Mobile wifi

I use one of those 3G datasticks (mines a t-mobile) one, but alas its a usb one so i cant share it with multiple people at once, it also does not officially support linux and the best hack requires that you have to have it plugged in before you turn the laptop on or it wont work (and some programs can be a bit picky about it), so when the first “mifi” portable hot spot providers came out i thought they would be fab, the early ones are a bit picky on their compatibility, but the latest ones such as the Novatel 2325 look perfect and have very good reviews (‘3’ also do a mifi but it does not look as good), so off i tootle to try and get one (im well out of contract),

To cut a long story short, it turns out that i cant (well not for free anyway), because my data plan is ranked as “un-upgradable”, (well thats not how it was explained to me by t-mobile) I finally got this info from a sane man at carphone warehouse (god i love independent shops), who explained that as i had got my data plan when they were first introducing them, i got a REALLY good deal (10Gig per month for £44, where as 5Gig for £30 is the highest they will go nowadays and they its charges charges charges ), and in this situation he would buy one direct ( Amazon does them for £209) as it would be cheaper in the long run, but that’s a bit steep, but again the internet comes to my rescue in the shape of JoikuSpot which allows you to use a 3G capable phone for the exactly the same thing, back home i dig up my old N81 (they have a full list of compatable phones and there is always ebay) jam in my 3G sim card, and for the princely price of 9Euro i get an amazing bit of software that does the job perfectly (in fact better as it has a great “link status” page that tells you what’s going on your connection)

there is always a way.

Sometimes I miss Domino Designer

NOTE: Java people if your having SQL JPA TIMESTAMP issues skip to the end im just having a rant first.

People give Domino and Domino Designer a hard time because some of its components are not the latest release (say Java or dojo), we tut and say things like “this makes domino look old” etc etc

Well suck it up party people, because they do it to stop you having the kind of problem i had a couple of days ago,

Like most of us notes people now, i am really trying to use eclipse as my IDE, more specifically i use MyEclipse, which is bloody marvellous, now i also use the Adobe FLEX plug in for Eclipse, but due to compatibility issues, i have to use MyEclipse v6.6 because the FLEX 3 plug in wont install on a more modern version.

All is huncky dory and fine (let’s face it im not the worlds most advanced Java developer), but roll forward to one of the latest projects, a FLEX front end onto JBoss webservices and Business logic (well that’s what my client calls it), then on to MS SQL in the back-end, I’m connecting to the SQL box via JPA on hibernate (i will do a couple of articles on that soon, but its not bad at all),

but I’m having a beggar of a time with the time section of date/time data, it put it into flex, web service it up, then save it to the SQL db and the time is always coming out 00:00:00…grrrrrrrr, now given Java’s history of naffness on the old date/time front and the fact that this code is got both US and UK dates in it i assume it down to my crud code…..several hours pass with much swearing (and the occasional chuckle from the evil Poole )

Then i find this it turns out that when you use the JPA reverse engineering wizard on a Microsoft data base with a column type of DATETIME it only returns DATE…..oh C***, its fixed in version 7, happily i have 2 versions of MyEclipse installed, so i go into the new one (7.5), do the reverse generation, then copy the code via CVS back into my 6.6 one…and it all suddenly works, but.. what.. a.. pain.

So next time you grumble at notes IDE not being all cutting edge, maybe they have just saved you from sheding some tears (and blood)..

JAVA People: so basically if you using JPA Wizards on MS SQL server on MyEclipse versions older than 7.0GA, Tough!!!, manual hack or upgrade

Hair Shirt Project Part1

Inspired by this cartoon by KXCD i have determined to get the MIMO UM-740 working properly on linux on both 9.10 (the newest version at time of writing) and the current Long term support version 8.04

Its not gonna be easy, no one seems to have done it fully, as it is a DisplayLink driven monitor, with touchscreen, web cam and USB mic, but hey-ho that the joy of linux (or as Matt White says “that linux is crap”), i not going to do a full write-up to its all done, but will point out sights along the way.

First step is the monitor, this uses Display link which quite frankly is an abomination as far as drivers go.

Thankfully following most of the instructions shown here for a similar item, we have the driver working (this can be told by the screen flashing green on login) and the monitor being used by the frame buffer, this was only necessary on the 8.04 computer the 9.10 sees to already have the display link drivers built in.

Next stop an xsession 🙂

Laptop keyboard cleaning

My laptop gets grubby and the keyboard is horrible, tried cleaning it, but it was surface only and even the spray cleaners are naff (and cost a bomb),was in a new shop in angel today and saw this stuff called cyber clean,

Cost about £6 and its just like a soft playdou that you press on the keyboard,it gets into all the nooks and cracks, sticks to the gunk then you just peal it off, it has a chart with it to tell you when to chuck it away (i reckon it will do about 3-4 keyboards judging by the amount it changed colour doing mine), and it works like a CHARM, pleasantly surprised

A quandary and a shame

Im at a leaving do and talking to old colleges, they are full of how bad a migration from notes x to notes 8 is going, and how the users are complaining and people higher up are talking about the “Ex*****e” word

Now IT people bitch all the time (i do it my self) but this did indeed sound very bad (20+ server crashes a week and 1000+ helpdesk calls), Id like to help, Id like to tell someone at Lotus so they can try and step in and offer assistance to prevent the evil outlook taking control, but quite frankly IBM already know (they were part of the initial migration), and I’ve seen this sort of thing happen so often that now i just give another shrug and think “another notes site lost”.

a pity, a pity 🙁

The reason for the hair weirdness

Those of you that follow the various members of the lotus lot that use twitter, may have heard that i dyed my head a bright (and i do mean BRIGHT red), all in the cause of a fancy dress costume.

The character is Lavi from d-gray man and looks like this:

after much effort my version looks like this


daft I know, but much fun was had 🙂


Making Lavi’s hammer

When trying to make lavi’s hammer I did the normal search on google and looked at what other people had done and how they had made them, but bumped into the normal problems that always seems to happen with the big costume props, i.e. you cant get stuff outside the US or making the item so makeshift that it does not even make it through the cosplay day (or even worse so t*t pocks a hole in it to see what its made off) , hopefully this will help if you don’t have access to lots of posh stuff, it cost me about £60 to make

OK, we start with a trip to 2 shops, first my local DIY store, where i purchased:
-A long pieces of electrical conduit (this is a strong plastic tubing used to run electrical cables through, its normally black {which helps}, don’t get the white water pipe version if you can avoid it as its not as strong, and you’ll have the paint the devil)
-4 wall mounting clips for the conduit
-2 rolls of gaffa (duct) tape, 1 black, 1 white
-2 or 3 big cans of expansion foam (the stuff you use to fill gaps round pips and such
-1 can of black multi surface spray paint
-Some good strong plastic glue

Next on to a craft/art/stationary shop (in my case Stapes)

-one large roll of black poster backing paper (has to be as least as wide as the hammer head needs to be long)

add to that, some bits scrounged from around the home
-1 newspaper
-1 thick black permanent marker
-3 empty shampoo bottles (from our recycle bin)
-super glue
-bluetak/modelling clay/plasticine

1) Now, I want the hammer to suit my size, so i watched a couple of episodes of d-gray man, so I can see the size of the hammer against Lavi, and then built a rough hammer head from pillows and blankets

2) Next I roll my hammer head in the black backing paper (at least a couple of layers as it will need to take a certain amount of internal pressure), and tape it in place, I now have a very very fragile hammer head

3) Before I can work any further I need to stabilise everything so put a couple of sheets of newspaper down, then put about 2 inches of expanding foam in the bottom ( now leave it for 15 mins for it to set and expand to about 4 inches)

4) While this is happening, glue 3 of the conduit clips to the plastic bottles

5) Once everything has set, bore 2 holes in the middle of your hammer head and thread the conduit through, slotting your glued plastic bottles in place, remember to leave about a foot sticking though one end as this will form part of the cross on the top of the hammer, also remember to support both ends of the conduit so it does not rest its full weight on your still fragile hammer head, then glue the clips that are attached to the shampoo bottles in place so they can’t slide up and down the conduit.

6) Layer foam inside the hammer head until its full, now, a recommendation here is to only lay down about 2 inches of foam and then let it set for 15 mins, then repeat, this means that all the foam goes hard.

7) Once the hammer head is full, cut or sand paper it flat.

8) Now to make the cross t-bar, take your remaining conduit clip, and wedge and glue 2 bits of conduit (sawn of the long end of the handle {or you can buy some more conduit if you want to leave the hammer handle really long}) on each end.

9) Slide the t-bar on to the top of the hammer pole, and glue in place, next we need to make the tops of the cross, make 3 identical cones of paper, put a squirt of expanding foam in each and wedge them on the ends of the cross, happily this will stick really well, once set just shave the extra bits off, i used bits of bluetak to fill in gaps on the cross to make it nice and smooth.

10) Next using the spray paint, give it a good couple of coats, and finally using the white gaffa tape, put in the stripes. ( as Jamie Hewlett would say “ink the b*****d”)

The whole costume can be seen here: The reason for the hair weirdness

Old Comments

Mark Myers(17/10/2011 14:32:20 GDT)

sorry for the slow reply

well everything started as black as i spray painted the lot (and just used white duct tape for the white bits), i did not have to do anything black afterwards.

i did not seal up the ends of the conduit, the 3 ends on the top had cones on them so did not need it (or have i got the wrong end of the stick?)

the permanent market was just used to tidy up places when i had not get ever crack painted properly or if there was a ragged bit of white tape

was there any other bits i missed?


kaileena(21/09/2011 01:49:00 GDT)

what did you do to make the outer circles black?? just spray paint it or glued some black poster board circles on it?? and what did you use the permanent marker for? you didn’t say. oh, and what did you use to seal up the ends of the conduit where it meets the hammer? i’m sorry for so many questions. it just seems like you left out some things. =P

Mark(28/05/2012 11:41:41 GDT)

Kaileen: the outer circles were already black, the white bands are duck tape, if that’s what you mean?

Permanent marker was useed just for cleaning bits up where spray pain was not suitable, the only bit of conduit that were not filled with foam (like the top) was the very bottom, and I did not block that up, any other bits I missed?

Many thanks


Yoru(17/07/2012 18:06:04 GDT)

Nice tutorial but i don’t really understand for what did you had the 3 bottles inside >< i’m not english so that can be te reason that i don’t understand this part

And did you glue a black circle after make it full? ><

Upgrading to ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala

A couple of quick notes, have just upgraded my media PC to the latest ubuntu, it did it via the on-line distro upgrade, nice and neatly with no impact on current programs and user accounts (a little slow perhaps but i bet that the servers are having the hell beaten out of them at the moment). first impressions are very very good

Its a even cleaner interface and while it has more than a hint of “apple” about it (boooooo), there are lots of new features, ones like the palimpset Disk Utility,

that does pre-warning on drive failures (a feature that up until now I had only experienced on enterprise raid arrays), this give you confidence in this version as a stable platform, very very impressed

On that note, those of you who use Ubuntu on a serious work machine such as I do, and are still on 8.04, might wonder why you don’t get the “upgrade to” notice on the top of the “Update manager” screen when a new major version comes out, the reason is that you will have your software support updates set to “Long term support Releases Only” (which is what 8.04 is), if you want to get the update option (you will have to go through all the previous versions first, ie 8.10 –> 9.04 –> 9.10), just go.

System –> Administration –> Software Services

and change this to “Normal Releases”

Close that, then reopen your update manager, and you will find (after ensuring that you have no more updates to install) that you are presented with the chance to update to a newer distribution, and given what i see on 9.10 i wish they would hurry up and define the next long term support release, so i can do that on my work laptop 🙂

UKLUG 2 days of awesomeness

Well, i cant believe the last few days, they have been great from start to finished, from the perfect setting, to the company, to the content, all has been top notch. if you did not make it, TRY HARDER NEXT TIME!!. Everywhere i looked there were people to talk to, things to learn, Questions being answered, Vodka being drunk.

High points (Personal)

Maureen Leland’s session on domino designer, to get such straight answers from a person in the know was a breath of fresh air, and made us all very confident that the future is in good hands (can we all say domino Designer as plug in to Eclipse).

Mary Beth Raven coming up and getting my better half’s name right (i bet there’s no random .Net developer/bloger who can say the same of the head of Visual Studio design).

Opening a package to discover that all speakers had a little Lego model of them selves (happy grin).

Ben and My Session went ok, but should have gone better, will have to try harder next time, grrrrrr, giving out caffeine as your presentation gift is definitely the way to go

Bob P firmly re-confirmed him self as not only a “man of the community” (sound of stickfight being sick) but also as a real person not a fake corporate suit, i realise that sounds sickafantic, but tough, ive only encountered a few good high level managers and anyone who will demand the straight deal off Bill Buchan (a man not known for his shy and retiring nature) at 1am is not your normal corporate drone.

The conference its self felt like the “totally deniable lotusphere”, a place where you could say the things that we officially wrong but practically right.

There were traumatic moments, such as when a senior IBM person pointed at me and said “so YOUR stickfight!!!”, making me nearly dive out the back window.

Finally and most importantly a massive and grovelling thank you to Warren, Kitty, the sponsors and organisers, it reminds me of a chilli i ate this week “good shit, well made”,

Well that’s it, i think, im off to book my lotusSphere hotel before the spell wears off and i lose my unreasonable belief that lotus is going to turn it all around and we are gona be great again.