29 January 2009


I have been tossing around some ideas lately regarding Storage.

Having recently reduced the amount of IT equipment in our house myself and my wife are now down to using only laptops (she has 1 while I currently have 3) and we need a good backup/storage solution.  I have a dislike of simple external drives just because they always need to be with you.  So I have been looking at NAS solutions.  The price of these devices have fallen to the point that you can easy have a Terabyte of storage for less than £200.

Then I came across this article about FreeNAS a FreeBSD based OS that is designed to turn old computers into NAS storage devices. It supports all types of hardrive and can even run from a USB key.  So with the addition of a big drive I could tuck one of my old machines in the shed or a cupboard with a wireless card and create my NAS drive.

27 January 2009

KDE 4.2 Is Out.

KDE 4.2 is grab the packages and have some fun.

"The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of "The Answer", (a.k.a KDE 4.2.0), readying the Free Desktop for end users."

26 January 2009

Final Lenny Update For KDE 4.1

Ana has blogged that the final update to the Lenny Backports for KDE 4.1 has been made.

However, KDE 4.2 is going into experimental within the near future.

22 January 2009

SQL - Get Time From datetime Without Seconds.

LEFT(Convert(varchar, fldDate, 8), 5)

The above seems to be about the best way to return the time portion from a datetime field if you need to remove the seconds.

There has to be a neater way of doing it....anyone?

21 January 2009

The Sandcastle Project.

Sandcastle is a project that started life on Codeplex. It's a Microsoft application for generating MSDN documentation from XML comments.

It is Rubbish!

That's not a statement I make blindly but after trying to get it to work (on and off for about a year). All the application does (at a high level) is take the xml documentation output file generated by Visual Studio during a build and create MSDN style documentation (both web based and compiled help file).

This should just be a case of applying a xslt file and job done.

Oh no.... not Sandcastle. Sandcastle takes around 20 minutes to generate the help file for a small utility application. Last time I attemptted to to build documentation for our main application on a build machine that we use (i.e. nothing and no-one else on it used solely for building software) it crashed to to maxing out the Ram (1gb).

There is an interesting article about the current state of the project here. To sum up the article ... the application is not worthy of using in a serious build environment.

If anyone has got it working I would be interested to find out more.

16 January 2009

The story of a girl with Ubuntu

So having been busy for the last few days with work I had not seen this story which had taken the net by storm.

The story was about a young girl that brought a laptop from Dell with Ubuntu pre-installed and found she couldn't set up her wireless modem or install MS Word and therefore, was unable to complete an on-line college course.

On reading it kinda smacked of a story written by a MS employee.

And then someone added it to digg and the Linux world and their wife torn the article, the author and the girl to pieces.

Most of the comments were aimed at the clearly under researched article and the technical inadequacies but some fools attacked the young lady. I myself feel that this is __NOT__ the kind of image that I want associated with Linux. No matter how we feel about someone that has found Linux not to their taste for what ever reason we should learn something from them and not instult them.

15 January 2009

Qt 4.5 To Be Released Under LGPL

Nokia has announced that from version 4.5 Qt will be released under the LGPL.

The article on has the full details.

Google Services To Stop

Google have announced that they are to discontinue certain services. Google video will cease to allow uploads within the next few months while it has also been announced that Google Notebook development is to halt. Although from what I have read Notebook will remain as a service.

Google Video is no surprise as they now have Youtube. Notebook is a shame as I use that function quite a bit and find it useful for gathering research stuff.

The other service to end is Jaiku the microblogging service that never was. However, I have read that Google will release the source code for Jaiku under an Apache license so over developers can pick up the code and use it.

13 January 2009

SQL - Strip Time From DateTime Type

Note To Self :

To strip the time element from a field defined as a datetime use



12 January 2009


I have been using a Debian/Sidux/Kubuntu combination for some time (Debian for at least 3 years) but of late I have tired of the slow release's (hence the use of Kubuntu and the excellent Sidux) and their attitude towards KDE 4. However, I love having a rolling release model and the brilliant package management.

So after much thinking and looking around at what other Distros have to offer over Debian I took the plunge and installed Arch Linux at the weekend.

I have so far installed the base system and installed the KDEMod (now know as Chakra) packages. I installed it onto an old Thinkpad (p3 1.4, 256mb, 40gb hhd).

So far I am very very impressed. The feel of the KDEMod packages is very fast and responsive and so far I have not experienced any crashes. I would be interested to see what the standard Arch KDE4.1 packages perform like.

I found it very straight forward to install (although I had no wireless to worry about). I also leant a lot about the boot process and config of the system.

Why did I choose Arch over something like SuSE or Mint or any of the other distro's in the Distrowatch top 10? Well I wanted to keep the rolling release model and the easy package management, I wanted a distro that actually seems to be behind KDE and I wanted a system I could learn something with. To be honest my dream distro is Slackware with a decent implementation of Apt thrown in. If that happens I would be on it like a shot. Anyway Arch certainly is filling my criteria and I have read a great deal of good things about it.

I will play some more this week but unless I find anything I can't make work or, like, then for the first time in over 3 years Kermit, my main laptop, will run something other than a Debain based system.

2 January 2009

Debian And KDE 4.2

Firstly Happy New Year to anyone reading this!

Secondly, posts have been few and far between due to real life issues (work). 3 high profile clients all going live at the same time and involving a lot of attention.

So back to the subject of this post. Debian and KDE 4. I know that compiling KDE is always an option. However, there are a lot of people that would like to be running KDE 4 on Debian by choice rather than by compiling. I also know that Debian has it's reasons for not wanting to bring KDE 4 into the fold until Lenny finally makes it out of the door (2010 anyone??). I myself have been running the KDE 4.1 packages from These packages have been built by the Debian KDE packagers and apart from the complete lack of QT/GTK theming engine and a very odd login screen bug they have been really good and solid. Up until 18 November 2008 they where even getting updates based on the incremental KDE 4.1 release's being made by the KDE team.

However, after a recent blog by one of the Debian KDE packagers I realised that maybe Debian might not be the best choice distro for KDE4. They are only offically supporting the above KDE4.1 packages for Lenny. Therefore, there wil be no "official" or "semi-official" (as in from the Debian KDE maintainers) KDE 4.2 (or later) packages for Lenny. Oh ok that would mean there would be no easy access to KDE 4 later than 4.1 for Lenny which could be the stable Debian release for the next 2 to 3 years.

I know there will be various work arounds and hacks but not everybody wants to have to go to great lengths to run their prefered desktop.

Ana's blog has recently released details of This is a repositry of KDE 4.2 packages. The build is pre beta 2 and is completly and utterly unsupported. Oh and it is for unstable only which I think also shows their plans for KDE 4 on Lenny.