were lost in concentration and/or a post-prandial snooze? [added 14th Feb 2005]
Matt B said Not a chance... it's not so eventful working from home in Forest Road... the sound of the ice cream truck is big news around here... [added 14th Feb 2005]
Pete Ashton [w] said Sam beat you again - first one heard 48 hours ago on Rough Road in Kingstanding. [added 14th Feb 2005]
Rough Road in Kingstanding? If it wasn't true, you'd have to make it up. [added 14th Feb 2005]
Pete Ashton [w] said Yeah, I forget how perfect that is. I live off Rough Road, and it actually is pretty rough. [added 15th Feb 2005]

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Sunday 13 February, 2005
#[elsewhere] Googling around, that seems to be it. Who'd a thunk it.
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Friday 11 February, 2005
#[elsewhere] one of the few remaining bits of programmer naughtiness
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Thursday 10 February, 2005
# Hope the weather picks up for the weekend - I want to watch the Chinese New Year goings-on without getting damp.
Matt B said What are they going to be doing, pray tell? [added 10th Feb 2005]
Lots of stuff down at the Arcadian Centre


Kung Hei Fat Choi [added 11th Feb 2005]

Matt B said We probably won't go since we're having friends over for lunch. But, if we can get rid of them quickly, we might go. [added 13th Feb 2005]
Sadly, we didn't make it. The quintuple whammy of a lunchtime birthday party, Bean's current poorliness, England v France, on and off freezing rain, and a 4:30 swimming lesson ruled it out.

In retrospect, I maybe should have skipped the rugby.

Arse. [added 13th Feb 2005]

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# How to Title Your Talk : The mistake is that people try to be clever in their session names: "Shh! I Won't Tell If You Won't" might seem like a clever name for a session on implementing translucent databases and group ACLs, but it's not. You like it because it's intriguing and makes people want to read the session description. I say that's exactly what makes it a bad title--it means people have to read.
I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't think of anything better ... sob!

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#[Arabica]XPath: more axes
Committed ancestor and ancestor-or-self axis implementations. Corrected wonky implementation of parent axis.
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Tuesday 08 February, 2005

Watching Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. The usually reliable Radio Times rates it as a measly one star. The Guardian Guide, always certain to a call a shit film a "shit film", disagrees: it's got tombs and raiding.

It's not the greatest film ever, but it rocks in almost exactly the way a no-brain global-trotting spy-flick should. Score one for The Guide.

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Friday 04 February, 2005

The full ACCU Conference programme has been published. It looks brainbendingly good (with one or two exceptions ...), and it's probably the best, most technical developers' conference in Britain, if not the world.

Get your boss to pay for you to go (it's cheap too), and if they won't then get a different boss.

smellygit said what if your boss has been sacked? [added 8th Feb 2005]
... well, I suppose it means you do have a different boss now, but it's not exactly what I meant ... [added 8th Feb 2005]

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#[linkfarm] Open Source is Not a Career Path
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Thursday 03 February, 2005
#The Da Vinci Cobblers

Idling away watching Tony Robinson ping from academic to academic and from church to church in his quest for the holy grail, or as that cash-in title has it The Real Da Vinci Code. I'm reading The Da Vinci Code at the moment (as predicted by Mark Lawson on Radio 4 - you or someone you know will receive a copy of The Da Vinci Code for Christmas), and it's bollocks frankly.

The book rips along, no doubt about that, but it's dreadful, really, really dreadful. The constant cliffhangers are heavy-handed, there's a reliance on extended flashbacks (each invariably introduced by He thought back again to that night ...), the plot (300 pages in, so far) is really pretty thin (and, to me at least, a bit familiar). Dan Brown makes his living as a professor of English, so he's obviously read a few books. He's unable to translate that knowledge into good writing of his own though. His characters, for example, are pretty flat, defined by adjectives (The reknowned curator Jacques Sauniere - the prologue's opening words) rather than dialogue or action. He states, he doesn't reveal.

The book actually begins with a page headed FACT with a few lines about Da Vinci and about Opus Dei. Throughout, there are little digressions on Da Vinci, the golden mean, the Knights Templar, and so on. No doubt I'll get a little potted history of the Cathar heresy, Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau before too long. That stuff's real it hints, maybe the rest is too. It's a really cheesy device to try and give the story more weight that it really has. Precisely the kind of device beloved of the pulp authors of the 20s and 30s, authors who would no doubt recognise Dan Brown as one of their own. Except we won't be reading Dan Brown in 70 years time, but we will still be reading Tarzan and Conan. No, we will.

Should you really want to read a big fat novel packed to the gunwhales with graily, templary, rosicrusiany, masony, full-on-high-fibre semiotics stuff then run, don't walk, to Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. It's bloody marvellous.

Marv said Yes indeed and then some. His style is absolutely dreadful. [added 4th Feb 2005]
matt b said I find it disturbing how there are all these books out there saying 'Da Vinci Code is not fact'... in other words there are millions of people out there who are somehow treating it as nonfiction. I guess some people also thought that Mars was like Burroughs described it but they were kids mostly.

In Le Monde's Friday book section they were talking about how the book has broken all records in France too. But, amusingly, before they could publish it in French they had to go back and correct 'the more obvious errors' so that a European audience could read it... [added 5th Feb 2005]

anon said I don't understand why Dan Brown is so popular. I read "Digital Fortress" and would have thrown it away before finishing it if I has not been desperate for a read.

I have read a lot of SF and I am used to writers doing "Hard" fiction and actually having a clue about the subject material. Dan Brown seems to do a little light skimming to get a few buzzwords and then just makes up the rest. [added 20th Feb 2005]

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Tuesday 01 February, 2005
#[Arabica]XPath: predicates again
Just corrected an oversight in my predicates implementation. A step expression can have an arbitrary number of predicates applied to it, but I'd only allowed for one. Oops.
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