Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meet Orville

This is Orville, our friendly neighborhood garden orb weaving spider (we live in Austin, Texas).  He is huge, probably an inch from head to butt, and his back legs are about 2 inches long.  Normally he is sitting in his gigantic web, but he has taken it down for the moment because we’ve been getting some serious rain the last few days, and I assume rain and webs don’t mix well.

And if you’d like to see a video:

How to update your Nexus One to Froyo (2.2)

Here is how to manually update your Nexus One (the original model, non-AT&T, non-rooted) to Froyo, Android 2.2.

  1. Download the update from here and save the zip file.
  2. Put the update onto your SD card and rename it (Note that if you’re using Windows and don’t have “show file extensions” turned on in the file explorer you won’t see a .zip. Just rename it to “update” (no quotes, of course) because it’s already a zipped file).
  3. With your Nexus One off, hold down the trackball and press the power button.
  4. You’ll be booted into a white screen with three Android robots on skateboards. Select “Bootloader.”
  5. On the next screen, select “Recovery.”
  6. Your phone will reboot, giving you a picture of the Android robot and an exclamation point inside a triangle.
  7. Now press the power button and volume up button at the same time. It could take a couple of tries.
  8. Now (using the trackball this time) choose “Apply” and let things run their course, it will take several minutes.


The “Sports Den” gets a website!

Before I was born my father started a sports shop in the basement of my grandfather’s grocery store in Navan, the small Irish town where I grew up.

As the grocery store found it more and more difficult to compete against the national grocery chains that moved into Navan in the 80s and 90s, the Sports Den thrived, gaining a widespread reputation as the place to go, whether you are a fishing, horse riding, golf, or tennis enthusiast.  In the late-90s, the grocery store eventually shut down, leaving only the Sports Den.

While most “sports shops” essentially became sports clothing retail outlets, my father’s shop sold a surprising breadth and depth of sporting goods, ranging from guns, to hurleys, to fishing bait.

When I was a teenager I spent many days working in the “Sports Den”, although I wasn’t a terribly effective salesperson since I knew precious little about sport.  I seemed to muddle through though.

In recent years my younger brother Simon has been taking over, and as my father did before him, Simon is placing his own stamp on the business.

For the past few months, Simon and Andrew, another of my 3 brothers, have been working on a website for the Sports Den.

They are finally ready to launch it, and it really does look excellent – go take a look at and let them know what you think via the “Contact Us” page!

BeanShell conveniently packaged for the Mac

BeanShell is a great tool for Java programmers which allows you to type Java at a command line and have it evaluated immediately, just like languages such as Python.

BeanShell is distributed as a Java .jar file, and while it is pretty easy to run these on a Mac (just double-click), its a bit untidy as they have a generic icon, and tools like LaunchBar don’t recognize them as a proper application.

To remidy this I’ve packaged up BeanShell as a proper Mac application, you can download the result here:

Download: 2.0b4

NOTE: I didn’t create BeanShell, I’ve just packaged it.  To learn more about BeanShell, or to download its source code visit


I just contributed a comment to a story on Digg about Google, and how many of their recent experiments aren’t doing so well, in which I give my humble opinion as to why that might be:

Google is trying to do what companies are supposed to do when they get that big (according to their investors) – diversify. Unfortunately, Google is probably suffering from the same problem that most big companies suffer from when they try to diversify – they aren’t very good at it.

The diversification strategy is based on the premise that to get big, the company must have some kind of magic that other companies don’t have, and that if they apply that magic to other problems, they can conquer them too.

The problem with this is that magic has a relatively short shelf-life, and Google’s has lasted longer than most. Larry Page and Serge Brin has the foresight to take a great algorithm that solved a real problem, execute it almost flawlessly, and build a great company around it. Expecting them to repeat this feat over and over again may be too much.

I don’t think this is so-much a bug in Google, as it is a bug in what investors expect of the companies they invest in. They yearn to see the same returns in the mid-life of a company as earlier investors did in the company’s early life by having the company try to conquer new markets.

In essence, they want the reward, without the risk of placing an early bet. The result is that they often manage to kill great companies with great business models by forcing them to chase dreams while neglecting the golden goose.

Find the Digg story here.