Duncan's blog

January 1, 2015

2014 in review

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 7:00 am

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


December 31, 2013

2013 in review

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 10:07 am

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

June 21, 2009

2009 goal review – summer

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 12:00 am

I decided this year to publish some personal goals and then review them quarterly. I didn’t manage to do my summer review when I’d originally intended, due to the complication involved in moving from Scotland to London. So here it is now, better late than never.

Experts Exchange : get one more Master ranking, and improve both Coldfusion Markup Language and ColdFusion Application Server to Guru level.
Half-done; I managed to get those two CF zones up to Guru, but don’t have another Master ranking yet. Haven’t been active on Experts Exchange since I decided I was moving to London and realised I’d be too busy over the coming weeks. Might get back into it now though.

Join the gym.
When I moved down here I thought I’d do this, and had a one day trial at a local gym. However I’ve decided not to bother for now. I have been doing a bit of running though, and my goal is to try and average two runs a week.

Start using some kind of source control.
When I set myself this goal, I’d originally thought I’d have to do this for my personal projects, due to little chance of seeing it being implemented at work. However at my new company I use Subversion every day.

Complete 40 of the Project Euler problems.
I completed my original goal to do 25 of these, and revised it to complete 40. At the time I’d done 33, and I haven’t made any progress since then.

Blog at least once a week on average. I’d also like to do more Coldfusion-related blog posts.
When I moved to London I was offline for about six weeks, so I’ve fallen behind on this, but hope to get back on schedule.

Get involved in something open source.
No progress.

Install and start using Railo.
No progress.

Start using MySQL.
No progress.

June 8, 2009

Police considering Chinese-style spying measures for 2012 Olympics

Big Brother is watching youWorrying article in the Sunday Times: “Spy bugs may be deployed for 2012 Olympics“.

The police have looked at how the Chinese conducted their surveillance for the last Olympics, and are considering re-using some of their ideas. Such as:

  • bugging taxis to listen in to any incriminating conversations
  • using microchips on tickets and passes to track the movements of athletes, journalists and spectators
  • facial recognition CCTV

What I find most frightening is the final line:
“Alan Campbell, the Home Office minister, has revealed that the Home Office is investigating technology that would allow police to halt a vehicle remotely

Does anyone seriously consider that might be a good idea? Especially in the hands of the Metropolitan Police, or any other police force in this country.

Thanks to OurWorld OurSay for tweeting this originally.

Photo from surfstyle‘s Flickr stream. Creative Commons license.

June 2, 2009

Kirkcaldy swimming pool opening hours

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 10:57 am
Tags: , , , ,

Update: I just discovered that Kirkcaldy Swimming Pool actually publish another leaflet with contradictory times to their Opening Times leaflet: Activity Programme 2009 (PDF). I’ve emailed them for clarification. Until I get it, assume the information below is possibly incorrect.

I was trying to work out the times I could go for a swim at Kirkcaldy Swimming Pool. They publish the opening times (PDF) but it’s not immediately clear when is normal swimming and when does that clash with lessons / aquaerobics / family fun / lane swimming.

So I’ve attempted to re-publish them in a different format, so you can hopefully see what’s on at any time. This information will probably get out of date within a few months, especially when they start building the new pool.


Normal swimming
Adult lane swimming
Swimming lessons
Family fun session (last Sunday of the month)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

March 20, 2009

2009 goal review – spring equinox

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 12:00 am
Tags: ,

At the start of the year I published my goals for 2009. Rather than just treat it like a new year’s resolution and ignore it until the following year, I decided to review those goals quarterly.

Complete 25 of the Project Euler problems.
I decided to start using Python to tackle some of these, and managed to get a few more done, taking my total to 33. Haven’t done anything on this for a while. The next Project Euler milestone is when you complete 50. I’m not sure I’ll manage that, but maybe I’ll revise this goal to try and complete 40.

Get a Master ranking in Experts Exchange for at least one other zone.
I’ve now got Master ranking in Coldfusion Markup Language, ColdFusion Application Server and ColdFusion Studio. I’m almost at the ‘Guru’ level for the Coldfusion Markup Language.
New goal: get one more Master ranking, and improve both Coldfusion Markup Language and ColdFusion Application Server to Guru level.

Join the gym.
No progress.

Blog at least once a week on average. I’d also like to do more Coldfusion-related blog posts.
I’ve made 36 posts this year, five of which are about ColdFusion.

Get involved in something open source.
I submitted a few minor issues to a handful of projects on RIAForge.org, and submitted a suggestion for the VarScoper tool to its author.

Start using some kind of source control.
No progress.

Install and start using Railo.
No progress.

Start using MySQL.
No progress.

March 5, 2009

Another milestone in the War Against Photographers

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 12:00 am

Story on Boing Boing about Stephen Clark in Manchester, arrested and locked up for two days for allegedly photographing a drain cover. The drain had been sealed prior to the Labour Party Conference as a security measure. Initially he was arrested for causing criminal damage, despite no damage being done. He was then re-arrested for being concerned in terrorist activities.

He was later released without charge, after the police failed to find any drain cover photos on his mobile phone, camera, computer, etc, but the police still hold his DNA on their database. He was arrested in the autumn, but this has cropped up in the news now as he’s wanting off the DNA register (and quite rightly so), in line with the recent European Court ruling that this was a basic breach of human rights.

I wonder if he’d have been released without charge if the cops had found photographs of drain covers. The implication is that it’s somehow a terrorist offence to photograph these securely sealed drain covers. Which is patently nonsense, as we can clearly see them in this video, which probably contains some of the Police’s own footage.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Manchester man arrested for alleged s…", posted with vodpod

I’m sure the fact Mr Clark appears to have an Irish accent had nothing to do with his arrest, right?

February 5, 2009

SQL nested joins

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been working on a query recently that has been doing my nut in. It involved five tables, possibly six depending how I wanted to do it. I had several tables that were going to be inner joined to each other. Then there were two tables which would be inner joined together, but outer joined to the other tables. I only wanted to return any rows from the first of those two tables if there were also matching rows in the second of the two tables.

To try and explain it, here’s a rough ER diagram I put together in Gliffy.com:

6-way join

So, I’m inner joining Category to SubCategory and SubCategory_School and School. That’s the easy part.

I’m only interested in rows from KeyIndicator where there are corresponding entries in School_KeyIndicator joining them to the School table. And that’s where I was having the difficulty.

I wasn’t getting anywhere with this, and couldn’t find anything on the web other than very simple examples joining two tables together. I had a look to see if Pinal Dave’s excellent SQL Authority blog had any useful information. He didn’t but he did link to an article by Coldfusion über-blogger Ben Nadel, Grouping JOIN Clauses In SQL, which was exactly what I was looking for.

SELECT	C.ID AS CategoryID, C.Name AS CategoryName,
	SC.ID AS SubCategoryID, SC.Name AS SubCategoryName,
	KI.ID, KI.Name,
	S.ID AS SchoolKIID, S.Data,
	SC_S.ID AS ScoreID , SC_S.Score
FROM	Category C
		INNER JOIN SubCategory SC
			ON C.ID = SC.CategoryID
			KeyIndicator KI
				INNER JOIN School_KeyIndicator S
					ON KI.ID = S.KeyIndicatorID
					AND S.School = #URL.ID#
			ON SC.ID = KI.SubCategoryID
		LEFT OUTER JOIN SubCategory_School SC_S
			ON SC.ID = SC_S.SubCategoryID
			AND SC_S.School = #URL.ID#

In the end I eliminated the School table from my query, as I didn’t actually need it. However what really made this work was the nested join, i.e. the part inside the brackets. Basically I do my INNER JOIN between KeyIndicator and School_KeyIndicator. Because that’s in the bracket, that gets evaluated first. Then the result of that is LEFT OUTER JOINed to the SubCategory table.

January 29, 2009

Glenrothes wins award for most dismal town in Scotland

Glenrothes won the Carbuncles award! In the other categories, Donald Trump’s controversial golf course won worst planning decision, and the conversion of the Plaza Ballroom in Glasgow into flats won worst new building.

Fife Council issued a press release criticising the awards. Council leader Peter Grant said “Already I’m being contacted by some of these volunteers who feel they’ve been kicked in the teeth as part of a cheap publicity stunt to boost sales of a magazine that neither they nor possibly anybody in Glenrothes has ever heard of”. That sort of sounds to me like a backwards way of saying nobody in Glenrothes is interested in architecture, which I guess is part of the problem that won it the award in the first place.

BBC video footage
BBC News article
BBC blogs
The Telegraph
Architecture Scotland press release

Disclaimer: I work for Fife Council, but my views do not in any way represent the council.

January 26, 2009

Glenrothes up for award

Filed under: Uncategorized — duncan @ 7:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

Glenrothes in Fife has been shortlisted for the annual Carbuncle Awards, “the prize that identifies Scotland’s most dismal town.”

The judges’ statement says:

Glenrothes is a classic Scottish New Town. However, the judges felt that unlike New Towns such as East Kilbride and even Cumbernauld, it has failed to move with the times. It is dominated by the vast Kingdom Centre which also serves as the town centre. From the outside it is an ugly and depressing complex which inspires little civic pride. Inside it feels like an 80s timewarp. Said Gordon Young, “The real failing with this town centre is the lack of civic space. The whole thing is internalised. It is really just a big mall. But with a little investment it could be so much more. “However, the shops are busy. But the judges felt this was more down to a lack of competition in the region which explains a sense that the Kingdom complex perhaps does not need to try too hard in terms of attracting local trade. “One almost gets the feeling that perhaps Historic Scotland should give this place a listing, as an example of how poor shopping centres used to be.”

That’s pretty accurate. Basically Glenrothes is a series of suburbs, most of which have a small shopping precinct. The only town centre is really the Kingdom Centre shopping mall, which is a large indoor shopping centre, mostly surrounded by car parks.

On the other hand, Glenrothes has a lot of public sculptures, a reasonable amount of green space, and seems well catered for by cycle paths and footpaths, although the transport system is dominated by roundabouts.

The other nominees for the Plook on the Plinth Award are Motherwell and New Cumnock.

There is also the Pock Mark Award for worst planning decision and the Zit Building Award for the most disappointing building.

Vote online here or see more Glenrothes photos here.

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