New Software Catalog

March 11th, 2010 No comments

I’ve decided that WordPress isn’t the best way to publish the apps I’ve made. Attachments are all just so fiddly. For the time being, I’ve posted them at http://fishbowler.weebly.com/.
If anyone’s got any better ideas, please speak up.

Categories: My Software, Uncategorized Tags:

PowerShell: Rename files to include parent directory name

November 18th, 2009 1 comment

This took me longer than it should have to figure out.
Since I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for on Google, I’ll share it with everyone in case they need the same thing someday.

This script renames all log files within a directory to include the parent directory name.
If your files are in a folder named “WebLogs” and your logs are named “File1.log” and “File2.log”, you’ll end up with “WebLogs-File1.log” and “WebLogs-File2.log”.

I needed this to analyse a log of IIS logs from a bunch of different places. For those not familiar, all IIS Extended logs are named exYYMMDD (where YYMMDD are date tokens).

The PowerShell I used:

Param($path)

$files = @(dir *.log -Path $path -recurse)

foreach($file in $files) {
	Rename-Item ($file.Directory.ToString() + '\' + $file.Name) ($file.Directory.Name + '-' + $file.Name)
}

The Usage:

  • Save as RenameToParent.ps1
  • Run:
.\RenameToParent.ps1 -path F:\Logs

Hope this helps someone…

Categories: My Software, Uncategorized Tags:

RoyalTS – Merge two .rts files

May 29th, 2009 4 comments

I’ve written a dirty little command-line application to merge two RoyalTS files. I couldn’t find anything for it on the interweb, and wanted something to merge two files daily, both maintained by different people.

Usage: RoyalTSMerge.exe <InputFile1> <InputFile2> <OutputFile>

 

Download: RoyalTSMerge

Categories: My Software Tags: ,

British Telecom misdirecting funds

May 29th, 2009 No comments

I can’t help but feel some serious sympathy for the chaps (and lady-chaps) of the BT board.

Up until 1984, they had exclusive rights to the British telephone network. For a good while after the Telecommunications Act, there were only a few minor contenders in the country e.g. Mercury. When the analogue cable providers turned up in the late 90′s, composite deals turned up. BT was forced to turn to cold-calling its own customers to stave off the exodus (*).

Nowadays, line rental is available from a good number of providers, and your phonecalls can be routed through one of dozens of companies, all vieing for your money, all promising to be cheaper than the standard – the standard of course being BT.

Recent numbers suggest that BT have lost around 1,000,000 customers. In response, BT have picked up the same old habit. I’ve recieved numerous calls attempting to sway me back to consuming BT’s services. Repeated attempts to explain why I don’t agree with their QoS practices or their throttling of all encrypted connections doesn’t seem to get through to the technically untrained callers. I don’t blame them for that. I do however blaim them for not removing me from their call list after requesting it with obvious reason.

My main grumble isn’t the nature of the calls. It’s the calls themselves. It’s just not the way to do business any more. We rely on BT to maintain the telephone network and to crack on with their implentation of the 21CN. If all 1 million customers have recieved 10 calls, and all calls last 5 minutes, that’s got to be at least £5m in labour costs alone!

BT should be spending their money on more innovative and desirable products. Ever heard of “build it and they will come”? You shouldn’t need to beg, and you shouldn’t be wasting your money on it, when you’re in such a position of responsibility.

Digital Britain requires encryption

March 6th, 2009 1 comment

Technology seems to mean political capital nowadays. Seemingly, if a politician talks about how a country’s digital infrastructure should be improved, or is heard of to be using a popular gadget or site, their popularity goes up. Obama had his BlackBerry, a few years back, HM Elizabeth II had her iPod, and more recently the British Government have been pushing into the idea of Digital Britain.

As well as being a paper produced a few weeks back (I might talk more about that in another post – there are some grumbles there), there are also the initiatives behind the legislative body to bring the UK’s woeful IT law up to scratch. Currently, forays into copyright infringement get charged as spurious items such as ‘Conspiracy to Defraud the Music Industry’. Forays into hacking get charged on the horrendously outdated Computer Misuse Act 1980. This needs to change. The entire idea of a risk society is that the law will, more often than not, be behind current affairs. This far behind is plain unacceptable.

But of course, when it comes to the limited budget of time for legislating for technology, the top priority is surveillance. The same thing happened back in 2000 when everyone realised that any company above man-in-van couldn’t be a real company without a website, and that over half the 16-50 population had access to at least dial-up. Back then, they only got as far as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act before more pressing (oppressing?) matters became more important. This act stated that any company with internal e-mail must retain it for a period of time in case the authorities want a nose through it, and other such draconian measures.

This time round, it’s the Communications Data Act. There’s an element here, as I recall, about making sure we comply with European minimum surveillance-ability requirements as laid out by the Data Retention Directive. But there’s more. the DRD only requires that providers supply, effectively:

  • From who?
  • To who?
  • When?
  • How?

It’s that last one that’s important. We’re not talking just phonecalls in surveillance any more. We’re talking about e-mails. And these communication logs have to be held for 6-24 months for the investigation of, and prosecution of serious crimes.

The Communications Data Act wanted to do more. Jacqui Smith has even gone so far as to delay the Bill in parliament so that she can find out how much she can get away with. She wants providers to retain a full log of pretty much everything. Phorm was bad. This is worse. Mrs Smith (that’s not a gender slight – I just don’t like how she spells Jackie) wants to record the lot. Everything you do online. It’ll be retained for the same period and used for the same means as the DRD, only there’ll be a lot more there about you. Assume for a moment that Jacqui went missing tomorrow – a quick scrape would bring me up as a suspect based on my published opinions, albeit a low-priority one. And that’s just plain wrong.

I’m not just grumbling about this from a personal perspective either. The old “I’m innocent so I have nothing to fear” can alleviate the worry slightly. More worrying is the sheer amount of information being stored and the administration cost behind capturing, storing, and indexing my pointless e-mails about going to the pub, and my Amazon shopping habits. I’d prefer to see that amount of money being spent on alleviating poverty.

If this comes in, someone’s going to make an absolute killing as the first provider to be able to offer affordable SSH / VPN with decent throughput. Count me in. Digital Britain requires encryption to dissuade the paranoid from wasting money on such rediculous exploits.

Update 03/06/09: Jacqui Smith has resigned from the cabinet. There’s a good chance this plan will go with her. If and when there’s more, I’ll update again…

Categories: Law, News Tags:

Negative Timeshifting

March 4th, 2009 No comments

 

More again in the news recently about illegal file-sharing (isn’t there always?). This time, it’s US company MediaDefender and their tactics.

This got me thinking about the entire legality of file-sharing, and how this effects users in the UK, where laws are slightly different. Here in the UK, for instance, it’s actually illegal to rip your CD’s to MP3′s (but don’t worry – they’ve promised never to prosecute on this one!).

It seems to me, looking at the more popular file-sharing sites, that TV programs move around a lot more than films. This is more than likely due their abundance rather than any form of preference (although I could be wrong).

Here in the UK, I recall, “time-shifting” is a permitted technology. With the advent of the video cassette came legislation allowing the home user to “time-shift” broadcasted content – tape it and watch it later. Something similar in law likely exists in the States, I’m sure, to allow the likes of “TiVo”. Here, we’ve got Sky+, the modern-day equivalent to the video casette.

Again, by law, you’re also only supposed to watch it once (does this mean that Sky+ allows circumvention of the law? Another thought for another day…).

I’ve got a Sky TV subscription. I’ve also got an internet connection. Take any new show currently running Sky One. It’s probably also running in the US, but a couple of episodes ahead. 

Would the law cope with me performing “negative time-shifting”? 

Can I download it today, watch it tomorrow and delete it before it’s aired on UK TV, providing I will, at some point in the near future, have the opportunity and right to watch it “live”?

Categories: BitTorrent, Law Tags: , , , ,