SPAM, a measure of success

I've had to move from a Math Captcha to an image one as unfortunately this site started getting SPAM'd. It seems that those pseky robots can do rudimentary mathematics, but I'm hoping they can't yet read wobbly text! On the plus side some great (real) comments coming through too thank you.

Marketing message attributed to monosyllabic robot mouth

Lovely moment when halfway through this video of a monosyllabic Robot mouth, a YouTube ad pops up as a speech bubble.

First shots with Canon 550D

Dropping MYSQL tables that contain FOREIGN KEYS

I was patching CiviCRM earlier on when I needed to flash the existing database with a new snapshot. The snapshot SQL performs a progressive sweep of the database, using sequential:

DROP IF EXISTS <table name>

The problem is that some tables contain explicit FOREIGN KEY references to others. When the referred to tables are dropped before the referring tables, that violates the foreign key constraint.

The solution is to ignore the constraints during the drop operation using:


Executing multiple programs with one single windows shortcut

An alternative title might be "How to write a simple batch file to make Google Calendar Sync run at the same time as Outlook".

Create a text file (.txt). Use this syntax:

rem Outlook
cd "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12"
start "" "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /recycle
rem Google Outlook sync
cd "C:\Program Files\Google\Google Calendar Sync"
start "" "C:\Program Files\Google\Google Calendar Sync\GoogleCalendarSync.exe"

svn+ssh, secure version control

I have a Mac Mini which I keep connected to the Internet. In this world of DoS attacks and port sniffing, exposing ports to the Internet at large is risky. Yesterday I turned off HTTP (80), which was being used to allow access to mod_dav_svn, and migrated my systems to SVN over SSH. This has the advantage of only requiring the server machine to expose SSH (22).

The setup was quite involved.

Creating panoramic images in Adobe Photoshop CS3

  1. Open the images as separate layers into one single canvas using File -< Scripts -< Load files into stack.
  2. Select then align the layers using Edit -> Auto-align layers. This process takes a while but it's pretty effective in yielding a rough canvas of overlapping warped images.
  3. There are often a few frames which Photoshop couldn't align. I'm currently trying to find a way to resolve this particular problem.
  4. Finally Select Edit -> Auto-Blend to produce the final image.

New challengers or incumbents but thinkers all

Nestled beneath an exterior of partying, drinking (I'm told the former is independent of the latter) and self-promotion (dependent on both), there lies a festival of ideas and their expert thinkers at SXSW. Last night I watched Mark Cuban and Avner Ronen debate the long term sustainability of Pay TV, brilliantly. Every subsector pundits who can readily trot out the policy line on why the industry is struggling and who's to blame, but Mark and Avner's debate transcended the same old story.

First day in Texas, a wander around Austin

I arrived in Texas for South By South West (SXSW) without my UK plug adaptor, so I walked across town to OfficeMax on 5th street.

How to embed a really simple Flickr slideshow in a Drupal blog

Really simple process:
  • Upload photos to Flick
  • View photoset
  • Click 'Slideshow' in top right hand corner
  • In slideshow view, click 'Share'
  • Cut/copy 'embed' code
  • Paste into Drupal node
  • Select Input Format 'Full HTML', or whitelist the necessary object tags for one of your existing formats
Here's a demo of what it looks like: A wander around Austin, Texas

Alex Stanhope is a Technology consultant to the UK Creative Industries and Venture Catalyst. This is my personal website.
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