blog rant Uncategorized

Twitter and The Great Unwashed: how “normal” people ruined The Internet for the rest of us.

This article originally appeared in the Lawkit #4. Read more at

Once upon a time, everything was simpler.

A friendship was a construct based on shared memories and experience. The web was one of many, and it hung between idle walls. A tablet was something that came in a packet of 16 and the internet was the demesne of nuclear scientists and the military.


Discovering Sky Arts

It’s been out for a few months now, but I only discovered Sky Arts last night.  A proper Radio 2 like channel for those who left the MTV generation before they knew they were supposed to be in it.  They show some pretty cool music live shows and documentaries — this morning Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Music Festival and Mark Knopfler live in Basel were on the card.

Check it out. Better than rioting.


Virgin Media and Password Security

“Your password must be less than 10 characters long.”
“Your password must start with a letter.”
“Your password must contain a number.”
“Your password is too insecure!!”

*You’re doing it wrong*

edit: and after all that “We’re experiencing difficulties…” Lame.

apple blog Uncategorized

Leopard Mac Refuses to Stay Asleep…

The last week or so my Leopard iMac has been waking up in the middle of the night… it’s quite annoying.

Finally found the answer here:
macrumors – leopard imac waking from sleep issue.

It turns out the problem is caused by having Screen Sharing enabled, and the 5900 port (VNC) being exposed to the outside world through my router. While this allows me to remote connect from another Mac ….

The problem lies in the fact that the screen comes to life whenever ANYTHING connects to this port, be it another Mac, or a port scanner… before even authentication takes place. Tested this by trying to SSH to that port – bang, my monitors come to life.

Fixed it by removing the external port forward, and just using SSH into the Mac. Apple needs to stop waking up the screens until authentication has taken place.

Basically this means that the really awesome TouchPad app that got Fireballed a few weeks ago is only really useful if you turn off your computer (completely) at night or are willing to manually turn off port 5900 (the VNC port).

The weird thing is that this worked fine on Tiger.

So perhaps with Snow Leopard this won’t be a problem… ?



I’ve just signed up to Haystack which is a new web designer finder service from 37signals. They make some pretty useful apps for running a small team business.

My [single item, cos i’m not paying!] portfolio is located here. Check it out!


Rails Table Doesn’t exist!? Yes it does!

It’s happened to me twice in the last couple of weeks, and this time I knew exactly what I’d done, so here’s the solution if you make the same bad and non-“Rails Way” mistake I did.

dave@infinity:~/$ rake RAILS_ENV=production db:schema:load
(in /apps/special)
rake aborted!

Mysql::Error: Table 'special_production.pages' doesn't exist: SHOW FIELDS FROM `pages`

(See full trace by running task with --trace)

In my routes.rb file I had specified a route as such:
# map.connect 'special-day', :controller => 'pages', :action=>'show',
:id=>Page.find_by_title("Special Day").id

DON’T DO THIS. Not sure in what way it struck me as an overly good idea, but just don’t.
Strip that route out of your code and if necessary replace it as such:

# map.connect 'special-day', :controller => 'pages', :action=>'special-day'

What threw me about this problem is that I thought there was an issue in my schema.rb or migrations, this isn’t the case: ‘rake’ is trying to load the environment and falls over because ‘Pages’ hasn’t got going yet.

Don’t forget when you’re finished you may need to re-setup and migrate (cap deploy:setup / cap deploy:migrations) before your site will go.

P.S. This (silliness) never went into production!


Banned for life

Read the peculiar story of a BBC journalist who unknowingly betrayed the confidence of an island secret 25 years ago.

Things which piqued my interested: the islands use words like “ganzeys” for jumpers/jerseys/pullovers which my mother uses but not many others I’ve ever met; and the fact that during the War the island was officially classified as a ship called “HMS Atlantic Isle.” Which is pretty cool!


Student Loans Interest Rates

Good news.

As of 1st March 2009 the Student Loans Company released some beautiful information:

The new rate for income based student loans is 1.5% from 6 March until further notice. Interest is applied to loans from the date they are paid to you until they are repaid in full.

Dear Mister Government sponsored money lending money company: I apologise for venting that you were a big hypocrite.


New Business Card Online: has just launched the first stage of the new website for Dromore-based Audio Visual Solutions Company, “Box 42”.

Andrew “Barney” Ferguson’s company can provide corporate AV solutions, dry hire or installation services. Need to hire a (new) van load of Plasma/LCDs or Wide Angle, Short throw, high lumens projectors? Check it out.


Smashing on Rails

I’ve been working with Rails now for about 2-3 years on and off, for the last two months almost full time working on a project that I’m not talking about yet.
Via the great bunch of fellas at I came across this article from Smashing Magazine on Rails which provides a great overview on a couple of things which I have picked up along the way and thought WOW that’s useful. They’re all here in one place.

Check out: Smashing Magazine: Ruby on Rails Tips

There’s a nice plug for Contrast’s current-big-thing web app: GetExceptional.