I've been suffering from flu since last Friday, which has had me in bed for most of the time, and is really starting to annoy me. It started mid-morning, which is a random time for an illness to start - I normally wake up with something, so to have to goto bed half way through a day was a new experience.
I spent the next two days in Bed, made it to church on Sunday evening, and was feeling well enough on Monday to venture out of bed for a couple of hours to have a little band practise for the charity gig. I think that may have been a mistake.
I got to sleep at 4 on tuesday morning, and have been feeling as grotty as I did on Saturday ever since.
I'm in no mood to work, so I've had to reduce my work down to random tit bits of 'research' - which basically entails light reading until I feel well enough to actually start putting the research into practise.
One thing I have been able to do, in between the bouts of more severe illness is to browse the web and catch up on a few things I'd meant to look at for a while.
One of the things I've been immensely pleased with since starting to use it has been wordpress. I had a friend who used to blog alot and managed to convince him to move to wordpress from myspace. Well he did that a week ago and likes it. Not content with that, I decided to set him up with a version he could host (on my linux box) rather than use wordpress.com. Hopefully you'll see his blog to come into some sort of shape @ http://reid.zrmt.com.
This is something I mentioned way back in my blog Computer Controlled Homes a while back. Whilst the company that install it can provide you with some rather nice bespoke hardware for controlling your many devices, (even the curtains should you so wish,) they release the 'majority' of the software under GPL licenses, although some of it is under their own license, which is open to some extent, but with some anti-commercial clauses in it. I finally managed to download the isos and get them running in a VMware machine on my server. I must say I didn't spend much time playing with it at all; the installation was not intuitive at all - and it was obvious from the convoluted menus that whilst it is open source and you can add bits to it if you wish - their main aim is to do the installation themselves. I was hoping to test it out before getting a Plutohome partner to install a system with all the bells and whistles. I guess that idea is currently out of the window. I did send them an email asking for an onsite demo, but I'm still waiting for a reply.
I like Zimbra, I like it alot. It's clean, smart and works. There are lots of these Web 2.0 apps that really annoy me, as their not Web 2.0. I think Web 2.0 is about moving stuff away from the desktop and into the browser, to have something labelled as Web 2.0 that relies on a desktop download (though I can't think of one off the top of my head as I don't use them and they're generally windows only) is gross mis-adversing. Zimbra is nearly platform agnostic. There are things that don't work on Safari on the Mac, and on IE on Vista - but having used all four 'main' Desktop OSes (Mac, Linux, XP and Vista) it works well on all of them. Of course the previous sentence will have it's critics, and I'm probably one of them, but you get the point.
It's also a breeze to install (providing you have the DNS set up correctly) and easy to administer. Aside from it's two tier license (commercial and FLOSS) it's a model FLOSS product.
The only downside is also one of its neatest features. Zimlets (little widgets that mash up external info) are a really good idea. Cool little things that help to integrate your other products with Zimbra. Can anyone see the problem? Yeah, they don't help Zimbra to integrate itself with other products. There's also a nicely large white paper on how to create a zimlet. Whilst the feature is excellent, it's a little bit too much like vendor lock in to me. It'd be nice if Zimbra had started an open 'zimlet' standard - but nothing's perfect.
Why write a blog? To be honest, when I came back from holiday and though "I know, I need to catch up with my blog writing" my initial thought was to put it off as long as possible. I didn't want to spend hours in front of my PC writing blog after blog about stuff that may have been interesting to me, but boring to 99% of my readership. However, after a few days there were things about the holiday that seemed somehow relevant, so I blogged about them. I have a friend who detests blogs, and doesn't see the point in them - but I have yet to read a blog that I have found 'boring' in the true sense of the word. To be honest, given that we control what we read on the internet - the ability to find something boring is something that has yet managed to escape me for my general internet use. Working out where you've put a semi-colon instead of a colon on the other hand, can be a very boring task - as is PCI regulation work.
Payment Card Industry regulations are something that every company that store/hold/transmit/touch credit card information must abide by, and became law on the 1st June 2007. It is a horrendous task for any company, as it doesn't just involve a change in technology, but a change in individual culture. It's not about what you do, but the way that you do it. It's a massive change, so if anyone is attempting to do it - good luck from me! Oh yeah, and use Linux, otherwise you have to list every package installed on the machine, with it's version, what it does, and why it's necessary to have it installed. Pain in the bum if there ever was one.
Honestly, I thought this beast was launched by now. I went to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer and it's still a public beta. Well to be honest it won't be any beta until it works on OSX and Linux (oooh and BSD and maybe even Vista).
The problems of the BBC iPlayer, you must understand, are not technological. I though at the start of the campaign that this was a big mess up - Microsoft looking after number 1 by making sure that the iPlayer worked on their system... only their software... but hold on. It doesn't work on Vista, is this a red herring? No.
Paxman got it right. The BBC are so concerned about being a 'modern' media company with fantastic graphics and cutting edge technology, they've forgotten what 'media' is! Doctor Who is not a feat of engineering, or a technological masterpiece - it's a simple plot, acted out by professional actors in a quirky and comical way which makes it entertaining. The BBC have been so hung up on making the most technologically advanced programs that they've sub-contracted production out of the BBC. They used to be a cradle-to-grave media company. From speccing the cameras to building them, to editing, producing and distributing. Now they distribute (as as the iPlayer shows) - badly. The reason that they need to have such restrictive DRM on their content is that THEY DON'T OWN IT. The £3.2 billion in license fees gets spent, and they don't even own the content they're making with our taxes. We're paying a glorified BLOCKBUSTER RENTALS with a convenient pipe to every house in the country. The BBC need to take a good hard look at themselves. If they owned the content DRM would be less of an issue. Sort it out!
Also, I'd like to just spare a thought for Madeleine McCann's family. No matter what Madeleine's current state, the family obviously need time and prayers.