Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Flow Charts (from xkcd)

xkcd is so often amusing but occassionally they post something that quite literally makes me laugh out loud. Today, is one of those times ...


Friday, 5 December 2008

Selenium, give me back my desktop!

Selenium is a great tool for testing web applications but, when running it locally, it does tend to take over your desktop with Firefox windows popping up constantly, leaving you twiddling your thumbs until the test suite is finished.

A beautifully lightweight and simple solution on Linux is to display the Firefox windows under test in an Xnest window.

So, here's my Selenium server startup script:

# Configure the display we'll run Xnest on and the location of the Firefox
# binary.

# Start Xnest and capture its pid.
Xnest $XNEST_DISPLAY -ac &

# From now on we want all X11 apps to start on Xnest's display.

# Let's run a nice, simple window manager on it.
openbox-session &

# Run the selenium server.
java -jar selenium-server.jar -forcedBrowserMode "*firefox3 $FIREFOX_BIN"

# Close the Xnest session.
kill $xnest_pid

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Doctor Who Confidential

Pah, it's nothing to do with a, "Behind-the-scenes look at the making of Doctor Who". It exists purely to show my 4 year old that the nasty monsters aren't actually real so they can sleep at night. ;-).

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Adobe (Hot) Air

Came across this fantastic statement in some Adobe marketing video, :
"So, it's actually the first time that you've ever been able to double-click on an FLV file on your desktop and actually watch it. Before you've had to basically watch Flash video through the browser."
Silly me. I can't possibly have been able to play FLV files on my computer for quite some time and all these projects must be completely deluded too.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

2nd Kyu, Aikido

Yay, I just got 2nd Kyu Aikido!

I know I made a number of mistakes (like not avoiding and getting a tanto in the stomach :-/) but I obviously did well enough.

Recently I've been practicing randori-no-kata, shichi-hon-no-kuzushi, randori-no-kata-no-ura-waza and koryu-dai-san; all a long way from perfect, of course. And what did they ask me to do .... left-handed Randori-no-kata, tanto hikitategeiko and some free play. Oh well, it's all good stuff.

The general comments about the grading, and I know some apply to me, was that it needed to be more flowing with more movement and "life".

Comments on my personal performance was that I was getting a reasonable amount of movement in the tanto hikitategeiko, and that my kata was quite good. They obviously weren't watching the whole time ;-).

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Virding's First Rule of Programming

"Any sufficiently complicated concurrent program in another language contains an ad hoc informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Erlang."

-- Virding's First Rule of Programming

I'm really no Erlang expert but, from what I've seen so far, there's a fair amount of truth to that statement.

Earthquake rocks house ... a bit

Just sitting here playing around with Erlang and Mnesia's database replication when I felt what can only have been an earthquake.

It wasn't very big (this is the UK, after all) but it made the house shudder quite strongly.

I've felt one here before. That was more like a very low rumble, quite a strange sensation, but I don't remember it making the house move to the same extent as this one.

I tried to check with the British Geological Survey Seismology Home Page but it seems to be down at the moment. Have to try again in the morning.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

One site account, multiple OpenID identities

If you're adding OpenID to your site then please allow your users to add as many of their OpenID identities as they want to their account.

I've got a few identities I use so adding a couple to sites that are important to me means I'm not reliant on a single OpenID provider being available when I need it. It's a simple form of fault tolerance.

Multiple identities can also be a way to allow an account on a particular site to be shared by multiple people, each with their own authentication credentials.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Get your MP3s now, last few left

Spotted this on

Erm ... but ... why? Are they going to run out of them or something ;-) ?

Perhaps this time I'll keep it up

I've kept various forms of blog over the years from personal "just to keep some notes" to a company-related journal. I've been hopeless at posting regularly to all of them and, as a result, they have withered and died.

The whole corporate journal thing really doesn't appeal to me much anyway. If I'm going to post to a blog then I really don't want to have to think too hard about it. I've also always felt very uncomfortable posting anything of personal interest to it for fear of "losing" it if I ever change job.

I doubt this blog will do much better (I've not even convinced myself that I want to use yet) but it really is about time I posted about stuff I'm interested in, stuff I play with, etc.