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 http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/ativan/ 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 new arrival

Well, at 7:07 on the 5th January, Samuel David Qua entered this world.


All in all, he is a chilled out little chap (so far), except when getting a nappy changed which he really dislikes, plus little boys are much more tricky that little girls when carrying out that task (just think hosepipe let loose!). So far, http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/valium/ he’s managed to pee on the Paediatrician, me, his eye, and numerous sleep suits – and this is only day 1!

But despite that he is brilliant and fortunately Elin really likes having a little baby brother – even though he doesn’t do anything yet except take up Mummy & Daddy’s time and attention.

Merry Christmas!

Well, I finally managed another update BEFORE the end of the year. Lots of things have been happening since the last update – but we’re just awaiting the arrival of our 2nd baby (due at any time!).

Needless to say the past few months have been seriously hectic what with my wife nesting in a big way (and decorating the entire house on my own has been great fun!), having to get part of the lounge ceiling fixed after the shower leaked and came through (fortunately before we decorated that room), and other fun stuff.

Needless to say its been a busy time.

I’m currently porting GLDominos over to Linux – yeah – back to OpenGL but still in .Net – using the Tao Framework (so I’m hoping http://www.eta-i.org/cialis.html that it will also just work on Windows too). Its coming along very nicely and working well – just the sound to get working really. But I’ve a load of other things I fancy adding (rockets, swings, etc).

I also tried a port over to Python (again using OpenGL), and whilst I did get the engine up and running it was just too slow (that is probably partly to do with my lousy Python skills – just started learning it – but I really think that its not suitable).

Also, I now have my own domain name – this site can also be reached from http://www.andyqua.co.uk (finally)

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 http://www.eta-i.org/valium.html 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.

Linux Part 2

Well, Feisty has just been released and after a demo of Beryl from a friend on mine at work (which does look very nice I have to say), I thought I’d give it another go.

Apologies for the long post but this turned into a real-time attempt to document my Linux setup.

Downloaded the ISO (and thumbs up to Pipex who even on the day of release let me download it in around 30 mins) booted up the live DVS, and kicked off the install.

The install is dead easy, only had to select keyboard, language and timezone and rest just happened – OK, now we hit the real-time point as its just installed and just doing the first reboot…….

OK, after restarting and a nasty 20 seconds where nothing seemed to happen, all booted up fine, into desktop and all looks good initially.

Now going to try to get 3D desktop working. Clicking Desktop Effects – Enable causes the screen to go white and thats it, causing me to have to hit CRL-ALT-Backspace to kill the Window Manager (thank god I know that combination!) and the nre-login.

However, that may be because of my ATI Radeon http://buytramadolbest.com 9800 Pro card, so about to install the restricted driver support and see what happens….
Damn think won’t let me enable the ATI driver! No idea why as the checkbox just doesn’t enable. Arrgh. OK, let em download the Catalyst 7.4 Linux driver and give that a whirl (if of couse I can get it onto the linux box)….

Realise that I am an idiot and haven’t plugged in the network cable (after plugging it into my laptop), plug it in, get the message that we’re connected, try to re-install the restricted driver. Still no joy so decide to reboot.

Reeboot was fairly speedy. but damn thing still won’t let me enable ATI restricted driver!

Have to install manually :(. This required installing vsftpd and configuring that to copy the driver from my main pc to the linux one (nice and easy).

Ati driver installed OK but made sweet FA difference except allowed me to select the restricted driver which installed and required a reboot (just like Windows!). X came up fine but no 3D accelleration! Getting annoyed now.

At this point its 00:30 and I’m getting hassled to go to bed. Will continue tomorrow.

Linux – Don’t get me started!

Well, I read about the new Beta of Ubuntu (Feisty) being released a couple of days ago and decided to have a play and see how it looked. At this point, a little background…

I ‘ve been using Linux on and off (mainly off) for years – pretty much since I bought a (just release) Linux Unleased book which came with Slackware (1.0 I think but can’t remember – I also bought the 2nd edition because it had a newer version and this was when downloading a 600Mb CD was totally unthinkable!), and have tried pretty much most of the major (and some minor) distros including Suse, Mandrake, RedHat, DSL, and many other. Its a great operating system for playing around with. I also use RedHat at work (our website which I support/develop for and maintain – not on my own I hasten to add – runs on it). So I have a reasonable amount of experience.

However, I have only ever got everything in my system working completely once (and that was with Damn Small Linux when I was playing around in preparation to trying to get it running of a USB drive – which failed spectacularly). I have no idea why – its not like I have any weird and wonderful kit (well, OK, way back when I was using modems I could never get my winmodem installed but then they just weren’t supported then).

Anyway, I’d read a number of good things about the new Ubuntu so downloaded the ISO, whizzed it onto a CD and gave it a whirl on an old machine (well, a 2.8Ghz P4 with a ATI Radeon 9800Pro, Onboard sound and a Netgear network card – nothing fancy).

The install went well, I like the timezone selector, keyboard and langauge selections were spot on and then it did its stuff, rebooted and straight into Gnome. Good One I thought. then it popped up a box saying that system updates were needed – fine – go ahead and install them I said – installed no problem, and then said I needed to restart which I did. Bad Move – loaded the kernel and then just hung. Rebooted into safe mode (just like normal but with console messages) and it said something about device hdc (my cdrom) being confused and that device hda had missed an interrupt timer!

WTF does that mean?

After trying a number of things I gave up in a huff and went to bed.

The next day I reinstalled and again it all went smoothly, and again prompted me to update the system, http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/ambien/ this time I payed a little more attention to what was being updated and then noticed that a kernel upgrade was being applied. Sure enough, after the restart, it hung again, however selecting the previous kernel (its clever enough to take a backup although getting isn’t totally easy as you have about 2 seconds to press escape on booting to take you into the grub menu to select the old kernel) worked a treat and then it booted up fine.

Now I couldn’t face rebuilding the latest kernel at this point so I just updated grub to always load the prior kernel.

I then installed the ATI driver no problems.

Then I decided to have a look at the new Xgl server and compiz (the Linux version of the Vista 3D desktop). This caused me to enter a total world of pain which resulted in a) uninitialsed X sessions starting, b) Gnome refusing to load the composting component, c) having to go through the safe terminal to reset a number of settings by hand, and d) just generally getting frustrated after following numerous instructions on the web – none of which quite worked.

Anyway, after about 4/5 hours I’d had enough removed all my start scripts and then reloaded Gnome only to discover that all my window decerations (the window title bar, the close icons, etc) had vanished. This then took another 1/2 hour to figure out why and required me to remove all my previously downloaded Xgl/compiz packages to fix!

So time spent – 1 1/2 days elapsed.

Oh yeah, my soundcard wasn’t working either but no idea why and couldn’t face looking into that at this point.

Now, compare this with my main PC when I installed Vista (with much newer kit)- it took 25 minutes to install, ALL my hardware was detected and worked straight off the bat (OK, OpenGL didn’t work but that was due to the ATI drivers not supporting OpenGL at that point and they now do), and so far (touch wood) I have had no problems at all.

One final thing, to add, after the above, I came across a page (Here) that shows you how to install Ubunto on a Pendrive and thought I’d have a go and see how it ran on my main PC. That was another Bad Bad move (although I did get it working – mostly – just wouldn’t write anything back to the pendrive which was a totaly sod after updating 160meg worth of packages).

So all these reports I read about Linux finally being ready for the desktop – Is it hell.