RESTful URL design… and stuff

I have a question about RESTful URLs which is going to sound pretty trivial and boring unless you’re a RESTafarian… apparently they exist.

Say I have a resource with the URL to which I can GET, POST, PUT and DELETE. If I want the user to have an overview of widget 1 they can GET this URL, similarly for DELETE. But if I want to point them to a form where they can edit the widget (which I don’t necessarily want to display by default), what would a RESTful URL be? ? ? ?

What if I have a page which lists all my widgets, should that be
or ?

There’s an article on URI design by Timbl which contains lots of “don’t”s but not many “do”s.

In other news…

I am furious with PlusNet for losing two years worth of emails I had stored on their IMAP server (along with everyone else’s). I had “backup email” on my to do list for about a year, shame I relied on an ISP to back up my data. There were a lot of important emails in that inbox. I’m going to start looking into running my own mail server so at least if I lose data I know it’s only my own fault. I’ve been meaning to play with Hula for ages but I’ve been waiting for their first stable release for over a year! They gave a talk at LugRadio Live and it sounds like the stable release is coming, but it’s still going to be a while (I can’t help but feel they’ve missed the boat a bit). I also have a book on Postfix which I might dig out.

Continuing in the theme of storing my own data, I’ve started on a new Drupal version of my now 5 year old homepage, which I plan to migrate my LiveJournal blog to if and when I figure out how to do it.

I found out that I didn’t win the IET Write Around the World Competition again this year, no suprises there really. The judges’ feedback boiled down to: well written, technically sound but boring as hell! I admit they have a point, I didn’t like it myself once it was finished.

Summer placement with Senokian, LugRadio Live 2006, Ubuntu Dapper

Summer Placement with Senokian

After a stretch of working in the fields picking vegetables (great money by the way) and desperate job searching I’ve managed to secure myself a summer placement! It’s perfect in every way except that it’s in Coventry. Luckily lauperr happens to be renting a house in Coventry and isn’t having much luck finding a job at home so we’re both going to live there for a couple of months and work. I’ll be working for Senokian Solutions writing open source software and I assume contributing to the Enterprise Groupware System. I’ll be part of the Shell Step program, though not eligible for any awards because it’s only really meant for 2nd and 3rd years (shh!). I should be starting on Wednesday.

LugRadio Live 2006

For anyone who’s still in the Bourne area I’ll hopefully be back every weekend except next week when I’ll be at LUGRadio Live 2006 in Wolverhampton. Be there or be… not square I suppose.

Ubuntu Dapper

I’ve spent about a week using the latest (long term support) release of Ubuntu Linux, Dapper Drake. I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a bold statement.

I believe GNU/Linux is now ready for the desktop.

Dapper Drake isn’t perfect, but it’s damned good and it’s definitely easier to install than Microsoft Windows. That’s understandable when you think how many years it is since Microsoft last released an operating system, but I believe that the perpetually delayed release of Windows Vista is going to alienate a lot of people, especially the minority who actually care about things like the Windows Genuine Disadvantage. I for one can’t afford a PC which could run Vista and I’ll probably only install it if I get a free copy from University. Dapper probably isn’t as good in terms of usability or style as Mac OS X but it has its own advantages. I’m not saying that GNU/Linux is going to suddenly dominate the desktop, I’m just saying it’s ready for use by the general public in ways it perhaps wasn’t before the latest release of Ubuntu.

Post-exam partying in pictures

This is an experiment with the camera(s) on my new Nokia N70 smartphone and with Flikr.

Since the end of my exams I’ve been partying like there’s no tomorrow. Unfortunately the partying is coming to an end now that it’s time to find a summer job and the money is running out. Here’s a (not so) quick update on what I’ve been up to.

On the Vale

Laura and I on the Vale

After my exams Laura came to Brum to meet me, this is us sitting outside my flat sunbathing, this photo was taken with the lower quality VGA camera on the front of the phone (meant for video calls) so it’s a bit grainy.

The Vale

I’m going to miss the Vale next year. This image onwards were taken with the main 2MP camera on my phone.


Selfridges Building

We spent a day in the Bullring looking for a dress for Laura for my ball. This picture of the Selfridges building (and neighbouring church) shows that the camera isn’t great in low light conditions. On some of the indoor pictures below I’ve adjusted the brightness and contrast in the GIMP.


Entrance to Festivale

The Vale Festival or “Festivale” is now becoming an annual event. All proceeds from the festival went to Aids charities and the whole event is about students uniting against aids. This is the entrance to the festival with an archway setting the hippy-like theme for the festival.

Festivale Stage

This is the main stage for the festival before it got busy, apparently this stage was used at Glastonbury. The acts were all of brilliant quality and I’d heard of none of the bands before.

The Vale Lake

Here is the lake looking lovely and people starting to arrive.

Busy Festival

By late afternoon the festival was getting busy. It was soon realised that the recycling policy with separate bins was a brilliant idea but the bins provided were completely inadequate, lots of people produce lots of rubbish! There were places to eat including an awesome stall selling organic Indian style meals with bio-degradeable packaging and cutlery.

Festival Stage at Night

And then it got dark.

Small World Stage

There were several stages at the festival. This is the “Small World” stage with the University of Birmingham Jazz Band playing. There were rugs and cushions and a waft of narcotics in the air.

Juggling Fire

The battle re-enactment society and circus society took up residence at the festival, playing with dangerous things like swords and axes and fire. This was a group of circus people with fire staffs being artistic.

Outdoor Cinema

At 11pm there was an outdoor cinema showing “The Constant Gardner”, continuing the Aids theme. It wasn’t a film I would have chosen from a list to go and watch but it was an excellent and very moving film. You can just about make out the screen and streetlights reflecting on the lake in the background, not a bad setting for a cinema screen.

Summer Ball

Gladrags for the Ball

Here’s me and Laura all dressed up for my Summer Ball. The ball was at the Birmingham Botanical gardens with a garden party theme.

Ball Meal

The £20 ticket included a coach to the venue, Pimms reception, three course meal (with a party bag full of sweets, bubbles and comemorative condom!), jazz band playing during the meal, four free drinks, casino chips, giant connect-4 and jenga, air hockey and arcade games, free photo and performance from Bodger and Badger and Pat Sharp from Funhouse! What a deal. This was the room where our meal was served by a small army of waiters.

And she had a rose in her hair

Here’s Laura, just having stolen a rose from the display on the table. I like this photo.

Bodger and Badger

The £20 ticket included a coach to the venue, Pimms reception, three course meOh the hilarity, mashed potato all over the place. I’ve never been so entertained and patronised at the same time before. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

Laura and Pat Sharp

This photo didn’t come out brilliantly in the low light but it’s Pat Sharp from Funhouse hugging Laura. She also told him he was a legend, that he should grow back his mullet and pinched his bum.

Back Home for Mr M’s Leaving Do

Bodger and Badger

Back at home in Bourne I first spent a lot of time sunning myself in the garden, this is my daft cat Rue.

Captured Blue-footed Booby

Me and Laura captured a live Blue-footed Booby in my garden in this cage.

Tamed Blue-footed Booby

We then tamed the creature so that it wouldn’t run away. This is actually a bizarre creation we came up with as a leaving present for Mr M’s leaving do. We had a meal and went back to Mr C’s for drinks, I had a brillant time and it made me realise how much I miss everyone.

Bourne Festival

Sunset over Bourne Festival

Next was Bourne Festival where I spent time with family, met cousins I’ve not seen for years and caught up with schoolfriends.

Ride of Doooom

My crazy mum went on this ride at the festival.

Bourne Festival Stage

The lineup of bands at the festival wasn’t as good as usual but much local real ale was drunk and much fun was had. This is Legend, one of my favourite local bands, who finished off on Sunday night.


iPod Painting

Before coming home I went to a public exhibition at my brother’s college to see his “sensory room” and to look at everyone else’s work. I don’t have any photos of his work, they may come later, but I particuarly liked this picture by another student.

Back in Brum for more partying

Snobs Nightclub

Back in Brum I chucked on some gladrags and walked to Broad Street, found Tom, went to a couple of pubs, got lost for a bit and then went to Snobs nightclub on my own. I got talking to some people in the queue which was good beacuse the 30 minute wait would otherwise have been very dull. I met people from my block and made some new friends and basically had a brillaint time.
Tomorrow is results day, probably shortly followed by more pubs and partying until the early hours. My family are coming to Brum for the weekend for me to show them around and then it’s back home for the summer.

Btw, in conclusion, the camera on my phone is amazing but struggles in low light and suffers slightly from its fixed focus. Flickr is OK, but the blogging feature is rubbish because you can only blog one photo at a time so I ended up coding all this by hand.

tola: well I went to see the cookie monster and he said he marked them three weeks ago
tomleech: i dont think the cookie monster is one of our lecturers
tomleech: you may be confused between real life and a childrens program

Today in an exam when asked how to increase the range of a transmitter given certain conditions, I wrote “hold on to the antenna and wave your arms around in the air”.

You can tell its towards the end of the exam period, I may be joining bouncykaz in a padded room shortly.

Exam Stress

Argh! I’ve so far managed to almost completely avoid talking about exams on my blog, but no longer.

It will all be over by 3:30pm Thursday, and that’s what worries me.

Where does all the time go? I seem to have lost three days to some freak illness during which I have slept lots, sweated lots, dreamt lots of weird dreams and achieved very little.

It doesn’t help that I have a paper deadline, job seeking, late student loan application and house contract signing looming over me.

Must stay focussed. Not sure what to do about my messed up body clock. Do I give in to it and work until 4:30am another night or try and fight it into some kind of sane rhythm which actually involves seeing daylight?

Live 8: Email President Putin

Last year Live 8 pushed the G8 leaders to make big commitments, including debt cancellation for 300 million people and an extra $50 billion in aid for the world’s poor. These steps are urgently needed to help end the extreme poverty in Africa that kills 30,000 a day.

In July, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is hosting the next G8 summit in St. Petersburg. We have to make sure that the G8 keep their promises and that real progress is made towards trade justice.

You can email President Putin via the Live 8 website or directly via the Kremlin website

You can use the Live 8 template or write your own letter. My letter reads as follows:

Dear President Putin,

I am writing regarding the G8 in July. Tens of millions of people have made our concerns about Africa perfectly clear and leaders have pledged to:

* Make AIDS drugs available to all who need them
* Guarantee care for all AIDS orphans
* Train up enough doctors and nurses to cope with the demand for care
* Commit to free Primary education for all children and train people to teach them by 2015

Sustained work is needed by all the G8 leaders to turn these words into actions and make practical plans for progress. You are the leaders of a generation of great nations who have the ability to leave our mark in history as the generation who cared enough to do something. Your leadership is key in making this vision a reality.

Please, make this a priority.

Yours sincerely

Benjamin Tola Francis (20)

Internet, housemates, canals and revision

Plugged back in!

W00t! Our block’s Internet connection is back.

It disappeared last Friday, usefully the ISP only work Mon-Fri 9-5 so they didn’t know about it until Monday at 10am when I told them (I expected our site management to have reported it because of all the complaints, but they didn’t).

They came to look at it, turned the switch on for our block and it promptly turned itself off again a minute later, turned it on again, turned itself off. They did this 7 times, I know this because I was sat tailing my message logs like some kind of Internet-deprived maniac. They decided that the RCD was faulty because it kept tripping so they tried their own RCD which worked fine. It stayed connected for about 20 minutes, I thought it was fixed, then they disconnected it all and went home having decided it was site maintenance’s responsibility and they could fix it the next day.

By this point I was starting to get Internet withdrawl symptoms. You’d think that losing my Internet connection would be the best thing that could happen to me during revision time, but unfortunately all our lecture notes are stored on WebCT, I desperately needed to transfer some money between bank accounts and I couldn’t get to my online exam timetable. I was getting grouchy.

I stomped around our block following all the trunking on the walls figuring out where the network cabling was routed. I figured out where the switch must be (inside a locked wooden box) and was seriously considering breaking into the box, plugging my Linksys router into an adjacent power outlet, spoofing the MAC address and patching in a temporary connection to our entire flat. Luckily I had to meet samwwwblack and some people at the Guild (see later) and he talked me out of it 😛

Today they managed to send someone over by 1pm and promptly removed the RCD switch, replaced it with a plain old on/off switch and everything suddenly started working again. Providing it doesn’t short out and catch fire we should be fine!

A question about voltage and current

On a related note, the transformer for my Linksys router has suddenly stopped working for no apparent reason, so now I have to either go through a returns procedure to get it replaced under warranty or buy a new one.

Question: I have a transformer for my Creative speakers which outputs 12V/~4.2A DC, the Linksys transformer is 12V/1000mA DC. Would it be unwise to plug the higher current transformer into my Linksys router (bearing in mind it is switched on 24/7)? Will it just draw the amount of current it needs or could it do it harm? I know I know, I’m in an Electrical Engineering department and I should definitely know this, but I know it will work, I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea.


Yesterday samwwwblack and I met two guys called Phil and Pat who are looking for somewhere to live next year. It’s looking a lot like we’re going to rent a place together (the house me and Sam have our eye on) but it’s very daunting having only met them yesterday. samwwwblack agreed to take the box room in return for paying less rent, I hope he didn’t just say that because he’d been drinking beer 😛

The landlord wants a £100 deposit between us by next Monday to secure the house and then he wants a months rent up front, is that reasonable? He’s said that he’ll fix the cracked front window (which I’ll get in writing) and give us reduced rent in July when he’s working on the place.

It looks like I may finally have somewhere to live next year!

Canal Walk

lauperr and I walked along the canal from the Vale all the way into central Birmingham and I found a really nice area of canals I didn’t realise was there (they do say Birmingham has more canals than Venice). I think I’m going to take my family for a walk along there and then up to see the big wheel to try and show them that there are very nice parts of Birmingham 🙂


Five exams left ranging from Cognitive Psychology to Assembler programming and microprocessor design, first one tomorrow, last one on June 1st.

I’ve taken to drawing girly mind maps 🙂