Me

Site theme updated

A day or so ago someone (thanks Blair!) pointed out that this site wasn’t being too friendly to mobile visitors – in fact, it was displaying a 404 to every mobile visitor. Ouch. This happened before and I fixed it, however I didn’t fix it in a completely sustainable way. However “fixing it” again still meant that the site was still serving up the same 6+ year old design to all visitors, and it really wasn’t a pleasant experience on mobile devices. So I’ve just taken the time to do a very quick skin update to something...

Looking back on the past couple of years as a freelancer

It's coming up to the 2 year mark since I resigned from my full time job and went into freelancing / owning my own businesses. After many years of working as an employee, a contractor and doing small bits of freelancing on the side I probably thought that switching to freelancing would be a bit easier than it ended up being, which is part of why I wanted to write a little about my experiences. There's plenty of material out there offering freelancers helpful tips or things to avoid - this post is similar to many of those, but it's...

Another motherboard down

Yesterday morning at around 6.30am my (second) P5N32-E SLI motherboard died. After 2 weeks of running without any issues, it had rebooted itself and reported a "BIOS Checksum Error" - at this point it tries to launch the ASUS EZ-Flash utility, and when that fails due to the user sleeping in another room it emits an insanely high pitched screeching noise. Nice feature. The problem sounded similar to this, except in my case playing about with RAM didn't fix it. Neither did booting from the support DVD and re-flashing the ROM BIOS. I was experiencing some randomness, mainly...

More on Live Writer 64bit

A bit of a follow up for anyone who's interested in running Live Writer on 64 bit Windows, and didn't read the comments to my previous post. Charles' explanation as to why the current install doesn't work with 64 bit makes a lot more sense: We're sorry about the fact that Writer stopped supporting 64 bit Windows. You're right that this is just temporary. Our installer had a little hiccup but it will be resolved in our next release. Once again, our apologies! So all you 64bit people can look forward to being back and writing with Live Writer...

Not posted using Live Writer!

First off, this post is not bought to you via Windows Live Writer! Why? Well.. Running a 64bit OS is an interesting experience. A lot of people will make casual comments along the lines of "pretty much everything should run fine". If you hear this phrase in casual social conversation, then chances are that: You are a huge fucking geek You are talking to someone who has never run a 64bit OS Most 32bit apps are compatiable with a 64bit OS. However there are some things you take for granted, and sometimes compatiability can be an...

Project Quad Core

 Anyone who reads my sites knows that I'm a sucker for dropping too much cash on computer kit. However, only people who know me well are aware that I have incredibly bad luck with hardware. Stuff just goes wrong more often than it should. So when I was planning the latest upgrade, my good friend Spksh offered to take time out from documenting New Zealand's descent into 4GW mayhem and to build the system for me. He's one of those people who loves playing with hardware, and he's damn good at it. With him building the rig, my hardware curse was bound to be...

I think I have a problem

And apparently a problem shared is a problem halved, or something like that. So here we go. This is the Das Keyboard version 1:   It's modeled around the old school clunky IBM keyboards from long ago, with a couple of little differences. The keys are all individually weighted, so they take more or less force to press properly depending on the key which is supposed to be pressing it. That is to say that the keys which your little finger is going to hit are a bit heavier than the ones which are going to get pounded...

Dell 3007fpw

I've been looking at the Dell 3007fpw. Well, technically speaking I was looking at 2, but that's another story. There are a few screenshots out and about which make the mouth water: That's a 24" Dell on the right, with the 30" next to it. Damn. 2560*1600 isn't exactly the worlds most practical resolution if you don't have a high powered rig, especially for gaming - but the 3007fpw solves this by having a "2nd native mode" of 1280*800 allowing you to run demanding games in a slightly more sane mode. It's a nice touch, and it sounds...

Now running Subtext!

The observant among you will notice that the site has changed. I'm no longer running on Domino, and hence I'm no longer running on Blogo. The site is now fully powered by ASP.NET, and is running the excellent Open Source Subtext. Thanks go out to Ferdy for all the time he's spent writing and maintaining Blogo - if you're in the market for an open source Domino blogging engine then check it out, it's well worth it. Why Subtext? I can't really say. I played with a few .NET solutions out there, and decided that I really liked quite a few...

Not just a software geek..

Most of the time on this site I write about coding, or moan about trains, but there's more to me than that - sometimes I like to play with hardware too! That's not entirely true. No one likes to play with hardware, but they do generally like the results as long as all goes well. This week promises to be a bit of a hardware/networking week. I've just ripped out my twin SLI'ed 7800 GTs to replace them with a single Asus GeForce 8800 GTS, 320MB, DDR3, PCIe-16, TV out, DVI, HDTV, SLI ready etc. It's...

Writing about being too busy to write

The last couple of months have been pretty busy, and the updates to this site have suffered as a result of that. When I'm not working I'm in the middle of migrating all of my personal data (including this site) off Domino. I've got most of the work done towards migrating over to SubText, but I'm having trouble finalising a site design. The fact that I'm pretty average when it comes to designing layouts is a bit of a hindrance. I'm finding SubText pretty nice to work with from a skinning perspective - however I'm pretty easily sold...

Morning Frost

Frost by itself isn't anything too amazing or interesting. However, when it's in Auckland, and when you can scoop it into a pile and almost make a snowball out of it, then you can say "It's cold today" and feel somewhat justified. Tags: NZ, NZ Trains

Analyzing the favorable winds

I threw the leg times for an end to end trip (specifically, the first train of the morning) on the Western line in both directions into a quick Excel spreadsheet, and can now reveal the following useless statistics: There are 18 stations and therefore 17 legs along the western line. The most common leg time is 3 minutes. There are 9 eastbound legs which take 3 minutes, and 12 westbound. There are 7 legs in which the durations for the eastbound and westbound legs differ. Of the 7...

Follow the favorable winds

I was looking through the new timetable for the Western line and thought I'd noticed a screw up in the train times. The trip duration eastbound looked like it took longer than it used to. That was until I checked the old timetable, and realised that apparently it takes less time to travel from Britomart to Waitakere as it does to travel from Waitakere to Britomart. I'd never noticed this before! The eastbound trip end to end (non express) is listed at taking exactly an hour, whereas the return trip is listed as taking 57 minutes...

My Visual Studio Customisations

Every developer has their own list of customisations and tweaks which they apply to their IDE to give it that personal touch. This is my personal list of settings and customisations for Visual Studio 2005. I'm partly writing this down as a reference guide for myself lest I forget - reinstalling Visual Studio is something I try to do as little as possible, and so having a reference list is useful for those moments after a reinstall where you know something doesn't quite feel right in the IDE, but can't remember exactly which setting you've missed! I realise...

Hardware troubleshooting techniques, Volume 1

PROBLEM: Noisy fan on my FreeBSD box SOLUTION: Disconnect noisy fan It's amazing how much quieter my FreeBSD/Squid cache box is with it's 120mm fan disconnected. I should know in about 24 hours as to whether my quick estimations on it's heat output and cooling requirements were accurate, but for now the acoustic improvements are worth the risk! Tags: FreeBSD

Back on the train

I'm back to taking the train after driving for a couple of months. It looks like the reliability issues have gotten a bit better since their alltime February/March lows, however there are still delays and they're still (apparently) being caused by signal failures. It looks like most of the major earthworks have been completed along the western line, and so from here on in things should be getting better. One thing which has surprised me a lot over the past few days commute is that the trains seem noticably busier. I'd actually expected their use to maybe...

..and now, a break from all things technology

Sunset at Bethells beach, Waitakere, Auckland, New Zealand. Tags: NZ

Great start to the first commute of the year

The train arrived on time only to be delayed for 15 mins at Henderson, which is common and happens a lot. However there were then a series of 5-10 minute delays between various stations, to make the usual 40 minute trip take a grand total of 1 hour and 20 minutes. Excellent start to the year, I hope this isn't how things are going to continue. On a related note, I had a read of the October 2006 train planning information booklet the other day. It made for some interesting reading. It's filled with their projects planned over...

Das Keyboard 2

I'm still undecided about the Das Keyboard 2. Visually, it's much nicer than the original. It's a lot less retro, and they got rid of the display text over the LED buttons. It always seemed stupid that someone who had a blank keyboard would need to know which LED was for numlock etc. However, it's a hell of a lot louder (much to the concern of my workmates) and the weighting of the keys doesn't seem to be as noticeable. It feels like it's a lot smoother to type on though, which is a good thing. Either...