Archive for November, 2006

Photos

It has been noted over the last few weeks that I haven’t been taking my camera out too much and posting to my gallery. I will hopefully be resuming full picture services soon and taking more pictures of places I go to and things I go to see. My main issue has been the fact that by modern standards my digital camera is quite bulky and so it hasn’t seen as much of the city of Leeds as it might have done. Still, I have a fairly strong yearning now to get back to photography so hopefully things will start to look up.

In other photography news I’ve recently seen a number of good offers on digital SLR cameras and have been considering buying one, after all I’ve had mine for a while and combined with a tripod, a few lenses and a filter or two my light effects photographs could go so much more smoothly. If anyone has any digital SLR recommenedations please feel free to leave them in comments :)

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Heather’s 21st

Heather's 21st

Pictures from Heathers 21st birthday outing to Ha Ha bar

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Microsoft made fools of… again

A spate of great amusement hit the web this afternoon when some genius with a lot of time on their hands announced the release of Microsoft Firefox 2007. It was reported in an article on the register which shows how well they managed to fool people.

The thing about this is that its not serious, its a joke, and one that is made at Microsoft’s expense all the way. You can see the hilarious feature list here so you can see just why its so funny. Kudos to all involved in this, its truly hilarious :D

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No web officer

Taking a browse over the latest updates over on Halifax Online yesterday I noticed that the nominations for next years executive committee are through and that no one has applied for web officer. This is slightly disheartening as it means that clearly someone doesn’t want to take on the running of the unique CMS system I wrote to power the college website. It also means that the brilliant resource the site has become for college students will be without an admin to keep it ticking over which could mean its regular updates and indeed use by college students may well decline.

All I can say is if you are a Halifax college student and are technically minded, please consider running for the position. I’d love to see the site continue to be a success, after all its still the best college website at the University of York and you wouldn’t want Goodricke to get ahead now would you ;)

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Fixing the problems

Last weekend I blogged about a large number of setbacks that had caused my progress to somewhat stall on the development front. Good news, I have managed to resolve pretty much all the problems now so as soon as the modernbill issues can be sorted I’m well on the way to completing a number of really cool projects so stay tuned. I love it when I manage to fix something thats been problematic :D

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Soweto Kinch

Soweto KinchOn Wednesday night I went to the Wardrobe with some friends from the Jazz and Blues society to see Soweto Kinch play live. He’s a sax player, but one of the few to have successfully integrated rap and hip-hop with jazz. His style is unique and almost totally incomparable with any other jazz artist. His music is widely appreciated and his gig was recommended to me by a friend as a must see. He plays regularly at the wardrobe and entrance prices are very reasonable for all who want to check it out.

Normally when the wardrobe is setup table style (with tables and chairs on the dancefloor instead of it being empty and all the seats around the edge) you can expect a smaller crowd however by the time Soweto and his band took to the stage the club was absolutely packed. We had secured seats near the stage and it was a good job too as I swear some people ended up beng to far back they wouldn’t have seen very much.

The set started with a really funky bit of jazz with Soweto’s skill on the saxaphone shining through immediately. As part of the first number we were also treated to a taste of his mc’ing talents. It’s amazing how well this stuff goes with jazz. Die hard fans would never have thought it, but Soweto on the mic with a bit of jazz backing really makes you form a new opinion of the hip-hop style of music. It’s both rhythmic and musical, and soon has you feeling the music from the ground up.

I first got my taste of what hip-hop and jazz is like when I saw Us3 play at the jazz cafe. I’t hard to say who’s better than who, but there is certainly a lot of good comparisons to be made. Whats so refreshing about Soweto Kinch is how he focuses on the importance of the music the whole time with two of his live pieces actively taking the piss out of the money orientated conventional hip-hop scene and how it really doesn’t matter because its making the music feel alive and in touch with the audience that counts – Soweto did this perfectly

The first half of his set was very much getting the audience used to the musical style and the second half is where it all really kicked off as he told us the story behind his album, the area he lives in Birmingham and the people he knows on a day to day basis that each have a story to tell through his music. I love music that tells stories and with Soweto’s music it’s amazing how you can really feel the story when you hear the music. Without a doubt the best jazz orientated track of the night was “The house that love built”. Both the story behind the song and the music it’s self has to be heard to be belived. If you need just one reason to buy his album then this song is it.

To finish his set (amid huge cheers, its the encore by this stage!) he did a freestyle piece. Throughout the night he had people send pictures they’d taken on their phones to a pc and then for the freestyle piece he put them up on the screen and did a personalised rap piece just for us at the wardrobe. It was a brilliant bit of mc’ing and something that had the whole group of us cheering.

Quite simply you don’t know you’ve been born until you see Soweto Kinch live.

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Calendar for WordPress released

I’ve had quite a lot of interest in my events calendar over the last few weeks so I decided to write it up into a proper WordPress plugin that everyone can use should they so wish.

Even though its written for WordPress any coder could adapt this to work stand-alone or with another content management system. You can download it on this page here

Feature List

  • Monthly view of events
  • Mouse-over details for each event
  • User and search friendly URL scheme
  • Events can span more than one day
  • Multiple events per day possible
  • Easy to use events manager in admin dashboard

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You must be evil

While coding today I’ve been listening to Chris Rea a fair bit, some great music it really is. One song in particular caught my ear for the message in its lyrics so I thought I’d share them with you here. Discussion is of course, as usual, most welcome in the comments

I come home from work
I see my little girl
Shes crying on the floor
Shes been watching that tv
This aint late no, this aint even dinner time
To show them things on that screen
Whats wrong with you

You must be evil

Oh I know why you do it
Youre just looking for sensation
You got a hold of something
You tell us that its news
You dont have to show that stuff
Cant you show us some respect
You can tell us we dont need to see it
We dont need those cheap effects

You must be evil
You must be evil
I wish you were here

You dont have to show that stuff
You aint fooling no-one
You made my little girl cry
I wish you were here
We all know why you do it
Sometimes you even slow it down
Youre giving out some bad ideas here
I cant believe that you dont realise

You must be evil

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ModernBill Problems

Right I’m sure many of you don’t even know what modernbill is, but for those that do I’m going to have a little moan about what really should be working in a stable production environment copy of their latest v5.1 release but infuriatingly isn’t

  • Importing of TLDs from eNom reseller account – you have to enter every TLD manually at the moment, a total nightmare when there is over 40 to do.
  • Disable credit card forms – for sellers who don’t take credit cards and set their admin panel as such still have their clients presented with the ability to pay by and store details of a credit card in the client area. Totally stupid.
  • Paypal links to settle outstanding invoices are not included in the client area or on reminder e-mails so customers can’t complete their payments. Sellers go without being payed and clients run up a debt while we wait for modernbill to fix the issue. Doing business is like getting blood out of a stone with this problem.
  • Disabling of the FAQ – I have my own FAQ, why can’t I stop the empty one modernbill provides from coming up in the client area?
  • Helpdesk integration – v4 handled Intellodesk fine, why can’t v5 do the same instead of just spitting out some message about settings not being available?
  • Documentation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen documentation for such a large released piece of software being so scarce. If you are lucky enough to find something in there that even mentions what you are trying to do you can be rest assured that it doesn’t go into enough detail about it to actually be of any use.
  • Developers refuse to accept that the above (and other issues) are not acceptable in a stable release of the application

So there you have it – a total disaster. As someone said on the modernbill forums, I feel like an alpha tester here, call this a release version? *sheesh*

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Brick Wall

I really hate it when this happens; you’ve got so many things to be getting on with but somehow every single one of these things ends up being stalled because there is soemthing you are waiting on in order to complete every single task. Strangely reminiscent of an SY21 lecture on scheduling algorithms I know, but still, its happened to me today.

I’m working with several very new pieces of software for a project I’m trying to complete but at present there is a problem with every piece which requires a response from a third party which I’m just sitting around waiting for. The main reason why its so annoying is I have a little less work to do for my course right now so I was trying to use the extra time to complete the project. Looks like its going to be delayed by weeks now though, all because of a load of problems hitting me at once in the space of two days, and in another two days I’ll have a load of coursework again. I really hate being a developer sometimes :(

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