So, after much initial confusion, sabre-rattling, dispair and finally acceptance (sometimes grudging), the world now pretty much groks open source. In addition, we’re all getting better at doing open source - it’s increasingly obvious what the best practices are in terms of growing and developing an open source project, and of how businesses as well as hippie coders can use and produce it effectively. Increasingly, open source is a known beast, and those that don’t embrace it in some fashion are increasingly looking hopelessly luddite.

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There have been cries of joy on the intertubes recently from people who like .Net but who like using it on non-Windows platforms (or believing they have the option to do so), in that Microsoft has extended their Community Promise to Mono, meaning they won’t sue over uses of it. Or so it’s been rather shallowly reported in some circles, more on this below. Firstly I’ll just say that no matter what, this is a positive step.

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I’ve been running Firefox 3.5 and Internet Explorer 8 on this machine for a little while now. Both are worthy upgrades to their line, addressing their previous shortcomings quite nicely - Firefox is now faster and more importantly leaner on memory use, and Internet Explorer seems to have mostly shaken off the dull, bare bones feel that it’s had in the past, and is definitely faster and more standards compliant.

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Good news for coffee lovers such as myself - caffeine seems to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s. The doses in the research were fairly high though - 500mg per day, or about 5 cups of coffee (the US standard for espresso is 64mg caffeine per fluid ounce, which equals 96mg per shot). I might have got through that in a day at one stage, but I’m not chain-chugging Red Bull and coffee like I used to a few years ago.

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Guitar Hero and Rock Band have been derided by some, with extensive cries of ‘learn a real instrument!’; however it’s my experience that by making simulated instrument playing more accessible to the masses, these games are responsible for many taking up an instrument for the first time, or reconnecting with a previously abandoned musical hobby. It’s the latter for me - I was heavily involved in music throughout my school days, until an overly pushy music teacher sucked all the joy out of it (what, you have a free evening / weekend that you’re not playing music in?

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I’m busy, again. A ton of things just bunched up towards the end of the month, and I’m on-site with a customer in Cambridge some of next week, so I’m keeping my head down a little right now. Here’s a news-blast though. I love Ubuntu server I’ve been setting up my new server. I’ve probably said this before, but for servers, Linux rocks. I’m ambivalent about Linux on the desktop, where I believe consistency and usability are more important (the Mac floats my boat the most there, and Windows if only because of MSVC++), but for a server Linux really brings great things to the table.

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I just assembled a new server machine, which in the end I chose to house in a shiny aluminium Thermaltake Lanbox, which is relatively compact but still roomy enough for two hard drives, a bog-standard power supply, and plenty of airflow, which is what I wanted. I also knew that the fans on this case were nice and quiet (I have a black steel version as a GPU test box, I wanted a lighter version this time!

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Oh, this is so ripe for satire I really can’t believe Microsoft didn’t see it coming. Or, perhaps they did and just ran with it anyway, for funsies. It appears Microsoft’s Australian website is encouraging people to switch to IE8 by offering an online treasure hunt, where a series of clues will lead you to a site identifying the location of the $10k (AU$ presumably), which can only be viewed with IE8.

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I’ve harped on many times about how I think centrally controlled services like Facebook are the antithesis of what the Internet was supposed to be about - a distributed, decentralised place with authority controlled at the leaves by those with most interest in maintaining it, rather than some corporate hub holding all the cards. Well, it seems like a small bunch of companies are starting to latch on to this idea too, a welcome respite from the huge number of ventures that just want to be the new singular nexus of your internet life.

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Bah. I’ve used svnmerge for ages to meet my Subversion merging needs, but a change around property management in Subversion 1.6 makes it no longer work anymore. Yes, I know Subversion has had its own merging features since 1.5, but I still use svnmerge because it works well, it generates me detailed merge commit messages, and it doesn’t require me to upgrade all my repositories to use it. Sourceforge was on Subversion 1.

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