Archive for November, 2006

Needing a change of pace…

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

WebSphere MQ SSL Configuration Checker got released by IBM as a freeware application today.

It’s an application that I initially wrote earlier this year. It’s a tool that has been used by WebSphere MQ Service since last May with customers reporting SSL errors. The idea was that it’d be easier to ask customers to run a single executable tool which collects (hopefully!) all the information that we’d need to diagnose the problem, rather than asking them to send us their channel definitions, certificate labels, environment data, etc. etc. Over time, I’ve been extending it and improving it, to broaden the range of problems that it can identify, and it’s now got to the point now where a customer can hopefully run it on their own without needing us to review the output.

As a result, it has now been released as freeware – what we call a ‘SupportPac’ – to make it more widely available. Who knows – it might avoid a customer needing to wait for us to respond to a problem report to identify what’s wrong with an SSL setup?


A different perspective

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

I got forwarded a little story in my email last night which I’ve just read. I don’t normally pass on stuff like this, because we all get enough junk, right? But I’m gonna make an exception this once because this one really made me stop and think.

Between running a charity, being a school governor, mentoring with On the Level, WMQ work, and a bunch of other bits and pieces, I am generally working on something most evenings and weekends. So, I guess it wouldn’t be a stretch to call me a bit of a workaholic. But, I figure that I’m busy, and have a lot to get done, so I work on. Anyway, with that as context, here’s the mail:


Google Maps mash-ups are easy

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

A colleague from dare2, a youth development charity based in Woking, asked where the nearest IBM location to him was. I didn’t know.

The IBM UK website gives a list of UK locations. But there are two small problems. One – my geography is so bad that I don’t know where Woking actually is. Two – my geography is so bad that I don’t know where each of the IBM locations on the IBM list are. Okay, it’s really one reason, but it’s embarrassing enough that it’s worth mentioning twice 🙂

So, I thought this would be a good enough excuse to try creating my first Google Maps mash-up.


Anti-virus for free

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I’ve been setting up some open-source software on the computers in the SYA offices tonight: ClamWin, an anti-virus scanner for Windows, and Winpooch, an anti-spyware and anti-trojan scanner (which also hooks into ClamWin to provide real-time anti-virus protection).

As a project with ECS, we had access to their Sophos site-licenses. Since we became independent, I have been looking for a replacement.

It’s still early days, and I’ll have to see how we get on before I can say if I recommend them. But what I’ve read about them has been largely positive, and so far they look like they will fit our needs. And, importantly for a relatively new charity with plenty of other startup costs, they’re free (with no ongoing costs for virus definition updates!)


Making my blog mobile-friendly

Monday, November 27th, 2006

WordPress blogs don’t look great on PDAs like my phone. But I came across the WordPress Mobile Edition plugin, which produces a PDA-friendly version that is well suited to smaller screens. It rearranges the whole page layout, and makes it much easier to read.

If you have a WP blog and want to better support your mobile readers, then it’s worth a try.

‘Liability for suicide’ Bill on the way?

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

Last month, Iain Duncan Smith proposed a bill which would allow for liability for suicide to be considered. Mr Smith’s argument is very well made and worth a read, but in brief, in cases where a series of repeated domestic abuse leads to someone feeling that their only option is to take their own life, then such a Bill could allow for the person responsible for the abuse to be considered liable for the suicide.


Windows XP Home isn’t always enough

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Solent Youth Action has grown fast over the last couple of years – even faster than I’d hoped. And now it has meant that we are hitting a problem with one of my early decisions. 🙁


Windows Command Line has got smarter

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Most die-hard command-line fans tend to agree that the Windows Command Prompt isn’t great. When you consider how old it is, it isn’t all that powerful. This isn’t the end of the world, as there is always cygwin.

But now Microsoft have released their new command prompt PowerShell. I tried downloading it this evening, and so far, I really like it.