James 'theFinn' Atkinson's Blog Posts


For a number of years, this was James 'theFinn' Atkinson's blog post site.
Content is from the site's 2003-2005 archived pages.
Where are you now James 'theFinn' Atkinson.

Random Thought of the Day...

If I never changed this again would you even notice?

Name:James 'theFinn' Atkinson
Location:Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

I'm a mid-20's computer programmer, married, with a son.
I work for a travel company building online booking software.
I'm also an active open source developer/project manager for a large open source project.




2005 Posts

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Ok just a quick post here to let you all know that the pictures are up from the trip. I just tossed up a very basic Gallery install and threw them in so if you don't know what's in the picture you'll just have to guess.

There are about 350 images in the gallery and I have another 170 that are broken. I've tried various imaging software on them but nothing can open them. They report 'Missing SOS marker', I figure thats pretty bad but I can't find much info on it. Again, if anyone knows a way to fix these images it'd be much appreciated.

You can find the gallery here, enjoy!

Ta for now...

posted by theFinn at 2/22/2005 12:00:00 PM

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Back to the Grind...

Well, the trip home was pretty uneventful. Luftansa and Air Canada managed to get their planes off the ground in a timely manner this time, and they gave me emergency exit row seats on 2/3 of the planes I was on so I actually had some leg room. On the plane ride back I sat next to a gentleman from New York City who promoted eco-friendly solutions to everyday problems. When he learned what I did for a living, he became very excited about a project he was currently working on, promoting green local carpet cleaning nyc. Apparently most rug cleaning processes are quite toxic and so his green solution was becoming very popular in the big city. He had been looking for a way to automate some of the routing and bookkeeping routines. When I explained that php and mysql were made for just that, we got into a business discussion. Short story: looks like I may have new client - we're scheduled to talk next week. I was pretty dead by the time we rolled into Calgary so I took an extra day off work to wake up. I can't recommend sleeping on the cold marble floor of the Rome airport, it isn't fun.

The office didn't self destruct while I was gone, but the phpBB.com server got pretty hosed by some worthless hacker. Luckly my team did a great job of getting it back up and running. Props to our webhost, Doreo, for the hard work of getting the server back and getting us running on a temp server till our main one is functional again. If you need web hostingcheck them out!

On our call this morning, Jocelyn was so upset she could hardly speak. Turns out the contractor handling her condo renovation just quit on her after everything was gutted. I partially consoled her by reminding her of my own disaster in which custom cabinet maker George Vlamakis & Akpon Custom Cabinetry (read my post if you're considering him) completely botched and then abandoned me. I agree her situation is much worse, but somehow my consoling did help. I pointed her to our family's contractor who has been a reliable guy for 10 over years, working on various family properties and he's already agreed to step in.

I've got about 500 pictures from our trip, however quite a few of them are screwed up. It seems our camera is getting ready to kick the bucket so while I've got the pictures on the SD card I can't view them because everything says they're corrupted. If anyone knows how to repair a jpeg image please let me know! I'll have the ones that did work up in a gallery this weekend, assuming I can pull myself away from Eve Online.

Anywho....back to work...sigh..

posted by theFinn at 2/17/2005 09:28:00 AM



Friday, February 11, 2005

Travel Day 8: Hello from Rome!

Hi Everyone,

First off excuse lack of punctuation and weird characters. I'm typing on an Italian keyboard and a lot of the letters spit out something unexpected.

Anywho, the trip has been great so far. Air Canada screwed us over a little bit and out flight out of Calgary was 2 hours late leaving (most of that spent sitting waiting to be deiced), so we missed out connecting flight in Frankfurt and had to wait 4 hours for the next one. Thus we lost most of our day in Amsterdam. We still had a good time there though, we wandered about the city, saw the Red Light district, and had dinner at a great Indian restaurant.

The next day we hopped at TGV high speed train to Paris via Brussels. For the first hour and a half I sat there wondering where the 'high speed' was, then we got out of Brussels. Wow...the train followed the highway and we were whipping past cars doing 130km/h like they were standing still! It was quite the ride.

Paris was great. We saw Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower the first day, then the Louvre and the Arc du Triaumph (spelled that wrong..) the second day. The camera really got a work out. I took over 100 pictures in Notre Dame alone. All I can really say is that the pictures don't do any of these monuments justice! The Eiffel Tower is just HUGE! You can't understand the size of it until you stand under it. The view from the top is pretty amazing too. Notre Dame is pretty massive too, and the windows are magnificent

Next it was on to Venice overnight on the train. It was interesting sleeping on a train and we got to see a little of the Swiss alps out the window. We rolled into Venice at about 9am. It was the last day of Carnival and there were people walking around all over in lavish costumes. Heather got her face painted and bought a mask. She couldn't trick me into wearing one however, ha! We got lost a couple times in Venice and saw plenty of canals. St. Marks basilica is nice, but after seeing Notre Dame it kind of paled in comparison. Lots of intricate mosaics though. We took it easy in our last day in Venice, and had some great food just let our feet rest.

Then it was off to Rome. We missed our train out of Venice because I forgot my passport back at the hotel and had to hope a Vapporetto (water bus) back and get it. No problem though since there are 7 trains daily between Venice and Rome. We got another one that left 20mins later but went though Bologna.

So that brings us to Rome. We got in at about 5pm last night and checked into our hotel. We've got free high speed internet here so we took advantage of that and checked our email and whatnot then went out of a really nice dinner at a little restaurant across the street from the Colosseum. It was really expensive but our waiter (Ricardo!) really made it a great time. Today we took in the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (the excavated ruins of ancient Rome), we hooked up with a tour group and for a mere 8 euros got a great tour of both sites. We're going to take their tour of the Vatican tomorrow if we can make it there by 9am.

Anywho, we're off to dinner now. Hope everyone else is having fun too


posted by theFinn at 2/11/2005 09:47:00 AM



Friday, February 04, 2005

Travel Day 0: Departures

Well, it's 1pm MST and I'm at my in-laws house about 45mins. North of Calgary. We'll be leaving for the airport in about an hour. Our flight (Air Canada 844) from Calgary to Frankfurt leaves at 5:45pm so we should be there will in advance to get through security and such.

Everything conspired against me last night to keep me awake. As if the anticipation of the trip wasn't enough. First, it was the baby whining in his sleep, then the dogs barking as my sister-in-law came home, then my brain just decided that I shouldn't be allowed to sleep. I was laying there, just drifting off when 'BANG!' a balloon pops in my left ear, or so it seemed. I saw the balloon in my mind, I heard it pop, I jumped, and my eyes flew open. Hell, even my ear was left ringing...stupid brain...

Anyway, T-minus 1hour to departure. If I can find an internet cafe in Amsterdam I'll post some pictures! Wooo!

posted by theFinn at 2/4/2005 01:43:09 PM>



Friday, January 21, 2005

4 days?!??

So we booked our tickets to Europe today. We managed to get the exact flights we wanted. Into Amsterdam and out from Rome. The only problem is our Rome flight leaves at 7 in the morning, so we need a way to get from our Hotel in the city out to the airport by 5am. It's looking like a taxi is our only hope. We might check into a hotel close to the airport for our last night then just walk but I haven't decided yet.

Our tickets are booked, and should be printing as I speak, but they're not paid for yet. Turns our when you make a credit card payment on your banks website it takes 4 business days(!?!?) before the payment will post to your account. It boggles the mind that in this day and age it takes them 4 damn days to process an online payment. Crazy.

The hotel we're going to get in Rome has in-room high speed internet access so I should be posting from the road there, look forward to it!

Ta ta....

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. We're saving crazy money on our rail passes because Rail Europe offeres, brace yourself, a 75% agents discount! It's only going to cost me around $230 Canadian for our two passes. I love my IATA card!

posted by theFinn at 1/21/2005 05:08:09 PM




2003 Posts

OMG a Gallery!

Posted: October 28th, 2003 by theFinn

Ok, I whipped up some gallery code today based on a really cool dropshadow/thumbnail class I found. The only hard part was getting PHP, GD, and libjpeg to play nice together.

So far there are only a couple pictures of Quint but I'll be dumping a ton of pictures in when I get home from work tonight. Enjoy!

Update: Ok, I think the gallery is done. I'll be posting the code for it in the 'code' section after I clean it up a bit and add some comments. I'll post the code that runs the whole site (it's sort of a mini phpBB portal) if anyone's interested..




Posted: October 9th, 2003 by theFinn

October 9, 2003 at 8:34 was born Quintin Micheal James. He's a healthy 8lbs 4oz. Both him and his mom are doing great, after having contractions since 5am she pushed him out in a short 2 hours at the hospital. Anyway, without further ado, PICTURES!


Now the real fun begins..



Quotes, Now Playing, and witty rejoinders

Posted: October 3rd, 2003 by theFinn

As you can probably tell the 'Random Quote' now works, you can even add your own favorite quotes right here. I'm not validating them or anything but if I see any I don't like I'll remove them. Try not to add anything too stupid..

Also working is the 'Now Playing' section. It's just a grab of ShoutCasts XML output so it doesn’t give too much info, but you can at least see what’s playing at a glance. Also I've got a listing of all the music currently in the rotation up. There's about 44 albums loaded up, mostly Bad Religion (even a weird album they put out in '82 that sounds so not like them..).

The only thing left to do with the site is get the gallery going again. I've got a bunch of pics from a friend wedding that we attended last month. I got hammered and around the end of the night thought it would be a good idea to sing 'You've lost the Lovin' Feeling' ala Top Gun to the bride...It wasn't my idea but I went along with it. My co-workers and friends have been merciless in their mocking of me... Oh well, such is life. We had tons of fun and it was well worth it.

Lastly, the kid is due any day now. Heather's due date is Monday and she's had a lot of energy and desire to clean the house lately so everyone thinks she's going to pop really soon. With that in mind I'm going to try and get the gallery done this weekend, then everyone can look at sickeningly cute pictures of my child.

And remember, don't do anything I wouldn't do!



Can't leave well enough alone....

Posted: September 29th, 2003 by theFinn

Well, the other day Gentoo blew up on me. Something with portage and samba when wrong, then su decided that it didn't want me to have root access. So I gave it the boot and installed my old favorite Debian. What started as a simple OS re-install has turned into a whole site re-design. My color scheme stayed the same (pretty much) but I've redone the backend code. It's now relying entirly on phpBB for handling the news, the sub-pages (code and gallery at the moment) are all static, and you can 'discuss' news now too.

Along with this I'm working on a ShoutCast server so you all can listen to Radio theFinn in your spare time. Hit up http://www.thefinn.net:8080 with your favoite MP3 player and see if it's up.




People that talk during movies... - May 21, 2003

... are the worst members of society. I'm serious, I hate these people. Over the weekend Heather and I went to see a movie. Actually, we went to Home Depot because I was trying to find some sand paper because I'm going to be painting my laptop. However, they only had up to 600 grit, and I need all the way up to 2000. I'm going to try Canadian Tire and see if I can find some in their Auto Paint repair section but if that doesn't pan out I'm going to have to find a finishing shop and pay though the nose for sand paper. Anyway where was I? Oh ya, after the Home Depot disappointment we decided we didn't want to go home so we went over to the 'Movies 12', a discount theater of sorts where you can see older movies for $2.00. This is great for us because we haven't seen the movies that are currently playing there. So we got tickets for Dreamcatcher, mainly because we wanted to see the Animatrix short 'Final Flight of the Osiris'. We settled in with our snacks to start watching. The two women seated next to us were conversing but I figured they'd settle down once the movie started. I was wrong. These two ignorant cows chatted throughout the ENTIRE movie commenting on this scary scene or that shocking plot twist and generally making me completely insane. I mean really, I know I only paid two bucks to see this film but that doesn't mean you can blather on and on throughout the entire thing and generally fuck up my movie going experience...arrg..

Speaking of movies, I saw The Matrix: Reloaded on Thursday and all I can say is that it totally rocked. We saw it in the Silvercity at West Edmonton Mall and it was SOOOOOO nice to see a movie in a real theater. Stadium seating. Big screen. Awesome sounds. I was in heaven. The the movie itself...well all I can say is I've never had a hard-on throughout a movie that wasn't porn before ;)

Finally, I've actually got something to show for the month of time I've been working here. The corporate site is finished and going up today. After the DNS changes have propagated you'll see it at funsunvacations.com. There's not much there, just basic information about the company and some marketing propaganda but there's quite a bit of back-end code that was kinda fun to do... Anyway thats it for this update. Maybe I can get the next one out in a decent amount of time :)



- James 'SHUT THE HELL UP!' Atkinson

Oh right, Canada is COLD! - Apr 30, 2003

Well, we're back in Canada again. We've been here almost a month now and I'm glad to be back in civilization. The one downside is that Edmonton is REALLY FUCKING COLD! It was warm for like 2 days then it got cold again. Although it's nothing compared to winter, -40C, cold but it's still chilly compared to the Caribbean.

We've found a little house in North Edmonton to live in, it's not much and needs some fixing up (new fence and paint and stuff) but it should do us pretty well for the next 6 months or so. Once the baby is born we're probably gonna find a bigger place though.

Thats about it for this update...damn I'm boring..

- James 'ZZZzzzzz....' Atkinson



My how things change... - Mar 15, 2003

Well, since my last update various life changing things have happened.

First off, yesterday I gave my notice that I'm leaving this company and this island. I'm moving back to Canada at the end of this month.

Second, I've taken a job at a travel company in Edmonton Alberta. The company is pretty large, has over 300 employees at their Edmonton office, and other offices in Hawaii, Toronto, and Costa Rica. They're Canada's largest supplier of vacation packages to travel agents. According to the guy I interviewed with they are VERY profitable, so hopefully this is a company that I can stay with for a longer period of time that I've managed in the past. I'll be the lead web developer, but thats not saying much because I'll also be the only web developer. They're just started to get into web stuff so it'll be my job to take over the stuff they had previously been out-sourcing and build and improve upon it. I'm excited it should be a fun job.

And lastly, but by far the most significant, My lovely better half Heather is pregnant. This is the impetus of us moving back to Canada, I'm not going to let the witch doctors down here touch my child. She's currently 11 weeks pregnant and is due some time in early October. I'm scared, excited, and still a little shocked by the whole thing. Everyone says I'll make a great dad but I don't know, I just hope I don't screw up too bad. Heather's parents are very excited, it'll be their first grandchild so they're already planning all kinds of stuff. We've picked names already, if it's a boy it'll be Quinton Michael James Atkinson, Michael is Heather's dad, and James is my, my father, and my grandfather's name. If we have a girl it'll be Veronica Karen Atkinson, Veronica is Heather's great aunt's name, and Karen is my dear deceased mother's name.

So, anyone who reads this crap and lives in Edmonton get a hold of me, I'm going to need some friends there. Sorry this wasn't funny but I couldn't think of anything amusing to say :)

- James 'Turns out my guys can swim pretty well' Atkinson




2002 POSTS

'da Weekend - Posted on Jul 21, 2002 @ 12:07am by James 'theFinn' Atkinson

Anothing weekend is on us, and for the first time in a while I DON'T have to work :)

I'm borrowing a car from work for the next couple weeks so the little woman and I have been cruising all over the island. Today we went into town and I got myself some new sandles then we went down to Lambert bay and splashed around in the water for a while...

Tommorow we're heading out for an afternoon/night dive. This'll be my first night dive so it should be pretty cool. We'll most likly be diving the RMS Rhone. A ship that went down off Salt Island in 1967. I've dove the Rhone once before but it should be really cool at night :D

If you cick around a bit you'll notice I've decided to put all the pages in the database. That'll make it easier for me to update them. The code to display pages out of the DB is done (goto the resume or work pages and click view source too see how it works), now I've just gotta get the forum up and customized and write some kind of gallery page for pictures. Then I'll have a great excuse to buy a digital camera.

Thats it for now. Have a great weekend all!



Getting there.. - Posted on Jul 08, 2002 @ 9:07pm by James 'theFinn' Atkinson

Well, it's getting there. I've finished up the backend code for adding news and the little boxes over of the right. I've also got the code done for editing the boxes and news (my edit of this post is the final test). Next up on my list of stuff to do for the site is to rig up a snazzy little source code viewer so you all can look at my source code (you know you want to).

Once that's done I will have finished all the 'fun' stuff and I'll get to work on the subpages. I'll most likly make the code for the news and boxes available for download in the 'work' section. I'm also going to do up a little code for the pictures section, nothing as fancy as Gallery, just something that shows thumbnails and such based on the contents of my picture directories. That'll be up for download as well at some point I'm sure.

Anyway, back to work for me (real work), I've got a big dead line for the 15th and *REALLY* don't want to work the weekend.



Random Quote

Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.

James Atkinson

Box 3263 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Phone: 284.499.5401

Work Experience

CPMD Internet Consultancy - Jan. 2002 to Present Tortola, British Virgin Islands
PHP Developer

  • Developed and handled back-end programming for over 20 web sites.
  • Implemented innovative solutions to complex problems faced by our clients.
  • Worked directly with clients to create the most dynamic and attractive web sites possiable.
  • Implemented initutives to improve development enviroments, such as the use of CVS and implementation of a project staging server.
Comments: This job has been a very busy and challenging position. I have expanded my knowledge of PHP, HTML, Perl, and Javascript. I have also become more familar with both Linux and Windows administration, image manipulation, and have improved my client relations skills.

For more information on web sites that I have developed and maintained for CPMD and its clients please see my portfolio.

100world.com Inc. - Aug. 2000 to Aug. 2001
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
PHP Developer

  • Lead Developer on a multi-million dollar cargo shipping web development project.
  • Developed a large scale, PHP based, auction site platform
  • Made development archetecture desisions and supervised a team of 4 developers on thier implemenation.
Comments: In this position I had the oppertunity to lead a team of very skilled web developers in a year long project to create a 'reverse auction' site for a German company trying to break into the ship brokering industry. I greatly improved my knowledge of PHP, HTML, and Oracle administration along with my managment and software design skills.

VSN Inc. - April 2000 to July 2000
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
PHP Developer, Internal Development

  • Designed, developed, and implemented a project management system for managing our team of tele-commuting employees
  • Created web based systems for tracking time on various projects
  • Built a system to change passwords on the companies web servers (over 400,000 accounts).
Comments: This position was my first after leaving college, it was a tele-commuting job and I had the oppertunity to work from my home. I was in charge of developing tools to help the other 'virtual employees' keep track of the projects, tasks, and jobs that we were working on. I greatly expanded my knowledge of PHP and MySQL and, since I was working from home on my own time, became very good at time managment and prioitizing.