My forum signature for Rift

I joined a guild in Rift – An MMO i sometimes play, and created a custom signature today (the corpse is actually my in game character who dies a lot). I am showing this picture here for a few reasons, one its general interest and secondly it means the image will be hosted at wordpress and i can link directly from it.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a bit like Gowalla was. it basically allows you to check in at different places as you visit them, and you get points if you visit them several times. The interesting spin though is that in some places you can get free things for checking in – for example theres a macdonalds near me that will give you a free ice-cream sundae if you check in there and spend a certain amount of cash. Because its giving away freebies, I’m interested! I don’t know how popular it is in other countries but i was surprised to see freebies on offer in Stockholm.

Its not much, and not many places that have adopted this but its worth looking at, i mean after all, a free ice-cream is a free ice-cream!

It also allows you to find places near you – restaurants, cafe’s etc.. and people can post tips, so its actually quite cool.

Unusually and rather surprisingly the windows phone 7 foursquare app is better than the one for the iPhone. I’ve only got two friends on Foursquare and apparently i am the mayor of Stockholm – its not quite overlord of the universe but it will do for starters.

Downgrading Lync 2010 to Microsoft Office Communicator

I had to deinstall Lync today, and reinstall Microsoft Office Communicator. it didnt really go smooth – after the deinstall Outlook stopped working – it would hang on the splash screen. The solution – was to start outlook in safe mode (from a command prompt type:

outlook /safe

Then looking in the addins i found it still had the Lync Conversation history plugin installed. I removed that and problem solved.

SharePoint in different languages

Its a silly thing Рbut if your working with several languages ive found it better to install sharepoint in english and then apply language packs (in my case swedish) Рbecause what you end with is a server that has content in Swedish, and central admin in english, but more important your logfiles are in english. This is really useful if your working in a big organisation with a global support model. Wading through the sharepoint logs isnt fun in any language, but doing it in a language you dont understand is just horrible.

A prior client of mine said they wanted their base install in english because microsoft updates their products in english first. Was an interesting point, and kind of re-enforces what i am saying here :)

Waiting For Windows 8!

""Oh no, not another one"

Windows 8 is scheduled for release autumn of 2012; its still a while away but i am looking forward to it. Theres one feature i kind of wish windows 7 had – Hyper-V. Non techies out there, its a virtualization technology – a way of making your computer effectively run another computer inside a window. As a software developer having the ability to do this is essential – on one laptop you can model several other computers, change their network configurations, or save a snapshot of them – so if you really screw things up you can go back to your save game.

There are many good virtualization technologies out there – microsoft had Hyper V running as a dedicated server product which made it next to useless for developers. Some developers will run windows server 2008 on their laptop sure, but most dev’s i know are far more happy using windows 7 because it also runs world of warcraft. VMWare has always been my virtualization technology of choice, but if they bring Hyper-V to a standard desktop OS, i may have to seriously reconsider my thinking.

Real Programmers

This has been around since the dawn of time. Real Programmer humour.
  • Don’t eat quiche. They don’t even know how to spell quiche. They like Twinkies, Coke, and palate-scorching Szechwan food.
  • Don’t write applications programs. They program right down to the bare metal. Applications programs are for dullards who can’t do systems programming.
  • Don’t comment their code. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand and even harder to modify.
  • Don’t draw flowcharts. Flowcharts are, after all, the illiterate’s form of documentation. Cavemen drew flowcharts; look how much it did for them.
  • Don’t use COBOL. COBOL is for wimpy applications programmers.
  • Don’t use FORTRAN. FORTRAN is for wimpy engineers who wear white socks, pipe stress freaks, and crystallography weenies. They get excited over finite state analysis and nuclear reactor simulation.
  • Don’t use LOGO. In fact, no programmer uses LOGO after reaching puberty.
  • Don’t use APL, unless the whole program can be written on one line.
  • Don’t use LISP. Only effeminate programmers use more parentheses than actual code.
  • Don’t use Pascal, BLISS, Ada, or any of those sissy-pinko computer science languages. Strong typing is a crutch for people with weak memories.
  • Never work 9 to 5. If any real programmers are around at 9 a.m., it’s because they were up all night.
  • Don’t play tennis or any other sport that requires a change of clothes. Mountain climbing is OK though, and real programmers often wear climbing boots to work in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the middle of the machine room.
  • Don’t like the team programming concept. Unless, of course, they are the Chief Programmer.
  • Have no use for managers. Managers are a necessary evil. Managers are for dealing with personal bozos, bean counters, senior planners, and other mental defectives.
  • Don’t drive clapped out Mavericks. They prefer BMWs, Lincolns, or pick-up trucks with floor shifts. Fast motorcycles are highly regarded.
  • Like vending machine popcorn. Coders pop it in the microwave oven.
  • Real programmers use the heat given off by the CPU. They can tell what job is running just by listening to the rate the corn is popping.
  • Know every nuance of every instruction and use them all in every real program. Puppy architects won’t allow execute instructions to address another execute as the target instruction. Real programmers despise such petty restrictions.
  • Don’t bring brown bag lunches to work. If the vending machine sells it, they eat it. If the vending machine doesn’t sell it they don’t eat it. Vending machines don’t sell quiche.

EVE Online

EVE online has to be one of my favorite MMORPGs of all time – at first appearance it may seem a little like Elite – a space trading and combat game but it’s not – it’s ruthless. It’s not for kids at all, and on the large part there are no rules – even the safe zones of the game are not safe if you are carrying something precious and the bad guys really want it.

It’s atmospheric, with stunning graphics, and it improves all the time. It’s one game where you don’t want to die – death can really hurt. Out in the lawless reaches of space it can be a real adrenaline rush trying to get from one place to another. Skill learning is time based so you can’t just buy the game and play 24×7 – you have to chose what you wish to learn and when.

You can become member of a corporation (Like a guild) – and because of the way life and death is handled and the complex economic engines in eve, scientific papers have actually been written about psychology, interaction, and the effects of technology on society. Just like in the real world there are mega corporations, and smaller organizations, everyone with their own agenda. The last time I played I ended up leading a corp of around 100 people and it was something else – having space battles with that many people in is tricky. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of different ships, analyzing attack patterns, or just deciding when you are outgunned can be real arts.

I stopped playing about a year back – running a corp started to feel a little like work – managing strategy, attending meetings, discussing recruitment and how we are going to grow…can become a slog. I reactivated my account last night because I get 5 days of free play. Since I last left I often got such offers. Downloading the client took most of the evening which was a surprise as it was only 5gb. I wasn’t sat on the pc all evening anyway. I did look at it once I heard it beep and tell me that download was complete. They have remodeled it since I last looked at it. It crashed z couple of times trying to start it up – I ran it under Mac OS X which in retrospect may not have been the best idea, performance was bad and I’m not sure if that’s because of the game or the new version of macOS lion.it’s also possible the fast graphics processor was switched off, as I don’t normally play there. Maybe my computer is too old – it’s an iMac 24 (just had it’s second birthday, I brought a cake), and eve did tell me the GPU appeared old. I didn’t have time to really play last night.

I go to work today conscious that when I logged in last night I didn’t start training my skills… I’m losing hours today. Unforgivable.

ICQ

I have had ICQ for a very very very long time, back in the day it was awesome – it existed when msn was but a dream, and it was really good. I still remember my icq number off the top of my head and have fond memories of some of the random people i met there. Felt like being a pioneer. Anyway this morning i decided its time to deactivate my icq account but i am having real problems doing that. it has sentimental value. couple that with the fact i went to their home page and they seem to have shiny new applications and gadgets and its really hard to say no. i have an internal struggle going on here, really i know i should consolidate my communications… i hate giving things up.

 

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XMLRPC

I was thinking last night about writing a quick program to help categorize wordpress articles. Now I could read them out of the database directly to organize them but that would just not be proper. The way to do it is to use XMLRPC – XML Remote Procedure Calls – so I started to look at this and wasn’t really pleasantly surprised. I think I have been a bit spoiled with how easy it is to build web services in c# – you just take a wsdl file and run a command line tool to build a class.

With XMLRPC you cannot do that – you have to manually build your XML and parse it and encapsulate that in a HTTP request. If you want to transfer binary data the way it’s encoded doesn’t seem to be efficient so my real question really is why the he’ll does anyone use XMLRPC rather than web services – I don’t see the benefit. Maybe this is like the old VHS/Betamax thing – just different ways of achieving the same thing.

I couldn’t be assed to actually do this in the end because tomorrow evening I am going to be parsing XML anyway – custom crafting web service calls in an iPhone app I am building because the functionality they don’t have good web service interfaces. You can definitely have too much of a good thing.

Outlook 2010 Telephony Annoyance

I have Outlook 2010 installed and have never had a problem with it until today – I’m on a new windows install and for some reason when I typed a phone number into a contact using the international dialing formats it was removing the plus at the start – trying to format it with a local variant. I hate when it does this! The solution is to find telephony in the control panel and tell it your locale is somewhere you will never be – in my case Swaziland. Do that and it stops screwing with you!

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