Daily Archives: February 28, 2007

End of a (shortish) era

Just finished working on what was, for me, a relatively long client engagement – 9 months in London. It was a very interesting piece of work building an ESB using WebSphere Message Broker, WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Process Server, and adapters, all running on Sun Solaris. I had the opportunity to work with a cool team, including individuals from other vendors, and I learned a lot – and equally, I hope that others were able to learn from me, since that is what I was there for! Good luck to the team.

Pastures new from tomorrow – it looks to be a busy month, with Blue Fusion coming up too. I’ll be taking some time out in March as well.

I’ll also miss my daily Starbucks – the staff were very friendly – hope to drop back in and say hello to them in the future.

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SOA meets Web 2.0

A new book – The New Language of Business: SOA and Web 2.0. Written by my IBM colleague Sandy Carter. My copy is on its way, and I’ll post more when I’ve had the opportunity to take a look through it in detail – but the sample chapter looks interesting.

In the meantime, I’m still enjoying Everyware (expect a review at some point soon) and dipping into Pratchett when I feel like some fiction.

[24th May 07 closed comments  due to comment spam, sorry]

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Flickr screensaver for OS X

One of my favourite (but entirely trivial) apps for Windows is Slickr, an OpenGL screensaver that takes photos from my Flickr photostream.

Since getting the MacBook I’ve been looking for something equivalent to Slickr, but until yesterday I hadn’t been able to find anything (nothing that worked, anyway).

It turns out that one of the features of iPhoto is the ability to subscribe to “photocasts”. Point it at an RSS feed containing photos, and it will treat it as an album. One of the features of the inbuilt OS X screensaver is the ability to use iPhoto albums as a source for pictures for the screensaver. Mashup city!

My first effort was to try pointing iPhoto directly at the RSS feed of my photostream. That worked fine. However, when I then tried to use the resulting iPhoto album as a source for the screensaver, the images looked awful, as they were low-res thumbnail / small versions that were being scaled up to 1440×900 (the resolution of my screen).

I then tried a neat tool which provides the full-size images from Flickr in a feed formatted for iPhoto. You pass it the feed of the photostream you want, and it drops in the higher-res versions for you and serves you an alternate feed.

That works, but it still isn’t quite as configurable as I might have liked. Ideally I want a random selection, and probably to have more than the most recent 20 photos I’ve taken. The answer to the problem is an app called photocastr, which provides much more control over the feeds that are generated. It doesn’t cope with the requirement for a random selection, so I’ve gone for having 200 of my most popular photos sorted by Interestingness. It’s neat because it should mean that the stream changes as people choose to view different shots I’ve taken (kind of a vox pop thing).

For the sake of full disclosure here, something I’ve discovered whilst playing with this stuff is that the RSS feeds that iPhoto uses / generates are broken. Not so good. Black mark.

Stay tuned for more on my Mac move. I intend to post about the applications I’ve been using, shortly.

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