Archive for July, 2006

FlexToolbar: Good progress

July 26, 2006

The toolbar program (now called FlexToolbar) was programmed quite successfully, imo. It’s now working (mostly), but the interface is somewhat… quirky. Anyone else who used it would say it’s poorly designed. I would say that I haven’t finished writing it yet.

Some details, if you happened to be interested: it’s like the Quick Launch Bar in Windows… but with tabs! I quite like the Quick Launch Bar… and, as such, tend to crowd it. Indeed, on one of the computers I regularly use I’ve actually given up on trying organising it into just one toolbar and have 3 extra toolbars (albeit just small ones) floating around.

So, instead, you get to create tabs like “Files” or “Programming” or “Web Dev” (well, these are some of the tabs I’m likely to create myself) and drag the appropriate icons onto it. Then you can use the contents of each tab like the Quick Launch Bar. Good stuff.

I imagine I’ll be releasing it at some point in the future (when the interface is a little less quirky), most likely as freeware. So all can join in the merriment!

I’m still sick. Watched National Treasure today, and enjoyed that (I told you not to rely on me for movie reviews). I may at some point post what I thought about Superman, which I saw a week or two ago.

Need to use a restroom right now? Then you’re problem is solved – or at least, it is if you’re in Australia, and can apparently find an internet-connected computer quicker than a public toilet – Well, at least it isn’t There you go – all you potential tourists out there. We’ve got a national map of our bathroom commodes. So where the bloody hell are you?Maybe it will be more useful if and when wireless internet (particularly on laptops) becomes more common.

The VCD file format on the TV tuner card seems to be a decent choice for recording. Definitely watchable quality (even if watching on full-screen) and only a quite reasonable 300mb for a 30 minute show. Created files play fine in PowerDVD (my usual choice for watching DVDs) and Windows Media Player 9.



July 22, 2006

I’m sick at the moment, which may have contributed to why it’s been so long between posts.
Doing a few interesting things at the moment, a Windows desktop Toolbar sort of thing. Plus a tool for drawing Entity Relationship Diagrams (both in C#). I really should focus occasionally, rather than work on four separate personal projects at once. But that gives me so much less excuse to procrastinate, which is something that I am very good at.

I got voice recording working on the TV Tuner; I think I may need a larger hard drive.
That said, here’s some more “English” from the software interface:
“it can record high quality voice when you select correct input path from soundcard. The advanced tv card has no use for sound card to audio capture, it capture voice adopt DMA channel and voice will be more reality”
That is a whole section from the configuration page, punctuation is all as written too 😉

TV tuner

July 14, 2006

Today I got a Swann PCI TV tuner card for my computer. I’m actually quite impressed. Reception is pretty much perfect on my indoor antenna, much better than what my TV gets.

Unfortunately the “English” interface of the included software was written by someone with, at best, passing familiarity with the English language (an example: “Computer will automatism shut down after a period of time, please save your modification in time to avoid data lose”), and it doesn’t seem to record sound. I’m sure that’s just something that I haven’t figured out how to configure yet.

Coming clean

July 13, 2006

I have been rather tight-lipped about the “hobby project”, and it occurs to me that I have no particularly logical reason for this.

So, basically, it’s a (cross-platform) set of calculators/utilities for the online game Utopia.

That said, right now, it’s a window with a two menus (File->Exit and Help->About) and a statusbar.

I’m sure I will progress some more on that later.

Editor’s note: This eventually was cancelled, and out of its ashes rose Seraphiel.

However, recently Mehul (Utopia’s creator) has asked for submissions in helping redesign the game’s interface, and I am doing a lot of work on my vision for Utopia. And I have something quite special planned, it just remains to create the prototype. I’ll let you know how I’m doing on that. Indeed, some of the ideas I plan to implement in the Utopia redesign will have a lot of influence on what I build into my calculator, so we’ll see how they mash together as it happens.

I’ll call that project “Newtopia” for the moment. I’ll be implementing many of the suggestions (particular my own :p) found in the Utopia Layout / Interface Improvements thread on the B&S board.

Of memes and mobiles

July 12, 2006

Over the last few months, an unscrupulous company “DC Marketing” has been calling Australian mobile numbers at random, then hanging up after one ring. When calling back, you hear a voice message congratulating you on winning $40 “worth” of prizes, all you have to do is call this premium rate number…

I say $40 “worth” of prizes as the “prizes” seem to be ringtones and other such mobile junk. Given the ads for mobile content on TV (i.e. “Great (read: lame) emoticons for your mobile! (in small text) $4 per message sent and received. Minimum cost just $24/week”).

Frankly, I’m quite sick and tired of it all.

But on to the topic. A meme is a bit of cultural information – such as a catchphrase, or a jingle, or a fashion. Good memes include advice like steering in the direction of a skid; bad memes include things like the Crazy Frog ringtone (I had no trouble with the Insanity Test, but the ringtone became annoying very quickly).

Memes can be both created and also destroyed, as people are discouraged from using them. Ringing back on missed calls, even on numbers that you don’t recognise, is a courtesy, a good meme. However, this sort of behaviour is the sort that takes advantage of a meme and uses it to prey on people. I can only hope the meme will be lost before this lot makes too much money off it.

The advice going around these days is don’t return calls unless you recognise the number. At the very least, do a Google search first.

Meanwhile, after two and a half weeks of successfully avoiding doing anything constructive on that front, I finally got around to continuing my hobby project. It doesn’t do anything yet, and there’ll be a long time before it does, but I think I’ve now figured out how to use include files.

Heheh funny.

July 10, 2006

This is going to have to be quick, I’ll have to move back soon so I can get audio reception again. I have some difficulty getting SBS out here (though my new and somewhat more advanced aerial at least makes it possible, unlike with the bunny ears). Some difficulty, as in I have to precisely align my aerial, DVD/book collection, nail clippers and body after considering wind conditions, air temperature and humidity, burning several various herbs, chanting, and other miscellaneous rituals. Duct tape gets involved on occasions.

I get the feeling that not too many people expected both their teams to score in the first 19 minutes (and then not again for the next 80)? And maybe even the coaches? “Ok, you get out there, score early, and then defend for the rest of the match!” *other team scores too* Um…. errr…….

Anyway, later, one of the commentators commented that “Some players would get stage fright in that sort of situation” (as one of the French players did well to get a corner despite being opposed by three Italian defenders). You mean like actors, for example?

Sorry. Really…


July 9, 2006

I’m cold… and lazy.


July 5, 2006

16-14. The refs did everything they could to prevent it and it wasn’t enough.



July 5, 2006

Absolutely ridiculous.

The referees, and particularly the video referee, should be lynched.

Bloody hell.

Everyone’s against us

July 5, 2006

It’s part of the genetic makeup of all true Queenslanders to believe that everyone, absolutely everyone (except perhaps other red-blooded Queenslanders) is against us. Particularly is sporting contests, such as the Soccer World Cup (the refs, for example) to the State of Origin (the refs, commentators, television networks, newspapers and communication satellites). And now there is proof.

The State of Origin, for those who don’t live in Queensland or New South Wales, is the three-game series of rugby league played each year between teams made up respectively of Queenslanders and New South Welshmen. The result of this series is probably (well, let’s be frank, definitely) more important than the result of the grand final.

The first game went to those blinking southerners (ie, New South Wales) 17-16, after what a decidedly dishonourable field goal towards the end of the game. Then, Queensland slaughtered them 30-6 in the second game. And now it’s down to the decider tonight.

Now I live in a land surrounded by enemy territory (ie, in the ACT, which is surrounded by NSW).

Before the game, I was idly looking at a TV showing Today Tonight, a “current affairs” program (most current affairs shows here are essentially rubbish). I watched two segments:

  1. A Queensland doctor who’s just been re-registered, despite bashing his wife and using drugs
  2. A Queensland con-woman.

Oh yeah. That’s real subtle. Blinking southerners.