All posts by McQ

Context driven parsing

I thought I’d record this here, because it’s such a great example of why context is important when recognizing text…

Consider this:

Text that looks like "13 Dec"

I suspect almost anyone who sees that image would parse it as a date, that is “13 December”. Of course, once you see it in context, at least the Tim Horton’s regulars would know it said “Black Decaf”.

A Tim Horton's Coffee -- Black; Decaf


As many of you know, there’s a new addition to our family: Lucas.
Lucas sleeping

Things have been very hectic here for the last few days. We had a health scare with our adult dog, George, but it seems we’re mostly through that now. In any case, I don’t really have time for a full post tonight, but there’s a short clip of their first meeting on YouTube

And here’s one more picture…
Lucas between Deb's feet
Yes, he crawled between Deb’s feet while she was cleaning up and fell asleep. :-)

Building a Static Website using IBM Bluemix

Somebody asked me the other day if it was possible to build a simple, static website using Bluemix. With a bit of thought, I managed to get one going that used the nginx buildpack, but it turns out there’s an even simpler solution. On the CloudFoundry community site on GitHub there’s a “static file” buildpack that is just what you’re looking for. Given this, it’s just a handful of steps to get a static website going:

  1. Create a project at IBM Devops Services (with the “Deploy to Bluemix” flag checked)
  2. Create a manifest file with the buildpack: set to the static file buildpack
  3. Pour in some html content
  4. Enable the pipeline
  5. Commit your source to the repo

Ok, even though that’s pretty easy, it might be a bit hard to get right if you’ve never done it before. So here’s an even simpler solution…

Just click this button:
Bluemix button


That will take you through all the steps above, setting you up with a project to work in at IDS with example starting content for your website, and then deploying the site and finally taking you right to your application’s dashboard on Bluemix. All you have to do is edit the html files to be what you want, commit them to the repo, and you’re done.

It even works if you don’t have a Bluemix account yet (although you’ll be asked to sign up for one).

Now that’s simple!

A new machine, a new era.

Just a quick note to say that I have upgraded to a new machine. I had been using a Mac Mini to host GCW for many years, but the hard drive in the old beast is starting to sound like the gerbils are getting tired, and I thought it was time.

I know no one would guess I had given up on the Mac universe, so without further ado, here is the new beast…


It’s a 27″ iMac, with the 3.5 GHz i7 and the upgraded graphics chip (780M w. 4Gig of RAM). I must say, it is amazing. It’s actually fast enough to play PC games under Parallels with completely acceptable framerates even at high detail levels.

And so, it’s the end of an era: I am getting rid of my gaming PC. I’m also getting rid of the Mac Mini I was using for the server, and the MBP I was using for music. Believe it or not, at the end of this process, I will have just the one iMac in my home office, plus a station to hold my work laptop when I bring it home. I’m not sure how long I can stand it, but that’s the plan.

In any case, I have once again transplanted Great Castle Wilson to new hardware. This move was more difficult than previous ones, since (for some unknown reason) I was unable to load the mysql database directly by importing the records from the old site. Instead I had to use the export/import capabilities built into WordPress, which at least appear to have been successful. This is the first time I’ve tried this though, so if you see anything wrong/missing, please let me know.

One note: So far of all the old blogs on GCW I have only gotten this one going. I don’t think the others get many visitors, but I will get around to moving them eventually.