Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It is done. I have a new car - 2005 A3 2.0 fsi. The Smurf lasted well and has some good memories but alas, trustworthy brakes, a handbrake that works, 110 kilowatt of power and a CD player is something that is worth it. The last straw was the Smurf getting stolen. I would possibly still be driving it as i was not in a hurry to change my car (I'm not worried about safety/status/ego). Cost was possibly the biggest issue. I do not mind spending money aslong as I'm getting good value for what I spend and there are no problems with what I buy. I'm quite comfortable with an old Uno Fiat and I could have waited. After my car was stolen it pressed me to find what was good value and what I'm comfortable with. I spent a good 6 months looking and its a good car and I'm happy.

I test drove an A3, A4, two different 318ti, a Yaris, a Getz, and an old automatic nissan. The A3 (my car) was the best of the lot and it has a good interior and the previous owner was kept good care of it. The automatic is was great. I would have to get an automatic at some point in the far future.

On a side note, went out during lunch to drop off a DVD at a video store. I had this TP option enabled on my radio and it switched to a radio report and returned to play my CD once the radio report had finished. Nice.

I'm listening to Coldplay X&Y and Madonna Confessions. Both are great CDs. The confessions CD is possibly one of the best dance CDs. My impression of Hung Up is that its a great hit but thats where it ends. The other songs on that CD have alot more depth (for dance songs) and the compilation will last longer than that particular song. X&Y is a great compilation and its going to be on my favorites for along time.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I went to watch DooM the movie on the weekend. Lotsa memories came flooding back. In particular, they missed a huge part of the movie.

(a) No monsters - sure they had these imp like things with eyes. They missed the cacodemons, lost souls, hell knights and most importantly - the cyberdemon and spiderdemon. The cyberdemon is by far the most fear inspiring thing i've ever experienced in my not so long 26year life.

(b) They missed the whole 'from hell'. I guess they were afraid of the religious activists. In the end they settled for the whole genetic experiment gone bad plot. Lame.

I do not think that the movie did the game justice. It could have been alot more frightening.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Its almost the new year and its that time to start contemplating resolutions. Things done, things not done, good and bad. Time well spent and time lost.

I would have liked to,
* gone back to durban more often
* done more rock climbing

I did,
* change jobs
* study and pass a few unisa courses + certifications
* spend too much money over the course of the year

I will,
* do more rock climbing
* pick up fencing again or possibly squash (but one of them)
* overcome my slight fear of horses (not sure if you could call it fear - its more like an inability to ride)
* finish my architect exams
* finish my mcsd (possibly just the 300-70 exam)
* start a cfa (possibly not)
* change my car (i'm currently looking at this)
* go overseas for a few weeks and spend time with my sisters and a friend or two.
* chat to Jutta and find out more about how she's doing.
* play more go

Bad things,
* Forgetting my sisters birthday
* not going to Durban enough

Good things,
* Robbie Williams Golden Circle
* Cooking for Friends
* Finally getting 'a feast for crows'
* (I'm leaving a few off of this list, tho maybe they should be on the
bad things list)

Plans for the next year,
* White water rafting
* Overseas for a short while
* Lots more cooking

Anyway. Good times.

Monday, December 12, 2005

There aint no place like home. The air in durban definately gives you more energy and your best friends even more. Funnily enough, I spent most of the weekend sleeping. I nearly missed a braai.

I stayed in my mothers new house. Its quite well designed. There is so much space available and so much thought has been put into the layout and placing of rooms and areas. Alot still needs to be unpacked but that just takes time. Boxes.

On saturday night and sunday morning Brad, Justin, Mike and I ended up playing Tichu till silly hours of the morning (8am). This has almost become a ritual when I go to Durban. The first set was decisivly won by Justin and I over 1h30m. The second set was a bitter battle to the end, won by Brad and Mike. Regrettably we couldnt find the original cards and had to remark the deuces as the One, Dog, Phoenix and Dragon.

A good weekend I'm definately relaxed/destressed after that weekend tho I wish I could go down more often and I forgot to copy a DVD of photos.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well. Cooked for 16 people last night and thats the most i've cooked for. (I think it was 17 - i might be out by 1). Got asked to cook for them the night before as i've got two friends going overseas (Dave is off to Aspen and Dave is off to Brazil).

It went quite well, a tasty 3 course meal (lots of flavour) was accompanied by Dom Pedros and a few cheeky tequilas (thats dave's doing). The theme was that everyone had to dress in all white clothing (which a few people adhered to... not everyone has white trousers). I'll definately cook for dinner parties more often - its lots of fun.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Well. Once again, I know what its like to have a stake driven through your heart. You see it in vampire movies but this is no movie. Even worse is when you're to blame. Gotta kick yourself.

On a completely different topic - I forgot my sisters birthday. Argh! So I'm having a bad couple of months. She's back from holiday sometime today so tomorrow I'll have to make some long distance gift buying, etc. I do think its too late tho - few things are worse than having your close family forget your birthday. Especially if you're also going through tired times. Argh!

I was going to buy a car (i dont trust my current car) but I'm going to hang back and find a bit of direction first. There are more important things.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Two great friends of mine had their birthday in the last 2 weeks. I'm the guy with the horizontal stripe on his shirt. To my left is Wayne, it was his birthday last week wednesday. To my right is Brad. His birthday this last saturday. I sadly missed their birthday dinner. (being in jhb).
Well... ended up buying another 6 tickets for RW. I only managed to get field standing. It sold out at 5 and I know that there are friends who are going to want tickets. I've already given 2 away (for the price i bought them).

I went to Mexicasa on friday. Its a great mexican resturant in village walk in sandton. Lots of tequilla was flowing (too much actually) and even a tabasco shooter.

Otherwise, at work on a sunday night pondering over a messaging system. Happiness.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I've just finished reading the Assassins Trilogy by Robbin Hob. Along with this I've been listening to Coldplay X&Y, James Blunt, and Now 41 (assorted pop artists).

Its easy reading and quite personal as it closely follows a single character, FizChivalry, the bastard son of a prince who abdicates and gets killed. A whole lot of intrigue by his "uncle" leads to various political issues in which he gets thrust into as a catalyst for others. Fortunately, there are bigger issues (it all makes sense in the end). Hobb takes us on a tour of the entire fantasy genre without overdoing any one particular aspect. I particularly enjoyed how the "magic" aspect was integrated into the story without overpowering the story.

There is a good love story or two that run through the three books and this seemed to coincide well with the James Blunt and Coldplay CDs I recently bought. I do feel that this got dragged out in quite a bit more detail in book 2 than was necessary but there is alot of significance to it when it comes to closing the trilogy.

I enjoyed the "encyclopedia" extracts that were at the start of each of the chapters that give you background to the world as the story progresses. At points I was reading chapters to get to the next extract.

As a whole, the trilogy is quite good and I recommend it to fantasy readers and those who enjoy fantasy once in a while. The trilogy is definately larger than the sum of its books. Book 3 brings alot of closure to some very large open ended questions from book 1.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

F1 Madness

Tomorrow from 12h00 to 13h00 there will be a few F1 cars racing around Sandton (which is closed off for a few hours). Fortunately my offices are "on the track" so they'll be going past my window.

Robbie Williams

I just bought 4 tickets for robbie williams @ loftus. Sometime in April.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

In the last week I've had 2 of the best burgers. (1) A normal beef cheese bacon and pineapple (i think) burger from Chuckleberrys, and (2) a single mild chicken burger, no mayo, with extra cottage cheese from Steam.

I tried a Quarter Pounder Delux with an extra "100% beef" patty. It makes a good burger and almost as good as a king steer. The only reason that the king steer doesnt come out on top is that i think its too juicy and its classified as fast food. The other two burgers are slightly more wholesome.

The extra cottage cheese makes a huge difference. A burger is all about the flavour. If there is too much bun or if its too dry, or the sauce is too synthetic such that you cannot taste the burger, then its not worth eating. You mightaswell have bread or a bottle of sauce.

There is this little german burger maker in the far corner of the Rosebank Flea Market that also makes good burgers. Its a great burger but it seems to be missing something. They put mayo on the burger to transport the taste but you end up tasting mayo instead of the combined burger flavour. It is definately a high quality burger.

An interesting burger possibility is to have a burger that changes its taste as you eat it. You could possibly have a beef pattie made up of two different mixtures and then somehow get them to bind together. Not sure how strong a bind you could make.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Kuro5hin - The French Scape Goat

I feel quite strongly about this. Unnecessary and orchestrated. A true friend will take advice and criticism from a friend, without retalliation. Providing friends with gifts doesnt mean that they must agree with your viewpoint.

This is where the misguided few with influence do the most damage to society in the long run. To follow a pattern, family feuds in italy last/lasted ages. I imagine that sentiment built up in the last few years last just as long.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Just had my hair coloured silver for CANSA. I'll see if i can get a photo posted. I'm going to start using Flickr to post photos.
Robbie Williams is coming to RSA in April 2006. Good times. Tickets go on sale on the 16th of November.

Well... I think the storm lastnight has blown my telephone AGAIN. This is getting ridiculous. I need a phone with an optical link so it doesnt get continually damaged.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Well... i'm waiting for some database analysis to finish running (+- 6 hours). I mightaswell add another thought about the cellphones.

There should be an option that will put automatically put cellphone into silent during a meeting (as scheduled by calendar integration). That way, you dont get notification that you've got a meeting in 15 minutes during your previous meeting and disrupt a meeting of about 10 to 12 people. If anything, there should be a configurable chime so that you could set it to some slight beep + buzzer.


I've realised that i've been working quite late for the last 4 to 5 weeks. Its a good excuse to make the weekend worthwhile but you get quite exhausted. In think 2 weekends ago was the first time slept for 12 hours (on a friday night). It has to happen.

It even looks as though i wont be taking much leave during december (alot of others in the team are taking leave and they'll need someone to do standby over xmas). I'll see what happens. I've been too busy to even think about leave and will feel bad turning down the trip to CT with friends.

Time to see how empty JHB gets around XMAS and NY - its been 2 years so far. Fortunately, I'm saving up my leave and will spend alot of it overseas.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Well... its Wine X tonight. Tomorrow will be interesting.

Tomorrow night is SFSA.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I have to recall an "ugly" aspect of the W800i. I said that "You can only take video clips of +- 20 seconds in length.".

I found the configuration option that disabled this. It was labelled as "Record video for MMS". Disabling this enables videos of proper size and any length (up to a maximum of the memory stick).


On a technical note, I've been posting technical articles to the Portland Pattern Repository - TimTwelves as opposed to on my blog. I like the idea of JRoller but maintaining two blogs would be a nightmare as i'm not inclined to write more than a few paragraphs once a month.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


The good:

(a) I've just started using calendar synchronisation between my outlook calendar and my cellphone calendar. WOW. Firstly, i've got alot of meetings. Secondly, its easy to use and the software is non invasive. I bought a pc bluetooth adapter and I use the software that comes with the phone. It includes time, title, venue details on its recurrence, etc. I set the phone to ALWAYS notify me - thus, if my phone is switched off, it will power up and notify me.

(b) I unplugged the Memory Stick DUO 512meg card lastnight. Its a bit difficult to pull/rip out... you have to press it in before it springs out. (My bad). Anyway, it was suprisingly easy. I didnt use the CD that came with it because I left it at work. I used one of those 11 in 1 card readers.

The bad:

(b) By default, the notification was set to "Only when On". I had to change this to "Always" before i would get reminded of a meeting. I think i was possibly wasnt giving it enough time, anyway, I spent time fiddling to find out whether I was going to get notified a few minutes before the event.

(c) The ringtone/signal for the calendar notification cannot be changed, nor can the amount of time before the event be set. Its set to notify 15 minutes beforehand. (I had to wait and see).

(d) I have to press a button to get my phone to synchronize. I want it to synchronize when I walk past my PC. (i'm lazy).

The ugly:

(d) The MP3 playback speed is slightly quicker than when playing through winamp and thus not accurate to the song. It is a really subtle difference that cancels out a small amount of the base and makes the trebble only slightly more noticable (i might be wrong with the physics). I am going to guess that winamp is correct and the w800i is wrong since winamp has been around for alot longer - more testing. If you play songs side by side, the w800i moves through the song quicker.

The MP3 playback is still good and not noticable unless you compare songs but since it is marketed as the "Sony Walkman", i would expect the playback to be accurate.


(On a side note, james blunt, Wow)

Monday, October 17, 2005

I just recently got a Sony Ericsson w800i. This phone is the distant grandchild of the T610 (the phone i recently lost). The w800i fixes every issue and completes the T610 wishlist but I do have a few problem with it.

The good:
(a) Nice camera
(b) Nice radio
(c) Nice GUI - very responsive and well thought out. A good improvement on a good interface (T610)

The bad:
(d) The automatic keylock is a bit too quick. It needs to be a few seconds (4) longer.

The ugly:
(e) The T610 side grooves are missing. This makes the phone more difficult to handle (in comparison to the T610). Its still on par with other phones but the T610 ensured that you had a great grip on the phone by its side grooves.
(c) You can only take video clips of +- 20 seconds in length. This is horse shyte... I've got a 512meg memory card and I want to use it.


I am enjoying the phone. Its ever so slightly larger than T610 and its quite a refreshing facelift. Its got most of the latest features (i dont know what i'm missing). A good phone.
Exceptions are like shotput, the further you throw, the better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Client Java

One of the biggest gripes about java is the Swing support. Unfortunately, swing does not provide training wheels. Its easier to create a bad swing application than a good one. A good example is IntelliJ IDEA. The problem is typically a lack of understanding of various advanced swing topics by new developers. A few issues lacking in previous JDKs have made developers experiences difficult and has tarnished the view of swing development but once you understand the various concepts it becomes enjoyable.

Anyway, the whole point of this post was that I rediscovered the Client Java blog. In my opinion, it is a significant resource to keep up to date with Swing advancements. It is a community blog focused on various technology and concept advances in java for clients.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

V02 max

An interesting site on VO2max.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Well... I went to Body IQ in an attempt to increase my vitality status.

My results are:

Body Weight: 86kg
Height: 177cm (5'9")
Body Fat: 15%
BP Systolic: 110
BP Diastoic: 70
Cholesterol: 4.87
VO2 max: 47.0
Sit & Reach: 55cm
Situps (per min): 50
Pushups (per min): 43

The particular examination was - (a) a questionair, (b) a cholesterol test, (c) blood pressure, (d) some odd belt gets strapped around your waist and a watch gets placed on your wrist to monitor heart rate, (e) a step test, 4 sequences of stepping to a particular taped beat that increases in frequency every sequence with a minute or two rest between each sequence and a final rest of 3 minutes, (f) max situps in 1 minute, (g) max pushups in 1 minute.

In total I get about 16000 points from that little exercise which should push me into silver status.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Well... My car got stolen on sunday and was recovered by the police on tuesday. Its now in a vehicle pound awaiting the insurance agency picking it up for assessment.

Its quite amazing, I had to go very close to some super dodgy areas in JHB to fetch my car. I used Google Earth to view the area where I would be going allowing me the peace of mind to head there without any worries. Google Earth rocks, I've used it practically - for security reasons. When the chap was explaining how I get there and how some signs/small roads were difficult to read (you might miss it), I could see exactly what he ment and could never go wrong after using Google Earth.

The exact coordinates of my car when I left were 26`16'06.57" S 27`56'46.91" E.

They took,
1. Maccadamia nuts (R20)
2. Car radio (+-R300)
3. 2x Speekers (+-R800)
4. Cassette tapes (gift)
5. Night stick (??)
6. Sun blocker (R40)
7. Parking disc (??)
8. Money (+-R15)
9. Some shopping (+-R550)
10. Can of deodorant (R15)
11. Lipice (R5)

Total = R1695

They messed up,
1. Stuff around the ignition
2. Passenger seat
3. Boot area
4. I suspect something was taken from the engine
5. I suspect that the engine is dodgey

They left
1. Gift vouchers (R400)
2. Some bank receipts

Anyway... I was planning on changing my car so I was not suprised or unprepared for the financial impact (should they not recover my car).


Friday, September 02, 2005

Well... A few thoughts... 811

1. Starteam 2005 is Awesome. Its leaps better than Source Vault, which is huge strides better than Source Safe.

2. I quite like Weblogic 8 and EAR deployment (especially when you've got some massive projects). I've come to realise how much is missing from Tomcat. I still dont like the custom deployment descriptors that all J2EE servers require. The fact that you have to pack and unpack jars to configure descriptors is just plain unhappay.

3. IntelliJ IDEA 5 is great. I like the Favorites view, the javascript support and the html support but I will wait for more features before I shell out more cash for IDEA IntelliJ as 4.5 still keeps me highly productive.

4. Error handling and logging... If I get furious about one thing, its error handling. There is no excuse for poor error handling and use of logging. None at all. One of the worst things I was once told was that "Logging isnt required because its not a requirement. Oh, and who is going to look at the logs anyway". (That just makes me angry). Anyway, thats in the past, right now I'm dealing with a decent system that could be one third its current size.

5. Toplink ORM - Seems nice, I still prefer Hibernate as an ORM. I'm still to work with Hibernate 3 but from what I've read it's come along way. The only additional feature that I would like is for it to calculate and apply additional indexes (as specified) by SchemaGenerator.

6. We got a new Nescafe coffe machine. #811 is the number for hot chocolate. Its enabled me to cut coffee out of my diet. All i've got to do is spend a bit more time in the Gym and a wont see the effects at all. If only I could cut out beer + redbull + jagameister I'd have slightly more healthy weekends.

7. Whats with lists anyway? I'm just jotting down a whole lot of thoughts.

8. I thought I'd have had withdrawl symptoms when moving from Java 5. Alas, a whole lot of libraries need to start using annotations effectively (reduce total code by 10%).

9. J2EE Client Application Modules... First time I've heard of those. A J2EE client container sounds intresting but I wonder what horrors are involved in getting that to work.

10. After work... ? Probably newscafe, its in walking distance now that I'm @ Discovery. Too convenient. Even better is the company bar - R5 a hansa.

11. What have I been up to lately? I went to a charity ball last weekend... theme... larger than life. I bought a large cowboy hat, othewise, very memorable. 5 weeks ago I went to another charity ball - Christmas in July. Very red, lots of elves. Then the polo @ Inanda polo Club. Its been a while since i've been in the sun the entire day.

12. Otherwise, time to go look at a problem ... :(

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Guide to the Southern African Financial Services Industry - SA Financial Sector Forum

An intresting website that regularly updates financial indicators and links to papers about the South African financial industry.

I was just looking for the prime (overdraft) intrest rate and stumbled across this site.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

One of the biggest myths about AMD and Intel is that an AMD chip runs hotter than Intel chip. This was valid of the K6 (and early K7s when you compare how far the K7 got pushed).

Roles have been swapped - AMD is far superior at controlling their heat and power consumption.

Power Consumption Chart
Power Consumption (Dual Core)

I recently got my mother a new computer. At first we tried purchasing it through a private dealer who tried to include a R4000 video card and secondly an intel box that was unnecessarily expensive (something like R11,000). What an utter rippoff. After a bit of a conversation with the chap, his defense was based on experiences about 4 to 5 years ago.

I cannot blame him for his experiences but I can blame him for not keeping up to date, his ignorance hurts customers and unnecessarily overcharges them.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Well, when you're at terminal velocity... and you're smiling... your front teeth tend to get slightly cold and you get sensitive teeth. Well thats how I felt after I went skydiving for the first time.

Mike, Astrid and I did Tandem jumps at the JSC (about an hour out of JHB). We got it filmed and on DVD (although we still have to edit it and join the 3 videos together).

An amazing rush but once you're parachute opens everything's different. Beautifull would be one way to describe it.

Heard a funny story about tandem jumps the other day... Two people do a tandem jump and pull their chute immedately. They carry a six pack of beer with them and drink it on the way down.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Last night I watched the ending of Jason vs Freddy before CSI and 24. The last nights episode of 24 was amazing stuff. Exactly what I expected from Jack Bauer. I've watched season 1 and 3 of 24 and its well worth the 24 hours you sit watching the season. I'm now 3 hours into season 4 and 4 hours into season 2 (i'm getting season 2 from the video store and watching season 4 on mnet).

They should have a Jason vs Predetor. Or even better, Jason vs Predetor vs Alien vs Freddy vs Chuck Norris vs Steven Seagal.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Alot has happened since my last post...

I left my previous company (miss them quite a bit, unique company and good products); had drinks with the entire company for the 2nd time ever (might be the first); watched the battlestar galactica remake; had a 15 year family reunion; went to Hluhlue game reserve; went on a battle tour of Rorkes Drift and Isandhlwana; started at a new company; started waking up early (first concerted effort to get up early since... grade 6 at primary school); got ill; got well; went on systems induction; a few friends birthdays; went on core induction; beerfest; got ill (not related to the beerfest... some kinda food poisoning... terrible); went to see Avril Lavigne in concernt (awesome concert); got well; learnt spring framework fundermentals (1.2 is nice, i wonder when IntelliJ will have IDE support for Spring).

I'm not going to go into detail since i've been so busy since my last post but:

1. I highly recommend the battle tours and Hluhlue.

2. Core and System induction are the companies plan on introducing you to the companies products and the companies backend system. This arms you with information you need to know where to start (massive systems).

3. Spring gives me a happy feeling (just like Java 5.0 and Hibernate). I fear the beans.xml file might explode in size for large applications and become opaque to the inner mind.

4. Really miss seeing the rest of the family and my new nephew. It all started off with a spectacular dinner at the Oyster Box watching a gold moon rise on the ocean, slighly obscured by a lighthouse with a pool. (had to be there). Hluhlu was great, got to see the most massive elephant but no cats. It all ended when hyenas rocked up at a braai (it was the last day/night, we left the next morning).

Happy to be writing again. Dont think i have time for the next 2 weeks but after that everything should be good. I'm working late right now. Lots to understand and do. Its nice to be able to work late (shoot me now).


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

When designing systems or preparing presenations its important to understand your documents.

Vague documents occur when trying to put too much information into a single document that does not directly aid the purpose of the document. That information may confuse the reader as the document drifts from one topic to another. Such information should be put in a different document. When presenting some point of view and producing some presentation, its important to back your results with strong sources.

Its better to build up many sets of correct and consise documents that are easy to update when information changes or becomes available. Furthermore, different types of documents may depend on (and source) information from numerous documents without confusing the scope and purpose of the document.

Consider what happens when putting together an technical integration manual. The manual should source information from various internal technical notes and apis. Any new information should be updated and corrected in the technical notes, not the technical manual. It is typical to have technical writer compose the manual from specifications and notes. The techical writer is not typically the authority to create the source material. When the manual contains original material, the documentation style is either (a) the manual is the specification, or (b) the manual is dependant on source material, source material should be updated or source material is unique to the manual, or (c) there is no source material.

A problem with many source documents is being able to find the documents and having someone review changes to the document. Google Desktop Search is an example of an effective way to find what you're looking for while MS Sharepoint Portal Server provides both reasonable search functionallity and document process control (i forget the correct terminology). Unfortunately MS SPS is cost prohibitive for smaller businesses.

Either way, documentation is costly to create so its important to be effective in its creation and use.


Reliable + Cheap = Lots of preparation and documentation (not fast)
Cheap + Fast = Little preparation and documentation (lets go live)
Fast + Reliable = Someone else did the documentation and are charging for it.


The scope of this is again possibly too large and vague in itself. Am i trying to jot down my thoughts... or am I trying to put together a article.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Pick Two

(a) Reliable
(b) Cheap
(c) Fast

Thursday, March 17, 2005

An XML namespace is not a URL, its a URI. If it looks like a URL (, it should resolve to an RDDL instead of 404 not found. If it is not a URL it should be a URN (

O'Reily on RDDL has a good document to get you into the headspace. has the RDDL specification.

Since a URL is tied to a companies web deployment, i'd structure the URIs such that they dont collide with web content. The webserver should map the final part of the namespace to an RDDL file.


namespace URL:

unique-part: food/flying-things
version: 1.0

One thing... security. I dont want to let the rest of the world know my internal protocols and schemas. This could be enforced by a secure site ( or protected areas on the site.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I keep on reading about SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and how its some sort of silver bullet. I then read as many critics about how (1) SOA is actually just stateless RPC (2) over Web Services; (3) its no silver bullet - cannot do X, Y, Z; (4) it already exists in many companies using different protocols; etc, etc, etc.

I fear that many miss the point and get confused between the architects point of view and the sales-man's/advocate point of view.

The sales man wants to sell an idea because he's either wants to make a profit by providing a consulting service; or is some sort of idealistic fanatic.

The architect/researcher's point of view is that the SOA concept has been identified as a real and worthwhile enterprise pattern. The discussion and research around SOA is focused on increasing the total understanding around how to apply the concept to the enterprise, what the implications and limitations are and how to cleanly implement the pattern across a large enterprise. Two points to consider - (a) It is better to have a well understood enterprise architecture whose implications and limitations are well researched than having an architecture arise without control and without understanding its limitations, (b) SOA is mostly applicable to a subset of problems.

Now sometimes ...

the advocate/fanatics miss point (b) - so they advocate SOA everywhere.
the critics dont understand (b) - so they dont see the value of the pattern.
the architects dont understand (b) - so they try to apply the pattern to every problem.


Friday, March 11, 2005

My house got hit by lightening last night... Happiness and burnt wires. For some reason it was only the circuit with the house lights... and the house alarm. (I have a house alarm?)

It became apparent that there was a house alarm when it started going off at 4am in the morning. This poses 3 questions... Where is it, Why is it going off, and How do I turn it off. After a short amount of time it became apparent that the pin-code was not known so it was not possible to electronically disable the sirens/speakers. These were physically disabled. Next up... the buzzers in each circuit board hidden in cupboards and other wonderful places. Removing those circuit boards solved that problem.

Great stuff. 6 hours sleep and a headache. Now to hope that the next door neighbour doesnt try to evict us.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A summary of an enterprise SOA architecture - The Rings of the Enterprise [link]

Ring Zero: WS/RMI/.NET Remoting, Java/C#, business logic + processes, databases, no security
Ring One: Messaging middleware, business system, application security, secure sockets
Ring Two: B2B collaboration, security is a big issue, firewalls, encrypted comms
Ring Three: The world, unsafe

Since Ring Zero has no security, I would expect a business process to be implemented to ensure that staff are unable to interfere with the live system / ring zero. In the simpest of applications, this would imply that a developer doesnot imbed some sort of backdoor or "feature". The security process would be code review. In a larger enterprise system it would be complete network isolation of ring zero allowing only ring zero and ring one to communicate. A deployment process that ensures only certain individuals have access to the live system and a QA review and testing process independant of the developers.

Monday, March 07, 2005

When using IEEE Software Engineering Process, you will find yourself overwhelmed with how many different templates and processes are defined. Realise that a single person is not supposed to create all the different IEEE documents and you will not typically find someone who is an expert in all the related fields. The IEEE is not suited for companies where architect == deverloper == tester == etc.

The roles of architect, developer, tester, etc will typically author their various documents and when those roles are correctly performed, an individual will typically never have to compose all of those documents. The author of the various documents should try to stick as close as possible to what is needed by document (as defined by the particular IEEE standard). When all documents are not authored, you will find a need to place some 'important' information inside a document because it has no appropropriate place.

Stick to the process and put that information in the correct document, as opposed to forcing it into some inappropriate document - otherwise your documents will become vague. The documentation may also require particular diagrams as an aid in the discussion. Dont try to put additional diagrams that will be (or are) duplicated by another part of the documentation process.

The whole IEEE Software Engineering Process might seem heavy until you stop duplicating information that has been documented or will be documented. In addition, the correct stakeholders should drive the correct parts of the process so that roles do not overlap.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The problem with investing great amounts of time in UML, before you need to discuss a particular topic, is that there are many different views of the same system. Unless you're talking to another coder, a class diagram will not aid in discussing business logic. There are typically quite a few representations of the same system and based upon your discussion only one of those is of any use. Composing these diagrams can be highly time consuming for small projects at the risk of not completing the small project at all. For larger projects its probably impossible to diagram every aspect unless you employ the use of design recovery companies.

While excessive time to compose a correct and complete model of design does not constitute a failure of UML (dont ask me to develop and formalise such a large diagram), I do think that UML is necessary. If you cannot communicate correctly, on at least a small scale, then you're at a disadvantage. There are many diagramming methodologies of which a professional should understand and use at least one modelling system correctly. That is: the ability to use the correct diagram to quickly sketch the interactions being discussed instead of using the incorrect diagram and forcing information into the diagram.

A UML Tutorial [Link]

Monday, February 28, 2005

Isnt it amazing how some of the decisions that take 1 second can be the hardest to make. Those decisions either preserve the status quo, or allow you to move forward. You can try to avoid situations that require you to choose but at some point you are plainly confronted. Certain questions must be answered. Its amazing how many reasons you can come up with to either avoid or delay. Being comfortable is a nice feeling.

Ying Yang
Cellphone radiation level charts
Old SAR Chart

I'm always concerned about this one. I remember my face getting quite hot when I used my 3210, something I'm always wary of (would prefer to use my cell as little as possible). According to the above links, my old 3210 [1.14] was lower than my T610 [1.21]. This worries me slighly because I dont seem to notice the T610 until after a lenghty conversation (5-10 minutes). Is it being deflected? or have I been conditioned/climatised.


On a side note, the Apple Center in the Nelson Mandela Square stocks the Mini Mac. I am impressed. I just need to wait until they get those internal bluetooth modules... and then it's mine!

I've got to go back and spend some more time there. I dont know how well it supports sending and receiving faxes. I'm keen to move my mom over to a Mini Mac but i'm worried about a whole lot of adjustment issues and lack of support. Anyone have any experience with this? What is the MTBF for MacOSX?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005



I'm gonna buy a Mini Mac. Factory optionals are Internal Bluetooth, Wireless Ethernet and a DVD Writer... and you get MacOS X. I'd definately get 512mb RAM with it instead of 256mb RAM that comes default.

The only dissapointment is that it takes about 6 months (i'm guessing) for it to be available worldwide.

Seriously, the Mini Mac is the first computer that i've seen that solves every single issue with todays computing. Its small, its quiet, it does everything I need, its not an eyesore. Internal bluetooth is a brilliant idea. If I could buy it today I would.

On the software side of things, its comes with everything I need except MS Office (but you can buy that). I hardly play many games anymore so computer games arnt an issue.
Went to watch my first soccer game the other day.... Kaiser Chiefs vs Santos at the FNB Stadium Soweto (Soccer City). Great event, had a blast on a vuvulezu (sp?). 5 of us went to see the stadium and the crowed. The stadium looks smaller than it is... supposdly it holds 80,000 people... looks more like 40,000. An intresting crowed with a lot of reefer being smoked at that match.

Between the vuvulezus, the car hooter (dont know how they got that in the stadium) and the school bell.... (yes, a school bell... the one you shake, not the electric one) the idea is to make AS MUCH noise as possible when the ref makes dodgy decisions. Let him know your disgust. Other than that, I was impressed at the synchronisation of the different parts of the crowed with certain tunes and songs they were orchestrating. Very wierd... It seemed as though one chap (on his vuvulezu (fog horn)) would start some tune, then everyone would alternate at a different pitch. Very odd. Had to be there.