Sunday 30 November 2008

SHOCK!!!! HORROR!!!! REVELATION!!! Bill Buchan is Welsh and NI Toy Tractor Collectors go mad for Billy Ray Sirus and chicken curry

As I mentioned in the last post Bill Buchan PDF (Portly Domino Fellow) and fellow GONAD came to DYM's stomping ground in the frozen foggy tundra of North Derry. I recommended he stay in the Magherabouy Hotel, Portrush a hotel used by my company when we have folk visiting from the 4 corners of the coorporation. It is a nice wee hotel, free WiFi, decent beer in the bar and a rather nice view out over the Atlantic when not shrouded in freezing fog!

When I wandered out to the hotel on friday evening for some pre geek beer, I was rather surprised to find the hotel HEAVING with people, anoraked people all clutching toy tractors. 1:32 scale models of John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Fords and Izuzu's tractorial goodness were seen in large numbers and the dull rumble of half heard conversation in the bar was of die cast representation of Powertrain Doobries and the relative horsepower of whatever was considered the "ferrari" of the tractor world. There even was a martial dispute behind me over the fact that "she" couldnt get an iPhone because "he" had spent all their money on a 1956 Dinky Massey Ferguson 350 "still boxed" in immaculate condition. I felt she was making a fair point but as a Blackberry chappy I felt it was not my place to comment.

Bill arrived in good time and we had a few beers with the good people of "The Northern Ireland Toy Tractor Collectors Christmas Party and Curry Night" (F**K you couldn't make something like this up, I live a weird life that surprises even me from time to time) It soon became clear that they had organised a full evening of entertainment and had not cut back on the expenses in this credit crunchie time for they had both Country AND Western music!

Now Bill and I both possess savage, uncultured souls and our ears are not tuned correctly to appreicate the the delights of Billy Ray Sirus, Setsons and going YeeHA! Rather than spoil the tractor-o-phile's evening by singing along with "Achie Breakie Heart" we departed in a taxi for the throbing heart of Portrush.

Now I have long held the view that the Harbour Bar is up there with Sloppy Joes in Key West as a bar you HAVE to do before you die. They tried to change it a decade ago but there was such a public outcry that the pub has been left alone, although there is a fine bistro behind it and you no longer have to go outside to pee on a wall. (Well you had to pee on a wall if you where a chap, lassies I am reliably informed had normal sit-upon thrones) Basically the Harbour Bar has "character" lots and lots and lots of character which when combined with lashings of Guinness, Black Bush and the odd song equates to Craic in abundance.

I delivered Bill back to his hotel at midnight were the Toy Tractor Liberation Army had consumed their chicken curries and line danced themselves into a disel powered stupor. We had a wee whiskey and had an early and sober - ish night. Well i was in bed before 1am and I managed the stairs which for me is a symptom of sobriety.

Saturday arrived frosty and foggy and Bill did his geek stuff which he posted about here and after a quicky spot of retail therapy we repaired to the Harbour Bar Bistro for a spot of grub.
Mr Buchan was instroduced to CHAMP one of the 1001 things Irish people do with potatoes
and was scared shitless by the cheesecake, which initially he felt he was morally obliged to try but when push came to shove he decided that a Harbour Bar Cheesecake was a delight best left for another occasion.

Having satisfied our calorific requirements for the day, we repaired to the snug for more Guinness and Bushmils's. Beside a roaring fire we fell into the company to two lassies orginally from Glasgow or in their delightful patois "fray glazgay". Sensing a dialectic similarity they engaged us in conversation and rather worryingly assured me that Bill was infact Welsh. This was a startiling revelation as there were no sheep (either real or inflatory) in the vicinity of Mr Buchan and his usual dulcet tones hinted broadly of kilts, shortbread and skirl of the pipes (Bagpipes that is .. not the plumbing). They were "waking" an absent friend and had perhaps consumned a wee bit too much funerial punch which goes some way to explain their inability to correctly pin the sporran on a highlander ... metaphorically.

Our slightly sozzeled comapanions departed in search of champagne and were replaced in short order by The London Irish Veteran's Rugby Team and the birthday celebrations of a lassie called Wendy, whose daughter Laura had the voice of an angel and really really really needs someone to sign her up for a recording contract!

The Rugby chaps, having beaten Ballymoney's finest were in fine fettle and treated us to rousing renditions of "Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness" and "Father Chistmas do not Touch Me" It has to be said that these songs that require no great skill to sing but they do need nerves of steel to listen to. The birthday party responsed with a medelly of Queen's greatest hits, American Pie (who was that... Don McLean??) some Abba and a dash of Muppets

Not to outdone it was decided that Notes World would be represented by Mr Buchan who gave a resounding and well received rendidtion of My Brother Bill - The Fireman Song. Much cheering ensued both because I had not joined in and caused people's ears to bleed and the fact that mr Buchan IS the lost celtic tenor!

Several Irish traditional songs were then sung, accapella , by Laura, the pub (and it was crammed to the rafters with revellers) was suddenly quiet and grown men were seen to weep! She really did have the voice of an angel!

The evening closed at 2am with demands that Bill sing again, and this time on bended knee Mr Buchan and myself seranaded the birthday girl with a rousing chorus of "happy birthday". People had consumed enough alcohol to blunt the effects my voice usually has, although the bar staff had to hide behind several full barrels of Gunniess and cover their ears.

I must have got home because I woke up in my own bed....although the details are some what hazy.

So all in all another unexceptional weekend in Northern Ireland ;-)

ohhhh and remember it is considered rude to hang your sporran on an Elks Antlers without asking

Two useful tools for IE web devs

I was joined by "Wild" Bill Buchan this weekend for a spot of iSeries Geekery, Guinness,champ and Harbour Bar frolicary but more of that later.

Whilst Bill was saying "oh my life" and having pointer size issues. I did a couple of wee changes to some CSS on an app that was having IE issues. I am sure you know the type, looks fine in FF, Safari, Opera but goes tits up in IE. Now I have been using 2 wee tools that helps me with such things. Bill had not come either tool and suggested I throw it out to the web dev horde.

I am as I am sure you all are users of Firebug in FF and long for a similar product for IE. Well Companion.JS from the very nice people at MyDebugBar is a free product that "faces" the Microsoft Script Debugger in a very Firebug way. Full install instructions can be found at the link above, oh and did i mention it is free :-) we here at DYM like free! Free is good!

The other tool comes from the same crowd and is called "My Debug Bar" and although you have to pay for it, you can download it try before you buy.
Summary of features
* Menu to customize the DebugBar and check updates.
* Toggle the Development bar
* Alert on javascript errors
* Send page screenshot by email
* Color picker
* Resize IE window
* Zoom page
* View source code
* View MSHTML integrated ActiveX source code
* View HTML DOM Tree
* View original ad interpreted source code
* View tab attributes
* Edit tab attributes
* View HTTP and HTTPS headers
* View page cookies
* Validate html code for main page and frames/iframes
* List all javascript functions
* View javascript function code
* Execute javascript code in the currently loaded page
* Get information about currently loaded page


Now it doesn't debug JS (Companion.JS does that) but it does have a real whiz bang DOM inspector.. you can drag the inspector onto the browser pane point it at an element and get all the details about it. The CSS the element has (and has inherited)
for finding the source of those annoying glitches that make your web page look like shite it is invaluable. The HTML checker is pretty cool too and I use it frequently

Like I said previously you have to pay for MyDebugbar and it is 59 euros and if you do a lot of IE development this tool will pay for itself very quickly.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Interesting Notes Based Application - DOCOVA

All Notes-ers

I have just had a chat with a Canadian chap Gary Walsh from DLI who have a very interesting product called Docova I must add at this point that this post is not an advert or endorsement! However I did have a few "wow" moments when Gary Demo'ed it for me on Tuesday.

It is a Document Management System that is back ended by Notes NSFs and can be accessed thru the Notes Client and from a browser. It comes with a host of interesting bells and whistles and is priced very reasonably and it is well worth the time to have a look at their site. Particularly the 3 videos in the panel on the right that give a high level explanation/tour of the product.

If you are interested Gary does a good presentation and does not play the "pushy salesman" (an instant turn off for me) so don't be afraid to give him a buzz or drop him a line (contact details on the Docova site)

The "current economic climate" does not allow me at this time to think about a budget for Docova for my own Notes domains but Gary's contact details have gone into the "definitely keep" folder

Wednesday 26 November 2008

I have become to busy to care.

Gentle reader ,

I had a bit of a shock today. It happened when I was listening to one of the podcasts I download weekly. A fine program called "Everyday Ethics" produced by the BBC and available here. It looks at local Northen Ireland and World problems with a Christian perspective but is accessible even for an apostate heathen like myself.

One of the articles on this weeks show was "Do journalists believe in poverty" and from this topic came my shock. To precis the questions the article poses ...
Do journalists accept that many people in the UK really are poor? Or is it the case that many journalists believe that people on benefits are working the system to their own advantage? How well does the media report on the realities of poverty in the UK today? Is there enough exploration of the causes of poverty, social deprivation and inequality? Are journalists at times part of the problem by re-presenting stereotypes and caricatures of poverty where they could be challenging myths and false portrayals? Are stories about poverty presented to broadcast, print and online audiences as though poverty was someone else's experience? Can a moral distinction between the 'deserving poor' and the 'undeserving poor' be detected in some media portrayals?

It would seem that we, the reading and watching public, are served up a mish mash of stereotype and urban myth more often than the actuality of poverty. Poverty is not NEWS it is OLDS... it has always been there and looks set to stay. My shock came not from the frightening figures that in 2006-7 there were 13 Million officially "poor" in the UK or that of that 3.9 million of them were children but from the fact I had forgotten was it actaully was to be poor.

Don't get me wrong I have never been poor. I came from a middle class family that wanted for little and my current situation is far from fiscally challenged. My experience of poverty was only as an observer. When I was involved with the Corrymeela Community (an organisation that my Mum and Day were and are actively involved with) and then later as a Nurse in Belfast I came across the sort of poverty that slowly grinds the soul until there is little left but a husk.I did come across the odd person who was working the system so they do exist but in general most were just poor, alive and supported by the state but mind numbingly poor. I had forgotten the truth about poverty that had motivated me to get involved in activities 30 years ago. I had forgotten the fire that observed social injustice had lit and had made me join the JCSS (Junior Council of Social Services) at school, I even won a prize in my upper sixth year. I had forgotten that ..
Poverty is not simply about not having enough money. It is about struggling to get through each day. About constantly making sacrifices. About living in a state of worry verging on perpetual fear ...
In starting a career, getting married, starting and bringing up a family I moved in a different direction and to be blunt I became to busy to care ... for that I am ashamed ... It is all to easy to get sucked in to the sterotypes we are fed by the media. In the run up to the election in America I heard on several occasions opnions posited that Obama's taxes and social reforms were "socialist" and "evil" or "Why should someone take my money (in taxes) and give it to someone else?" When I was in my late teens I would have not stood for rhetoric like that. I would have made a noise and got annoyed, 30 years later .. not a peep from yours truly .... for that I am ashamed.

I am not talking about the poor in Africa or some far distant "other country" who are also deserving of our help. What is more frightening is the fact that I am talking about that "far off country" that starts not far from the house where I live.

In the run up to the holiday season when the darkness of winter ends and the days start to get longer and bring the promise of Spring, I am going to remember that for every fraud and sponger "outed" in the press there are 100's if not 1000's who who are living day in day out in a condition that leads to misery and an early death. I WILL remember that this is happening in my own community. I will do something to make a difference.

I don't want want to be to busy to care.

Friday 21 November 2008

Happy 230th birthday Voltaire from a world that thinks "The Shack" is wonderful literature

Ah yes gentle reader sorry for the gap in posts, last weekend was a trip down to watch Ireland get their bottoms slapped by the all blacks and this week was cram packed with work work work and more work.

Anyhow - today 21st November is the 230th birthday of one of my heroes, Francois Marie Arouet or as he is more commonly remembered Voltaire. We geeks, nerds and techie nere-do-wells are not known for our philosophical leanings ... well at least when sober. My father introduced me to the scribblings of this writer, philosopher, and wit many years ago.
Like any gael whether French,Scots or Irish Voltaire had an opinion about just about everything and was able to express it with a wit and style that has yet to be surpassed.

Do not be put off by his supposed atheist reputation, whilst he is credited with the tongue in cheek expression "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer" ("If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him") he found fault not with a deity but with organised religions, those that did the organising and those that allowed themselves to be organised.

Whilst for some reason people are going mad to buy and read that deeply irritating, cloyingly sentimental, shallow, mediocre, heap of crap that is "The Shack" do yourself a favour, nip down to your local library and see if you lay you hands on a modern translation of "Candide".

Oh If anyone wants to pass on a copy of "The Shack" to me this Christmas because "it is a beautiful book" that "will teach me things about the nature of God" , please please please please take the money you would have spent and give it to Medicne Sans Frontiers or Oxfam you will then be actually helping people rather than supporting the sort of mediocre writing that is best left inside Hallmark greeting cards.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Have a wee game - Go on you know you want to

Control Keys are ... left and right arrows to move and space to fire
You need to get at least 300,000 to get on the high score!

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Coding for the Mouse Wheel in Javascript

This is quite an esoteric post for those JS heads out there ... how do you code for the user using the mouse wheel?

I was working on Name Picker V2.0.0 tonight and one of the "improvements" is that there will be both cursor key and mouse key support on the new format list (which is basically a vertical array of [div]s rather than a select object.

Most of the default form objects that support scroll bars will have mouse support. But what about [li] or some interesting nested [div]s or a [table] construct? With all this Web 2.0 stuff out there you may need to get to grips with doing something with the mouse wheel to allow the user to move to some element on your page. Here is how to do it ... (The O'Reilly Javascript Definitive Guide came in VERY handy for the event properties!)

Mozilla based browsers have a built in event called DOMMouseScroll YIPPEE! I hear you cry but guess what IE doesn't! Instead IE has onmousewheel on both the window and the document object. Browser compatibility don't you just LOVE it to bits!

Now I am going to get all Greek on you and talk about "Delta". Delta is the 4th letter of the greek alphabet and is used by math and other hard sum geeks as the symbol for some form of change. In this instance the change is the direction a user whizzes the mouse wheel and based on that direction the mouse wheel whizzing perform some wondrous code of your own devising.

OK there are some more gotchas for the JS coder.
IE stores delta in event.wheelDelta and positive values are UP negative are DOWN
Opera stores delta in event.wheelData and positive values are DOWN and negative are UP
Mozilla stores delta in event.detail and positve values are DOWN and negative are UP

Right first thing to do is write your handling code
function myWheelHandler(D)
{
  if(D<0)
  {
     ... do some DOWN code ...
  } else {
     ... do some UP code ...
  }
}

That's your bit done, now we have to bend the browsers to our will by writing some code to use instead of the default code
function myWheelFunction(event)
{
  var D = 0;
  // Catch the event for butter fingers IE
  // as it doesnt send event as an arg
  if(!event)
  {
    event = window.event
  }
  // if this is IE or OPERA delta is in wheelDelta
  if(event.wheelDelta)
   {
     D = event.wheelDelta
     // If we are in OPERA change the sign
     if(window.opera)
     {
     D = -D
     }
   } else {
   // OK I am going to assume Mozilla if not IE or OPERA
   // correct the signage to - is down and + up
    D = -event.detail
   }
  // Perform my fantastic wheel mouse code
  myWheelhandle(D)
   // Stop the default actions happening
   if(event.preventDefault)
   {
     event.preventDefault();
   }
   // needless to say IE needs this to cancel default actions
     event.returnValue = false;
   }
}

Right all that is left is to put some code somewhere in your code to override the default with your code.

// For Mozilla
  if(window.addEventListener)
  {
    window.addEventListener("DOMMouseScroll",myWheelFunction,false)
  }
  // For IE and Opera
  window.onmousewheel = document.onmousewheel = myWheelFunction


So there you go, you can now code loads of lovely things for your mouse wheel operations on your web pages.

Monday 10 November 2008

Name Picker V2.0.0 Update

Name Picker 2 didn't quite get as much work this weekend as I had planned due to some family commitments but work resumed today with the reformatting of the Name picker Type 1 "Single" was joined with Type 2 "Multiple" formats. These were achieved with the following code


myPicker = new NP_object();
myPicker.type=1;
myPicker.create();










myPicker = new NP_object();
myPicker.type=2;
myPicker.create();






I am no longer using a [select] to hold the found data but I am injecting [div]'s into the document and planting then in a reception [div] . Using this method gives me more control over the format of the item.










Particularly the extra data like phone number, email address, etc that are returned from the server. This data can now be shown/hidden by clicking on the twisty on the left of the name. I think this method is a more efficient use of the screen real-estate and allows the user to visually access the extra data without having to move their eye line away from the item they are clicking on.


More later .... time for tea!

Sunday 9 November 2008

Rememberance Sunday

It is rememberance sunday here in the UK and on the way to a family gathering in the south of the province and there was a programe on the radio which took my attention. It is 80 years since the end of the The Great War and the show focused on a group that became known as the "war poets".

I have never been able to put my finger on why the works of these poets attracted me even when at school when poetry was considered to be a necesary evil within English classes. There is one poem in particual that has stuck wth me. Written by Wilfred Owen whose poems where written in the trenches and who died only a week before Armistice -

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstruous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.


Thursday 6 November 2008

Name Picker V2.0.0 started

I recently got two messages on OpenNTF informing me that there was a bug in the multiple selection section code of my AJAX Name Picker and after some checking indeed there is! I had made a fairly minor change in a bit of what I was "sure" was unrelated JS and managed to duplicate all the data in an array. So sure was I that it was fine I didn't test all 3 types of name picker ~hangs head in shame~ I really should know better!

Anyway, it was a bit of code I wrote back in 2006 and as such it is starting to look a wee bit tired (as well as buggy). So I have started tarting it up and foremost amongst the changes will be that it will be a JS class NP_object and you will need only to instantiate a Name Picker object on the form onload event to create a Name picker that can be used anywhere on the form by attaching it to a form object event.

This evening I wrote the "injection" mechanism that creates and adds the Name Picker objects to your form/page's DOM. The default picker (single selection popup) looks like this and is fully drag and dropable.
So to the 2 people that are waiting for my fix to Name Picker V1, please be patient rather than fix the bug in the current release. You will be getting a "fully" tested newer version hopefully with more features.

I hope to also release this as a Google Desktop widget to allow your users to be able to get vCard like information from your PAB without the need to have the notes client active, but more on that later.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

ILUG 09 - uniform (Male) beta 0.0.1 created

This will be the new face , or bottom half, of the ILUG gentle-person's apparel for 2009. Should you wish to appear at ILUG as a speaker this year you will have to provide your measurements well in advance.

So like Wild Bill, Coatsie and myself you might need to think about those extra pounds!

The kilt is black leather and will be worn with the prerequisite green polo shirt. The Sporran comes complete with hip flask and spare remote for the projector

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Dominoyesmaybe's new job as an agony aunt for geeks

In the current economic climate (oh I am starting to hate that phrase) we are all faced with uncertain times and as of last weekend I have started offering myself as an Agony Aunt for all your geeky angst. No problem is too icky or horrible for the dedicated and professional team of fellow geeks who will give you grounded and well thought out advice. We have so far helped Mr X with his microwaved cheesy bagel problem (melted cheese is SO hard to get out of nylon!) Mr Y with his compulsive administration disorder and Ms Z from her fear of airport security checks.

This week we look at interpersonal relationships

Dear Dominoyesmaybe,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as

Fishing 5.0,
Rugby 3.0 and
Golf Clubs 4.1.6a

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Signed,

Desperate.



DEAR DESPERATE,

First, keep in mind,
Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while
Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please goto: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 fixpack. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1.
Please note that Beer 6. 1 is a very bad program that will download the Farting and Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0-program .These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend
Cooking 3.0 and
Hot Lingerie 7.7

Best of luck to you!
The Dominoyesmaybe Team



** Thanks to relationship specialist "Jim T" for his email input into answering this cry for help **

The ILUG 09 "fringe" preparation begins

Even though ILUG 09 is stil at least 7-8 months away, preparation is everything and at several previous events it has been noted that the local Celtic males did not appear in Kilts. Much thought and research has gone into the reason for this and in order that ILUG become more KILT-friendly we have taken delivery of several kilt friendly seats.

Now Wild Bill, Mr Mooney and Myself have no excuse not to startle the ladies and scare dogs that are small enuff to get a good upward glance.

Sunday 2 November 2008

How to install Ubuntu on XP as a Virtual Machine

Ok gentle reader

Last night I geeked out and stuck an UBUNTU V8.10 new VM on my thinkpad
Now I know that there are a large number of folk out there that know how
to do this but there may be those out there who have gone "eh?" every time
they hear one of the illuminatii mention that they have this or that as a
virtual machine. This was brought up clearly to me when sprog asked me
what I was doing and I found out he was unaware that you could do this.

So this is a "HOW TO DO" for those of you out there that might want to have
a look at Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular but you haven't got
a) The spare hardware to do it on another machine
b) The budget to allow you to get new hardware
c) The "I [heart] Ubunto" factor isn't strong enuff for you to drop your
XP or Vista partitions.
d) You don't know your arse from your elbow when it comes to "Virtual Machines"

Well I am here to tell you it is free, it is reasonably easy to do and should
take no longer than an hour or so. The longest task are the downloads.

Right! I did this on a Thinkpad T60 with 1Gb of memory, 40gb of free space on
my HD and XP SP 2 as the parent Operating system and this is the way I did it.

Step 1 :- Download QEMU from here
This little program allows you to create a "virtual disk" on your hard drive.

Step 2 :- Install this program. I installed it into a dir called c:\Ubuntu and this is reflected below

Step 3 :- Open a command window in XP
START / Programs / Accessories / Command Prompt
Type cd\
Type cd\Ubuntu
Type qemu-img.exe create -f vmdk Ubuntu.vmdk 10G
Type exit
This will create a file called ubuntu.vmdk which will be used as your "virtual disk" for your ubuntu install.

Step 4 :- Download the ubuntu ISO image file from here and save it in c:\Ubuntu . The file name will be ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso

Step 5 :- Download VM Player from VMWare here, it is free but you do have to register

Step 6 :- Install the VM Player, just accept all the defaults

Step 7 :- Create a text file in the c:\Ubuntu directory and paste the following into it
config.version = "8"
virtualHW.version = "3"
ide0:0.present = "TRUE"
ide0:0.filename = "Ubuntu.vmdk"
memsize = "500"
MemAllowAutoScaleDown = "FALSE"
ide1:0.present = "TRUE"

#ide1:0.fileName = "auto detect"
#ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-raw"

ide1:0.fileName = " ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"

ide1:0.autodetect = "TRUE"
floppy0.present = "FALSE"
ethernet0.present = "TRUE"
usb.present = "TRUE"
sound.present = "TRUE"
sound.virtualDev = "es1371"
displayName = "Ubuntu"
guestOS = "ubuntu"
nvram = "Ubuntu.nvram"
MemTrimRate = "-1"

ide0:0.redo = ""
ethernet0.addressType = "generated"
uuid.location = "56 4d 80 3e f2 32 56 75-44 a6 45 89 2b 4a 03 4b"
uuid.bios = "56 4d 80 3e f2 32 56 75-44 a6 45 89 2b 4a 03 4b"
ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0c:29:4a:03:4b"
ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = "0"

tools.syncTime = "TRUE"
ide1:0.startConnected = "TRUE"
uuid.action = "create"
checkpoint.vmState = ""
tools.remindInstall = "TRUE"
#gui.fullScreenAtPowerOn = "TRUE"
Step 8 :- Save this file as c:\ubuntu\Ubuntu.vmx
*NOTE* the memesize=500 can be changed to reflect
your currently memeory. I use 1/2 my 1Gb and allocate 500mb
*NOTE* the line below should reflect the file you downloaded in step 4.
ide1:0.fileName = " ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso"

Step 9 :- Start the VM Player, there will be a shortcut on the desktop

Step 10: - Select "open" and browse to c:\ubuntu and click on ubuntu.vmx

Step 11:- A VM Window will open and the UBUNTU install will start Enter all data you are asked for and you can just accept the defaults and all should be well.
*NOTE* the disk format instal will install into the Virtual disk so your PC and it's current install will be totally safe. You will see that UbUntu.vmdk gets bigger and bigger.

Step 12: Let Ubuntu restart itself, this will only happen within the VM window as soon as you get the reboot screen close the VM window

Step 13: Open c:\ubuntu\ubuntu.vmx and change these lines
#ide1:0.fileName = "auto detect"
#ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-raw"
ide1:0.fileName = "ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"

to

ide1:0.fileName = "auto detect"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-raw"
#ide1:0.fileName = "ubuntu-8.10-desktop-i386.iso"
#ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"

This will give you an ordinary CD drive rather than the ubuntu install iso

Step 14: You can now delete the ubuntu install ISO image in c:\unbuntu

Step 15: Restart the VM Player open c:\ubuntu\ubuntu.vmx

Step 16: Logon to Ubuntu with the user name and password you created during the install
You may need to press + to use your keyboard in the VM window.

Step 17: Once Ubuntu starts, it will automatically start updating itself, as long as you
have an internet connection that is up and running the VM will use it and
you will be able to update your install with the most recent code. Let this
finish and perform an reboot when required.

Step 18: You are done, you have a running VM of Ubuntu on your PC running in a 10GB
hard drive in 500 mb of memory ... enjoy

Of sherry magnets, half hung McNaughton, time travelling cars,faery thorns and a November Walk

Gentle reader,

It is the weekend again and as I have had rants both last week and the week before I have deliberately had a quiet weekend so that this post will be less acerbic, I probably wont need to use the word F**K at all!

It being halloween (Samhain as it is know in the Celtic tradition) and even though I am a big skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, it is best not to press your luck were the faery are concerned. Take John Delorean, he of the "Back to the Future" car fame. Now his aluminium sports car was manufactured in Belfast.
Any of you that just said A-LOU-MIN-UM please repeat 10 times AL-YOU-MIN-E-UM! Everywhere else except USia and Canada can manage to put the "i" in ium so there will be NO exceptions on an Irish web site!.
During the building of the plant he was advised not to uproot a fairy thorn. A faery thorn is usually an ancient Hawthorn bush found in place that normally you wouldnt find it, like the middle of a field rather than in the hedge line. Being a smart,savy, secular McMerican Mr Delorean scoffed at the warnings of ill luck that would follow any interference with this ancient thorn tree. {link} So mess with it he did and look what happened to him and his company!

I may be a skeptic atheist ... but ... I make a point of not messing with the faery or sibh as they are known in Gaelic. (Sibh is pronouced Shee , as in Banshee which means "faery woman" in Irish).

Where was I ?... oh yes ... I had a quiet Friday and apart from a dander down the town on Saturday for coffee and a bowl of very fine Aubergine and Roast Pepper soup. The Fireworks came and went and the gray man was kept at bay for another year. The gray man is the ghostly personification of the "great hunger"that followed the Irish potatoe famine in the 1800's. At or around harvest, when the summer is dying, is generally a time to remember our own personal histories and the echoes that sing to us from the flames of an open fire on a November evening. I hope than each of you in your own way have kept the grey man and his dark hunger from your door this coming year :-)

So, Sunday rolled around and while not up early or anything remotely like it, I did manage to put the Sunday dinner in the slow cooker (my own version of Irish Stew) and pull my dodgey battery from the bike and set it up for a good long deep charge. Having done all that I prepared to go for my daily brisk walk. It being a pleasant autumn afternoon I decided to combine, forest, lake, river and sea all in one walk, so I jumped in the car and headed for the Mussenden Demesne, which is about 4 miles up the road past the turn to Castlerock.


This is place with a rather uniquely "irish" history. The whole demesne was built in 1785 by the 4th Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry and sherry magnet, Frederick Augustus Harvey who was ... well at least a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. There are the ruins of his house (Donwhill castle as it is known) and on the edge of a 120 foot cliff above the north Atlantic there is a small round building that bears a striking resemblance to the Temple Of Vesta in Rome. This is the library the bold bishop built for his cousin Frideswide Mussenden for whom he had the hots but alas she was already married isn't that always the way! Anyway there it stands some 223 years later a testament to one man's horniness for a lassie he couldn't have!

Regardless of the reason for building it has a view from Inishowen in the west to Fair head in the east, which is most of the north coast of Ireland in one panoramic gob smack of a view and well worth the walk if you happen to be in the area.

The estate straddles the main road and on the other side from the temple is a park now set aside for horse, cyclist and walker. This park has at it's centre a hill call Dungannon Hill. As hills go it is not a particularly big hill but it has, so the local archaeologists say, a 6000 year history. Like Mountsandel in Coleraine and the sand hills in Portstewart this was a place in which our ancestors set up their homes and lived of the land and sea shore. Today it is a place of ancient trees, leaf blown trails, small rivers, a ruined mill and a small shallow lake.


My parents used to bring us here here on family picnics when I was small as there were trees to climb, streams to splash in or create damn pools to keep the sticklebacks and small trout we caught Later I camped there on Dungannon hill with my teenage chums living off small trout from the streams and any unfortunate bunny that would cross our path. Later still it was a place where we would "walk out" with our current sweethearts, hand in hand kicking trough the leaves. This is one of those places where the lives of the visitors have left echoes of laughter in every nook and cranny.

It is a managed park, but whilst the paths are kept clear and easy to walk on, the forest itself is left pretty much alone. If a tree dies or is blown over it is not tidied up, it lies where it falls. Some would say this makes the place look untidy, for me I prefer it more "natural" :-)

Right at the end of the park is a road , where oh so I am told, an infamous criminal was caught in the eighteenth century. This sad we tale concerns Miss Ann Knox the daughter of Andrew Knox of Prehen House (near Derry) an influential and well to do gentleman. The man was John McNaughton a member of the same social class as Knox. Now John fell in love with Ann and tried to be near her at all times as one smitten often does. Andrew Knox opposed any marriage and both Andrew and it has to be said Ann wasn't that fussed about the attentions of John either.

McNaughton claimed that they had been secretly married. So Andrew Knox increased his efforts to protect his daughter and eventually, in 1760, set out to transport Ann to Dublin in a coach, protected by armed outriders.

John McNaughton and several associates concealed themselves on a little road. They stopped the coach and a short discussion ensued, followed by gunfire. McNaughton fired at the coach occupied by Andrew Knox and his daughter, and Ann died from the bullet. McNaughton fled. Armed searchers initially were unable to find him as the locals remained silent unwilling to talk or give aid to their landlords. Finally one man pointed to the hiding place and local tradition maintained that he promptly lost that arm in a accident in the small mill in the Mussenden park.

McNaughton caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to be publicly hanged in an open field near Strabane. He spoke to the crowd, saying he loved his wife and had been kept from her. The trapdoor opened and down he went ... but.. the rope broke and the crowd shouted for him to fly, but McNaughton declared that he was not going to be known as "half-hanged McNaughton" and advised the hangman to get on with his work. The rope did not break again but his name did live on in legend as "half-hanged McNaughton."

So there you go , my Halloween weekend walk with a smidgen of the weird ;-)
If you are interested in looking at some more photos of the walk you can find them here

So for the now , adieu and remember never eat rhubarb in bed!

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