Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

On Windows Vista

December 15, 2007

I loved reading Coding Sanity’s review of the experience of upgrading from Windows Vista to XP.
… I notice that the Reliability Report is also gone, again a sore loss, I really enjoyed charting the downward spiral of my Vista reliability, there were those occasional humps that got you all excited, and then the graph would continue its steady sojourn downwards.

Personally, my experience with Vista was basically that something broke every time I used any shutdown option. Restart, and the monitor stopped working. Hibernate, and the thing didn’t wake up again. Log off, and it would freeze. Shut down, and the thing would stop part-way through booting, and the only way to get it working again was to go into safe mode and then restart. That magically fixed it. Eventually, safe mode stopped fixing it and I was forced to upgrade to XP myself. That computer, now back to XP, has been running flawlessly for months since.

Many people are finding things work fine on Vista. Maybe that was my mistake. I should have, I guess, gone out and bought a new computer for it, because that way presumably the OEM would have tested that model and all its drivers on Vista. But, let’s be frank, I’m not feeling any great compulsion to buy a new computer right now. This one works fine – with XP, anyway. Framerate’s just fine for the games I enjoy playing, even though it is true that they aren’t always the newest releases. Well, ok, they’re never the newest releases. I still miss Zone 66, preinstalled by the manufacturer on the old MS-DOS/Windows 3.11 computer.

There are a few things I like about Vista – the enhancements to Explorer, for example, the almost-instant search in the Start menu (Launchy, for example, is “more” instant). And it’s about time that they recognised that the Date/Time control panel is a calendar.

But it’s not enough for a computer that I can’t shutdown without a feeling of gloom and despair in the pit of my stomach. My next desktop computer will probably come with Vista preinstalled, and that will presumably work. And I’ll be happy with it, then.

XNA Game Studio Express

September 3, 2006

So I’ve had a bit of a look at the XNA Game Studio Express, and from what I’ve seen it does to DirectX what GLUT (and its alternatives) does for OpenGL, except with some bugs. Well, it is a beta; and besides, most of those I’ve encountered so far have easy workarounds.

It looks pretty good. Basically it takes care of setting up the window and the runtime loop and gives you Update() and Draw() functions to work with initially. Naturally, you can take full advantage of C# and OOP.

It’s useful for what it is, and a worthwhile thing to have around, particularly if you don’t much care for the hassle of setting up a DirectX window yourself.

+1 Informative!

September 1, 2006

I suppose I could just use Notepad++ instead, but that would be like hitting a nail with a jackhammer.

Instead I’ll just try and figure out why Visual C++ 2005 is telling me I’ve got unresolved externals.

… but I’m getting off topic. Back to installing XNA Game Studio Express.


September 1, 2006

Another quick note. I’ve lately been using a handy little Notepad replacement called Notepad2. It’s nice and fast, simple and does all the syntax highlighting I’m likely to need in the foreseeable future.

The one thing that bugs me is the Find/Replace, which is a bit dodgy (indeed, I actually prefer MS Notepad’s version). Of course, it’s open source so I suppose I could probably just edit it out…

Been a while…

September 1, 2006

Yeah, ok, I have been a bit slack lately.

So, some updates:

  • I’m not currently using Code::Blocks. Nothing against the environment in particular, just wasn’t for me. I’m currently using a little C compiler called LCC-Win32. It’s small, it works, and it goes nicely on my USB key. It wasn’t actually designed as a portable app, but simply copy/pasting it onto the USB key more or less works. You just have to tell it where the include files are kept the first time you use it on each computer. There may even be a workaround for it somewhere, I haven’t really looked.
  • I’m about to install the XNA Game Studio Express beta. I’ll probably post some thoughts on it either tonight or sometime this weekend.
  • I’m currently working on (among other things) a Firefox extension and/or set of Greasemonkey scripts for Utopia. The features list is unconfirmed at the moment.
  • I’ll probably put some OpenGL examples up soon, so you can all admire the artistic wonder of them.
  • I quite like a site I ran across the other day, The Daily WTF?!, a site housing collections of some of the more stupid moments in IT.


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.


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 😉