The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 find

It struck me the other day while testing out Internet Explorer 7 that I have not heard anyone ask never mind had an answer to the question of why IE7 does not implement a similar Find on Page solution to Firefox. IE7 persists in popping up the blasted dialog window for finding text on the current page. I realise some users might struggle with the Firefox way at first but we can't be stuck on a few users holding back everyone else forever.

My sister will be getting married on the 28th of October 2006.

It is the same date as my mother's birthday which is 4 days after mine and 6 days after my dads. October is going to be a hectic month.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Winners in defeat

Winners in defeat by Paul Watson
Last night saw the Murphys Live 2006 final go down at Cyprus Avenue in Cork. Ashley Sheehan & the Mute battling it out with Lotus Lullaby for the grand prize while The Walls headlined the gig. Good music, good craic and even though the better band, in my opinion, didn't win it was a good night. Congratulations to Lotus Lullaby. I think the choice is right as Lotus Lullaby are more commercial and their front-man engages the audience better but I still far prefer Ashley Sheehan's music.

Seeing Cork was interesting. The landscape changed somewhat as we travelled from Waterford and I never realised how much bigger Cork city is from Waterford city. It reminded me of a mini-Dublin with a canaled-river running through the city center and bridges spanning it. There is a lack of chippers in Cork though. We had to wander up some side streets to find a dodgy Indian chipper that was open at 1am. Good thing most of our party were late in getting back to the bus. It is also impossible to bribe the gas station guy to sell you wine after 10am. We offered him one of the bottles (it was a 3 bottles for €20 deal), we offered him money, we offered him Eimear. He refused them all.

We toured up from Waterford in a bus which meant getting home at three in the morning for an eight 'o clock wake-up to get to work today. I have many photos to get through but first I need some sleep.

So nice one Murphys, the two gigs I have been to were grand.

I really could do with a cup of coffee right now. Not for the caffeine but just for the gut warming sensation and the feel of a hot mug in my hands.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Microsoft Atlas #001

If you get an error of window.attachEvent is not a function when using Microsoft Atlas then you need to include the AtlasCompat.js file too. Such are the joys of trying to do Atlas without all the ASP.NET wizardry. So far prototype is a lot better in getting started with.

You have got to love the world wide web. Carine asked me what a panini was. The first thing I could think of was to go to Flickr and try the panini tag. It worked. Now imagine trying to explain what a panini is to a friend on the other side of the world without a photograph of one.

NewsVine and feeds

NewsVine is an informative news site mixing up "official" and user generated content in a social framework. It really does deliver interesting and relevant content. I subscribe to it via a feed and here is where it all falls down. The feed pumps out 200 new items a day. There is no way I am going to read through 200 news items every single day. I'd prefer what most news sites do, restricting it to the top 20 items of the day.

Till then I won't be using NewsVine, that is how much my feed aggregator defines what I view on the web these days.

Have you ever thought of revealing all, kicking the skeletons out of the closet and parading them down Main Street so that one day when you become famous nobody will be able to dig anything up on you that you hadn't already honestly revealed?

Monday, March 27, 2006

And I get lonely, but I ain't that lonely yet
Yeah I get lonely, but I ain't that lonely yet

from the White Stripes. Good track.

Lessons in dialogs

Microsoft Antispyware Dialog
And what happens if I click Cancel? Is that different from No?

Really chaps, think your dialog messages and button choices through.

Nymph to Eve

How on god's green earth does Niamh end up being pronounced Neve? Irish name pronounciation is a study in the black-arts I tell you. Another one is Siobhan which is pronounced Chevaun. Keh? Come again?

And just to hammer home the point my Irish mate just told me how I bastardised the two names above. I had Niamph and Siobahn originally. Bloody english eh?


Drama by Paul Watson
Originally uploaded by Paul Watson.

My drug addiction

While watching Requiem for a Dream, a truly screwed up movie by the way, I decided to see what it would be like cutting as much caffeine from my diet as possible.

An average day sees me downing five cups of tea and four cups of coffee with the odd two or three coca colas a week. This is far down from the 20 cups of tea I was mainlining last year but it is still enough caffeine each and everyday to make a difference.

From past experience of going cold turkey on tea I know I am going to get headaches and feel awful for a few days. In the past though I was still drinking coffee so I wonder how much worse this time around is going to be?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Movie: A History of Violence

A History of Violence is an excellent film. Very well paced. Simple but effective. Thanks to Jon for recommending it to me.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Jet lag

LAX by Paul Watson
So for my first multi time-zone trip I have to say either jet-lag is far less than everybody says it is or I managed to skip it with some advanced Vegas party voodoo. I flew Ireland to Las Vegas and then back again within 5 days. They say West to East is worst but I feel great back here in Ireland. I got in a solid 7 hours sleep last night after arriving home. My appetite is fine too. I do feel a bit confused as to what day it is since I effectively lost a day on the way back but the post-it note I have on my desk saying "Today is friday!" is helping with that.

I think what helped is I went a bit AWOL in Vegas. I'd get to bed at the earliest 1am and be up by 7am with a full day conferencing and then the evenings filled with night-life. So I was tired while I was there and there were no regular times for my body to get used to. I also had several late nights and early mornings before I flew (one thanks to St. Patricks day.) So most likely jet-lag was masked by the general tiredness which was masked by the adrenaline and go-go nature of 4 nights in Vegas.

It might just all catch up with me this weekend which is *checks post-it note* tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mix 06 and Vegas

Just a quick one to say I am in Vegas and at the Mix 06 conference. Best bit of the conference so far?

Dancing on a table with Tim O'Reilly.

Seriously, that happened. We had the Mix party last night at the TAO night club and Tim got up on a table running the one side of the dance floor and started dancing like a wild man. Awhile later I joined him up there and we got in a chorus-girl line and showed our legs. Cha cha cha. This was after a good many drinks of course. What a blast.

I also met Anil Dash at the party which was an honour and spotted Tantek Celik at one of the talks. Apparently the chap behind is here too. Actually the list of digerati who are here goes on. I wasn't sure a Microsoft event could pull them but it did.

Time for another talk, see you all on top of the tables.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


It turns out that arvie is not internationally recognised. I thought it had permeated Western culture at least enough that I could use it in Ireland (ever watch Crocodile Dundee? He says arvie.)

Arvie means afternoon. The Australians shorten and vowelify everything.

It is snowing in Waterford.

Roll on St. Patricks day. It is going to be a nipper. We are also launching the ACSE boat down at Waterford Castle tomorrow. I sure as hell hope I don't fall in the water. Freeze my toasties off I would.

First aid day one

First rule of first aid? Call an ambulance.
Second rule of first aid? Call an ambulance.

That is something the paramedic is making very clear to us as we go through a TSSG sponsored first aid course. It is especially true when administering CPR. The medic stressed to us that less thank 1% of people who get CPR alone will survive. It is merely a holding tactic, keeping the patient alive until the ambulance arrives and a defibrillator can be applied. This isn't Baywatch, you don't give mouth-to-mouth, save a life and then enjoy a pint with her an hour later. If she is lucky she'll be out of hospital in a week. After defib, after other advanced paramedic care.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Living in a foreign country has its perks. For instance I can whistle the Oros man theme tune amongst my fellow cubicle workers and nobody gets annoyed. They all think it is a fun sounding South African ditty. Little do they know.

Crazy 8s

Crazy 8s by Paul Watson

According to LoveHappens this photo is a depiction of intense violence or racism. Pardon? It is me dressed up as a punk for a fancy-dress party where everyone had fun. They also rejected another photo of mine for being blurry. Keh? If it were any sharper my arm would be able to cut the tree down.

The whole LoveHappens process has been a bit dodgy actually. They blocked my profile because it had the word "bitch" in it (in the phrase "Inspiration is a bitch".) A good few pages simply don't work, complete forms are marked as incomplete and yet they want to charge for it? Plenty other better dating sites out there folks, ones more open, adult and fun. I am 26, not 16, I don't need to be given grief that this photo is violent or racist or that I can't say the word bitch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My blog is worth $6,774.48.
How much is your blog worth?

My blog may have a calculated worth of $6,774.48 but nobody would pay that for it which means it is not worth $6,774.48 but rather, lets say, $5. Anyone want to up the ante? Say, $5 and a quarter?

If the occasional arsehole thought "easy" meant "indiscriminate", or that enjoying sex was the equivalent of "asking for it"
from Bedtime Stories.

That is a good explanation I think. That easy doesn't mean you take every opportunity.

The ess of it

Actor. Actress. Steward. Stewardess. Man. Woman.

How come then not authoress or poetress or teacheress? Author, poet and teacher apply to woman or man. Or are these activities beyond silly gender issues? I thought for awhile that actress may have come about because initially acting was for men only, women were largely forbidden from it. Have women ever been forbidden from writing or teaching? I imagine so. Certainly writing is a male dominated sphere (and recent events are really just the begining of a move towards an open and equal publishing world.)

On the other side; prostitute, I'd say, has largely been a female activity through the ages (because of us bastard men.) Even now if a man is a prostitute it is clarified with "a male prostitute" while you will rarely see the clarification "a female prostitute."

Does gender change in an activity breed the ess but only in one direction? Actor to actress for instance. If actor meant a woman originally would actress have come to mean a man? I doubt it.

Ah, sweet relief. My U.S. visa arrived glued into my passport today. Vegas, see you Saturday.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bollocks. Someone has ripped my debit card off for the sum of €750. I went into a sweet store two weeks back and bought a chocolate and some water for €5. Since then I hadn't checked the balance on my card but thought I'd better do that today. It was much lower than I was expecting. So I log into internet banking and see that right after I was in that sweet store my card was used for a purchase of €75, then a minute later for €170 and then a minute later €450. Someone testing the limit on my card.

Now you tell me, would I be spending over €750 at a sweet store?

Hopefully AIB can handle this well and refund me. I feel shit for the banks having to refund this kind of rubbish as I am pretty sure the kids who did this will never be caught. Though I am pretty sure AIB has some good insurance. All the same, someone stole money and they aren't going to get caught at such a small scale.

The Constant Gardener

Having watched and enjoyed The Constant Gardener I picked up the original John le Carre novel thinking the extra detail and development a book can provide would only make the story stronger. In parts the extra detail was helpful but overall the point, intensity and drama of the movie was quite lost in le Carre's ramblings. I have not read any of le Carre's other novels so perhaps this is normal.

Two aspects in particular I found lacking in the novel. The landscape of Kenya and the Sudan was brilliantly brought to life in the movie. In the book however I felt nothing of the Kibera slum, the stark Sudan lakes or the savanah of Kenya. The movie was particularly strong on this side but I have had as vivid images from books before, just not in this one. The other was the love affair between Tessa and Justin. Rachel Weisz did an excellent job (she won the Oscar for it) and the director portrayed such fine, loving, living scenes between the two that the meagre words in the novel left me cold.

So for once, a movie outdid the book.

Homesick cricket

Australia fire out 434 runs in 50 overs at the Wanderers. South African fans in the crowd wonder whether to go home at lunch, the Proteas are toast, not a chance they will come out and chase four hundred and thirty four runs. That is the highest ODI score in history. Until a few hours later when Boucher hits a four to give South Africa the win, 438. The highest ODI score in history. Four hundred and thirty eight. 26 sixes in the match in total. Four hundred and thirthy eight. The Australian captain tells it like it is; "They shouldn't have got that."

The cricket world is stunned. Indians turn from celebrating their win over England to stand in awe of both Australia and South Africa. The English must be gob smacked, the Pakistanis bowled over. Even the fast Sri Lankans are stupefied. Brian Lara himself is probably staring hard at his bat right now wondering how it is possible.

And in Ireland? Nobody had a clue. The papers don't contain a single word about the game. All I can do is email mates back home. This is the first time since I have been in Ireland where I have felt homesick. Homesick for that feeling of driving around Cape Town cheering on our cricketing heroes, of knowing every face I see on the street is thinking; "Those boys, our boys, how'zat!"


A good word for Irish living:

crapulous \KRAP-yuh-lus\, adjective:
1. Suffering the effects of, or derived from, or suggestive of gross intemperance, especially in drinking; as, a crapulous stomach.
2. Marked by gross intemperance, especially in drinking; as, a crapulous old reprobate.

These were the dregs of their celebratory party: the half-filled glasses, the cold beans and herring, the shouts and smells of the crapulous strangers hemming them in on every side, the dead rinsed-out April night and the rain drooling down the windows.
-- T. Coraghessan Boyle, Riven Rock

Friday, March 10, 2006

Presentation tip #001

Don't make your background black with white writing. Why? When it comes time to print off handouts, you will use up all the black ink in the printer.

Note to Irish plumbers; Replacing valves on radiators while the system is on is not a good idea. You end up firing a 1 inch slug of metal across the room and spraying black sludge all over the office wall. Fortunatley the water was only mildly warm, not scalding hot.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Round-hitch, half-hitch, reef, bowline, long-splice, half-splice, crown-splice and double sheet-bend. Spar-hitch, rolling hitch, halyard slip hitch and round turn & two half hitches.

These are the things we do in the dark.

Kiera also taught me how to tie a knot handy for throwing bodies overboard and which, when yanked, lets them sink to the deep.

A kind friend told my ex to read a particular journal entry. She, the ex, after reading it, told me over SMS that "i wil always refer 2 photos as fodies and it will never change."

haha. She always was a naughty one. Now if I could only find a word that bugs the hell out of her in return.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I wish my ex read my journal.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Could anyone and everyone who knows me please not call photographs, fodies. Seriously, it bugs me. They are photographs or photos. Not photies, fodies, fodos or any other bastardisation from pre-school.

* Don't take it personally, I'm just bitching.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oh this is great. One of the visa questions is "List all countries you
have entered in the last ten years (Give the year of each visit)"

Ireland (2005, 2006), England (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006), Scotland (2004), Greece (2003), Botswana (2004, 2006), Zimbabwe
(1997, 2001), Namibia (1997, 2005), South Africa (1997-2006), Germany
(2005, 2006), Austria (2005), Zambia (2001).

I am not boasting, but the fricking form is not big enough.

Beta refreshers

I don't know about you but I have signed up for an awful number of betas in the past few months. They trickle in every week, announcements of beta-launches, private invites and so on.

My problem is that half the time I cannot remember what the cutely named service is about anymore. I signed up 6 months ago, I sure as heck don't remember what Flagr or Skobee or MyLeftUdder does.

So as part of the beta announcement, please include a "Remind me what this is about again?" link, please.

Friday, March 03, 2006

JSON + Ajax + Ruby on Rails

While I would love to be using E4X, it isn't viable yet. So JSON it is. Here is how I got a simple JSON example working with Ruby on Rails over Ajax[1].

I'll assume you have a Rails project up and running with at least one model, controller, views etc.

First you want to install the JSON gem; gem install ruby-json

Then go into your model's code and put in the following require; require 'json/objects'. While still in the model add a to_json method with the following code:
result =
self.class.content_columns.each do |column|
result[] = self.send(


Now off to the controller file you go. For this daft example I create the following method:
def jsonbit
@link = Link.find(params[:id])
@headers["Content-Type"] = "text/plain; charset=utf-8"
render_text @link.to_json

Then in your view you want to use prototype to fire off an Ajax call e.g. <%= remote_function(:complete => "var x = eval('(' + request.responseText + ')'); alert(x.title);", :url => { :action => :jsonbit, :id => }) %>

So in that what we do is fire off a call to the jsonbit method with a model id and it returns JSON which is evaluated by JavaScript and one of the properties is alerted out.

Naturally you can return a collection of data and then loop through it using JavaScript too.

[1] Technically it should be Ajaj (Asynchronous JavaScript and JSON.) But really, nobody cares. So Ajax it is.

Jer's New Shirt

Jer's New Shirt by kk+
Jer's New Shirt
Originally uploaded by kk+.

Bauer or Boromir

I was asked who I thought was sexier. Sean Bean or Kiefer Sutherland. I had to go with Bean. Though for a man of 50, Sutherland sure can kick some arse. And to be dead honest if the question was "Jack Bauer or Boromir?" I'd have to go with Bauer. Boromir would get all conflicted when faced with a nuclear attack on L.A. Jack just acts.


A new 3 series BMW pulls up to a building site across the way. Bright, shiny, kitted out with mag-wheels and obviously packing one of the faster engines in the range. The driver's door opens and...

A man in workmans blues, paint spattered shirt, rough boots and a yellow helmet climbs out. He walks up to the building site and begins his day of hauling bricks up to the second level.

He isn't the foreman, he isn't a surveyor, he isn't a client checking out the site. He is a bricklayer and he drives an expensive car.

Looking down the road I notice all the other cars, a good dozen of them. Most new, most expensive.

Builders get paid a fortune in Ireland, bricklayers especially. Back home in South Africa a bricklayer is lucky if he can afford a train in to work. The rest hop on the back of the foreman's bakkie. In Ireland a building site has to have ample parking for all the individual cars that the workers drive in. Back home they have to have space for the death-trap buses that bring the workers in from the townships.

Man breasts

20 minutes of rowing and a good many reps on the bench-press machine last night has left my upper-body in a state of ache. Cycling in to work this morning was by the easy route around the Waterford hill.

It, the ache, go me to thinking about manhood and how fragile a thing it is. I mentioned to a male friend this morning that my breasts were aching. He laughed and said men don't have breasts, they have a chest. Au Contraire, friend, men do have breasts. They sit on the chest, just like any women only less developed. At this point I was told to call them pecs, as in pectorals, and to stay clear of breasts. While technically he is correct, my pectorals are the ones aching, I don't usually refer to parts of my body using the correct muscle name. People don't say "My gluteus maximus is sore." They say "My arse hurts."

And, apologies, but when a guy says "My pecs" I want to burst out laughing and start calling him "Macho macho man." Or Arnold.

Pecs? Please, get over it.

I am also reminded that, what are undisputably men, wore breastplates. Breastplates. Notice the word breast in there?

At the end of the day, my breasts are aching and your manhood should be strong enough to weather the word.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

American Visa appointments

To get a visa to visit the U.S.A. from Ireland involves two steps. First you phone the information and appointment line (1580 47 8472) and book an appointment. I phoned today, the 2nd of March, and the next available date was at 8:30 in the morning on the 7th of March. They ask for your name, birthdate, nationality, birth-country and a contact number. You don't need to give them your passport details. They also tell you not to bring any electronic devices with you to the embassy. So no mobile phones, cameras, laptops etc.

Remember, do not phone the actual embassy. They don't deal with visa appointment applications. If you phone them they tell you to phone the number above instead (which is charged at €2.40 per minute.)

The appointment is then at the American Embassy in Dublin. It isn't far from the city center and any cab will know the way.

I'll tell you about the appointment once I have gone through it.

On Writerly

When discussing Web 2.0. apps Writely comes up quite often. I'd love to say I get it, that I use it and it is brilliant. But I don't, I don't and, well, it isn't. Others disagree, they seem to love it. I admit it is a very good implementation of JavaScript and Ajax wizardry. I know how hard it is to get a WYSIWYG editor working well in a browser.

I would like to have my opinion changed though. What do you use it for? How is it really better than Word (which I loathe)? Do you really use it and find it indispensable?

JSON and E4X, a path

Manipulating XML with Javascript, when you are using Ajax techniques, is a pain. This is why JSON was created and at first I was pleased with it. It seemed a neat way of passing data back and forth without the hassle of traversing XML nodes.

However it struck me that JSON might be a dead end what with the impending arrival of E4X aka ECMAScript for XML. As the name suggest it makes XML manipulation with Javascript a good deal easier. I haven't worked with it much but as far as I can see it makes XML data a native object in Javascript.

So you can invest in JSON now and then later on switch all your Ajax endpoints to XML and all your client-side script. Or you can battle with XML for now and hope E4X becomes standard in as many browsers as possible.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Marry me, showgirl

I am going to have to warn my sister that she won't be beating me to marriage now that I am going to Vegas.


Frosty saddle

My fingers were too cold to get a photo of me rubbing the frost and ice off of my bike this morning. Flying down the Ferrybank hill left my fingers rosy with the cold. While passing some cows in a field I noticed their water trough was iced over while their fodder can't have been too tasty covered in frost.

Thankfully I am not further North as they have been getting sleet, snow and more ice than down here.

Cycling in Ireland is grand.

Commentary #1

/// <param name="minSecondsSinceLastCheck">TODO: Brian, what does this do?</param>

While commenting some code I put that in. I could just turn around and ask Brian, but he looks busy.

Viva Las Vegas

Vegas, baby! by Infinite Ache
Vegas, baby!
Originally uploaded by Infinite Ache.

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be going to Las Vegas.

We booked the flights and hotel yesterday, now all I need to do is get my U.S visa. The flights are a bit mad; Dublin -> Heathrow -> Los Angeles -> Las Vegas -> Gatwick -> Dublin. On first glance the hotels seemed a bit of a problem. The Venetian, where the conference is being held, was too expensive ($498 per room with two beds) and it looked like the Imperial Palace or the Flamingo were the best bets. But a few friends warned me against them. After a bit of digging I found a decently priced room at The Mirage ($736 for 4 nights for a room with two queen beds) which is right across the strip from the Venetian.

Should be a fantastic trip.

Hi, men

It was the most amazing thing I could give him as a woman

No, love, having your hymen reconstructed, at the age of 45, so that your lover could "conquer" you, again, is not the most amazing thing that you, as a woman, could have given him.

I realise the realities for women in restrictive cultures where virginity is required for marriage but for women in western cultures I recommend you donate your $5,000 to charities which are educating those in Africa, the Middle-East and Asia on this issue.

I seriously don't get the pleasure of "conquering" a virgin. If anything it is a weighty, burdensom act for a man. There is a lot of responsibility involved in it.

As a man I'll say to any woman that having your hymen reconstructured is about the least amazing thing you can do as a woman.

Wanted to be impaired

wonder if she was impaired because she was drinking, or drinking because she wanted to be impaired

The placebo effect seems to play a critical role in going out on the pull. Sorry, I mean having "a drink with the lads". A university study has shown that in the right atmosphere- a pub, club or house-party -we can push ourselves towards intoxication without the help of alcohol.

I am not so sure about actual intoxication. Afterall, even after drinking 10 pints of water I cannot convince myself I can't walk straight. But certainly I can see how the placebo effect will loosen people up, make them less inhibited. Our inhibitions are under our control, it is just that while at the office or waiting in line at Tescos we are too scared to loudly proclaim our love for *checks carrier bag* Tetleys Tea bags. At the local pub though you could loudly declare your love for Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil and everyone will, in chorus, join in. Partly you are excused thanks to alcohol and partly you are in a pub, having a cracking time.

I imagine those loud, social friends of yours have learnt this long ago, that you don't need alcohol to loosen up and score with the Tequila girl. For the rest of us, find a drink that can pass for alcohol and give it a try, loosen up while staying sober.

Just don't do it at Tescos, they will arrest you.