Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The latest Welcome Screen to

Well the first bits of the first application have been created in proof-of-concept on a development machine. This will allow MediBlog users to create "Clients" and then maintain some data for them. The first scenario available to users will be for Parents and community practitioners to maintain some Child Development metrics and then view them again the WHO standards.

This has required the use of WHO data (thanks!) and some of the clever tools delivered to the users of the latest releases of MyEclipseIDE.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Well we have a bank account, and it has some money in it - to pay for the hosting of our new site at with Rimu hosting. The site is now up & running and anyone is free to create a user ID and have a look around. There really isn't much to see yet but if you can figure out how to join a community (I'd recommend MediBlog Central!) then on the private pages of your community membership you can add a Mail portlet to collect emails from other providers. You will also notice that Chat is available too. We have some investigation to see exactly how that relates but it has been tested and works well.

The next few steps are the real "New" ones, we're putting together the "requirements" of the first Java application so that the "MVC" stuff all hangs together nicely in a discrete portlet. Watch this space!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Very soon it will all be about Branding. At some point we need a proper artist to create the images and colours that best convey our message. This does remind me a bit of Google's initial logos which were obviously done in MS Word Art. The current logo on was done with Visio and Paint. Which is why it's so awful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

dev url


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Server Time (Again)

Momentous day: today I ordered a Virtual Private Server from Rimu Hosting for Mediblog/Medys. How cool is that? well not very - all you need is a few dollars - the rest of the project is the hard work, eh?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Server Time

We had another short meeting last week and agreed to procure the server within the next week or so; the plan is to install the Liferay portal so we can start to get something up & running on the net and understand a little more about the issues of change control and portal integration (as well as the small matter of creating some Medys applications & Portlets. Watch this space!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Want to know about cancer?

..well if you do, I can recommend this special edition of Scientific American. It is slightly more "technical" than many would like to see but I'd say its the best introduction to what is known about cancer at the moment, and what is going on the research world to find cures. This will save a lot of hours searching for stuff in the internet. It's nice to see mention of Ralph Steinman in the piece on dendritic cells, Ralph is on the scientific review board of the Histiocytosis Research Trust, I met him once at the Nikolas Symposium, a really nice guy as well as a great scientist.

MS HealthVault

Just discovered the stuff the Microsoft are working on called healthvault. This appears to be a site and toolkit and a developer community and a whole bunch of other stuff around the idea of putting personal health data on the internet. They seem to be encouraging, in a kind of open-source-ish way, a whole new ecosystem. I expect this is some kind of response to google health and all the other things and ultimately aimed at generating money from advertising (tut, tut!) I think this is, like Google Health, a potentially good development as it is one more system that might encourage people to think it's a good idea to put health data on the internet. One guy in the blogosphere, Jon Udell (here), has done more research on healthvault than I can be bothered to do so have look at that link for more info on it. Incidentally, you can't get into it from outside the USA so that rules me out anyway!

PS - still doing more thinking than doing but all is not forgotten. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


..Not much to update yet, things are slowly happening on the corporate side (shareholder changes, new directors, bank account...) so will soon have a hosted server to play on. The WHO centile application is being specified which will be the first thing on the site. We have the latest versions of MyEclipseIDE for the development and will be finding some branding for the MediBlog site. Interesting that MyEclipse now includes some features for Portlets, about time I reckon! It's nice to see that portlet development is being recognised as serious requirement, I'm not sure how useful the specific functionality will be for us but we'll be checking it out.

Finally, Liferay are now on release 5.1 which has some very interesting new features - this does make things a bit tricky as we'll have to choose the initial platform version soon and they keep adding nice new things so fast its always tempting to wait for the next one..!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yet mooooore Goooogle

...a final question for Reid was about LinkedIn's support for the OpenSocial API's that are co-ordinated by Google. Something else to contend with I suppose, at least this is an "Industry" initiative and not just Gooooooogle again.

Liferay have been thinking about this so we may not have to invent too much new stuff ourselves hopefully.

Linked In?

I recently set up an ID on LinkedIn after someone I know invited me to join it, then people I used to work with invited me to join their "network" too, then a couple of recruitment agencies I used used to recruit asked me to join their networks, then a couple of recruitment agents contacted me to suggest a few jobs I might want to apply for, then I heard on Radio 4 "In Business" that some companies were checking up on people via LinkedIn - i.e. they were contacting people in candidates networks and informally asking for a reference. At that point I decided to add some useful information there. I've now set up an Alumni Group for a company I used to work for and invited a few ex-colleagues to join and now have 17 people in the group after only 5 days. Several people are those I didn't actually know, its interesting how the word has spread about it.

Having spent more time on LinkedIn recently I have been impressed with how clever it is - the functionality is quite neat the way it presents you with information about your network and their activities, etc. It's also very quick - to explore how they do this I did a search on Google and as usual got distracted with some background to the company behind it. The key founder is a guy called Reid Hoffman and at the Wikpedia link there's a link to a talk he gave recently on "his thoughts on launching and growing a successful technology business". This covered some stuff directly relevant to MediBlog, one of the immediate messages that hit home was that he was not too interested in the actual revenue streams, instead the focus of a start up should be to have ideas about "placeholders" for your advertising or other revenue ideas plus:

1) How do you get your first million users?
2) How do you get to ten million users?

That is quite scary, the implication being that a start-up should plan to have capacity for 1-10 million users without necessarily have all the revenue to support it. That will require some confidence when we have to move off the initial set of hardware - we probably need to think about that one day soon.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Scalable Social Networks

Brian Chan, one of the Liferay founders is presenting at Jax 08 about how to use Liferay for scalability:

"How do I scale massively the way Facebook and MySpace do? Both Facebook and MySpace are written in scripting languages that have inherent benefits that traditional Java technology-based portals lack. The session shows how to run your own Portal without using HTTP sessions, so that a deployer can scale the same way Facebook scales with PHP and MySpace scales with ColdFusion."

Of course, will be outrageously successful and all our problems will be related to scaling up to meet the demand. Well possibly. Seriously though, it would be interesting to hear this talk as I have some concerns about Java scalability vs performance following uncertain experiences with SAP Web Application Servers, sadly time & money are against a trip to Germany to hear it :(


I had a brief conversation with Steve yesterday afternoon as he'd just got Liferay up & running on Glassfish & MySQL and wondered what best to do next (clearly there must have been some downtime between Jerry Springer and pub opening times...) . Last year I had an estimate from Liferay to configure the email portlet to work on the site and was quoted 3 days, on that basis one would assume that its a difficult task so I suggested "get the email portlet working" as the next step - saying "respect due" if he managed to do it.

A few hours later got the text "You may respect me at your leisure, mail portlet up and running".

I wonder how he did it..?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

...and on...

Update so far: after some thoughts of offshoring the development to India it turns out that Steve has returned to the UK for a while and has some time available to do some more work on the project. Hurrah.

Here's what's happening now:

* All (re)approved the idea of activating the company; to confirm, that means we all have 25% each
* Everyone is happy to invest the required cash to get the proof-of-concept on the net.
* We need to have some mechanism in place for recognising effort - i.e. if for some reason one of us can't contribute time and/or money then we can't "Carry" them forward indefinitely and so that person's shareholding must be diluted somehow. Similarly, if someone is carrying the whole project for long periods of time then that also needs to be recognised somehow.
* we need something in the M&A about the existing shareholders getting first refusal on sale of shares.
* Offshore development: as Steve is offering to spend time getting the Portal on the net then we'll postpone that.

Everyone: pitch in ideas - technical, business, branding, anything and everything
Jeremy: Company secretary, marketing and business development, "accountant"
Mike: DBA, database design, java development, reporting
Richard: CEO, strategy, technical development: java development and portal admin, domain registrar admin
Steve: CTO, system admin, development framework advisor, java and portal development

Next Steps
Jeremy & I are meeting next week to hand over company papers so he can activate it; Steve is figuring out the portal implementation issues - especially the Glassfish/MySQL installation and configuration of the standard email and chat portlets, we will all write cheques or transfer cash electronically to the new bank account and then we'll procure the server so that I can start to change the domain DNSs, etc. and Steve can deploy the portal. Mike will have some time in around June/July to produce the database design for the first application and populate it with the pre-requisite reference data. Then we will have the hard graft to build the java applications.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Grinding slowly on...

Next steps are slow to evolve; given the scope of development - even for the "simple" phase one of the mediblog application - I'm thinking of using an offshore development centre. This clearly upsizes the cash injection required to get things moving but may be the best way to breathe life into it. Jury's still out on that and meetings, finally, are being planned to make some sense of it all.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Biting the bullet?

Now we have a working model of the log-in application, including the JAMES email server for handling the mail transactions with new users, the time seems right to get a working application onto the net. This is curiously parallel to another debate I'm involved in with my fellow Love Commandos (the best, "Rock/metal band in Birmingham with a guy who looks like Jesus playing drums"). We're heading into the recording studio soon to begin work on our first album and although its highly improbable that we'll make money out it (or indeed that anyone who's not related to us will want to even listen to it!), we need to plan for a hypothetical contingency that we will have a hit record our hands. In that respect, for both the album and Medys its easier to sort out who owns it before its worth anything than afterwards. So, after years of avoiding the issue, it seems likely that Medys Limited, created in 2000, will stop being a Dormant Company and start being active. Interesting times ahead!