What on earth is a Cubicgarden?

Taken from lernertandsander.com/cubes
Do any of these look like cubicgarden’s?

I thoughts it was about time I formalised this challenge a bit.

For a long while people have asked what is a cubicgarden? I have smiled and never let on. Then it got to a point years ago while in London when I said if someone can work it out I would buy them dinner (not anywhere stupidly expensive but a nice dinner in a good restaurant). However, if they lose the challenge they have to buy me dinner.

People have a year to work it out or forfeit a dinner with me.

I give out a couple clues which are…

  • Its something from the 80’s or 90’s
  • Its/they are in a game

If someone can name the game (not even find the actual cubicgarden) I would finally post the solution on my blog for all. I won’t accept auto-generated lists of games from the 80’s and 90’s, just in-case you were thinking being smart.

Its interesting that no search engine can find it or work out what it may be… Machine learning wouldn’t have a chance without intimate knowledge of me and my background.

So far a few people have taken up the challenge including Jon but failed to name that game. Maybe it should be something to put in my will?

#What is a Cubicgarden?

Recently there has been a little bit of a hunt to find the answer to what a cubicgarden is on twitter using #whatisacubicgarden

Some people found this while digging around the web… I forgot I wrote it while at BarCampLiverpool

Cubic Garden by Ian Forrester (105 words)

A cubic object is a mathematical thing while a garden is a natural thing which strikes as organic opposed to the sterile mathematical nature of cubic.

You can get cubic gardens but when saying “cubicgarden” it doesn’t strike up visions of a sweet garden. Even if you did, it wouldn’t be a cubic garden.

References to cubicgarden online point to a guy called Ian Forrester. What caused him to choose cubicgarden, a lot of people ask? Why not Qubic garden or even square garden?

In Donnie Darko one character says the most beautiful word in the dictionary is “Cellar door.” I would contest it’s “Cubicgarden”

Challenge is on…

 

TedXManchester2: The Story of Me

I’m just back from TedXManchester where I gave one of the most fascinating talk of my life.
The story of me came about in a conversation between myself and Herb Kim a while ago. Herb was wondering if I  might want to get involved in TedXManchester2. And somewhere along the line we talked about the possibility of someone from the BBC talking at the upcoming event. Anyway, in a roundabout way, we got around to talking about the possibility of talking about mybrushwithdeath.
I think Herb was very surprised when I said I’d love to do it and we got talking to Isabella from the Cornerhouse about the possibility. I remember that night because it was in Tai Wu and Herb ordered a bottle of Sake, which we never did quite finish 🙂
The presentation I’ve kept under wraps for a long while because I didn’t want to spoil it in advance and I’m only really known for giving presentations about technology or dating. I did show a couple of people who wasn’t going to be at Tedx, but generally it was a need to know bases.
So it went extremely well. All the comments I’ve seen on Twitter and Tedx chatroom have been pretty positive. Lots of people came up and said lovely things to me afterwards.
I know there was some criticism about being left in the room for 7 days but… remember I have no memory of anything, so it might have been I was actually wondering about but not right in the head, as the bleed was most likely happening from just after the election.
I’m glad I pretty much held it together, although when Herb did the introduction, I almost started to cry as he explained what happened from his point of view. As I took the steps, I thought there is no way I’m going to hold it together long enough, but I did – just… By my eyes, I hit the 18min mark almost dead on, which is great because that’s how long its taken when I did my test runs both times.
It was fantastic to tell my story on the scale of TedxManchester, and I really thank everyone for listening to my story, there is so much I cut out of the slides to make it fit including the problems I had in Hope Hospital (which I got a official written sorry for), the story of how my sister and mortgage adviser (Billie) saved my flat, the reaction to being told who won the general election and the whole mydreamscape idea.

I don’t think I will need to ever tell the story again… I’m coming up to my 2nd year since the brush with death, and I’m feeling great (although very tired right now). I was going to add to the end of my presentation, the story continues…

I just know someone/some people out there was inspired by such a personal story and if that helps, my job was done.

Updated…

Of course I didn’t say anything about the other speakers at TedXManchester…

TedXManchester 2012

Mary Anne Hobbs gave a fantastic talk with no slides and no real prompt, amazing stuff. Its actually funny because I felt like her talk fitted really well with my own although we were hours apart. Passion is infectious…

Tara Shears really made particle physics sound quite simple and Tom Bloxham was quite likeable in what he was saying. I had a little chat with him about the New Islington area before the event started and he wasn’t as defensive about it as I thought it would be. Maybe he hears it all the time. Martins 12min talk asking why there isn’t a startup hub in Manchester was interesting and got me thinking about my plans for Smlworld.

Dan O’Hara

Dan O’Hara and Brendan Dawes were great as you’d expect… But a massive shout must go to Herb & Isabella for putting the whole thing together and picking such great speakers to talk…

Isabella

Startup your night in the best possible way

Startup flyer 1 at Arcadia Bar

#TranceManc is now transformed and happening…

Starting this Friday (8th July 2011) Arcadia bar will be transformed into a wonderland for House & Trance lovers… We have a licence till 2am in the morning! So do drop in from 8pm and…

Startup your night of bars, clubs and unrestrained debauchery in the best possible way…

Of course you can help us by downloading a flyer and printing it out, tweeting using the hashtag #startupbar or send people a link to the facebook event.

The concept is its a place to start your night although we wouldn’t mind if you want to stay for the cheap drinks and some excellent tunes and mixing in any bar inside Manchester. We’ve hacked the club experience on to the bar experience and ramped it up…

See you all there…?!

A house and trance night like no other…

When I first moved to Manchester, I hoped to hear more trance… There wasn’t that much in London and to be honest London’s never really been a city for Trance. So with the move, the hope of trance. I mean all those great super clubs such as Gatecrasher, Cream, etc are from around the north of england.

But its not happen… I’ve been to a couple of nights run by Rong… but its gone quiet.

So in my usual way I don’t like to stand by and let it go. Instead I’ve setup my own night at Arcadia on Great Ancoats Street.

Of course its not just me, its Simon Lumb better known as Dirty Si is my partner in crime on this jump into the unknown. I’ve not played out for a while now but a long time ago I use to play regularly in Bristol but running your own night (even a bar night) is something else.

Others DJs are going to join us and we’re looking at going every week… Expect flyers, surprises and a full on promotion soon enough…. Now we just need a name for the night. I’m backing “Startup.”

A new hope, a new blog

Me

During Christmas I thought I’d do some maintenance to blog because I’ve been meaning to clean up a few things for a while. I’m hosting with GoDaddy.com mainly because there cheap and there pretty hassle free.

I had my /wordpress blog which you might have seen stuff like this at. Then I also had storytlr at the root of the cubicgarden domain and a couple other blogs which I was testing things on like mydreamscape. So I deleted the couple of test wordpress blogs and started putting a axe through storytlr (which is a real shame but I could never get the cron to work). Then I noticed there was no blog in the management option for /wordpress. Which meant yes it was either lost somewhere in the management interface or it was gone….

I was generally pissed off with Godaddy for not making it clear which blog I was deleting. Worst of all, its all happening on bloody Christmas day, when I should be relaxing not wondering what happen to my bloody blog. I almost canceled my contract with Godaddy right there and then, I got a message from the Godaddy twitter account with some somewhat useful information.

So anyway although I wasn’t able to recover everything back to how it was before, I now have a new blog and lifestream.

I had a backup of my blog from Mid December and I’ve been using Disqus for comments so pretty much everything up till then was safe. All the blog entries I usually write in Blogilo, and I had a backup of all the recent entries. So it was just a matter of digging them out and publishing them again with the correct date stamp.

The first thing you will notice is that the /wordpress is now gone (yeh!) and the lifestream is now finally working (double yeh!).

But….

There is still a lot of work to do. I still need to design the bloody thing and this time I’m hoping to do a proper job. On top of that I’m going to sort out all the external links to my life all over the web, so there all linked here in some logical fashion.

I also need to link up ianforrester.org to my lifestream and add in lots of lovely embedded goodness into my pages.

It was certainly quite hairy at one point but it kind of worked out… Happy Christmas everyone…

Techmeme is pretty good to me

techmeme likes me

Been meaning to write about Techmeme for a while now, specially after Tom Morris's thoughts on Techmeme.

See for some reason Techmeme really likes my blog entries. I can't work out why, but I seem to get ranked pretty high along the likes of the mainstream press sometimes. Generally I do use Techmeme for catching up on the latest news, and although Tom is right about the business focus. Its reasonably ok and saves me flicking through tons of blogs about the same story, when I just want the headline stories. I rated it very high in Particls (Touchstone) for this exact reason.

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Cubicgarden.com issues recently

So if you've not noticed already, cubicgarden.com has been up and down like a yoyo on a broken string. This was not the fault of Hub.org, actually Apache 2.x has been running flawlessly through-out the troubles. Thats why you could see the 503 error and not a 404.

Without boring everyone to death, I'm running on a virtual server FreeBSD (thats right Marc?) in which I'm running Resin 3.x and Apache 2.x together connected via jk or something like that. I then use Apache for static files and Resin the Java container for dynamic applications. Currently I have Blojsom, Cocoon and ZK installed in the Java container.

So what was actually happening? Well Resin was running out of memory every few hours. But why? It seems there was a problem with the crazy amount of spam I getting on my pipeline blog and so Blojsom was trying to load most of them into memory for analysis or something. So I have deleted all comments and trackbacks from Flow currently and made it a read only place for now. I was going to use Akismet on it too but decided actually it was better as read only for now. Those really interested will email me and spammers can just die.

Hopefully now cubicgarden.com and all the other blogs hosted on the same install of blojsom will be more reliable and I won't get the floods of emails saying your site is down again. Thanks to everyone who did write. Honestly I would have done this much earlier if I was in my regular timezone.

In the long run, I'm considering putting geekdinner.co.uk on the same blojsom install, but I'm worried this will screw up the other geekdinners around the country. And geez, everyone just can't get enough of WordPress. By the way Photomatt is a very cool, down to earth guy and well worth talking to if you get a chance.

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Semanticly changing cubicgarden

This page is xhtml 1.1 valid

Its been all of about a week since I wrote anything. I've been quite busy but I've actually been working on this blog. I've changed the structured of the pages which does cause some problems with some of you using Internet Explorer but most of you are using the RSS/ATOM so its low on my list of changes. I've also finally sorted out most of the issues with why the site didn't validate. As you can see, it now validates. This won't always be the case, due to that well talked about entity problem in copy and pasted url's. I'm also going to try and use Microformats more than I have in the past. I've not dumped OPML for outlining but I like XOXO and am actively looking for a application which supports it for quick editing. In the past I was using JOE (java outline editor) which is great because it allows you to runs python scripts which can do many things. But its not had much updates as of late. So can anyone suggest a XOXO editor besides the javascript one. If not there are XSLs to convert between OPML and XOXO so I'm not that worried.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number six – semantic what?

My and Sarah's sixth podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

This time we reflect on a few blog posts from me and Sarah's personal blogs. And I attempt to do a short introducation to the semantic web and tagging vs categories.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number three – Dark side of the mobile

Me and Sarah's third podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it. This time we slide from topic to topic and get interupted by a few people at 1am in the morning. If I need to tie this podcast down to something, I would say its about the dark side of the mobile phone. Bluetooth, Toothing, Happy Slapping and now Happy Shagging. Luckly we never got into this which is terriable to even think about.

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Moving cubicgarden.com again

For quite sometime I've been having issues with running Blojsom on a shared Java host. See its possible but not ideal. It would seem Blojsom is best placed in a dedcated servlet container where it can have room to move. So for quite some time I've been holding on to my very cheap shared hosting by Interadvantage. The System Admistrator has been helping me out for quite some time but it just seems Cubicgarden.com is just generally growing in popularity and outgrowing its small plot of internet land. For the last 2 months I've been trying to cut down on system hit by using OSCache and Log4j to solve the errors I might be getting. But it came to a head just recently… here's a slightly edited email I recieved.

I've noticed that whenever your site gets hit hard, our server's load goes way up and other sites become unresponsive. This is particularly a problem in the mornings, from about 8 – 12 AM our time. I assume all the geeks over here who are addicted to your blog get their RSS feed (because you get a lot of RSS traffic then), and then go hit your blog if they see something of interest.

I also took a look at your stats, and about 25% of your page loads come from crawler.bloglines.com.

At any rate, your site is successful, and active, and it depends on Blojsom. When it's getting hit, your site dominates a loaded Dual Xeon server, so I think it's unlikely we can reduce the load to an adequate level just by tweaking Blojsom. Sadly, I again need to encourage you to look for another host. I don't think it's fair for you to try and host your blog in a shared environment; I really think you should put it on a VPS or dedicated server so that Blojsom can't hog CPU and memory that is being shared by other sites.

This came to a head this morning because our company president was trying to do something on your server at 10:00 AM, and he was very upset by the performance. He wants resolution to this situation, and suggested we give you 30 days to find a different host.

It has been fun working with you, and I'm sorry to write this note. I do wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Gratefully,

interAdvantage Administrator

So once again I'm on the look out for a good java hoster which provide virtual private servers for people on tight budgets. So far the cheapest I've found is 4Java.ca's private tomcat at 14.95 candian dollars a month for Tomcat 5 with 600meg of space and 10gig of data transfer. But Daily Razor's RazorBLAZE package attracts me because they also supporting Cocoon cost 19.95 american dollars a month for 5gig of space and 80gig of data transfer which is fantastic in comparision. VPS land seems ok too at 3gig of space and 40gig of bandwidth. One of the things I loved about Interadvantage which seems hard to to come by is, the friendly and knowledgable system administrator. The System admin has been working with me for quite some time and I know for a fact that this email was something he didn't want to write. We tried to get Cocoon working in a shared environment but came to the conclusion that it was not possible with serious security overrides. So please don't blame the ISP for this letter, its my fault for trying to slot a popular blog and amazing blog software in a shared environment. I'm sorry to the other people on the same server and I'll be moving soon.

So if you have any other hosts which do Java servlets, allow for at last 5gig of transfer data a month and cost as little as 10 pounds a month do please recommend them to me in the comments.

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You are reading the 485th ranked blog according to feedster

Each month, Feedster brings you a list of 500 of the most interesting and important blogs. Enjoy browsing to see what people are reading, to find feeds that will bring topics of interest to you on a regular basis, and to discover new voices in the Blogosphere.

yeah well I told you this blog was read by more than a couple people. I didnt even know till Ben Metcalfe wrote me a email pointing me to the feedster top 500 page. I still cant believe I achived 485 position without doing anything. I'm sure next month I'll be out of the running totally unless they do a Top 1000 too. Anyway ego trip a side, its good to know people are reading my slightly mis-written and slightly under spell checked thoughts and ideas. The list also shows the top blogs dont get a lot of comments or trackbacks. By the way, the list seems to be arranged based on incoming links from other blogs and websites.

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Cubicgarden needs to be fixed

Pink Flower close up

I have recieved emails and im's from people asking why comments are not working? I honestly dont know but I am investigating the issue. Seems only my blog is affected no one elses. Which is good news, but its going to take me sometime to work out whats happening and fix. I'm apologetic for those who lost there comments recently…

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Cubicgarden.com changes

I was meant to be learning Python while on my holidays but that plan got slightly disrupted with crazy nights out on the town in Manchester and long sleeps to recover. No worries, I guess its what I should be doing on holiday anyway. However in between all the crazy nights, I did manage to start to jiggle things around on a couple of domains I own.

I recently switched over the commenting system within my blog to Disqus. The main reason is because lots of people comment elsewhere on my blog entries and I wanted to find a way to aggregate them and reply to them sensibly. Disqus also has a import and export ability which will be useful for when I do finally move my blog to wordpress.

As many of you might have seen, a while back I made a static summary page about myself on cubicgarden.com. After a while it refreshes and send you to the blog url. Some people have asked me how to avoid the landing page (as such). Simple just type cubicgarden.com/blojsom/blog/cubicgarden/ or even cubicgarden.com/blojsom/blog. Most modern browsers will autotype in previous locations you've been to, so you don't need to type the lot. However this is a temporary solution. I originally wanted to install Sweetcron at cubicgarden.com, so people could see what else I get up to elsewhere online. But then I found Storytlr which allows you to semi-host a lifestream under your own url. Friend feed and tublr get a mentioned a lot in this space but to be honest storytlr was ideal. So you can get to that stream by now going to www.ianforrester.org. Enjoy…

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