The reason sleep has been a memory 😉 but nothing like a baby to get you evaluating whats important, and where you are going in life. Keeping it together with exercise, and not losing sight of long-term dreams – that’s my way anyhow. He arrived in the world 7 weeks earlier, and 3 months on all the early drama seems a long time ago. But that would make sense, as days with babies and children are always seem a lot longer to them – a day is an eternity. So I curse sometimes how the work week seems to be longer and drawn out, then I remember why – i am trapped in a baby’s timezone, which is not so bad a place to be 🙂

“Fast” food

There is this scene in Fawlty Towers in “The Hotel Inspectors” episode, which epitomizes what I see in terms of current english service in takeaway food places. In the scene, Manuel comes into the dinning room with a load of napkins. He then puts the pile down then, then proceeds to take one to a table, then scurries back to repeat the exercise several times.

So often in a fast food place, I see several people dealing with one order, while customers wait patiently, if boiling inside. Occasionally if I feel it is taking too long; so long, I am starting to feel anger boil up. Usually something mildly sarcastic like “I am really sorry to interrupt you, but I came in here to buy some food”. Nothing more biting than polite sarcasm! Contrasts wildy with my experience in New York, where the guys behind the counter were impatient with my lack of decision speed – they proactively sought out customers to deal with. It was so refreshingly quick and simple to order. Large complex orders were digested and delivered without sweat or stress. In this country, we treat people who serve food as at the bottom of the wage and career ladder. I guess we get what we deserve.

Cult of the Dead Cow


I remember this was one of the first sites i kept going back to.  That was 1995, and they are still here with a slighly different website, but still the same great aims.  They started in 1984 at a slaughterhouse, with aim for  “Global Domination Through Media Saturation”  -cDc and their affiliates (such as Ninja Strike Force) exercise their right to roam the web, and operate by stealth. Continue reading

ab – Apache HTTP server benchmarking tool – Apache HTTP Server

ab is a tool for benchmarking your Apache Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) server. It is designed to give you an impression of how your current Apache installation performs. This especially shows you how many requests per second your Apache installation is capable of serving.

Load and Stress Testing your web applicartion can be a costly exercise, but there are tools such as this that can provide you with some confidence in the robustoness of your web application.  As a sidenote, most databases have some form of test tool, though they usaually require technical understanding to analyse results, and diagnose issues.

Manual of ab is rather extensive, so here is just useful example of it’s usage:

ab -n 100

will send 100 requests to Apache server of this website.

Localization on a zero budget

This was an interesting exercise is battling the odds. I was providing QA management on a mature successful MMORPG that was approaching localization phase. The game was based on open source technology, and had been developed in Agile/SCRUM environment in the US office. The localization was managed from the UK. The first big hurdle was that the game had been totally hardcoded, so initial work was done to externalise all game data. Translations were done by external translations company, but up to the point when I arrived, the translation had been very ad-hoc, leading to basic errors. The localized versions were hosted by various ISP’s in different countries, and their involvement was limited to verifying the translations.

There was no real budget allowance for this phase of project, so the first move I made was to streamline the translation process, from the translation company, through development and through to the testing at the end of the cycle. As the data had been externalised into one comprehensive localizer file, I took this as the first point in the cycle. This file was provided (intact) to the translations company. To speed up process, and to ensure file integrity, I specified acceptable methods of viewing and editing this file (I chose Vi, as this had support for multiple language character sets, and there was free version available). In order to keep this file integrity, I used QA as the conduit between various people.

Once the translations company had translated the complete localizer file, it was uploaded to shared ftp drive, where QA validated the file integrity, before sending to US dev team for implementation on QA server. The ISP was then asked to validate the localizer file, and then perform some in-game testing to verify correct use of grammar, and identify issues, such as graphic overspill, caused by elongated text. I also used this process as a formal signoff stage, as the informality of the environment meant there was little or no formality. For the business this could prove disastrous as in the event of issues, it was difficult to trace where problem was first initiated.