Archive for June, 2009

Colca Canyon

June 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Before reaching Arequipa I moved inland to the Colca Canyon – much wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon, this valley is wide enough to feel like a place that is worth living in; and, of course, people do. Those that do are Aloe farmers or runners of mini-rest-points for the fool-hardy traveller that has decided to trek up/down/around it.

Two times deeper than the Grand Canyon (, at over 4000m in depth, it makes for a good three day trek (scaling the sides alone can take half a day) with two nights on the canyon floor.

The first stop was as an Aloe farmers retreat that had been made a little more traveller friendly – still, electricity was from car batteries (I think) and after a certain time everything was done with torch light or candles. A healthy meal was had on the first night by candlelight under the stars followed coca ‘tea’ – or at least a coca leaf brew… my first experience of this. The leaves were plentiful and it certainly seemed to clear the head – leaving you ready to retire to the stone hut (with dirt floor) to find your bed in the dark…

Map picture

The following day’s trek took me through the canyon floor (with my guide) and on to an oasis style swimming pool (with mini waterfall under which one could massage those trek-induced aching muscles) with further torch lit food and drinks and an early night, allowing us to scale the very steep canyon sides from circa 4am onwards. The ascent took until sunrise, which found us at the cliff top watching the blue moonlight slowly retreat as the yellow of the sun took over the sky.

By the afternoon we sat on the cliff edge by the side of the road watching Condors sweep up and down on the thermals and ridge lifts around them… Never has El Condor Pasa ( sounded so good – however corny that may sound… (Yes, somebody did start playing it on a tape player after we’d been watching them for 45 minutes or so…) – and in reflection, I’d rather by a human being watching it all…

Best memory: half way up the side of the canyon looking over the opposite canyon sides normally grey rock which was so thoroughly lit with moonlight that it was tinged blue in a way that I previously thought only possible with gel filters on a West End Stage – the world is a stage, after all. I hope we all get to the end of the play alive…

Oh, and Best Memory V2: The wonderful arse’s owner from ‘Lima to Pisco’ had turned up again… Good things always come round again. 🙂

Categories: Travel

JQuery Multiple Selection Drop Down List…

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

JQueryNot wanting to appear too geeky at this late stage in the day – but…  This is bloody fantastic! …or, perhaps I should say – this has been implemented to the highest professional standards.  Quite simply spiffing stuff. Change a select tag into a proper drop down list that looks as good as the real thing and works in all browsers.

Here it is in all it’s glory (with inline examples of the thing working – and source code links):

I could do with a ‘D’

June 25, 2009 Leave a comment
Do you remember the good old days when advertising was fun in some way or another…? I watch it nowadays and it seems to lack something. I’d struggle to say that British advertising was the most innovative now – although many people will tell you it’s more subliminal than it was before (I can agree with that),

Gorgeous legs – what was the ad about…?
I have to say that much of the entertainment that used to be there seems to have gone missing. The only exceptions seem to be the strange Honda adverts that tell you all sorts of weird and wonderful things whilst you are treated to all sorts of weird and wonderful cartooons… 
Anyway – enough of this, for some obscure reason I remembered the phrase I could do with a ‘D’, the other day…  and I was en-route to the kitchen for a tea break. Shortly afterwards I had found this advert – not the *best* example of advertising humour (although Boycey(?) from Only Fools and Horses is in it); my overriding memory is the first: nice legs…  followed by pretty much everything including ‘wouldn’t mind living with those three’… Anyway – here it is for you to peruse…
Categories: Entertainment

Quick and Easy T-SQL Split Statement

June 25, 2009 Leave a comment


Here’s a quick and easy Split function to split a comma separated list (for example, although it could be separated with any character) into a table that can be easily joined in the calling statement.

The only bad news here is that you will need SQL 2005 or above for this to work (if my memory serves me correctly) – but then if you’re still running SQL 2000 one has to beg the question, ‘Why?’. 

Anyway – over to the code:

create function Split ( @StringToSplit varchar(2048), @Separator varchar(128))
table as return
indices as
    select 0 S, 1 E
    union all
    select E, charindex(@Separator, @StringToSplit, E) + len(@Separator)
    from indices
    where E > S
    select substring(@StringToSplit,S,case 
        when E > len(@Separator) then e-s-len(@Separator) 
        else len(@StringToSplit) - s + 1 end) String, S StartIndex 
        indices where S >0

Categories: SQL Server Tags: ,

Comma separated list from mapping table as an embedded SELECT statement

June 19, 2009 Leave a comment

T-SQLEver needed to get a comma seperated list instead of another mapping table? Well in these days of Linq this may be old hat – but it’s still nice to remember how to do it. Here’s a quick and easy way to get a list from a linked table constructing the list field using the XML PATH features of SQL Server 2005:


(SELECT CAST(CountryId AS NVARCHAR(10)) + ‘,’ AS [text()]
     FROM UserToCountryMapping AS utcm
    WHERE utcm.UserId = externalSelectTable.UserId
     FOR XML PATH(”)) as Regions

Categories: SQL Server

Location of SQLCMD and SQLPubWiz Executables

June 18, 2009 Leave a comment

T-SQLEver needed the SQL Publishing Wizard as a stand-alone install for a build server – I did and finally found it here:

SQL Publishing Wizard:

You might find you want a copy of SQLCMD.EXE too, it’s here:

Categories: SQL Server Tags: ,


June 14, 2009 Leave a comment

What I was doing in Athens is anyone’s guess… I had got there (from a different place) by train only to find that, as with everywhere else I found myself, I did not speak the language and, hitherto, had felt no particular desire to go in the first place.

Mildly enthusiastic about the possibility of sitting down and discussing high-brow theories of logic vs belief or, alternatively, meeting some gorgeous Greek girl (either would have been fine) I set off for the only recognisable structure in the area…

Once there, and whilst surveying Athens from above, I eavesdropped on an art/history lesson. Interesting, but the only bits of information I didn’t already know I have since forgotten – so a waste of time, it seems. On the gorgeous Greek girl front (if, indeed, I could get anywhere near her front) there was no action; as for the opportunity to discuss logic vs belief on the steps where some old guys chatted ages ago; no luck.

So, some nice photos at least, but little else. I do recall a most splendid cold beer with some snack food somewhere in the narrow streets below the Acropolis – the rest is a blur.

‘Be thankful for the beer’, says my mangled mind in a kind of religious stupor; let us pray: oh Lord please provide us with beer, women and enough money to enjoy the two in large enough quantities that we forget what we did the following morning… Amen.

Categories: Travel
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