Monthly Archives: September 2008

links for 2008-09-29

Citigroup Swallows Wachovia – More on the ongoing financial crises; Wachovia to be bought up by Citigroup. ….. 1 Trackback

Links for this article:

links for 2008-09-25

Contagiri watch the new wrist watch introduced by Giuliano Mazzuoli Stunning new watch based on the classic Alfa-Romeo rev counter by Giulano Mazzuoli (a fabulous wach designer as well as being an ex-racing driver for Alfa-Romeo). …..

Links for this article:

links for 2008-09-20

Public webcams at the The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to show we aren’t being consumed by a black hole… …..

Links for this article:


Message to MS: Adopt Firefox now to radically innovate against Chrome

Read an article earlier today by Mary-Jo Foley entitled “Should Microsoft do an IE 8 ‘Lite’?“. I quite enjoyed the article and posted a lengthy response here, which I think is worth sharing on this site too.

Hi Mary-Jo,

Enjoyed the article, here’s a radical idea for you (and MS) though…

MS would be better off binning development on IE8 (and even a potential IE Lite), and throwing there development effort into Firefox.

Why? Well here goes…

By browser market share the competition enticingly looks like IE to Google and Chrome, but the competition is really around innovation and increased functionality.

Neither IE nor Chrome can even remotely compete with the feature rich innovation coming out of Firefox, and, importantly, it’s massive community of Add-On developers.

Just to name a few of the Add-Ons to Firefox, so as to expand on the point, I’m running FireBug (an extremely competent realtime HTML, CSS, etc, editor and web development tool), ScribeFire (a blog posting tool), SeoQuake (a very useful SEO tool), Operator (presents semantic data from web pages into the browser) and, finally, Glubble (an absolutely stunning parental control tool for safe surfing for Children).

Yes, I could probably “cobble” all of this functionality together from separate stand alone applications and possibly sites, however I already have all of this embedded into my browser thanks to Firefox’s Open Source and Open Standards approach.

The real competition for Google’s Chrome is Firefox, and the Firefox development and Add-On development communities. Google know this really and will be attempting to build communities around Chrome to emulate the model (but not quite as Open, as we’ve seen with them before, because ultimately they’ll need to keep control to be able to manipulate and dominate the market).

How much genuine innovation(tm) have we seen from MS in IE in the last couple of years? Anything that made your jaw drop and think “wow”? That’s right: Nowt.

How do you genuinely expect MS to keep up when web pages, search results, and other online applications and services work better and, more importantly, have increased functionality in Chrome?

That’s also right, they won’t be able to, because this time they don’t own the platform, and with 60-70% of all English speaking web traffic initially being presented through Google they won’t be able to use there PC based monopoly to help them, because Google “owns” this platform.

IE had it’s time and place; specifically to “kill off” Netscape’s Browser so that MS could remain relevant in the Internet Age (remember when Bill Gates kept saying the Internet was a fad, and despite what you might think I’m a big fan of Bill).

Now perhaps the only thing that can save MS from the oncoming Google and Chrome “storm” and allow them to continue as a provider of access technology to the Interweb (i.e. Browsers) is the “illegitimate” offspring of the rival it so unceremoniously crushed just a few years ago. How ironic.

Of course, MS won’t, they are too locked into the proprietary model which will ultimately spell the downfall of IE, and possibly even of the MS organisation as we know it today.

But imagine, if you can, just for a moment, a scenario in which MS throws it’d development effort into the open Firefox community, and into it’s Add-On capabilities. Firefox becomes the standard and benchmark, not just for innovation and increased functionality, but for browser share too, both of which would have a reciprocal effect on each other. Google would be forced into following behind, and never given the opportunity to set the agenda (as they are attempting to begin now). For the time being, at least, this would limit Googles penetration onto, and dominance of, the access device (which includes the PC), and keeping them temporarily “server side” on the web.

All the best,


Links for this article:

links for 2008-09-15 Motorcycle & ATV: Automotive Well I never, motorcycle kit from Amazon, what won’t they sell next… …..

Links for this article:

links for 2008-09-13

The PutPlace Blog » Blog Archive » When Bad Things Happen to Good Computers A variety of “photos of melted, damaged and destroyed hardware”; unsurprisingly the punchlines in the last one… …..

Links for this article:

links for 2008-09-14

Welcome – ::Sal’s Realm of RuneScape:: My current favorite RuneScape resource and info. …..

Links for this article:

Is Alex Serpo the worst journalist at ZDNet? Possibly so…

I’ve just read the most poorly researched article, and possibly worst ever published online, at the ZDNet Australia website. It’s a piece by their Australian Editor, Munir Kotadia, and their Australian Reviews Editor, Alex Serpo, titled “Do you love or hate Microsoft’s Seinfeld ads?“. The lead part by Munir isn’t too bad, it’s Alex’s part that has got me incised.

Alex ‘not too bright’ Serpo writes:

Let’s not pretend. Bill Gates isn’t like everyone else. This is a man who wrote his own operating system in his early twenties. Bill Gates makes Stephen Hawking look like a man with hobbies.

Frankly I wouldn’t let Alex near to a keyboard again if I were ZDNet after demonstrating such a phenomenal level of ignorance of his alleged IT industry speciality, but perhaps this is the level of journalistic quality coming out of ZDNet Australia (unless this is a super-ironic, post post-modern piece, of course, but I doubt that very much).

I tried to add a comment about the poor quality and paucity of journalistic rigour demonstrated, specifically of Alex Serpo’s research, however the ZDNet site wouldn’t let me, so I created this blog entry and here it is in full for your amusement.

Alex – try checking your facts before contributing to articles

Your piece is full of holes, and frankly reflects a very poor level of journalism, especially as your subject matter is the IT industry, and IT industry history.

Bill Gates never wrote an operating system in his twenties, nor in his life. He’s a significant and major figure in our industry, but you certainly don’t need to add false achievements and accolades to his legacy.

QDos, which went onto become MS-Dos was written by Tim Paterson, after being purchased by Paul Allen, Bill Gates partner, and joint founder of Microsoft.

Bill wrote a BASIC compiler and interpreter along with Paul, and as I recall one of his major achievement’s was writing InterSvr / InterLnk, although this may too be apocrypha.

As to the Seinfeld adverts, I don’t like Seinfeld, so no big shakes to me. They can waste their money in a vain attempt to stop the coming dominance of Open Source operating systems and I’m sure it’ll help sell a few copies of Windows and Office for the short term at least.

Frankly the best advert for PCs was the Apple sponsored Mitchell and Web adverts, because although Mitchell was plainly representing the PC, his character in Peep Show, upon which the advert appeared to be based, was the more likeable. Talk about Apple shooting themselves in the foot.



If you need any help with IT industry history in the future give me a shout, but for God’s sake please don’t produce drivel like this again.


If we ignore the sadly unfunny swipe at Hawkins, what upsets me about the quality of the ZDNet article is that it denigrates the achievement that great technologists such as Ken Thompson (father of UNIX, Plan 9, and Inferno, along with Dennis Ritchie), Bill Joy (the genius behind BSD and SunOS / Solaris), Linus Torvalds (writer of the Linux kernel), and a relatively small number of others, have made in having actually written an Operating System.

Oh and by the way Alex, the offer still holds, if you need any help with IT industry history or research in the future then give me a shout.

¨C14C ¨C15C¨C16C

Links for this article:

links for 2008-09-12

Links for this article:


Integrating Disqus and Roller Weblogger on

I’ve recently updated my site to use Disqus the blog comment hosting and conversation site.

Done this for two reasons:

  1. Firstly my usually frustration with any status quo means I want more functionality delivered yesterday, and although I’d started to have a look at the functionality I wanted and how I might add it as a Roller macro / velocity code I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of time coding it out (the functionality I specifically wanted was the separation of comments and trackbacks, as well as comment ‘threads’).
  2. Secondly to gain readership and comments from the sizeable blog comment audience that Disqus have built up (Disqus is estimated to be running on over 30,000+ servers).

I’ve already had a couple of comments from Disqus members, and I’ll have to see how it goes before I start heralding it as an unprecedented success, but I’m very pleased with the results (both aesthetic and functional).

Sadly the Disqus comment import function was initially provided for WordPress and Blogger, but apparently wasn’t fully functional; subsequently an update is due out soon that will hopefully include Roller Weblogger. See this Disqus forum entry, and it’s threads for more info: How do I import comments?

Given this was the case I wanted to make sure my blog supported my new Disqus commenting system, but would still show my old comments if there where any for an entry. Here are a few examples:

The code I developed, which has to be separated into two components (number of comments associated with a blog entry, and comment entry form and comment display), is below, but if you use or copy it please note that you need to replace the Disqus supplied JavaScript for my site with your Disqus comments hosted sites JavaScript code. ¨C18C

Combined Roller Weblogger and Disqus Number of Comments code

For comment numbers I’ve broken it down into displaying “n Comments” for Disqus on it’s own, whilst “x Comments (new, via Disqus) and y Comments (legacy, via Roller)” for comments hosted on both systems.

This replaces the code in the Roller Weblogger “_day” template which displays the number of comments per blog entry.

Don’t forget to replace occurrences of ‘eclectic’, my blog handle, with yours (just one, about the fifth line from the end).

## Number of Comments

<a href="$url.entry($entry.anchor)#disqus_thread">View Comments</a>

#set($commentCount = $entry.commentCount)
#if ($commentCount &gt; 0)
    (new, via <a href="" target="_blank">Disqus</a>) and 
    #if ($commentCount == 1)
        <a href="$url.comments($entry.anchor)">$commentCount Comment</a> (old, via <a href="" target="_blank">Roller</a>) 
        <a href="$url.comments($entry.anchor)">$commentCount Comments</a> (old, via <a href="" target="_blank">Roller</a>) 

<script type="text/javascript">
(function() {
		var links = document.getElementsByTagName('a');
		var query = '?';
		for(var i = 0; i < links.length; i++) {
			if(links[i].href.indexOf('#disqus_thread') >= 0) {
				query += 'url' + i + '=' + encodeURIComponent(links[i].href) + '&';
		document.write('<script type="text/javascript" src="' + query + '"></' + 'script>');

Combined Roller Weblogger and Disqus Comment entry and Comments display code

This basically displays the Disqus commenting system, along with any Disqus hosted comments, however if any ‘legacy’ Roller Weblogger hosted comments are found it displays those too.

It replaces the code in the Roller Weblogger “permalink” template which displays comments themselves (the same changes may need to be made to the “weblog” and “searchresults” templates too).

## Comments

<h2>Comments (new, via <a href="" target="_blank">Disqus</a>)</h2>

<div id="disqus_thread"></div><script type="text/javascript" src=""></script><noscript><a href="">View the forum thread.</a></noscript><a href="" class="dsq-brlink">blog comments powered by <span class="logo-disqus">Disqus</span></a>



#set($commentCount = $entry.commentCount)
#if ($commentCount &gt; 0)
    <h2>Comments (old, via <a href="" target="_blank">Roller</a>)</h2>

Additional benefits that I’ve picked up by implementing Disqus include:

  • Following commentators.
  • Having my, and my sites, comments followed.
  • Being able to easily ‘reblog’ my comments and make blog entries out of them (looking forward to trying this, although I haven’t yet).

Finally here’s my Disqus profile for you to have a look at:

Links for this article: