Sunday 19 December 2010

"Sargent Brill's Lonely Lotus Band" the 3rd prize for the "It's a small lotus World" draw

Okey Dokey

As mentioned in the last post.. there is a draw happening at UKLUG nite at Lotusphere and a REALLY REALLY nice pixel art framed print is up there for first prize.  All you need to do is nip over to here and make a $10  donation, (or as many $10 donations as you want cos you can have more than one)

All monies raised are going to a very fine charity, the Children's Cancer Charity

Now were the chance of winning the Pixel Art not enuff I have done 3 pieces of "unique" art for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place in the draw. There is a painting, a map (see last post) and now this..

"Sargent Brill's Lonely Lotus Band"
(Click for a better view)
If you are not on it, sorry ... i ran out of room...
Cast (in no particular order)
Susan "Notes Goddess" Bulloch
Warren "Lego" Elsmore
Gab Davies
Mark "Wookie" Myers
Ben "Curmudgeon" Poole
Mary Beth Raven
Tim "El Nacho Libre" Clark
Ed Brill
Chris "IDoNotes" Millar
Rob "Capt Oblivious" McDonagh
Stuart "TWIL" McIntyre
Darren "T'Other TWIL" Duke
Rob "Free Beer" Novak
Julian "Urinal Cake" Robichaux
Marie "I hate IMAP" Scott
Jess Stratton and Jenna
Kevin "Lotus Guru" Pettitt
John "Starfish" Head
Nathan "Escape Velocity" Freeman
Kathy "Never done Running" Brown
Tom "Duffbert" Duff
Bob Balaban
Paul "Short Arse" Mooney
Carl Tyler (the blue man years)
Matt White
Gayle Elgort
Bruce Elgort
Eileen Fitzgerald
Francie Tanner

...there are also two pint of Guinness, one of Mary Beth's Shoes, the OPEN button, a cock, a squirrel and a kitten and an unabashed plug for Duffberts book.

Thats all .. just $10
and now 4 prizes !

Friday 10 December 2010

Extra items for the "It's a small lotus world" draw at LS11 UKLUG Nite

The force of nature that is Mr Bruce "Call-me-Animal-cos-I-drum-a-lot" Elgort  and the irrepressible posse of Lotii from the London Developers Co-op have had a whizz bang idea to raise some $$$s for the Children's Cancer Association (cca) and are offering a framed "Pixel Art" image that has lots and lots and lots of Lotus related things to find. Bruce and the London Dev Co-op chaps are and will be revealing bits of the image over the next few weeks as the excitment for LS11 starts to build.

Basically you can enter the draw by buying a $10 (us) ticket here via paypal here or by or from Matt, Mark, Gayle or Bruce at Lotusphere 2011. All monies collected will go directly to the CCA in honor of Danielle Elgort who lost her battle with a brain tumor in 2003.

As you may know I do a bit of drawing and painting in my spare time and as luck would have it I had done a drawing and a painting that are much less exciting that the main draw Pixel Art picture (which is really whizz bang fandabbydozey wonderful !!!), which I am shipping over to add to the prize haul for this draw.

So if you dig deep into the wallet and spring for a $10 ticket here  there are now a second and third prize piccies with a "Lotus World" theme in the draw.. so why no buy 3 tickets .. or 6 or 12 ???

First up .. we have what we all really really need .. a Map to the "Lands of the Lotii"

(Click to Make it bigger)

 And ... a still life of The UKLUG Advertising campagin in full swing
So go on.. dig deep and lets get some cash raised for a might good cause!

Friday 3 December 2010

Brian Cowan is a nice man , I know he is :)

Brian Cowam is the Prime Minister of Ireland and is supposed to be a very nice chap.. so I sent him this email this morning. I wonder will be reply?

Tuesday 30 November 2010

The UK Insurers MarkerStrudy Group are a shower of useless prats

68 Days ago I was knocked off my motorcycle at a junction by a car driver who managed to have his eyes closed. He must have because (a) I wasn't moving (b) I am a largish chap on a largish bike and (c) he was driving on the wrong side of the road.

Once discharged from hospital I phoned my insurer (Equity Red Star) and reported the accident gave them all the details and they had a form with me the following day less than 24 hour later. Because my statement and the police accident report absolved me of any blame they recorded the details of my claim and because I was Third Party Fire and Theft insured and not fully comprehensive yet had legal cover got me in contact with a solictor.

One week after the accident my solictor had been given all the relevant paper work by me, the doctors and the bike's mechanic. I was ready to start the process of getting back on the road.

However The MarketStudyGroup who were the insurers of the driver that hit me have a policy they will take no phone calls or emails about claims you MUST connect with them via snail mail. This was duely done, and done again , and done again.

Not a f**king peep out of them, no loss adjustor to see the wreckage of bike, helmet, jacket, trousers and phone. No request for my medical records or interest in the 3 times a week trip to the medical center to get my leg wound dressed. Nothing. Nada, Zip not a fecking sausage.

Then my Solictor sent them a sternly worded letter threatening court action, not to get them to process my claim the action was JUST to get them to respond to his requests.

Then today 68 days after the accident over two months later I get a form from them in the post!

68 Days? 68 Days?

It does not take 68 days to stick 3 pieces of paper in an envelope, address it and stick it in the post.
It does not take 68 days to correctly administer a process that takes around 2 minutes and thats if you write slowly with a crayon and are not to clever with your letters.

To add insult to injury the covering letter says
"[we] will endeavour to settle this claim quickly without the need for expensive court action"
emblassoned on the cover.

Sorry Markerstudy Group you do NOT! You make the slightest effort to get off your arse and post a form into a labour of Hercules. Your endevaours to date make continental drift seem brisk.

If you are a UK driver and are thinking of insuring with the Markerstudy Group PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE reconsider as it seems they really could not be arsed doing anything other than taking your money and laughing all the way to the bank!


Thursday 25 November 2010

Generating a Random number on an iSeries in CL

This i have to admit is very very esoteric and even the iSeries Geeks out there may not be that interested however if you ever need to get a Random Number in CLP or RPG on an iSeries here is a way to do it.

Neither CLP nor RPG has a Pseudo Random Number generator built in, so we have to kludge it to get it to work. You can link the QLEMF C library and use the CERNAN0 api which is the method I found when I went and Googled it the other day.

The other way which I didnt find is to use the QSH shell to do it. This method generates a random number between 0 - 32767 inside the QSH shell env and then stores the result in a DTAARA so that the calling program can access the value, as there in no native way to return vars from QSH environment

02. Insert the following code into your PGM

CHGVAR VAR(&CMD) VALUE('print $RANDOM|datarea -lw MYRAND')

The Print $RANDOM generates the random number

The | separates the two commands

The datarea -lw  MYRAND takes the random number and stores it in the DTAARA


Wednesday 24 November 2010

The Yellow Bitchiness Quotient Analytics begin

Given the great brewhaha re bitchiness in the Yellowverse and being of a scientific mind I have spent a considerable number of McDonut CPU cycles analysing and cogitating over how some sensible base metrics can be achieved so that a decent, fair and equible "pointage" system may be applied.

Using my not inconsiderable skills and the rather lovely HTML Canvas (excanvas for IE* users) object I have managed to combine multiple RSS streams, Planetlotus, Twitter, Facebook and applied some Bayesian tricks I learned from Spam Filtering and come up with the AYB (ambient Yellowverse Bitchiness) gauge you can see to the left.

Hopefully over the next weeks and months we can get some baseline figures together, form an operational committee and start allocating Points as an when required. .... I will need a period of extreme bitchiness for the next couple of days to get a decent calibration. So do feel free to be as Bitchy as you like.

If anyone would like a copy of the widget please do let me know

Monday 15 November 2010

The ILUG Paradox

Well it is over for another 2 years!
I can say without fear of contradiction that I am totally knackered but smiling from ear to ear.
ILUG does that to me, always has and with a bit of luck and professional planning and 12th level black belt ninja clipboarding always will.

Once again it was my honour to be a "green shirt" although the better half the ever lovely and patient Val does posit that green is not my colour ;-). I have now been "in" on an the preparations for UKLUG09 and an ILUG10 and I can say that even the months of oraginising are achieved with smiles and the best sort of professional fun ... (and the occasional chorus of the Tigger Song and endless height gags) With this sort of preparation what else would the final product be but fun.

ILUG is about having your blue touch paper lit so that you can go back to work and have the bravery to take the next step into a new skill knowing there are people out there that have done it and to whom you can reach out to when you stumble.

ILUG is about learning that you are not alone in your cubicle. There is a worldwide community of real people out there all doing the same thing as you.

ILUG is about being involved in something that is bigger than any one of us, the greater Domino Community (yes even admins)

Others have mentioned the sterling efforts of Paul, Eileen, Warren, Kitty, Gab, Rob, Tom, Tim, Matt ,Kerr, Bill, Mike, Julian and Coatsie so I will say nowt other than without all the efforts of these stalwart souls ILUG would be a different beast ... well done all of you!

The sponsors - well this year more than most now money is tight, you came through again and paid for the event - major major kudos to you all !!!

The speakers - a fine bunch of lads and lassies briming to overflowing with enthusiasm, wit and charm sharing their expertise for free, you all rock!

The venue - who put up with some strange end of day activities and odd requests.

However ILUG wouldn't work with out all you and there lies the paradox. No matter how we fiddled ,futtered, pimped and preened to get the "perfect" conference, if you the attendees did not come ILUG would shrivel and die very quickly

In our hectic, fast-paced, tech-driven society, it's common to feel overwhelmed, isolated and alone. I hope that you all re-discover the healing and empowering role that our wee community can bring to your lives. The sense of belonging I feel when I interact with the Domino community gives me a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in my professional life. So , both as an minor helper in the ILUG team and as an attendee, to all the friends old and new that make up the wider Domino community THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH! :-)

Now ... Monlezgetblootered ;-)

Monday 20 September 2010

Getting my HTC Desire Reparied by Carphone Warehouse/Geek Squad in the UK

Read part #1 of the story here so far six days of silence are being annoying and worrisome in equal measure

Sunday 22 August 2010

ILUG countdown widget

If you would like an ILUG 2010 Widget like the one on the left just copy this code into a convienent HTML/JS widget enclosurer on your blog

<script language='javascript' src=''></script><div id='ilug'></div><script>ilugcd()</script>

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Help required with Duffy The Opera (An Idea waiting for a very drunken party)

It has been suggested by Mike Smith that we make the "Duffy" epic into an opera.. and tentative work has begun.. picture the scene.. duffy in a cubicle with the lights subdued and a general air of saddness fills the stage.. Duffy takes a deep breath and start to sing....the Duffy Aria ....

Im being swallowed by a sharepoint migration
I'm being swallowed by a sharepoint migration
I'm being swallowed by a sharepoint migration
And I don't like it very much

Oh blow (oh blow) it's swallowed my workflow  (it swallowed my workflow)

Oh peff (oh peff) it's swallowed NSF  (it's swallowed my NSF)

Oh pishty (oh psihty) he's up to my twistie (it's up to my twistie)
Oh Lawks it's swallowed my BookMarks (it's swallowed my bookmarks)

Oh grace (oh grace) he swallowed my workspace (he swallowed my workspace)

Oh dash it's swallowed my cache, (it's swallowed my Cache)

Oh feck, it's up to my .....

[Duffy collapses in a sobbing heap]

This is a work in progress additional lines required .. apply below

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Single authenticated point of entry to iNotes for all your users

It has been a while since I did a Domino Geek posting, however I came across this today and thought I would share it. Basically you can if you know the URL get into your Lotus Notes eMail via a browser. The problem is that most users can be .. well .. forgetful and having to remember a big long string of characters is a bit of a pain that and we wanted a single URL that would (a) authenticate the user and (b) open the mail file so we came up with this solution.

*Edit* It has been pointed out in the comments that there is a "Redirect" function  built into notes, there is and it very useful, however it does require some work on each server and when you have lots of servers in remote locations using different languages and to be honest I wanted a simple one stop shop, replicate it to all servers when needed. what follows is an alternate to, but not necessarily better than what is provided naturally **

A single NSF with a short URL  http://[yourserver]/wmg.nsf/wmail.html
This launches a page that looks like this

The user logs in and if successful their mail file opens.

So how did I do this?

A) When the Button on form on the page is clicked a call is set up to
names.nsf?login with the PostData set up with the userid and password
most importantly there is also a "REDIRECTTO=" parameter in the PostData that directs (on successful authentication) to an agent called OPENMAIL

B) The call to the url with the postdata is sent to the server via an AJAX call

C) If the authentication fails the AJAX call receives the default login page, and an error msg is sent to the user

D) If authentication is sucessful the REDIRECTTO parameter is called directing the browser to the OPENMAIL agent.

E) The OpenMail agent does a look up on the NAB and extracts the mail file name for the user

F) The URL that will open the user's mail file is constructed on the server and returned to the browser as a JSON variable.

G) The URL is used in some JS to change the location.href, and since the browser is now authenticated the mail file opens.(in this case in LITE mode you can tweak the code the way you see fit)


Proper un-encrypted and ACLed file

Download .. stick in the data dir of your server, sign it, sign it again (just to be sure) and got to http://[yourserver]/wmg.nsf/wmail.html or add the link to your intranet 


Monday 9 August 2010

Offical Minutes of the ILUG oganising committee - 9th Aug 2010

**** Names, locations and proclivities have been redacted to protect the guilty ****

ILUG 2010 is now so certain to go ahead that Celine Dion is penning the lyrics to the theme song and even as I write the organisers are throbing with preternatural wibbliness for tonite was one of the famed ILUG 2010 skype calls.

Date : 09 August 2010
Time : 21:00 BST
Place: Skypeverse
Those Present:
The very small just married one who can't say THREE properly
The very organised one with a clipboard and matching walking boots
The one that builds things from wee bricks
The one that looks after the one that builds things from wee bricks
The American one that gives away drink
The socttish wide and pleasantly demented one
The scottish one that is less wide than the other scottish one and has better ties
The goddess of all things adminy, thrice blessed be her id file and smiting wand
The quiet perpetually tired one (well he does have twin toddlers)
The one that can never get a hotel room cos reception laugh about his name
The one who wont see ILUG because the organised one will have killed him with a clipboard

Apolgies were heard from the one that actually has a social life because was having a social life and it was nothing at all to do with xPages .. honest .. were read into the minutes and accepted amidst much muted jealousy and "Harrumphs!"

********* had an agenda, but managed to loose it in *** handbag. ******* put it to the floor that we should make it up as we went along, this was seconded by ******** and put to the vote which was passed with ********* abstaining because he wasn't llistening and thought we were voting on allowing ******* with cucumbers to be a special session thread.

Item 1: Session Threads
It was decided that unlike other LUGs we would strike out in new creative ways and rename our session threads. So for ILUG 2010 instead of Administration , Development , Management and Sponsor threads they would be called and themed "Postman Pat" , "Bob the Builder", "Dragon's Den" and "Top Gear" 

Item 2: Organisers Costumes
Given the credit crunch ILUG2010 will be unable to pay for the complete body wax for **** ******** and as a result there will be no, I repeat no, Developer Guru Mankinis. However it was proposed that in the spirit of solidarity with our bothers and sister geeks from around the world we will dress up as cups of coffee and pieces of cold pizza.

Item 3: Entertainment
It was noted in the minutes that we in ILUG are forward thinking, tuned in, hip to the beat sort of people and we take seriously our responsibility to entertain our guests. Much discussion and ideas were considered and a suggesstion by ********* seconded by ********* that ********* be tied to a stake and flogged with a dead fish because of the "tigger" song was thankfully not passed. However "Turf Throwing" , "Wheelbarrow Jousting" "Cucumber Sandwich Discus Throwing" and "3Legged xPage Coding" are all in the short list.
Item 4: Session selection
As per usual ILUG has been gifted with a surfeit of sessions and as we have too many some will have to be, reluctantly, turned down. Some of the ones that didn't make it are.
"iTrolley - The making of the track your shopping trolleys mashup"
"Making it so - xPage Mobile Contols and Star Trek" 
"Organized Crime and DAOS - the untold story"
"NerdGirls are from Venus and NerdGuys don't know what soap is for"
"Tivoli - Cool Software or a big park in Denmark?"
"Quickr flavoured Yogurt - the real story"
with fantastic sessions like this not making the cut how good are the select ones??

Item 5: Any Other business
********* Asked "Why is it called Donkey Kong when there is no donkey?"  the response from ********* was that if a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half it would take a donkey with a wooden leg 20 mins to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle. These seeds made up the contents of the barrels in the aforementioned game ergo Donkey Kong.

There being not other any other business the new ILUG tune was played and everyone sang along with great gusto except ******* who really really doesn't like being called Tigger and had never heard the song before.

Duffy the Banana Slayer - Chapter 3 "Is this your Ewok?"

Where we are introduced to a Pseudo French Inspector, Mistress Marybeth of the "Never used Vista Virgins" and the difference between Dastard and Bastard

He looked around the room surrounded by the detritus of a party. Half eaten pizzas beer bottles by the dozen, an unturned bottle of diet Coke in a ice bucket, a dart board with a picture of Bill Gates on.. the picture was more hole that picture. He stooped and picked up a crumpled flyer "Sharepointless Summer Party" .. yes they had been here and recently.

Flinching at the creaking of a floorboard he turned and dropped into Debugo-Ketsu Dachi stance in one fluid movement.

"Hello..." said Privet "Why are your wearing gloves and a hazmat suit and why have you stuck one thumb in your nose and the other in your ear?"

Privet while a recognised expert in all things javascript was not a adept in the higher forms of programming martial arts. Duffy nudged him and said "Shhhhhhhhhhhhh"

"ello" said the man his accent thick and quite hard to understand "wot our yew doing ere?"

"We live here" said Privet

"Ahhhhh " said the man .. "that wood hexplain hit"

"And you are ..... ?" Privet let his question drift like a fart in a crowded lift.

The man relaxed "I am Inspector Áchaux, Rob Áchaux of the Surrette DAOS squad" he paused, "Is this yer eeewuk?"

"yereeeewuk?" enquired Privet

"Oui  yer EEEEWUK?"

"Sorry no still not quite there.. my what?"

"EEEEWUK you know .... zay our zmall and vury hairy .... from stur warez"

"stur warez? ... ooooo Star wars .. ahhh you mean EWOK!"

"Yes EEEEWUK zat is what I said"

"That is not an Ewok" Privet replied, " Zat is .. sorry that is Duffy"

"Duffy The Banana Slayer (tm)?" asked Inspector Áchaux, his accent suddenly replaced by a southern drawl, which to some ears is as bad as a faux french one.

"Yes that would be me" replied Duffy somewhat hurt but not that surprised by the Ewok reference, well it was better than Pappa Smurf but not much.

"I have been sent here by..." Áchaux paused, looked around and whispered "Bruce of the Very Large Fonts ,may he be Brilled for ever, of the council of elders sent me to bring news of the HellNose"

"Right" said Duffy, "and about time too! Privet ... make tea, come Inspector Áchaux we have much to talk about"

"Portaland is full of evil evil forces. There are some things I can just smell. It's like a sixth sense" said the Inspector

Duffy finched "No, I think that would be one of the normal five."

Privet returned with the tea ... "well Duffy is the man for you if fighting evil is what you want"

Duffy swelled to his full height ... "I can beat up the Microsofties until the cows come home... and then I can beat up the cows."

"So we in the council of Elders have heard" intoned the Inspector, " and that is the reason I am here!. After many meetings and staring into the shiney side of the Sacred Connections Installation DVD we have become aware of a plot, a dastardly plot..."

"Yes Microsofties are reall bastar..."

Duffy interupted Privet .. "No Priv Dastard, it is like bastard but written in C#"

The Inspector sipped his tea and continued

"Indeed dastardly , dastardly in the extreme. It would seem the powers of evil are amassing on the other side of the rift. Large ripples in the sametime development cycle have been observed and Mistress MaryBeth of the We have never used Vista Virgins has had troubling visions of really really really boring user interfaces and infinitly pointless button bars!"

The inspector's words hung heavy in the air just like when you walk into a pair of just washed tights hung carelessly in the bathroom by a girlfriend.

"Feck" said Privet

"Feck indeed!" said Duffy "Tell us More inspector.. we need details"

Friday 6 August 2010

Duffy the Banana Slayer - Chapter 2 "The Journey Home"

In which we do not meet Nigel the out of work sarbannes oxley auditor and bus shelter attendant, Duffy has a Beatlemania flash back, Bill Buchans Knees make an appearence and we meet Gladys from the Sharepoint Coven

The group had been partying in the tea shops of south central Portaland. Tonight was the re-opening of the hottest geek club in town. The owner had completely remodelled the club in yellow and renamed it "Banana Daiquiri". No one actually knew who it was that now owned the club there were rumours of someone called Big Ed from Chicago who seemed to spend a lot of time in airports. Much Googling by the locals had turned up nothing of interest apart from a rather good article on knitting with seaweed by someone called Brill. Why he named the club the way he had was another mystery. Bananas were scare in Oregon lots and lots of Moose and few bananas, but everyone agreed, it made a pleasant change from "The Debuggers Break Point and Social Club".. and there, gentle reader we will leave the revellers and catch up with our hero.

Duffy pulled the collar of his coat up against the light drizzle that was falling and strode out into the dusk. He hated it when it rained! Being a short arse meant that he had to be careful near the deeper puddles particularly if he hadn't brought his water wings, which he hadn't on this particular night.

The Bus Stop was empty, which was odd. Nigel who had made the bus stop his home was no where to be seen. Nigel, a Sarbannes Oxley auditor who had been caught in possession of a sense of humour and had his auditing propelling pencil broken into seven pieces by a super secretive cadre called "The Auditorium" prior to being fired, kept the bus shelter clean and tidy. He had even gone as far as installing Free Wifi, coffee machine, floral curtains and a set of steps so Duffy could climb up to the seats.

Duffy scanned the nearby alleyway, nothing there but the worn out dreams of yesterday, yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away, but now it seems they are here to stay.. yesterday.

"Damn" exclaimed Duffy, shaking his head, "I am having another rampant Beatlemania flashback" The bite of a semi-dead beatle obsessed MS-SQL 2000 admin had happened over 10 years ago on a balmy karaoke night in Kimonos. The SQLombie had not taken offence at Duffy's part in the performance of "Don't go Breaking my Heart" By Elton John and Kiki Dee, but had been driven mad by the FLASH FLASH FLASH of the white.. oh so very white knees flashing neath the hem of his partner Will Bill Buchan's kilt. Such was the potency of the toxin in the bite, Duffy would break into spontaneous Beatle related thought processes. He also had an un-natural need to talk about "Inner Left Joins" when kissing his long suffering wife.

The rain continued to fall, the bus stop remained deserted and all of Portaland seemed to be asleep, but then Portaland always seemed that way. Which in itself was odd. A town planning screw ups back in the 1850's had sealed Portaland's fate because rather than build the town on a field called "Wibbleawonqucholicasqamish" which means in the local Indian language "A nice place to build a wee town field"  the founding fathers chose a field nearby called "Zolunquanobblefon gaffa gonwallopaonopee"  which means "Undead zombies live under the rocks build your town over there in the field with the nice name stupid". Over the years those "in the know" had come to realise that Portaland was in fact built on a rift in the space time continuum thru which reruns of "I love Lucy" and "days of our lives" leaked directly into the frontal lobes of the inhabitants during the day. At night.. OOOOO .. at nite Portaland lived up to the name the slayers used for it ..... HELLNOSE.

The party goers spewed from the Banana Daiquiri into the darkness of the Portaland night. Singing songs fueled by Hendricks gin, Guinness and cucumbers they staggered down the block towards Duffy and his bustop.

He heard them long before he could see them. He made sure his coat was buttoned and he had a firm grip on his stout stick for he knew like he always did that these were the spawn of the nose. Hag ridden denizens of the realms of Redmond who were riding high on the temporary freedom of a night in Portaland.

"They may pass by" Thought Duffy, but he knew they wouldn't they never did.

"Ah ha!" shouted their leader, a tall leggy blond called Gladys. "If it isn't The Slayer!"
She spat the words out as if the saying of them had soured her spit.

Duffy turned and gave her a withering look.

"You never learn Gladys do you. You Sharepointers are all the same you never have quite all the patches that make you run clean"

"So you think you are hard .... are you hard LITTLE slayer?   are you ...."

Duffy turned slowly, arms akimbo, "Leave Now, take your friends with you"

Gladys and Duffy stared at each other looking for a weakness and in that moment .... draw

Just then a Moose that was sneaking past let loose with a stentorian fart, as is common in beasts that eat a lot of roughage. Gladys winched for a second, that was all Duffy needed, quick as flash he had intoned the sacred words of the first paragraph of "Best Practices for Building Web Applications for Domino 8.5.1" and set on Gladys and her friends with a whirlwind of blows from his stout stick.

Soon all that was left was a pamphlet on Active Directory fluttering in the breeze and a faint but distinctive smell of Bananas

Duffy sniffed

Duffy still had it.. he IS the Banana Slayer!

The bus arrived, Georgina the driver and part time WWF wrestler nodded to Duffy
Duffy got on.. and the bus pulled away
Somewhere someone was playing the music from the end of "The Hulk"but very quietly so only the gassy moose noticed

Thursday 5 August 2010

Duffy the Banana Slayer - Chapter 1 "The Adventure Begins"

Where Duffy and his sidekick Privet are introduced to the reader and Matt White gets Dissed

"Are you sure this is a good idea Privet?" Duffy asked, peering at the screen

Privet laughed at the concern in his friend's voice. "It'll be fine, Duffy. It's a very simple xPages App. I won't mess it up."

"I don't know," Duffy said, unconvinced. "I'm just not sure you should be using fancy coding tricks to spice up your life." He thought for a moment, then chuckled. "I'm still not used to the idea that you *have* a life, come to think of it."

Privet gave him a glare and stuck his tongue out playfully. "You're just jealous cos I am tall and you are a short and look like a smurf"

The comment made Duffy think of Paul Mooney

Privet noticed, and dropped the grimoire He'd been reading on him desk. "Oh, Duffy, I'm sorry! I should have thought before I said anything."
He reached down and patted Duffy on the baldy bit on the top of his head.

"It's okay, Priv," Duffy assured him, dodging the patting which was really quite hard and rather unpleasant. "I'll be okay. It's just hard, y'know?"

"I know it is," Privet said. "I don't even want to think of how I would cope if an ILUG session crowd turned THAT nasty on me, and all because you mentioned Share....."

"SHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Don't even mention it! It was bad enuff for me but what about Bill?" Duffy exclaimed,

"What about him?" Privet replied, confused.

"I don't think they ever managed to remove that QUICKR memory stick!" Duffy said

Privet whinced at the memory and started to reply, and Duffy cut him off...
"You never spend any time with the debugger any more. You're always cracking code with no error trapping ... Commando Coding..." Duffy shook his head "Pretty soon you will be appearing in your OWN worst practices session at lotusfear!"

"That's not true!" Privet said, stung by Duffy's words. Duffy gave him a look, and he went on,
"Okay, I guess I am It's just... weird , Duffy. I've coded in LS since I was a young coder, but since xPages came along I feel like .... I don't even know LS coding anymore."

"And why do you think that is?" Duffy asked.

"I don't know," Privet said. Duffy gave him another look, and he sighed. "Okay, I do know. It's Matt White. Everything's been different since I took his xPages 101 session at IamLUG."

“Ah HA!” Exclaimed Duffy … “You HAVE been more than dabbling in the dark arts then?”

"I have not!" Privet cried.

"Yes, you have, Privet. .. i am sure I saw you muttering “Repeateo Controlleoamus the other day!"
Privet thought for a moment, then looked down at the keyboard, unable to meet Duffy's eyes.

"arse,...." He answered in a very small voice.

Duffy nodded. "Yeah," He said, softly. "arse indeed, Priv. You are nibbling away at the dark side's cookies and soon you will have NO time for Lotuscript and you will code nothing but xPages”

Privet shivered, remembering the undead double variable that had caused so much trouble with the POS application. "That was the last time.. honestly!"

"It had better be!" Duffy said. "because you know the next stage is a quick slide into CSS and then it will all be over!” Privet's head snapped up, and Duffy reassured him, "That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's natural for you to want to play with new things. But you can't forget the old, the Old Ways are important, too."

"Yeah," Privet agreed. "I know." He looked into Duffy's eyes. "Did Steve ask you to talk to me about this?"

Duffy smiled. "Yeah," He admitted. "He is an old fart but Steve and Bob B are the Arch prelates of the Old Ways and while they won't admit it, but they are worried about you"

Privet smiled back "I do miss the joy of DIM s as NEW NotesSession ... Okay, then. I'll throw a few LS Libraries together , I promise, and I will put them on OpenNTF too.”

"Good," Duffy said, climbing onto a handy box of Lotus 4.5 installation diskettes to shake Privet's hand. "Very good."

Releasing his friend, he asked, "Now, are you sure you want to do this code?"

Privet replied. "Oh, yeah, I'm sure."

"Do I want to know what it does?" Privet looked heavenwards, after a second Duffy went on, "That's a no, then. Just be careful, Privet. and no playing with the live servers or Eileen with have your guts for garters?"

"What do you mean?" Privet asked.

"ITIL Protection, that's what I mean. You'll make sure you're safe, right?"

"Of course, Duffy! I, uh, I did “Change Management for Careless Devs 101” only last week. I even stayed awake the WHOLE way through! And I always use... you know...", Privet Blushed Deeply,  "Lots of logging" his voice trailled off , embarrassed.

"Good," Duffy said, relieved. "And on that note, I'm outta time. I'd wish you luck, but I don't want to get that involved, and I have a bus to catch"

Privet laughed. "I don't blame you. I'll see you tomorrow, then."

"Good," Duffy said. Then he waved and left Privet alone with his code.

Privet smiled after him friend, then went back to sorting arrays using arcance and deviant tricks.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Irish Notes Geek in Israel - Jerusalem for a week any notes folk fancy a pint?

I will be finding myself in Jerusalem, Israel from the 25th-29th July and I seem to remember that there is an active Notes/Domino community in Israel. So if anyone wants to accompany a very pink (people tell me Israel is warm this time of year) Irish Notes Geek for a pint and a bit of a geek chat on one of evenings while I am there, drop me a line at mcdonaghs (at) utvinternet (d0t) com and lets collaborate socially :-)

Wednesday 14 July 2010

NoteMan Saves the day AGAIN!

It is nice to give a product a "call out" once in a while and today is one of those days.

I had an app today where a unintentional download FUBARed exchange rates over a large number of records. Now I could have written an agent and fixed it that way however in my essential notes tool box I have a copy of NoteMan  and I was able to go into the app, created a collection of docs that needed changed , did the change, a quick "Compute with Form" and bob is your da's brother, docs all back at sensible exchange rates.


Well done those nice people at Martin Scott and if you need a really shit hot notes swiss army knife to help you when things get "awkward" this is the one for you and will be money very very well spent.

Monday 7 June 2010

Nerd Vs Geek a Taxonomy

Twas only last weekend when thwe Arch Bishopess of ITIL Ms Eileen Fitzgerald and her chums Clara and Máireád plodded 22 miles around the north coast of Northern Ireland. Many and various were the topics we covered in those miles. One of said topics was the great Geek Vs Nerd debate. Both Clara and Máireád mistakening thought that Eileen and I were nerds ... OH how we laughed at that one.

Eileen deffered to my age, experience and abilty to gesticulate in 6 languges only 2 of them human. When I had completed my explanation of the difference tween "The Nerd" and "The Geek" she implored me to write it down as the insights I managed to impart were largely unknown by the general population.

Firstly the Phyllology :

"Geek" is from the dutch "gek" which means Crazy, which indeed a lot of Geeks are.

"Nerd" is from Medieval Latinate "Nerdicticus" meaning spotty oik with a lot of different coloured quills

From a taxanomic point of view, Nerds are a sub species of Geek as you can see below

"Heavens to Betsy!" , I hear you cry "The scales are falling from eyes"

But caution and common sense must prevail for all is not as clear as it may seem in the world of pie charts and bar graphs. Teams of undercover antropologists from the University of Milton Keynes have , at great personal cost, spent the last 20 years inveagling themselves into the natural habitat of the Geek and Nerd.

A little known footnote on this work was noted in "What Do YOU think?" the UK trade journal of counsellors. The bill for helphing the researchers get through PISSED (Post iPad Sensory Stress Erecitle Disorder) could keep the average geek in coffee for 22 years!
Many years of work and peer reviewed sciency shit have shown that a geek is a person who has chosen concentration over conformity; one who pursues technical know how heavily spiced with imagination over mainstream social acceptance. Geeks usually have a strong case of neophilia, (they like new particulary shiney things)

Most male geeks are adept with computers but crap with washing machines and irons however the female geek is generally good with both. Most geeks can spell properly but chose not to, preferring the patois of the keyboard and the effusive melodrama of the emoticon.

A recent repeat of the classic 1987 experiement by Ross, McKenzie and Privett "Geekosity: flow charts and DTDs" proved once and for all the skewed nature of the Geek's ability to prioritise simple tasks.

Take 100 geeks an place in a hot, airless office with a difficult technical problem
Buy 100 iPads
After 10 hours let the geeks out and give them the following options
1. Have a shower and something to eat
2. Have an evening of gratuitious abandon with the partner of their choice
3. Play with the iPad

The results speak for themselves!

Nerds on the other hand, exhibit all of the above characteristics but have few extra phenotypic markers worthy of note. They keep their pens in a pocket proctector ordered alphabetically by colour. Levels of OCD are higher amongst the nerdish geeks, either compulsive tidiness offset by unreadable code or a complete tip of a work desk with really well laid out code is common. The soft very pale belly skin of both the female or male nerd will almost never have seen daylight and is reputed to be translucent. (The rarer ginger nerd's is both translucent and covered in freckles is a much sought after in the illegal skin graft black market)

Unlike their more socially adept Geek cousins, Nerds are inclined towards taciturnity everywhere but their Blogs, Facebook and Twitter streams. This lack of small talk builds up and up and up an up until at least once a year driven by an urge as old as time, Nerds and Geeks head for a "CON" This could be a TrekCon, a ComicCon or a User Group convocation. The little known Turing Gland swells as these functions approach and secretes a heady cocktail of endorphins, caffine and doughnuts directly into the blood stream. Like salmon the geeks and nerds will gather for a few days, perhaps a week and in a bachanialian orgy of excess expend all the pent up normality they have accrued through the previous months ... at the end of the "CON" period the Geeks and especially the Nerds will lie, gasping and spent on hotel recpetion sofas, easy prey for passing bears.

So the next time you pass a Geek or the more secretive Nerd, be nice to them .. they have had a hard life.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Offical Minutes of ILUG2010 Committee Meeting

This evening just after 10:30pm i heard my PC give the "Boink! you Have New Mail" noise and surprise surprise it was the minutes of the most recent ILUG meeting. Since they were silly enough to send me a copy I publish it here in a spirit of openness - I have redacted the names to protect the guilty.

Title: ILUG 2010 Committee meeting minutes 

Status: ** Top Secret ** Eyes Only
Date: Tuesday 1st June 2010, 21:00 hrs BST
Location: Various
.o0 ---------------------------------------------0o.
The chairperson having set in place the Rhombic Dodecahredal Encryption protocols called the meeting to order. However the rest of those present had forgotten that the meeting was meant to be top secret and as a result were treated to a what sounded like a chipmunk singing "Nessum Dorma" recorded after a big sniff of helium and played backwards in a tin box underwater in the sink of a caravan that was falling into a very deep well. The quorum of committee members scattered electronically to the 16 corners of the skypeverse agreed that this sounded perfectly normal for one so recently nuptualised.

Having sorted out the encryption to the satisfaction of the Senior Administration Mistress, iPad goddess and official dancing queen, normality was resumed and a roll call was taken. As it was an Irish LUG meeting this was done in Gaelic. ******* had primed ******* the English speaking xPages guru rather inappropriately and his innocent exclamation of "YES! my underpants are full of eels! Pass me a repeat control Vicar this one is spilt" elicited much teenage giggling from ********* and ****. The perpetrators were soundly told off by ****** **********.

Since a quorum had been reached the meeting was called to order.
This failed to happen as quickly as it usually would. A Bacardi Fueled Choir of Lego MiniFigs appeared to be doing something they REALLY enjoyed under a table but within reach of a microphone, however this delayed the meeting only moments.

The first order of business was audience participation. It was suggested that after "that" incident at UKLUG 2009 extra help should be sought in case someone got a body part stuck in a kettle spout again. It was suggested that ********** approach the usual emmergency provider who would at least know the name of a plumber with Xtreme ironing skills.

The next order of business was the fact that this years venue had heard of the problem when ******* presented at UKLUG and it was agreed by unanimous vote that should ********* present this year that the audience be supplied with adult nappies (or Diapers for visiting Americans)in the event bag. This, it is hoped, will lessen the chance of a recurrence of damp seat syndrome

It was agreed by a vote of 4 to 3 that a Fourth strand be added to the main 3. This would be the "Unlikely to attract a big crowd" strand. A review of the floor plan lead to the discovery of the perfect venue! It was therefore agreed that this strand would be held in the 4th cubicle from the right in the gents toilet. ******** had for some reason pictures of this convenient convenience (the reason for this was felt by the rest of the committee to be an avenue of enquiry best left well alone)

Next the thorny issue of session selection was discussed at some length. Eventually it was decided that the fairest way was to employ Colin the ILUG male chicken. ********** would print off the session abstracts and leave them on the floor of Colin's pen, those that he shitted upon would be accepted those he did not would be rejected. This would be henceforth knows as "The Cock Selection Process"

******* brought up the issue of uniform, he stated that he and *********** would NOT be wearing sponsored Mankinis this year unless ILUG paid for the full body wax which he maintains is not tax deductible as a business expense, even if his attachments were visibly smaller because of it.

The floor was opened for any other business and ******** who had been silent all evening raised his hand up. ********** was not impressed and asked ********* to remove his hand at once ********* apologised profusely explaining he really only wanted to be excused.

The next meeting is scheduled for last Friday when ********** will come and show us how to use the Calendar function in Notes.

Monday 10 May 2010

** Phishing Warning *** New style UK based Phishing scam

A new Phising scam arrived in my mother's mail box today, well new to me. Mother was rightlty suspicsious and didnt do anyhting until she had spoken to me .. the scam looks likes this

Dear Applicant:

Following an upgrade of our computer systems and review of our
records we have investigated your payments and latest tax returns
over the last seven years our calculations show you have made over
payments of £ 238.40.

Due to the high volume of refunds due you must complete the on line
application, the telephone help line is unable to assist with this application.
In order to process your refund you will need to complete the attached
application form.

Your refund may take up to 6 weeks to process please make sure you
complete the form correctly.
As we are upgrading our records we require the completed form
showing your full current details by May, 13 2010

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

S. M.Roberts
Senior Manager
HM Revenue & Customs
© Copyright 2010, HM Revenue & Customs UK All rights reserved.

Those of you expecting rebates BEWARE!

Saturday 8 May 2010

A papal hat, a Sinclair Spectrum and a Wedding

OK a week has passed and I feel I have to document what happened exactly a week ago.

The ceremonial mega geek horn had been blown and geeks from the 4 corners of the geekverse converged on the fabled spires of Béal Feirste to wittiness the elocution of one of the brotherhood to the exalted status of "husband".

Posh frocks had been worried about, matching shoes and nail polish chosen and that was just the male attendees. Living just up the road in Cúil Raithin for me the trek to the festivities was a fairly minor affair complicated only by picking up the High Priestess of Bananas, small furry animals and Domino Serverdom at the magic carpet park. Oddly the aforementioned Priestess was not beset with the usual bad luck that seems to plague her travel plans and arrived on the muddy banks of Béal Feirste Lough on her chariot pulled by 4 wingéd puppies, a avionic turtle, a family of spiders and a flatulent goat - only 5 minutes late! (must have been the addition of the goat)

We gathered at the appointed "Pavilion of Deeply Serious Promise Making", this hostelry being both a shady spot to rest the more distant traveller's aches and pains and a place appointed by the powers that be as a place where Husbands and Wives are enjoined.

The bar rang to the myriad accents of Baile Átha Cliath, Béal Feirste, Cúil Raithin, misty Alba, Helvetica, and the far off semi-mythical lands on Aahh Mare Ika as much ceremonial ale was quaffed, celebratory wine sipped and the age old ceremony of "LookyLookyIHaveACOOLNewPhone" was observed with due solemnity.

Many were the tales I could tell of the sudden appearance of one geek or another as the evening wore on. Suffice to say noisy were the greetings and fulsome too. The evening drew to a close around 3:45 when the siren song of the bedrooms grew too loud to ignore and the assembled masses retired, expectant yet only partially able to walk, to bed.

The morning came, as it always does in Ireland, with not cock crow, but the sound of a myriad of geeks, their wives (or husbands) tucking into an "Ulster Fry" washed down with a small ocean of coffee and orange juice.

Bleary eyes and cottonwooled minds were berrocca-ed, showered, shaved and breakfasted in preparation for the nuptial ceremony at top of the clock. Around 11am there was a tension in the air as a 100 geek chaps tried to remember what a tie was for let alone how to affix it to the codpiece.

By Midday, the crowd was gathering in reception hall (with bar) and it has to be said we geeks had brushed up rather well even though we say it ourselves. many and various partners had with patience and love made sure that our hair was "just so" and that ties were tied, shoes shone and that we had hankies in the anciently appointed manner of "One for show, One for Blow", so we all took our seats.

The ceremony was as you would expect as perfect a match to Paul and Lynne as you could imagine. Lynne was as radiant a bride as you could wish for in many a fairy tale and Paul was ... was... was ... a very odd colour that didn't seem to affect behind his ears and who knew they made suits that small.

Mighty was the cheer that the assembled multitude managed when the celebrant lady didth quote .. "You are now man an wife" .. the clicking of Blackberries, iPhones and HTCs was deafening as the word was sent out to the Twitterverse
"It is DONE!"

The happy couple left the hall amidst much cheering! It has to be noted that there appears to have been "something" poured un-noticed from the ceiling as many in the crowd, reached for a Kleenex commenting "Damn something in my eye!"

The remains of the day where filled with laughter, balloon animals, a papal hat (that i will forever regret asking Coatsie for), speeches, a Sinclair Spectrum and the wonderful sight of the Geek Dancers waving their "Oh it's Journey and I don't have a lighter to wave" iPhone Apps joyfully in the air.

Paul and Lynne it was a wonderful wedding! :-)
We are all honoured to have been invited and we all man, woman and balloon animal wish you both every luck and happiness in the years ahead.!

Friday 23 April 2010

I mourn the passing of Pithy Blog Comments :(

Recently there has been a spate of posts and ensuing comments that have highlighted the dumbing down of the standards of invective we use in tweets, posts and comments. I am quite frankly appaulled apalled .o0(feck!) shocked and we should hang our heads in shame, are the days of the brillance of posts on Alt.Barney.Die.Die.Die just a dim memory?

In an effort to address this situation i have added 25 pithy repostes below, feel free to use them in your own correspondance. Keep an eye on the news feeds as we will be organising several events thru the year culminating in a telethon so that the pith-challenged can be helped.

  1. How about never...Is never good for you?

  2. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

  3. Someday, we'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject.

  4. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

  5. Ahhh...I see the total plonker fairy has visited you again...

  6. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

  7. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you are a genius

  8. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

  9. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.

  10. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and foolish.

  11. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?

  12. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant and you really are a cock
  13. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

  14. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.

  15. Yes, I am an agent of ******* , but my duties are largely ceremonial.

  16. No, my Lotusscript powers can only be used for good.

  17. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.

  18. You sound reasonable...Time to up my medication
  19. Are you a ray of sunshine every day?

  20. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

  21. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.

  22. Who me? I just wander from blog to blog

  23. My toys! My toys! I can't do this job without my toys!

  24. It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.

  25. At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits. 

Feel free to contribute your own pearls of dissmissive wisdom ;)

Thursday 25 March 2010

Thank you Yellow Brothers and Sisters :-)

It happens to us all  , some FUD leaks in around the edges and gathers a momentum before you can react to it. It happened to me today in the form of "Notes is Dying!!!!! lets all go Google" normally it is a question of replying "No it's not, have a nice cup of tea and lets talk about it" and 30 minutes later all is calm and those that refuse to calm down are given a bit of the re-education cudgel  ;)

Today things got a little more out of control and I reached out to my chums in the Notes / Domino community who came back with advice, pointers and brotherly (and sisterly) support :) I got the ammo I needed to launch a broadside of my own and some 30 minutes later all is calm again.

So a BIG THANK YOU to all involved !

It is days like this that the word "community" in phrase "Notes Community" makes so much sense. :-)

Thursday 11 March 2010

New family blog

Just a heads up.. I have started a new non-techie blog for the McDonagh Clan over at
I will keep up the techie particularly Yellow tinted posts here but all the "noise" i was infamous for will now be over on Slightly Doolally, so I might be able to reclaim a certain level of professionalism here ... no perhaps not.. ;)

Ohh my better half has started blogging as an assiociated Admin on Slightly Doolally, so if you do browse over ... please say hi to us both :)

Oh what a difference an S makes

Just comming into my blog and typed this and ended up here.. just my luck..I have a german porn star as a doppleganger and a reglious site as a typo link.. hey ho!

Monday 8 March 2010

My mother helps stop MSDS (Memory Stick Disappearance Syndrome)

We have all been there.. we are in a meeting or are called to a colleagues PC and we feel we really really need to share some file with that user. So out comes the memory stick and into the other PC it goes .. and as soon as the file is copied your prized memory stick just disappears... poof ... gone.

I have a theory that there is a eddy in the space time continium, the memory chips on the memory stick act as a strange attractor and becon the eddy towards the memory stick and once it get close enough it passes the event horizon and several things happen at once.
a) the memory stick is transported into a random person's pocket in Bangalore
b) you totally forget the fact your memory stick is not in your possession for 21.76 minutes
c) for those with good hearing you can hear a faint error of gadgetary smuggness

My ILUG 2009 stick disappeared in just such a manner, the ILUG 2008 stick came back having spent 3 months getting back to Europe by hitching a ride in various pockets until it arrived in our Paris office and rested for a further 2 months in a drawer in the IT desk.

I have tried many things to stop this happening with no great success. However this weekend having had to buy another 8gb stick from Argos I mentioned my problem to my Mother.

My Mother is many things but one of her lesser known talents is that of "Temporal Distortion Rectification Engineer" over the years she has been able to deflect wormholes with soda farls, absorb tachyons with in the meringue peaks of Lemon Meringue Pie and once even stopped an incursion of a pan dimensional tiddly wink contest slipping into our reality by squirting red hot marmalade from a pressure cooker in to rift that had formed in the ceiling.

When I mentioned my problem she knew immeadiately what to do and set to her task with a pair of pliers some jewellers wire and some beads of exotic material she happened to have in one of the drawers in her study. BOFITE, SPERRYLITE and ZINWALDITE arranged just so balances the attractive effect of the memory stick thus negating it's tendancy to vanish, is easier to find in your pocket, and has sort of a hippy chic quaility. As they say on Twitter #WIN #WIN #WIN

Kudos Mother!!!

Saturday 6 March 2010

Is "a" Sandwich a category error and can mayonasie dribble be accurately measured

I was sat in Ground Having the usual excellent Chill, chicken, bacon, roast pepper, cheese and onion panini with a white chocolate Moccha no cream (Well i am on a diet) Now it was pointed out to me recently when you buy a panini you are actually doing nothing of the sort! You are noshing down on a PANINO for PANINI is the plural.

Now it occured to me that a Ground Panino is a foot long and to fit on the plate the very nice baristas cut them in half. Does this not then make the contents of plate Panini ?. Similarly if you make a simple bacon, lettuce, fresh tomato, garlic mayo, onion rings, lardons, sun dried tomato in chili olive oil, roast peppers, parma ham, fried egg, pepper and reggae reggae sauce sandwich and cut it in half, either into a girly triangle or a more masculine rectangle, do you not then have 2 sandwiches?

Is there a definition of a sandwich that actually defines the parameters that makes a single sandwich?

After and extensive 2 minutes googling it would appear that two or more slices of bread stacked vertically (thus making a Big Mac a Sandwich singular) , usually buttered, each layer separated with a filling of meat, cheese a sandwich. So then what IS a slice of bread? Does half a slice of bread cease to be a slice and if it does what becomes of a slice when you cut the crusts off apart that is from becoming "posh" doubly so if the contents of the sandwich(es) comprise only cucumber.

Hmmmm I really do think that sandwiches need to properly defined.. we also need a name for the stuff that dribbles out of the side of a sandwich and splats over your shirt/tie just before your first bite, this really really needs a proper recognisable name and a SI unit to define the quantity of the same stuff that leaves. We can send people to the moon straped to a domesticaled bomb using the computation power of a Casio calculator so this should be dead easy peasy lemon squeezy .Who, I wonder will step up to the plate on this one?

Good Music, company and craic in the 90's @ the Beflast songwriters festival

Having spend the last 10 weeks in the purgatory that is the post Christmas anticlimax I decided that a bit of fun was in order. So I booked SWMBO and myself into the Dukes Hotel in Belfast for the weekend of the 6th Annual Guinness Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival now that might sound a little bit too country and western for my taste and yes there was some C&W but we managed to avoid it :-)

I have to say that although I travel all over the world  it is seldom I feel I have to mention the quality of a hotel and Duke's wins hands down! Friendly and attentive without being intrusive staff, decent food, drinks at sensible bar and not arm and leg hotel prices, big well decorated and well though out room design. There was even an iPod dock with full surround sound speakers and a nice big well positioned flat screen TV with DV Recorder should you just not be able to miss Friday's edition of Emmerdale. Oh and a bathroom that has one of those automatic closing lid toilets and a monsoon shower of quite stunning efficiency!.

Anyway the festival - my famous cousin Andy White was one of the headliners and I thought it would be good fun to take a trip down and heckle from the front row as it transpired Val, myself my sister Janet her partner Mike my other sister Ruth, a close friend Carmel and my cousins Cathy and Allison and her partner and Andy's parents (my aunt and uncle) were in the front row @ the Black Box on Friday night.

Andy was supported by two other singer song writers John McGurgan from Omagh (who looks a wee bit like Jesus)  and Gavin Mee from Dublin (who doesn't look like Jesus) both of whom are excellent and well worth making a detour if you are near by any of their gigs. [Val wants me to add that Mr McGurgan is exceedingly good looking not that in any way should colour your judgement!]

The family duly gathered and Andy took the stage to much applause and some gentle heckling from the front row, well we had to get our money's worth didn't we? Now I have to come clean and admit that I have seen my cousin perform 3 times, once in the early 80's and then twice in the last 3 months, so I have been somewhat remiss in following the musical progress of my talented cuz .. mea culpa. He was all I was expecting and much much more :-) a fantastic gig, well done Andy!

Post gig as in the nature of these sort of events I got a talking to "non family" and i managed to get the email addy of a passing poet to join in Jonvon's circle of wordsmiths in will be interesting to see what she brings to the anvil of our creativity.

Falling into a taxi we headed back to the hotel with a minor detour to the festival performers post gig session in the Madison hotel. There various adventures followed some that will remain secret for the moment but may involve an act of community creativity .. we shall see. Now come a bit of name dropping ... we had a chat with Ralph McTell (over whom Val went a wee bit girly) nodded at Charlene Carter, said hi to Nanci Griffith, bout you to Iain Archer. Patted Henry McCullagh on the back and made some "interesting" plans with Anthony Toner it did seem that we were for once the odd ones out.. we were famous for not being famous :-)

Twas in the wee hours we made our way back to our own hotel and fell into the enormous bed.. ( That was Val and I doing the falling.. the aforementioned musicians were not invited, it was a big bed but not THAT big )

Up an about the next day, we had no plans so got up late, breakfasted and went for a dander into Belfast City Center. We ended up in St. George's market and spent a glorious couple of hours picking through the stalls, drinking coffee, avoiding eating from EVERY food stall and listening to the musicians playing in the "town square" in the centre of the pavilion. Fantastic and I STILL want to try the Nepalese potatoe, cauliflower,chickpea and broccoli curry so a return visit is definitely on the cards!

We wandered back to the Hotel  for 4pm so we could watch the Irish beat the English in the 6Nations rugby which was very very satisfying ! Shower Shaved and fed we went to another of the Belfast Festival gigs in a very nice pub called the John Hewitt This bar is unique in its ownership as it is owned by The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. The Resource Centre's managers had always relied on various grants to fund its work, when in the mid nineties, they came up with the idea of generating some of their own funds by going into business... And why not a pub! John Hewitt, the late poet, socialist, pipe smoker and Freeman of Belfast officially opened the Resource Centre on Mayday 1983, hence the name of the bar and if you are every in Belfast well worth a visit.. good beer, good food and a stream of good events.

Guinness, god bless their dark stouty loveliness, paid for the artists and the gig was free, so for the princely sum of £0.00 we saw, heard and enjoyed Sean Rea, Guy-Michael Grande, Paddy Taylor, Brett Perkins, Madeleine Slate, John McGurgan (OOOOOOOO he is soo tasty ! adds Val)  and The Corncrakes. All of whom came sang, introduced the next session and then joined the crowd for the craic. I spoke to most of the performers and to a man and woman they were all good people :-) I recommend all of them if you are nearby.Another late nite came to an end and we wandered our weary way back to the hotel.

Sunday - up and about late (again) and I had eggs Benedict for brekkie, now me and the pope don't get on but his brekkie is lovely! ;-) There being a few hours to kill before our next gig we hit the Ulster museum which has just had a major facelift and boy have they done a good job! Oddly the museum's Egyptian mummy has a northern Ireland name "Takabuti" which as any northern Ireland native will tell you means "Do have a sandwich" and that is a very very odd name for even an Egyptian mummy!

Post a light lunch and culture feast, it was down to St. George's market where the local Indian community was celebrating the Festival of Holi or the festival of colours. There was seriously good banghra music and lots and lots of people of all ages throwing vivid poster paint powder over each other.
After a quick supper in Wetherspoons, we dived across the road to the Ulster hall to be totally entranced by Newton Faulkner and his support Sharon O'Connor (a young lady we are BOUND to hear more of!)

After a brilliantly smooth and well carried off performance from one so young The main act took the stage and for the next 2 and half hours just blew the audience away.. This was a big concert with the feel of an intimate gig and the uninitiated were immediately converted. A fantastic night and a fantastic end to a weekend away that left both Val and I refreshed and revitalised!

Monday 1 March 2010

If curling were easy it would be called Hockey

T'other nite I was chatting to Duffbert about the fine art of Curling
Which  rests vampire like in the popular consciousness for 4 years and
then explodes on the moonbeam of publicity that the winter Olympics brings.

All of a sudden the media is full of "houses", "Skips" "Stones" and "Ends"
However as my chat with the bold Mr Duffbert illustrated most people are
almost entirely ignorant of the noble game of Curling.

Curling was invented by the Scots, why it was invented is lost in the Myst's
of time, however any story you hear about the accidental tossing of a stone
pie case at a annoying child by old mother Kurl is a entirely the invention
of Alan Lepofsky.

The first recorded mention of Curling is in 1006 BCE in the Annals of Laird
Hector of Upurchufftery where he writes "I dinnea ken wut all the fash is a boot
yon was nay a burned stone in da sixeth end"

Twas at the 3rd synod of Niwanbyrig in the winter of 1232 BCE that codified the
rules of the game that would eventually become Curling. Initially it was called
"Fox's hat". It is said this was because the rings at each end looked a fox's hat
It has to be remembered that around this time there was a plague of foxes in the
lowlands of Scotland so King Ourwilie III decreed that all foxes should be caught
and made to wear a hat to give Scottish chickens a fighting chance.

It is recorded that this name fell out of favour after the priests complained to
the Pope about the skip's screams of "Where in the Fox's Hat?" during morning mass
on Sundays. Most of these priests were French and they misheard these screams and
rather than the polite enquiry the skip was making as to the placement within the
rings the priests heard an exhortation of disgust after a particularly bad shot.

The Niwanbyrig synod also made it a requirement for all players to be naked under
the playing kilt. This was to ensure that their ... errr.. dangley bits dragged on
the ice, thus making it much harder to be accurate. Dragging ones dangley bits on
ice is quite difficult and can only be achieved by getting really really low and
arranging ones legs in the now well known "curling crouch".

Scottish men then as now were usually gifted with a covering of coarse matted hair
the name "Curling" comes from the side effect upon the public hair of dangling
ones family jewels on the ice of the moat in mid winter.

Needless to say the longer you slid the longer your bits were in contact with the
ice. The best players could stay down for a long time and where known as "Hard Men"
hence the now traditional yells of the curler who manages more than 10 feet of
"HARD! HARD! HARD!" in doing so they are strutting their stuff and drawing attention
to the fact that they can stand the deleterious effects of the cold.

The brushing in front of the stone is to ensure that non of the previous opposition
players accidentally or deliberately dropped any pubic hair on the ice during their last throw. It is said the now legendary "Big Hard Mac" McMagillicuddy could shed his coarsest
scrotal hairs merely by thinking of his cousins prize pig Matilda. Which incidentally
is the reason the two black lines before which the stone must be released is called
he "hog" line.

Talking of lines .. the HACK is the starting block from which a curler pushes himself
off when taking a shot. It is called a HACK after the noise a curler makes when his
"bits" first touch the ice when the full crouch is assumed by the player.

It is not that uncommon to hear the word "tight" mentioned .. this comes from the
involuntary reaction of the body when bits are exposed to minus temperatures.. the
stone is "tight" when the thrower cannot suppress this reaction and tenses as he

I hope you enjoyed this historical introduction to the noble art of curling

Keep your brushes well stacked and your stones clean until the next time!

Wednesday 24 February 2010

ILUG 10 Preperations gathers pace ... poster ideas

The throb of antipication has moved from barely noticable into "shit itis only 9 months away" mode. 9 month's eh? I have time to get pregnant and give birth before the crowds of the faithful descend on Ireland for another round of ILUGy excitment.

Here are a few posters ideas that may or may not be used


Sunday 14 February 2010

Access the clipboard in Javascript

Now here is a wee something I fell over the other day whislt trying to figure out a way of copy and pasting a text stream from a Turd© document to a text area on a form. It would be really useful to grab the clipboard contents .. do some RegExp replaces on it and then import it into the text area.

Well after a moment or two's research you can be done in IE and you have to tweak Moz browsers see here to allow it to work and on Chrome it doesn't work

function clipboardHack ()
     var content = clipboardData.getData("Text");

You can also push any changes back using clipboardData.setData("Text",[changedtext]);

....and while I am at it, Ireland WTF?

... ohh and while I am at the keyboard and logged on to the blog ...What the hell were Ireland thinking yesterday? Jeeze I mean to say what is the point of me getting all prepared with loads of beer and crisps and the other accoutrements of 6 Nations watcherdom and then you sent the under 13's instead of the real international team?

Go home dig out the SKY+ box and watch the Wales vs Scotland game, now THAT was rugby at it's best!

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