Where's my genie then?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

<Insert something amusing here>

It's been a week since my last post and since I've been berating my brothers about their posting frequency (or infrequency, if that's a word) I thought I better get something in before another week goes past. De ja vue is setting in because here I am again at Silicon Valley Internet Café waiting for my washing to finish at Soapy Suds. Still we have no phone line and our washing machine was declared faulty by the plumber that came around yesterday. Really he just said it's got water and he doesn't know why it isn't washing, so we all have to assume it's faulty which really means to us that it's going to take even longer to get it fixed. We've found out that it'd be almost impossible to get out of our tenancy contract since our problems would be best described as trivial, so instead we just have to keep getting on to our landlord to get everything fixed. To add to our problems, a few days ago some "youths" (I guess they were young anyway) decided to "decorate" the front of our building. Odd that we're the only house on the street to be defaced, maybe someone's trying to tell us something, send us a message. They didn't write "Aussie's go home!" or anything to that effect, so if they were trying to tell us something they didn't do a very good job.

I finally finished a book that Peter gave me a long time ago, Teach Yourself: Philosophy. I think it was Christmas about 5 years ago and basically instructed me to read it (quipping that I was "pig ignorant", probably not too far off the mark). I knew little of philosophy then and thought that it'd be nice to learn a bit on the subject so I took up the book, planning to read it on the bus trips into Uni. Alas, I was poor at concentrating back then and only read (and re-read in times to come) the first chapter, thinking it was rather heaving reading despite being a thin book, and the book conveniently being misplaced for extended periods of time only to be rediscovered months later in my near annual clean up of my room for the whole process to begin again. When choosing books to bring with me to the UK I spotted this one again (after a final cleaning) and decided that I would indeed read the entire thing on the trip. Procrastination did occur thanks to a gift of two other good books (Book of Five Rings and Pattern Recognition) which I finished during the first month of being here. Eventually I began to read the Philosophy and now that I've finished I'm glad that I did. It was a very thought provoking book and has shed a lot of light onto other subject matters that I've talked about. Mum, I see a lot of similarity with what you're doing/teaching/studying in some of the topics covered by the book like phenomenology and epistemology. Sort of revelating at the time. Anyway, my interest in philosophy has been piqued and I may even read some more books on the subject, although someone at work is reading Einstien's book on relativity and I thought maybe I could give that one a go.

I will go now, as my washing is surely done and we still need to decide on what to have for dinner. I've some things to say on the food here (not all bad) but I'll leave that till next time.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

First time for everything

Our new place is going quite well, still a few problems but I'm sure they'll be sorted out in due time. One of the things Paul and I couldn't work out was why only some of the central heating radiators would actually work. They've got some fancy temperature sensing valves on them to regulate the heat in the room and I thought that it may have been something to do with them. Turns out that I was only half right, you see there are actually two valves on every radiator. So half of them had the second valve open, and the other half had the second one closed. So our heating issues have solved and it's only things like the washing machine that we need to sort out, which brings me here. I've been forced to use the local laundrette (Soapy Suds or something like that, I'd link to a web page but I doubt they have one. They have got one day dry cleaning though) which costs a fortune! £3.40 for a single load, that's highway robbery! They do have rather large capacity machines though, the quilt machines are even bigger but cost £4.40. I have no idea how much the dryers cost, but I don't have to find out since all the central heaters are working (and, since Paul's away, are mine! Muhhahaha). That just leaves me with what to do while I was waiting, two doors down is Silicon Valley internet ... well not cafe since there's no coffee around, but loads of computers, so whatever. Strangely enough this is the first time I've ever used a computer in a shop (there was the Narita Hotel internet station I used, but let's not count that one). I've been on the internet (as they say) for several years, but always with my own home connection. It's been a lot more cost effective having a home connection as the price here is almost as much as the washing will be. So until we have a phone connection set up (which may take a while because it seems the previous tenant did not cancel their connection) I may have to pop in here some times.

Checking my usage timer here I see I should go, my washing may be done or at least need checking up on, so I bid you good night

Friday, November 12, 2004

Poison.. Poison.. Tasty Fish!

This post was about to be called Tree Node database management system because I used the BlogThis! bookmarklet on an internal webpage. It sounded kinda cool but my Simpson reference idea trumped it. Simpson's is the highest trump suit if you ask me. I also did a quick Google for the quote to make sure I didn't put to many "poison"s into it and a Wiki page on Fugu came up. Turns out that they'd quite easily be able to tell if Homer had ingested a lethal dose (or at least a significant amount) of Tetrodotoxin (the poison in all Fugu, which is actually a family of puffer fish) because it paralyses the victim. While the 24 hours to live thing is correct people die of asphyxiation because they can no longer use their muscles to breathe. Even worse is that you remain fully conscious (until you pass out I guess) but unable to move. So it sounds like a pretty horrible way to die, but then again I'm not sure there's a good way to die. You can wait it out while on a life support machine, but I guess you have to get to hospital before you can't move.

And on that note, let's talk about work. My last post was some time ago and I guess a fair bit has happened since then, but only recently (hence the motivation for the Simpson's quote, it kind of makes sense). Paul found us a place to rent in Ealing (if you want the address just email me) and we tried to get the paperwork happening ASAP but since it was the end of the week things didn't actually get done until the next week. Combined with what seemed to be a real estate agency that was a little slow we were getting a little anxious about how long it took as we were dying to get out of Mark and Lara's (thanks again for letting us stay with you) flat. So it wasn't until Wednesday that we could finish signing everything and get into the place. Maybe we were in a little bit of a rush because there are several things around the place that don't seem to work, like a shower (don't worry, there's two in the flat), washing machine and half the central heating. So now we'll have to battle with the landlord to get all the things seen to and I hope that won't be a big hassle.

Hmmmm, I said I'd talk about work and didn't even mention it in all of that. Work has become quite interesting for me, I've been made to add AirPlay (check out Ideaworks page to find out what that is) support into a game here. So just this afternoon I finished the ground work for all of that, the server/client communication is working fine. All that needs to happen is for some actual data to be passed around to be designed and used. So now I'll be looking at some user interface stuff for this game. Again, it's some code that's already been written but used on a different game so I'll be getting it to link in with this new game. Shouldn't be too hard, that's the point of an object library I guess. Paul also started work with Portcullis Security at the beginning of the week and is off to Oxford for the weekend with the company. It's their AGM which means an almost completely expenses paid weekend in Oxford! That's an AGM I wouldn't mind going to. They've even got most of Saturday to have a look around. Which leaves me on my lonesome, in a new flat, with almost no stuff, *sniff* and broken appliances. I guess that makes me Cinderella and Paul's the Ugly Sisters, except there's only one Paul but there were two sisters, and he's not going to a ball, and neither of us are female ... quite a bad metaphor really. Work-wise Paul's job sounds like it will keep him busy and really interesting too. I'm not big on security stuff but some of the things sound good.

Well maybe I should go home soon, there's some free toys around here that I might pick up. One of the directors bought some mini air-hockey tables just for the cardboard boxes. Judging by the packaging he probably paid less than 50p for them so it makes sense. Anyway he said anyone could grab the toy, he just wanted the box for something. It's called an Emergency Footy Fix even though it's nothing like football (soccer for all those unfamiliar with the European name for the sport), it's just air-hockey on a really tiny table. Still, it's free and it'll give me something to do other than fix appliances on the weekend ... wait a minute, there's no one else to play against. D'oh! Bye for now.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The day after yesterday

So I've been employed for a whole 24 hours now. I should've posted last night, but I couldn't be arsed. Now that I'm fresh as a daisy I can tell you all about my first day at Ideaworks 3D.

I got in "early" just before 10am, so the office was a little quiet (around about 5 people were in) which was probably a good thing. I got set up on my new desktop (a dual P4 3.0GHz no less) and have started to look at the Symbian/Nokia SDK, getting a little peek into the code here which I far from understand at the moment. It's been cool so far, but setting up a bank account and getting a place to rent is still hanging over my head.

I guess it wasn't exactly an exciting or hectic day, but is was a very promising start. I'm sort of supposed to be a network programmer, but I will be working on actual games, even an original title for my new employer. There are a lot of other new starters, and there will be some more to come as well. People think we'll be outgrowing our current premises, and from the looks of it that'll be quite soon.

Paul's on the verge of getting a job for Portcullis which sounds really really good, but it's up in the far north west of London so our house hunting has shifted a little more north. It's a real pity since Wandsworth looked very nice (I was about to say really nice, but I got a little self conscious about using "really" a lot). Hopefully Ealing Broadway is just as nice, and since I'm at work Paul will be doing most of the inspecting ^_^ . If you can organise some evening viewings Paul I'd be happy to come along too.