Archive for August, 2006

Abrupt climate shift

August 27, 2006

Before we go anywhere here, this isn’t really about Code::Blocks. I haven’t particularly done much with it yet.
I also told a few people my next post would discuss Open Source software. It won’t. I’m still contemplating that one.

Instead, I figured I’d share with you this disturbing image of abrupt climate change in Edmonton, Canada.
Edmonton (as seen from Google Earth)
You can explore the area on Google Maps, if you like.
Some detail on this is available at The Register

Bored? You could check out some farmer’s huge arse, some very bitter crop circles, the gold ol’ Aussie flying car (out near Perth), or a Lancaster Bomber flying overhead, as they are presumably somewhat wont to do.



August 18, 2006

I’ve been using either MS Visual C++ 2005 or Dev-C++ for most of my C/C++ development work. Not that there has historically been too much of that.

Dev-C++ came with the first book I learnt on C++, which is basically why I used that, and the MS VC++ because that’s what was, by and large, being used in my 3D graphics course.

I’ve never really liked Microsoft’s C++ environments, which is rather odd, as I typically prefer MS dev environments to others, but then, it was probably always preferable to Dev-C++, in which I seemed to have an inordinate amount of difficulty creating anything more complicated than a console application.

Anyway, I downloaded and installed Code::Blocks tonight, and I’ll be trying this out on the weekend. It looks OK at the moment, and the templates seem a nice idea. I’ll have a look at compiling GLUT and wxWidgets in it, and then we’ll see what’s what.

Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express

August 15, 2006

Microsoft has recently announced that they will soon be releasing the first beta of Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express, a low cost development kit for the PC and XBox 360 games aimed at students and hobbyists.

The beta will only support PC game development (for security reasons). There will be a free version version of the studio will only allow PC game creation, and by paying a reasonable enough $99/year subscription you can access the online collaboration community and port your games to a 360 (hard drive required).

Initially games developed for the XBox 360 will only be available to other developers, but it seems MS is planning on integrating a Youtube-style site for downloading these things and (for PC versions only) it seems OK to use for commercial software.

I’m not sure how powerful the game environment will be. The MS VP, Peter Moore, who announced this described the games that users would be able to produce as “rudimentary”, and I do sincerely hope this isn’t going to basically be a Klik-n-Play sort of thing. Happily the FAQ on the subject seems to suggests that there will be some deal of “proper” programming capability to the concept, with C# and the .NET compact framework, etc.

Early days yet. I am certainly going to be downloading the beta, and I’ll be sure to post some more detail once I’ve had a chance to look around.

The Microsoft page on the subject is at
And the FAQ is located at

This could be good, it could be meh-worthy. I guess we’ll all know more on August 30.

Ah, testing… a truly useful thing!

August 15, 2006

From: using
hey, go here and we both get a free &lowercase_product_short_name;
pretty pretty please 🙂

Imagine! A free &lowercase_product_short_name;! Just what I’ve always wanted.


August 14, 2006

There always remains the chance, perhaps, that some of you are interested in seeing me actually release something, instead of occasionally tantalising you all with exciting news about it. Well, I guess you’re going to continue to be disappointed. I’ve been having too much fun fiddling around with OpenGL (now I’ve got a dump truck moving down a highway, you can also make it tip) to actually make any progress on any of my hobby projects. It’s for uni – honest!

If you like, you can check out some of the Javascript-enhanced pages I designed for Utopia. If you look at my post on the Utopia forums, it explains the changes.


August 13, 2006

At a recent computer software engineering course, the participants were given an awkward question to answer:

“If you had just boarded an airliner and discovered that your team of programmers had been responsible for the flight control software, how many of you would disembark immediately?”

Among the ensuing forest of raised hands only one man sat motionless. When asked what he would do, he replied that he would be quite content to stay aboard. With his team’s software, he said, the plane was unlikely to even taxi as far as the runway, let alone take off.

The 10 worst ways to communicate with end users

August 10, 2006

Tonight I read an article “The 10 worst ways to communicate with end users“, and all of them seemed quite solid advice. One of the tips (#2 Showing Off), however, stated “Just because we happen to know all the correct technical terms and concepts does not mean we should use them when communicating with users”. Very fine and all, I just wish users would stop trying to use the correct technical terms when talking with me. Because let’s face it, they’re usually not very good at it.

It does so frustrate me when I see advice to turn off my CPU and VDU at the end of each day. Folks, it’s a computer, or, if you prefer, PC. Worst case scenario, maybe it’s a Mac. Unless maybe you want me disassemble my machine when I finish using it? And that other device? Screen. Monitor. Computer display. People use these terms every day. I have (had) never, ever heard someone slip the term “VDU” into a conversation. To make things worse, this then sparked a debate over whether you should turn off your VDU if you’re leaving for a few minutes. Not one of the participants used any of the commonly accepted versions. Why???

And then someone with (clearly) no technical background posts in an online forum regarding some improvements to the site’s interface, who informed all and sundry that they’d spent some time time researching the issue, and seemed to think that replacing the site’s HTML interface with GIFs would be a good idea. Not just have more pictures, but completely replacing the entire site (including form inputs…). A few minutes later, he posted that, after some more research, maybe PNG would be better? After some initial criticism, maybe the entire (highly dynamic) site could be replaced by PDFs?

When I have a cold of some description, I don’t first spend 15 minutes on the internet trying to figure out what it is on the internet, then go to the doctor and tell them I think I have somelatinnamitis. I tell the doctor I think I’ve got a cold and describe the symptoms. And let someone with training, experience, and a number of thick textbooks on the subject figure out what it might be. It’s really not that hard.

Rant out.


August 9, 2006

Metatron, a Firefox extension for making the formatting in Utopia a little nicer which I have used for a while, hasn’t been updated recently (since March). Indeed, because of the recent update to Utopia’s interface, the current version of Metatron scarcely works anymore.

So I googled to see if the site had been moved or something. Doing so, I found that Metatron is the name of an Angel in Judaism. Aside from being something new I learnt today, it’s clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference to a common calculator for Utopia, Utopia Angel. Kudos for the hidden pun!

Meanwhile, the new round of Utopia has recently started for proper, and people are discovering major bugs all over the place. Moreso than usual.

Why spam should be proofread…

August 9, 2006

Hello.It is a lovely day today, I am a lovely lady:)) and if you are a nice guy – just “Mister Right” for the right Lady please, find me at
Maybe we are living for together but we don’t know it yet?:)
How can we understand it? let’s start corresponding and we will see how good we are for each other!
a rivederci

Enough said.


August 5, 2006

Through an interesting series of clicks, today I ended up watching on Youtube a section of an American satire show, The Colbert Report. This section discusses what the show’s host (Stephen Colbert) calls wikiality, that the truth is determined by whatever the majority happens to think.

To emphasize these points, he (supposedly) gets on Wikipedia and edits a few articles. This generally made a lot of people posting comments at the end of several of the 2 million or so blog entries on the subject very angry; that he was taking something great like Wikipedia and vandalising it. I wonder, however, how many of them actually watched either the segment (or a video posting of the segment), given as how there seems to be little comment on how Coulter managed, for example, to navigate to the Wikipedia page on George Washington and edit it so that it turns out that Georgie didn’t own any slaves, in about half a dozen keystrokes and without touching his laptop’s mousepad. Or, for that matter, how he changed his own entry without even looking at it.

Shortly afterwards, meanwhile, it seems some people shortly afterwards took his advice and edited several of the pages on elephants, whose population has seemingly tripled in the last 10 years. Of course, it’s not like they’d jump off a cliff if Stephen Coulter told them too. Reporters tracked down several of these editors, however on knocking the door all they heard was an extended scream and a less extended thump.

I guess you can have no yellowcake and yet eat it too.