// why am I so n00b?

Well, only one for now.

Sadly, I no longer need my laptop for work, as I have been provided with a proper desktop machine (this may be a good thing, since I can now boot Debian permanently, as I’ll no longer need to use Delphi on it). Anyway, I kind of liked having my work stuff and private stuff portable with me. So, I got something a little more portable, which I can both work (well, do basic documents, do all my emailing, track to-do’s, contacts, etc), and personal (fill it with random fun stuff) stuff on.

Enter, the iPAQ hx2750 :D. Complete with wireless LAN, so I can connect to networks at home, work, and the occasional Mug and Bean, Bluetooth for sending files between the handheld and laptop, and sending photos to to from the phone (I can even dial contacts on the iPAQ via bluetooth on the phone :P, and of course use it as a dial-up modem when a network is not available), SD slot for extra storage, and another way to transfer files between laptop and handheld, and a bunch of other leet stuff it can do.

I’ve also got PocketPuTTY up and running, so when I feel the urge I can pop onto whatever boxen I need, Python CE has already been helpful, as it enabled me to write a small .tar file extraction script for some other files I wanted. Even though I’m still first and foremost an Unreal fanboy, I couldn’t resist installing Pocket Quake. Pocket RAR and Adobe Reader have also come in rather handy.

Pocket Word is quite reasonable, and maintains document’s original formatting quite nicely. Pocket Outlook works very well for receiving, reading, and sending emails, and if ever offered the option of Outlook or Pocket Outlook, I’d have to choose the pocket version :P. It handels POP and IMAP mail equally well, and even does IMAPS without complication.

All-in-all, I’m rather impressed, and I find myself using it rather regularly throughout the day, especially for keeping track of projects and things at work, which was partly the main idea anyway.

Update: DynaBar 2 is available, the download link below is out of date.

Finally got around to making a proper release of something :).

Presenting DynaBar, a PHP script which can create dynamic images through the use of plugins, inspired by the Userbars.com website.

I thought it would be cool to be able to have userbars with dynamic data in them, stuff like game server status, stats, etc., etc. to make them a little more exciting. I also wanted to learn a bit more about PHP’s image manipulation, so this proved a good oppertunity for that.

Basically, the whole thing works off a plugin system, which lets you drop in a PHP script (the plugin), set up a config file (the userbar), and link to an image. DynaBar then goes about loading the plugin, requesting it’s data (so it goes off and collects stats, or whatever), and building the final image (putting on the [optional] scanline effect, glossy shine, and layering the text data from the plugin on all of that).

I’ve also created a small designer script, which allows you or any users to create new userbars using plugins or whatever, with their own images and content, in a simple wizard-like interface. The end result is ready-to-use forum or HTML code. :).

Here are some examples, using plugins included in the package:

Image lost in time Simple, plain text (nothing dynamic about it).

Image lost in time This one queries LastFM for which song I’ve played most recently in my media player.

Image lost in time Finally, here we have Battlefield 2 stats, coming from BF2Tracker’s clan XML feed.

Grab the download from the bottom of this post. Please read the README in the doc/ directory.


Finally, got my internet connection back. Turns most of the houses in the townhouse complex we moved into don’t actually have phone lines installed. It’s taken more than 2 weeks of begging and whining at the complex managers to get something done. They finally arrived yesterday (Thursday) with a Telkom tech guy and installed it in around 10 minutes.

Today a not-too-bright Telkom dude pitched up and installed the ADSL. Apparently we should be glad it works at all, since we’re far from the exchange. I guess all that matters is that it actually works in the end :).

The drive up was pretty uneventful, even though it did take 12 hours, around 3-4 more than it should have. I blame retarded truck drivers for that. I must say the scenery around the Eastern Cape is a lot nicer than the barren wastelands between there and Johannesburg. I’ll miss it. The weather here is so dry and hot :(, I’ll miss the humidity too.

Aside from the lack of a phone line (although fixed now), the new place is pretty nice, secure and stuff, 2Kms from work, nice views (guess I’ll post some nice pics I took the other day soon). You’re not allowed to hammer anything into the walls or anything here, or drill any holes, etc, etc, so I’m looking into getting as many PCs on 108mbps wireless LAN. Dodging masses of network cables around the passages between rooms isn’t too hot :).

Work’s just work, but it’s nice not having to fix people’s emails and printers every five minutes, I’m just left alone to write code and stuff. I’m strangely looking forward to work every day much more than I used to in East London, although I’m basically doing the same job (except the lame fixing stuff). Maybe it’s the free and easy access to the coffee machine. Unfortunately the interweb has been owned by a rather nasty proxy/firewall setup that seems to block completely random stuff, even development resources like parts of SourceForge (like most search results) and large parts of the online PHP manual. UnrealZA also works fine, until you try to view a thread… Pretty strange :/.

Guess I should stop babbling and go catch up on some Battlefield 2 :D.

So Korpse pointed out a rather interesting website the other night - Pandora.

Basically, it’s a rather nice little service which allows you to discover new music, artists, etc, by telling it which music you like already. Based on a song, or artist name you provide, it goes off and finds music matching an assortment of criteria matching the provided song/artist. It then proceeds to play a endless playlist. It’s all streaming, but it’s extremely good quality for streamed content, and practically never stutters, even when downloading or uploading other stuff (0n 512k ADSL anyway).

During your listening, if it plays something you don’t particularly like, you can tell it so, and it’ll further fine tune the playlist, the same applies to something you do like.

I do have a few things I’d like to see added or changed though. The ability to play your well refined playlist in the player of your choice

  • could play pretty much like a normal streaming playlist. Show a timer/track progress bar thing, it’s just nice to know :). Ability to go back and play previously listened to tracks. Perhaps two additional rating categories - it’d be nice to rate vocals and music separately.

Anyway, my 10 free trial hours are up, and I can’t seem to cheat by deleting cookies or something. My MasterCard should be arriving this week some time, and I’m seriously considering that $36 for an annual subscription…

Someone posted an image of somewhere they’re staying in “Qatar Doha” (no, I don’t know exactly where that is ;)) on the SGS Forums, mentioning how similar it looks to the Battlefield 2 map, Strike at Karkand.

I thought it might be cool to try to make the image look a bit more like the map, adjusting the colour balance, adding the orangey dusty air effect, etc. Further on, someone posted an image with some player characters and a jet overlayed, I though it was a pretty cool idea, so I whipped out Photoshop, my previously modified image, the official BF2 site (for screenshots of vehicles and characters), and got to work.

The end result is pretty cool I think :D. Click for full versions (original on the left, mine on the right):

Lost in time

Update; toned down the colours a bit, didn’t realise the monitor I did this on originally was so off :P.

titleMy Cat

date 26 Aug 2005

Because “Weblogs are things with cat pictures in them.”

Lost in time

titleNew phone

date 8 Jul 2005

So I got myself a shiny new samsung D500 phone!

Since WP supports posting by email and this phone can send them, I thought I would mess around a bit with the concept.

Here’s a rather bad photo taken out my office window…

Lost in time

Wordpress lets you write email messages to a specific email address and
it’ll periodically check for new messages, and post them to the blog!

Cool beans!