Saturday 31 May 2008

OK ILUG is upon us - all you foreign visitors take heed!

Just checked and it is around 3 days and 20 hours till Mr Mooney's and the rest of the ILUG organizational gang's collective blood pressure will have peaked and the unstoppable force that is ILUG first session will be in full swing.

Now this bit is important. Normal packing for Ireland involves anything that is waterproof as are natural state is if now wet, damp. We have two climatic conditions "it is raining" and "it is about to rain". HOWEVER it would appear that we may be blessed with a day or two of sun. So I would where I you pack both your wet weather gear and the sun block. I don't get to say THAT to often. As a neighbour said to me today when I went for a wander to the local shop for milk. "If this is global warming.. BRING IT ON!"

Right to the job in hand, somethings to remember The ILUG organisers have looked after your every need during the conference hours .. however you will (if you take a drink)be expected to participate in some post session drinkies.

There’s a thing about going for a pint in Ireland. When you go “for one,” it never means one. Hospitality won’t allow it.

You see, rarely does each person buy their own drink. In fact, it’s almost considered rude. For example: Suppose two people say they’re “going for one.” Either one or the other gets the first round, obligating the second person to get the next. This means the attempt to “go for one” with a friend is doomed from the start by the presence of said friend and at ILUG this may mean several dozen friends all in loosely bound and fluid rounds of "going for one".

But the problem doesn’t stop there. While pubs are sometimes open from early morning, most Irish people don’t tend to head to the pub until 10pm or later. Things don’t get going in Irish pubs until around 11pm. This causes problems.

Say four people go for “one” on a Thursday evening. Everyone finally arrives at about 10:30pm and the first round is ordered. Before you know it, closing time is looming. Not wanting to seem tight (that’s “cheap” to you, Mr & Mrs USA), everyone tries to get their round in. Suddenly, our four friends (because whether they were friends or not before, they certainly are feeling the love now) have consumed at least 4 rounds of drink in less than an hour. A sense of deep camradery and goodwill has descended on their ever-lightening heads. They’re feeling good. They’re singing songs. They’re falling out the door, encouraged by the impatient bar staff.

It just wouldn’t be right to put the brakes on something that’s going so well, would it? Someone suggests the night club. A rousing cheer sounds. Our ILUG friends (friends? Hell, they’re practically family at this point) are paying into the nightclub for the opportunity to listen to overly loud music that went out of style in the 1980s and pay twice or three times the normal going rate for drinks. Seeing as the music is now too loud for conversation and the nightclub too wedged for them to stand all together, they concentrate their energies on those overpriced drinks. And, funny enough, those feckin nightclub glasses must be half the size of normal ones - they seem to empty twice as fast!

Aaaaaaaaand now it’s 2am and our four closely related family members are so ballixed they can hardly recognise each other. Ah well, throw an arm around whoever is closest to ya, we’re all good friends here... the conversation will go like this

“Anyone hungry?”

“I could eat a nun’s arse through a convent gate.”

“Jaysus, I’d kill for some garlic curry cheese and bacon chips.”

.. and this gentle reader is what makes you feel ill the next day .. not the
8 pints of Guinness, 3 Whiskeys, 2 Vodkas, 2 Mohito's and something blue that had a camel twizzler, an umbrella and 3 slices of mango in it. (Note ... "Well MaryBeth had one - and she is an important figure in the notes world" is not an excuse that wears well the next day when you throw up on Fluffy!)

See you all at ILUG :-)

Paint me purple and call me Shirley - I am HOT!

Midday 31 May and up here on the slightly balding pate of "auld mother Ireland" the sun is splitting the trees! According to the sweat-o-meter in the back garden it is 27 and there isn't even enough of a breeze to cool the embarrassment of a young lassie's first kiss . Now don't get me wrong i like a bit of heat as much as the next man but I am a heathen northerner, we aren't genetically programmed for warm, cold is our metier. Yes we many complain vociferously and with much elan about rain, frost and the odd flurry of snow, but we are at a total loss when it comes to sun and heat.

Being ,once many years ago, of the blond blue eyed phenotype I am plagued with a ability to get sun burn under a 40w bulb. I have know this for all of my adult life and when away in some exotic part of the world like Greece or Singapore I slap on the factor 99,999,999, a hat and at least 3 layers of AV reflecting tin foil. However there is in every Irish chap and lassie something that tells us the sun back home wont harm us. It is a nice friendly sun with a big smiley face probably called Paddy O'Warm. With this in mind we run around with our shirts off exposing our ghastly whiteness to the direct glaze of the sun with no protection AT ALL. Pass any public park and you will be deafened by "POPPING" as a million freckles appear on the the pale bodies of the high proportion of ginger and strawberry blonde's we Irish are blessed with.

I can foresee a busy night in the local accident and emergence departments as a battalion of sun-stroked and burnt Irish turn up convinced they are either not long for this world or seeing little purple elephants swarming over their sofa's.

Which is why gentle reader I am sat in the the shade of the trees in the bottom corner of the garden, listening to Three Dog Night and writing this post. Those of you coming to ILUG if you are expecting a Bronzed me .. TOUGH! I will be my white pasty self!

Friday 30 May 2008

My Worst Jokes of All time

How do you get down off an elephant?...
You don’t; you get down off a duck.


Two men are out shopping for shirts.
They stop outside a shirt shop and one of the men points
to a rather fine hand made shirt in the window.
‘There’s the one I’d get.’
Just then, the owner- a cyclops- came out and punched him on the nose.


“Hello there Mr Barman…..
(says nothing for 20 seconds)

…Could I have a pint of guinness(extra cold of course)

“sure, said the (friendly, of course) Barman,
But why the big Paws??”"


How many emo kids does it take to change a light bulb?
What do you care? You don’t understand!

Two cows in a field.

One says, “I’m very worried about this mad cow disease”.
The other says, “It doesn’t bother me, Im a squirrel.”

What’s the difference between a Lada and a Jehovah’s Witness?
You can shut the door on a Jehovah’s Witness.

How many Irish sons does it take to change a light bulb?

No,no, that’s alright - you go on out and enjoy yourself, and I’ll just sit here in the dark.

Monday 26 May 2008

ILUG2008 Anthem (Celtic Drum and Bass Mix)

This is not the finished Mix.. just a rough draft.....
But imagine the opening session.. the crowd is restless ... the lights dim and
this starts to play ... the speakers take the stage.. loads of dry ice and lasers

Sorry the talking notes samples arent quite there yet ...and the ending of this clips got all cut up ... don't know how that happened and I could'nt be arsed doing a fade out before bed

Expect the 5 minute full mix in a day or two.

Get a wee sample MP3 here...

Sunday 25 May 2008

Things to remember in an Emmergency

Gentle Reader here is a very short post but contains vital information taken from the web site of

Her Majesty's Department of Vague Paranoia (HMDVP)

If you are involved in any emergency it is important to:
  • Run like hell, particularly if you caused the emergency.
  • Trample all others in your desperate attempt to escape.
  • Loot on the way out.

I believe these may have been taken directly from the ILUG 2005 speaker's handbook
I wonder was it copyrighted?

Obvious but it does need to be said. Visit the site for more information vital if you are abducted by aliens or attacked by aliens.

The iToilet has arrived for Anally Retentive Macophiles

Wild Bill I know you are there...should be this a "Jobbie"?
click on pic for more.

Those of you that like all things Apple feel free to "tut tut tut" and feel aggrieved that you are being got at AGAIN by a PC'er.

How to get a girlfiend if you are a Geek (male) NSFW!!

Gentle reader it is too late for me, my days of being "love's young dream" are long past :( However those awfully nice people over at VideoJug ("Life Explained on film") have very thoughtfully put together this video to help those young turks at the start of their careers ... Niall if you are reading this TAKE NOTES there will be an exam next weekend!

How To Get A Girlfriend If You're A Hopeless Nerd

Saturday 24 May 2008

News you may have missed #5

Frottage Chic.
Freddie Johnson, 49, was arrested in New York City in April, for the 53rd time after he allegedly once again rubbed up against women on crowded trains.
(This is technically called Frottaphilia)
He is such a menace (a 57-page rap sheet) that a special NYPD detail follows him around, certain that he will re-offend. Shortly after the arrest, the New York Daily News reported that his twin brother, Teddy, is now serving an eight-year sentence in upstate New York for a series of subway gropings of his own. A retired police officer told the Daily News that he saw the brothers almost every day and could tell them apart only by their clothes. Freddie, he said, was "blue collar" while Teddy conducted his fondlings "always dressed in a blazer and slacks." [New York Daily News, 4-16-08]

Well done Teddy! If you are going to be a pervert be a well dressed pervert!

Jonvon's current domicile focuses on Kinder, Gentler Government:
The county government in Tampa, Fla., revealed in April that because of its unusual interpretation of state law, all of its inmates on work-release programs during the last 15 years have been accruing pension and post-retirement health-care credits. [St. Petersburg Times, 4-15-08]

Staying In Jonvon's part of the world... they have some really stupid "crims"
In a suburb of Tampa, Fla., cafe owner Agustin De Jesus was asleep for the night in a back room but awakened by a break-in. He noticed that the thief had parked his SUV by the back door with the engine running for a quick getaway, so De Jesus hopped in, drove away and called police, who arrested Leonard Levy, 55, who is a candidate for life in prison based on his long record. [St. Petersburg Times, 4-22-08]

Closer to home now... this is why i will NEVER EVER buy a Tom Tom

The next day, in King's Lynn, England, a Streamline taxi minibus had to be pulled from the River Nar after the driver, who said he was obediently following the navigation system instructions, drove straight into the water. [Lynn News, 4-23-08]

.. and finally a way to persuade the most ardent M$ support that "Notes is Nice"
Zurich Univ. scientists announced preliminary success with a nasal spray that upped the oxytocin level so that it reduced hyperactivity in the amygdala area of the brain, such hyperactivity being associated with excessive fear of people. Oxy-sprayed people proved more gullible (er, trusting) in tests than placebo-sprayed people. Yr Editor is certain that this work will be used only to bring “social phobia” sufferers up to normal levels and not for any other negative or dangerous or scary purpose at all. BBC News

Be Safe, Be Happy.. Behave!

A plug for a nice wee iSeries tool

I don't do this often however I thought I would give a bit of a plug to an iSeries tool we got years and years ago. I actually runs on our Domino server on WinTel but talks directly to all of our iSeries boxes. The tools is called
This little gem sits and pretends it is a LPD printer which you can set an iSeries OUTQ to point at just like any other IP printer. When a spool file appears on the OUTQ it is sent to PDFing and is converted to a PDF file which can then be emailed directly to your domino server (or the world in general). It can handle straight reports, IPDS reports and even stuff like barcodes. Oh an it can also convert iSeries reports to M$ ExHell should you be a complete pervert ;-)

We bought this tool 8 years ago and it always has run a treat. As of yesterday it had converted 850,000 iSeries reports to PDF, TXT and ExHell.

Thank you PDFing .. Great Job Keep it up!

Observed during Notes 8.0.1 Startup

Thursday 22 May 2008

McDonaghs mentioned in Grand Theft Auto 4 - Fame at last

Gentle reader-geek. Imagine my surprise when playing GTA 4 when there large as life was "McDonagh's Fish and Chip Resteraunt". Sadly it was closed ... but you can find a crate of molotovs in the alley behind it.

I have a vague recollection that I have a distant relative on the design team or if my memory is proving deceptive one of the designers has been to Galway where the world famous McDonagh Resteraunt and there it is in all it's glory in GTA ... I am so Proud!

Getting spammed by a anti-spam company **update**

Well it seems I was mistaken yesterday in this post.
I was not getting spammed by untangle themselves in fact I was not getting spammed at all the problem appears to have been a misconfigured server. To quote Van Patrick from the thread I started on their forum yesterday.
... what is happening is that an Untangle user has their server mis-configured to filter outbound email and then send quarantine notices to the intended recipients for any email that gets blocked as spam. So, somebody at this user site was attempting to send something that may be spam to you, their Untangle server stopped it, and then their Untangle server notified you that it stopped it. These notifications have an Untangle logo on them, but they come from an Untangle server owned by this user.
Now I do have to say the people at Untangle acted quickly and professionally to both contact me and to get this sorted even though it was not actually their problem. So let me take this opportunity to thank them for doing this and to retract the accusation I made yesterday that they were spamming me, they weren't.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Getting Spammed by an anti spam company

Got a bunch of emails today from a company called "untangle" ... which claims to be a spam filter which has caught some mail from me and that I should go and check it and release it.

A closer look at the "release" and "delete" links show they are pointing at https// addresses.

The email header shows it originates from which is registered to Ugam Solutions UK Ltd. which surprise surprise is a marketing company.

So here we have what is probably a decent anti spam product and some prawn in Marketing has thought .. we need to advertise! Lets get some marketing company to send 10,000s of pointless mails because we can reach a lot of people that way and it may not have been done before.. well it has and it is called SPAM and your company is trying to stop it.

I have never Heard of UNTANGLE
I have never until today visited the UNTANGLE site
I have never requested information from them
I NEVER tick the "send me information" boxes on web pages or register with marketing companies for "interesting newsletters". In fact two of the addresses this mail was sent to are totally fictitious addresses set up and published on a web page to act as spam magnet for web crawler bots and the mail sent to these accounts keeps our Bayesian filters current.

I hate sending to ABUSE@ addresses, because at best you get a form mail back and then nothing happens. So I have posted my surprise on there forums here. I await a response with interest

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Jean Luc Picard's Super Safe Seatbelt

Jean-Luc Picard Or Patrick Stewart if you will has with the Tech Team of Star-Trek developed not the warp drive, not the transporter but something almost as wonderful.

ILUG Countdown thingumy dodah

If anyone wants the code for the banner up at the top let me know and I will email it to you

Sunday 18 May 2008

A Sunday Evening in May

It was such a lovely evening and next week is probably going to be a female-pitbull-with-PMT I took the opportunity to take the bike out for a bit of a whirl around the Ulster May country side. I took the cam with me to record the cloudless sky.

This is my baby, like me a bit long in the tooth but feisty and reliable and wonderful in the country side around here where there are few straight roads and lots and lots of wee twisty ones! (click on the piccies below if you want closer look)

As you can see the good weather has brought out the crowds in force. Such a shame it is normally such a nice peaceful beach but at least you get to see a cloudless blue irish sky!.

Were it not for the gorse (yellow) and the may thorn (white) being in bloom I would say it was July.

Long may this spring last!

ILUG - 08 Jamfest - Volker's Audition

Very rare footage of Volker's audition for the ILUG Jamfest Band (still un-named)= but we have plently to choose from)

Volker - Lead Vocals
Bruce - Drums
Me - Keyboards
Julian - Tar's
Nathan - Bass

Keep an eye out for Paul Mooney in the audience he is trying to remain incommunicado by wearing a darth vader hat.

Kudos to Limberger for the Vid!

So shall we let him in?

NW200 '08 - a perfect tribute to Robert Dunlop

Yesterday's day of road racing was edged with black as most if not all of the 150,000 spectators and millions of online viewers remembered the racer and the man that was Robert Dunlop. With his death last week the last of the local racers from the 70's and 80's have gone.

However the day's racing was of such a caliber that it paid the perfect tribute to those absent friends and heroes of yesterday. The first 250cc race set the tempo for the day. Michael Dunlop, one of Robert' sons elected that although he had just lost his father he would race. After much soul searching the race organisers and Robert's family agreed that his son should race... and race he did.
Sweeping all before him he won showing all the style grace and racing skill his family is famous for .. he did his father proud... well done Michael!

Although the sun didn't shine it was a perfect day for racing. Not too bright, not too windy and not wet at all. Speed in the superbike classes where up in the high 190's mph and even the 125cc were managing 140mph.

The NW200 is the greatest of the real road races (the IOM TT is brilliant but is when all said and done a time trial). It is the biggest sporting event in Ireland and has a larger audience world wide than the FA cup final ... Long may it last!

This is what racing between the hedges is like and here is the 600 race where the lead changes every 3 or 4 minutes.. the leaders riding 3,4 or 5 abreast @ 170mph on some occasions .. fantastic!

LotusScrript classes for Symphony?

Simple question - Where are the classes for manipulating Symphony docs from Notes and vice a versa. For the life of me I can't find any mention of them and I am sure there must be, why have a "Office Beating" family of products that can't talk to one another?

Thursday 15 May 2008

Are we locked in a delusional pattern of cruel fantasy?

Not my words but those of philosopher John Gray in "Black Mass" his latest book. I must admit I am starting to like these "talking heads" books I used to run a mile from opinion based literature, generally because it wasn't my opinion and lets face it whose else's matters. :)

As Martin Amis recently put it "Opposition to religion [currently] occupies the high ground, intellectually and morally" most famously in the Dawkin's Polemic "The God Delusion" and the self-abusing secular banality of Hutchin's "God is not great" both of which I have read and enjoyed both disagreeing and agreeing with in equal measure.

I was passing through an airport bookshop and picked up "Black Mass -Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia" which just leapt out as a title that said "Read me and harumph at the page quite a bit" so I did just that, except there were far fewer Harumphs than I thought there would be.

Now I am not suggesting that Prof Gray is right in all his positions but I found myself either agreeing with or being challenged by him a lot more that Hitchens, Dawkin and to some extent Dennett.

"Progress is a myth" was one of the statements that made (given my ubergeek status) me first go "nonsense" and then think further on his reasoning. Progress in society is not like progress in science. Science is by nature cumulative for example we will never go back to alchemy, the same is not true about politics or ethics where things can and do come back often under different names time and time again. Torture that was prohibited by international law until 2 or 3 years is back as "professional interrogation technique"

When the Spanish Inquisition used it that was regarded by history as an awful heinous abuse of canon power.

Henri Alleg wrote of the very same thing in his book "the question" in the '50s and his documented experiences of water-boarding at the hands of the French in North Africa where soundly condemned as torture by the world at the time. (The book has a forward by JP Satre which makes it more than worth a read ;-) )

When The Khmer Rogue used it in Cambodia it was to quote The Times "a foul, inhuman action that highlights the iniquity of the regime that permits it", few at the time disagreed.

Whether or not this is torture under current law is not the point, whether or not it is warranted is not the question, either it is a barbaric torture or it is not. Prof Gray's point is well made, past evils may be exiled but it is only a temporary respite.

In an interview in a magazine (hard copy only) He even had some words about web2 and the whole social network "thing". He posits the interesting notion that it is a "social black hole" into which our lives are slowly disappearing sucked in by the gravitational pull of
(1) the duplication of yourself in the profile of every network you join
(2) congestion (like we got on Twitter 2night) and how many friends do you really have or for that matter need? Has the human requirement and capacity for social interaction grown exponentially over the last 2-3 years?
(3) Noise - he made the analogy that joining a new social network was a bit like sticking your head in a beehive - potentially rewarding but likely to cause you pain.
(4) Time - Time is like land, "they aint making any more of it" So as social networks soak up minute after minute of your time you develop what he calls "continuous partial attention". Gone are the days when in rural Ireland we measured time in phrases like "2 shakes of lambs tail" or "The time it takes to milk a good jersey cow" a measurement that equates a useful activity with the time it took to do it. What would the modern equivalent be. "the time it takes to check Facebook, Twitter, Email and all my IM accounts?" it doesn't have the same .. hmmm.. ring or kudos ... BTW my best guess is 25 mins, to milk the cow manually.
(5) Rejection - both of yourself by others and when you reject a network that is now "not cool"

As a user I perhaps don't agree with all of that.. but he does pose some interesting challenges that we may need to face before long as to how we see and define ourselves in the world both real and virtual....... much to ponder on before I can even consider an answer to the question inthe title of this post.

An recent article by the main himself can be found here

It's North West 200 Motorcycle Races Weekend

Gentle reader. I may have mentioned it before , but if it has slipped under your radar I am a bit of a motorcycle nut. I ride them, I lust after them and I enjoy watching them go very very fast. Which is a good thing because every May around the roads between Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart the local Motor club runs the world famouse North west 200 races.

Tonite was the last practise night and a lovely evening it was too, sun, light breezes an almost perfect night. However it was marred by a "coming togehter" at 160mph of two of the 250cc riders. Robert Dunlop (brother of the many times world champion Joey) was seriously injured and another rider is reported to have a broken leg but is in no danger. The races on Saturday will not be the same without Robert but I am not alone in sending him loads of positive get well soon vibes in the hope he will be back next year fit and well.

On Saturday the roads will be closed at 10am and the races begin at 11am there is a full card of racing up until early evening. 150,000 to 250,000 people turn up and if the weather stays fair it is a grand day out. Best of all it's free, gratis, zilch just turn up and watch, what could be finer is you are a bike geek?

There is a really good BBC page here with a walk thru of the course (filmed on Tuesday this week! Look folks SUN in Ireland in MAY!!!!) click on the flags on the couse map and you get a wee minute of words from Philip McCallen (sorry no subtitles for the USians but he is not that broad you cannae understand him)

Needless to say I'll be there and may take some photo's so prepare to be bored by various picture of hotiron....hmmm i can smell the heady mixture of 2stroke and rubber bikes from the study (mind you i only live a mile from the course) ...Fantastic!

Oh and Bill as a dyed in the wool biker you might be interested in the fact that you can watch it on the BEEB - live streaming no less ....

** Update ** Robert Dunlop died of his injuries this evening @ 22:20. He will be sadly missed but long remembered by the fans of those that race between "the hedges".

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Rhubarb and Custard - Nostaglia

Gentle reader, Twas just this evening I was have a postprandial peruse of twitter when i came across @MattandJess and @Phigment reminiscing about kiddies shows from the past.. and all at once I was transported to that magical time in the 70's when there was nothing finer that retiring to the student flat after a hard day spent avoiding learning anything of note. Armed with nothing more than a selection of the Indian subcontinent's finest and hottest consumables and a 6 pack of Theakston's Old Peculiar we would settle around the steam powered television, provided by Philip's parents - Philip was from Kendal and his family had something to do with the eponymous mint cake and could thus afford to give their sprog a colour TV to take to university in the 70's.

I digress - we would settle around the TV everyday around 5:50 just before the news (I seem to remember) to get our 5 -7 minutes of sheer unadulterated joy that was "Rhubarb and Custard" and here for your edification are three episodes... oh Im filling up... pass the Kleenex....

**UPDATE** @MattAndJess hath just twitted... "I think you have shown me something that's actually trippier than Yo Gabba Gabba... and I didn't think that was possible"
My day it complete I can go to bed happy that we more chronologically gifted individuals can still show these young whippersnappers a thing or two.

Nite Nite all!

Monday 12 May 2008

Getting back to the URL you where at when you opened a document.

I was explaining this to a junior dev today and thought i would pass it on.

If you have a Web App with one form but 3 views and the document can be opened from any one of the 3 views. How do you get back to the view you where at when you opened the document in the first place?

There are several ways of doing this, this is mine and it uses a session cookie in the browser to do it.

First you need some cookie handling JS in your form or external JS file, Something like this.

function createCookie(name,value,days) {
if (days) {
var date = new Date();
var expires = "; expires="+date.toGMTString();
else var expires = "";
document.cookie = name+"="+value+expires+"; path=/";

function readCookie(name)
var nameEQ = name + "=";
var ca = document.cookie.split(';');
for(var i=0;i < ca.length;i++)
var c = ca[i];
while (c.charAt(0)==' ') c = c.substring(1,c.length);
if (c.indexOf(nameEQ) == 0) return c.substring(nameEQ.length,c.length);
return null;

function eraseCookie(name)

Then on the page/form/view that has a link to a document on it place this is in the onLoad event:


This will create a session cookie (it deletes itself when the current browser window closes) with the current location stored in the cookie.

Then on your form, place a hidden field called BackURL, or something similar, then on the onLoad event of the form have the following

document.forms[0].BackURL.value = readCookie("goback");

This pulls back the last place you were from the browser and stores it on the form.
Finally on your WQS agent you can use this to get back to your original place by

print |[script language='javascript']location.href='|+ThisDoc.BackURL(0)+|';[/script]|

Alternately you could populate a $$Return field with the contents of the cookie and use that
to redirect the form to the place that you were.

HTML Check Boxes values when Disabled by Javascript clear themselves when saved

Caught this one today.

You have a check box on a form
For one reason or another you use the JS
document.forms[0].myCheckBox.disabled = true;
to stop users changing it on the form.

However if you then SAVE the form back to the Domino server with the disabled status of the field still set to TRUE. Any values the checkbox had will disappear and the field will saved as empty!

This does not happen with RADIO , TEXT and TEXTAREA elements. The only affected one appears to be CHECKBOX. I came across this because I was using AJAX to go back to the server to get some information and based on that one of three sets of CheckBoxes would become available the other 2 would be set to fixed values and then disabled to stop the user breaking the logic.

Simply puting an onSubmit functions that turns the CHECKBOXes Disabled status back to FALSE prevents this from happening.

Sunday 11 May 2008

A very rare platypus joke

Just heard on the "News Quiz" BBC Radio 4 ....

Q: How do you turn a platypus into a R&B singer?

A: Stick it in the microwave until it's Bill Withers ....

oh My ~ wipes tear from eye ~

Why did the chicken cross the road?

I was passed this by a USian chum.. and I am surprised who easy it would be
to change the names and it would be just as grin inducing if I changed the names
to Irish Politicians and celebs ... the world is a small place and an eejit is an eejit
no mater where they hale from.

The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!

My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......

The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must
first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes
after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is
help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT'
problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he
wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn
from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to
give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and
not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to
know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is
either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image
of the chicken crossing the road...

We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been
allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it!
It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's
intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his
eyes and the way he walks.

To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a
standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price
dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider

Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the
chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

To die in the rain. Alone.

Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?'
That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken
is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we
boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal
media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side.
That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as
simple as that.

In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told
us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the
chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it
experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its
life long dream of crossing the road.

It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but
will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check
book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new
platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% .........

Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the

I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of

I invented the chicken!

Did I miss one?

Where's my gun?

Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

Saturday 10 May 2008

Domino Blogger Band - Update

OK - Thanks to all that participated !
and here was me thinking I was the one with the mega weird mind !
and here is a list of the suggestions to date ... If any one has any more let me know and then i think I feel a poll coming on.

Flatulent Apocalypse
Eclipse and the Sluggish Loaders
The Object Variable Not Set
The BS (
The Bloggers System)
Twistie and the Views
Notes Liberation Front
Graceful degradation
Occular Love Pocket
Wicked Yellows
Bleed Yellow
General Failure
Empty Trash
Travel(l)ing Geeks
Progressive Disclosure
Garbage Collection
The Backward Compatibles
The B-Trees
Redd Booke and the YellowJackets
Workspace And The Chicklets

We also need a Genre so that our first release can be tagged on iPlods and the like, anything is acceptable (EXCEPT C&W which I for one refuse to listen to let along play) ... oh and it was suggested Duffbert be a front man but only if he wore spandex. Sorry but that is against the law in Ireland use of spandex was banned by common consent in 1991 after the great "codpiece stuffed with prime pork sausage - Bono deeply embarassed" scandal.

Thursday 8 May 2008

Domino Blogger Band Name required - Apply below

Ok here is a wee one ... I am sure there are enuff musos out there for us to be able to front up not only a band but a small orchestra at one of the LOTUS functions, ILUG LS, UKLUG etc ..
I am sure we would have no end to the volunteers for such an undertaking.

However what would the band be called?

"Accidental Goat Sodomy" is quite good but rather too expressive i fear

Bunchoffeckingeeks" is rather too apt.

"Flatulent Apocalypse" - Hmmmmmm perhaps if we want a metal edge

"Eclipse and the Sluggish Loaders" - To near the bone me thinks AND it sounds way to C&W

"Moist Speculum and the AJAX maggots" - too punky.....perhaps if it was 1989 again.

"The Object Variable Not Set" ~chortle~

Since Jess has volunteered already we could be "Jess and the guys with yellow rucksacks"

Anyway all suggestions for
(a) Band Names
(b) Song Titles
(c) Lyrics (We soooooo need a Lotus Song!)
gratefully received!

Another Reason that the 8.0.1 eclipse client starts mysteriously in basic mode

Caught today after a large amounts of head scratching.
2PCs exactly the same hardware spec and OS (Win2K) had Notes 8.0.1 Standard installed
One client no problem everything widgety and marvelous
The other.. well .. euuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

We discovered that one PC had a JVM installed the other didn't. It wasn't an old JVM there just wasn't one. It had been de-installed somewhere along the line.

Now it would have been nice if the client install had mentioned this as an issue when it was installing. But now we know we can check before we do any other installs.

The tao of SQL Injection exploits

Gentle reader I have often succumbed to large doses of smugness from time to time when it comes to Microsquishy products and their propensity to attract script kiddies and their evil ware. However over the past to days (oh whisper it please) I have found myself somewhat sorry for MS and all its doings.

Were you to cut me in half you would see Yellow thru and thru however there are bits of me that have dabbled in the world of PHP, RPG/CL, PERLE and SQL. So it was because of this experience I was called in on the periphery of an investigation as to why a web site was suffering from near continuous SQL-injection attacks.

Investigation on the web showed that there has been in the last few weeks a dramatic rise in web sites affected by a particular type of SQL-injections attack.. as reported here and here.

The immediate reaction was go blame IIS and ASP (which lets face it is only natural). However it does not now seem to be a vulnerability at all but really sloppy code on ASP pages.Now my developer half cringes when I see this. It is all to easy to take the easy way out and leave a steaming great hole in your code that lets script kiddies in. So here are some of the things I have found out about this particular attach which could.. from a notes point of view be applicable if you are using some form of SQL that is passed to say a DB2 database or ODBC connection.

Lets look at a simple bit of SQL

SELECT * from Menu Where Language = 'French'

Basically this Select all fields from the Menu table where field Language is equal to French
now you have an ASP page that uses an SQL statement like this to return data from the back end DB to the ASP page. The Language is passed into the ASP page by the URL something like this
the key pair is then used by the ASP code to build the Select statement and retrieve the data.

var LangId;
LangId = Request.form ("lang");
var sql = "select * from Menu where Language = '" + LangId + "'";
Which using the URL above as an example would result in the Variable sql being SELECT * from Menu Where Language = 'French'

This is fine and works wonderfully well...HOWEVER you created the tables and you forgot to set them to be read only for public facing operations.. so any SQL statments your ASP code passes back will get processed with your authority..
This is your first and probably worst mistake you were more interested in the wonderful look and feel (Sorry Chris) you where creating to be bothered creating SAFE connections.

OK the Script Kiddies to a search on Google for anything that say contains ".asp?id=" this will return 300 million results now most of these pages will be fine, well written examples of the ASP page wrights craft. However it seems given the figures that are there are hundreds of thousands of embarrassingly badly written ASP pages out there.

The fact that Google has an entry for a page that has in its url .asp? indicates that there is a public facing ASP access point that accepts variables... "lovely", thinks the script kiddie, "I am having some of that!"

The copy the url into notepad and ammend it thus';Drop Table Menu--

Now on the ASP page when
var sql = "select * from Menu where Language = '" + LangId + "'";
Is processed is results in variable SQL containing
"Select * from menu where language ='French';Drop Table Menu--"
Note the clever use of the orphan ' after the French in the url. In SQL as in JS the semicolon indicated the end of one statement and the start of another, the double -- indicates the end of the command string (ie STOP) . So when processed this example will select all fields where field Language =' French' and then it will delete the table called MENU from the database.

That was a simple example to show what SQL injection is and how easy it is to do. The example assumes that the script kiddie knows you have a table called MENU but this is very very unlikely. Unfortunately Script kiddies are the spawn of Satan and have acquired SQL skills .. the sql that is being used to infect sites is like this...and is much much more devious than the example above
2C004000 43002000760061007200630068006100720028003200350035002900200044004500430
40004300200045004E0044002000 43004C004F005300450020005400610062006C0065005F00430
6C0065005F00430075 00720073006F007200%20AS%20NVARCHAR(4000));EXEC(@S);--

The hex string when @URLdecoded yields something like:

DECLARE @T varchar(255)'@C varchar(255) DECLARE Table_Cursor CURSOR FOR
select' from sysobjects a'syscolumns b where and
a.xtype='u' and (b.xtype=99 or b.xtype=35 or b.xtype=231 or b.xtype=167)
BEGIN exec('update ['+@T+'] set ['+@C+']=rtrim(convert(varchar'['+@C+']))+'
'[script][/script]''')FETCH NEXT FROM
Table_Cursor INTO @T'@C END CLOSE Table_Cursor DEALLOCATE Table_Cursor
This is the yucky evil nasty horribly simple bit.. the SQL does the following
1. Gets all the tables in the database
2. Gets all the fields in each of the tables it finds
3. For every text field that it finds it updates the field appending the nasty [script] tags to the field

In this instance the nasty is the [script][/script] ... this will now appear where ever ASP implants the field's contents on the form thus infecting the page. Taking my menu example lets say there is one text field in that table MENUTEXT that has been infected and will be loaded when the ASP page is loaded.. ever iteration on MENUTEXT on the page will have the nasty code in it.. So if the menu has 50 items there are 50 [script] tags that will all run when this page is next loaded in a browser.

In the instance I was looking at there were 47 [script] loaders in one page. The script that was loaded basically added 22 hidden [iframes] into the HTML page with document.write() statements and these pointed at some really YUCKY malware.

Like all really nasty things, this code is simple and very effective. The user goes to a trusted site .. like these and you start to get
"do you trust this activex..." etc, you think to yourself .. yes I trust the International Monetary Fund Web site.. so you click yes and wallop your PC could have a dose of nasties.

As a user you have done everything you should have to practice safe surfing and you still have
1001 popups for "Deviant Hamster and Gaffer Tape Insertion pictures".

The natural reaction was to blame MS when this flare up started and people did and yes I was amongst them. Loads of IIS admins waited for the inevitable patch, which never came. Then MS and lots of other commentators started to point out that it was caused by sloppy code
and bad DB security. Now this would be embarrassing if it was just one or two sites but since Mid April somewhere between 500k and 1000k websites have been affected!

That is one hell of a shitload of bad programming, bad security, bad testing and bad auditing!

So developers everywhere (including we Lotus geeks) I think we need to feel sorry for our ASP colleagues and take this as a salutatory lesson that the way to hell is paved with sloppy coding!

ILUG 08 a guide to Irish Idiom Part 10 - Noogerty O'Toogerty speaks out

An now a guest speaker who happened to be in town will guide you in recognising Irishness in yourself, take it away professor.....

Wednesday 7 May 2008

An Ode to Server Problems

An Ode to Server Problems
(with a nod to Dr Seuss and a Wink at Duffbert)

If your code hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your Initialize() abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

It's not my code, it's tested, its wonderful and it's fine,
debugged to distraction, of this bug there is no sign,
I've showed it to the Phigment who thinks it needs a tweek,
A change here, a comma there is the solution that we seek.

My users they have told me that my app is so very slow
Not the kindest are their comments and my cheeks they are a glow
I am at a loss, i can't explain it.... its become my buggy foe
Wild Bill will make this #1 in his next worst practice show.

So if a cursor finds a doc link which is followed by a dash,
And double-clicking on a button puts your vista in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless, and your server's gonna crash.

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button or the mouse,
and your packets want to tunnel to another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a scouse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
cos as sure as sugar's sugar that bastards's gonna hang!

Indian Tech Support

When you make a call to your ISP's Tech Support and you are put thru to Sanjit or Rashid in Bangalore
spare a thought for the poor techies that support them!

It is well worth clicking on the picture to see it full size to get the "full" effect ...OOOO I love cables....!

A Psychiartric joke

Can't help it ... a "Watercooler" joke that creased me up when i heard it first and still does today when I heard it again ...

A man walks into a psychiatrist's office wearing only underwear made of Cling film (Saran Wrap). The psychiatrist says, 'Well...I can clearly see your nuts.'

[sfx of rimshot]

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Ooops a bit of a Admin "Gotcha" for me today

Time for a Mea Culpa which caught me out badly today.

ALWAYS Check that your [NET ADDRESS] field on the PORTS tab of the Server Record is set to be something other than an IP address.

This happens to be something that just slips my mind and if you do forget and put an IP address in there. It can reach up and bite you on the bum like it did to me today when I spent a whole morning wondering why the F**K a server was communicating to an old IP address which wasn't assigned by the DNS, wasn't in a HOST file, wasn't on the connection documents. The server just wouldn't be told.

Then I remembered the Server doc NET ADDRESS fields.. and yes there to my intense embarrassment was an dotted decimal address where a host name should be. It had been probably been there for years and it was only now when the physical hardware was swapped out that everything stopped working.

So let my blushes be a warning... don't forget your NET ADDRESS fields!

Friday 2 May 2008

Interesting Government Iconography - Duck & Cover 2008

Gentle Reader a chum sent me off to this site which i know is for USians and not Paddies like me. Ireland is of course ready. Every pub is equipped with emergency beer supplies and we are all trained to put our heads between our heads in the approved manner to kiss our asses goodbye.

However I digress .. one of the downloads had some interesting pictures which could be construed rather differently than the DHS would have you believe... i present the Irish version of "duck and cover 2008"
If a terrorist shoots a big red arrow at you, use your shoulder
to pin it against the wall and then wait for help to arrive.

If you spot a terrorist or something terrorist like
blow you red "I-can-see-a-terrorist" whistle
OR if you are a bald person shout very loudly.

If you have accidentally set yourself on fire DO NOT RUN!

If you are sprayed by a potentially noxious substance please stand
and think instead of seeking medical attention.

Just in case you get trapped in a fallen building
ensure you are carrying your Light Sabre

Michael Jackson is a "smooth criminal" not a terrorist!

In the event of a hurricane or a pile of dead things
Think about the how horrible it is before getting the
F**K out of there.

If the building falls on you, don't panic, give your self a blow
job under the table, it will relax you.

Radiation is a horrible thing and it could make you get very very
very tall. If it does, be careful going through doors, you WILL bang
your head. OH and DO watch out for the big red terrorist arrows
even when you are 60 feet tall they will smart!

If you hear songs by Michael Bolton, Phil Collins or the Back Street Boyz
Get the F**K out of there as fast as you can!

If a building falls on you and you DONT have your light sabre
well you have nobody to blame but yourself!
OH and do try not to fart!

In the event of terrorist attack you might loose a contact lens.
If you do, and cannot find it, roll on the ground and cry like a
baby until someone comes to help you.

News you may have missed #4

The way to a man's heart is through his ...
his ear or so this article in newsweek would appear to suggest .. the era of natural orifice surgery is underway.

Hip hip hurrah! this writer exclaims, or would if some mad Doctor chappie wouldn't take it as an invite to give me a new hip via the nearest orrifice and there are two very dear to me that no-one is sticking a hip replacement thru.

The controlling body is called.. wait for it.. NOSCAR (Natural Orrifice Surgery consortium for Assessement and research) now there is a mistake waiting to happend!

GFA Style car chase on Osaka, Japan

Now this is what I call a real car chase! 2460 cops, 430 cop cars and 1 helicopter ! How many points would you get for that??

Staying in the land of the rising sun...

Does this civil servant have RSA in his wrist or WHAT?

A civil servant in Tokyo was demoted..(note not fired ...demoted!) for accessing porn sites 780,000 times during office hours in a 9 month period. Over three quarters of a million lustful leerings with very probable accentuated trouser tightness and his colleagues didn't notice!
What can you say ? Well lets see.. 9 months thats say 250 x10 hour working days which is 2500 hours, thats 312 and hour or 5.2 naughty sites a minute! Bloody hell when did he do any work???
Five porn sites a minute for 10 hours straight ??? the man is superhuman!!!

Be safe Be Happy Behave!

Franziska 's TCF's captured on paper by Gardai Sketch Artist

Franzika Tanner on her posting was inquiring what a TCF (Travel Curse Fairy) would look like and posited that I might know. Well I didint but I know a chap that does. His name is Kevin and he works for the An Garda Síochána - SPG (Special Pixie Group). He was able to furnish me with these likeness of the two likely suspects last seen heading out of Shannon Airport on the same flight as Mr Paul Mooney. Thankfully (for Paul) they never ever effect the flights they travel on!

They are referred to in Irish Traveller circles as "The FUTILEs" (F**K Up Travel Irish Leprechaun Like Entities) Should you see them STAY well away as the slightest annoyance and you will have a 2 hours delay because the gudgeon-pin that holds the doobry do will have worked its way loose and the plane cant take of without it OR you luggage could end up in Timbuktoo.

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