Monday, May 31, 2004

Almost there!

Well, I finally got my sections of my uni assignment done. Well, those that were possible, at least; I can't write the summary 'til I've read the rest of it, and I don't have everyone else's sections yet. When the person compiling the doc has done it all apart from my summary, she's going to send it to me and I'll do the summary then.

Talk about a weight off my shoulders! It's only temporary - I've still got the final presentation to worry about, and the summary section, and the exam - but it's damn nice to be able to spend some time with my fantastic wife for a little while :)

(In case you're thinking "I thought he was running a business, not studying", I'm actually finishing my Bachelor of Information Technology at Flinders Uni; I'm just doing one topic at a time until it's done - I discovered the hard way that if I try to work full-time and study anything more than one topic, I fail everything miserably. I should be finished my degree by the end of this year, all going to plan. Can't wait :) )

Friday, May 28, 2004

Speakers

So I (finally) got myself a semi-decent set of speakers for the computer: a second-hand set of Altec Lansing Select 4100s (reviews here and here). Very cool looking, and they seem to sound fairly good. Managed to pick them up for $A130 as well, which I'm happy with, considering they're $A330ish new.

The 4.1 thing is a little pointless at this stage as I'm only driving them from my laptop's stereo output, but they have nice little switch on them to duplicate the front channels to the rear chennels, so you can get sound coming out of all 4 speakers with only stereo input. Lovely.

What I want to know is, how do game systems like the XBox claim to have Dolby 5.1 output when they've only got stereo RCA outputs? stereo != 5.1, last time I checked.

But I digress. The speakers are very cool, and I suspect I'm driving Sarah nuts with the sub already.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

ping

Does anyone actually read this crap I post? Please leave a comment if you do - you can post anonymously, even though blogger.com tries to hide this...

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Seven tricks that Web users don't know

This article seems to be doing the mozilla blog rounds currently: Carolyn Snyder's Seven tricks that Web users don't know (via Adot's Notblog, via Susan's 2020 Hindsight, via PapaScott, via Pepilog).

It's definitely an interesting article, and highlights something I've been aware of for a while:

average (that is, non-technical) users interact with computers very differently to the way the people I generally know (mostly techies like myself) interact with computers.
Non-technical users interactions tend to be a lot less complex than techies; where a techie might open a link in a new window (or tab if you're a mozilla person), leave their email client running most of the time, have an IM client in the system tray, and be listening to music, the average non-technical user is often baffled by task switching, and has no concept that something like clicking on a URL in an email will open a new browser, because they are not aware that email and web browsing are seperate things (for that matter, they probably wouldn't know what a browser actually is - "I use the big blue E, is that what you mean?").

This is something learnt through personal experience; I've done some ISP tech support at the last place I worked (people's general ignorance in that area was something I learnt not to be surprised at), and I've done some private tutoring stuff with older people - teaching how to read and send email, go to a web site, use google to search, simple things like that.

One interesting thing from the article:

The evidence cited in this article comes from several usability studies I conducted in 2000...
The article was published on June 1st 2001 - almost 3 years ago. It would be interesting to see if the average non-technical user's knowledge has increased with the increased penetration of the internet into everyday life over the last 3 years.

Monday, May 24, 2004

iugo

So if you're wondering what it is I do, I currently half-own and operate a business with another friend from my old work: Iugo Pty Ltd. (The website's pretty bare right now, as neither of us have got enough time to put anything proper up. Proper content is coming Real Soon Now, honest).

We do web development work for a couple of clients. At the moment it's absolutely flat out - we only started doing this full-time a couple of months ago, and already we've got more work than we can handle. We can't employ anyone yet, for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is we're both working from our respective homes at present so there's nowhere to put an employee ;-) So we're looking for contractors to cope with some of our workload. If you know of a contractor with proven PHP-based Database-driven web development skills, please leave a comment, we're looking to hand off some of our load to a sub-contractor ASAP :)

(In case you're wondering, we will be looking at sample code from prospective sub-contractors. We got burnt too many times at my old work hiring people who looked like they could do the job, said they could do the job, then produced rubbish code. It always takes so much longer to correct code like that then it does to just do it yourself. annoying.)

I bitch and moan about it being so busy at the moment, but really, it's way better having a bit too much work when working as a private contractor than having no work at all. I'll try not to bitch and moan too much ;-)

Saturday, May 22, 2004

gemal.dk's Mozilla Blogupdates

I'm a follower of the mozilla project, having tried it in the M18 days and using it as my primary browser since about 0.9, and now using firefox and thunderbird for web & email. I love it as a product (despite its memory hunger), and I love that it's open source. I've even contributed in a minor way to the mozgest extension :)

So anyway, keeping up with developer blogs is one of the many good features of open source IMO1; and the best way to keep up with mozilla blogs is gemal.dk's Mozilla Blogupdates. If you're a mozilla geek like me, it's very handy.

[1] Yeah, I know, it's not just OS developers that blog about their projects. But it is definitely more prevalent in the OS world than in the closed source world.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Day off

I just spent the last half of yesterday and the first half of today having some time off, after working 32ish hours working over the last long weekend. Boy did I need it, I hadn't realised just how worn out I was feeling from working so much. This whole starting your own business thing is bloody difficult!

Still, it feels heaps better doing it for yourself than doing it for someone else, especially when the someone else I had been working for for the last 4 years was a bit of an idiot, to put it mildly. (I have no idea how I managed to last 4 years, hehehe).

It was so good to actually be able to spend some time with Sarah, We'd both been missing that a lot.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Idea Of North

I totally love The Idea Of North. A cappella jazz music at its finest. If they're ever playing in your area, and you're into a capella (or just into jazz at all), you have to go see them. In the words of Molly Meldrum, Do Yourselves A Favour.

Oh yeah, and a big thanks to Jason for introducing them to my listening palette.

Oooh, new CD due soon! exciting!

Would it be out of place to mention that a friend of mine has a bit of a thing for the alto, Naomi Crellin? Yeah, probably would. Better not mention it then. sshhhhh.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Brain Dump #1

I'm currently sitting in my study at home, no-one else around, desperately trying to get motivated to do some work, and failing miserably. This blog is my latest act of procrastination (an occupation which I have elevated to an art form). So here's a brain dump, in no particular order:

  • I'm stuck at home this long weekend while my wife (the lovely and amazing Sarah, who I'm sure will get a lof of airplay on this blog) is off camping with people from my church. I'm trying to get some work done - working for yourself can be a bitch, and in my case, the boss is a bastard - and I'm struggling. weekends shouldn't be for work, dammit! And I miss having Sarah around a huge amount.
  • Helping me stay inside is the fact that it's cold and wet here in Adelaide at the moment, but I'm warm inside after building up a sensational fire. If I had a digital camera, I'd take a picture or two to share, but I don't, so I can't.
  • My friend Jason has just recently gone to live in England for the near future. He started at the place I used to work at a year or so ago and fast became the sanity check for me in that place; we both hated it immensely, and we would escape fairly regularly, for lunch and rambling conversation. I'm missing working with him, and I'm pretty shit at friendships where they move somewhere else; I just know we won't talk to each other heaps while he's living in england, and at the moment, that's making me a bit sad :(
  • I'm looking for a cheap set of speakers to use with my computer, primarily to listen to music. I've got some Semi-decent headphones, but I get a bit sick of having headphones on if I don't need to (i.e. if there's no-one else around). I'm either thinking I'll buy some cheap second-hand multimedia speakers, or some cheap-ish second-hand HiFi gear (an old amp and a couple of speakers). Leaning towards the old-amp-and-speakers idea. What I really want is The Loudspeaker Kit's M4 Mini Monitors and an amp to match, but $A200 is a bit more than I've got at the moment ;-)

Well, there's the first brain dump of this blog. What a ramble. Fun.

Profile display

Does anyone know how to turn specific profile fields off? Specifically, I want to not display Astrological Sign & Born in the Year Of. Looking through the blogger help now, but can't find anything useful for me.

Frist Post!!!!1

So, like every other blogger in the world, I'm going to do a "This-is-my-first-post-I-finally-got-myself-a-blog" post.

So I finally got myself a blog! This is my first post.

Glad that's out of the way.