28 December 2009

20 November 2009

Here's the partly populated board - the propeller chip and the EEPROM are installed. You can't see the blue LED flashing...

18 November 2009

Windows 7 and Karmic Koala

I upgraded my Toshiba laptop to 4GBytes of memory and a 500MByte drive. Then I installed Windows 7 - it detected the wireless network but not the graphics. I couldn't find a Windows 7 driver for 64 but the Vista one worked fine.

Ubuntu Karmic Koala running from the live CD worked fine but now it's installed it first had issues creating a FAT32 partition (kept failing) then the wireless doesn't work (worked on live CD).


Update: after rebooting Ubuntu, the wireless network worked fine. Also let me create a FAT32 drive, label it, format it and leave a file for Windows 7 to see. Windows 7 didn't offer me the option of using FAT32 to format...

16 November 2009

Making a synth...

And so it begins...

22 September 2009

Delphi 2010

The last version of Delphi I bought was Delphi Professional 2006. I didn't rate at all. Buggy, slow, broken help... sigh... I felt the days of Delphi were over. That and Kylix (stagnating at V3.0) and the change of hands of "CodeGear".

Delphi 2007, 2009... finally 2010

After an initial false start (see earlier posts), I managed to get Delphi 2010 Architect trial to install. I wasn't expecting much but...
  • Generics
  • RTTI access methods
  • Attributes
Interesting... ah, but...
  • Broken help (no news there, then)
  • Still have to declare variables outside a function/procedure
  • Still circular uses dependency restriction
I did a comparison with a C# app. While I find the C# language easier to work with, Delphi runtime is a lot faster. A simple graphical app seemed sluggish in .NET but rapid in Delphi.

The biggest area of Delphi is not so much the IDE, the documentation or the language, but the VCL. Standard tree control in WinForms doesn't support multiple selection - in VCL it's an option.

The price of upgrading to Delphi 2010 Professional is about £340 - that's not cheap compared to previous versions. They're offering BOGO at the moment, so I took the plunge and bought Delphi 2010 Pro upgrade and BOGO'd a copy of C++ Builder 2010 Pro as well.

After my two year break from Delphi going back is a bit traumatic. C# has spoilt me with the depth of the language. Delphi feels... antiquated.

C++ Builder never impressed me much. Everything I threw at it had problems. Seems this time it has improved, so maybe there's hope yet!

12 September 2009

CodeGear forums fail

Trying to post a question to the Delphi forums is no fun:

(not sure where to post this...)

How do I pass a Delphi string to a function expecting WCHAR* in a Visual C++ DLL?

I tried declaring the parameter as filename: PChar (and PWideChar) but I don't see the string being passed.

I get the following mess on the screen:

HTTP Status 500 -

type Exception report


description The server encountered an internal error () that prevented it from fulfilling this request.



11 September 2009

Delphi 2010 is out!

So Codegear have released Delphi 2010...

Can't even download the architect trial. My user page shows an error but not what the actually error is!

Anyway... once I got past this error (I've no idea what I did to fix it), I finally got the license key to install Delphi 2010 Architect Trial.

Delphi hasn't changed much. Still need to declare variables outside of code (not block scoped) and still need declaration and implementation sections. C# looks much nicer in this respect.

C++ Builder seems to have improved so it might actually be usable...

24 January 2009

More Spore

I added the cute and creepy pack as my brother and wife bought it as a Christmas present. So far made use of the mouths and eyes. Can't say I like the arms and legs much - too boney for me.

Then I descover I can make my creatures pickup sticks and stones!

How did I miss that one? I can get my creatures to throw them... at others, even my own creatures. It usually wacks them and results in loads of stars... very amusing!

I just keep finding little tidbits in Spore. Now there are more packs to come, so my addiction will be satisfied... oh dear...

13 January 2009

Upgrading my MacBook hard disk

I took out the old disk, removed the shield with the TORX screws (unusual screws, luckily I had a friend with some of these), abnd inserted the new bigger drive. On boot up, my MacBook displays a flashing folder icon with a question mark.


So, I inserted the Leopard DVD and it boots. I go through the wizard for installation and get to the point where I need to select where to install. According to the wizard, there's nowhere to install it.


So, I try the disk utility. No new disk appears... then there it is. I erase it, try the install again. This time the disk appears in the where to install it display. How bizarre! Why not offer the option of erasing at this point rather than dumping the unsuspecting user with a blank screen, making him think he may have a dud drive?

So, get MacOS installed. I get stuck in the network page where it keeps asking me the wireless lan details. There seems no way to get out of this page. Eventually it connects to my hidden network (I'm guessing I got the password wrong, shame # isn't on my UK keyboard). Finally, it boots, and asks if I want to restore from back, including Time Capsule. I select that option, plug in the drive with Time Capsule on it, and restore my backup.

After restoration, it's MacOS 10.5.4, not 10.5.6. Curious. So backup doesn't include system files. Also, Xcode is missing. So backup excludes certain items. None of this is mentioned on the minimal setup for Time Capsule.

It was a smooth operation, however, with flaws.

01 January 2009

Why can't I...

  • Remotely login to my video recorder and instruct it to record something in the future?
  • Play videos from a streaming terabyte drive?
  • Watch pay-to-view channels on a freeview telly or box?

iPod Touch


Now that I've got an iPod Touch, what do I think of it?

Well... I didn't go for the iPhone - it's missing a few essential features, as far as I can tell, no bluetooth. Weak camera, no video. If it ever adds those, then I'll consider it.

What's great about the iPod Touch is the WiFi. I have an aging Palm LifeDrive - a bulky 5GByte slow PDA. The iPod Touch beats it hands down! The WiFi on the iPod supports WPA. The LifeDrive doesn't...

What doesn't work so well for me is the multitouch. I HATE IT! I don't like using Safari then trying to zoom in with finger and thumb - somehow it just doesn't work - so I end up using two hands to get zoom working. YUK!!!

My eBooks are on the iPod Touch! Woohoo! I can retire my LifeDrive - plus Ilium have a version of their wallet on iPod Touch. More reasons to dump my LifeDrive.

What does the iPod Touch NOT have:
  • No way to expand memory - why???
  • No way to replace battery easily (but then neither does my LifeDrive).
  • Keyboard pretty fiddly to use - to easy to mistype.
More as I trip over them...