Category Archives: Tech

I certainly won’t be missing 1234567890, and you don’t have to either!

The point at which time since the epoch reaches 1234567890 is momentous historical occasion happening today and I don’t want to let it slip past unnoticed, and now you don’t have to either! Just run:

watch -n1 echo 'Time since epoch: `date +"%s"`s'

in a terminal and bathe in the magnitude of the moment. It should work on Linux and Mac, Windows users will have to have a little cry instead or something.

Connecting to your Engine Yard MySQL database using SSH tunneling

Quite a few people want to access their Engine Yard hosted MySQL databases remotely which is fine, just complicated by the fact that the database slices are only accessible from the slices themselves. There is no remote access available by default.

Lee Jensen posted a useful forum post Accessing your DB externally, but this advice doesn’t work so well for windows users so here is a brief tutorial.

First, download putty if you haven’t got it already, open it up and configure an SSH connection with the IP address and SSH port of your slice. You can get these from the welcome email you were sent:

Next, go to the Connection -> SSH -> Tunnels config section and configure as following:

In this example I have used mysql50-staging-1 as the MySQL server hostname, replace this with the one you are trying to access. When you have entered the source port and destination click ‘Add’, then ‘Open’. You should see a screen like this:

Enter the slice login details (not the MySQL login details!) and you should see a standard login prompt:

Right, that’s the last of putty for now. Open up your MySQL GUI (I am using MySQL Administrator in this example) and configure it like so:

Make sure you have specified localhost as the mysql hostname, that you are using the MySQL database login credentials and that the port matches the local port you set up in Putty, in this case 13306. Click connect and you should see something like this:


You should be able to change these instructions for any MySQL GUI (the putty config will remain the same).

Next NW Ruby User Group: 20th November

20th November – Pub meet: RubyConf aftermath

This month the meeting will be two weeks after RubyConf so we will all be getting together to discuss any exciting news that may have found it’s way out onto the blogs. Maybe drink some curry and beer too!


7:00pm :: Social meeting in The Paramount

Sign Up

If you would like to attend this event, please sign up on the Upcoming event page

Monthly meetups

This month also marks the start of regular monthly meetups. These will be the third Thursday of the month, guaranteed, if no speakers are available the meeting will be social.


Q. Does GTA San Andreas work on a MacBook Pro using WinXP and Boot Camp?

A. Yes it does, perfectly and at the highest detail level.

Funny wireless network names

I saw these amusing wireless network names on my way into Manchester to meet Paul Robinson the other week.  Not had a chance to post them until now.

My wireless network is less imaginatively named ‘foo’.

How did they not sell? How?

I despair of eBay, and the internet in general. How did these not sell? How?

8 mouse balls

I mean, who wouldn’t want 8 mouse balls, especially when posed so artfully.  They are pleasantly rubbery, quite heavy; obviously good quality. Someone missed a bargain today, they really did.

Metal/Explosive/Weapon Detectors on the London Underground

I am posting this a a blog entry because I can’t see an obvious way to leave comments on Sam Clark’s blog where he wrote about the subject of metal detectors on the London Underground (LU).

Boris (and everyone else who promotes the idea of detectors) seems to be ignoring the fact that whilst creating a target with the size of queues they will undoubtedly cause, the scanners will only deter the most incompetent terrorists.

Why? Because the LU is a huge, open system.  You can simply climb a small fence and from there get to any other part of the system. Securing the stations alone will not make a difference, and will almost certainly lead to a false sense of security which could put travelers in a worse situation than before as their guard will be lowered.

You could solve this by securing the entire of the underground system; closing it off, but that is going to cost an astronomic amount of money and will only be as reliable as the least secure part of the whole system. Or you could spend the money on gathering better intelligence, more policing and maybe starting to solve some of the fundamental problems that drive people to terrorism.

People who advocate detectors at LU stations either don’t understand the security situation, or are only interested in the “fell good” response the suggestion would have with the public.

There are a couple of good quotes from Geoff Dunmore, operational security manager (March 2006) for LU:

“…the network would not be the right environment for the technology.”

“Basically, what we know is that it’s not practical”

“Finally there’s also the risk that you actually create another target with people queuing up and congregating at the screening points.”

In soviet russia, the monitor hits you!

The Asus LS201: Punchable ‘scratch-proof’ monitor:

… the Asus LS201 — a TFT monitor with a protective panel made of crystal-sapphire. Our Asus rep says not only is it scratch-proof, but it’s also ‘punch-proof’. 

Excellent You Tube Video

[09:16] carl: my god, that video is excellent.[09:16] carl: In soviet russia, the monitor hits you! 

Linux visitor numbers

After writing about how Ashley Highfield (BBC Head of Technology) claimed that only 400-600 out of 17.1 million users of run Linux I started to wonder what the proportion of visitors to my own jokes site were using Linux. Here are screengrabs taken from my google analytics account:

OS table

Nearly 94% use windows, 5% use Mac. OK, that matches Ashley’s claims. But wait, 0.9% of my sites visitors use Linux. That is significantly more than the 0.00003% that Ashley Highfield claimed use If we use that 0.9% figure against the 17.1 million visitors he claims visit the number of Linux users would be closer to 154,000.

Where the hell did he get his numbers from?

Just for fun, here are the browser versions. Good to see Firefox doing so well:

Browsers table