Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Took this on Boxing Day - I think the girl in the window is rather nervous! :)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Happy Solstice

08:04 today was Solstice Sunrise.

Yah boo sucks to all those astronomically challenged hippies who observed it at 17:47 yesterday.

I welcomed the new year in my own inimitable style, at the M1 service station near Kettering, barefoot in the snow by the petrol pumps.

Happy Solstice!

Friday, 11 December 2009


Doing the rounds last night I found 5 beasts* in the paddock - trying to herd them back through the hole in the hedge in the dark was pointless, so I shut them in and left them to it.

How exciting is my life? :)

* thats country speak for cows, it is, arrr.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Global Warming

I give you, The Ratcliffe upon Soar power station :)
(It made 'pic of the week' on the BBC News website too)
Entirely unrelated* very cool photographers are
* OK They are not unrelated. Nah!

Monday, 30 November 2009


Ah, a great success over the weekend; Smoothwall now installed and the NTP server protected from the vagaries of Hackerz with L33t skillz - well, I hope so. Have installed snort to see whats what.

Best thing is I can now monitor what the systems doing from off-site; very handy.

In other news, the contractormobile passed it's MoT to cruise the M1 for another year! Blimey.

And I've almost finished the other internal stable's cladding, should get that done next weekend.

Not much else to report.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Silverlight - will the madness ever end?

I looked at Silverlight a year ago - when SL 2 came out - and built a photograph viewer with it - then I tried it on Chrome and it wasn't supported, so I went back to Flash.

This week I have been looking at it again in terms of using SL to display WPF content, such that I can write Smart Client and web based WPF apps sharing the same codebase.

Oh I wish. it looks like its still a bit of an integration nightmare.

But the real WTF here is this: A year later, and we're on SL 4??!? Whut? Blimey.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Happy Birthday To Me :)

Well, there you go - another year older, not necessarily another year wiser.

Saturday spent the day changing the crankcase ventilator valve on the Contractormobile - now seem to run much better and has half a chance of getting through the MoT on Friday.

Sunday I spent making my (in)famous Cassoulet; I have surreptitiously garnered the various ingredients over the preceding weeks:
  • A wild duck, suitable confitted
  • Toulouse sausages
  • Lamb neck fillet (much nicer than it sounds!)
  • Nice fatty belly pork
  • Haricot beans
And sticking to Hugh's standard recipe; happy to say it worked really well and I took his advice and added a bottle of 1985 Château Lafite-Rothschild 1er Grand Cru Classé* (well it was my birthday)

* Strictly speaking he suggests a nice robust Corbières. Ah well.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

New Camera Bag! New!

Today for my birthday I got the Lowepro Classified 250 bag. Its cavernous!

But the really neat thing is I can grab either camera really quickly as they both sit lens-down and are accessible from the top of the bag. So cool.

Contents of my camera bag (for the geeks amongst us):

Gripped EOS 50D
Venerable EOS 40D
70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens
17-55 f/2.8 IS lens
"Nifty fifty" 50mm f./1.4
EF-S 10-22 f/3.5
Teleconverter 1.4x II
EX580 and EX430
Alien Bees trancievers
Lenspen and SensorKlear
Pile of spare batteries for the various stuff
Pile of Sandisk CF cards
77mm filters: ND Grad, ND0.9, ND1.8, CP

And soon to be added:
400mm f/2.8 IS
Elinchrom 500/500 kit

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Dogs, Stables, Mud and WPF

This weeks news (in no particular order):

I have built a second internal stable in the barn, so now, just in time for winter, all the horses are able to be in overnight. Result.

The dogs have also turned their enclosure into something approaching a Somme battlefield, so they have had a smaller enclosure built holding them on the bricked area outside the stables - result there being 1) they no longer are covered in mud and 2) they can't see the dairy farmer next door so we don't get woken up by their barks at 06:30 :)

The Dogs of Passchendaele

On the IT front, work continues on NTP: It now supports Hang Seng data feeds and I have junked the UoW multithreading on the ADVFN feed as it caused all sorts of issues with DDE.

I'm writing a WPF client to connect to the data feed service and for a laugh I'm making sure its MVVM compliant - oh the joy.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Another free .Net dev tool. Free!

I love it when I get free stuff.

Today's must have VS2008 plug-in is PostSharp
Its a plug-in that enables you to implement AOP (aspect-oriented programming)

What does that mean? How about this:

  • Custom Attribute That Trace Entry and Exit
  • Custom Attribute That Makes the Method Asynchronous
  • Custom Attribute That Dispatches the Method to the GUI Thread
  • Custom Attributes That Handles Exceptions
  • Custom Attribute That Caches
And, loads of other neat stuff.

This goes in the must have toolkit along with GhostDoc and ReSharper.

(OK, ReSharper isn't free, but its the best £150 you'll spend. Well, maybe not the best, I mean, £150 also buys you
  • an hour in a Diamond Star,
  • half an hour with Madame Levoisier of Mayfair*,
  • a bottle of Krug and a Montechristo #2,
  • A meal for two at The Fat Duck, but only if you share (!!!)

but, you get the idea. :) )

*Not that I'd know, I'm just surmising

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tally Ho for King Harry and England!

Well here we are again. As my good friend Marcus would say, new day, same shit.

Boy oh boy are we wading through the deep doo-doo today. CEO up in arms, head of development moaning (!!!) and whose fault is it? Yep, after my glory days of last week ("For once! Things have gone to shit and its not my fault!"), again we revert to situation normal.

This was compounded by my brilliant stroke of genius by accidentally deleting the release directory out of VSS with the 'destroy permanently' flag set. Oops.

Ah well.

In other news, NTP is half refactored, so now its broken. Boo.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Weekend, and Azotoria

I have decided that the UK transport network suffers from Azatoria :)

Weekend: Not much, read lots of DDD blurb, re-worked the NTP to use units of work (hooray!) and a queued thread manager thingy.

Today, we have the big roll-out of the product which due to poor SQL coding on the part of my predecessor, blows up with an FK violation f you register with the same mobile number twice. Huzzah. Lets hope the customer only registers their test handsets once...

Oh and the ADVFN feed service at home went mad and started sending me error emails at the rate of one a second, so I had to get C to turn it off at the wall :( Oh dear.

Friday, 16 October 2009

All Alone, and DDD

Well I dunno. usually I work from home on Fridays. Half way up the M1 last night I get a call from the boss - we are having a big roll-out of a new product on Monday and they want to test it thoroughly on Friday so she says to me 'you'd better come in to the office tomorrow or it may be bad for people's weekends'.

Well FFS, its not like I didn't deliver the system on time and tested it properly.

So here I am at 08:15 and the place is like a graveyard. Ah well.

In other news! I am teaching myself Domain Driven Design, as the NTP (more on that later) is turning into a big ball of mud :)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Paling Unit Of Work

My good friend and mentor Timothy Paling, he of DDD geekery, has come up with a new paradigm: The PUOW, or Paling Unit Of Work.

How that differs from a normal Unit of Work is anyone's guess. Hopefully when he finds this blog he will comment and enlighten me.

He's a bit clever at the DDD stuff but I intend to catch up fast.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Martians Attack!

In a recent code review of the latest missive from the Mauritian offshore coding factory, I present you with the reason the partial keyword should be used carefully:

A single class with 15,000 lines of code spread over 12 separate files and with 31 separate include statements in each file.

Oh my.

Automated Dog Zapper

Yawn. 4am. FFS.
Charlie is going off on one. Probably a fox in the distance having a shag. I dunno. I've tried the dog-zapper collar and that shuts him up but I don't really like to leave it on him all night. Maybe some sort of Tazer arrangement on a remote system so I can zap him from bed? maybe under IP control so I can discipline him from work too? :)
Something like this, only with a Tazer?
Did I mention I'm going to Hel?

Saturday, 10 October 2009

I give you, Weaver Hill:

(Click to see larger)

Sunday, 21 June 2009


Makes a change from 20 years ago, being hunted down like a dog.