Archive for February, 2007

Mootbot code released

After several requests, I have tidied up the MootBot code and released it. It is in the form of an eggdrop script. The code is nowhere near finished, but it has all the basic functionailty that I wanted when I started the project. I hope to have a “proper”, stlightly more stable release in the next week or so – the /devel folder will be updated whenver I make changes, and, as such, is liable to break. Any feedback / ideas about the code would be appreciated.

The code can be found here.

There is essentially no documentation at the moment. If you are familiar with eggdrops, you should know what to do with it, if not, you will have to wait until I get round to writing some documentation in the next couple of weeks.

Ubuntu Scribes (again)

I would like to remind everyone that the first Ubuntu Scribes Team meeting is happening tonight at 2000 UTC in #ubuntu-scribes on freenode. For more information, see this post. If you are at all interested, please come along as we need all the help we can get 😀

Cool theme

I have to say that this is quite possibly the coolest theme for wordpress EVER!

Look Here

It can be downloaded here

Windows Vista (Business Edition)

As a student, I am able to get free copies of various Microsoft products to help me with my course. One of these products is Vista Business edition. I have heard quite a few bad things about Vista over the past few months, and I decided that rather than just jumping on the bandwagon and proclaiming “Vista is rubbish”, I would give it a go and form my own opinions.

First of all, the installation was sloooooow. It took well over an hour to get from first inserting the disk to getting a usable system. The longest part was copying the data from CD to the HDD, and as it is spread over 5CDs (4 too many in my opinion), you did have to sit there and swap the disks over fairly regularly. The number of dialog boxes you have to fill in seems to have been reduced, and there is a graphical partition manager, so it is easier to set up than XP was.

When Vista first boots up, you get the impression that they spent a lot of time making it look “better”. Sadly, this seems to be the only thing they have spent time on. Vista runs slowly with the autodetected settings, which gives me the impression that it is tuned to run as much as possible rather than sacrificing a couple of effects for better performance. The problem is, the graphical effects just aren’t that impressive. OS X has had similar effects for a long time, and Beryl on Linux does a much better job than Vista. The effects in Vista seem to mainly be transparency on some parts of the window, and an improved window switcher animation. After using Beryl for a couple of months, this just doesn’t impress me.

A major annoyance is the pop-up box which appears whenever you choose an option on the control panel, and several times during the installation of each program. I know that Microsoft were meant to be making Vista more secure, but there must be a better way than this. I don’t want to be asked if I really want to change the font size. There is the option to disable these pop-ups, but this causes the Security Center to complain and prompt you to re-enable it. If this is the way that Vista hopes to combat spyware, I suspect it will be totally ineffective. Users will still just click through the pop-ups if there is a spyware-laden application that they wish to install.

The new start menu is just completely inconvenient. It is like a small file system explorer, which takes a long time to navigate if the link you want is nested inside more than 1 or 2 folders. I think that Vista would have been better off just keeping the old menu.

I also keep getting reports that “Windows Vista does not support NVIDIA(R) nForce(TM) Audio Codec Interface”, which seems to result in the inability to play certain tracks on my computer – Windows Media Player just refuses to start playing songs. As I almost always listen to music while I am on the computer, I will either have to spend some time trying to fix the problem, or it will seriously impact on any time I spend on Vista.

Overall, I am not impressed with Vista. There isn’t anything that I can do which I can’t do in Linux, and everything seems to much easier to do with Linux anyway. The main improvement over XP seems to be the visual effects and these are unimpressive compared to everything else around at the moment. I’m glad I found Linux when I did, because it beats Vista in terms of useability and features in almost every way (the one major exception being wireless networking). Combine this fact with the closed nature of Windows, and I will choose Linux every time.

Ubuntu Scribes

After chairing an Ubuntu UK meeting on irc.freenode.net, I discovered that the process of summarising the meeting can be quite a long process. In an attempt to make this job easier, I decided to write a bot to do some of the work for me.

As I have had some experience with Eggdrop bots before, I decided to use the same system for this bot. The bot is now in a reasonably useful state (some example output can be found here). After some pushing and encouragement by LoudMouthMan, I asked around and found someone else interested in trying to sort out the way meetings are logged at the moment. After some discussion we decided to found the Ubuntu Scribes team.

The aim of this team is to provide a central repository of meeting logs and summaries for historical reference. To do this, we need to try and organise all of the previous meetings we can find, which probably wont be an easy task, so if you feel like you would be able to help, please come along to our first team meeting:

2000 UTC on Monday 5th February on irc.freenode.net, channel #ubuntu-scribes

Also, if anyone is any good with TCL / Eggdrop, please come along; I would quite like some help adding features to the bot 😀

Vodafone Betavine

For my first post, I would like to introduce a new website: Vodafone Betavine.

This site has been created by Vodafone’s R&D department, and its main aim is to encourage the development of new innovative mobile applications. Users will be able to download applications to test, and will be encouraged to give feedback to the developers to improve the application.

The reason I am blogging about this site is because it is the first major project that I have contributed too that has been made publicly available. I am currently working for Vodafone R&D as a placement student. My placement started in June 2006, and I should be there until June 2007. Most of my placement so far has been involved with Betavine, which has greatly improved my web development skills.

Hopefully, within the next couple of months, I should be able to get round to learning Symbian C++ and write some of my own apps, which could appear on Betavine 😀

Also, please keep checking back to the site, new applications should hopefully show up at regular intervals.