Bristol Skillswap Relaunched

I attended the relaunched Bristol Skillswap last night at Goldbrick House in Bristol. The new format is called “Talking Points” – five chairs in a circle, one of which is always empty. Someone starts a (web related) subject to discuss with the other seated people, when someone in the room wants to join in, they claim the empty chair and someone else has to leave. When this was being explained by organise Laura Francis, I was initially worried that this was all a bit musical chairs, and end up with four people sat there trying to persuade people to join them. In reality it worked straight away, and there was always people ready to jump in and claim the empty chair. If anyone needed proof that geeks can have the same arguments in real life that they do on a mailing list or forum – this was it!
The first session was kicked off by Andy Budd – “Are standards still relevant?”, followed by Elliot Jay Stocks (Carsonified), followed by Matt Jones (Dopplr). Matts session was more of a traditional talk format – but the relaxed atmosphere and free beer ensured plenty of audience participation in the form of heckling.

bristol skillswap at goldbrick house bristol

more pics

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IIS, basic authentication, permissions and include file

Occasionally I have a problem to solve that burns some serious time and makes me doubt my ability in my chosen field, and this was one of them until a “eureka” moment a few minutes ago..

I had been struggling with using basic authentication (over https) with IIS to lock down access to a particular (classic) asp script. Not really an expert in windows permissions, I had been trying all sorts of combinations of folder and file permissions to get this to work, but I was getting a permission denied error whenever I tried to login using an account I had set up. After far too long and realising that I could get it to work with a plain text file, but not my asp file, I realised that my asp script had a load of include files which sat in a different folder, and I needed to give execute permissions for my trusted user to these too.

If only it hadn’t taken me something like eight hours to work that out, I might just be in bed now!

d.Construct 2007

dConstruct view from the back

The d.Construct conference was excellent, this is the first one i’ve been to, but by all accounts it has raised the bar a bit since the first one two(?) years ago. The theme was definitely that of User Experience, and the talks were mainly conceptual rather than technical – I guess this would have appealed to some more than others, but coming from the point of view of someone who just started a company, with imminent plans for creating a (web) product, this was right up my alley. I haven’t got time to do a proper write-up, because I have a back-log of work and some deadlines to meet, and I resisted the temptation to open my laptop and hammer away at the keyboard in the Auditorium (unlike some people – give it a break guys!). Well done to the speakers, the clearleft crew and all others involved in organising it.