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Books & Articles I wrote.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Francisca Daniela

At 10:12 AM today our new arrival was born. She is a few weeks early so she is in an incubator to help with her breathing but is doing well. Her name is Francisca Daniela and is the double of when her brother was born.

Loreto is doing fine but everyone is knackered. Time for a relaxing beer and some sleep (me, not loreto!).

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Friday, December 08, 2006


Baby II on the way

My wife's is now in hospital with our second baby arriving later today or tomorrow.

I think it's adrenaline that's keeping me awake as it is a few weeks earlier than we expected and so we have a ton of stuff to organize, not to mention a Spanish market she was involved with on Saturday.

Amazing thing is my 3yr old has slept through the whole thing and doesn't even realize yet!

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Thursday, November 30, 2006


SUSE Linux 10.1

So this is my first post from my new SUSE Linux 10.1 installation, running in VMWare on Windows XP Pro. I was tempted to dual boot, but after the hassles of the last week (and to make backing up easy) i went for the virtual option.

I want to get Mono and the Mono IDE on it now. If i can develop on C# and it works, then i'll be very happy indeed. Long, long time since i played with Mono!

It's a very nice OS and i only wish it had a "Safe Mode" as i screwed up my display and had a bit of a nightmare figuring out command line options to revert it. I did - eventually.

I am tempted to go with Apache rather than XPS on Mono (XPS kept breaking in my tests in the Windows install), but i'll maybe start with XPS.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Installation Nightmare

The last week has been a nightmare.

The idea came to me in a dream. Store all data on an external drive. Re-format the hard drive. Run everying on virtual machines. The PC has proven it can do all that with no hassle.

What i didn't account for was the hell that re-installing a Dell PC is. The result was machines running with hard drives hanging out, cables being detatched and re-attached, PATA drives in one machine, SATA in the other with a mish mash of cables....

It all happended because i removed the "factory" partitions and created my own. The Dell startup didn't like that. In fact, it said the disc was damaged "Return Code 7". My Dell setup disc would check for hardware and just go blank. So would every other disc i could get my hands on. Unless of course i turned off the primary drive and put my external drive in. This time however it would detect the drive was external and wouldn't allow me to go any further.

I just could not believe that by some coincidence the hard drive stopped working that very day i formatted it - yet many of the forums say it is broken, so give it back. Dells own hard drive utility tells you the disc is damaged. "No, I don't believe you" i said at 2 am in my underpants.

After opening up some machines and playing for a bit and temporarily borrowing some wires i managed to set up the hard drive as a slave on an existing box. I deleted all partitions, created a single partition and re-formatted. I installed Windows, took it back to my own machine and .... it fekin crashed. However, i had suspected the hardware between the two machines would be different and so i re-formmated and installed and everything worked. No damaged disc. All runs faster. I have my VM's all running and life is good.

I can now get Suse Linux installed and put Mono on as was the intention. I will leave the base alone and put put all the potentially shady stuff in VM's.

The lesson here - don't go with the crowd. If you got a hunch, then go with it. Go with it with a whisky, late night telly and your favourite underpants. Make sure you've every box open in the house with wires hanging out. Your 3rd old son gets to know what memory looks like, what a capacitor is, what resistence is (like he needed to know that) where the fan is - the only remaining question will likely be "Why is daddy doing this?".

Don't let the bastards grind you down and get that PC working.

Either that or spend the £50 for a new hard drive.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


When iWoz a kid

I've started reading iWoz - the story of Stephan/Stephen Wozniak. It's funny as my name was also written wrong on my christening certificate as "Stephen" and my mum had it changed but they just wrote a huge "V" through the "ph".

It started of really well, so i ended up reading for more in one sitting than i really had time for.

What interested me was his story about how his dad taught him stuff when he was young. His dad worked at Lockheed and would explain things in fairly technical detail, but in a way he could understand - even at the age of 4. It's not that he wanted to force him into being an engineer - it's more than he knew he'd listen and learn and that can only be good no matter what you end up doing. iWoz (alpha version at that time in his life i guess) therefore knew a whole bunch of stuff kids his age at school never knew. I certainly didn't know that stuff.

I really struck a chord as this is exactly how i am with my son. He is 3 but has a "secrets" book which is a science book and we read it quite often. He just keeps asking why and i figured i's get a book so when i don't know quite "why" i can ask the "secrets" book for help. This morning he wanted to know what happened with steam rollers and so we ended up with a discussion on how the shape of the tar changes with heat and the atoms move around, only to settle into a mor structured shape when cooled down.

Well, it wasn't quite like that - i tend to move around a bit and make weird noises as it keeps his attention more. We build a (small) robot the other week and he helped every step of the way. It's an easy way to get kids learning - don't make it a task - make it something you just *do*. I very rarely say "i'm going to learn this" - it comes as part of my day, i just end up reading or typing.

Looking forward to reading more.

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I used the Protege editor some years back and due to my issues around requiring support for multiple inheritance in my Schemas, i decided to see where it hasd got to. Well, it has added full OWL support and some excellent tutorial papers.

So, when working with OWL, here is my suggestion.

1. Download Protege 3.2 with the full plugins.
2. Create a new OWL document using OWL/RDF Files
3. Use OWL DL
4. Install Pellet as the reasoner and run the DIG Server on port 8181

With this creating and reasoning with your Ontologys is really quite simple. In fact, structuring them properly is harder than using the tools - the tools are really quite excellent now.

The cool thing is that with the reasoning engine and Protege taxonomy option, you can get multilpe inheritance indirectly by defining based on a monotonic inheritance hierarchy, but using inference through the reasoner to build your hierarchy. Now I can start looking at building some of these things now!

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Monday, November 20, 2006


Your help needed

Here's a shot in the dark!

My wife is the director of a Spanish kids toddler association in Glasgow. They are having a Christmas market next month and they ask for small donations from local businesses etc.

Does anyone know someone may be interested in donating something (not cash)? They have quite a few things, most of them from local businesses, but why should that stop you folks from the online world from participating!!

So, if any of you run an online business, would like some local advertising (even if you are a music start-up in the South of India!) and have a small donation to make then please contact me at connect AT stevenR2.com

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Saturday, November 18, 2006


Inheritance in Xml Schema and OWL

I've been using Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect for a few years now and recently I have been using it to model and generate Xml Schema using UML. All was going nice until some requirements determined that I needed to support multiple inheritance.

The problem is that Xml Schema does not support nonmonotonic inheritace - that is, it only supports single inheritance. There are some work arounds, but i prefer to call these hacks and hacks always come back to bite you.

I haven't had any real issues with the single inheritance models in C# and Java, mainly as they at least support it indirectly via interfaces. However, it remains to be seen whether the current requirements for multiple inheritance cause any issues when i look at procedural definitions of the types i am creating.

However, in ruling out using Xml Schema I am getting back into the world of OWL and RDF, something i did quite a bit of work on some time ago. Gladly Stanford's Protoge editor has evolved and now has native OWL support and is pretty neat (unfortunetly i can't get their latest alpha 4.0 release to run, but that may be my lack of Java configuration knowledge - there are no instructions you see).

OWL does support the concept of multiple inheritance and much more. In fact i suppose in a way i am happy i have been driven back to it as tool support is now getting there. I'll be trying a few examples out over the weekend and it should be very interesting to start using some of the latest reasoners and see how they have evolved too.

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Friday, November 17, 2006



I just got the news that Hungarian legend Puskas has died. I have only ever seen videos of him play and one of his greatest moments was here in Glasgow when he scored four goals in front of 135,000 people at Hampden Park in probably the best European final of all time.

Of all the players whose records i have looked at his is the one that sticks out - almost a goal a game in over 300 games for Hunary and the same in almost 500 games for Madrid.

You look around now and with Zidane going you wonder whether there is anyone near his class. Well, there isn't - but hopefull he's an inspiration for some and it won't be long until we see a new world number one.

R.I.P. Puskas

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Thursday, November 16, 2006


Create Xml Schema

Writing Xml Schema by hand is good to know, however after a while it can become a bit of a burden writing everything in notepad. I have been using Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect for some years now, but only recently used their Xm Schema development tools.

They could make things a little more friendly, but not much. In the same way you create classes, relations and set multiplicity in UML, you can do the same for Xml Schema. Inheritance and more is very simple and generating the Schema is a single click.

Give it a shot and you'll be much happier in managing your schema development in a proper UML based IDE than in notepad or VS!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Mungo Bunce of Brockenborings

You got a Hobbit name?

I read the following blogs:

Fard Broadbelt of Buckland
Drogo Sandybanks of Frogmorton
Drogo Loamsdown of Deephallow


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