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Ben Poole

Ben Poole: last 10 entries

Copyright: Copyright 1997 - 2018, Benedict Poole

What I use

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 12:01 +0100


I think I last posted about IDEs almost three years ago, so figuring it was time for an update, over at the Via blog we’ve opted to run the odd post about what tools we use in our day-to-day work.

I’m up first with a brief look at my web / text / JavaScript editor of choice, Atom.

Crikey. Fifteen years of tech and more...

Wed, 24 May 2017 11:29 +0100


It seems extraordinary to me that I started this website over fifteen years ago now. That’s an awful long time ago when we consider the world of the web and the technology around it. Amusingly (and what a testament to the platform), this site was built on IBM Domino back then, and still is now. There have been a fair few iterations of the site, the most recent incarnation also being the longest in place.

I’m conscious that the site has been pretty quiet the last few years, with just a handful of posts annually, but blogging is not what it was I suppose. I still follow a number of sites in a newsreader, and I still often feel the urge to write: I need to act upon it more often!

Of course, it’s not just about this site alone: I also blog over on the company site, and we have been mighty busy there. Recent work has had me doing all sorts:

  • Java-based migration code for IBM Connections, Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Domino and IBM Quickr
  • Putting together a client library in Java for Office 365 / Microsoft SharePoint (OAuth and all).
  • Lots and lots of JavaScript (node, Express, React, vanilla client-side JS, and even the odd bit of IBM-flavoured server-side JavaScript!)
  • Absolutely heaps of Google apps script and Google API work, some of which we expanded on upon recently: Using Google Apps Script with LDC Via.

If any of this tickles your fancy, floats your boat or scratches an itch, then get in touch!

Why we don’t migrate code to LDC Via

Tue, 16 May 2017 14:42 +0100

I’ve written a short post over on the LDC Via blog which addresses a question we’ve been asked a number of times in the two years since we pushed the “Go Live!” button on LDC Via (at Engage 2015 in Ghent no less): to wit, why don't we migrate application logic, and / or code?

I don’t write JavaScript like I write LotusScript. Do you? Languages have moved on (capabilities, syntax, patterns): what works for VB6-style Lotusscript looks odd in 21st century Java or JavaScript.

Have a read and feel free to weigh in!

Read more: Why don’t we migrate code?

Time well spent

Sat, 6 May 2017 13:00 +0100

At the risk of clogging up the internet, sundry bandwidth, your attention, or your craw, I’d like to turn your attention to a website and movement that truly is Time Well Spent.

The Time Well Spent movement is all about reclaiming our lives from the miraculous wee devices we have in our pockets, on our wrists, and before us on the desk or sofa. We all know that most “news” sources are clickbait-ey horrors, their only goal to have you click on everything in sight, promoting shit you don’t need and outrage in equal measure. Mobile apps and web sites are designed to suck you in: for example, we have the concept of a “Youtube Vortex” in our home, whereby a single innocent link leads to watching reams of videos and losing fifteen, twenty minutes of a precious day.

After a while, one has to say “enough”. The Time Well Spent site has some excellent ideas for pulling things back to a more even keel. I recommend you check it out.

These ideas worked for me (in iOS, and to an extent macOS):

Organise your apps
I moved social media apps to their own folder called “Nonsense” and also moved all messaging apps into their own group, with the exception of Slack which is genuinely useful (and for which I have minimal notifications enabled — see the next item).
Tailor notifications
Sort out notifications on your device so that you only get to hear from people (and work-related stuff if you want). No Instagram, no Facebook, no Youtube. They’re all ridiculous, and they’re so needy! Consider turning off lock screen notifications and sticking to less intrusive app icon badges.
News. Argh!
If you get sucked into news sites, consider taking some time to tweak your news settings: iOS has an in-built news app which can throw up stories in your lock screen, and Android has the Google Play Newsstand. I dropped all the default gubbins, poison like The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Fail et al and I feel so much better for it. When you dislike certain news sources you find that you are tailoring what news you see. Consider a balance of topics too: don’t go all-out on Brexshit, Trump and other ludicrous modern nightmares, whack in some science, crochet, nature, neckerchief collecting, technology — whatever floats your boat
Dim yer screen, get rid of the blues
Use Nightshift (iOS / macOS) or f.lux and the rest so that your device screens lose the blue, and dim as the evening sets in. This really does wonders for your little head, especially if you’re like me and sometimes read stuff on your phone at bedtime.

What tips do you have?

Two computing giants left us recently

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:49 +0100

In amongst the more general news (i.e. society going to hell in a handbasket, World War III, all that), you could be forgiven for having missed the news in the smaller world of IT: we lost two giants of our field in recent weeks.

On April 13th we lost the internet pioneer Bob Taylor, and just a few days before Harry Huskey, passed away at the amazing age of 101 on April 9th.

Bob Taylor is most well-known for forging ahead with ARPANET — which of course ultimately gave us t’internet — but he also worked at Xerox PARC in its heyday, involved in developments that as we know, brought GUIs and the Macintosh to us.

Meanwhile, Harry Huskey was a trailblazer who worked on the Pilot ACE with Alan Turing, the ENIAC project, and many others, going on to become a giant in the worlds of computer science and education. Huskey is notable also as the father of the “personal” computer in that he designed the first machine designed to be operated by one person.

Amazing people, and we should all note their passing.

Further reading

IBM Connect goes to the pub

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:17 +0100

In London next Tuesday? Run, do not walk, to IBM Connect goes to the pub, a cheeky wee event we at LDC Via are hosting at The Castle very near Farringdon station. We will have the IBM Connect opening general session on a screen, and the drinks are on us!

Read more and sign up on our blog.

Christmas 2010?

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 15:19 +0100

I wrote this six years ago. Flip 2010 for 2016!

So, the veg. are done, the table is laid, the turkey a-ready: I can now sit down and wish my readers a very merry Christmas and happy holidays! You three make my day, and I run this site just for you guys.

Here’s hoping for a splendiferous 2011 for us all (and let’s face it, it can’t be any worse than 2010, surely??!)

Merry Christmas one and all. Here’s hoping for better days ahead.

New Macs, function key strips

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 08:26 +0100

By most measures, Apple is well overdue a refresh of its Mac and MacBook lines: 2016 has seen nothing on that score, and the latest press event announced for next week doesn’t really tell us any more. One of the more persistent rumours for the new machines, whenever they may turn up, states that the row of function keys on the new MacBooks will be replaced by some kind of context-sensitive “touch strip”

Sweet baby Moses, if this is true then I hope to all that is holy that Apple know what they’re doing. Anyone who uses Lenovo hardware will recall the (justified) screams that greeted the Carbon X1. Here’s a reminder:


My goodness but that was an aberration.

VMWare Fusion tip: drag n drop

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 17:37 +0100

I have a recurring, not to mention infuriating, issue with Fusion which has existed since I started using the software in those heady beta days (2007?). To wit: drag n drop from the host to the guest OS just stops working for no apparent reason. Occasionally, this extends to copy and paste too. One way to address this is to restart the VM (bah!) or when it gets really bad, repair the VMWare Tools installation. Nasty.

When the problem happened again today, I decided to dig a little deeper, and found fragments of commands in various web pages / discussion fora. This pair of commands does the trick for me, so I’m posting here in the hope I find them again (this tip is for when using a Windows guest):

  1. Open the Windows command line as an administrator (important that) and issue this to blat VMWare Tools for now: taskkill /F /IM vmtoolsd.exe
  2. Now issue this command (doesn’t need to be as an administrator): "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\vmtoolsd.exe" -n vmusr (you may need to adjust this for your VMWare Tools installation, although that is the default location).

And there you have it: basically a forced restart of the VMWare Tools layer.

The new post-fact age

Wed, 20 Jul 2016 14:20 +0100

It’s terrifying, especially hot on the heels of the brexit farce here in the UK. Consider this comment, made in a book four years ago and derided at the time:

The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier in American politics — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

We’re all going back in time.

Read more.