Saturday, October 20, 2007

How to remove a key when a 2 year old has snapped the key off in the lock

Google to the rescue again. In case this helps anyone else avoid locksmith callout charges on a Saturday, I started off here and here, and was sufficiently enlightened as to solve it myself. Try checking that the key is in the correct orientation to be removed, twisting using a screwdriver where necessary. Then you should hopefully be able to use another key to push it out from the other side, and use tweezers to coax it out the rest of the way. The suggested superglue method wasn't necessary, but is a nice trick.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Java Mock Objects tip

Discovered while using JMock, but I would imagine it's also good for EasyMock, RMock, ...

checking(new Expectations() {


// StringTokenizer implements Enumeration. A bit cheeky!
will(returnValue(new StringTokenizer("c")));

Thursday, October 04, 2007


How I love the smell of burning vas in the evening! Recovery tips:

  • treat it as a soft tissue injury and ICE it!
  • Arnica; there's going to be a lot of bruising, so any old snake oil is worth a try.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Novarra makes a play for End Game

So there's been a bit of a kerfuffle over here. What's happened is that Vodafone UK have started using Novarra's content adaptation technology to transcode the internet for mobile phones. Why has this caused such irate responses in some quarters? Well, a history lesson seems to be in order...

Evolution of Mobile Internet Standards

The mobile internet started out with devices unable to render nearly all of the internet due to hardware constraints. WML was introduced as a very limited markup which phones were able to use to display content. Early WML sites were, needless to say, fairly limited in functionality, and tended to be exposed as distinct resources; e.g. Apache user-agent detection would be used to send you to if you accessed with your phone. Moore's law still holds in this arena; devices got a bit more capable and iMode (CHTML) was introduced in Japan. This was initially something like HTML 2.0 / 3.2 without <table/>s, but with the better networks over there, this was somewhat more successful in the marketplace. The W3C stuck in their thumb and pulled out XHTML Basic, and then there was the related XHTML Mobile Profile.

So who is so offended by what Vodafone UK and Novarra have done? Well, mainly the mobile internet community. The solutions that the community provide have evolved over time from hand-coded WML sites, iMode sites, XHTML Basic sites, sites where the view renders the model to the appropriate markup and DIAL processors / Drutt / Volantis's offerings in this market. There is an entire industry sector dedicated to providing solutions in this area and nearly all of those solutions rely on the HTTP header User-Agent being present and being a reliable indicator of the requesting client. Novarra / Vodafone UK have introduced a fairly disruptive change which could be viewed as an attempt to change the rules of the game. They're making some pretty provacative statements along the way. A content transformation server can do a better job of following
mobile best practices
The "Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0" W3C Proposed Recommendation [1]
contains many recommendations for authoring content that is intended for
viewing on a mobile device. A well-designed content transformation
server can do a better job of following the mobile best practices than a
human author, especially when taking into account the capabilities of
the many different mobile devices. The result will be a more
consistent, uniform experience.

I call BS. The incumbent mobile content industry is feeling the pain, but this could just be a game-changing move like Google upp-ing the storage limits on webmail. Time will tell whether the market (mobile phone customers) feels that the Vodafone UK solution is good enough, or whether a more open market will be preferred. I'm all for the Ubiquitous Web when it's good for the customer. So here's a little gedank-experiment. What happens to the mobile content industry if all carriers start using a content-adaptation proxy? How else is your company adding value? Evolving markets are hardly a new phenomenon, although maybe the rate of change is a little faster in these modern times...