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Chris Boyle

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Resolutions [Dec. 31st, 2008|06:40 pm]

[Tags|]
[Mood | resolute]
[Music |Keane - This Is the Last Time]

In no particular order:
  • <trad>Something better than 640x480 at 8fps in L4D would be nice (although I'm not doing too badly as is)</trad> ✓ (patched)
  • Visit London more often. ✓
  • Finish rocketjon's interminable website project and make it public before the end of February. ✗
  • DSFW on my Debian bugs
  • Fix all known bugs in Android Puzzles.
  • Bike more. As of 10th January I have a new bike to help with this. ✗
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Dear Lazyweb: bike buying advice please [Dec. 28th, 2008|10:58 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | thoughtful]
[Music |Iris - Wait Move On]

My bike is old (over 10 years), rusty, worn, bent, unreliable, possibly heavier than necessary and generally not fun, so I drive more often than is sensible (especially to work). This Christmas I've received some money towards a new one. I know Cambridge and the web are full of bike shops, but don't know which shops/bikes are any good, which is where I'm hoping you can help me. I have some requirements )
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Dear Lazyweb: New Year's Eve [Dec. 23rd, 2008|02:33 pm]

[Tags|]
[Mood | lazy]
[Music |Zero 7 - Distractions]

Susan and I have no plans for NYE. We're considering the Pembury, which I'm guessing will be open; will any of you be there? Do you have any other suggestions?
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My job, in all its Web 2.0 glory [Dec. 17th, 2008|05:07 pm]

[Tags|]
[Mood | amused]
[Music |Absurd Minds - Master Builder]

My employer recently released an update of their traffic manager, ZXTM 5.1. One of the headline features, which I've been heavily involved in developing, is improved event handling: you can now set up mappings from some/all events to various actions, including arbitrary scripts. Looking at the comments on a recent blog post discussing some of the new functionality, I've found a short video of some of the, um, productive, business-critical use to which this feature has been put (needs sound).

Yep, my code lets people integrate their traffic managers with, among other things, the hollow wifi-enabled bunnies of the apocalypse. What have I done?!
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Python bug? (urllib2.HTTPDigestAuthHandler) [Dec. 12th, 2008|10:10 pm]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | confused]
[Music |Iris - New Invaders]

This script, when edited to fill in valid LiveJournal credentials (or InsaneJournal, if you change the URL and user list) fails for me in a very odd way. It fetches the first two URLs quite happily, and returns a 401 on the third after querying my password manager about 6 times. Even if you shuffle the user list around, increase the sleep, etc etc... I seem to be able to request as many such URLs from LJ as I like, in separate Python executions, or with different HTTPDigestAuthHandler objects, but any given instance of HTTPDigestAuthHandler will always fail on the third use. Failing on the second use would be more understandable, but three? WTF?

Edit: Filed as Python bug 4683, comments go there.
Link

How to get Voice Dialer on your UK G1; how to fix a Google app on your G1 [Nov. 15th, 2008|12:27 pm]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | confused]
[Music |Wir sind Helden – Guten Tag (Die Reklamation)]

By way of a couple of mini-howtos to save the next person some time: you're probably all bored of this by now... )
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Quick G1 review, after 36 hours [Nov. 2nd, 2008|01:38 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | impressed]
[Music |The Amateur Transplants - Paracetamoxyfrusybendroneomycin]

I have a shiny new T-Mobile G1, at long last, and people keep asking me whether it's any good. So, in the interest of reducing duplication of information laziness, here is a brief review )
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It LIVES! [Oct. 21st, 2008|02:28 am]

[Tags|, , , ]
[Mood | giddy]
[Music |XP8 - Waiting]


Simon Tatham's puzzles on Android. I has released it. Before any Android devices were released (sort of). Happy now. :-)
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Coming soon: Simon Tatham's puzzles for Android/G1 [Oct. 4th, 2008|10:06 pm]

[Tags|, , ]
[Mood | pleased]
[Music |Assemblage 23 - King of Insects]

Once upon a time, [info]simont wrote some very nice portable puzzles. Then I bought a Palm, and noticed someone had done a Palm port, and distraction ensued for many a happy hour. I'll soon be buying a T-Mobile G1, and want it to run these puzzles, so I'm porting them.

Android applications are Java-based, so I'm very grateful to Michael Schierl and the NestedVM project for previous work to make the puzzles run as Java applets, meaning all I have to do is change J2SE applet bits to their Android equivalents. Still to do: erm, rather a lot actually. I currently only have the bare minimum required to produce what you see to your left (drawing callbacks and not much else; no interaction yet).
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Google phone to be announced today [Sep. 23rd, 2008|10:09 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | sick]
[Music |Code 64 - Starchaser]

Google and T-Mobile will be announcing (text version) the G1, the first Google Android device, later today. I might be slightly more excited about this (and slightly more optimistic about it solving my various ongoing phone complaints) than is strictly sensible. On the other hand, this gives me something to bounce about today while recovering from an ear infection.

Edit: looks good, shame about the curvy (fragile?) slide and lack of 3.5mm socket but I'll probably buy it anyway, depending on what the UK contract looks like. All I've heard about that so far is that it'll be free if you pay £40+/month. It'll be available here early November; you can request spam about it from T-Mobile.
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Phobile moans again: satnav [Sep. 16th, 2008|12:03 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | frustrated]
[Music |VNV Nation - Secluded Spaces]

Some recent bad experiences with satnav have prompted even more consideration of my choice of smartphone. My biggest complaint against my current setup is that starting TomTom, if the separate GPS receiver has been turned off, is a fiddly, glitch-prone, lengthy process; it usually involves turning both the receiver and the phone's Bluetooth function off and on several times. Once that's done, I have to wait for the receiver to get a fix, which can take several minutes if I haven't used GPS for a while. Also, my map is at least 17 months out of date, and the frequency with which it doesn't match reality has become just high enough to be annoying. The decision to buy a system that uses a locally-stored map seemed obviously correct at the time, when I didn't have an unlimited* data service (indeed, there may not even have been any sensible products that used an online map), but it's less so now.

What I would like, ideally, is a non-Windows smartphone with built-in GPS. Edit: Such devices seem to be able to obtain a fix more quickly than my current device, though they don't maintain a fix at all times as that would kill the battery. As previously mentioned, the Palm platform seems dead, its successor doesn't look likely to ship any hardware soon; I'd hoped the first Android phone (appearing in the next couple of months) would be worth looking at but apparently that might not even have GPS. [Edit: it will have GPS and is launching on Tuesday 23rd...] As far as I know, if I'm looking to buy within the next few months, that just leaves the iPhone. Unfortunately, its Maps application doesn't look suitable for dashboard use. It won't even follow the route as you drive, let alone replan if you take a wrong turn or give you voice directions (which I used occasionally, until TomTom inexplicably lost the capability recently). There are vague rumours that TomTom are working on something for the iPhone, but I'm not holding my breath. Even if true, I would expect it to still use a local map so you must pay them per-update.

Table of options: Treo too buggy, iPhone too expensive and not hands-off )
I don't like any of those options. Does anyone have a better idea (other than a separate device or Windows)? :-(
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Was it something I said? [Sep. 12th, 2008|08:42 am]

[Tags|]
[Mood | curious]
[Music |Mesh - Not Prepared]

I've been at Zeus for just over two years now. During that time, I've talked to quite a few of you about working there, but only seen two incoming CVs with names I recognise. It's obviously not going to be everyone's ideal job, but I'm still curious as to what happens to the rest of the people in that category (full disclosure: the recruitment bonus might have something to do with my curiosity). That is, if you considered working for Zeus and then didn't apply, may I ask why? We see very few good candidates, and if we're somehow putting people off, I'd really like to know about it.
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BiCon [Aug. 28th, 2008|11:47 am]

[Tags|]
[Mood | rushed]
[Music |VNV Nation - The Farthest Star]

I seem to be going to my first BiCon (despite being a Kinsey zero). Lots of friends are going; it looks vaguely fun. I'll be reachable on 07786 888749 as usual, if anyone wants to find me. Hopefully going there this evening.

Edit: Fail. Make that first thing tomorrow. :-) um... first thing Saturday? Maybe?
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In which Sergei finally gets some armour [Aug. 2nd, 2008|01:17 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | cheerful]
[Music |Apoptygma Berzerk - In This Together]

Earlier today I looked up the date of my first LARP event. It was Foundation, just over two years ago. I was slightly surprised; I didn't think I'd been at it that long and still think of myself as a complete beginner who hardly understands any of the game. Nevertheless, I've caught the LARP bug and am likely to continue for the forseeable future, so I've decided that for my tenth event, I will actually get a proper armour physrep. Darkblade seem nice and sensibly priced, so I'm thinking about their Ryder armour and articulated vambraces, unless anyone has better ideas? I've already looked at the stands at events and the websites of LRPStore and Norton Armouries. I'd also appreciate any recommendations on where to find appropriate boots or boot-tops.

Edit: I now have some Elven Armour and Scales Greaves from Primal Forge, who were very helpful (answering questions and such) and shipped promptly.
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BBQ, today & tonight [Jul. 27th, 2008|08:50 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | awake]
[Music |Assemblage 23 - Opened]

For anyone reading this whom I haven't invited by some means or other (or who has forgotten), there's a BBQ at my place all day and all evening today (we may be slightly interrupted by the weather). Everyone and anyone welcome. Turn up whenever. Bring friends, food, drink and anything else you fancy :p Contact us for exact address.
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Next week (shortcipher in shocking case of organisational fail) [Jul. 17th, 2008|04:47 pm]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | geeky]
[Music |Code 64 - Run to you]

I'm taking all of next week (21/07-25/07) as holiday. This is mostly to work on a side project, but if anyone feels like meeting up to e.g. see a film, or coming to visit, company would be appreciated at any time of day (except Friday evening), as Susan will be away and I don't intend to code 24 hours/day. Here are my contact details (or comment here). Films I currently want to see include The Dark Knight, Wall•E (seen) and Hancock.
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On the inability of smartphones to bilocate (a short review of recent purchases) [Jul. 4th, 2008|09:35 am]

[Tags|]
[Mood | pleased]
[Music |Ayria - Beta Complex]

I don't particularly approve of the apparent extinction of no-frills mobiles, but I'm one of those strange people who actually find smartphones (at least the ones that are at all smart) useful, simply because I'd otherwise carry a PDA and a phone. Unfortunately, on those occasions when I want to use both functions at once (e.g. a phone call involving looking at my calendar) until recently I found myself switching awkwardly between phone-to-ear and phone-in-front-of-me where I can see the screen. Obviously, having a headset solves this, but for most of my day I'm at my desk wearing headphones, listening to music, so to take those headphones off and, either at the start of the call or during it, put on different ones, is doubly inconvenient. Enter the A2DP device I mentioned previously, and some convenient headphones built into a lanyard. tl;dr )
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Notes from a disk rescue [Jul. 3rd, 2008|04:09 pm]

[Tags|]
[Mood | annoyed]
[Music |Mesh - Not Prepared]

For 9 or 10 months, I've had a media server at home running MythTV on Ubuntu. It does the usual DVR operations and network streaming fairly well (there's only one tuner, so we can only receive one channel at once, but it's quite possible to, for example, watch two recordings at once in different places). On Monday, we noticed that machine was complaining of disk errors in syslog.

Rescuing 500GB is not fun, but ddrescue works - details mostly for my own reference )
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The importance of providing clear diagnostic information [Jun. 29th, 2008|01:43 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | silly]
[Music |VNV Nation - Carry You]

Telephone numbers for drama purposes (such as the Doctor's): surely these ought to return something better than [...] has not been recognised. Might I suggest: This number is imaginary. Please rotate it by 90° in the complex plane and try again. :-p I might also suggest that this show in particular, if they were going to put a number on the screen, could have used a valid one and put something interesting on the other end. Also, I would very much have preferred if there was some common substring to all the fictional numbers (like 555 in the US), such that they can be recognised without consulting that list.
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Headphone recommendations please [Jun. 25th, 2008|01:34 am]

[Tags|, ]
[Mood | frustrated]
[Music |Neuropa - Control]

Further to my previous post, I now have convenient portable 3.5mm stereo output of music (phone/FM/PC) switching to phone calls (with a microphone for those). What I don't have is some headphones suitable for outdoor use. Complications ) Therefore, oh wise and generous friends-list, what should I use for my outdoor listening? Goals are comfort, sound quality, portability and road safety. Bonus points if they score sufficiently well on the first two that I'm happy with them for indoor use as well.

Edit: I bought the Philips SHE9600(s?).
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