[Update] The ABC have acknowledged that the Lost Dogs Home does actually get funding from government.
Lost Dogs Home Receive Millions from Government
You’re possibly already funding The Lost Dogs Home through your Council rates. As a provider of pound services to Victorian Councils they receive government money to impound the majority of animals coming into their “care”. Of the animals not reclaimed by their owners in time last year, most were killed (13,594 in total).
They are also contracted to provide Animal Control Officers to Councils. They have the power to hand out fines and seize people’s pets.
Yet They Claim to Receive No Government Funding?
The Lost Dogs Home repeated claims to receive no government funding despite the fact that local government pays them to impound the majority of the animals.
The home, founded by a group of animal lovers in 1911, gets no government funding. However, Dr Smith revealed that in the past year – apart from Mr Samways’s gift – it had received more than $6 million in bequests and donations.
“$3m benefactor Frank Samways is a dog’s – and the Lost Dogs Home’s – best friend” - The Age, 29 July 2011
Here Graeme Smith is reported to have made the claim personally,
The Lost Dogs Home’s Graeme Smith said the organisation did not receive any government funding, unlike the RSPCA. ”Tenders are judged on many factors. These include financial, ability to deliver, customer service, management, quality, etc,” Mr Smith said.
“Pound kill rate sparks concern” The Age 1 May, 2011
This week Graeme Smith stood by and made no effort to correct a television reporter who claimed his company “relies solely on the public’s generosity to get by financially”. The ABC have since issued a correction to the story after a viewer complaint. Why does it take a concerned member of the public to notify them when Graeme Smith was standing right beside the reporter?
The Public are Being Misled
If you live in Melbourne there’s a reasonable chance you’re already paying The Lost Dogs Home to impound cats and dogs through your Council rates. The majority of animals not claimed by owners are being killed.
It appears the media are being told a very different story and are not checking the facts.
Members of the public deserve to know the truth about where their money is going.
The same message applies to the Cat Protection Society of Victoria.
[update] Aussie Rubyists are discussing this on email@example.com
“RVM is a command line tool which allows us to easily install, manage and work with multiple ruby environments from interpreters to sets of gems.”
I think it’s a pretty amazing project and Wayne E. Seguin deserves respect for gifting us with such a great tool. I think it’s great for dev but…
I’m just not sure I want RVM in Production
As I said, I’m new to RVM. I don’t know it that well yet so I’m not qualified to speak about it with any degree of authority. The idea of running rvm on production servers seems wrong to me because it seems to dump a load of non-standard complexity onto sysadmins while ignoring the unix idioms and conventions they know.
Do we really need to be so specific about versions?
In an age of virtualisation and cloud computing, a production server probably shouldn’t need to have more than one version of Ruby installed. RVM makes it easy for devs to specify that this web app uses ruby-1.9.2-p180 while that one uses ruby-1.9.2-p290. I’m just not sure they should be expecting operations to be providing them with such specificity.
Don’t sysadmins have enough to deal with already?
Developers may spend months or years in the same cosy environment working on software they know backwards. Sysadmins deal with chaos everyday. They put out fires, multitask and deal with hundreds of different bits of software. What makes this possible is conventions within the unix world. Logs go here, start scripts there, this is the library load path, etc… System administration can be like working in a busy kitchen. Special off menu orders make their work harder and are not appreciated!
I just wonder whether developers demanding specific Ruby patch levels will come across like the folks ordering coffee from LA Story?
[Update] I was running into a few difficulties using RVM so at least for now, I’ve settled on a very simple use for RVM on my workstation. Bundler does a great job managing my gems so I’ve set RVM to use system Ruby and I’ll only use a .rvmrc in projects that are not using my default of ruby-1.9.2.
Do you like mysteries? Want to help solve one?
[UPDATE] The identity of the anonymous sender has been revealed! He trusted someone he shouldn’t have. Still deliberating on the best thing to do with this info.
A Very Strange Email
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from an anonymous sender making some pretty outrageous claims about The Lost Dogs Home. He wrote that they had hired someone with slaughterhouse experience to be their new operations manager. The “evidence” provided was a LinkedIn profile that looked potentially fake.
A Very Strange Profile
Someone obviously spent a lot of time creating the profile but as was pointed out to me by a Linkedin user, it’s quite possibly a fake.
- it doesn’t link to The Lost Dogs’ Home’s real Linkedin profile.
- Anyone can say they worked anywhere on Linkedin!
Linkedin Is Not Reliable Evidence!
Anyone can say they work at LDH. It took me all of 2 minutes to update my profile to say I was a ‘Voice of Reason’ at LDH. It’s simply not credible evidence is it?
So What’s The Big Deal?
Truth is important! Serious claims like the ones sent to me should not be made (or accepted) without evidence. Ideally the authenticity of that evidence is available to be verified by anyone. That’s not possible with the Linkedin profile I was sent. Sometimes evidence consists of the testimonial of a trusted person. My anonymous emailer did not meet that criteria.
What’s Really Going On Here?
The person who sent me the original email was annoyed when I didn’t write about it. I don’t know why he was going to so much trouble to get me to spread the story. It was suggested that someone may be attempting to discredit some animal welfare advocates. There are now a small number of Facebook accounts who are spreading the Linkedin profile by posting it on other people’s walls (68 since Thursday).
This post is intended as a reminder that we should not believe everything we read on the Internet. We only serve to discredit ourselves when we succumb to intellectual laziness or worse yet, the arrogance of willful ignorance.
While I couldn’t make it to this year’s O’Reilly Velocity 2011 I’m excited so the videos are available to watch for free. My favourite talk from last year was John Rauser’s “TCP and the Lower Bound of Web Performance“.
This year John delivered an excellent talk on entitles look at your data. He demonstrated how looking at averages hides a lot of what’s really going on and identifies how toolmakers might improve their offerings.
“Modern monitoring software makes it easy to plot a statistic like
average latency every minute — too easy. Fancy dashboards of time
series plots often lull us into a false sense of security. Underneath
every point on those plots is a distribution, and underneath that
distribution is a series of individuals: your customers.”
[Update] Kate Hoelter is not among the more than 550 people who have Like’d this post on Facebook! We’re still waiting for her to come back with a figure for the number of animals they fostered out last year.
An animal pound contractor in Australia has discovered that selling themselves as a loving protector of animals can bring millions in donations. The problem is, their business model is based around adopting out a few of the unclaimed animals and killing the rest.
Management at The Lost Dogs Home must be fans of the TV series Mad Men, which featured 50′s ad men trying to sell people on cigarettes in the wake of a Reader’s Digest report that smoking will lead to various health issues including lung cancer.
The following comment was made by Lost Dogs’ Home fundraising staffer Kate Hoelter on the public Facebook Page of one of their ‘Ambassadors’, comedian Claire Hooper. I doubt Claire was ever told the organisation using her face killed 13,594 cats and dogs while reporting a $2.7 mil profit in 2010. Kate’s comment was posted in response to me pointing this fact out to Claire.
Let’s Break It Down Shall We?
The Lost Dogs’ Home does a lot of good work for dogs and cats.
You kill most of them Kate.
We work hard to reunite lost pets with their owners
You refuse to put photos of lost pets on the Internet to make it easier for owners to find them.
and find loving new homes for those who are not claimed.
You killed 6 out of 10 unclaimed dogs last year without ever making them available for adoption.
You close at lunchtime on Sundays even though weekends are the busiest time for adoption.
We run an extensive foster care program
and a behaviour modification program for dogs so they can be rehomed.
How many dogs that failed your temperament test passed after being placed in this program in 2010?
The surplus income was spent on building new facilities
such as The Lost Cats’ Home,
This is a warehouse next door that doesn’t even have an adoption section.
Sick and Injured Shelter
and Training and Education Centre.
you mean to say you’ve been killing pets to save money to build a classroom?
Plans are under way to further improve facilities that will increase our ability to care for and rehome more pets.
The Home runs many proactive services such as the National Pet Register which is responsible for reuniting over 19,000 lost dogs and cats with their owners every year through their microchip and free tag service.
Online pet Licence helps educate new pet owners.
Once again, this has nothing to do with your decision to kill so many of the animals entrusted to your care.
The Home is run by a team of compassionate and dedicated people.
Statistics taken from The Lost Dogs Home Annual Report 2010
Pound Kill Rate Sparks Concern, The Sunday Age [May 1, 2011]
One way to make different versions of a web service available from the same webserver is to allow clients to prepend a version identifier to the URI path. There’s some discussion about the best way to use this but I like to default to no version identifier in URIs.
Passenger makes it easy to run different versions of your Rails web api alongside each other.
Update Your Webserver Config
Passenger allows you to direct traffic to different instances of your app. Here I’m serving brandish_v2 if no version identified is included in the URI.
# /etc/apache2/sites-available/brandish <VirtualHost *:80> ServerName brandish.local CustomLog /var/log/apache2/brandish_access_log combined RackEnv development DocumentRoot /srv/brandish_v2/public RackBaseURI /v1 RackBaseURI /v2 <Directory /srv/brandish_v2/public/v1> Options -MultiViews </Directory> <Directory /srv/brandish_v2/public/v2> Options -MultiViews </Directory> </VirtualHost>
Symlink public/ into your DocumentRoot
This is the only tricky bit. Passenger expects the RackBaseURI’s you used in the web config to point at symlinks to the public/ directories of the different versions of your apps.
ln -s /srv/brandish_v1/public -> /srv/brandish_v2/public/v1 ln -s /srv/brandish_v2/public -> /srv/brandish_v2/public/v2
Note Passenger was failing for me because it expected application.rb to be in controllers directory. I fixed it by creating a symlink from application_controller.rb to application.rb. I’m a bit confused as I thought that had been fixed in recent versions of Passenger. Maybe the RailsBaseURI code is not up to date.
I’m glad Qantas don’t design planes because frankly I don’t think they would fly.
Web based flight bookings are money. They’ve changed the way we travel. Why would Australia’s national airline have such a poorly designed user interface for their booking website?
We don’t always read what’s on the buttons at the bottom of forms unless there are two together. I’d love to see click rates of a the dummy buttons below.
Harder to book
I’m guessing someone in marketing thought the best place to advertise their ‘points and pay’ offering was by linking to it from a submit button on the search form. This button is larger and brighter than the button that submits that takes you to your flight search results. It’s simply a link that opens up this page talking about their ‘points and pay‘ scheme. Fail.
Just to be clear, clicking the bottom on the left does not submit the form!
Harder to pay
At the end of the booking process they provide a dangerous little button sitting on it’s own that discards your input. Fail. How many people in a hurry click this when meaning to submit the form?
What do you do when you want to stop using a service but it’s going to be a lot of effort to extract your data? Write a script to do it of course!
I’ve been using BlinkSale for my invoices since 2007 and it’s served my needs well. Since being bought, BlinkSale has increased their monthly costs. In order to stop using them I needed to download 90 invoices as PDF’s. The following script automated the process for me.
If you have Ruby and the mechanize rubygem you can download and run it with:
curl -L http://bit.ly/mkQqan -o blinksave && ruby blinksave
Because it asks for your BlinkSale password you really should read through the code to make sure this is not a phishing trip! Look how easy Mechanize makes this kind of task.
Have you stopped listening to new music? If you don’t have cool “music seeker” friends providing your aural fix then perhaps it’s time you become that person. If you’re into the shit I’m into then you’re in luck my friend. A fellow known only as “Shankly” has been putting monthly compilations on the net for a few years now. While much of it won’t take your fancy, some of it might and that can lead you to some great new music.
Sounds Great, What Do I Do
- Download this months edition of “Shanklys Mixtapes”
- Listen to the 80 tracks noting the ones you like
- Make a shortlist of albums to download. On a good month I find 5.
- After listening to the albums a few times, go buy the best ones.
Doesn’t That Make Me A Criminal?
Hey, how many albums did you buy last year? None? Because you don’t know what to get?
What’s criminal is that people don’t know this stuff is out there. Why does Radio and TV play absolute shit when there are true artists creating beautiful music.
1. Vaccines – If You Wanna (Live)
2. REM – Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter
3. Foo Fighters ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ Rope
4. Arctic Monkeys – Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
5. Debbie Harry & Franz Ferdinand – Live Alone
6. Wombats – I’m A Robot Like You
7. Glasvegas – The World Is Yours
8. Elbow – Lippy Kids
9. Wolf Gang – Dancing With The Devil
10. White Lies – Is Love (Stereolab Remix)
11. Lykke Li – Rich Kids Blues
12. Yeasayer – Swallowing the Decibels
13. Uffie – Wordy Rappinghood (Evian Mix)
14. Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours (Passion Pit Remix)
15. Kassidy – I Dont Know
16. Deftones – Drive (Cars)
17. Gruff Rhys – Take A Sentence
18. Sara Lov – Hold Me Now (Thompson Twins)
19. Aretha Franklin – God Bless The Child
20. Radiohead – Supercollider
1. Decemberists – Down By The Water (Live)
2. Okkervil River – Rider
3. My Morning Jacket – Holdin On To Black Metal
4. New Pornographers – A Drug Deal Of The Heart
5. Laura Stevenson & The Cans – Master of Art
6. Felice Brothers – Fire at the Pageant
7. Zoey Van Goey – You Told The Drunks I Knew Karate
8. Iron & Wine – Godless Brother In Love
9. National – Exile Vilify
10. Antlers – Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out
11. Boxer Rebellion – Step Out of the Car
12. Cascadeur – Walker
13. Watson Twins – Angelene
14. Low – Especially Me
15. Caroline – Sleep
16. William Fitzsimmons – The Tide Pulls From The Moon
17. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bubble
18. Roddy Woomble – Work Like You Can
19. Matt Sweeny & Bonnie Prince Billy – Must Be Blind
20. Shearwater – Missing Islands
1. Akron Family – Island
2. Dengue Fever – Cannibal Courtship
3. Dirtbombs – Good Life (Inner City)
4. Grinderman – Evil
5. PJ Harvey ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ England
6. Bill Callahan – America!
7. Parenthetical Girls – Handsome Devil (Smiths)
8. British Sea Power – Stunde Null
9. Art Brut – Clever Clever Jazz
10. My Dad Vs. Yours – Wildcat Strike
11. Buffalo Tom – Down
12. Flaming Lips – Drug Chart
13. Airborne Toxic Event – All at Once
14. Parts And Labour – Fake Names
15. Help Stamp Out Loneliness – Record Shop
16. Thomas Tantrum – Its Like Drums
17. Snowmen ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ Hyena
18. Young Knives – Love My Name
19. Black Feather – Paperhouse (Can)
20. Ema – California
1. Dananananayckroyd ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ Reboot
2. And So I Watch You From Afar – BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION
3. Standard Fare ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ Suitcase
4. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Girl of 1,000 Dreams
5. Boogie Monster – Castle In The Clouds
6. Los Campesinos! – Light Leaves, Dark Sees
7. Woebot – Blues
8. Mogwai – Hasenheide (B)
9. Sorry Kisses – Drifting In the Dark
10. Four Tet ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ Pinnacles
11. Johnny Foreigner – What Drummers Get
12. Tinklers – Don’t Put Your Finger In The Fan
13. Grails – All The Colors Of The Dark
14. Mazes – Most Days
15. Battles ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ Futura
16. Bearsuit – Princess, You’re a Test
17. She’s Hit – RE_PEATER
18. Moonbell – Nostalgia For The Future
19. Lovely Eggs – Muhammad Ali and All His Friends
20. Kontakte – The Ocean Between You And Me
When Rackspace bought Slicehost in 2008 I suspected it would only be a matter of time before they ruined it. In May 2011 Rackspace announced that they will be shutting down Slicehost. It’s sad news for a lot of people who have been a part of the “slicehost community” for this was a company that customers felt a part of. Co-founder Matt Tanase says in this video interview the news “tears him up inside”.
When I first signed up for a slicehost VPS in 2006 I was dubious about how $20/month could buy me a server with 256MB memory and 100GB of traffic throughput. There was no signup fee, no minimum contract period and the management software was so simple and clear. My concerns that it would be oversubscribed and poorly supported were proved wrong. I was soon won over!
The guys who ran the company, Matt and Jason, also ran the servers. They chatted with customers on IRC and answered emails. Somehow they even found time to produce a podcast where they spoke candidly about their experiences and plans. Through the podcast the guys really made us feel like we were there with them.
One of the hot topics in the early days was the waitlist. Slicehost was an overnight success and the guys had to deal with its popularity. The waiting list for new VPS’s was stretching out to weeks when they came up with a novel solution. If you were willing to prepay for future months service you could move further up the queue. I can recall when paying for 6 months in advance would give you a server same day. It solved their cash flow problem and allowed them to buy more hardware.
The following year they explained the downside to this approach. The tax office saw all the prepayments as income and wanted them to pay tax on them but saw their expenditure on servers as capital expenses which could only be depreciated over several years. They were faced with a big tax bill.
I’m sad to see slicehost being dismantled. This comes on the tail of Cisco announcing their plans to kill the Flip. What is it with companies buying great products and killing them?
I’ll leave you with episode 4 of the slicehost podcast. I don’t think you’re ever going to get something this raw from Rackspace.