Mon 31 March 2008 @ 12:00
A couple of months ago my Pocket PC crashed when I was updating it. It is an HP iPaq hx4700 and I've had it for a while, but it has always served me well. It has some irritating points, like the damn buttons at the bottom always getting stuck, but overall it has been a good machine to use. Anyway, I was updating something or another and it crashed during the ROM update. That typically means the unit has to be returned to HP for... some kind of black magic that us mere mortals cannot perform. That was going to be a lot of hassle to organise, so I put it off until today. I googled for a way to get it out of without having to send my PPC away, and eventually found something that worked. Basically I had to use Anna's laptop to send a raw image down a USB cable to the PPC. It doesn't seem to work on Vista, only XP, which is why I had to use Anna's laptop. Hassle, but all in all I got my PocketPC back.
I had just about installed it when I discovered the update that broke the damn thing. I discovered it by installing it and bricking the damn iPaq again. So the original ROM is being downloaded to the iPaq again as I write this. It takes about ten minutes to complete and then you end up with a completely fresh iPaq. Now, I wonder what I can do about those buttons...
Sun 30 March 2008 @ 04:35
Hey Dave, I have no idea if you've ever played it, but I want to share with you something that has kept me going through many many nights over the last... erm... twenty years. Its a card game called Shithead (I've heard Ozzies call it President though I've just Googled and found something completely different. Shithead Googles with the wrong rules too.*) and its one of the top three or four games I've ever played. It goes like this.
Two to many players can play. You need two decks, from which jokers must be stripped. Shuffle the decks together. Dealer deals clockwise : four cards face down which players cannot look at, then four cards face up for everyone, and then another four cards face down for all, and one card in the middle which stares the discard pile. You are allowed to pick up and sort the eight cards you have access to. You can sort the cards and place your top four cards face UP on the four cards you have face down.
The order of play is to lay a suitable card or cards to the discard pile and then pick up from the deck. You must hold at least four cards in your hand where possible. You must play higher or equal to the card last played except on a seven (you must play seven or lower on a seven). Ace is the highest, two is a wildcard which can play on and be played on by anything, and ten reverses the order of play. You can play multiples of cards up to a maximum of four on the discard pile. When four of the same cards have been played, then they and the rest of the discard pile are put away for the duration of the game. The person who puts away the discard pile with "four of those" gets to play again, after picking up if necessary. If you are unable to match or beat the last card played, then you have to pick up ALL the cards on the discard pile.
Once the last card is played from your hand, you can play your face up cards in any order you like. Once they are gone, you are forced to play your cafe down cards blind. The one who is left with cards remaining is the Shithead, and can sometimes be required to forfeit something (go make the coffee etc).
* If you google Shithead there are a myriad of variations on the net. There seems to be a very popular variation with three cards played at the start and requiring only one deck of cards. It might be worthwhile looking into that too. Enjoy :-)
Sat 29 March 2008 @ 10:02
This is a test of the XFN Markup. XFN is a MicroFormat for signifying relationships on the web. As it stands at the time of publishing, you won't see any difference with these links. Visually they will look like any other link on the page. However, when I upload the new style sheets you will see small icons to the right of each of the links below. Those icons will illustrate the relationships between me and the (fictional) people below. MicroFormats are very small additions to standard HTML that are used to signify things like relationships (and other concepts) to people who can read them. Typically they require something to indicate their presence (like the images you can't see below), but that doesn't require any additional software. I've got some cool graphics to be uploaded that will show these relationships really well.
This is a friend I have not met.
This is a friend I have met.
This is a colleague I have not met.
This is a colleague I have met.
This is a sweetheart or muse I haven't met.
This is a sweetheart or muse I have met.
This is me.
Fri 28 March 2008 @ 10:28
On October 18th 2001 I made two posts here. One where I said I was going to bed, and one afterwards where I said I had stayed up to do some work on this site. The first of those posts has the time stamp 17:00 and the second has 19:43. Now, while I don't think I'd be going to bed at 19:43 or 17:00, I think there was a fuckup in the server time zones somewhere over the last many years that caused this. Its highly likely that I wouldn't have programmed in time zone compensation at the beginning of this blog, and that's where the time discrepancy came from. That's not a bug anymore, so its ok.
However, the first of those posts was done at 17:00. Every other post before that, right to the beginning of when I started this blog has a time stamp of 17:00. The thing that I changed shouldn't have caused the dates to mess up, but it seems to have done exactly that. Bizarre, and strange, and this bug has hit the record for me for the longest time to find : Seven years, seven months, ten days. Awesome!
Fri 28 March 2008 @ 05:31
I'm working on some tweaks to the site as you can imagine. I have learned more about CSS in the last couple of days than ever before, which wasn't part of the plan, but that's ok. So, here's a taste of things to come... perhaps.
Wed 26 March 2008 @ 19:16
I've upgraded the server from IIS6* on Windows Server 2003 to IIS7 on Windows Server 2008. There we a couple of configuration issues that needed to be resolved before it all came back, but its done now. Chief amongst those were the instructions provided by my host. While they warned at several points that you needed to know what you were doing with IIS7, there were also some basic instructions that I had to hunt for in order to get it all up and running. Things that I wasn't expecting like the need for a different login to the one I had been using before. All of the info was available in FAQs sequestered around the site, but there was no coherent "This is what has changed and how you proceed" documentation supplied from my host. Still, this process is only a few days old and the documentation is still being written. My host (DiscountASP.Net) are typically very cutting edge for the price they charge, so I can't really complain.
The new server is running very fast. I suspect that this comes from the physical server being under-crowded with web sites rather than the software being substantially faster. However, Microsoft have released some impressive stats for IIS7, so you never know.
I have another Windows Server 2008 at home and its running a development version of this site. It allows me to make changes to a development system before I roll them out so that you can see them. My goal was always to have maximum up-time for DaveWhite.Net, and this facilitates that nicely. I believe that the three hours or so that we were down today make up the longest time that this domain has been down in about eight years. Wow, I just had a look and the first post I ever made to this blog was nine years and sixteen days ago. Three thousand, three hundred and four days. Anyway, time for sleep.
* IIS is Internet Information Services, which is a piece of software written by Microsoft to handle web sites.
Wed 26 March 2008 @ 06:39
OK, so I'm having them change his site to use Windows Server 2008 and IIS7. Everything is going down now for a few hours...
Tue 25 March 2008 @ 15:38
So, after a day of having BlogEngine.Net on http://davewhite.net and http://dnawhite.net I have seen no serious errors so far. I haven't seriously played with it so far, but I will try and put it through its paces a little later. In the mean time I'm taking a look at the latest build to see what's changed. Unfortunately the one thing I actually wanted to change (getting Tags to import from a BlogML file) will have to be done the hard way. ie: I'll have to do it myself. So, I'll make some changes on the version I'm going to install on my dev server and let you know how it goes.
Mon 24 March 2008 @ 07:51
Success! I have just updated DaveWhite.Net to BlogEngine.Net 1.3. Now, there's a fairly major update to this coming soon again with version 1.4, but I'll deal with that when it comes out. There may be a bunch of broken links around, and I'll get to those too. It was easier than I thought to make it all happen. So now I join the ranks of those who use blogging engine rather than using my own code. It'll give me more time to do other things, as I tended to focus on optimising LPC more than perhaps I should have. Now I can get back to learning again.
So, apologies for the broken links, it'll be all back to normal soon.
Sun 23 March 2008 @ 19:32
OK, so its half one in the morning, and I'm tired. I should know better, but I'm going to do it anyway. I have been experimenting with BlogEngine.Net of late, and I really like that engine. So, I've decided to use it here instead of my own roll-your-own blog. I'm going to make the change now. As soon as I click Publish, then I'm taking LPC down and installing the new engine live. Right. Here goes...
OK, so after doing a sanity check on everything, I figured that this could wait until tomorrow. There are a lot of pages on DaveWhite.Net that need to be redirected, copied or adjusted. If I do this now, then I'm going to break my web site and I don't want to do that. Again. So, I'll check some things first. Firstly, there's a new version due out very soon (ie: days rather than weeks) so I may wait for it based on what's in the changelog. Secondly, my hosting provider have rolled out IIS7. This might be a good time to upgrade. I need to see if the engine works on IIS7. OK, going to get some sleep for the moment, will update tomorrow with what I'm doing.