Archive for January, 2013

Innocent until proven juicy

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 | Photos


So, this happened.


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 | Limited, Tech


To solve the problem of lots of different scrums wanting to release at the same time, we recently introduced a “release token” – some item that you had to have in your possession to allow you to release – and if you didn’t have it, you couldn’t release anything, thereby preventing conflicts.

Enter Gregory, the Release Bear.

Unfortunately, it was soon felt that tracking down a bear every time you wanted to do a release was too tiresome. So, after only a few days in the job, Gregory was retired in favour of a digital token. Unlucky, Gregory.

Lunching at Fazenda

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 | Life

Last Friday, we headed to Fazenda for lunch.

I’ve never had the lunch time menu before, though I knew to expect a very much cut down version of what they served in the evening. Overall, I thought it was quite disappointing though. Most of the options were not available on the lunch time – indeed, the only steak cut available seemed to be rump, although there might have been sirloin – but nothing beyond that. I was expecting the fancy stuff to be reserved for the evening session, but I was hoping there would at least be some good choice of standard steak cuts. Apparently not.

Mr Vice President

Monday, January 28th, 2013 | Public Speaking

Turns out, I’m the new Vice President of Education for White Rose Speakers.

White Rose is a Toastmasters group, that meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month, at the Jury’s Inn Hotel in the city centre. If you’re interested in improving your communication and leadership skills – why not come down to our Open Meeting on Wednesday 27th February? Or indeed any of our meetings, as guests are always welcome!


Sunday, January 27th, 2013 | Limited, Programming

Do you need a work queue system but think a message queuing system like Rabbit or Active MQ would simply be too complicated? Probably not, but imagine you did. Enter Beanstalkd. The super simple work queue daemon.

I went down to Leeds PHP for the first time in a while last week, where there was a talk about Beanstalkd. It’s effectively a FIFO queue – you can put a message in the end, and have another process take a message out of the start, the effect being that you can take some of the load off server intensive processes, and do them later when you’re not busy.

I had a play around with it in PHP, using the Pheanstalk and it really is a simple as that to work. You create a connection to your Beanstalkd server, and then just push and pull messages from the various queues, that you can create on the fly, like Mongo.

Quest for Six

Saturday, January 26th, 2013 | Distractions

Last week, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the NFL’s number one rated team (statistically), the Atlanta Falcons, at their home stadium, the Georgia Dome, to win the NFC Championship title. There is a full report on A Brit Talks Football.

To be precise, it’s the sixth Championship title the 49ers have won, and the first since 1994 season, when they beat the Dallas Cowboys. But the quest continues – this books them a place in the Super Bowl, against the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers are five for five on Super Bowl victories so far – will they keep their perfect record?

It’s gone!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 | Life

Last Friday, we went for dinner at Chaophraya.

However, to my horror, I found they had removed their Thai curry, in a Yorkshire Pudding, on a steak dish from the menu! This, of course, was the greatest food ever known to man, and as such I will be writing a strongly worded letter to the management, insisting the dish is reinstated. Anyone who wishes to sign the petition, get in touch.

Driving in Russia

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 | Video

Good luck in Glasgow

Monday, January 21st, 2013 | Foundation

After three and a half years of serving on the board of trustees for the Foundation, Gijsbert has stepped down.

He recently accepted a position as a Reader at the University of Glasgow, and as a consequence will be leaving Leeds next month. We would like to thank him for all the work he has done over the years and wish him the best of luck in his new position.

NFL divisional playoff round

Sunday, January 20th, 2013 | Distractions

Last weekend saw the NFL divisional playoff round. It was almost certainly the best weekend of American football that there has been this season. The Baltimore Ravens caused a major upset, when, at the longest odds to win the Super Bowl, eliminated the Denver Broncos, who were the favourites at the time, from the competition.

The San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers to proceed on to the NFC Championship match, while the Atlanta Falcons kicked a winning field goal with only 31 seconds on the clock to beat the Seattle Seahawks in a tail biting finish. Only the New England Patriots’ confident victory over the Houston Texans really failed to provide such excitement.

You can read all about the matches over on A Brit Talks Football. Tonight the championship round takes place to determine who goes to the Super Bowl – you can follow my updates on Twitter.