Help Find Madeleine

I hope that there are enough people that read this blog, or read other blogs of people that read this blog in order to help find the poor girl Madeleine McCann.

Today, it is her fourth birthday, and as you can see from the news, her parents must be find it so hard to cope.

Recently, a small button appeared to support the missing Alan Johnson is Iraq – and I thought it would be a good idea to create a similar one for Madeleine, to show our support for her search.

If you want to put the code on your site, click here to download the code.

This will put the following image

onto your site, with a hyperlink to Madeleine’s search at if you click on it.If you can make a better button, please do.. but it is purely the demonstration of support that is important.

God Bless Madeleine and let’s all pray for her safe return.

Linux Server Virtualisation

Ok, in order to explain what I want to do, I probably need to give people a bit of background information.

I currently have a fairly basic Celeron 3.2, 1GB DDR2 with a 160Gb hard disk as my server in the flat. It’s running Centos 4.4, and has never really let me down. However, given the choice of distributions and different things I want to do with it (such as test out a Zimbra Server) which requires an empty (virtual) machine, I’ve decided to opt for the virtualisation route.

Now, I’m probably a bit naive in that I know that performance isn’t likely to be amazing on a Celeron D 3.2, but I want to know if I should give it a go. I’d probably run two virtual machines constantly (one for me email and websites, and the other for messing around with). I’m aware that upgrading the RAM is probably going to be needed in the near future, and that is something I’m willing to do, providing the processor is likely to last..

My personal understanding of what virtualisation entails, is that the server runs on a lightweight OS, and the virtual machines run as processes upon that. I want to know if anyone has experience of implementing virtualisation, so I can be directed to some good documentation.

Hope to hear from you guys soon!

Badis-Badis Eggs Hatched

Had an exam this morning, so was completely focused on that, but when I came back, I got a torch and had a look in the upturned pot with the eggs in. They have now hatched, and it appears that there are some tiny black tails sticking out of what can only be described as mini-splodges. They won’t be free-swimming for a couple of days. But these dudes are tiny.

I would love to take a photo, but I don’t want to disturb them, and it is far to difficult to get the camera to focus inside the tiny hole.

I hope to report some free swimming badis-badis by Thursday Night!

Breeding my Badis-Badis

It’s been quite an exciting day for me today. Since I have been up, I’ve moved my African glass catfish out of the tank that my badis-badis eggs are in, so that there will be no mistakes with bigger fish eating the fry. There is a real sense of excitement developing in the tank. With approximately two days left until the fry hatch, the females are being chased around the tank by a rather colourful male badis-badis.

His role in the birth and hatching of the fry is to protect them. As shown on the previous blog, I placed an upturned plantpot (with a hole put in it by my own fair hand) into the sand, so that the females would have somewhere to place the eggs. I’m 100% sure that this part of the breeding process is complete, with some of the females tummys looking rather smaller than they did two days ago.

The male guards the pot to make sure that no-one interferes with the eggs – you can see him sticking his head out in the photo below.

Dark Male Badis-Badis

I will hopefully be able to update you with more pictures as I can take them. If anyone fancies a particular photo being taken of the fish (such as one of the females .etc), please leave a comment and I’ll try to take a half-decent one for the blog.

Manchester City 0 (Again) – Badis-Badis Lots (Hopefully)

It’s been quite an exciting day for me today, for many different reasons. I woke up this morning around half nine, which is unsociably early for a Student Saturday, to head up to Manchester to watch the football. I decided to take two friends up from Crewe with me to the match: Darren, my West-Country Marxist friend, and his mate (originally from Birmingham) Matthew. Darren was joining me in supporting Manchester City, and the lone Villa supporter was Matthew.

I got up to Manchester, and decided to leave my car at a friend’s flat who would also be joining us for the game. The last time he went to a City match it was at the old Maine Road – so it was good to be able to offer him a ticket to see his beloved City at their new stadium. We headed into town, across to the train station to meet up with a few more villa fans that had travelled to the game. Unfortunately, due to the way in which ticket purchases worked out – I was on the other side of the stadium to the other guys; sitting with my mate’s Dad – who was extremely kind enough to offer me a last minute season ticket for the game.

City View

However, it was also a bonus. His seats must be nearly the best seats in the ground. They’re at the back of the first tier of the Colin Bell Stand, (not the Bell End, as many United fans would want you to believe,) right next to the media section. It was quite amusing looking at Stuart Hall as Joey Barton blasted his penalty over the bar just before half time. His summary of the game. “Samaras is as good a striker as Pearce is a manager.” I’ve not idea if that made the final cut on the radio.

When I returned home (after a lovely early-evening barbecue in Levenshulme to celebrate a friend’s 21st), I was met by a rather over-excited housemate. My fishtank was now home to a rather black male badis-badis fish. He was guarding the upturned plant-pot with gusto. What does this mean? It means that in 72 hours, I shall be the proud owner of a few baby badis-badis.

Upturned Pot

It’s crazy. City can’t score all season, yet the badis-badis can score the first time I head away from home.

NHS IT program (or how the media can waste a £6.4 billion investment).

Most people will be aware of the Connecting for Health (CfH) £6.4 billion budgetted NHS IT project, the biggest non-military IT project ever. To make matters more interesting, the NHS is the world’s second largest employer, behind the Red Cross.

There has been intest media debate about whether the £6.4 billion project is or isn’t a waste of taxpayers money. Many journalists have spoken about the IT project, claiming it is a complete waste of time, that the doctors and nurses can see no benefit, and that at the top level, what was initially a broad list of companies has now become a project with CSC and iSoft in command.

We are constantly told by the media how terrible the NHS IT project is – what a waste of money it is, and how it should be stopped immediately. Please continue with an open mind, and hear what is a rarely promoted opinion.

The NHS needs an IT infrastructure. Every organisation has an IT infrastructure – banks, companies, charities even have them. The NHS needs one.

Pre-2002, the NHS spent £1 billion a year on IT. It’s quite a significant sum, especially when you consider that there was zero external communication between NHS hospitals and GP practises. Spending £6.4 billion, on a project that has lasted 4 years so far, is not a significant increase in spending. The computer systems that existed before this program, were single-aim based. For example, a GP would have access to a computer for patient records, and another system for medical diagnosis .etc.

If I was given £6.4 billion in order to set up an IT system that was a high-profile as the NHS IT, I can almost guarantee I would get the biggest companies in to carry it out – not because I believe they can do it better, but because the media-interest would literally crucify me. The big companies are in each others pockets, this is a political IT system, not an IT-focused IT-system.

I’m sure that many doctors and nurses think that the new system doesn’t work, or that it hasn’t been implemented properly, or that errors have been made. Well sure, that may be the case, but considering the size of the project, errors are bound to be made. As I have said before, I don’t mind failing once, it’s failing twice that shows that you’ve either not learn from the mistake, or that the task is above you.

So how can the IT system be Open Source Friendly?

The best way to make the system open source friendly is to have an open framework. I’m not 100% sure on what the framework is, but as long as the current IT companies do not have unlimited contracts, (which they don’t,) then there will be an opportunity for open source systems to be installed.

No matter what the outcome of the NHS system, we need it. We need an IT system. We can’t pretend that there was a decent system in place prior to the NHS IT system being implemented – there wasn’t (no matter how much the media, and their selected ‘experts’ may try and sway you otherwise).

I have just been watching – and I think the first speech is rather interesting.

I’m looking forward to people’s comments on this – as I’m sure this is an issue that affects most of the people that read this.