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Name: Ben Fowler
Member since: 2000-05-07 07:38:41
Last Login: 2013-10-01 09:50:46

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Bored software engineer working in finance, and studying physics in London. Beer drinker, ALP supporter, militant skeptic, keen traveller, science geek. Married to my gorgeous Spanish angel, Sabina.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, I grew up in a country basketcase called Toowoomba, where I wasted far too much of my life, and was kicked out of home and school at 15 years of age.

After working shitty menial jobs, I moved to the Gold Coast and worked more shitty menial jobs, before I got wise, qualified for entry into IT at Queensland Univerity of Technology in Brisbane, supporting myself with yet more shitty menial jobs. Graduated with honours and distinction, although I was foiled in my plans of getting a First or 2-1 after burning out in my final semester.

I subsequently joined the TITANIUM Project at the Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC) at the University of Queensland, where we did world-class research into electronic health records. When the tories began trashing IT research in Australia, I considered joining the military before the tories began trashing Third World countries and so I joined the ALP instead.

I emigrated to the UK in 2005, and worked for a startup in Guildford for a year, before returning to London to work for my current employer, a large financial software company.

Over the years, I've had a variety of jobs: labourer, sales clerk, bakery breadpacker, storeman, photographic printer and software engineer. I'm now quite happy to stick with white-collar work. In my spare time, I study towards my goal of enrolling in, and eventually completing a science degree.

Through HUMBUG I know billsb, zenalot, ajt, Jerub, mbp and bradm.

Recent blog entries by bjf

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Hello again Advogato, it's been a long time!

It's been almost a decade since I've posted to my Advogato blog, and there's been a lot of water under the bridge since I was in college in Australia.

Somehow in that ten years, I managed to not produce much Open Source software of value, despite my involvement with HUMBUG, but have managed to move countries, become a citizen of said country, meet my wife, learn a new language, change jobs several times, and enrol in a physics degree. What a difference a decade makes!

I'm looking forward to getting back in touch with Advogato, and seeing how the regulars have gotten on over the years!


I haven't posted for a while, because I've moved all my ranty political posts to my new blog. Hopefully, the signal-noise ratio has improved around here to some extent.

I also note too that my certification level has returned to Earth. Maybe somebody's tuned the trust metric?


I took a week off and forked over my own hard-earned for the trip to Adelaide to rubberneck all the FOSS action at LCA. So far it's been pretty good, although I eschewed the OSS in Government track (which I originally registered for) in favour of more technical content (and more time hanging out at the Apple booth).

I met a couple of people I hadn't seen in a long time. Also took some photos as some photographic proof for my mates back home in Brisbane. By all accounts, the top hackers seem like personable, approachable, likeable guys, and the atmosphere is fantastic. It's not hard to see why the likes of Linus Torvalds like LCA.

Tomorrow, the conference itself starts and I'll have huge dilemmas choosing which talks I want to get to. Decisions, decisions :)


A state election was called today in my home state, and less than two hours later, I got a call from my buddies in the ALP asking for some help with letterboxing. Those guys work fast.

I think I'll leave speculating about what's going through Beattie's head for my blog. Nevertheless, with the start of the major project at work, the upcoming state and local elections and my renewed committment to training, I expect to be very busy indeed!

8 Nov 2003 (updated 8 Nov 2003 at 06:05 UTC) »
berend de Boor seems to be embracing his new role the stand-in reactionary dumbass for mglazer. Dude, you come across as an ignorant knee-jerk dittohead. Lose the politics already.

What is it about these twits and their blind worship of authority and the free market?

And a correction, dimwit: both major parties are so far Right, it's not funny. The Democrats are pro-market conservatives with a marginalised fringe elements of liberals. The Republicans are a group of hard-Right proto-fascists. Most of the Right in the rest of the civilised world is still way left of the US' notion of "centre".

2 Nov 2003 (updated 2 Nov 2003 at 14:28 UTC) »
Detecting libexslt

I'm currently fixing a little problem with a program I use at work. I had to add a call to exsltRegisterAll() from libexslt (the library that's bolted onto libxslt that implements the EXSLT XSLT extension functions) to fix the problem.

Now pkgconfig has configurations for libxml and libxslt, but some bright spark forgot to allow programmers to add support for detecting/linking-in libexslt. There's no M4 script included anywhere in libxslt either to do the job. Necessity is the mother of invention, I guess.

A Veteran Applauds KB Toys

Is this open letter addressed to the same vicious neo-Fascist who occasionally crapfloods Advogato?

Even if not, it's still an interesting read, and a fine example of how incredibly ignorant, blinkered and gullible some people can be.

236 older entries...


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