janewilliams20: (Default)
For a while now, there's been a tendency for F2F Rpers to have a netbook, or tablet, or smartphone with them at the table. It's easier than carrying a ton of books, and easier to search than the dead-tree version, too.
Since the thing's there, it can also have a dice-rolling app - saves forgetting your dice, or having them roll under the table, or accusations of cheating.

And now there's this. It's a D6, and it'll cost you a penny under £35. Why? Because it'll link by Bluetooth to your smart device of choice. The numbers light up. It'll act and feel just like a traditional "dice" (no, get it right, the singular is DIE)  for 20 hours, until it needs recharging via its micr-USB port - but costs about £34.50 more.

Why? Why not just use a D6?


Oct. 4th, 2013 09:57 pm
janewilliams20: (Default)
Chartered IT Professional. Well, it looks tough, but I think I'll be applying (eventually!) I can do so through either the BCS (where I'm really a member) or the IET (where I'm an associate by means of working for them). Actually, there's an interesting difference: the IET insists that you're a full member to go chartered through them, the BCS will award you BCS membership at the appropriate level if you don't already have it. I suppose I could in theory apply for full IET membership first, but even if I qualified (probably), it seems a little pointless. I'm not an engineer, and just how much alphabet soup do I need?

  1. Membership of BCS. Check.
  2. Appropriate academic qualifications? MA (Cantab), Computer Science is a bit low, but the extra experience will make up for it.
  3. 8-10 years industry experience? Yes, and then some.
  4. 3 of the last 5 years working at SFIA level 5. Yes... I think so.
  5. Pass a Breadth of Knowledge test, the syllabus for which runs to 34 pages (the last 4 are the reading list) - eek!
  6. Know my own specialist area, to be demonstrated by an interview with two assessors. Should be OK?
The IET gives me the services of a Professional Registration Advisor, and very helpful he is too. It's all looking a lot more possible now he's been through my CV and shown me how I need to change it to show the things I need to qualify as SFIA Level 5. I'll be doing the edits this weekend, I think. Then there's that Breadth of Knowledge test... there's an online practice one, so I can try that and see which areas need work. I have an idea a lot of this is knowing the buzz-words that translate to "oh, that? been doing it for years". At least, I hope so! If not, well the extra studying will remove another problem. I need two supporters who can vouch for me for three of the last five years. That'll be a lot easier once I've worked for the IET for three years.

janewilliams20: (Default)
But a Tweet from a fellow-coder pointed me at
this (View in a modern browser - Chrome is good, FF works, IE you'll need v10) Chart here.
That's done in CSS.
Yes, just CSS.
I "need" to learn CSS3. Not that it'll be of general use just yet (see  note above about modern browsers), but that is so elegant!

janewilliams20: (geek)
From [personal profile] pbristow 
"One of the great benefits of open source programming is that, if someone is unhappy with the way that a particular feature has been implemented, it is entirely polite and reasonable to tell them to fork off."

janewilliams20: (geek)
I may rave in more detail about my Jellybean update at some point, but for now: I wanted to send a text to Dave saying "Did any shopping happen that I need to know about?"
I had to type the first two letters of "did" and "any", and the first four of "shopping". After that, it correctly predicted every word I wanted to type.
janewilliams20: (geek)
So that's who did it.
This article says, of the new way ahead:
"Rather than code monkeys (sorry, structured language primates) implementing a specification drafted by someone responding to business requirements written by a stunned weasel, the coder is going ‘hey, what do you think of this’ to the customer…"
I've been doing that for a while now, but I always did wonder who'd written those requirements.

janewilliams20: (geek)
We have a new, modern coffee machine. To obtain coffee, I go to the touch-screen, and press
  • Coffee
  • Strong
  • Go
It produces coffee, and also tells me that I could, if I wished, use a short-cut combination for this drink. The code would be 032.
So to use that, I'd press:
  • Shortcode
  • 0
  • 3
  • 2
  • Go
This would save me time how, exactly?

There's also a shortcode for water....

mind you, the previous machine asked me how strong I wanted my water....

janewilliams20: (Default)
 Coding for home use, that is.
This is all a rather silly little addition to my Gloranthan output. Glorantha is the place with Ducks, and while we all know that they speak the local human language with a silly accent, it occurred to me that they probably speak their own language as well. Then I wondered what that would sound like, and how I'd represent it in writing, and I got chatting to some friends on Facebook about the subject. At the same time, another friend was bemoaning the shortage of articles for his magazine (I'm the proof-reader, and I had a very easy job this issue). So a few hours later, he had an article (it'll be out in Issue 15), and I had a little Google Doc spreadsheet that would translate English to Duck.

Or rather, I had a Google Doc that would do a rather messy job of the second part of the translation: translating English to Polish is still "here's a link to an online translator, paste the result in here". So to start with, I wanted it less messy. I tried exporting the thing to Excel, and it still looked messy. Time to pull out the big(ger) guns - I set up a page on my own website, and started writing HTML and ColdFusion code. Nothing very complex, just an input form and a bit of text manipulation, though Dreamweaver has expired, and Eclipse wouldn't start up for some reason, so I was editing in Notepad.

Next.... it's all very well saying "paste the output from a translation utility here", but I rather fancied automating that, too. I wonder if the online translators have APIs? Yes, they do! I can go for either Google or what was Babel Fish and is now Bing i.e. Microsoft.

Starting off with the Microsoft product, they explain the various interfaces I can use, and that to do so, I'll need a key. I can apply for one of these easily, just log in with my Microsoft account. I'm pretty sure I had one of those, once, but of course I can't remember the password. No problem, hit the password reset link, and an email arrives so I can change it. I change it. I make a note of the new password. I log in - no, it seems my password is wrong. I don't think so, I'd been copy-pasting. OK, use the reset link again. It's expired/used - fair enough, ask for another. I try to use the same password I have a note of, and it says I've used that before. True, I have, but in that case why can't I log in using it? I change again, make a note again. Still can't log in. Wander around their help system for a while looking for a suitable place to contact and administrator, and give up.

On to Google. Yes, looks like a nice API. I need to register for a key, but my Google account is something I use all the time, so no trouble logging in. Pick the API I want to activate - ah. Use of the Translate API isn't free. "$20 per 1 M characters of text, where the charges are adjusted in proportion to the number of characters actually provided." This probably isn't going to cost me much, and I can cap it anyway, but I may stop and think about this.

janewilliams20: (Default)
Surprisngly well, actually. I got a lot of things done that weren't in the plan, mainly because I had a Dave around to enjoy, so we did things that it made sense to do together - like eating lunch out. Saturday he was working days, but Sunday he was on change-over, and Monday he managed to wake up much earlier than usual, so that was a day and a half of "ooh, look, I have a husband".  Lunches have occurred at the Lounge and at a Toby carvery. We also went to the Homebase 15% off day and got a new strimmer, a new laundry basket, and some more plants (aubergine that already has small fruit on, my one having failed due to neglect, and some herbs to go in the front bed), acquired and used bird food, watered everything that needed it, and on Monday, investigated a furniture place near the Toby and may have found a new 3-piece suite that isn't too expensive.

Despite two meals out, I've stayed in WW point limits, not even using exercise points or weeklies, and have lost 2kg this week. No major milestones, but I am now on less points per day than before. I'm feeling healthier - bouncy and efficient, with "brisk" being the default walk, rather than "amble" or "plod".

Techy stuff - both the new phone and the tablet now run Android 4. Ah, yes, new phone - Dave and I now both have phones from Virgin Media, same people who supply our broadband, TV, and landline. It's a pretty good deal. MIne's a Samsung Galaxy 2, and so far, I like. I'm very impressed by how easy transfer was - once the PAC code was in, and the number switched to the new phone, all my apps, wallpaper, everything, transferred itself automatically. Well, all except the WW app I use, that isn't on Android Market any more, so I had to re-download.
Also discovered that if I load Dropbox to the phone, it'll automatically upload any photos I take to my Dropbox account, so they're waiting on the PC for me when I get home. Handy!

Sewing? That kirtle has gone from a length of fabric and a cutting diagram on the back of an envelope to an almost-complete garment. Side-gussets, facing for the neckline (it's  a good job I never throw anything away, if you were to lay that facing out flat on the inside-out-kirtle so you could see the shape, it would look a lot like a linen trouser-leg, and for good reason).
I need to do some hand sewing where the gussets meet, to get the seams to work, and to finish off the ends of every seam so I don't have dangling threads or a tendency for things to come undone.
It would be a good idea to either finish all the seams properly (no chance) or to run the zig-zag machine over them (some chance) before they fray to death. It would be nice to hem the bottom, and the ends of the sleeves, rather than rely on the selvage to do the job.
What I've absolutely got to do, to make this usable, is the eyelets so the front opening can be laced up. Before that, I plan on sewing that facing seam in place on the outside - hand stitching is probably easier than the machine, as well as looking better.
Three evenings, plus some of Friday (morning before I leave the house, probable hand-sewing time in the hotel Friday night/Saturday morning). I'll do it.

janewilliams20: (geek)
I know some web designers like to specify exactly where things go on the screen. I think, however, that specifying a position in pixels to eight decimal places of accuracy is taking things a little too far.
janewilliams20: (Default)
One of my colleagues/users today was trying to describe my role to the rest of her team, by comparison with someone else they used to know in IT. "She's like X, only more helpful," she began, then reconsidered. "She's like X, only with a user interface".

OK. I can cope with that :)
janewilliams20: (geek)

The fold-up Tablet P. I haven't yet seen one for real, but I'm reading reviews.

The criticisms so far seem to be its limits on playing videos (only uses one of the screens) and on gameplay (no physical controls, only on-screen). Neither of these are my man purpose for getting it.
As an e-reader, apparently it's not as crisp as the Kindle. I'd better try it and see.
Keyboard - comparable with a laptop? Sounds good!
Given my intended use, I don't think the admittedly low storage is likely to be an issue.

One query remains unanswered - can I edit documents on it?

Edit: the Sony forum provided answers again. There's a couple of recommended Android apps for the purpose:  "Documents To Go" or "Quickoffice Pro". Neither are free, though there's a free read-only version of DtG.
janewilliams20: (geek)
I actually want more than just an e-reader, I think, so this doesn't help me directly, but here's a review that compares two e-readers.
From the look of that, if an e-reader and surfer was what I was after, I'd be going for the Sony.
janewilliams20: (geek)

I mentioned randomly in a comment somewhere that a few years back, I'd fallen in love with a beautiful (but expensive) Sony Vaio. I did a quick search, noted that the original ran Win Vista (aargh!) and while still available, was pretty clunky by today's standards. So I went over to the Sony website and browsed, finding only great big things that waste space on irritating touchpads that move the cursor at random whenever my thumbs stray into a natural typing position. Being optimistic, I went over to the forum and asked. Yes, I could get myself an original Vaio P, running Win 7, and it would be supported. Or I could get this....
Fortunately the "keyboard" on that, being perfectly smooth, is probably drool-resistant., That on my big PC is not so lucky. I'm checking details, but that would appear to do everything I could want and more, in a smaller package than I'd dreamed of and at half the price I'd considered for the original Vaio. I may have to go for its big brother the Tablet S, but at a "massive" 7" by 9.5" and 600g, I hope not.
janewilliams20: (geek)
Found a few things out today, so let's make some notes.
What am I missing?
The netbook is good, well worth the cash, but not really ideal for my original purpose. It's too big and heavy to go in a handbag, and doesn't have a dongle, so can only go online where I can plug it in or use WIFI - handy in the kitchen, but not on a train. It doesn't really replace the laptop as a PC on holiday, as the screen isn't big enough for sensible photo-editing. It won't run the latest version of Yahoo Webmail due to screen size limitations. It will do document editing for me. It's a semi-laptop replacement for holidays where I'm limited in luggage weight, and handy around the (Wifi-enabled) house, but that's it.

The phone is great as a phone/diary (syncs with Google Calendar without me even having to tell it! perfect!), and as a mapping/GPS device (though not as good as real sat-nav). It isn't up to the job as a means of reading PDFs, as the screen is too small, and a combination of small screen and on-screen keyboard means I can't use it for writing. The mobile version of YMail doesn't let me reply to group mails (it sends to "from", not to "reply to"). It can do most web browsing, but not all - small screen, and only one window (mainly due to screen size). It's a good music player: I drop files to it, it plays them. The camera is adequate for happy-snappy.

Some sort of e-reader would let me read my PDFs and other e-documents, but not write to them. A Kindle, for instance - Amazon have them, they're beautifully light and easy to read. But I still don't get mobile writing ability, and that would be very handy when on the train, or in cafes when touring. It does its one job very well indeed, but misses a few others. Apparently the more expensive version (£152 rather than £111) has 3G, and will to some extent web-browse as well as download more books to read - and the data connection comes as part of the price!
247g, 190*123*85mm, for future reference, and micro-USB, so same cable as everything else.

Today I met someone with an iPad. Physically, it does look slim and light, and not a bad screen at all. So far, so good. I'd been told elsewhere that Apple have improved their devices and all the problems with them had gone - too vague a statement to be useful, and their website is useless (Apple, I don't CARE if it's "cool", or what colour it is, I want to know what it can DO!). So. How do I get my existing PDFs and MP3s on there? Previously the reason I stopped using the iPod as a music player was that it would not let me simply copy files on, it insisted on holding a complete copy of the iPod content on one PC, and "synching" with that - this meant all the files were duplicated for no reason, and it would only let me "sync" with one PC, not the three, or four, or just "the nearest" I actually needed. Almost entirely useless. Does it still do this? Yes, apparently it does. Same idiotic limitations. The iPad is bigger than the iPod, or any phone - how about an SD-card slot? No. I'm told they may consider it for the next version (or they may not). The netbook lets me plug in my portabel hard drive, with all the files on, or a USB stick - no, you guessed it, I can't do that,  either. So, that's a tablet-style device that won't let me put the files on there that are its entire purpose for existence....  very clever! I can download (and pay for) whatever limited selection of things they deign to supply on their iShop (whatever it's called), but using my own files - no. Price - starting at £399. OK.... but the base version has no 3G!  Wifi, yes, but.... so we have a supposedly mobile device that can't under normal mobile circumstances go online??? They won't admit to a price above that "from" one, and want me to choose colour before amount of memory. I haven't yet checked out whether it can usefully browse the web (yes, obviously this includes being able to run Flash), but since it fails on the basic functionality so far, it hardly matters.
edit: from comments from an iPad user on LJ, no, it won't usefully browse the web. It can't handle scrolling down in a text entry box.

Next up will be to investigate the various other tablets and e-readers: Android, maybe the latest Windows offerings. But not today.
janewilliams20: (geek)
Non-CF geeks will have no interest in this, but I at a future date probably will.
so it's under here )
janewilliams20: (geek)
A serious coding mailing list pointed me here, and I thought I'd repeat a few while waiting for some code to run. Yes, it's Friday.

Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen. (Edward V Berard)

The best method for accelerating a computer is the one that boosts it by 9.8 m/s2. (Anonymous)

Ready, fire, aim: the fast approach to software development. Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim: the slow approach to software development. (Anonymous)

It’s not a bug – it’s an undocumented feature. (Anonymous)

A good programmer is someone who always looks both ways before crossing a one-way street. (Doug Linder)
(Oh good, I'm a good programmer. Been almost run down a few times too often.)

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. (Martin Golding)
It'll be me in six months time - and I know where I live

In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion. (Anonymous)

And one the source missed:
There are 10 sorts of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't.
janewilliams20: (Default)
Sorry about that. Happy Xmas, anyway, and my apologies to those of you to whom I'd intended to send e-cards.

Random thought, as the brain wakes up gently - cream cheese with black pepper in it. Why? It makes about as much sense as cucumber curry.

reasons I've been out of it under here )
Good bits - quite a lot. Parents came round yesterday to exchange pressies. And today - Santa brought me a netbook! This netbook! I can get online better than via the phone, and without having to go upstairs! Squee!!
janewilliams20: (geek)
We have a copy of the main, live DB on another server, for test purposes. It's rather out of date, and could use a refresh. I've got some test tables and data in there that I'd rather not lose until I've checked them, so what I want to do is rename the old copy rather than dropping or over-writing it, then import a new copy from last night's live backup.
how to, how not to )
janewilliams20: (geek)
"Default values must be constants. This means, for example, that you cannot set the default for a date column to be the value of a function such as NOW() or CURRENT_DATE"

[[headdesk]] Set a column to default to the current date/time? Say, one called "createddate"? Why would I ever want to do that? It's not as if keeping an audit trail is something any serious DB would ever want to do.....

What you can do is "The exception is that you can specify CURRENT_TIMESTAMP as the default for a TIMESTAMP column."
But Timestamp is not the same as datetime.... it'll do, but it's limited.

Also, I can either default my "created at" timestamp, OR do a "on update current_timestamp" to store the updated date in another column. Not both. MySQL can only cope with one per table.

aarrgh.... let me back to proper grown-up databases again! Even Microsoft ones!


janewilliams20: (Default)

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