Posts Tagged ‘Computers’

Uh-Oh. Someone needs to learn some programming principles

October 5th, 2009 No comments

A Quick Cough-Cough-Splutter-Splutter Moment

July 20th, 2009 No comments

I had a bit of a shock the other day, whilst eating breakfast, as to what counts as “diminutive”.

Apparently, according to the BBC Click TV programme, the application “360° Desktop

only sips a diminutive 33MB of RAM

Cough-cough-splutter-splutter. 33MB is diminutive? Jesus, I would have said that that is more like “a fuck load”, especially for a desktop utility!

Categories: Computers, TV Tags: ,

SQLite Concurrency

April 11th, 2009 No comments

Recently, I wrote an application that used a SQLite database and wrote data into a common database rapidly, over several connections.

I initially wrote the application to use one thread, and only one database connection, but as I improved the software, I converted it to use multiple threads with one connection per thread.

I quickly ran into the problem though that the database quickly became locked – one thread would block out the other and would not return the lock. It wasn’t consistent though as to which thread would be blocked – it was usually the second thread, but not consistently.

Having read a post from the pysqlite mailing list, I think it explains the problem a little bit more accurately, and kind of exaplins a solution. Although, it does seem a little bit drastic (essentially, reconnect everytime you need to run a concurrent query).

I’m now very interested to find out whether this will cure my problem. It does seem a bit drastic, and quite IO intensive, but it’s worth a shot!

I’ll let you know my mileage….

D and Tango

April 8th, 2009 No comments

The other day, I took another look at Tango, for D.

For those not initiated, Tango is a replacement library for the Digital Mars D programming language. It operates differently from the standard Phobos in terms of architecture, ethos and implementation style.

Having previously looked at it, my initial reaction was “Hmmm, seems silly to have implemented this, it doesn’t seem worth the effort to implement a second standard library”. I decided the other day to take another look at the project to try and understand it further.

Having read more about it, and tried to understand further, I can only say: “Wow”. It provides the langauge with the library to “do stuff” no simply a library with which to “implement stuff”.

I have an idea to resurrect my old FTPro software, and I’m now thinking that this would be a great backbone to develop this with. My only major hurdle to this at the moment is rebuilding my laptop….

Getting Fed Up With Word

January 8th, 2009 No comments

The past few weeks, I’ve had to use Microsoft Word a bit so that I can write up some specifications for other people to review, comment, enhance, reword, approve, you name it.

I am now soooo fed up with Word, it’s unbelievable.

The problem is, you can change things. There’s no structure system that you can use to force a document to do exactly what you want. Instead, you’re left with a series of stupid handling issues which lead to inconsistent documents across a department and people banging their heads on their desks in frustration.

Take, for example, my incident yesterday. Having reworked an existing specification from the ground up, I found cause to delete the final section of the document. This section was in landscape orientation, not portrait, because it contained some screen mock-ups (no complaint there). When I came to delete the sections, it changed every single section to be landscape, and changed the Page Header to be something completely different – in fact, it changed it to something that was not visible in the document to begin with, so I couldn’t even correct that.

I remember getting frustrated about this kind of thing before. That was whilst I was doing my final year project for my degree. I switched from Word to LyX.

Using LyX worked great for me, and I couldn’t have produced my final report without it, but I don’t think it would work in an office environment.

I think too many people are used to WYSIWYG, and not WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean), and so would be constantly frustrated with the inability to see what your document looks like in Real-Time.

What I would love, is a cross between the two.

I would love to be able to create a rigidly structured document, where no one can change the text position, change the font, change the font size, mess with headers, etc – at least not without having to update a template. But as I’m typing, I’d love to see what that document would look like once printed, not the LyX modus operandi of “enter text, preview the DVI file”.

Couple that with a few more features, such as Word’s “Track Changes” and LyX’s far superior cross-reference and footnote handling, and you’re on to a definite winner.

Finally, just because you have to work with the rest of the world, some form of export to Microsoft Word format would be great.

Hey, Rich, feel like resurrecting “SLaTe”?


Ooh, apparently LyX now supports “Track Changes”. A lot can happen when you don’t use a bit of software for 6 years!

Categories: Computers, Work Tags: , ,

An Impressive Need

January 5th, 2009 1 comment

Last night, I amazed myself when I discovered I had a real-life, genuine, need for a Farraday cage.

I was trying to install my parent’s new Wireless printer, but unfortunately, it had joined the wrong wireless network and I couldn’t get it to leave that network and join the correct one.

Stupidly, the printer came with a utility so that you could set the IP address, and from there you could then connect to a web interface so that you can set which wireless network to join, and security settings, etc. That’s all well and good, but if it’s on the wrong network altogether, then you can’t set the IP, you can’t connect to the web interface, and you therefore can’t set the security information!

So, I decided to resolve the situation by blocking out the other wireless signal. I attempted to construct a Farraday cage with a Quality Street tin, and then place the correct wireless router, and the printer, inside the cage.

Sadly, Quality Street tins don’t make good Farraday cages.

I eventually resolved the situation by moving the printer next to the router, connecting it to the router with an ethernet cable, printing out the network configuration that the printer had picked up with DHCP, using the utility to set a static IP address, and then connecting to the web interface to force the correct wireless network and the correct security settings.

Jesus. Such an unnecessary hassle!

Categories: Computers Tags: , ,

Ant Building

July 6th, 2006 No comments

I think this post by Stefan Bodewig kind of sum’s up what I’m thinking about the Ant build utility.

My company started using Ant about a year ago. We use it to compile Progress 4GL code, as well as Progress Webspeed files by using the PCT extension.

When I first saw it, I didn’t like it. I decided that using XML as a form of programming language did not make sense. I have no problem with using XML to describe build rules; the problem I have is related to the way that you can specify “build target a, followed by target b”.

But having recently gone through the process of installing it and editting a build XML file, I have to say I’m very impressed! I can overlook my distaste for “programming with XML”, because the rest flows very well indeed. Plus, I can understand it much more that I can makefiles.

Categories: Uncategorised Tags: , , ,

Fun with VMWare, New UML Tool and IPv6

July 3rd, 2006 No comments

On Friday, I had the day off, so I decided to play with VMWare Server on a new PC that I had inherited. I’m so impressed so far, for a free product, it does so much.

I’d played with VMWare Player at home before, and within the last year at work we’ve gone VMWare crazy and now host an awful lot of our servers in VMWare images, so I’m well used to their products by now.

I’m impressed by VMWare server though. It does so much more than VMWare Player. Even allowing somebody to install the VMWare-Tools into an image makes the “upgrade” a must.

I spent Friday building some images for a project I’m about to start work on, so that I can test it on different variants of Linux and FreeBSD, as well as on the Windows machine I have. Didn’t hit a single problem with the images, and it even runs Haiku incredibly well (that’s a one up on BeOS which doesn’t work in a VM at all).

Over the rest of the weekend, I’ve also discovered an excellent UML editor for Windows, called StarUML (, which was a professionally produced product, but has now been made Open Source and Free (as in beer, I think).

I also did a little research on IPv6 which proved very helpful. I knew a little about it from a 5 minute aside in a university lecture course, but from what I’ve learnt over the weekend, a lot of thought has gone into the mechanism. The new style of development interface makes a lot more sense, seems very compatible with IPv4 and means that future version of the protocol will require fewer implementation changes! (Lets hear it for commons sense!)

So, put all those points together, and you can pretty much tell that I’m writing some kind of server, but that’s all I’m going to say!

Categories: Uncategorised Tags: , , ,

Building Haiku

May 19th, 2006 No comments

As I type, I have an old PC currently running BeOS 5 (which just flies!), and it’s currently downloading the current SVN checkout of Haiku.

At the same time, I’m listening to my brand new copy of the new Snow Patrol album “Eyes Open” – It’s every little bit as good as I hoped it would be, and then some more.


Categories: Uncategorised Tags: , , ,

Somebody didn’t think of the name did they!

April 28th, 2006 No comments

OK, heard it on the radio this morning, and now I’m at work, it seems the Internet is somewhat alive with it as well.

The name for Nintendo’s new console is officially “Wii”, as in “we”.

But they didn’t think very hard did they. Not sure whether this is just in the UK, but over here a “wee” means taking a piss. As in, “I’m going for a wee”.

“What do you want for Christmas this year little Johnny?”

“Well Daddy, I want a wee”.

The shameful thing is the working title “Revolution” made me want to buy one. Now I don’t. I really, really don’t. Change it back Nintendo, and stop with the “cute” stuff.

I believe this comment on Gizmodo sums it up quite amusingly

Categories: Uncategorised Tags: , , ,