Archive for October, 2006

‘Hursley’ is pretty cool

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

I visited Hursley tonight.

As I work at Hursley, this might sound a little stupid – but I mean that I visited the Hursley island in Second Life. (Depends on your point of view how stupid that sounds, I suppose! Opinion seems divided about the whole Second Life thing…)

I’m still at the “wandering around trying to figure out what I should be doing” stage. Unlike a more traditional game, there isn’t a particular task or mission – and as I haven’t yet talked anyone else I know into trying it out yet, my previous two brief visits in-world consisted of aimlessly ambling about trying to get the hang of the controls and cursing how slow it runs on the four-year old PC I borrow to play it… (even with all the graphics settings turned all the way down!).

So, when Ian Hughes at work sent me an invite to the private ‘Hursley’ area of Second Life, I jumped at the chance. I’d heard of it before from a few places… even The Register, but this was my first time seeing it for myself.


A lot of us at IBM are blogging

Monday, October 30th, 2006

I had a read of our external site about blogging this evening. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re interested in blogging, and want to see an example of a positive corporate attitude towards it. I especially enjoyed looking through some of the profiles of other IBM bloggers, seeing why they do it, and what they think they get out of it.


Using .NET WebBrowser to create a mobile wiki

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Wrote another Windows Mobile app tonight – this time I even tried it out on my phone and not just the emulator!

The idea of this one is an alternative to the built-in Windows Mobile “Notes” application. Instead of single ‘post-it-style’ notes, the idea is to use a wiki approach – a personal wiki, entirely hosted on the PDA. (Partly because it is quicker to use local files, but mainly because I’m too skint to pay the mobile data fees to access an online wiki :-))

I prefer the wiki approach to note-taking – mainly for the quick and easy formatting and the hyperlinks between pages. I’ve used something similar before on Palm OS for a couple of years now – ‘NoteStudio‘ by DogMelon. This is a brilliant app, which I really miss since moving to Windows Mobile as my main PDA. (There has been some talk of a Windows Mobile for a while now, but this is looking a little like vaporware).

When I saw that the .NET compact framework included a web browser widget, I thought I’d see how hard it would be to knock together a wiki tool tonight.


Hello (Windows Mobile) World!

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Finally – a chance to play with my new Windows Mobile developer kit. I had my first go with it tonight, and so far, I’m pretty impressed.

The Windows Mobile 5 API exposes a lot of nice stuff to the developer – just looking through the overview page on showed me lots of stuff I want to have a go with. Like interacting with the phone, incoming calls, SMS messages – sent or received, using the phone’s internal camera, getting all sorts of system info like battery data, and loads more. So much to play with! The overview page also shows how easy it is to access the Pocket Outlook database, so I thought that this would be a good place to start.


What is Charity?

Friday, October 27th, 2006

I’ve been reading some of Wednesday’s debate in the House of Commons about the Charities Bill. This has been kicking around for a few years now – in fact, I thought it might end up becoming law last year, but it got put on hold when Labour started gearing up for last year’s General Election.

The Charities Bill will be the biggest shake-up in UK charity laws for hundreds of years, so I’ve been trying to get my head around what will be changing – in particular what the implications for SYA might be.


Grace is going to bankrupt me

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Grace (my two-year old daughter) started in the “transition room” at nursery today – a room for slightly older toddlers.

One of the more interesting differences from the babies room is that each of the kids has a little credit-card-style card with their name and photo on. It’s used in a variety of ways – like doing the attendance register in the morning by getting the kids to hand in their card. Or at morning break, when the kids use the cards to “buy” their snack.

Grace loved her new card – she looked really proud of her little card with her face on. And she really got into the “shopping!” idea of needing it to get her snack. I can see how it’s a nice easy way to keep track of which kids have had theirs, and make sure that noone gets left out… but I cant help wondering if I should worry about how quickly my daughter is taking to the idea of credit cards? 🙂

My Windows Mobile developer kit has arrived!

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Microsoft give away free developer resource kits for Windows Mobile. A two-disc DVD set, it comes with everything needed to write apps for Windows Mobile 5 – an IDE, SDK, the .NET Compact Framework, emulators for development and testing, API and documentation, and a bunch of educational resources like samples, walkthroughs and videos. I ordered it a little while ago, and it’s finally come.

I’m out tonight, so will have to wait before I can have a play. I’m looking forward to it, though – will have to try writing a small app for my phone tomorrow night.

Microsoft change things too much

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

My ThinkPad gave up the ghost – I had to format the hard-drive and reinstall Windows. 🙁 As a result, a large chunk of this evening has been spent downloading and reinstalling apps, and generally trying to get Windows set up the way I like it.

The most annoying problem I’ve hit so far is with Microsoft Money. I use MS Money 2001 to manage all our household finances. I’ve been using it (and before it Money 97) since starting University, so my Money file (I never get round to setting up archiving!) has got a record of pretty much everything I’ve bought since 1998! It syncs with my phone so I can record money that I spend when I’m out and about, and it’s how I make sure that we pay all our bills on time.

So it’s fair to say that my Money data file is kinda important. And that I want it to be secure.

Unfortunately, it’s so darn ‘secure’ that I can’t get into it anymore! 🙁 It’s all because of a change to the way that Microsoft handle authentication.