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deja-vu / nostalgia

I was pleasantly surprised to see this picture on Henri Berguis' blog just now:

I'm pretty sure that this is within a couple of hundred yards of the apartment block that I lived in about 18 years ago in La-Linea, Spain.

Back then, those seats on the waterfront were poorly maintained white-washed concrete blocks, some of which had fallen down towards the coast. The other side of those blocks used to be a rocky slope leading down to the water.

If you followed the road closer to the Gibraltar border, you could park your car on the road side and a group of gypsies would "look after" your car in exchange for a small fee (typically pocket change, if I remember correctly). If you felt that their protection wasn't worth much, you'd return to find that someone had indeed broken into your car and removed any valuables. I wonder if they're still protecting cars to this day?

Beware of hardened Boca burgers

I enjoy eating at Red Robin; they have a delicious menu, and you can substitute Gardenburger or Boca burger patties if you're of a vegetarian persuasion.

I've had a consistently good experience with RR since we moved to the USA, but over the last couple of months the boca burgers have been a bit tough at the Columbia location.

The last one I ordered did this to my fork. Ow!

Mounting ISO files and disk images on Windows

The folks over at OSR Online have a handy, no-nonsense and free (as in beer) driver and configuration utility that allows you to mount disk, floppy and ISO images under Windows.

You have to register to get at their downloads, and in return you get a very occasional email as well as a periodic printed "magazine" containing low level windows kernel coding information.

You can find the download at OsrVirtualCdAndDisk; it works like a charm for me.

Want to work with us at OmniTI?

My friend and colleague Laura Thomson is posting about some job openings at OmniTI.

Here's a copy-and-paste excerpt from her post:

We are currently in need of four people:

  • A junior PHP dev
  • A junior-ish web designer (Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Javascript + ideally some coding)
  • An Oracle DBA
  • A PostgreSQL DBA

The job ads will be up on our website shortly, but if you are eager to act before then, please email me your resume at

You can find some background about how we hire and what we do on our previous job posting here and here.

I'll be at php/db|works 2006

I'll be giving my usual PDO talk, and a brand new, never-been-seen-before, talk: "PHP and Mail: Best Practices". This will be focused on good, responsible techniques for PHP applications that send out email, from accountability and performance viewpoints.

You can find the schedule online here; as usual, a lot of experienced folks (including several of my colleagues from OmniTI) are giving talks, and this year there are some damned good prizes to be won at the social events.

See you there?

YME: mandatory upgrade!?

I was treated to this, ridiculously wide, "dialog" just now:


again, no option to cancel, and no brains to realize that I don't have the required privileges, and no option to avoid the 8MB download that won't buy me anything.

I'm just glad that I don't have to quit everything just because some app decides that I have to. On the flip side, it interrupted my listening pleasure, so I'm tetchy.

Maybe this update has fixes for these things... but I'll apply that "mandatory" upgrade when I want to do it.


Scott Kveton of the OSU Open Source Lab (who graciously provide hardware and bandwidth for many open projects, including told me about OSCamp, which seeks to organize the buzz of fringe activity that surrounds OSCON each year.

I know that Rasmus particularly likes to get together with the local community at conferences, something which is often made difficult for them by the high entry prices (any price is high if your ticket isn't being covered by your boss). Last year a bunch of us PHP folks went on down to Portland's PHP User Group to give them a compressed version of the PHP talks at OSCON for free (as in pizza).

OSCamp is intended make these fringe gatherings feel more like part of the conference while still remaining free for anyone to attend. It's still in the early stages of planning/gathering, but I'd say that it's fair bet that "us PHP folks" will be doing something for the local community again this year.

I just sent out an email to the folks I know, so I'll keep you posted.

Ecelerity selected by MessageLabs

MessageLabs have a network consisting of 3,000 servers across 13 data centers on 4 continents and offer very complex policy rules for the mail transiting their system. Such an environment requires a system that is fast, efficient, flexible and manageable.

So we're happy to announce that MessageLabs have selected our MTA product, Ecelerity, to power their global email management system.

As the lead engineer for Ecelerity and architect of a number of the features that MessageLabs are using, I'm particularly proud of our product and the role that it is playing in managing email for so many people (more than 5 million people through MessageLabs alone).

I've previously hinted about this deal; we've known for a while but our marketing folks wanted to time the announcement for best media impact; today is the first day of INBOX 2006 in San Diego, a key industry event.

A lot of hard work has gone into this project on both sides of the atlantic, so this press release is validation that we've all been moving in the right direction. Good job everyone!

YME: still in the dark ages

I'm getting more and more irritated with windows apps that assume that they can do stuff that requires administrative privileges, like automatically install updates.

I don't run as an administrator because I don't want internet facing apps to mangle my system if/when they get hacked. For the past week I've been telling yahoo music engine that I don't want to upgrade now. It should be smart enough to realize that I don't have administrative rights and not prompt me.

Just now, I started to play a track and it gave me no option: it started to download the 8MB update with no way to cancel the operation, then attempted to install it, which failed.

While I'm not especially irritated by "do you want to upgrade now?" dialogs, I am very irritated by something that forces me to waste bandwidth on a download that I can't run. I don't even know where it downloaded the update to, so I might even have to download it again as the administrator. Ah, there it is: it was downloaded to %TEMP% with a temporary filename and a .tmp file extension.

This sucks; yahoo, fix your stuff.