Thursday, July 26, 2007

Loonies strike again

Chris Samuel has pointed out that, yet again, the Monster Raving Loony Party got their election manifesto absolutely right in 2001 with regard to flood defenses and building on floodplains. There have been many occasions when, many years after the event, their manifesto has been shown to contain considerable good sense (such as the now-in-force Pet Passports in the UK).

Other examples can be found at the bottom of their history page.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Captcha to distinguish 'Bots and Human from 'Humans Smart Enough to use this Service'

I have seen plenty of Capcha's around the 'net over the last few years, but this one (in the 'Qualifying question' section) is definitely the best anti-automated subscriber trap I've ever seen. The neat thing about it is that it also distinguishes between normal humans, and 'humans that are smart enough to use the site'! In this case, it's the Quantum Random Bit Generator Service from the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Croatia.

For some reason, they think that only people with a university degree level maths education should be able to use their random number generator. An interesting criteria in the Web 2.0 world of interacting services. Mind you, they don't even have a Java API, now or in their 'Coming soon...'. Unless that's what's meant by their cryptic 'Web Service Access' line at the bottom of the list.

And what kind of serious 21st Century, third party library expects this requirement: ' You must edit the code and change logon credentials (username, password) to be able to access the Service.' Whatever happened to property files, XML config files, environment variables and command line parameters?

Come on guys, get with the program!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Real-World Development Methodologies?

From The Server Side, Scott Berkun has written a short piece on real-world development methodologies. None of your usual XP (eXtreme Programming), RAD (Rapid Application Development), or JSP (Jackson Structured Programming), but methods like ADD (Asshole Driven Development), and four more. Read here. And more here from Tiffehr.

However, in complete contradiction to Joel Spolsky's rant this morning on the Signal-to-Noise ratio of comments in blogs, there's plenty in the comments on Scott Berkun post. I particularly recognise Das Albatross's OSD (Out of Scope Development), Broccoli's DCP (Decapitated Chicken Process), and Venkat's BTPWAL (Blame The People Worked and Left) methodologies from a place I used to work!

Monday, July 09, 2007

FBI vs. the tin-foil hat brigade

I don't know why anyone would ever think that the US government (or any other bureaucracy of significant size) could be capable of covering up the Roswell Aliens or faking the Apollo Lunar Landings when they can't even keep their own wire-tapping results secret.