Thursday, 20 September 2007

Yamaha XT660R Review

I have written a review of my XT660R motorbike. You can download the PDF here, or read the published version here.

“Well, I’m tired of being a wannabe league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!” - Homer Simpson
Honest Expert Independent Technology Advice for Business

Monday, 17 September 2007

New Upload: AutoSQL Oracle

I have just uploaded AutoSQL to my website (

AutoSQL is a utility that allows you to execute regular queries against your database and email the results set to you. It is designed to run under Windows from a scheduled task. It starts up at a predetermined time, executes the query, emails the results to you, then exits.

AutoSQL supports Xcopy Deployment, and as such installation consists of dragging and dropping !

If you are looking for a tool that is freely and easily available, as well as being easy to use and powerful, that you can deploy without any installation or licensing issues then AutoSQL may be of use to you.

AutoSQL can also be downloaded directly from here.

"Don't be a fool and die for your country. Let the other sonofabitch die for his." - George S Patton

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Wireless Broadband / No Security

I called in at a friends house Saturday, he’d just had his broadband package updated and moved from a broadband modem to a wireless router based system. After checking out the security for him these were my findings:

1. His computers are connected to the router via Ethernet cable, he has no need for the wireless capability of the browser.
2. Yet it was switched on at the router.
3. The wireless on the router was totally unsecured.
4. The router was accessible from the internet and there was NO administrator password required.

He installed this router himself, following the instructions provided by the ISP. It seems that either the ISP does not know about how to correctly install a broadband router, or the ISP couldn’t be bothered to get decent installation instructions written.

To be honest I was disgusted. It took all of 5 minutes to secure his system properly and to show him what what was required. The lesson is do not trust your ISP to give a damn about your security, even though it may affect their network.

"Every mile is two in winter." - George Herbert

Friday, 14 September 2007

New Upload: GenDAT

I have just uploaded GenDAT to my website (

GenDAT is designed to be a useful, easy to use query tool for use with SQLServer and Oracle databases. There are a few of these type of programs around, including of course the ones supplied with the database clients themselves. GenDAT however is designed to be easy to use, fast and with some very nice features including multiple results grids, query history and export to XML and HTML.

One nice feature is that GenDAT supports very large grids, depending on the number of columns and the type of data contained, it is possible (if you really, really wanted) to load more than one million rows into the grid ! GenDAT is written using the .NET Framework 2.0 and as such requires that the framework is installed on the host machine.

GenDAT supports Xcopy Deployment, and as such installation consists of dragging and dropping !

GenDAT supports multiple instances, so if the eight Results Sets are insufficient, feel free to launch another version of the program.

If you are looking for a tool that is freely and easily available, as well as being easy to use and powerful, that you can deploy without any installation or licensing issues then GenDAT may be of use to you.

GenDAT can also be downloaded directly from here.

"Never feel self-pity, the most destructive emotion there is. How awful to be caught up in the terrible squirrel cage of self." - Millicent Fenwick

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Soapbox Moment: Speed Kills

Speed Kills: So we are told. Only, it doesn’t. The term was coined during the seventies to warn people of the danger of meth-amphetamine and has recently been used to make us all feel guilty anytime our speedometer wanders over the posted limit. Speed doesn’t kill however and the public are not stupid enough to believe this.

The equation is as follows:

        Speed + Inappropriate Context + Bad Driving Skills = Danger

It’s only when the above three factors come together that we have a problem, and with that speed has been relegated to 33% of the equation rather than the 100% that the government currently tell us. I can and do speed, when it is safe to do so and I do not take unnecessary risks with my life or those of others. I am constantly alert, watching the road, reading the traffic. As I now often ride a bike (both motorbike and pushbike) I drive defensively, on a bike you don't have 2 tons of metal cage and half a dozen airbags to protect you.

At 100+mph overtaking in the outside lane of the motorway watching the road, the traffic, the weather, I am far less of a danger to the public than the sales rep in his Audi driving in the middle lane, six inches from the bumper of the car in front, appointment book open on his knee, cigarette in his mouth, phone in one hand and McDonalds shake in the other. But who are the police going to target ?

Why the obsession with speed ? Is it because it’s something that can be controlled and restricted without any human involvement or discretion and without considering context, through the use of Speed Cameras (Piggy Banks), removing the need for real policing or human intervention ? A simple equation:

        69Mph, Homicidal Criminal = No, 71Mph, Homicidal Criminal = Yes

The problem with drumming into our heads that Speed Kills is that everything else is driven from our minds, and with no police on the roads the other dangers are allowed to continue unchallenged. Here’s one example:

        Drunk Drivers. As long as they don’t speed, they get away with it because Speed Cameras can’t detect drunk driving.

Here’s where context comes into it. A drink driver is dangerous no matter what speed he or she is doing. Take for example a wet country lane during autumn with leaves likely to be on the road and a 90 degree bend. The speed limit is 60, but in this context only an idiot would take the bend that fast. How about driving at 50 mph, within the speed limit, of the A38 one morning in thick fog. Too fast given the context. I’m sure you can think of many examples yourself.
The bad driving part of the equation has to be tackled. We live in a state where we cannot smoke inside public buildings (public safety issue) and yet we allow a 17 year old with minimal training, a hoodie and a bad attitude to jump into a two ton machine and tear around the roads without fear of retribution (unless he goes through a speed camera) - where is the sense in that ?

When is someone in government going to look at the issue of safety on the roads and put forward a program of changes to address the real issues ? And can we please drop the ‘Speed Kills’ campaign, surely a product from the mind of the mentally challenged !

"Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future." - Charles F Kettering

Friday, 7 September 2007

Types of SQL

There are three basic types of SQL:


DDL:        Data Definition Language
                Used By:                DBA
                Examples:        CREATE, ALTER, DROP

DCL:        Data Control Language
                Used By:                DBA
                Examples:        GRANT, REVOKE

DML:        Data Manipulation Language
                Used By:                USERS, DBA
                Examples:        SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE

"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything." - George Lois


"Every thing you own takes energy away from you. Some give more than they take. Those are the only things worth having."

Paul Graham writes an excellent article that is so pertinent to me at the current time. I have spent my life, like most other people, accumulating ‘Stuff’ that I don’t need and wouldn’t miss. One of my future goals is to get rid of a lot of this stuff, clear the garage, clear the attic, take it to the tip, sell it on Ebay - whatever. Clutter is not good.

“That lemon tree’s a part of our town, and as kids, the backbone of our economy. We’ll get it back, or choke their rivers with our dead!” - Bart Simpson

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Goats Sacrificed to Fix Jet !

From the BBC. Remind me to only fly British Airways in future ...

“The doll’s trying to kill me and the toaster’s been laughing at me!” - Homer Simpson

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Speed Cameras - Stealth !

Apparently due to recent changes the Police are no longer allowed to receive the revenue generated by speed cameras, therefore they no longer need to publicise the locations ... Cumbria have already stopped publicising the locations of cameras and I suspect other forces will soon follow. So no longer will we be able to rely on our Road Angel or similar GPS based devices ...

Keep your eyes peeled boys and girls, oh and while you’re scanning the pavements for the tall yellow piggy banks try not to hit anything on the road ...

“Getting out of jury duty is easy. The trick is to say you’re prejudiced against all races.” - Homer Simpson