Archive for October, 2006

Daylight Wasting Time

October 29, 2006

So we’ve just switched over to Daylight Saving Time, forcing everyone to get up an hour earlier during summer. Frankly, I’ve got a better idea, though, based on the number of listings on Google, it may not be unique to me.

Daylight Wasting Time. We set our clocks back one hour in winter, and I can sleep later on those awfully dark and cold wintry morns. Farmers, meanwhile, can simply get up an hour earlier, year-round, and achieve the same effect.

This way, the cows don’t have to get any more confused than they are now.


Firefox 2.0 (and Seraphiel 0.3b4)

October 29, 2006

So, a quick initial look at Firefox 2.0. I (initially) strongly disliked the default theme. It took me all of two minutes to go looking for one that looked more like Firefox 1.5. And found one I did: Winestripe, and there was much rejoicing. I later forgave it and switched back.

I just love the spell checking feature. Shame the default is in US English. It’s colour, damnit. And that’s spelt right too. Dang, “spelt” IS a word. Doggone it, it’s just not happy, it’s not. But then I installed a new dictionary.

I don’t much care for the changes to the tabs. I want to have a close button on the extreme right, not a silly drop-down list of the tabs I’ve currently got open. I’ll just click the tab, thank you very much. Happily there is a fix for it (set browser.tabs.closeButtons in about:config to 3).

Indeed, while I was at it I made a bunch of changes to about:config.
See editing about:config

So. Seraphiel 0.3b4. I’ve updated Seraphiel to 0.3b4. The Greasemonkey script has not been updated: it doesn’t need to be. This just fixes to issues with the extension:

  1. The alert that popped up occasionally saying that “Error: str has no properties”
  2. Compatibility with Firefox 2.0 has been added

Nevertheless the code changes made here will be present in future versions of the Greasemonkey script: I’m not planning on maintaining multiple sets of code.

The hardest game of DOW I’ve ever won…

October 29, 2006

Yikes. Talk about a tough game. Me (+a couple AI) vs Necrons.
Take a look at the little map I drew of the game. That came down to the wire… with most of my base destroyed even as my main army conquered far from home. Good fun.

Another thing I found: you’re now limited to just two Leman Russ tanks. And did they use to take up 5 pop each? I can’t remember…

On to other topics. I seem to be having difficulty logging on to Gmail at the moment. I can get through, it just requires the jumping through of several hoops that didn’t need jumping through before.

I’m downloading FF 2.0 at the moment (I really ought to have done this sooner, but with assignments I haven’t a spare moment to think about such things). I’ll post some thoughts on it when I’ve had a bit of a chance to look at it, and update the Seraphiel extension to support it.

Dawn of War: Dark Crusade

October 27, 2006

I’ve been enjoying Dawn of War for some time now (since Winter Assault came out basically – Imperial Guard is my preference). This afternoon I got Dark Crusade, and, playing as Necrons, got mercilessly crushed by Chaos. Which is odd, seeing as Chaos has been the weak whipping race in previous versions. The AI, anyway. Maybe they improved it. Meh.

Anyway, onto the Guard for some Orc slaughtering. Always fun. The addition of heavy weapons teams was nice. I also appreciated them allowing you to build turrets whereever you like, instead of just in control zone areas.

Kasryns and Ogryns are limited to one squad of each, but then, the game’s usually more or less over well before I get a second squad of either into the fray.

For some reason, the game lasted long enough for me to build a Baneblade. My games rarely last long enough for me to finish one. And, even better, to get it into combat. Boom. Or maybe it was just because I changed strats a bit and started advancing my base earlier.

Guard squad size has increased too. You start with 5 guardsmen (instead of 4) and by filling up the squad (including a sergeant and a leader (commissar or priest)) you can get 14 soldiers to a unit (instead of 11). A nice touch.

Anyway, I’m overall happy with the additions to the game, and quite satisfied with the purchase. And I’ll probably make a point of playing against Necrons or Tau at some point.

If you’re interested, I also collect Imperial Guard in the real world. Well, technically I do anyway. I just haven’t added anything (or done terribly much painting for that matter) over the last couple of years. I’ve put up a photo of some of my favourite models. Apologies for the quality: it was taken with a webcam.


October 24, 2006

In recent days, a website with serious doubts about its profitability, living off massive amounts of venture capital and with major legal concerns has been bought out for an amount in the billions of dollars. Kinda reminds me of something.

(this was about Google’s purchase of Youtube, for archive viewers)

Seraphiel 0.3b3 released!

October 22, 2006

Teensy little bug fix this afternoon. The Utopian time will now update properly.

Both the Greasemonkey script and the extension have been updated.

Seraphiel 0.3b2 released!

October 21, 2006

This version just fixes up some bugs on the Gen kingdom page, so that should work fine now. Should be a bit more stable overall, too.

And I let it work on GUW too, if anyone is still logging in to it (like me). The formatters won’t work though, and aren’t going to be fixed :p

Both the Greasemonkey script and the XPI have been updated.

The Illustrated Guide to Breaking Your Computer

October 20, 2006

The Illustrated Guide to Breaking Your Computer

WARNING: Do not try this at home.

Writing specifications

October 18, 2006

Shock horror! I’m actually posting something here about software design. Well, try and adjust: I’m going to be trying to shift things in this general direction in the future. No guarantees on just how often these posts might come about.

So you know, this is partially a reaction to Joel Spolsky’s (2000) 4-part article, Painless Functional Specifications. Excellent reading. Indeed, it’s probably best to be reading that first (all four parts). I’ll take “quality specifications are a good thing” as assumed here.

Now, as I see it, an intended user of a specification should want to pick it up and casually read through the whole thing.

Spolsky offers a number of tips for writing a specification that all its intended users want to read, and these seems solid.

Basically, if an intended user doesn’t feel like casually reading the whole thing, I see five possible results:

  1. They read it out of a sense of obligation and duty (“Someone’s gone to all this trouble to write this spec, I really should read it). In which case they’ll probably skip all the parts that they think they already probably know and anything that seems boring, and probably won’t thoroughly digest the rest of it.
  2. They read it because they’re bored and see an email attachment which they could kill 10-15 minutes by reading – for much the same result as a).
  3. They only read it when they want to find out how the user is notified that the input is invalid (or whatever). In which case all you can guarantee the specification to have achieved is that some people might know some things about some parts of the system (aka “we’d all have been better off playing Solitaire”).
  4. They don’t read it.
  5. They open the Word document, glance at the heading, scroll through the rest of it in the same way they probably read the MS Office EULA (ie. without actually looking at it, but maybe they notice some formatting), say “that’s nice” and close it. Which is effectively the same as d).

Note that I’m saying here that I have to be able to take the specification and want to read it on the bus ride home in the same way I might want to read a new Tom Clancy thriller, the point is just that reading a specification should be seen as something constructive, enjoyable and worthwhile.

Seraphiel 0.3b1 released!

October 15, 2006

Seraphiel 0.3b1 has been released. Contrary to my earlier statement, it is still available as a Greasemonkey script.

This version adds a “tagging” feature – you can “tag” a kingdom on their kingdom page and then click a shortcut on certain pages (kingdom page/mystics page/thievery page/send messages page/attack page) to immediately select that kingdom.

Both the Greasemonkey script and XPI have been updated and the new versions uploaded.