exo : blah


Sat, 10 Dec 2005

things i have learnt today

  • Mice will go anywhere there is food.
  • Our toaster has at least one screw requiring a magic tool making it impossible to disassemble.

These discoveries are not unconnected.

posted at: 23:09 #

Fri, 04 Nov 2005

rss2mail2 v 2.27

This is a release with a couple of patches from Alexey Tourbin to fix the POD and to MIME encode the subjects if you're getting blog entries as individual mails. I've also cleaned up the Unicode handling a little so that works a lot more consistently now.

And as a bonus it now depends on MIME::Tools as well.

Anyway, you can download it as ever.

posted at: 20:08 #

Mon, 24 Oct 2005


Look, a whole new bit of quickly hacked together software! This time it's something keep track of passwords. It uses your GPG key to encrypt them into a file and then tells you what they are when you ask. I know there are a million other things that do this but I couldn't find any that were console based. I may just have bad google-fu. Regardless, I've written secretkeeper now so I might as well set it free.

posted at: 21:16 #

Sat, 27 Aug 2005

and another release

Version 0.08 of WebService::HTML::Validator::W3C should be hitting a CPAN mirror near you soonish. This release fixes a bug with the scalar validation code.

Such a burst of productivity!

posted at: 12:26 #

Sat, 27 Aug 2005

some more releases

There are new versions of HTML::FormatText::WithLinks and rss2mail2 available.

The former might not have hit CPAN just yet but should be there shortly. Aside from adding in more tests it now ignores anchors without an href attribute. It's been sitting on my hard disc for a good few months now but I obviously got distracted by something before I got round to releasing it. Thanks to Alexey Tourbin for pointing out the empty href issue which kicked me into action.

The new rss2mail2 version ( 2.26 for those keeping up ) fixes a bug in a hack to get round the Joel on Software RSS feed not having a correctly formatted pubDate. Again thanks to Alexey Tourbin for the fix. One of these days I should look at getting round this in a less hacky way...

posted at: 01:01 #

Wed, 24 Aug 2005

Ars Technica's Google Talk review

Ok, so they are not impressed which is fine. As other people have pointed out the news boils down to google have a Jabber server. What makes me sigh are some of Ars Technica's reasons for not liking the client: "Want little emoticons? Skins? Go bug somebody else!"

Ah yes, skins and emoticons. Quite the most vital aspects of any IM client. Utterly essential to your ability to chat with your friends. Or alternately an excellent way to clutter up the interface of an application with unnecessary crap that has no real function.

The rest of their points seem pretty valid though.

posted at: 22:05 #

Sun, 21 Aug 2005

something sounds familiar

South of the border there has been a lot of hue and cry about the new pub licencing stuff. What amazed me about it all was not the predictions of a land awash with drunkards but the news of pubs missing the deadline. This interested me as it all sounds terribly familiar.

For both sets of licence I recall hearing people on the Today programme complaining that the new forms were very complex and people were putting off filling them in till the last minute. You have to wonder if anyone does any user testing on these forms.

And yes, this is a little after the fact to be writing about this but I've been busy...

posted at: 21:01 #

Sun, 21 Aug 2005

rss2mail version 2.25

Mostly a bugfix release. It now handles multiple redirects ( hello slashdot ), fixes a bug that caused it to loop infinitely and one that meant that some feeds were diffing non utf-8 content against utf-8 content which was causing issues.

Oh, and it now has a -Version option.

As ever, although as has been pointed out last time the link was wrong, it's available to download.

posted at: 20:39 #

Mon, 25 Jul 2005

notes on Italy

Hire a small car. Italy is not a country overly blessed with wide boulevards or considerate drivers so the more room you have to manoeuvre the better.

Sitting admiring the view from one of the many hilltop towns it's remarkable how the warning beeps of cars negotiating the inevitable twisty access road sound like the happy greetings of a friendly mountain dwelling animal.

Somewhere in Italy is someone whose job it is to name every single bridge and tunnel on major roads. Or at least this is so in the south. Each of these structures also has a sign indicating their length.

To walk past a bench of elderly Italian men in a small southern village is quite the masterclass in staring.

The Piaggio Ape seems to be the modern Italian equivalent of the donkey. Possibly slower and certainly less environmentally friendly.

posted at: 11:48 #

Thu, 19 May 2005

HTML::FormatText::WithLinks 0.03

In new module news the above is available from your local CPAN mirror. It fixes a slight bug and adds the with_emphasis option which when turned on will turn <b>bolded text<\b> and turn it into _bolded text_ and similarly <i>italicised text<\i> into /italicised text/. It's in there as I mostly use the module for taking HTML and sending it as plain text mail and it's handy to see where these things are.

posted at: 22:24 #

Thu, 19 May 2005

they want a high street experience

That's what the nice man from some motorway service station company said about his customers on Radio 4 this morning. I have no idea what he means by this. However, as someone who has used service stations I'm pretty sure it's not what I want. I'd like somewhere I can stop, have a quick rest, possibly some food and fill the car with fuel and not leave feeling like I've been ripped off. Most of the service stations I've been to, and it's not an extensive sampling, fail spectacularly on the last point. Few of them are great on the rest front either as wandering across a carpark into a plastic and concrete building that's invariably too hot, noisy and overcrowded isn't all together restful.

posted at: 19:07 #

Mon, 16 May 2005

the party of anything to get elected

I was going to write a long piece here about the notion of political parties whose first response to not doing as well as they expected at an election was to review their policies and strip out the ones they felt caused people not to vote for them. However, I had better things to do so I haven't. My main point was that instead of this they could consider having the courage of their convictions and perhaps try and persuade people that the policies the party is putting forward are right. After all, you want to get elected in order to lead the country.

posted at: 17:12 #

Mon, 16 May 2005

like online chess masters

The phenomenon launched cheaters to high positions in the Halo 2 global leader board, where players are ranked like chess masters according to their online wins and losses.

Do Wired really think that the people who read it need to have the concept of a leaderboard explained to them? And if so what makes them think that the international chess ranking system will be any more familiar?

posted at: 16:51 #

Sun, 08 May 2005

Some random election observations

Some things I noticed while perusing through the 4 page list of constituency results in yesterday's Guardian.

  • The lowest turnout was in Nottingham East with 39.73% of the electorate bothering to vote.
  • Catherine Taylor-Dawson of the Vote for yourself rainbow dream ticket polled only a single vote in Cardiff North.
  • Weirdly, and surely illegally, she also stood in the other 3 Cardiff constituencies: Cardiff Central, Cardiff South and Penrith, and Cardiff West.
  • Her fellow VFYRDT member, Rainbow George Weiss, also stood in multiple constituencies: Brent East, Brent North, Brent South, Finchley and Golders Green, Kingston and Surbiton, Richmond Park, Holborn and St Pancras, Hendon, Chipping Barnet, Sutton and Cheam, Twickenham, Hampstead and Highgate, and Wimbledon.
  • With 5 votes Martin Kylsun, standing as an independent in Derbyshire West, was the only other person voted for by fewer than the 10 people whose signatures you require to stand (at least I think it's 10).
  • Disappointingly the Elvis party had only one candidate: David Bishop in Erewash who attracted 116 votes.
  • Improbable names for non Monster Raving Loony Party candidates: Generoso Alcantara (Veritas - West Ham), Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky (UKIP - Wantage) and David Cassidy (Veritas - Sittingbourne and Sheppy).

posted at: 14:26 #

Sun, 27 Feb 2005

rss2mail version 2.22

Another new version that now has all the configuration shunted out to a file to make life easier and less error prone. It's also got slightly better documentation.

Download (includes sample config file).

posted at: 19:05 #

Wed, 23 Feb 2005

Updated email_webstorage.pl

Just in case you care it's been updated to have a bit more flexible configuration and email more feedback to the sender in case of failure. It also catches a few points where it's been known to fail.

Oh, and it has documentation now which some people might find useful. Someday it might get version numbers...

See the relevant page for details.

posted at: 23:12 #

Tue, 22 Feb 2005

Stopping Identity Theft

This morning's Long View on Radio 4 was about the legal case that caused the withdrawal of ID cards in the UK in the 50s. What annoyed me about it were the two people on the program avowing that the new ID cards would put an end to identity theft. Given the long history of any means of identity verification being circumvented it's amazing that people still say these things. Sure, it'll almost certainly make it a lot harder but impossible? Hah! And as has been pointed out by various other people one card to rule them all makes it all the more worthwhile to fake.

posted at: 14:54 #

Wed, 16 Feb 2005

website munging

Some time ago I abandoned the idea of wholesale website redesigns as something I don't have the stomach for with my personal site and decided on a process of slow evolution. Very slow evolution. This is a long winded way of saying that I've now made the front page of the site have actual content rather than it's previous pointless holding page.

It's involved taking my badly hacked up blosxom install and hacking it further such that I've now abandoned all hope of ever upgrading it. As it serves my purposes as is that's OK. I've also cobbled together a small script to pull the latest photos out and stick them on the front page. I should probably update the photo thing to generate RSS at some point.

I'm not altogether convinced about the placing of the photos but I'm not sure where else to put them. Of course it means I can't upload more than three new photos at a time but given my scanning rates that's not likely to be a problem...

posted at: 22:02 #

Sun, 13 Feb 2005


As part of an organising drive I've started to use trac as a ticket tracking and documenting system for the various bits of code I have around and it's great. It does pretty much everything you'd want and integrates nicely with subversion.

The fact that it installs nice and simply on debian is an added bonus

posted at: 23:23 #

Wed, 09 Feb 2005

rss2mail version 2.10

After a fair old hiatus an updated version of rss2mail is available. The new version has much less ropy Unicode handling in recent (i.e after 5.8.0) versions of Perl. It will also now deal with Atom feeds, fetch a feed on a one off basis and allow you to have the feeds delivered as one mail per item.

Internally it's a bit less of a nasty mess as well.

It does now depend on XML::Feed rather than XML::RSS so you'll find there's a whole extra world of dependencies as XML::Feed has quite a list of them.

Download rss2mail2.

posted at: 23:24 #

Tue, 08 Feb 2005


I might as well point out here email_webstorage which is a hacky little script to let you stuff files onto a webserver by emailing them to an address. Or at least it will if you add a little procmail, or similar, magic. It's got more or less zero docs but I'm sure you can figure it all out.

Oh, and like any good Perl script you'll almost certainly need to install most of CPAN to make it work ;)

UPDATE: slight tweaks 'cause I forgot that files don't always have extensions and that sometimes the extensions have numbers in them...

posted at: 19:20 #

Mon, 07 Feb 2005

Happiness is Kanji displaying correctly

screen capture of mutt displaying Kanji characters in a mail from rss2mail2

posted at: 00:36 #

Sat, 05 Feb 2005

A note to the Guardian's sports desk

Please be aware that some people are interested in the results of Six Nations matches not involving England so if you could provide these in a timely manner in future that would be helpful.

posted at: 16:49 #

Sat, 22 Jan 2005

Note to BBC Radio 4 news readers

Last year was two thousand and four and not twenty oh four.

P.S. I have no august guide to back up this assertion. I just know that twenty oh four sounds ridiculous.

posted at: 17:48 #

all the usual copyright stuff... [ copyright struan donald 2002 - present ], plus license