Eek! The Dangers of Red Wine

June 5, 2008

It’s been a long long long long time since last posting. But I’ve been putting the time to good use – consuming copious amounts of vin rouge in order to keep a happy heart. But only this week I learned a dark secret about red wine. Don’t brush your teeth for an hour after drinking it! “What???” you say, “that stinks!”

Well… There’s a good reason for following this advice. Wine is acidic (white is slightly worse than red) and acid acts on contact with your nashers. It will sort of soften them as your down your favourite tibble. But a bit of drool (good ol fashioned salvia) will remineralise them about an hour after you stop drinking. Apparently this problem, dental erosion, is the curse of wine tasters the world over; so there is a drawback to having the best job going after all. Orange juice is also a bad one for softening your enamel as it’s acidic too – but for some reason there isn’t the same excitement generated by the orange juice tasting community!

Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s some experts findings in an academic paper. Until next time, enjoy your wine and Salute!

Natural Born Liars

July 15, 2007

Here’s an interesting article posted on the UK Telegraph exposing the truth about children and infants – they’re all a bunch of filthy liars! Fake laughing, fake crying and bluffing that would put a Texas Holdem poker shark to shame. Little b#$t@%d$!

New Zealand – Marine Life Website

July 2, 2007

If you’ve got a few spare years of your life to look up all the creatures swimming and crawling round New Zealand’s oceans then you should check out Treasures of the Sea. This has got a wealth of info on such topics. It’s pretty crazy how detailed it is. Some nice photos too. Nice one!

How to Greet a Rapper

July 1, 2007

This may come in handy whilst walking the streets of Donohill. Best go out an get yourself some baggy pants and a baseball cap. Can’t touch this!

Kermit Seeks Revenge!

June 29, 2007

In a world without justice, one frog stands tall. A story of an amphibian who can take no more. In this blockbuster, Kermit faces his destiny, behold Heat Fozzy!

Contains some strong language and puppet violence :)

Raindrops from a Small Island

June 29, 2007

Haven’t written an update in a while. So what’s going in the land where toilets flush the other way round (but doesn’t have kangaroos)?

Well, not too much really… The Auckland weather’s gone decided Irish with lots of rain going on and more to come. Which has destroyed my ambitious plans to get away for the weekend. So far it’s been mostly work and no play here in NZ – although we have managed to get away to the Bay of Islands up north as well as Coromandel peninsula to the east.

Both of these are fab spots. Went out on a yacht whilst up around the Bay of Islands and it was superrr! We came across this massive pod of dolphins (felt like hundreds!) who darted right along the boat, shimmering just underneath the bow and rolling and jumping in true Flipper style! What with the scuba diving and general globe-trotting we’ve been at for the last while, there’s been a good few dolphin encounters on our trip, but nothing like this. There were even a couple of lucky buggers out on kayaks who had dolphins hopping over them like a circus trick. Mind you, one or two of the kayakers were looking decidedly nervous about proceedings. Still, I’d have gladly traded places…

GPL V3 – Its True Purpose

May 30, 2007

Recently, I read some interesting commentary on the Microsoft-Novell pact in an Linux Insider article entitled GPLv3 Could Be Risky Business which concluded with the following statement.

“Regardless of the GPLv3 outcome, it should be noted that Microsoft and Novell are two large companies with plenty of attorneys — if they want to do business together over Linux and Microsoft products, it’s not hard to imagine that they’ll be able to find a way.”

This statement didn’t seem to ring true for me – it seemed to be wrong way to view what the Free Software Foundation is doing with GPL V3. Here’s why.

Nobody wants to ‘stop’ Microsoft and Novell, or any other Open Source distributor, from doing business together. In fact, it would be desirable to see Microsoft produce more Open Source software – as they have with the projects such as the Web Service Software Factory – and collaborate with other players in the Open Source software field.

Rather the point of GPL V3 is to defend the rights of Free Software developers to produce software without the fear of litigation hanging over their head – by extending the patent covenant to all of the Free Software community – not just Novell customers. This fear of potential litigation has been raised more strongly than ever by recent Microsoft comments in Fortune magazine. However, it appears that by not having an expiry date on the Linux coupons that Microsoft is distributing, Microsoft itself will become a GPL V3 Linux distributor, and finally their patent covenant will extend to every corner of the Free Software communities. This will be genuinely good for software development, for the Open Source community and most of all for Microsoft – who has a lot to offer in the field of Open Source software.

They have a lot of bright developers and engineers and it is in everyone’s interests to see these people contribute greatly to the I.T. sector over the coming years. But it is important that the playing field is level and that instead of ‘innovative lock-ins’ and restrictive file formats we see a truly great Microsoft emerge that is founded on on true innovation, engineering excellence and co-operation. The first step on this path is to build a true bridge to the Free Software community and not seemingly pretend that this intellectual property bridge is any more than an attempt to scare companies into paying a high premium for ‘Microsoft-approved’ Linux of Novell – using patents instead of file formats as the lock-in.

In summary, it is important to note that the purpose of the latest version of the GNU Public Licence is not on preventing co-operation between Microsoft and Novell with their pact, rather it is to defend everyone else who is threatened by the it. To this end, GPL V3 looks like it will do it’s job very well – winning over many of those who doubted its necessity early on in its GPL 3 draft process. And the Software Freedom Law Centre and it’s ‘plenty of attorneys’ has another feather in its cap as it shows an interesting hand in the poker game of software licensing. And if this hand is not enough for now, ‘it’s not hard to imagine that they’ll be able to find a way’ to continue to keep software development a free and democratic process. If you weren’t sure why you needed GPL V3 yesterday, you probably know why today.

XML Document Creation in Javascript – Cross Platform

May 28, 2007

This is an absolutely super guide which basically gives you some neat code in order to work with XML documents across multiple platforms in the sadistic language of the web – Javascript.

It’s a 4 page tutorial which overviews a static JS class that the author has put together which provides helper methods for creating a new XML document on the client browser by loading from disk, URL’s or strings.  I found it especially useful for squeezing a javascript string into a nice XML representation. Check it out on WebReference.com

Microsoft Not So Sure on Taking on World…

May 15, 2007

Under pressure arising from comments made by Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez and Brad Smith in an Fortune magazine article earlier this week saying that Open Source software contains 235 Micrsoft patents, the company has released a statement that it does not intend to resort to litigation in an effort to halt the growth of Open Source software. So why would they highlight an issue and then when asked to state specifically which are the patents in question they respond, “We’re not going to have a discussion publicly with that level of detail.”

The answer is simple. If they publish them it is likely that most of them will be thrown out by the U.S. courts as invalid. This became much easier recently, when the U.S. Supreme court made it easier to legally challenge individual patents and get them invalidated. This is because most software patents have been granted without due consideration and aren’t actually valid for many reasons. Patents have been grantly for things that are patently unpatenable.

Once this weeds out the likely majority of patents – Open Source developers will endevour to work around what patents, if any, remain.

So, back to the question, why would Microsoft highlight a meaningless question? Well, to bring up the issue in this manner creates a degree of uncertainty in the minds of certain business owners – however misplaced. Such people must weigh up risk every day and anything that they perceive adding risk to their business they will avoid. This will take two forms, one is to avoid Open Source software and stick with closed solutions. But this is becoming increasingly difficult as it is making more and more business sense to deploy Open Source solutions every day. The other is pay royalties to Microsoft for these (vaguely) alledged infringing patents. This is a sad situation because paying ‘money for nothing’ is money that you could otherwise use to grow your business.

Microsoft Vs The World

May 14, 2007

Microsoft is allegedly preparing it’s army of lawyers (more than 800 strong according to one commentator) to issue an almighty patent onslaught on Open Source software. It lists 235 patents which it says are being violated by Open Source software projects. Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer says that it is in the “name of honour” that he must fight the Open Source community. The battle lines are being drawn in what could prove to be the ultimate shakeup of the U.S. software patent system. As Microsoft comes under increased pressure from Open Source software it is making lawyers, not software developers, the front-line soldiers in the fight to maintain the apparent monopoly. It looks like we’re entering interesting times.

On a lighter note, here’s a clip of Steve Balmer trying to rally the Redmond programmers in better days before lawyers led software development. I wonder does he exhibit the same passion today when he stands in front of his devs or does he prefer to go into the TV lounge and flick on an episode of Boston Legal…


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