Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Head fried (28/08/2009 07:46:30 PM)
Yep... that's right...

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General Update (18/08/2009 06:27:08 PM)

macbookpro2008concept468_468It's been a while since my last post - and a lot has happened in the interim. First of all, I finally own a MacBook Pro for iPhone development. I got it on 6th August 2009 so I've had some time to play with it at work and on the weekends. The laptop is a fine piece of engineering - the Aluminium shell is particularly solid, rivaling and in many cases beating my IBM ThinkPad T60p. It's a lightweight with the battery lasting around about 3.5 hours. The LED screen is very sharp and bright, and the finish is perfect. There is little flexing on the unit - and there is no obvious noticable noise. The keyboard itself though, while looking the part, is poorly designed. The keys themselves feel loose, very spongy and in general, have an appearance that they are layered on Jelly. Also, what is up with the Backspace Delete key? The key clearly functions exactly as a Backspace key! Pressing the Delete key when selecting a file should Delete the file. Not do absolutely nothing! I cannot get used to the gesturing mouse... No matter how hard I try, I always do something random (seriously, the mouse takes up about half of the room below the keyboard!). It's annoying - just like some of the stupid gesturing easily replaced by actual buttons on the iPhone.

So - engineering wise, the laptop is pretty sweet. That's about all the praise I have for it though - the Operating System is just bogus. Just like my limited experience with OSX 10.4 (Tiger), things are slow to load, icons bounce up and down like crazy - rivaling the annoyance of nudges on MSN Messenger, and just about every "logical" place to look for a setting has been replaced with an "intuitive" method. Anyway, I figure I will buy some RAM to bump my laptop up to 8GB. Hopefully 8GB will be enough (2 x 4GB) to achieve something.

So far, the only useful application on my Mac is VirtualBox. Why? Because when I turn it on, my laptop starts doing "useful" things - like allow me to do work. Windows XP flies on this Mac virtually which is a good sign I suppose, although living with the realestate of 1680x1050, and 3960x1080 - you just can't go back to 1280x800. At least I only got the MacBook for iPhone development which brings me to my next point.

XCode is great. It's a very capable IDE representing something like Notepad. Yes, that's right... Notepad. 2GB of downloads to effectively install Notepad with a file list that launches various applications permitting the filetype supports it. There's no intellisense (there is autocomplete), although the Objective-C language looks pretty straight forward in a View-based way. If only I had experience playing with MVC's :)

That's about it for my MacBook Pro. I have one, and apart from the hardware - I hate it. In a way, it has given me a greater appreciation for my IBM ThinkPad T60p which is still going (and hopefully will continue to do so for just over a year). Hopefully it will be much quicker too with Windows 7 (which courtesy of working for a Microsoft Gold Partner = no more licensing fees!).

Respawn LAN v13

flatout21_640Ok, so I finally ventured outside of smaller LAN's again to Respawn, and I was overall, pretty happy with it - although it is quite clear that I can no longer handle the all night events followed by sleeping in the car. Between 2-3 hours sleep is not fun in any sense of the word, so next LAN will probably just leave at 3am / 4am in the morning. It's good not having to take the biggest car load of garbage to these LANs (or everyone else!) as those who have seen what I used to pack for GreenTubeLAN would appreciate. Plenty of gaming, plenty of competitions, plenty of random games (Armagetron), plenty of Linux ISO's - what more could you ask for. The entry fee is a bit steep though - $30.00 and only getting a worse seat and table than what we get at DLC / GreenTubeLAN / SAN? Oh well, *note to self - bring chair* - there's one coming up next month - 19th to 20th September. I might venture to that with a few upcoming PC changes:

My motherboard sucks and I have wayyyyy too many HDD's now. So here's the plan:

  • Intel Core2Duo E8400
  • 16GB of SuperTalent / YeahDone / PNY / Gingle RAM
  • 512MB ATi Radeon HD4850
  • 3 x Western Digital 1TB Blacks
  • 2 x Western Digital 1TB Greens
  • 1 x Seagate 640GB
  • 1 x Western Digital 500GB
  • New Motherboard (4 x DDR2 Slots; 8 x SATA; Dual GBIe NIC; mATX)

So yeah - I'm on the hunt for a new Motherboard that covers DDR2, 8 SATA and Dual NICs. I'm guessing somewhere around the $200 mark would be appropriate - but it has to fit in my current case. I will also have to look out for a Hot-Swappable Caddy to fill my bottom drive bays. All up? This will add about another $400 to my PC, on top of the $3,000 already spent. That's $3,400 - on what is still a sub-standard PC hehehe... Just think how many nice dinners and outings that could have been for a special girl ):|

RAM Names

I've already made two references in this blog, but one thing that is striking me as odd are the list of random brand names plaguing MSY's Price List. Of late, there are a few new additions including PNY, YeahDone (an Australian company) and Apogee (sorry, no free Wacky Wheels or Duke Nukem here). This is on top of the already garbage list of Ritmo, SuperTalent, Strontium and Gingle. SO it's got me thinking - how hard can it be to release a new brand of RAM to the market? All you have to do is give it some canny name and MSY is sure to buy it. Maybe BLAM RAM would be a good name, or should we call it Jer0Jigabits. Maybe just N-RAM (or Naverage). Either way, there will be a logo floating around soon(ish).

That's about it for this blog post.

- - Craig Mattson

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New Keyboard In!!! (05/08/2009 06:51:58 PM)

Just a quick note to say that after four months since ordering, my keyboard finally arrived yesterday via DHL. It's a pretty unique keyboard (not one you can just buy off the shelf) - and even rarer that Lenovo managed to run out of them!!! Anyway... it's basically the equivalent of the IBM ThinkPad T40 keyboard - with a numberpad. So, now I'm just getting used to the fact I am using a laptop keyboard on a PC.


In other news, I thought I would try an experiment tonight. Upon leaving work at 5:00pm, it takes roughly 10 minutes from leaving work to get to North Richmond Station. The distance isn't that far - as you can see in the image below, 1.6km is the distance between the Tram Stops. According to my iPhone, the average speed in Peak Hour is 10.4km/h, or roughly double the speed of [power] walking. Ironically, the time waiting at the Tram Stop when the tram is delayed (usually shows up at 5:10pm), it would be comparable to walk the distance as it is to take the tram's rather pathetic 10.4km/h.


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SANLAN Over (02/08/2009 08:21:13 PM)

img_1_500Ok... so I'm right to make a quick blog post now about SAN-LAN this weekend. With GreenTubeLAN pretty much at an end and with DLC just looking at somewhere to be, SAN-LAN kicked off their first LAN in Frankston. The LAN had a turnout of about 40 people all up with your regular GreenTubeLAN / DLC-Lan atmosphere.

So here's the details - we had a fully Gigabit network distributed over a HP Procurve switch (thanks to Sleeper for organising that!) and three 3com Managed Gigabit Switches sponsored by 3com themselves. Network performance was very stable, aided by the fact that there were probably 12 on each Gigabit switch gave us all you could ask for (however, we had a Procurve with a backbone capacity of 36.4Gbps - need to get some patchwork happening!). The power capacity was not a problem at this LAN *touch wood*, and now that we know there is a 32A Three-Phase outlet in the factory / dance studio, there is probably a realistic capacity of 70 people.

The turnout was pretty good - 40 all up is not a bad number to get a few games happening. Clearly, the LAN was more social than gaming, but when the competitions start - you can guarantee that most people were in on some game. The FlatOut 2 competition was pretty well run - 3 races at 3 laps got people interested! Call of Duty 4 as far as I know ran pretty well with minimal hiccups (I'd imagine those who wanted to play CoD 4 were prepared for it!). All the fun really started to kick off at around about 6PM with most people having fun in some way or another.

Tip for those registering - registering with names such as m_0n_ash and Navg@rash and using m_0N_ash at the LAN and paying as Navg@rash ends up with announcements such as "Do we have a Monash in the building?". Most hilarious over the PA when an entity as asked for.

Food was great - and available in a very large quantity. However, after eating a Hungry Jacks Ultimate Double Whopper meal that morning - there was no way I could eat anything between Lunch Saturday and Dinner Sunday. Most disappointing as it is hard to not accept free food. Anyway - I must remember there is a Charcoal Chicken in Belvedere - as great as Nando's is, the meals prepared for lunch at Charcoal Chicken look most delicious.

img_2_500A nice surprise to see was Unreal Tournament making a comeback at this LAN. When a few guys start, there's alot of interest. Unfortunately with other commitments for Sunday - I couldn't stay the night - so that was a disappointment.

Anyway - thumbs up from me - worth going to again, and kudos to Neon for running a LAN single-handedly. It takes a LOT of effort to pull it off, but things remained fairly under control. However, if SAN-LAN is to grow, a team of Admin will need to be assembled. No - that doesn't mean me!!! If you're interested in running a LAN, can commit to 3-4 LAN's a year, have reasonable technical troubleshooting skills then - I'm sure there are plenty of ways you can help out.

So yeah - next LAN I'll probably be at is Respawn if I can get a spot on August 15th. Probably only be there for Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Craig Mattson.

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