Monthly Archives: July 2005

PHP Gets the Thumbs Up

I have been tinkering with PHP quite a lot this year; today, despite a heavy cold and a spot of bronchitis, I embarked on my first PHP work that runs into hundreds of lines. Maybe my perceptions are distored by the lurgy, but I do feel that – for a web application – I can code PHP marginally faster than I can Perl. This is all very subjective and Perl remains my favourite language, but I have to say that PHP is very, very easy to learn. I just wish I could get the same fluency with C…

Spiced Fruit Buns

My head too fuddled by a nasty cold to do any programming, my wife has asked me to make a batch of my fruit buns (muffins to those in the USA). As I'm still only writing the introduction page of my cookbook, I thought I would share the recipe.

Note – this recipe is actually a form of bread rather than cake as such.

4g dried yeast, 50g oat bran, 200g wholemeal flour, 200g bakers flour (white bread flour), 30g olive oil, 300-350ml luke warm water, teaspoon ground cinnamon/cassia, teaspoon ground cardamom, pinch saffron strands, rubbed until broken. Make dough, work well, rise; knead, rise again. Add 250g good quality mixed, dried fruit, mix in well, divide into 8-10 buns, glaze with beaten egg white. Bake at 180° Celcius until ready.

The above assumes some bread making experience. Can also be made into a loaf in a bread machine – just add everything but the fruit to the machine, set to 'rasin beep' or equivalent mode, add fruit when it beeps, let the machine worry about the rest. We prefer it in bun form.

A Curious Find

Whilst trawling through Google to find my name used in business names (I'm thinking of moving to trade under my own name), I discovered the Matthew Smith Registry, a listing by a namesake of other Matthew Smiths on the web. I wasn't entirely surprised to see that I wasn't on the list as I tend more towards Smiffy as a nom de clavier.

H5N1 and the Domestic Duck

As reported in Things Not To Catch 1, it appears that there is substantial risk of the AIV strain H5N1 being vectored by domestic ducks, according to this BBC report.

I'm not a gambling man, but I would not be surprised to see AIV affect Australia before the terrorists do (especially if the terrorists recruit a squadron of infected ducks to infiltrate the nations duck ponds).

Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff

When I started Smiffy's Place, my idea was to produce a diary for myself, friends and family. However, looking back, I find much of the early content trivial and of very limited interest. Since literally anyone could access the content here, I have decided to try to improve the overall quality of material presented so that what is posted here is either interesting or useful (or both).

To this end, I have excised a few early posts; they are gone from the database and won't be coming back. I have also re-edited some posts which I thought could have been better written.

For those who like the spontaneity of the web log, sorry, I like a cleaner edit.


Possibly the coldest day since I've been in this country, South Australia shivered through its second coldest day in 28 years, with my equipment measuring a maxium of 9.8 degrees Celcius.