Living on the edge of america @ Folly Beach South Carolina

  • Posted on: 10 March 2013
  • By: NickLitten
Teagan Litten on Folly Beach

Last week was an exciting one... driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas on Friday (including the obligatory but less than amusing Boris Breakdown)... packing and loading my moving truck on Saturday/Sunday and then driving across country to my new home here at Folly Beach, South Carolina.

I've moved to Folly for the next six months or so... exciting summer ahead!

Unpacking was fun, courtesy of three little helping hands (Nate, Fin and TIggy) and four little paws (Bailey) and now a week later I'm delighted to say that I'm mostly settled. Pictures on the wall, wireless network up and floating around the beach air, media server is serving and the coffee maker is bubbling.

Bailey the super dog is getting his regular walks around the neighbourhood and I'm feeling myself de-stress on a near hourly basis. No wonder folks who live at the beach have this perpetually smug, self amused and content look to them.... Life is Good!

Twenty years of Marriage

  • Posted on: 3 March 2013
  • By: NickLitten

A woman awakes during the night to find that her husband was not in their bed. She puts on her robe and goes downstairs to look for him.

She finds him sitting at the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee in front of him. He appears to be in deep thought, just staring at the wall. She watches as he wiped a tear from his eye and takes a sip of his coffee.

"What's the matter, dear?" she whispers as she steps into the room, "Why are you down here at this time of night?"

The husband looks up from is coffee  "Do you remember 20 years ago when we were dating, and you were only 16?" he asks solemnly.

The wife is touched to tears thinking that her husband is so caring and  sensitive. "Yes of course I do" she replies.

The husband paused. The words were not  coming easily. "Do you remember when your father caught us in the back seat of my car making love?"


"Yes, I remember" said the wife, lowering herself  into a chair beside him.

Valentines Day with a Landrover

  • Posted on: 15 February 2013
  • By: NickLitten

This year I'm in San Francisco for Valentines Day. Had a lovely time visiting the wine region of Napa, and when Boris refused to start we were prepared. Swore and stood around for 30 minutes trying all the tricks to start the bloody thing. No joy as expected! Wander off for a coffee and croissant, returning an hour later and it still won’t fire up. So, never to be deterred, we just googled ‘car rental’ and walked five minutes to rent a cabriolet for the day. This really is the only way to look around Napa.

Sure enough, later that day – returning to Boris and he fired up as if nothing had ever happened.

Anyway, it’s an hour or so drive back to San Francisco then we went out for a lovely Valentines evening at a great Curry House. It’s a Indian/Mexican Fusion restaurant which satisfies my craving for eye watering Curries and Kate’s craving for Mexican grilled chicken wrapped in flat bread.

The only shame was coming out to find Boris sulking again.

Total refusal to start.


Short cab ride back to the hotel.

Words are Wordier with Wordle

  • Posted on: 11 February 2013
  • By: NickLitten

Wordle is an excellent website for a some serious lunchtime cyberloafing.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

It basically takes any string of text, parses it and creates a nice little word-cloud graphic with the most used words. It's neat stuff, and gets even neater when you feed it a website address. Give it a URL and it looks at the whole website and comes up with a graphic of words used through the site and makes it look kind of... well... just funky.

This is what I get when I feed it

wordle of nick litten

Utterly stupid but good fun to play with while eating that lunchtime sandwich...

Top five percent linkedin

  • Posted on: 7 February 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I got this little digital thumbs-up from LinkedIn, telling me that my LinkedIn profile ranked among the top 5% of most viewed profiles during 2012!  Woooo! Queue long armed over the shoulder patting for Moi! 

I'm in the top 5% of my industry....

email from linkedin telling my I'm special... but i already knew that  :)

Well, thats not quite true. It's not even remotely true actually. To be honest, its a big fat lie! What it should say is:

Of all the lots and lots of people on Linkedin - 5% looked at my profile and thought "What has that clown got in front of his eyes?"

I've stored my online curriculum vitae, or resume (for my colonial cousins), on LinkedIn for the last few years. I can confidently say that it's one of the best places to leave your professional information. The bulk of my 2012 clients contacted me to offer freelance work directly from reading my LinkedIn Profile. It's free and it means I dont have to spend my downtime scouring job site boards anymore - How great is that?

IBM i #IBMiStepUp

  • Posted on: 5 February 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I've been working with a new customer recently which means I'm once again, finding myself in the i-vangelist pulpit.  I was about to say that I'm tired of responding with "Huh? You said AS400? Do you really still have one of those old machines? I thought IBM stopped making those in the nineties..." but a little secret part of me quite enjoys the sarcastic bluster of it all, and if I'm honest - gets a kick out of it    ;)

The IBM Power System is still being referred to as either (a) an AS400, (b) the 400 or (c) an iSeries. The Dinosaur developers need to be educated and reminded that our lovely box has been through some changes in the last ... fifteen... years! Yes, it really is that long since the AS/400 was replaced with the iSeries. How can IT professionals have failed to notice that the AS/400 no longer exists?

Mr Trevor Perry has long been a proponent of the IBM i moniker and tries hard to educate the masses via his excellent blog at

crank sensor makes no sense

  • Posted on: 30 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

Crank Sensor didn't fix anything   :(

the golden gateHowever, on my life mission of looking on the bright side, it did work for nearly eight weeks straight. Before refusing to start while parked outside a client office in San Francisco, which is only really a minor embarrassment. I suppose it could have happened half way across the golden gate bridge which would have been far more excruciating.

That is a world record for this dodgy Landrover LR3.

But it seems the ghost that used to haunt the engine has tracked me down again.

So, I'm typing this from my hotel room.. with a rental car parked outside once again. The most annoying thing is that when I go into the office tomorrow morning I can guarantee the car will start first time.

UPDATE: the bloody thing did run perfectly the next morning. At time of typing this update it has also been two weeks of error free starting. Aaaaargh



Rich Beyond my Wildest Dreams thanks to Rev Dr. David Anderson

  • Posted on: 24 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I got an email this morning telling me that I have somehow, miraculously, out of nowhere inherited over ten million dollars. Yahooo! I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams.

All I have to do is email my personal information, my bank account details and my drivers license information to The Very Reverend Doctor David Anderson in China. Once they have verified my information - they will send me $10,500,000.00!



using IBMi FIELDPROC encrypt sensitive data

  • Posted on: 23 January 2013
  • By: NickLitten

I wrote a data encryption routine a few years ago. In my ongoing mission to refactor my old utilities, I was looking at it this weekend thinking about ways to improve it. The basic premise behind my routine is to read a row of information from a file, perform encryption of said data based on a specific 'key' and then hide the key within the encrypted data - so it can be decrypted correctly at a later date. Keeps data safe from prying eyes even if they manage to get access to the file data itself. This worked very nicely for obfuscating the source code for my Projex4i programs, but has bitten me on a few occasions when somebody has tampered with the data in the file, therefore making my encryption key incorrect. Tampered data means I have effectively lost my ability to decode it.

There must be a better way right?

There is - FIELDPROC in IBM-i v7.1

What is Field Proc?