Celebrating independence on teh interwebz. Been admiring my lovely new domain name, (spot the aliteration too) so of course I need to shift the blog one more time to it’s rightful resting place.

Scottish Lass Seeks (domain since 2001) has found a permanent home.

Hamewith tae

Ya beauty!

I was so desperate to make sure I got the name that I shelled out the bawbees in the ‘landrush’ phase of the dotscot introduction. Couldn’t bear the thought of yet more people overseas called “Scottish Lass” snapping it up. It’s flattering so many people in other countries are wannabes but I am actually a woman in Scotland born, bred, live and work here.

I also wanted to try and make sure that Scottish businesses taking the initiative felt the benefit of supporting the new .scot domain so went with the first Scottish registrar offering .scot I could find – Calico. They’re based in Cromarty. Quaintly but in a good way, when you sign up you receive your account details in a manually drafted email from a female sysadmin, even better! um Yu .uk

Because I’m a web geek and am compelled to try these things, noticed that domain registrars were sending me emails to claim .uk versions of my existing domains. Apparently owners of versions of a domain have Chief Baggsying Rights to secure the new .uk extension. So yep have made the move. Shorter = good…but still with that annoying, you know, .uk bit.  Wish would get their skates on for domains with a relationship with Scotland. Oh joy, more registration fees.

So for the purposes of this experiment is now

EC2 Micro instance and MySQL ‘gone away’

After having tried small Amazon EC2 instances at work with no problems am now looking at micro instances at home. Found that a number of apps I’d installed on top of the default Amazon Linux – MySQL/postfix were failing even with very little activity. It was only then Googling that I found that these minimally resourced machines have no swap memory configured by default, so those apps needing burst of more memory can fail. Happily, following the instructions in Amazon EC2 Micro Instance Swap Space – Linux has fixed this. Lots of folk recommend *not* using micro instances for production systems for anything other than light use. Still the price is right (free tier for first year) so will keep dabbling

New Year Honours

Apart from Lorraine Kelly here’s a list of other women in Scotland who received honours
  • Isobel, Mrs ANDERSON. Chair, Carers Scotland Advisory Committee. For services to the community in Dundee.
  • Elizabeth, Mrs BENNETT. For charitable services in Scotland.
  • Cherry Buchanan, Mrs BRIGGS. College Manager, Reid Kerr College, Paisley. For services to Scottish Further Education and Young People in Renfrewshire.
  • Helen Anne, Mrs BROWN. Lately Board Member, Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care. For services to Vulnerable People.
  • Irene, Mrs HENDERSON. Grade 3 Casework Specialist, Human Resources, Scottish Parliament.
  • Mini, Mrs JOTI. Health Visitor, Bridgeton Health Centre. For services to the NHS and the community in the East End of Glasgow.
  • Jane Findlay, Mrs MURRAY. For services to Tayside Fire and Rescue and Local Government in Scotland.
  • Ms Corinna PENROSE. Lately Commissioner, Mental Welfare Commission. For services to Mental Health in Scotland.
  • Rhona, Mrs ROY. For services to Capability Scotland.
  • Marilyn Joy, Mrs SMITH. Conductor and Musical Director, Glasgow Phoenix Choir. For services to Music.
  • Anne, Mrs STUART. Chair, Cassiltoun Housing Association. For services to Housing and Regeneration in Castlemilk, Glasgow.
  • Mary Rose, Mrs WATT. For services to Highland Dance Teaching in Rossshire.
  • Ms Margaret MILLS. Project Worker, Children 1st. For services to Children and Young People in Scotland.


If you can see this then yet another server migration has been completed yay! I’ve made a decision that if companies are providing a less than stellar service I’m just going to pack up and go elsewhere rather than keep bashing my head complaining, voting with my feet. So no more slower than wading through treacle 1and1 control panels. Poignant moving one domain that was on Fasthosts (but hosted elsewhere), the owner died a few months ago so I had to take over the registrant details too. To be fair to Fasthosts they changed the IPS tag almost immediately…compare this to 1and1 who seem to take the best part of a day, sometimes two to change a tag FFS!

Oh Scotland,not *again*. Scotland 2 – Czech Republic 2

Emotional curve of following a Scotland football match:

Before match: hope, excitement

During match: elation, dejection, elation

10 mins to go: ecstasy “we’re going to qualify, this time we’re really, really going to do it” (reminds me of Charlie Brown trying to kick that American football)

2 mins in extra time: dejection, calamity, the-end-of-the world is nigh

After: a nation mourns

Is there any other outlet where it’s possible to go through such wild swings of emotion from one to the other in such a short space of time. But always left with that “gutted” feeling when we don’t progress.

I’m away to watch some Muppets to cheer up.

A hard drive named Lazarus

My hardware hoodoo continues. Earlier in the week I dropped a hard drive on the floor …a shiny, new, whopping 1TB. A fall of about a metre and a half. That sick sinking feeling. Plugged it in, yay the blue light was on, great, only one problem. The lights were on…but nobody was home. Disk wasn’t spinning up, boo. In days gone by I might have cried but seemed reasonably calm about it as I knew I didn’t have that much on it. But it set me thinking, I honestly couldn’t remember exactly *what* content I had on it. If you’ve lost something but it’s not important enough for to to remember what, have really you *lost* anything at all? But I digress. Geeks need to problem solve.

Shelled out twenty quid for a drive connector kit and gingerly opened the Iomega external drive case. There was a small controller card at the front with the power and USB connectors, removed that so I could get access to the drive sockets. Plugged in the SATA connector and plugged the power cable in, swiitched on…and…the disk spun up, wheeee! Was feeling well chuffed but copied the data off as quickly as I could incase it was only a temporary reprieve. I had difficulty with one 5GB file but then I remembered the portable drive was formated FAT32. Got a Mac drive and got the last file off phew. Double-chuffed, mission salvage completed. Even better once I’d removed the connector kit and put the drive back together it started working again! Maybe there was just a loose cable or something after the fall. But who wants to trust precious bits to a potentially dodgy drive? A bit like a lover who’s been cheating on you, things will never be the same again, the trust is gone. You’ll always have one part of you fearing the worst. To the back of the cupboard for you Lazarus.


Since I’ve spent a lot of today at work configuring WordPress installations what do I do when I get home…yes indeed, configure my own WordPress installation. Am experimenting with various plugins so there may be a few different features being tested/trialed. First up, a plugin for serving up a mobile version of a WordPress blog via WPTouch. Have tried it using an iPod touch and the site loads much more quickly and strips things down to lightweight lists rather than full text entries on the homepage. Love this functionality, things are just so easy these days with these huge repositories of plugins/modules. I’m like a kid in a sweetie shop.

To Google+ or not to Google+, pseudonymity, women and net abuse

Have been feeling like a wallflower at the disco (story of my life) watching everyone get their Google+ accounts. Alas for me I can’t take part with the account I’d like because I’m a Google Apps user and Google profiles aren’t yet available for Apps accounts. Thought of creating an account on gmail but can’t really be arsed with having yet another new account. Over the last few months I’ve been consciously slimming down my portfolio of domains and services aiming for as few as necessary.

There’s been a couple of excellent articles by Violet Blue: “Google Plus: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” and more disturbingly “Google Plus Deleting Accounts En Masse: No Clear Answers“. The first tip I got that something unsettling was happening was when veteran podcaster Madge Weinstein said that all of the Google services including mail and youtube had been blocked for supposedly breaking a TOS. Madge is a “character” but it’s the name that the male artist has been using in public for years. The pseudonym is the name by which that person is commonly known. Now hopefully such bans are temporary and can be overturned by protesting but this is just such a disappointing behaviour from Google and thought they learned from the debacle over their Buzz launch. A lot of feminist material may relate to subjects like rape and domestic violence, not clear if that can be posted on Google+.

I really want to know what the position is regarding psuedonyms as it would affect me. I almost never use my actual name signing up for social networks, not for any privacy reason but because my entire online ‘career’ has been spent trying to make Scottish Women more visible on the net. My real name is unisex so I found whenever I posted in forums about technology and such like it was just assumed that I was male…which lead to some awkward but amusing situations in face to face meetups. So I decided to spell it out loud and clear, I am Scottish Lass on the net. I registered back in the 1990s and was a early blogger on this domain but gave it up just when it was becoming popular. I came to realise quite quickly that this was also handy as a personal brand and people remembered it. In the majority of online places folk wouldn’t know my real name so for all intents and purposes Scottish Lass *is* my name on the net, particularly on the web. It is my identity. If Google+ wont allow me to be that there then well…I guess I’m going to give it a miss which puts it in the same category as Facebook for me as a social network I don’t use (the latter for their scummy adverts and disregard for other users privacy that were driving my acquaintances nuts).

Another article I think Google folk should read is “Who is harmed by a “Real Names” policy?“. Still amazes me that so many men seem to have no understanding that women can get hassled online just for having a female name let alone for photos or other content. I’ve spent many years helping women deal with online abuse even pre-web, usually tracking down and reporting the suspects. As an administrator of websites that cover topics like feminism and LGBT issues I’ve also personally received dogs abuse for that and two people have actually lost either a training place or a job because of the vile messages they’ve posted on my sites or emailed. I’m lucky, I can defend myself and have a stomach hardened to that crap that I don’t rise to the bait or get personally upset by it. Other women aren’t so lucky. Often someone will put me in touch with women distraught about what others have posted about them online or shocked that e.g. Facebook has yet again made things public that they thought were private. It’s usually straightforward to lock things down or report the abuse via official channels – it’s this latter step that all too many women don’t realise they should or how to do. Usually they’re just so upset they can’t face going back and reading whatever site they’ve been using or they’re frightened that they’re getting unwanted attention. I make a point of *always* reporting personal abuse I witness online however minor…for the simple reason that such abusers rarely have just one victim. You  usually don’t have to do much research on the perpetrator to find them doing similar things or worse to others. Please report abuse using whatever official contact mechanisms you can find on whatever website. You might find details of how to report abuse in a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or Terms of Service section or even buttons marked “report for abuse” or similar on web postings.