Matthew Hutchinson


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  • #cabal
  • [04:56] @matt: railsconf is on tomorrow – chicago –
  • [04:57] @srushe: true, and in september in london.
  • [04:58] @matt: i should have booked myself to go to that one – looks very good (over 4 days)
  • [05:00] @jaffs: there’s a rails enthusiasts club up near Whiteabbey
  • [05:00] @matt: i cant believe I actaully clicked on that link with some enthusiasm, i am so niave
  • [05:01] @jaffs: :))
June 21, 2006 05:05 by

@media2006 - day two


The final day of @media was a little more packed with talks, having slightly re-arranged the schedule the previous day to account for the World Cup match.

Highlights included the panel debate during the JavaScript Libraries: Friend or Foe? talk, and Tantek Çelik’s bit on Microformats – Not really knowing what to expect from an event like this, I think managed to get something new out of most of the talks and it was great to see so many people enthusiastic about where web design and development is headed (for the next year at least).

Along with better wifi, something I thought was lacking – was some kind of online chatroom for attendees to communicate with – during the 2 days of the conference. Campfire or even just a formal IRC room would have been great.

I have uploaded the rest of my photos from the event, but unfortunately audio recording the talks myself, just wasn’t happening. Apparently a podcast for the entire event (and possibly videos) will be made available, most likely on the @media2006 website

Edit: All presentations are now available via this official Audio/Video feed

@media2006 - day one



Today I was attending the first day of the @media2006 conference in Westiminster, London. Stephen (from Front) was also over for the 2-day event – and he has already posted a decent round-up of the today’s talks.

It’s been thoroughly enjoyable so far, the highlights for me being – Eric Meyer’s keynote address and Jeffrey Veen’s talk on ‘Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps’. After much messing around with finding a decent audio tool, and working with a very poor wifi connection, I managed to record all of Mr. Veen’s talk – which you should be able to get here;

Veerle Pieters, who does some outstanding work, was also present talking on ‘Good Design vs. Great Design’. I managed to snap some shots of the event with my camera phone – and I may add some more to this pool tomorrow.

The day rounded off with a trip to Picadilly Circus – where the England vs. Trinidad and Tobago match was available for everyone to watch at a bar booked for exclusively for @media attendees.

Im looking forward to tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll have mastered podcasting enough to offer a feed with more than just one presentation.

Stepping over the boundary

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Im half way through Steven Levy’s Hackers, book (published in 1984) – A quote from Steve Wozniak caught my eye. In finally telling Jobs, he would quit his job at HP and work for Apple full-time;

Steven Levy

But even as he agreed to quit HP and work with Jobs full-time, he told himself that what he was doing was no longer pure hacking. The truth was that starting a company had nothing to do with hacking or creative design. It was about making money. It was ‘Stepping over the boundary’ as Wozniak later put it.

Its a very enjoyable read if your interested in where things began. Im heading to Spain next week for a short break, and should get a run at finishing this book.

(buy the book 2nd hand at

Just start something ...

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Frank Tibolt

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

Theodore Roosevelt

Far better it is to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that know not victory or defeat.

Heathrow to Paddington, passive Wardriving on the Express

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Spending a lot of time travelling these days, (to and from Belfast), I was bored on the Heathrow Express and decided to turn on KisMAC on my MacBookPro – Before I knew it, I was participating in some casual ‘Wardriving’ and the results confirmed 52 wireless networks detected in around 15 minutes (across ~14 miles). The scary stats in more detail;

  • 19 were completely unsecured
  • 24 were WEP encrypted – easy to crack
  • leaving 9 with WPA encyprtion
  • 23 had the default SSID assigned
  • all but 8 used the default channel ‘11’
  • only 1 was detected with it’s SSID hidden

Its clear the majority of people seem to be uneducated on the level of security their wireless networks are capable of providing. Generally opting to leave thier box running with the default settings untouched.

Had the train being going slower – I have no doubts KisMAC would have recognised a lot more networks with lower signal strengths.

@media 2006

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  • #cabal
  • [15:26] beowulf: matt: @media is soon
  • [15:26] matt: yoohooodle!
  • [15:26] beowulf: we’ll be on the bleeding edge of web 2.0
  • [15:26] matt: we will
  • [15:26] matt: yes
  • [15:26] matt: rather than the rusty dagger of web 1.0
May 23, 2006 04:00 by

Ghostland Observatory - live in NYC

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Excellent set from Ghostland Observatorygrab the mp3 directly or subscribe to the podcast from

New lick of paint


Another month another redesign for the blog, this one I am happy with and
it will be here to stay (for a while at least) – A lot of gumpf has been
removed from the side bar, and the whole thing should be a little faster
to load.

I have also switched to FeedBurner – for all
my feed needs. Redirects are in place, but update your RSS bookmarks if
you’ve got ‘em. (see the ’feedTower’ at the bottom of every page)

I’ve even created a little css block to publish up conversations from

Somethings up with submitting comments and (as usual) there is one
annoying CSS bug I still have to iron out in IE – but thats life.

Anyone like/dislike the new look, comments appreciated.

May 11, 2006 13:00 by

Installing your own Ruby Gems on Dreamhost

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I came across this problem when trying to setup Capistrano on my dreamhost box.

Capistrano (orginally SwitchTower); is a standalone deployment utility that can integrate nicely with Rails. It allows you to deploy your apps across multiple servers from a subversion; Its handy for any shared environment (such as dreamhost), since you can use it to migrate databases and reset running fcgi processes.

Checking the Dreamhost Gemlist (or; gem list —local) I found that Capistrano wasnt installed – so I had to go about setting up my shared box so I could install any Gem I liked, in my home directory.

Its easier than I thought, but I had some trouble searching Google to find an answer so Im posting it up here; share the knowlegde and all that …

First up, create a new .gems folder in your home directory;

mkdir ~/.gems

Next open up your ~/.bashrc and ~/.bash_profile files and make sure to add the following lines as new environment variables;

export GEM_HOME=$HOME/.gems
export GEM_PATH=/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8:$GEM_HOME

Also adjust your PATH variable to include your new ~/.gems folder;

export PATH=~/bin:~/.gems/bin:$PATH

Thats basically it ! – For any gems you want to install you’ll need to grab them from somewhere online; I picked up Capistrano from here with


Then ran this command to install the gem (from my home dir)

gem install ~/capistrano-1.1.0.gem

Since we added the ~/.gems folder to the PATH variable in your bash files, you can simply type cap -V to check capistrano is installed.

Although this is not nessecary for Capistrano – in order to get your rails app to use other gems installed in your home directory, you first have to unpack them in RAILS_ROOT/vendor. Therefore, to be able to require them in your code, enter the RAILS_ROOT/vendor directory and do the following:

gem unpack gem_name
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