Monthly Archives: January 2004

Venus Soul and Fun(k)

I went out with my skiing friends last night, to work out who’s driving with whom on the way to Ischgl (“… du mein Traum!”) at the end of the month. We ended up at Kurios, a live music bar in Krefeld, where Venus was playing a set. We had a fun time, some great tracks too, from Chic, early Police, James Brown (ok, I’m older than I look, alright? :-) and so on. Played really well by the band.

Nice one, Venus!

FOSDEM and Brussels, here I come!

I’ve been umming and arring over conferences this year. One that I don’t want to miss is FOSDEM – the Free and Open source Software Developers European Meeting, on a weekend next month in Brussels.

FOSDEM is a great grass-roots event that is full of friendly hackers. Add a wonderful city to the mix, and what more do you want? I attended FOSDEM a couple of years ago, when I was invited as a speaker – my talk was on “Understanding Jabber Components“, which went down well.

me talking at FOSDEM with a branch

I remember noticing that other speakers in earlier talks were having difficulties with the huge size of the projector displays (they couldn’t reach to point to anything in the top halves of the slides) so just before the start of my talk I rushed outside and grabbed a fallen branch to use as a pointer. It turned out to be a great ice breaker, and rather useful too (Ralph Meijer, who’s done some cool things with Jabber, took the pictures – thanks Ralph).

In the run up to that conference in 2002, I also introduced O’Reilly UK to the FOSDEM organisers, with a view to sponsorship. Seems to have turned out well.

And I’ve just noticed that Dave Cross, a fellow London Perl Monger, is speaking at FOSDEM this time around. (Ok, I’m unfortunately only an occasional monger these days, because I’m never in the right place at the right time). Nice one Dave!

Hawo’s Queen of Grain Mills

I’ve been baking bread now for quite a while now. The bread baking bug first got ahold of me when visiting friends. They had a bread making machine – something that you put all the basic ingredients into, hit a button, and presto. Naturally we bought one soon after, and I was, well, ‘hooked’.

But sometime last year I decided there was too much plastic and electronics between me and the bread, and started making it by hand. Just the ingredients, a bowl, time, Radio 4, and me. What a difference. It’s become my number one way to relax – especially after a session at the keyboard. I love making bread. All sorts. And I also love not going to to the bakers to buy bread. It’s a nano-step closer to self-sufficiency. And a very rewarding one.

So this Christmas I progressed backwards even more. I received a fantastic present – a grain mill – Hawo’s Queen 1 model. Beautifully simple and rock solid. The millstones are corundum, 10cm in diameter.

As well as giving you the total health benefit that only freshly milled wheat (and other grain) can, milling your own on a loaf-by-loaf basis is fun, and gives me my daily fix for the simpler things in life. I guess the next step is to grow my own. I’m just not sure I have the space!

Hello, 2004

2004 is here. Neues Spiel, neues Gl├╝ck. Although I’ve tried to avoid meta-blogging, I’ll make an exception this time. For whatever reason my blogging went quiet towards the end of last year. Work and home life kept me nicely busy.

Actually, as you can see from a few recent posts here, what online time I’ve had has been taken up with SDN, the SAP Developer Network, a new venture from SAP and others to build an online community along the lines of MSDN or O’ReillyNet. Forums, developer areas, articles, that sort of thing. It’s certainly a great step in the right direction, but IMO has still some way to go from the usability point of view. You know the sort of thing – use of frames, unwieldy URLs, web-based forums that are difficult to navigate efficiently (as most web-based forums are) – a mailing list or NNTP gateway wouldn’t go amiss here – and so on.

It’s a particular shame about the forums; there are interesting conversations going on there, but it’s so hard to get around the messages (“click”, “click”, “click”, “click”, “errr”, “click”, “damn, now where am I?”) I simply can’t be bothered to fight to get to the right posts. I guess I’m not just ‘modern’ enough. I’d already made my concerns known to the powers that be, so at least I have a moral right to go on about it here now ;-)

I’ve started to automatically pull in my SDN weblog posts into the /tech/sap category as there’s a nice RSS feed provided for each weblogger there.

I’ve also written two or three articles so far, the most recent of which:

Set Your WAS 6.10 System To Work – Transport Tracking with RSS

shows you how to use the evaluation WAS 6.10 system and build a BSP application to provide an RSS feed of your CTS transports so you can track system developments and customisations in the comfort of your own RSS reader. (As you can see, if you’re fortunate enough not to have to use Internet Explorer – or other browsers on MS-Windows platforms – you’ll see that the conversion of the article into HTML has a few problemettes. I’m reliably informed that the formatting problems will be addressed soon.)

Anyway, my battery’s low, so I’ll stop here. It’s frightening really, once I get round to opening a new blog post in the editor, words just splurge out. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad.