May 2008 - July 2003 WordPress blog


The following blog archive is from my old Wordpress blog, which I posted from 2003 - 2008. I did not preserve the template - Wordpress Kubrick - but the posts are intact. Here is a screenshot of the blog.

vetula: chris kelley’s blog

an american web developer living in pretoria, south africa

(The city changed depending on where we lived - Pretoria, Sofia, Cape town - when I was actively blogging.)

Save jPod (TV Series)

May 4th, 2008

As of May 4 2008, the search query “jPod (TV Series)” returns about 230,000 hits in Google. Pretty good for a canceled TV show that only lasted one season. There is alot of love for jPod - even a website devoted to saving the show, which was recently marked for cancellation by the Canadian Broadcasting Centre: .

Since I live in South Africa and jPod is not available here, my friend Bit Torrent lent me the series. I had a bit of history w/ the jPod concept since I loved Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs and enjoyed the follow-up book jPod. I’m also a programmer so I appreciate the culture behind jPod, even though compromises have been made to suit TV. That’s OK with me. I hope the community that has sprung up around the apparent loss of this TV show portends a new direction for entertainment companies - perhaps a way for them to make a profit and for us to get some enjoyable entertainment - and perhaps even some interaction.

CBC: Embrace the power of the Long Tail and listen to this community. Please renew jPod! Everyone else: Sign the petition!

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Save jPod (TV Series)”

    1. K Says:

    2. June 1st, 2008 at 11:44 pm

      1. CBC is rebroadcasting the first season of jPod over the summer (Thursdays 8pm, starting June 19). We hope that improved ratings will convince CBC to save the show. Please tune in and spread the word! For more information:


Java profiling with HAT

June 4th, 2006

I’m doing some Java profiling of a Tomcat 5.5 webapp with HAT, The Java Heap Analysis Tool. Here’s some steps to make it work:

    • Download HAT from

    • Open the Tomcat Monitor app, click configure, Java tab, and add the following line to Java Options: -Xrunhprof:file=dump.hprof,format=b,heap=all

    • You may need to add more memory to Tomcat as well (Maximum memory pool).

    • To launch it on the command-line:

    • java -jar hat.jar -port 7002 “C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Tomcat 5.5\dump.hprof”

    • If you run into memory problems w/ hat, give it more:

    • java -XX:PermSize=128m -XX:MaxPermSize=128M -Xms700M -Xmx700M -jar hat.jar -port 7002 “C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Tomcat 5.5\dump.hprof”

    • View the Hat webapp at http://localhost:7002/

    • The docs included w/ the HAT download outline the capabilities of the HAT app pretty well.

Posted in General, Java | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Java profiling with HAT”

      1. Yes but how do you give more memory to jhat, which has no jar? -r

Upgrading from Struts template to tiles

May 25th, 2006

I recently upgraded Struts and instrantly ran into errors relating to using the template tag, which is now deprecated. Here’s a list of changes I had to make when upgrading from Struts template to tiles.

    • Add the tiles-related files from the struts distro.

    • Replace < %@ taglib uri='/WEB-INF/struts-template.tld' prefix='template' %> with

    • < %@ taglib uri='/WEB-INF/struts-tiles.tld' prefix='template' %>

    • Add direct=’true’ to all of my template:put lines. - this solves a NullPointerException issue.

    • If one of the items you’ve named in your template is not in it’s referred jsp file, struts will throw the following error:

    • The requested resource (/zeprs/WEB-INF/templates/whatever) is not available

    • Try the following:

        • Add ignore=”true” to the template:get tag

        • If this does not solve the problem, add an empty tag to your jsp page:

        • template:put name='header' direct='true'

So far it’s been a pretty smooth transition. Yeah!

Posted in General | No Comments »

Baylor Gay Purge Extends To Grads

November 9th, 2005

Baylor Gay Purge Extends To Grads: Baylor University is becoming as embarrassing to its (admittedly few liberal and/or gay) alumni as Doonesbury’s Walden. Seems like it is crossing over to Bob Jones University territory…

Unit testing datasources without hibernate

June 21st, 2005

I’ve got some code in my current project that uses JDBC rather than Hibernate. I’m using datasources, so using simple JDBC connection was not going to work. Most of the datasource-related code for junit that I’ve found on the web assumes hibernate, so it was a bit difficult to solve this problem. I found a good solution: Spring framework’s DriverManagerDataSource, which creates a simple datasource on-the-fly:

try {

Context init = new InitialContext();

Context ctx = null;

ctx = (Context) init.lookup("java:comp/env");

dataSource = (DataSource) ctx.lookup("jdbc/myDB");

} catch (NamingException e) {

DriverManagerDataSource ds = new DriverManagerDataSource();





dataSource = ds;


I’m not using Spring for this project but I simply added spring.jar to my classpath, and Bob’s yer uncle. Works fine!

On a related manner, logging was not working - I was getting a FileNotFoundException. Here’s my entry for the logfile:


${catalina.home} was not getting initialized, so I simply set the path manually:


When I get a chance, I’ll figure out how to declare that variable manually so I don’t have to change my log4j when I deploy.

Posted in Java

How do independent developers stay on our radar?

February 24th, 2005

I’ve decided to become one of the micropatrons of Jason Kottke, who has quit his job to do as a full-time job. Although I don’t visit his site very often, when I do, I learn alot. I really like what he’s doing, and I believe that just as I support compelling theatre/movies/art, I should support outstanding web developers as well. (Actually, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen any cutting edge theatre or art, but I did see Yesterday this past weekend…)

I hope that Jason manages to keep the love flowing - managing his community of supporters. There’s so much competing for my attention. How do independent developers stay on our radar? I’m OK with an occasional update via e-mail, in case I’ve lost his site in the long list of rss feeds to which I subscribe. Some sort of community like Linked In would be fine as well. Perhaps something like plazes, which features a geographically-dispersed community? It will be interesting to see how Jason maintains his network of supporters.

I wish Jason all the best!


February 23rd, 2005

A new acronym came into my vocabulary: Ajax. The name is shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML. Ajax describes the technology behind many of Googles’ web apps, in which data on the web page is updated without having to submit/refresh the whole page. From the article, Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications, by Jesse James Garrett:

Ajax incorporates:

    • standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;

    • dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;

    • data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;

    • asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;

    • and JavaScript binding everything together.

I’m currently implementing Ajax functionality in my projects, thanks to dwr (direct web remoting). dwr is pretty easy to implement - kudos to the fellas working on it. Right now I’m simply using dwr to help check if the user has entered an id that already exists the the database; however, I’m planning to use dwr to make long, complex forms alot easier (and fault-tolerant). This is a really nice item to add to a web developer’s toolkit!

Xforms Samples

February 5th, 2005

Update: The XForms site now includes much better support - thanks folks!

After seeing the announcement of XForms beta in Firefox, I decided to test it out. First I picked up a zip for the latest firefox nightly, unzipped it in my Program Files dir, and launched firefox.exe.Then I installed the XForms extension, , xforms.xpi. Unfortunately, there are not many pointers to samples or working examples, so here is my current list:

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

November 14th, 2004

What’s the next step for the Democratic Party? Dan Savage has an interesting proposal:

We can secede emotionally, however, by turning our backs on the heartland. We can focus on our issues, our urban issues, and promote our shared urban values. We can create a new identity politics, one that transcends class, race, sexual orientation, and religion, one that unites people living in cities with each other and with other urbanites in other cities. The Republicans have the federal government–for now. But we’ve got Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City (Bloomberg is a Republican in name only), and every college town in the country. We’re everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We’ll take Manhattan.

Lancet report - Iraq civilian toll: 100,000 and rising?

October 29th, 2004

I saw a story about this Lancet report on Iraqi civilian casualties on BBC World on Friday, and was shocked at the number - 100,000! This should be a core issue of the US Presidential campaign - not dithering over how many munitions have been lost. Also, here’s a similar article from the Guardian.. Why isn’t this front-page news yet?

Update: 11/14/2004 - The Economist has an article that digs a little deeper into the statistical analysis behind the Lancet study.

Wiki on Design Patterns

October 26th, 2004

People Projects and Patterns features links to very useful patterns, plus interesting discussions on the Business Object.

Posted in Java | Comments Off

Test from ecto

October 26th, 2004

Yet another test of blogging tool - this time, ecto. Pretty sweet - it allows mulitple categories per posting, and has wysiwyg editing. Also can add images to a post. $17.95.

Posted in Content Management Systems

Jon Stewart blows away Crossfire

October 16th, 2004

Jon Stewart sheds a very interesting light on what he believes is wrong with political news coverage during his appearance on CNN’s Crossfire. Kudos to Dave Winer for the links to torrent files. And here’s the transcript. It was pretty cool to watch him call these guys to task, saying, “You are hurting America. The media is hurting America.” Stewart blew off a question from an audience member about the mysterious bulge on Bush’s back captured on camera during the last debate, because he probably sees that issue as yet another thing that continues this theater-pretending-to-be-news charade going and keeps our eyes off the ball. (By the way, I’m using burst as my torrent client - pretty seamless.)

Operation Truth

October 14th, 2004

Operation Truth is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization whose goal is simple and straightforward: to support our troops and spread the truth about what conditions are like in Afghanistan and Iraq. I followed Dave’s pointer to their ad, Not There, and was touched by the simple imagery and repetition of the words “Not There.”

    • WMD’s: “Not There”

    • Connection between Iraq and 911: “Not There”

    • Words to describe how his arm was blown off by an Iraqi grenade, “Not There”

The O’Franken Factor

August 10th, 2004

The O’Franken Factor: I stumbled upon the O’Franken Factor website today and listened to about 30 min.s of liberal talk radio via Air America, that new liberal talk radio station. O’Franken Factor was not on, but I did catch “Morning Sedition.” Strange - these guys were about as annoying as regular talk radio, and it was sorta preaching to the choir. What’s the point? At least I learn a few new things when listening to NPR. So I listened to mp3’s instead… - mozile: index

August 8th, 2004

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at Content Management System user interfaces. This morning I was really impressed by the progress of Mozile, an in-place web page editor. No textarea boxes - just edit within the portion of the page identified for editing. They still need to implement a few things (such as cut and paste) but still, it’s really impressive!

Posted in Content Management Systems

History of Ancient Bulgaria

August 8th, 2004

Vassil Karloukovski has a website on ancient Bulgarian history and culture which is quite a prodigious work! Especially interesting is his transcription of Robert Lee Wolff’s The ‘Second Bulgarian Empire.’ Its Origin and History to 1204, which provides an enlightening description of the relationship between Bulgaria and the churches in Rome and Constantinople.

Papa Luna, Samarquand, and Ciracassians

August 7th, 2004

Over lunch, Lachko and I watched part of a movie called Papa Luna, which is a very charming movie set in middle-80’s (still Soviet) Uzbekistan. Lachko got a kick seeing some of the Soviet culture that he remembered as a kid in Bulgaria, such as the Militzia (police) and the compulsary Russian language. Noting the reference to Samarquand in the subtitles, I decided to do a little web research on the area. Samarquand was once the “pearl of the Eastern Moslem world,” the Land of Scientists, and is the second largest city of Uzbekistan. Next I took a detour and checked out the Circassians who once occupied a large territory mainly between the Black and the Caspian Seas at the foot of the Caucasus but were subject to a long-term genocide. Apparently some Christians (of the Crazy-American variety) posit that the Antichrist will spring from their genetic code, which does seem to engender pretty amazing fighting abilities. Speaking of the Jesus, there may be a connection between the family of Joseph of Arimathea (featuring the first guards of the Holy Grain) and the Kazars, a Turkic tribe that settled in Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages.

iTunes Music Store RSS Generator

August 6th, 2004

iTunes Music Store RSS Generator

Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004

August 5th, 2004

Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004

Many-to-many example using Hibernate

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

Pertinent code for the two objects in the many-to-many relationship follows. Hibernate generates a third table, form_field_bridge, to bind together the relationship between multiple forms and fields.



* @return

* @hibernate.set inverse="false"

* lazy="false"

* cascade="save-update"

* table="form_field_bridge"

* @hibernate.collection-key column="field_id"

* @hibernate.collection-many-to-many class="" column="form_id"


public Set getForms()


return forms;


public void setForms(Set form)


this.forms = form;




* @return

* @hibernate.set inverse="true"

* lazy="false"

* cascade="save-update"

* table="form_field_bridge"

* sort="org.zeprs.display.util.DisplayOrderComparator"

* @hibernate.collection-key column="form_id"

* @hibernate.collection-many-to-many class="" column="field_id"


public Set getFields() {

return fields;


public void setFields(Set field) {

this.fields = field;


Posted in Java | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Many-to-many example using Hibernate”

    1. Jeryl Cook Says:

    2. September 4th, 2004 at 7:59 pm

      1. any reasons why a Form.getFields(), will not return collection of Fields? after a ?? i am using spring/hibernate , thanks!

    3. Jeryl Cook Says:

    4. September 5th, 2004 at 4:42 pm

      1. Do i use a formfieldbridge object also??..i generated the assocation table as well, but it has porblems using java2hbm

    1. iwan Says:

    2. September 5th, 2004 at 5:44 pm

      1. Jeryl: try a session.refresh(Form) before retreiving the collection.

A Hibernate tip for many-to-many relationships

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

I found a very useful explanation why the bridge table for a many-to-many relationship was not saving when I did an insert. The Inside explanation of inverse=true points out that

“The side having inverse=”false” (default value) has this responsibility (and will create the appropriate SQL query - insert, update or delete). Changes made to the association on the side of the inverse=”true” are not persisted in DB.”

Here is some sample code.

Posted in General, Java | No Comments »

Test from clevercactus pro

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

Testing out clevercactus

pro. This client app integrates e-mail, calendar, and rss


Posted in General | No Comments »

Avoid the dreaded replaceAll method

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

Nice Java tip from the O’Reilly Hacks website.

Posted in General, Java | No Comments »


Saturday, July 31st, 2004

The Chris-christ ponders his Sisyphusian existence.

It’s 11:32 pm on a Friday night, and I’m still up working on optimising an install of the referral app for some demo that Chafye has to do. Apparently the demo is happening at a location that does not have net access. All is not terribly grim - I try to have a life. I managed to skip out for a few hours and have dinner w/ some friends at an Asian restaurant around the corner, but still, it sucks that I am still working at 11:33 on a Friday night.

What is really depressing is that Chafye is surely not working at this hour either, and in the morning he will probably not have enough time to pull it together, or he’ll just decide to do something else. Or more likely, his manager will decide for him. So this is all futile.

I guess we all have our own purgatory in which our sores may fester. We do the best we can. One of my friends used to call me the Chris-Christ, ’cause he said I had a Christ complex (carrying the burdens of the world on my shoulders, and being fairly sanctimonious about it). I think a better metaphor is Sysiphus - I’m damned to carry the rock of programming up the hill, almost reaching the peak, when something causes me to roll back to the bottom. For example, I finally got my main patient record app to a useful point, was ready to get caught up on other tasks, and then another member of my team shits on me, bringing me down to the bottom. And then another project manager (actually, a client) comes up with an impossible deadline from a donor (for Monday). And then the referral app rears its head, and I slip even lower.

Well, it’s the weekend in 6 minutes, so I guess life ain’t so bad

Posted in General | No Comments »

Let’s End the Culture War

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Reviewing my posts of the past few months, I have noticed that they are pretty slanted towards gay issues, mostly gay marriage…

I’ve been incredibly busy on a project the past few months, and have had very little time to post (or much else). Reviewing my posts of the past few months, I have noticed that they are pretty slanted towards gay issues, mostly gay marriage. A dear friend of mine recently went through a horrible experience that reminded me how narrow my focus has been. While I still feel that gay marriage is a fair goal for our society, I’m really not suffering because I can’t legally marry my partner. There’s alot bigger issues in our society that we can solve that probably matter alot more than gay marriage; let’s not use these flashpoints to keep us from working on the big problems - violence, poverty, ignorance, etc. As the US Presidential Election gathers steam, I hope we don’t get so caught in the issues manufactured by the candidate’s marketing organisations that we forget to observe the welfare of our friends, nieghbors, and loved ones. Let’s end the culture war so we can build a better world around us.

Posted in General, Gay issues, Sustainability | No Comments »

My cousin in Maine…

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Spring is bringing an added bonus to my cousin in Maine. Maine now recognises same-sex partnerships. She and her partner are now eligible for inheritance eligibility, victim’s compensation, guardian rights and next-of-kin status. Maine is the fifth state to pass such laws. Congrats!

While it’s nice to see equal rights come to fellow travellers, it’s especially nice to see them granted to family members. Too bad my gay great-uncle is no longer around to celebrate with us. (And yes - in my family at least - there really may be a link between genetics and homosexuality…)

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

    1. Samuel Says:

    2. May 26th, 2004 at 6:43 pm

      1. Hi…nice journal!!!

The LoftCube

Monday, April 26th, 2004

The LoftCube: A fantastic looking residence for the urban nomad.

Posted in General | No Comments »

Mean-spirited Legislation in Virginia

Friday, April 23rd, 2004

If you’re gay and live in Virginia, you might as well sit on the back of the bus. This Yahoo News article, Virginia takes away gay partner rights, points out that recent legislation may “bar same-sex couples in Virginia from obtaining a medical power of attorney, making custody decisions and carrying out estate planning directives.” What’s next? Jim Crow laws for gays?

Posted in General | No Comments »

93 US Citizens have died in Iraq in the past 2 weeks

Friday, April 16th, 2004

Something simply must change. The U.S. military has lost at least 93 troops in combat since March 31 — four more than the total killed in the three-week war that toppled Saddam. This is really shocking. How are people in the US reacting to this news? Are they aware that they are empowered to cause a change in our strategy? Seven months until the election…

Posted in General | No Comments »


Saturday, April 3rd, 2004

One of my favorite songs from Sesame street: Mahnahmana (thanks to Bedeveled Mojo Slop for the link). And I also loved the chef who announces how many pies he had, “Tweeeeelve, Straaaaawberrrrrry Pieeeeeeeeees!” and then fell down the stairs. Giggles aplenty. I was four.

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

    1. D.L. Chandell (DLC IndustryWatch) Says:

    2. September 17th, 2004 at 3:46 am

      1. Don’t forget, if you’re into classic television, that it was The Benny Hill Show that immortalized “Manamana”, playing the music in just about EVERY episode ever made for the show. So much so, that you would HAVE to see the original Sesame Street show to even know that “Manamana” originated there.

It doesn’t have to be called marriage…

Thursday, April 1st, 2004

I like the way the UK is handling the gay marriage issue. Don’t call it marriage; instead, grant gay couples the same rights and obligations as straight couples. Gay culture does not have the same history and traditions that fostered the marriage covenant. Do we need to use the same names to describe our partnerships?

Posted in General | No Comments »

Solar notes

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004

G.E. Signals a Growing Interest in Solar - Good news - perhaps solar will become more mainstream. When I finally build my shipping container house, perhaps I can power it using solar! I’ve had an interest in solar power for quite a long time. In college one of my professors introduced me to Home Power Magazine, devoted to living off-the-grid.

Posted in General, Sustainability | No Comments »

more songs about buildings and containers

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004

Architecture and Hygiene’s website features house designs based on shipping containers, including the $76,000 Quik House. An appealing option for a nomad like me!

Posted in General, Sustainability | No Comments »

Two articles on sustainable energy solutions: solar and hydrogen

Sunday, March 7th, 2004

A quick list:

Posted in General | No Comments »

Why do many programmers still use MD5 for encryption?

Saturday, March 6th, 2004

It’s really not necessary anymore - plenty of alternatives. MD5CRK is a new distributed computing project whose “goal is to demonstrate that the MD5 message digest algorithm is no longer appropriate for many cryptographic applications such as checksums and digital signatures.”

Posted in General | No Comments »

Yahoo! News - Same-sex couples marry in New York

Saturday, February 28th, 2004

Yahoo! News - Same-sex couples marry in New York

Posted in General | No Comments »

One nation under a groove

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

This list of the Top Twelve Reasons Against Gay Marriage is pretty good; the comments are even more interesting. Some opponents of gay marriage proclaim that letting gays marry imposes unwanted beliefs on them. Allowing gays to marry does not force anyone to believe in gay marriage - it simply lets two people of the same sex be treated with the same dignity offered to opposite-sex couples. Besides, there are probably plenty of examples how our government imposes beliefs on our society - I’d imagine that aetheists may feel uncomfortable with the “one nation under God” phase in our Pledge of Allegiance.

Posted in General, Gay issues | No Comments »

Support for same-sex marriage in Cambodia and New Mexico - a coincidence?

Saturday, February 21st, 2004

Media coverage of San Francisco’s legalisation of same-sex marriage may be sparking interest in this issue across the globe. The king of Cambodia has offered support for same-sex marraige and gay rights in Cambodia, and for a brief period on Friday marriage licenses were granted to same-sex couples in New Mexico. By the way - Buy the newlyweds flowers!

Posted in General, Gay issues | No Comments »

Countries I’ve visited

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

While playing around with the GeoURL thang, I found this site, and made a purdy pic:

create your own visited country map

or write about it on the open travel guide

If you use WordPress and need to find your GeoURL lat. and long., MapoRama provides that info.

Posted in General | No Comments »

“I won’t go out tonight, cause I haven’t got a thing to wear…”

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

When I was 16 I used to hang out at a record store on West End and search for the rare Smiths imports. A few years later I saw the Smiths play in a field outside Boston - seeing Morissey jumping around waving a “Queen is dead” banner was such a thrill. An article from the Guardian about this charming shrine shows me how much staying power these teenage memories hold.

Posted in General, Music | No Comments »

The long road towards equality

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Personal rant about lack of equality for homosexuals regarding marriage. Story:

Posted in Gay issues | Comments Off

Another view on php from a java developer

Friday, January 30th, 2004

PHP Web Projects Continue to Impress Me: Delivering a positive view of WordPress (which is the system behind my blog), Russell Beattie provides some comments on the difficulties of java development: “Once again I ask - why is Java web programming not keeping up? Why are Java web projects so bloated (I’ve got 5+MB of .jar files in my current web project and I think more are coming). Why are the pages so difficult to set up, maintain. Why do Java programmers insist on putting more logic in standard Java classes that make me have to touch ant, wait for compile and many times reboot my web server in order to test?

I think it’s because PHP programmers want to get stuff done and Java programmers are geeks who want do stuff the “right” way. I’m getting sick of being in the latter camp. “

I think it is becomming more and more possible to do it the “right” way with php - especially with php5 on its way and sites like phpPatterns to help guide us along. One of my buddies from frogdesign - who is a java developer - is coming all the way down here to Cape Town to work with me on a php5 project - it will be interesting to see how he takes to the new php5 object model and how we can merge our development techniques. I’ll be blogging our observations.

Posted in General | Comments Off

Theosophy, Seven Rays, Dean,

Tuesday, January 27th, 2004

Reading a new book: “Heaven’s Mirror: Quest for the Lost Civilization” by Graham Hancock and Santha Faiia. It’s almost a coffee table book - beautiful color pictures, which are about all I’ve had time to digest so far

When I was a kid, I read Chariots of the Gods and was sorta into the alien stuff until I discovered sex and rock and roll But a new friend has re-ignited my interest in Theosophy and the Seven Rays. I am pretty much of a cynic about this stuff; however, the universe is making alot of noise and i’m trying to listen.

Dave Winer gets it: I too am prone to support Dean simply because he acts in ways that big media does not like The scream does not to be such a big deal anyways… But I’m also really interested in Wes Clark - his military and diplomatic experience in the Balkans would be particularly useful as the US fine-tunes its place in the world.

The January 17 issue of the Economist has an African survey, which I am still digesting. I’m very interested in issues of world governance. How do we deal with crappy regimes? When does the UN need to get involved in a country’s governance, such as in the current issue of the election in Iraq? Can the UN be more activist? Have such attempts at governance, such as the UN-administerred Kosovo, been successful? Is it possible to have a minimum standard of governance - enforced by the UN - to which all countries must adhere? I think the US needs to step away from being the world’s policeman, but only if the UN has the power, mandate, and maturity to fairly enforce standards for governance.

Posted in General | No Comments »

The bloated, dysfunctional world of Enterprise Solutions

Tuesday, January 27th, 2004

Interesting article on kuro5hin that will ignite a flamewar between php and java types….

“What the hell happened to the “best tool for the job” policy? Does the industry really have the money to invest in bloated projects, implemented with non-productive technologies that are just not right for the job at hand? I think not. Why then, does it happen? My theory it has to do with the magic slogan “Enterprise Solution”.”

This article on kuro5hin will certainly ignite a flamewar between php and java types. I’m on the “keep it simple, stupid” side of things (working on a php project right now in fact); however, I think there is alot ot be learned from the organisational methods used on big enterprise projects.

Posted in General | No Comments »

LUFS, Zabbix, and RimuHosting

Thursday, January 22nd, 2004

Stumbled upon LUFS this morning. Zabbix and Rimuhosting also

Stumbled upon LUFS this morning: “LUFS is enabling you to mount into your file hierarchy a remote computer’s file system, which is accessible by various means (ftp, ssh, etc.). Then, the access to the remote files will be completely network transparent. In other words, you’ll be able to read/modify remote files as if they were local, watch movies/listen to MP3s from FTP/SSH/Gnutella servers without copying them locally. Sheer magic. ”

Also, Zabbix is really rocking my world.- a great way to keep up with remote servers: “All-in-one 24×7 monitoring solution without high cost. Zabbix is software for application and network monitoring. Zabbix supports both polling and trapping techniques to collect data from monitored hosts. Flexible notification mechanism allows easy and quckly configure email notifications for pre-defined events. Zabbix is freely available under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). ”

Lastly, I’m really liking the service offerings from RimuHosting - great deals on VPS hosting.

Posted in General | No Comments »

New Year, New directions

Wednesday, January 7th, 2004

I’m in Lusaka now.

For the past three years, I’ve travelled all over the world doing programming jobs/network administration for aid-related projects. I rarely share my stories about these trips, thinking that they’d be pretty dull. But as the saying goes, God is in the details. So: I pledge to travel blog more frequently.

On that note, I just arrived in Lusaka, Zambia, to continue work on a LAMP project. Throughout my flights, I was more aware than usual of the American accents I heard going from Cape Town -> Joburg -> Lusaka. Amused by one bright-eyed American who was explaining American politics to a couple of Zambians - I heard him mention Bush several times loudly, but I really did not care to evesdrop on which side of the fence he is on. Nice ride to the hotel with an ex-pat American family - the kids were a tad cranky, but I enjoyed seeing how much the Dad savoured his cigarette while the kids were bickering amongst themselves. A small moment of bliss…

Posted in General | No Comments »

A long Break

Monday, December 29th, 2003

Hmmm - It’s been a while - what has Chris been up to? Well, he and Lachko have moved to Cape Town, South Africa. Almost the end of the earth.

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Pixies are coming back!

Friday, September 12th, 2003

One of my favorite bands from the eighties/early nineties, the Pixies, are reuniting for a tour and possibly a CD!

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E-democracy e-Xplained

Saturday, September 6th, 2003

Useful post From Doc Searl’s blog:

In a new article at, Steven Clift has a thoughtful explanation of why networked citizens are moving to the center of working govenance. One sample:

Ultimately, the main challenge for governance in the information age will be accommodating the will of the people in many small and large ways online. The great unknown is whether citizen and political institutional use of this new medium will lead to more responsive government or whether the noise generated by competing interests online will make governance more difficult. It is possible that current use of ICTs in government and politics, which are often not formulated with democratic intent, will actually make governance less responsive.

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Networking From the Rooftop

Friday, August 29th, 2003

Mesh networks are maturing - Networking From the Rooftop: MIT researchers are developing new routing strategies for a wireless network that hops data in the roofs of the city.

Fun facts:

  • The total cost of the equipment for each node is $685.

  • Instead of finding the shortest path between two nodes, their protocols try to find the best path-the one in which data packets won't get stuck or corrupted along the way. This requires a constant monitoring of the links.

  • Another surprising phenomenon is the lack of symmetry in the link transmission quality: it is not uncommon for node A to be able to send data to node B easily, while node B can't reciprocate. Such anomalies complicate the development of routing schemes.

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Interesting stories from Afghanistan

Thursday, August 28th, 2003

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Monday, August 25th, 2003

OK - So what if they are gay? And who watches network TV these days? But this is turning out to be a rather gay summer - successful gay-themed TV shows, US Supreme Court ruling against anti-sodomy laws, gay Bishop elected, and now gays are the pinnacle of evolution. (I’d take a big grain of salt on that last one…) Anyway, since this TV show does not air here in Bulgayria, I did a little Googling and found a link that caught my attention, and I simply had to express my reasons why I think it *is* a big deal that they are gay.

Update: Great post (and discussion) by Real Live Preacher that addresses the heart of the religious side of this issue.

Posted in General | 2 Comments »


    1. herlyn Says:

    2. May 19th, 2004 at 6:20 pm

      1. it’s ok if they’re gay.. but at first it seems gross but at least they showed how strong they are.. so.. I think that’s it!

    3. Anonymous Says:

    4. July 26th, 2004 at 5:23 pm

      1. this is a game and they deserved to win they were excellent team players and that is a plus that they are a couple because “straight couples” dont even get to be such good mat

      2. es.good for them.their personal life should not be brought into it now everyone knew what their lifestyle was at the begining of the show so now they win it is a big deal.!!Religion does not come into whether you win or not. everything has its place in life so get on with yours.good for you guys.

Switching a business to Linux: Ernie Ball

Thursday, August 21st, 2003

Rockin’ on without Microsoft: A report of how Sterling Ball, CEO of guitar string manufacturer Ernie Ball , moved his company to Linux after being sued by the BSA for having unlicensed Microsoft products. When I was actively playing in a band, I broke many of Herr Ball’s strings, sometimes deliberately. I especially like his pushback on transition expenses and lack of support, and his assertion that by restricting the distracting software such as web browsers from an employee’s PC, you can help them become more productive. Makes sense in a factory setting. Not for me though…

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Broadband over Power Lines is “Spectrum Pollution”

Wednesday, August 20th, 2003

I always thought that delivering broadband internet over power lines was a great idea; however, it looks like there are some drawbacks that need to be considered. A Slashdot thread about the use of amateur radio during the NY blackout linked to this ARRL article in which the ARRL President claims that “BPL (Broadband over Power Lines) is the most crucial issue facing Amateur Radio and the one that has the most devastating potential.” I support amateur radio because I like its decentralized nature, low-cost, and community focus. It is also very useful during emergencies, especially when cellular or emergency networks are down. One poster on the afore-mentioned Slashdot article pointed out that emergency communications often depend on repeater antennas to connect radios, whereas amateur radios - which do not need relays - can continue to operate in situations where some emergency networks fail.

Today is the deadline for comments to the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry about this matter. Visit the ARRL Website for more information.

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What a strange long trip it’s been!

Wednesday, August 20th, 2003

Just returned from a month-long trip to Maputo, Mozambique (work), Lusaka, Zambia (work), and Cape Town, South Africa (vacation). Some pix from the Cape Town trip are now online on Lachko’s website. The flora and fawna - as well as the dining - in Cape Town is incredible. The Dassies we spotted atop Table Mountain are the cutests lil’ critters I’ve ever seen. Little round puff balls!

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2003

” Welcome to,, where public sector decision makers meet the people, projects and principles of the open source software (OSS) movement to bring the benefits of free software to their constituents and where OSS developers and organizations can find opportunities and advocate for adoption of free software.”

Links to info about government sector adopting Linux.

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Open Source Training

Tuesday, July 15th, 2003

I’m working on a training program for new Linux sysadmins in Zambia. Slashdot’s got a nice thread about a training program in Afghanistan: Linux Comes to Afghanistan. Here’s a link to the UNDP traiing program in Afghanistan, but it is not much more than a news release. I would like to see more collected resources. I’m working on a database of Open Source training in Africa (not ready yet) but there needs to be more. Apparently NetAid has done similar projects, but I have not found much on them.

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New Category: fitness

Tuesday, July 15th, 2003

This goes in the As-if-you-care department (perhaps also the Me-me-me department). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - I gotta lose weight. When I’m travelling, I tend to stay at hotels with gyms, but I don’t use them enough. Also, the food I eat while travelling is richer than my usual fare at home. I could stand to lose about 15 lbs, I think. I tried the Atkins diet, and absolutely hated it. So here’s my current plan:

    • Diet

      • Limit the number of calories I consume. Need to find a

      • realistic goal - 2000 calories a day?

      • Yoghurt and muesli for breakfast is probably not the right

      • thing. Perhaps fruit only?

      • Much less pizza!

    • Exercise

      • Exercise every day.

      • Currently running 25 minutes/day.

      • Biking on the weekend. 4 laps around Borisova Gradina (aka

      • freedom park) is probably not enough. There is a great hill at the

      • entrance to the pool though!

Look like other bloggers are talking diet as well:

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Pizza with pepperoni found in Sofia!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2003

slow news day…. but i too have been shocked at the frightening items available on pizzas here in Bulgaria. But there is hope. Last night Lachko and I had dinner at Victoria Pizza, profiled in the aforementioned pizza-oriented link, and I encountered my first pizza with peperoni in Bulgaria! Well, Lachko reminded me that I had one of these from Pizza Hut, but admitting you dine at Pizza Hut in Sofia, city of strange but wonderful pizza, is almost as bad as pining for Starbucks. Which I do, often. (The Starbucks at Dubai airport is not to be missed…) About Victoria Pizza - I spotted no incidences of nakedness (it’s kinda chilly in the evening) but I did manage to get the cranky waitress to smile.

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Glow - Groupware Client

Friday, July 11th, 2003

Glow is a Java-based groupware project. They are working w/ folks, and pledge to work closely with other interesting

projects such as Apache Jakarta. Sun is already a major contributor,

providing a calendar client. From the Glow homepage:

The Glow project was launched at OOoCon

(the first conference) with the following key


    1. Deliver a full-featured groupware client that works well with


    3. Extend OOo to be a (more) complete replacement for Microsoft

    4. Office

    5. Support internet standards for interoperability

    6. Provide features to support migration from existing closed

    7. groupware solutions

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HOWTO - Install Debian Onto a Remote Linux System

Thursday, July 10th, 2003

Interesting timing - I’ve been wondering how to rebuild a remote PC - here is one way: HOWTO - Install Debian Onto a Remote Linux System

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Hotel tips: Lusaka, Zambia

Wednesday, July 9th, 2003

I got back from Lusaka, Zambia this weekend. I recommend one avoid the Holiday Inn - it is not very nice and there is much better in Lusaka. After a few days I moved to the Taj Pamodzi, which is wonderful. An excellent fitness center, and the dining is quite good. I like the Taj line of hotels - I stayed at the Taj Fort Aguada in Goa, and loved it. Since the Taj Pomodzi was under renovation, I was able to get a $85/night rate - if you return to Lusaka in the future, maybe you score a similar rate if you mention mine. Everyone in the hotel business is negotiating these days…

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I’m back

Tuesday, July 8th, 2003

Please forgive the mess. I have moved my blog to WordPress, the successor to b2. My old posts are still available; however, it will take a while for me to migrate everything. The goal is for there to be no breakage of links.

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