iain-simpson.org

Listing posts published under ‘Work’
Monday, 26 February 2007

It had been threatening to pack in for a while, but one of my treasured 17" DELL CRTs finally decided that enough was enough, and went off to silicon heaven. It had a good run, considering that it cost me £20 from eBay at least 2 and a half years ago - though the P&P wouldn't have been much less than that again.

So finally (probably to much jubilation and mockery of my insistence on using CRTs for so long), I've finally purchased a TFT monitor, and will soon have more permanent desk space available for coffee cups and assorted clutter. The unit in question is an Iiyama 17" LCD 1280 X 1024 Black 2ms. It looks rather nice, and I'm hoping that the 2ms response time will go some way towards changing my opinions on cheap TFT screens. I've always said that I couldn't afford to replace my CRTs with a TFT that could match the image quality and response time. I hope I was wrong. I'm used to the 20.1" Sony TFTs we use at work, and I'm probably spoiled slightly - those things go for around £500 these days, whereas the Iiyama above is less than £150.

Incidentally, I was reminded of some discount vouchers that Dabs emailed a while back, offering £10 off an order over £100 placed by 28/2/07. A fortunate discovery indeed, I thought. Perhaps my late display unit remembered that email, and chose its time to go accordingly. Or perhaps it was just 10 years old.

The identical unit that I'm using at the moment was manufactured at the same time, but seems to have seen less use, and is still very bright without cranking the brightness beyond 60%. Hopeully I'll manage to preserve this piece of computing history until it's 20 - by that point it'll probably be illegal to own, and impossible to dispose of.

 
Saturday, 6 August 2005

It's 11am on Saturday morning, I can feel a hangover setting in, and I'm off out again in a couple of hours to drink more.

Last night was an unofficial work night out, organised to recitfy the fact that we'd not been on a night out for a while, and perhaps a little because we've just moved office - which wasn't too painful.. I still have my evil genius chair, and dual 20.1" TFTs, so all is well. The new building is good - although there seem to be more stairs to climb :/

Cat and I got the keys to our flat on the 27th. Cat moves in properly next week, with me following when I get my finger out and shift some stuff across, and sort out internet. A good start would be to phone BT and have them turn the phone line on - something with I was planning to do by now. Yay for procrastination - which many would probably say is how I spend most of my time..

This morning I did something that I've been itching to do for months now. I ordered a phone upgrade from T-Mobile. Woo hoo. A sparkly new Nokia 6230i will be arriving shortly, and the postman will (without attempting to knock) take it back to the Royal Mail sorting office, where I'll have to get up early to go and get it. I don't mind though - my thirst for new gadgets will be partially quenched.

I've been invited through to Edinburgh, for a couple of what might perhaps be alcoholic beverages of some kind, by my flatmate from a few years ago (3!?) - Colin. I'm expecting anything, and leaving my Visa card in Glasgow. If I still have the ability to type when I return, I'll maybe share the experience.

 
Thursday, 16 June 2005

It's been a while since I last posted, but it doesn't feel like it.. The weeks have been flying by recently, perhaps i'm getting old.. :/

The main consumer of my time outside work recently has been GTA: San Andreas, which was released for the PC (Windows - bah) on the 10th. Having preordered my copy from Play last month, I received my copy on the 9th. The basic gameplay is similar to GTA3, and Vice City. You run around, pick up guns, steal cars, run people over, crash, burn, and basically cause havoc. Rockstar have added much more detail than in the previous incarnations of the game. The game world is HUGE compared to Vice City, and those annoying area transition screens are gone. You can also choose how your character will look - if you eat lots of junk food you get fat, if you go to the gym and do lots of weights you build up muscles. You can choose your clothes and haircut too. If anyone enjoyed GTA3 or Vice City, and hasn't bought San Andreas yet, i'd recommend that you waste no more time.

Things have been going well at work, and despite having to force myself out of bad in the mornings, MS Word being the most horrific piece of software conceived, and a certain e-Commerce site being the bane of my existence, I'm enjoying the variety in the projects i'm working on. So far I've played with managed DirectX (C#/MS SQL Server), converted Word documents to PDF using wvWare and LaTeX (C), debugged and repaired chunks of LiteCommerce (PHP/MySQL), started work on a tool to help with a large web localisation project (Java/MySQL), and started work on a Content Management System that will run several sites that we will be building soon (PHP/MySQL/Smarty). An aspect that I especially like is that within the bounds of practicality, I get to choose what I use to implement stuff. It's also quite satisfying to be paid for doing something that I enjoy.

Following on from idea of getting old, Cat and I are looking to rent a flat together. If anyone knows of flats going in the West End (Glasgow) around August/September time, let me know.

I'm off to play some more San Andreas before bed. Mmm GTA.

 
Wednesday, 18 May 2005

I was procrastinating at work yesterday, and came across a link to this on Slahdot. Going up one level from that URI takes you to a page with some more stuff. Mm stuff. I liked the page of Bart Simpson blackboard quotes, but the best that I've found so far is this page about how to shoot yourself in the foot in different programming languages.

Here's one of the better ones:

Unix
% ls
foot.c foot.h foot.o toe.c toe.o
% rm * .o
rm: .o: No such file or directory
% ls
%

I also like the Ada one.

Update:

This page is also worth a look.. :)

 
Tuesday, 15 March 2005

My new toys finally arrived on Friday afternoon, after almost 2 weeks of Dabs waiting for stock. It was worth the wait though.

I left work on Friday, resisting the urge to join the folks that were heading to the pub, and headed home to open the presents that I'd bought myself. I was pleased to see, on opening the box, that everything was there - I might have had a fit if I'd had to send something back because it was wrong (unless it was better than I'd ordered, obviously...). I gutted my machine, in preparation for its new innards. The old components will go in the machine under my desk when I can be bothered. Some fiddling, and a very secure heatsink later, I applied power. Obviously, it worked first time, and Linux even booted without complaint. The only problem that I encountered - which wasn't my fault - was that the lead for the HD light on my case is wired backwards. This was fixed fairly easily, albeit with a bit of fiddling.

Naturally, one of the first things that I did was to run a benchmarking tool. I chose 3DMark2003, mainly because the most CPU intensive thing that I do regualrly is playing games. I wasn't expecting great things, since I still have a fairly crap video card. There were no real surprises as far as 3D performance went - not a great deal faster than before. What did amuse me was that on the CPU test - where 3DMark renders the same scenes in software mode - I was getting frame rates equivalent and occasionally better than the hardware accelerated tests. It seems likely that the software rendered scenes have less detail than the hardware ones, but it's amusing anyway. Out of curiosity, I asked Sam to run the same tests on his machine. Unsurprisingly, his results kicked my arse as far as hardware mode went (his card was top of the range when he bought it), but any kicking went the opposite way in software mode. Yey! This isn't conclusive proof though, as it's possible that he was running in a higher display mode than me. I don't feel like verifying it though :)

I've been fighting with other peoples' code at work. We bought in e-Commerce software for a site that one of our clients is launching, and it's lacking in some fairly important areas. Being a pessimist, I reckon that it's deliberate, to persuade you to pay them for custom development. Sod that. It took me the best part of Friday, and much of Monday, but I managed to find the appropriate place to insert the 8-10 lines of code required to allow adding of extra information fields to product categories. The system already supported adding of fields to individual products, and its feature to allow you to add them to categories did nothing more than iterate through each product, and add an extra field to it. This meant that any new products in a category didn't get the extra fields. Useless. The simplicity of the change (when you can actually find the right bit of code through all the decoy methods) makes me believe even more that they're at it. No matter - it's done now. I spent this afternoon trying to track down an email problem on the site - only to fix it, and have the previously working part stop working. Arg.

Still, this stupid site will be out of the way soon, and I can concentrate on finishing my plasma screen app.

Next on my evil masterplan: buy a new video card. This one should do...

Bwhahahahahahahahahaaaaaa!