* Posts by MartinSullivan

14 posts • joined 11 Mar 2010

Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII


There's UTF-8 and utf8 in Perl

The sainted Larry claims he can keep them separate in his head, but it baffles many a poor soul like me. And it has cause me to produce the odd bit of wombat-do-do in my time.


I'm a former T.61 expert. Let's not go there.

Ex-Palm CEO Rubinstein wishes HP sale never happened


Re: HP

Apollo? a former Apollo fan writes. They've been doing it for some time.

Cabinet Office chucks hefty rulebook at paper-chewing gov bods


Same Old, Same Old

For all the New World Order Open-Guffery that's pouring out of these shindigs, it's la plus ca change. Example, and my particular bug-bear, Universal Jobmatch, which in-spite of £20M and all the expertise that Monster can muster is as crap, if not worse, than the old Jobseekers Direct. Except, it's no longer fair-use for the Great Unwashed to try and fix it, or explore just how dubious some of the 'vacancies' that are posted on there are -- http://blog.zois.co.uk/tag/ujm

Ever had to register to buy online - and been PELTED with SPAM?


Not Quite Spam IP Blocks

Many of the not-quite-spam e-mails I've received over the years do appear, at first glance, to come from the folk they say they're from. However they're not. Even quite large companies are apt to use specialised e-mail companies for this, for example PurePromoter (http://www.pure360.com). These can be spotted, flagged in an artificial header and ultimately sent to the appropriate low-priority folder, cough, on the IP address block that they use via procmail (http://www.procmail.org). A typical rule would be:

:0 fW

* ^Received: from .*\[94\.236\.20\.1(2[89]|[345][0-9])\]

| formail -I "X-BIB: PurePromoter Ltd"

Sadly specifying these blocks do require that you grok your Regular Expressions. Some nice CIDR-type block specification seems to be beyond procmail.

You can also have a rule like this:

:0 fWDB

* emails:http:.*/unsubscribe.php\?

| formail -I "X-BIB: Pluto PHP unsubscribe"

As they're spotted too.

Then it's a case of a single rule on the new X-BIB header:

# Box all the BIB messages


* ^X-BIB:


You can, like me, spend rather a lot of time on such shenanigans. My procmailrc is enormous, and beyond my simple comprehension. I think that it may be self-aware.

UK.gov stalks jobless online to axe work refuseniks' benefits


And Some Other Things

The new site is worse than the old site for usability, which is saying something. While the old site had its fair share of self-employed Nightclub Photographers, the new site also seems to be loaded with a lot of sub-Gumtree MLM, spam and scams. Validation of vacancies seems to be somewhat lacking.

Finally, you're not allowed to scrape it. It's in the Terms and Conditions. This stopped my earnest endeavours and killed a little flourishing ecosystem that had evolved around the Jobcentre Plus Mirror Database.

So, well worth the £17M it's cost, so far.

Amazon Web Services will make it into G-Cloud 3.0, says UK.gov


Gov.uk already on Amazon

Gov.uk resolves to an IP address which is part of "Amazon Web Services, Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2, EU", according to whois(8). Attempting an HTTP connection to gov.uk gets you a re-write to www.gov.uk, which is serviced up by Akamai/Edgekey.

The Cabinet Office Blog is hosted by Wordpress.

Axe falls on Directgov as GOV.UK launches


Jobseekers.direct.gov.uk and Edon.businesslink.gov.uk Unchanged

Happily for us (and the Jobcentre Plus Database Mirror) nothing has changed on two critical web-sites. Both jobseekers.direct.gov.uk and edon.businesslink.gov.uk remain completely the same, without branding or even a link back to this new gov.uk site.

The Jobcentre Plus Database Mirror aims to mirror the Jobseekers Direct effort, but be more commodious and open, Its feeds are the basis of a number of third-party efforts. More on http://blog.zois.co.uk/

Unemployed offered money to watch grass grow


Watch Sheep?

@Dr Dan Holsworth Try http://zois.com/CGI61178

Oracle tucks R stats language into database


System R is already in Postgresql


Maybe this is what Oracle are trying to do.

Common brain parasite 'can affect host's actions'


Another interesting bug

Something called Walbachia. It too alters behaviour, but in the parasite, usually to the ultimate detriment of the host. At the risk of Wikipedialisation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolbachia makes for an interesting Monday afternoon read. Procrastination is the friend of Biology, they say. And I never knew there were so many of us Biologists reading this site.

HP to pipe dole queue data into clouds


Open Gov.uk data?

http://data.gov.uk/apps/ftp-jobcentreplus-feed - as used by HM Gov departments, their subbies and the great unwashed. Shameless pluggery, but needed.

Dole-office civil servants allowed Twitter but no Facebook


Jobcentre Plus on Twitter

OK, bad search terms. You'd be better looking for 'Jobcentre Plus' or 'Jobcentreplus' for examples. of JCP Offices a-twittering. And 'zois' for me and mine.


Inividual JCP Offices using Twitter

Individual Jobcentre Plus Offices are using Twitter. They post vacancies and other snippets of useful employment stuff. They do their job, and Twitter isn't just for organising riots. This seems to be a series of initiatives at a grass-roots level; the official Jobseekers Direct site imperiously makes things hard for them, in terms of links and so forth. I help where I can. On Twitter? look for 'JCP', and for my modest efforts in this direction 'JCPM'.

Jobcentre turns to the iPhone


An Unofficial Mirror

I got a bit hacked off that they'd closed my local Jobcentre here in Cockermouth. The then Jobcentreplus web-site was, well, crap. Its replacement, Jobseekers Direct, wasn't much better. So, I wrote one myself. It can be found by entering "Unofficial Cockermouth Jobcentre Plus Mirror" into your favourite search-engine, I'm leery about posting the URL, for that way spam-madness lies.

Not from Cockermouth? Well, there's a version that allows you to find out what your local Jobcentre's posted in the last 48 hours too. It should have been crawled by now, look for "Unofficial National Jobcentre Plus Mirror". It is currently in a state of flux and is completely under-resourced. Be gentle with it.

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