Category Archives: General

General stuff

Amazon DB and Erlang

The world and it’s dog is jumping on the Amazon SimpleDB announcement. Interesting to note that apparently (big caveat there!) it is built on Erlang.

I am keen to see how the DB heads respond to this. I also want to see how how long it takes for people to get their heads around the eventual consistency model it employs. The use of an eventual consistency model is often a critical factor in being able to scale any ultra large system but the concept scares many people to death (and thats only the people who realise what it means!)

Automatic feed placements for Bloglines?

Here is an idea for why don’t they provide the ability to display my available blogs ordered by the number of times I click on the blog feed link? They should already know how often I click a particular blog to read it. The more I read it, the higher up my list of blogs it goes. That way I don’t have to manually try and order my blogfeeds (which is a COMPLETE pain in the bum).

Ordering feeds in bloglines…

I have used Bloglines for years – I love it! It is the one piece of sanity on the web (mainly because it is my content that I want to read). My feed list is obscenely long, and getting longer, and it has occurred to me that I am increasingly missing alot of the really interesting feeds that I used to read everyday. Many of my favourite feeds are now hidden below the screen fold. What I want to do is to be able to place the feeds in the order that I want – not the the alphabetical order that Bloglines forces me to. (Hint to bloggers: create a blog title at the beginning of the alphabet!)

I would have thought the Bloglines would allow me to shift the feeds around but I can’t for the life of me work out how. :(

Update: Here is how you do it from the Bloglines support guys:

Hello Ewan,

You can choose to order your subscriptions however you’d like.

In order to edit your blogs or your folders, please sign into your account. Click the ‘Feeds’ tab, and then click the ‘Edit’ link. You may now click on the folder or blog you would like to move; simply drag and drop it where you’d like. You can also double-click on items in order to rename, edit, or delete them. To move items from one folder to another, you will need to select the items you want to move by simply clicking the subscription once, and dragging it into the selected folder. You can also choose to create a folder by clicking the ‘New Folder’ icon.

It seems to work but it is also highly unintuitive in a web setting. I would NEVER have thought to do that in my browser window. Also the desktop metaphor isn’t completely implemented. For example: moving a link from the very bottom to the very top of the list takes several steps because the app doesn’t seem to understand it has to scroll up when you reach the top of the visible page. I would expect a desktop app to do that.

Setting up Subversion on my webhost

I have been looking for somewhere to host a private Subversionaccount, when I discovered that the guys who host this domain are already providing me with this functionality. This is just a quick post to outline how easy it was to set up and identify a couple of wrinkles that I came across when getting Eclipse (+ Subclipse) set up on

I had already got SSH access set up on my host to play around Ruby on Rails. Further down the track I discovered that the standard shell caused some issues with Subclipse. When I tried to create the new repository location in Eclipse I kept getting: “Malformed network data”. I think the problem was the welcome message that the standard shell shows when you login. This was trivially solved by asking support to change to the shell to Bash.

Once you have Bash access you can simply log on. Subversion is already installed so it was simply a case of creating the new repository and away you go. From your home directory (where username is your site5 username):

svnadmin create /home/username/subversion

Subversion does its magic and creates the repository. I already have Subclipse installed so it is now a question of firing up the IDE and creating the new repository location in Eclipse. Open up the Subversion Repository view (Window -> Show View -> SVN Repository). Right click on the SVN Repository view (Right click -> new -> Repository Location) and add the URL:


Note that the subversion path is the full path name for the account.

Subclipse will now ask for the authorisation credentials. The username is your account username. The password is your account password. Tick the save information box and press finish.

One personal subversion account in under 30 seconds. That wasn’t hard was it?

I have found to be excellent. Their packages are great value. Their set up time is brilliant and their support service is BLISTERINGLY fast. It is not unsual for the whole problem or query to be solved in 5 mins from the time I send the first mail – no matter what time of day or night. First class!

Distributed Systems Engineering at Amazon

Interesting to note Amazon have set up a site for their Distributed Systems Engineering team. I would imagine that these guys report to Werner Vogels – shame he has stopped writing so much following his move to Amazon. Werner outlines some of the stuff that I would imagine this team is working on.

The site is fairly basic at the moment but has some job listings (hint: knowing this might help getting a job there….)

Shame there is no RSS feed …….

Jini sub projects on

As part of the (proposed) migration of Jini to the Apache Foundation, many members of the Jini community have been focussing on getting the infrastructure in place to manage the many sub projects that spring up around the main Jini core.

Gregg Wonderly has taken responsibility for setting up a Jini project site at The idea is to provide a “home” for anyone with a Jini related project (outisde of the main Jini development which will be taking place on Gregg has just announced that the site is set up and is ready for business!

Several of the sub projects from have already been moved over to the new site. Things are looking good!