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Showing posts from January, 2006

Tidy up your Windows PC with the excellent CCleaner

CCleaner is a free utility for Windows XP which will clean up your system and generally get your machine back in order. It can clean up Internet Explorer and Firefox histories, cookies and temporary files. It removes the temporary files and log files that Windows updates leave lying around and it also has an excellent registry cleaner built in. This is particularly good at getting rid of old problematic startup errors that occur after you've uninstalled certain applications.

I ran CCleaner for the first time on Thursday last week and it found 280MB of stuff that it wanted to delete! Most of that was internet cache files and Windows update rubbish, although I did have to uncheck it from deleting all my Firefox cookies. It also fixed about 90 issues with my registry. Just be careful to check all the settings prior to cleaning your system as it's pretty thorough ;)

It's an excellent free tool and is now on my "must install" list!

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Monkey Patch - a Band-Aid for code?

Yesterday Chad Fowler made a post about the virtues of monkey patching. It mentioned that his code "monkey patches some of the Rails core classes" but does not provided a definition. It wasn't something that I had heard of before so I went in search for answers.

I found it within the documentation section of (an open source content management system). Their definition is:
A monkey patch is a way to modify the behaviour of Zope or a Product without altering the original code. Useful for fixes that have to live alongside the original code for a while, like security hotfixes, behavioural changes, etc. The term "monkey patch" seems to have originated as follows: First it was "guerilla patch", referring to code that sneakily changes other code at runtime without any rules. In Zope 2, sometimes these patches engage in battle with each other. This term went around Zope Corporation for a while. People heard it as "gorilla patch", though, … search to replace Google?

Well maybe I've blown the title up a bit to big but I wanted to share an interesting experience I had this afternoon with search.

A number of months ago I came across a website that helps you organise an event. You enter your name & email address and a title for the event. Then you add possible dates for that event along with a list of email addresses to send the invites to.

I used it a couple of times and then forgot about it, deleted it from my ( bookmarks and removed all trace of it from my memory. This afternoon I wanted to find that site again, so I turned to Google. No matter what keywords I typed in be it "event", "meeting", "invite" or "plan a party", it couldn't find it.

I turned to and entered 'event' in the search box, the second result from "Everyone's items" was the one I was looking for, a site called

It's a very cool service and now that I've f…

Mozilla's Thunderbird email client turns 1.5!

It's not the newest news in the world (it's been out a few days) but I wanted to share that Thunderbird, the free and rather excellent email client has been upgraded significant from 1.0.7 to 1.5. I've been using Thunderbird for quite a while now both on Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux and find it to be extremely stable and a pleasure to use.

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Summary of January's AgileNorth Meetup

Update 19/01/06: Phran Ryder informs me that my unnamed pair is in fact Stephen Hutchison.

Monday night was the January meetup of the UK north-west AgileNorth group. It was again kindly hosted by Katie at computing department of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. There were 11 attendees, and like last time it was run by Murray Tait (with laptop and software setup provided by David Draper).

We continued off from last time with more coding dojos, the first being a simple problem of reversing a sentence. Given "AgileNorth meets once a month" we had to produce "month a once meets AgileNorth" (maybe we could call this "Yoda-speak").

David Draper & Charles Weir took to the laptop to be the coding pair mainly responsible for typing in the code to implement the unit tests and referring to the JavaDoc where necessary. The rest of us were communicating to the 'customer' (Murray) and deciding what the next unit test should be (which was also…

A list of annoying CVS habits

Rob Sanheim posted today with a humourous list of annoying CVS habits, my personal favourite is bullet point 3:

Or, commit sweeping changes to 45 files all with the same comment: “changed the foo baz system”.
I have a few more to add that I can think of at the moment:

* Create a tag for the current software release that bears no resemblance to any tags that have existed for previous releases.

* Commit any changed files but forget to add & commit any new files, then go on vacation, leaving your machine switched off with an unknown root password.

* Commit compiled Java class files so that when you run cvs diff you get a very colourful output.

Got anymore to add?

BTW, a small but incredibly useful book to have is O'Reilly's CVS Pocket Reference. It's cheap but full of detail which has saved me on a number of occasions when I'm asked to fix some obscure CVS issue.

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