Not too much happening quite yet

Not much is happening just yet. Cube Runner has been submitted so just waiting to see if it gets accepted. Plus just getting the work app submitted (can’t say any more about that yet though).

Decided to be a sado and take a day off to get the 3G iPhone on the 11th – well, owed a lieu day and can’t face LegoLand again just yet :).

Also, trying to think of what to work on next. Hmmmmm.

Also, just started to buy music through iTunes (rather than buying CD’s). Partly because we’re running out of space to put the CD’s, and partly because I actually only like maybe one or two songs on most CD’s (with some exceptions) and also I don’t listen to CD’s much anymore – easier and more convenient over the media center. However, I will say that big/bloated/flawed (in some ways) iTunes is, it does make buying music a pleasant and easy (possibly too easy) experience. Find the song, click buy, enter your password and in under 6 seconds the song has downloaded and this is over wifi on my Touch. You really can’t get much easier that!

Small Update

Well, played around a bit and managed to knock almost 30 seconds off the generation time! Now takes just under 9 secs rather than the 37 it was before.

Not sure if I can get it much faster now – but will try.

Also, I have a small python script that generates the stereograms so can post pictures of them now 🙂

Stereograms – I love them!

I can still remember the first time I managed to see a sterogram properly. I’d bought two posters – one f Bugs Bunny and one of and eagle against a mountainous landscape – or at least thats what they claimed they were. All I could see was a lot of coloured dots – no pictures.
Those posters were hung up on my work office wall and to my total disgust, various work collegues would casually stroll up, look at the picture and take great delight in telling me how amazing it looked. But could I see them – could I heck.
However, after about 3 months I wandered over, and looked at one slightly differently and it just suddenly came into focus and I was totally blown away. They still fascinate me and over time, I’ve written a few variations of them, but a couple of days ago I stumbled across the simplest algorthym to generate them I’ve ever seen (from Sarahs’ blog). I’ve shown the relevant bit of code below (C#) just in case I lose the bookmark or the page goes offline.

void RDS(Bitmap bitmap,int stripWidth)
    Random rnd = new Random();
    int rndDotColour;
    float scaling;
    int width=bitmap.Width;
    int height=bitmap.Height;

    // This makes sure full white (high points are white and
    // have a value of 255) are always 1/5th the width of
    // the image strip.

    //Draw the random strip
    for(int y=0;y

Call it using something like:

Bitmap bitmap = new Bitmap("c:/shark.png"); //

Now thats pretty amazing. I've also started to make it into an iPhone application (why not) and the plan is to be able to draw and create your own. Why? why not I say. Note, its somewhat more complicated on the iPhone as bitmap drawing is pretty much non-existant, but its working.

Slight update - its now working with images as well as dots (Single-Image Stereogram)

Downside - its very slow (36 secs on the iPhone to generate an image). Booo - not the iPhones fault here note - most certainly my lack of Cocoa drawing.

As always, screenshots once the NDA is lifted.

I can’t believe it!

Yeah, I really can’t believe that I’ve jumped ship and joined the ranks of the Mac.

It started off after I got an iPod Touch which I hadn’t planned on getting at all but caved in (a sucker for gadgets). This lead on to starting to play with the toolchain and to learn Objective C. The when Apple released the SDK (Mac only), I decided to get a Mac Mini as a cheap way of playing with a new platform and seeing first hand what the MAc was all about (having never used a Mac before).

To be honest, I was really expecing to not really get on with it and slag off some friends who own Macs saying how rubbish it was, however I couldn’t. It arrived in a nice small package, plugged it in, it did its stuff, connected straight to my network and just worked.

Anyway, this was back in March and I haven’t used my Windows or Linux PC’s much since then. OSX isn’t without its faults (it does crash – but I think that this is mainly due to the Beta of XCode (development environment) that I’m using) and takes a little bit of getting used to (Why did Apple put the keys on a UK keyboard in different places? and don’t mention Page Up/Down!), but its very nice to use and things do just work.

Anyway, since then, I’ve been doing a fairl bit of development fo rthe iPhone/Touch both for work and personal and plan on releasing things onto the App Store when its available.

A couple of games that hopefully will appear are:
iCave – My first game and a port of my standard SFCave game.

CubeRunner – This is my current game (based on CubeField) and uses the accelerometer to steer the ship through a levels of trecherous blocks littered around a landscape. It uses OpenGLES for the graphics engine and is pretty much complete. I’m just tidying the last bits up now and am hoping to include the ability to download levelpacks – both from me and user developed.

iNono (working title) – A puzzle game based on Nonograms (like DSPicross for the Nintendo DS). This again is fairly complete just working on what puzzles to include. Again may include the ability to download more.

Unfortunately I don’t think I can put screenshots up yet (because of the Apple NDA thats currently in force for the SDK) but I will as soon as I am able.

A rant – sort of – maybe!

No updates for a while – it happens – so busy with stuff, and no time!

Anyway, it seems like loads of articles have just popped out saying that Vista is on its last legs, no-one want it etc. I disagree totally.

I actually like it, and possibly more importantly, my Dad thinks its brilliant (more later) and my Mum is about to buy her own license.

Sure I have a few issues with it – my VPN connection to work hardly ever works (not much of a big deal coz my work XP Laptop connects fine but very annoying), and I HATE the 10-15 minutes disk trashing when I start up (doesn’t seem to affect performance but my SATA drive isn’t the quietest and its damn annoying especially when I can’t quite figure out which process is causing it).

However, that aside, the benefits waaay outway the niggles – and they are niggles. I LOVE the real-time window preview thubnails, networking is simple and works. Not had a single driver issue so far (and I have quite a wide range of various stuff), and I like the eye candy. Basically its an OS that doesn’t actually get in my way in that I don’t think about it and take it for granted that it works fine for me, and I can get on with my work. I like developing on it (.Net IMO is a fantastic framework and C# is what Java should be).

Now, I’m actually writing this on my home laptop that is running Ubuntu which I also think is brilliant but for many different reasons. The main one is that its actually taken me many hours to get it up and running on my laptop (a Dell 1720 inspiron – actually took me best part of 2 days to get it stable), but thats not the point here – this is what I consider fun!

Linux is GREAT if you fancy tinkering IMO. Sure, Ubuntu installed first time on my old decrepit laptop (and everything worked – which if you read any of my other blog entries is a first – first time which is great), but its not one I would ever dare let my Mum or Dad loose on – I value my life too much!

Even with XP (and recently Vista), I get enough phone calls to say I’ve done such and such and its not working, help! Linux would be so much worse (especially with my Mums tendency to click stuff randomly because you never know if that will fix it!).

Basically, there are a lot of good OS’s out there, and so far, there isn’t a single one that I would choose exclusively. Its like music, it depends on the mood, and what I need to do. Sure I can do pretty much most things on each OS, but the amount of effect to achieve it often isn’t worth it.