Bring it? No problems.

September 27, 2004

On the weekend I got a call from my brother-in-law asking me if I could come to his office and have a look at a problem he was having with his computer. He briefly described the issue to me, which I’d never seen before, and I told him that it shouldn’t be a problem to fix. Little did I know that he’d already asked another friend (someone who I also know) to look at it, but to no avail. Upon suggesting to this friend that he’d get me to look at it, the reply was: “Ummm, I don’t know. If I can’t fix it, I think Sledge will struggle to fix it”. Well, listen up my homie cause Sledge is about to dish up a can of whoop arse.

The problem was this: upon opening new browser windows in IE, from an existing IE window, the new window would open blank. Now this can get annoying, particularly because my brother-in-law has a drafting business that requires him to view land titles/deeds etc online and then print these documents via a new browser window (there is no way to view it in the current browser window) – and at $20 a pop, it was getting a bit expensive to view a blank page instead of the expected document. Now I’d never seen this problem, but have no fear – is here.

Roughly 10 minutes later after doing a search on the IE knowledge base, I found this article 306831 and proceeded to follow it and what do you know – it fixed the problem.

Now this is the 2nd time I’ve fixed a strange problem on this computer using and it’s the 2nd time a friend has claimed “I don’t think Sledge will be able to fix it”.

Damn that ladder.

September 26, 2004

My wife and I have just got back from visiting my father-in-law in hospital. On thursday this week, he had an accident involving a ladder (quite an old wooden one) in which he broke his arm in two places and also dislocated his shoulder. That’s bad enough, but then they had trouble popping his shoulder back in so he had to wait roughly 24+ hours for an operating theatre to be available to put it back in.

Thankfully it has all gone very well – the operation was a success and now it’s just a matter of time doing its healing process as well as him performing some hand/shoulder excercises as well as some physio in a few weeks.

And that ladder? Well, his sons are organising a bomfire for it I believe.

Less might be more.

September 24, 2004

I was browsing slashdot today and noticed the following article on Less Might Be More. While I tend to agree with the basic premise of this article, the people replying seem to be forgetting a few things.

1. Not everyone uses their computer for browsing & word processing. Just try and do some decent photo processing in PhotoShop or rendering a video for burning to a DVD on a Celeron 333Mhz with 128Mb RAM – you’re dreaming.

2. The state of the software development industry. Unfortunately to run some of todays development IDEs requires you to run the latest & greatest – at work I used to have a Pentium III 733Mhz with 512Mb RAM, running Visual Studio Whidbey Beta. To compile our solution it would take roughly 1 to 2 minutes or so, which is frustrating. After upgrading to a Pentium 4 2.8Ghz with 1.024Gb RAM, it now takes about 10 seconds – no joke.

3. Buying a cheap & nasty computer doesn’t make monetary sense. I’ve been looking at upgrading my home computer and I can get a middle range computer that is probably 100% better than a cheap and nasty computer I could get, but it only costs roughly 40% more plus it will last at least 1 to 1.5 years longer than the cheap and nasty.

My issue with the state of the computer industry is more this: Big retailers selling expensively priced but poorly speced computers and then computer noobs buying these same computers. If people actually took the time to go down to their local computer store, they would be shocked at the great prices and excellent speced computers that are on offer!

Happy Birthday to me!

September 23, 2004

Well, another year passes and another birthday arrives. Today I turn 27 years old (technically at 4:55pm AEST) and even though I’m fastly approaching 30, I still feel as though I’m 21. Props to my twin brother who turns 27 today too (and yes, we’d had questions as to when my birthday is and the same question posed to my twin brother – even countries have come into that question). Happy Birthday bro!

Oh what presents did I get? Well I got a Dual Layer DVD burner (sa-weet), a high pressure water thingie (very handy given Melbournes current water restrictions) & a fair bit of money.

X-Drive II tests.

September 16, 2004

My X-Drive II arrived today (yes, one day after I ordered it – now thats great customer service & delivery) and I must say it’s a pretty cool package. I ordered a 30Gb (it’s large enough for the time being) laptop HDD to go with it and have finished installing the HDD. Took about 2 minutes to open the X-Drive up, install the HDD and reclose it.

I’d filled my 256Mb CF card up last night (124 photos of my office is kinda boring but serves a purpose) and just did some test runs on transfer rates etc. Here’s my conclusions: It takes roughly 5 minutes to transfer 243Mb of data onto the internal HDD, and about 1 minute to transfer that data off the HDD and onto my computer using USB 2. Given that the battery lasts roughly 90 minutes a charge (though you can use the power pack and it won’t drain the battery), that’s 16 transfers per charge. Now the manufacturer says the battery has a life of 500 charges, so that’s 8000 transfers of 243Mb – based on some rough calculations that’s 388Gbs of data!!

I then tested the images to make sure they transferred across correctly, and everything was perfect. I’m now transfering about 4Gbs of mp3s from my computer to it, so I can take them with me to my new job. I’m pretty impressed with the capabilities of this device: CF to HDD copy, CF reader & HDD storage/retrieval (hey if you couldn’t retrieve it’d be pretty pointless eh). Now I never have to worry about running out of storage when on holidays ever again (and it’s a fraction of the size/cost/weight of a laptop).

To get a DSLR or not?

September 15, 2004

So I’ve currently got a Canon S400 / IXUS 400. It’s a nifty 4MP, 3x optical zoom compact digital camera and I’ve been pretty happy with it. However, when my brother recently got married I found it’s low light performance, shutter lags & picture quality to be abit annoying.

This got me thinking and so I went out to to find out what was the right camera for me. Initially I looked at the Canon Pro1 (8MP, 7x optical zoom etc) but it’s still basically a consumer camera – definitely a better camera than the S400 but not addressing my original annoyances. On top of that, it was around about the same price as a DSLR – so I went and did some research on DSLRs.

After much research I had my heart set on the Canon 300D DSLR. At around the same price as the Canon Pro1, but with FULL DSLR capabilities, it was really starting to get me interested. Of course, then I’d need to get some decent lenses which I finally settled on the Canon 50mm f1.8 prime (I didn’t opt to get a telephoto as my budget couldn’t meet it). Then I’d need some UV filters to protect my lenses, plus a spare battery etc.

Then storage became an issue, because a RAW image file for the 6.1MP 300D can be about 10Mbs (so I’d heard) – so I looked at PDS (Portable Storage Devices). These devices enable one to put their Flash card into them, hit “copy”, it will copy files to the HDD and then copy then off the device via USB2. The X-Drive II caught my attention so I priced it as well as all the above and before I knew it – I was talking some serious cash (for me anyway) for something that’s pretty much a “use during holidays and special ocassions but thats about all”.

Now I’m also into video work as well (do home movie editting with my Sony TRV-27 & firewire etc). Now given that I’m hopefully going to be moving into the DVD world for my home movies, I figured I’d better upgrade my home computer as according to my Dad it’s pretty CPU intensive. I currently have a 1.3Ghz AMD Duron, which in my mind definitely isn’t going to cut it. More money!

Anyway, after much deliberation, stressing and consulting with The One Who Controls The Money (my wife) – I came to the conclusion I’d much rather upgrade my home computer. So just today I brought a new battery for my S400 & the X-Drive II (storage is always going to be an issue no matter what digital camera I have). This cost roughly 1/8th what I was going to spend on getting the DSLR and accessories. Now its just a matter of upgrading my home computer, fingers crossed.

Moving right along.

September 6, 2004

Well this last week as been abit of a surprise, career wise. I got a call a few weeks back from a company asking if I’d been interesting in coming in and having a chat with them about a developer position that had avaliable. Last week I had a chat with them and was offered a job. After thinking about it for a while and weighting up the pros & the cons, I decided to accept the offer – so I’ve just come back from telling my current employer that I’ll be resigning soon. This actually went a whole lot better than I thought it would.

I’ll still be working in e-commerce development but with a company that has some fairly large clients, proven products & a firm direction/vision for itself. These a few things that are missing from my current employment and that in the end, made the decision to resign easier.

So my first day is the 9th of November, 2004. So now I’ve got a 3 week holiday to look forward to & a new job. Things are looking pretty sweet.