Installing Redmine 3 on Dreamhost


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Not massively straightforward.


This article is just a placeholder until I get round to doing it properly – sorry if you were expecting more

1) From root run the git downloader

2) Do a symbolic link into domain folder

3) Setup subdomain in Dreamhost with fcgi. Set root folder to the domain/public

4) Setup database in Dreamhost

5) Setup dispatch.fcgi with database

6) Setup a config/configuration.yml file with email info

# Outgoing email settings

 delivery_method: :smtp
 tls: false
 enable_starttls_auto: false
 port: 587
 authentication: :plain
 password: yyyyyyyyy
 openssl_verify_mode: none

7) Add entries into  public/.htaccess file – remove rewrite to folders like style and images, javascript and themes

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/themes.*
RewriteRule .* - [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/javascript.*
RewriteRule .* - [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/stylesheets.*
RewriteRule .* - [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/images.*
RewriteRule .* - [L]

8) Install as per instructions on Redmine site

9) That is all so far

Going Strobist


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Right, I’ve got the nice new camera, played with the toys on it and now need to get cracking on doing some great photography with it.

I’ve been a fan of the Strobist site for ages, and really want to have a go at some fantastic funky lighting. So, with my birthday money, I raided Amazon, found some really cheap big umbrellas and light stands – details soon – tied them up with my existing really cheap Vivivar flashes and Cactus wireless flash controllers and let’s see where it takes us!

I’ve taken one shot so far, just to get a feel for it (and I do feel a bit of an idiot setting it all up in the front room to take one picture of my daughter) and I’ll post it up in a bit.

I’ll let you know how I get on!

Sony A65 review: The first few weeks


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I thought long and hard, but my existing Minolta 5D was getting a bit long in the tooth. I’d had it eight years and whilst there was nothing wrong with it and still took great photos, technology had moved on and it was time to get something new, brighter shinier.

So, read the reviews, took into account all the lenses and bits that I had already got for the 5D and made the decision. A Sony A65 it was to be.

Getting one proved tricky – all of the stockists were out. I had to wait and see what the best price I could get would be. I just needed a body so this limited my choice somewhat.

Blanes View from Hill

View from the Castle at the Top of Blanes, Catalonia

I eventually picked one up from Jessops (remarkably cheap since their relaunch) at a price no higher than that available on the internet for UK stock. I was fortunate enough to be heading on holiday to Spain for a couple of weeks so this was the perfect testing ground.

What did I find?

Generally the camera was great – loads of things to play with; good, solid feel; didn’t eat batteries. And, of course, some good images.

Natural Lagoon

A natural Lagoon formed by the river Tordera in Catalonia, near Blanes

The photos in this post are some unretouched samples (just resized) taken in less than optimal conditions. The moon shot, by the way, is handheld and cropped. I’ve go some other photos on my gallery site which you can visit here


1) Being “left eyed” meant that I kept pressing buttons with my nose

2) I found that I switched on the “artistic pictures” mode too easily and found that they were on for a couple of shots

3) I think I had a dodgy SD card. Some images disappeared form the list of shots and could not be pulled form the card. Changing the card stopped it happening again, but I took far fewer

Blanes Street Decorated

Decorated Street in Blanes

shots on the new card so it could have been coincidence.

4) Probably related to this was a similar problem when I deleted files. I deleted a movie, for instance and this the reported that all of the other images on the card had gone as well. A few minutes panic and a couple of new images taken and hey-presto, all of the images magically came back again. The same sort of thing also happened when I deleted a panorama. I lost confidence in the deleting process after that and

have not deleted any more images.



Am I happy?


Would I buy it again? Yes

Would I choose the same model? I think so – certainly against the 5n range that is out there

Score: 5 stars!

Nearly Full Moon Blanes

Nearly Full moon

Dynamic Pricing on Digital Goods – Now Google see the Advantage


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We’re always looking at dynamic pricing for ticketed goods and other time dependent things. Now Google seem to have decided to patent the process for digital goods, the pricng structures being dependent on the search history of the customer.

What do you think?

Have a look at the slashdot article below for more details.

or the original patent,260,657

MOBILE PAYMENTS: Answering the question no-one is asking and Solving the problem no-one is having.


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Mobile payments: everyone talks about it, but no one knows exactly how it works or who will win.

An interesting discussion on Mobile Payments. Answering the question no-one is asking and Solving the problem no-one is having.

Read more:

Ticketing Systems are Designed to Stop People Buying Tickets


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We’re all competing against each other for the same customers as venues and attractions – but we need to cooperate. Otherwise the secondary market is going to take over and the customers and promoters will feel the pain.  We need to work together so that we are all better off.

We need better ways of selling tickets so that the ticket buying process is pain free for the customer and the venue and more profitable. What if we could use dynamic pricing in a cooperative way so that the customers have a real choice and everyone wins.

Dynamic pricing by yourself is great – but together it can be mind blowing.

And why the title of this post? It’s because all ticket systems are designed the wrong way. They should be designed to allow open choice, social buying and cooperative collaboration. Instead they are insular, restrictive and demand your money now.

Barry Khan (Qcue) tells us his thoughts about this in a recent TED Talk. Have a look and let us know what you think.

Another thing I’ve done wrong for 47 years (well, 20 really) – Wine Bottle Foil Wrappers


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Every time I open a bottle of wine (apart from these new fangled screw top monstrosities) I’ve spent the first few minutes struggling with the corkscrew to cut the top off the foil wrapper – I’ve even bought gadgets to do it for me.


I’ve just found out that I’ve been doing it wrong all of these years. This has got to rank amongst the peeling bananas incorrectly and tying my shoelaces incorrectly as one of those really stupid bits of knowledge that, I would guarantee, 100% of my friends and colleagues also do incorrectly.

Have a look at the video – only 20 seconds of your life to get enlightened, and have another moment to savour just how much of an advantage to your life I am giving you. “You won’t believe it!” to quote someone.

Who is going to be the first to jump? Dynamic pricing at visitor attractions.


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We all know that it is the thing to do. Maximise revenue, maximise exposure, spread the peak points of the visitor experience. But no-one does it in the visitor attraction arena. Who is going to be the first to jump and why have we not done it so far?

Clearly, all visitor attractions want to maximise their revenue. The way to do this is to attract more visitors (in the traditional way of doing marketing), but you could also get higher revenue by managing your inventory better. Try to drive people to less popular times and this frees up inventory for those who can only go at the most popular times.

Incentivise the least popular by putting prices down or offering other advantages (free cups of tea anyone?) where you want people to go (Thursday afternoons is always (un)popular) – de-incentivise at the most popular by maintaining your price structure or even putting it up.

Why would anyone who wants to come to see you choose to come at an unpopular time if the experience is identical to the most popular? Clearly, you need to offer them some bargain for coming at a time that suits you best rather than them.

If you can do this then you can flatten out peaks, sell more tickets, increase revenue and more visitors have a wonderful time at your place – what is there to lose?

So why does no visitor attraction do it? Theatres do it. Sports venues do it. Music venues do it, even British Airways does it (you may want to have a look at that last link – it is quite revealing and shows that they are doing exactly what the budget airlines are explicitly doing). What is stopping museums and other cultural admission venues doing it. I think it is fear. Fear that they might be seen as vulgar. Fear that they might be seen as exploiting their customers. Fear that they might lose money.

If the industry is to grow up, then it needs to address this fear and go for it anyway. Customers really are expecting it now. They are looking for bargains and are prepared to modify their expectations and behaviour to get them. In the world of on-line sales it should be relatively trivial to do this and customers really do want it to happen.

Who’s going to be the first to jump? Go on, I dare you – even for a trial with a group that does not count. How about a quick Randomised Controlled  Trial with the travel trade? They are always looking for a bargain and you would gain some knowledge about how your market works at the same time.

An Epiphany about Money


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Yesterday I woke with a nagging thought in my mind. All of these years I’ve been thinking about money and how to use it incorrectly. Were my thoughts right?

Up until now, I’ve always been pretty careful about money, I have no debt, we’ve fully offset our mortgage, got some savings to cover us for a rainy day. But I still am not really comfortable. I want to do things and those things need money. What I’ve always done up until now is to save up and pay for them. I’m starting to think that this is the wrong tactic.

If I save money from my salary, then I will have paid tax on them and gained a little interest from having the money in the bank. However, inflation will also be eroding the buying power of this cash and I suspect that for every £100 I wish to save, I will have to earn £200, or more if I am doing a long term save to buy something big.

What happens if I borrow the money? The money I borrow will be tax free, instantly available. The problem comes in paying it back. What I need to do is to earn money to pay back this loan. So what I really need to do is to find ways of increasing my cash flow to pay for the things I want.

Why don’t I get a mortgage and buy a rental property? The rent I would charge would then pay for this mortgage, any management charge (outsourcing is great remember), and the cost of the original loan for my Ferrari (or whatever – OK let’s start small and say “holiday”). Plus any tax that might be owing, but given that this is more business like, I suspect I can offset lots of things to minimise the tax take.

What’s the worst that can happen?

The property drops in value – I’m taking rental so the value is pretty meaningless until I need to sell. Even if I do want to get rid of the property, the bank can repossess – do they have a claim on the balance?

The property becomes vacant – hopefully not for long, but how could you cover the shortfall? Do the same thing again?

What’s the best that can happen?

I build up enough cash flow to pay for the things I really want – I build up enough property to pay for my retirement, I don’t need to worry about pensions – I have enough assets to pass onto my children to help them through the next century.

Once a portfolio has been built up (to a level I do not know) defaulting the loans stops being your problem and becomes one for the bank – they have invested heavily in you.

What do you think? Have I got the basic idea all wrong?

Banding at Brighton Pavilion


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I had the great pleasure popping down the M23 and playing with the Crystal Palace Band yesterday. Glorious sunshine down by that brilliant building, the Brighton Pavilion

Royal Brighton Pavilion



We played some lovely music to a really enthusisastic crowd and I was especially impressed by the Bass Trombone player – spectacular playing in “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and a great flugal solo from Dave as well.

Thanks for letting me join in! And I hope to join in with you again soon.