Book: Lock In

Just finished reading this after a random find during a library visit. I’ve read at least one John Scalzi before and that was a relatively easy but good read. Lock In was a great read and touched on some great sci-fi topics that are close to becoming reality – “wet” impants to the human brain and humanoid robots that humans can inhabit on a temporary basis. In regard to the latter, this was a similar story line to the movie Surrogates where people essentially live their live in the real word via a robot.

The possibility for the human race to have the capability to transcend from our physical bodies is an interesting one. We have the beginnings of VR and augmented reality technology now, but longer term there will be plenty of discussion on virtual vs IRL and the impact of people spending more time in a virtual world than the physical. Why be limited with the “meat bag” that you were born into when you can appear as you like and rely more on who you are rather than what you are.

This book would make a pretty good movie script and hopefully Scalzi might expland on this story with some sequels or perhaps prequels. (Actually it looks like there will definitely be a sequel)



DisplayPoint is a solution to meet the demands of displaying content as easily as possible on screens around your business or public space. All you need is a device that runs a modern web browser and you can centrally manage your dashboards and big screens from your desk.

Anyone can schedule and show images, movies, messages, websites or RSS feeds to a group of computers. Rather than buy some sort of application that you must install on all your computers or a server, just get a low-powered machine and a web browser.


DisplayPoint is being extended regularly and I’m open to requests for features which fit the general use of the product. Some of the current features are,

  • completely browser-based
  • centrally managed by anyone with a web browser
  • content can be displayed for any duration
  • show images like a slide show
  • view movies from your own network or stream from YouTube
  • post messages to inform others of meetings, news, etc
  • import and cache RSS feeds from news sites
  • display web pages that automatically scroll down to show all content
  • set content to expire at a certain date and time
  • add multiple display devices to content groups e.g. marketing sees one content group and the engineering teams see another

Use it to cycle through the photos from the company BBQ with messages about the next team meeting mixed in. You can even use it in public areas to highlight videos and show messages specific to that area.


Overview System Monitoring

Introduction to Overview System Monitoring

The aim of Overview is to enable system administrators to monitor servers and other network devices and collect information. An Overview server can be configured to pull information from your devices or an agent can run on your device to pass encrypted data back. Once Overview has the data it can then make decisions on whether that data meets the required values. Almost anything can be read from the remote devices and you can expand on the remote scripts as required.

Overview has a number of features that can help out any system administrator, such as:

  • all data is collected and stored for graphical display, allowing you to spot trends and view historical usage.
  • any data collected can be queried to meet any conditions you specify and alert users if required.
  • can collect data on disks, CPU, RAM, network, ping, fileshares, file contents, databases, connected users, Citrix users, services, processes, print queues and more.
  • team members can be alerted to problems by email or TXT message within seconds.
  • alerts can be configured to wait a certain time to minimise false alarms or momentary conditions e.g. a CPU spiking to 100% for a few seconds.
  • the default dashboard shows the last alerts, most alerted devices and a breakdown of the last few days.
  • team members can roster themselves off to avoid alerts when required.
  • each data collector can be configured to only run at certain times or days of the week.
  • simple to use and easy to understand.
  • runs on free OSS (Apache, PHP, MySQL) and a Windows or Linux server meaning setup can happen in under 30min.

Currently Overview is undergoing testing in a production environment, and it’s planned to run a restricted version of it on a public website to let anyone use it.


The Web2.0 List

If you’re looking for some slick web products or need inspiration for your own, then look no further.

The Museum of Modern Betas – a huge resource of beta websites, with screen-shots.

Read/Write Web – a list of Web2.0 lists.


Sexy Web Stats

Mint statisticsHave you ever seen your website usage stats look so pretty?

Mint provides a fresh look at your site. It is concise, flexible and timely. And to sweeten the deal, this delicious little bundle of PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript joy is referrer-spam-proof.


Bug Stalking

Informative article by Joel Spolsky on the proposed life of software bugs. Explains how their product FogBUGZ uses this lifecycle to manage their bugs.

Painless Bug Tracking