Goodbye MSN Messenger, hello Jabber

Like most people, I use Instant Messenging (IM). I have accounts on all the main providers (MSN, Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ and Jabber) but the one most of my friends use is MSN. It seems that MSN is the most popular IM service over here in the UK, but AIM is more popular in the US.

Anyway, if it wasn’t for the fact that most of my friends are using MSN, I’d ditch it (along with the other proprietary protocols) and move exclusively to using Jabber, as its a nice, open, documented protocol with a wide range of available clients. By design, it’s decentralised – there’s no one “central” server which controls the network, unlike MSN etc.

My friend Steve recently decided to drop MSN, and another friend, Tony, is starting to use Jabber too. Along with another friend James, who started to use Jabber quite a while ago, I think we have the start of a revolution :)

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I hate trains

I’m writing this post on a train, using my Blackberry. Man, I hate rush-hour trains. Given the choice, I ride my motorbike to work, but, unfortunately, its off the road at the moment, waiting for a replacement engine to be couriered down from Wigan.Even if its pissing with rain, I’d still pick the bike over the train, any day. Why? Well, let’s see:

  • The bike costs me about 6-7 quid a day in petrol (and add a few more for maintenance, tyres etc)
  • I leave when I want to leave, get straight out there, pull up outside work, lock up and go in
  • It’s generally an enjoyable ride – filtering through traffic can be quite satisfying :)

Now, for taking the train:

  • The train is costing me just shy of 20 quid for a return ticket
  • I’m standing here all the way to London as there’s no seats free at all
  • I’m surrounded by people – I hate strangers invading my space
  • It’s boiling hot – this was briefly pleasant after freezing my ass off waiting for the train, but is now uncomfortable
  • I had to wait around for the train, and now have to wait at Finsbury Park to change trains, then at Moorgate to get the sardine simulator, sorry, tube
  • I’ll then have to walk about 10/15 minutes from the tube station to work. I don’t mind walking, but its not so fun in the freezing cold or pissing rain.

And they wonder why people in this country drive everywhere rather than using public transport? Perhaps its because, quite frankly, our public transport sucks.

Oh well, here’s my next train.

Those of you who work from home, I envy you, I really, really do. sued for spidering a website

Just read that a Colorado website owner is attempting to sue for accessing and making copy of her website.

Suzanne Shell attempted to sue on grounds of conversion, civil theft, breach of contract, and violations of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations act and the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.

The court ruling last month granted the Internet Archive’s motion to dismiss the charges, except for the breach of contract claim.  If this breach of contract claim was to succeed, it would have a massive, wide-ranging impact on the Internet.

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Think before you register that domain…

My colleague Andy posted an interesting set of domain name double entendres to our shiny new company blog, including:

  • (unusual uses for farmyard equipment?)
  • (er….)
  • (presents for that special lady of the night?)
  • (well, you’d want an expert to perform an operation like that)
  • (land of what?)
  • (why would you want to find a… nevermind)
  • (allegedly true, but not the site of Mole Station Nursery, it’s just a page full of adverts)

People, think before you register that domain name.  Unless of course domains like these are just a cunning way to get free traffic from blog posts like this…. hmm….

DNS Propagation Checker

Ever wanted to check the result of a DNS lookup from various DNS servers, perhaps to see how far a recent DNS change has propagated – which servers are giving the new answer, and which still have the old answer cached?

I recently wrote a little Perl script to do just that. My DNS Propagation Checker will query a set of 10 servers at random and show you the results. (Be warned, it may be a little slow at times, because (a) it has to wait for the DNS servers (I might re-write it one day to do the requests concurrently) and (b) my poor little virtual server is a little slow and overloaded right now.

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GNU Screen – a primer

GNU Screen is a little-used but very powerful utility, allowing you to do more from a Linux console, whether from a “real” console or logged in to another machine via SSH.

It is “a full-screen window manager that multiplexes a physical terminal between several processes (typically interactive shells)“.

This is a simple guide to getting started with GNU Screen.

Continue reading GNU Screen – a primer

David Precious – professional Perl developer, motorcyclist and beer drinker