Archive for July, 2006

Ant Building

July 6th, 2006 No comments

I think this post by Stefan Bodewig kind of sum’s up what I’m thinking about the Ant build utility.

My company started using Ant about a year ago. We use it to compile Progress 4GL code, as well as Progress Webspeed files by using the PCT extension.

When I first saw it, I didn’t like it. I decided that using XML as a form of programming language did not make sense. I have no problem with using XML to describe build rules; the problem I have is related to the way that you can specify “build target a, followed by target b”.

But having recently gone through the process of installing it and editting a build XML file, I have to say I’m very impressed! I can overlook my distaste for “programming with XML”, because the rest flows very well indeed. Plus, I can understand it much more that I can makefiles.

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July 6th, 2006 No comments

I’ve just discovered (by accident) that if you visit the website “” and add a filename to the end that doesn’t exist, you get a very strange response.

You are immediately asked to download the file that you have requested. (Try it now – it’s perfectly safe! –

I’ve tried it and looked at the file you end up downloading. It’s a fairly standard 404 HTML error page (“Sorry, this file doesn’t exist”, that kind of thing).

It just seems that they have a problem with the MIME type setup on their server.

It’s just that it seems so sinister….

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Fun with VMWare, New UML Tool and IPv6

July 3rd, 2006 No comments

On Friday, I had the day off, so I decided to play with VMWare Server on a new PC that I had inherited. I’m so impressed so far, for a free product, it does so much.

I’d played with VMWare Player at home before, and within the last year at work we’ve gone VMWare crazy and now host an awful lot of our servers in VMWare images, so I’m well used to their products by now.

I’m impressed by VMWare server though. It does so much more than VMWare Player. Even allowing somebody to install the VMWare-Tools into an image makes the “upgrade” a must.

I spent Friday building some images for a project I’m about to start work on, so that I can test it on different variants of Linux and FreeBSD, as well as on the Windows machine I have. Didn’t hit a single problem with the images, and it even runs Haiku incredibly well (that’s a one up on BeOS which doesn’t work in a VM at all).

Over the rest of the weekend, I’ve also discovered an excellent UML editor for Windows, called StarUML (, which was a professionally produced product, but has now been made Open Source and Free (as in beer, I think).

I also did a little research on IPv6 which proved very helpful. I knew a little about it from a 5 minute aside in a university lecture course, but from what I’ve learnt over the weekend, a lot of thought has gone into the mechanism. The new style of development interface makes a lot more sense, seems very compatible with IPv4 and means that future version of the protocol will require fewer implementation changes! (Lets hear it for commons sense!)

So, put all those points together, and you can pretty much tell that I’m writing some kind of server, but that’s all I’m going to say!

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An Interesting Morning

July 3rd, 2006 1 comment

Well, I’ve had an interesting morning so far!

Mondays I get up at half five so that I can go to the gym before work. I got up, washed/shaved/etc, left the house, drove to the petrol station. As I was driving away from the petrol station, on my way to work, someone said on the radio “And there’s still a heatwave in the south today.”

That made me think “Hmmm, I was going to put a short sleeved shirt in for work.” Then I realised…. “Shit! I haven’t put a shirt in my car! Shit! I didn’t put any trousers in either!”. Had to turn around and go home again.

Then, when I got to work, my security pass wouldn’t let me in past reception. Fortunately, the Facilities Management Director walked past me. I said “Hi, Paul. Sorry to bother you, but my card won’t let me in”. He asked for my card, looked at the name and the picture on it, but his response amazed me:Oh yeah, we played around a bit with the system on Friday. We took you off.

I refrained from asking “Why? Why the hell did you do that??? And why, for god’s sake, didn’t you put me back on again!!!!”.

Strangely, neither of these two events have managed to destroy my insanely cheery mood today.

It gets better, the following day, I was delivered a brand new swipe card! Except the old one still works! Got two now! Woohoo!
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