Mayor of Sunset Strip

2006-07-18
This film is about the life of Rodney Bingenheimer. Bingenheimer is the Californian John Peel: not quite so famous, perhaps, at least outside the US, but the film is jam packed with footage that proves his celebrity-worthiness. In fact, it’s clear that celebrity is much more important to him than it was for Peel (which is not to say that music isn’t, because he obviously loves that too). He is also, however, incredibly gentle and shy - he seems to typically avoid lengthy eye contact.

Glengarry Glen Ross

2006-07-18
Fabulous drama from an all-star cast. This is the kind of film in which it’s hard to find imperfect acting, and David Mamet’s script makes it even harder. No character is quite as simple as he at first appears, and they’re all fascinating. The film just draws you in, despite the simplicity of the setting (it’s easy to see that it came from the stage). The ending is untidy, but appropriate, and anyway, this film isn’t just about the plot: it’s also about the character and machinations of salesmen and their morally blurred world.

How to Handle Mediation

2006-07-18
WebSphere ESB includes two distinct technologies, both of which use the name ‘mediation’: WebSphere Platform Messaging mediations, introduced in WebSphere Application Server V6.0 (and thus included in WebSphere ESB and Process Server). Mediation flows, the primary facility introduced by WebSphere ESB V6.0.1 itself. Let’s come straight out and say it: yes, this can be a little confusing, given that these two technologies go by similar names.

Usability When You Least Expect It

2006-07-18
After getting to Barcelona airport yesterday, I looked in despair at the long lines for the Iberia economy check-in. I thought I’d give the quick check-in machines a go, but I wasn’t seriously expecting them to work. I’d booked both flights for my roundtrip between LHR and BCN with BA but the return hop was operated by Iberia; the BA quick check-in at Heathrow had worked, but hey, this is a different airline, right?

Sagrada Família

2006-07-18
So whilst in Barcelona, we did manage to go inside the Sagrada Família in the end (after taking a look from the outside). It’s an even more amazing building inside than out. I felt like I’d stepped into the main engine room of a gas turbine on Mars (think Total Recall). It’s hard to believe that Gaudí was allowed to build something like this (do they have planning permission in Spain?

Shaving and Carry-on

2006-07-17
Just back from Barcelona. I plan to write in greater detail on my trip when I have the chance, but a quick question to the guys out there: how do you shave when on a short trip, given that you can’t take razors onboard planes these days? (I have the same opinion about this as Bruce Schneier does about mobiles in Mumbai). Increasingly I’m trying to manage with carry-on luggage only these days, and I managed it for Barcelona.

Barcelona x 2

2006-07-15
I´m in Barcelona currently, visiting some friends. I had some free time this morning so decided to spend it rambling around downtown. I think I covered the two canonical tourist attractions in Barcelona: Las Ramblas - this was a bit of a letdown. It´s obviously a great place to come if you´re after buying a chicken for a pet or some tourist tat, but apart from that the street´s full of tourists looking at not much.

Léon

2006-07-13
- ‘L__é__on, what exactly do you do for a living?' - ‘Cleaner’ - ‘You mean you’re a hit man?' _- ‘Yeah’ _ Léon is an astonishingly original film. Natalie Portman plays Mathilda, a girl of twelve who befriends a milk-drinking hit-man after he rescues her from thugs who are murdering her family. She asks him to teach her the ways of his chosen career to enable her to exact revenge. And, incredibly, he does.

Office Politics is Worth Understanding

2006-07-12
Scott Berkun’s excellent book, The Art of Project Management, contains a chapter on ‘Power and politics’. In it, he describes a realisation he had - from thinking that politics was something practised by selfish and evil people, to thinking that it was a useful skill to develop - something everyone does, for better or worse. His prose convinced me, and I am encouraging myself not to put things I don’t like down to ‘politics’ but instead to try and understand them at a deeper level.

Irony of the Day #972

2006-07-12
You frequently see fire doors illegally propped open outside buildings across the UK. But to see this at a fire station, as I did today at Winchester? Now that’s irony.
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