Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Hehe... Connex got hax0rised :) (23/02/2007 05:10:06 AM)

Funny thing actually, before getting off the internet I got an SMS from connex saying: "ALLAHU AKBR FROM CONNEX! our inspectorS Love Killing people - If you see one coming, run. Want to bomb a train? they will gladly help! See you in hell! (+61429911196)"

hehe... comments anyone?

[UPDATE] Epidemic Over, stand down. I got another SMS from Connex confirming the hoax. Someones head will roll tomorrow :) The SMS was 'A hoax message was sent tonight to some users. Connex apologises and is investigating with the police. (+61429911196)'.

[UPDATE 2] Just as I thought, the newspapers are all over it now :) 

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A Stupid theory in Technology (23/02/2007 02:27:33 AM)
After the frusteration in resolving linux host names to windows (and believe me, the internet is NOT helpful), I'm tempted to give up on it entirely and go back to Windows Server 2003. So, what version do I choose? Well preferably one suitable for the task. How about Windows Server 2003 Web edition? One would think that a Web distribution of Windows Server 2003 would support websites right? Well, all well and good until one looks at using Microsoft SQL Server!!!?!?!?! Well, it appears as if our friends at Microsoft have crippled the web edition to not allow Microsoft SQL Server to run. This begs the question, is Windows Server 2003 Web edition really fit to be called one when they cripple what SQL servers you can run? *sigh* Back to linux :(

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Game Shows (20/02/2007 03:47:18 AM)

Well, whilst Temptation is on it makes me think often, and today enough to make a blog post about it, about how poorly designed and thought out game shows really are. For instance, lets take a look at the common game shows at the moment.

This game show is on 7:00PM on a weeknight on Channel 9. For a person to walk away with close to $1,000,000 in prizes, the player must be there for 8 nights. This is 4 hours worth of answering a tough range of questions and it's not the type of game show that if you leave early, you get a nice cash prize or a great prize of some description. For example, most of the time the prizes consist of Grand Pianos, Whitegoods such as massive dish washers and internet fridges. The stupid thing about this show, is the most money one could theoretically win on the night is maybe $12000 and that's after a prize, a shot at the vault and some extra cash after buying and haggling for a prize. Overall, a tough set of questions but with a low prize turnaround given the extreme difficulty when compared to other shows.

Wheel of Fortune
This game show gives out a few dollars, a few prizes, and has 3 puzzles. A low turnaround in prizes, easy puzzles makes for a nice little show to go on if you are really after a holiday to every part of the world that no one obviously wants to visit :P

Family Feud
Not a difficult show either, low prize turnaround with absolutely no real thinking involved. Players may get money or they may not. It adds a degree of difficulty and alot of luck on this show, but ultimately you win a few dollars, not uncommon to get $10,000 to split with family anyway for 30 minutes worth of work.

Deal or no Deal
If there was ever a game show you want to win $10,000 on, this is the one to do it with! You answer 3 questions to do with what's in the media in the last month, and then you guess what suitcase has a nice dollar amount in. Well, I thought this was the easiest show to win money on until some others came up.

The Rich List
This TV show is one of the most simplest to answer questions on, and you have the chance to earn BIG money. You answer the question by providing as many answers as possible for things like 'states in the United States of America' and in doing so, you can get up to $250,000. How's that for less than 15 minutes worth of work.

100 v 1
This competing with The Rich List has a similar style to Deal or No Deal crossed with Millionaire. Basically you answer questions like 'What part of the body allows you to walk? A. Legs B. Hair C. Computer Joysticks'. Again, not uncommon using the lifelines to get over $100,000 in cash for answering easy questions.

This show is one of those uplate ones that contain hosts dosed up to the eyeballs on drugs (I'm sure of it) where you call in and get say $100 for saying 'ball'.

So, why is it that the harder the questions get, the less money you earn? I know Millionaire got you some decent money if you could get into the hotseat and answer some tough questions, but most walked out under $32,000 and less time was spent in doing so. Strange hey :)

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Moving on from Frankston... (14/02/2007 07:14:08 AM)

buildg_400Hi all, well after finally finishing my last exam, I am hoping that I have done reasonably well in which I am hoping for about a High Credit/Distinction in Java 2 and Distinction/High Distinction in Web Systems II. Why? well honestly I have been so god-damned busy with everything else happening (nor is it easy to concentrate doing on-campus units off-campus). So, overall if I achieve those marks then I suppose I have done not too shabby (especially when I know the practical sides to it almost back to front).

So, what does this mean? Well today was my last time I would ever need to be in Frankston again. No more going to the Peninsula campus, and definitely no more 3 hour bus trips each way *sigh*. So, although I leave quite a picturesque campus behind, I am moving on up to a closer (by train atleast) campus at Caulfield to continue my IT studies there. The stupid thing about it all, is a train trip is roughly 1 hour to the campus but I'm not complaining, especially when I have more time to do things at uni now.

Anyway, GreenTubeLAN is coming up this weekend, so I am now preparing for that by recreating the servers from previous LAN. With a bit of luck, I will have a Linux router set up aswell (oh what fun that's going to be if I find out the wireless card needs an NDIS wrapper).


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Virus Alert Released (10/02/2007 10:57:17 PM)
gmlogoAfter spending hours working on this rather than studying for exams on Tuesday and Wednesday, I have finally released both an MP3 and MIDI version of Weird Al's Virus Alert. Check it out by clicking here!

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"Weird Al" Yankovic - Virus Alert Update (10/02/2007 01:46:31 AM)

weirdal_solIn my last blog post , I said I was working on both studying for exams and a sequenced version of "Weird Al" Yankovic's Virus Alert. Well, considering I am such a nice person and all, I thought I would release a 30 second preview (in MP3) weighing in at a massive 390KB in MP3 form. This has been exported using FL Studio 6, so you will find that the audio is of a much better quality than those terrible GM sound cards.

Apart from that, after studying today the entire Javascript section of my Web Systems 2 unit, I now have the knowledge to enhance my website some more (namely validation on data entry), so CMS Version 3 will be on it's way possibly May/June this year. When that's released and 'important' clients are updated, CMS Version 2 will be released open source.

After exams, GreenTubeLAN is coming up and after GreenTubeLAN, I will have a massive project in updating the Horses 'R' Us website to the SMF platform. There are just so many features in SMF that IPB 1.3 Final doesn't have (let alone being more secure and compatible with my web platform.) and given it's free, I can't argue with price. I remember first trying this platform when it was version 1.07 or something, and found it to be total bullcr@p, but I can't have checked it too hard now given it's very easy to edit CSS files, and the community in general seems reasonable, so yeah - that's happening after GreenTubeLAN.

Well, better start revising for this Java exam *shudder* this one's going to be tough :(


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Midis and Music Added (09/02/2007 02:16:46 AM)

Hi all,

rabbitrescue_120Been a bit bored today with all of this studying for 2 exams I have next week for University, so I decided I would post a blog update. My site is slowly coming together now since I uploaded one of my assignments for university called Rabbit Rescue. So what is it you say? It's a corny story line of a game that is meant to be a 2D platformer (like the old NES and SNES versions of Mario Bros) where you have to shoot robotic bananas to save rabbits by touching them. In the final level, you kill an evil monkey boss to save your mum. Sounds strange hey Tongue out

vintagekeyskeyboardlg_400Well, I had the game working in under 2 days, so I was pretty impressed with how far I got with it. This is probably the most complete game I have ever designed, followed closely by a game called My Mansion I created in Quick BASIC back in 1999. Anyway, that's available in my computer software page if you are at all interested. You will need the Java Runtime Environment (J2SE) of atleast version 1.5 to play it. The source code is also included, and given the nature of an assignment, it's fully documented so that you can create your own variants if you wish to do so.

Apart from that, but I have also included a new section on my website called Midis and Music. One of my hobbies as I have mentioned before is playing the piano. I also enjoy composing and sequencing music, both original and replicas of existing pieces. So, certainly feel free to check that out as well. Currently, I'm working on converting Weird Al's Virus Alert from his new album into a midi, so expect something here shortly for that.

Anyway, better get back to the salt mine. Ciao! 

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Video Game Addiction (05/02/2007 08:47:36 PM)

wwcAddiction is defined as the repeated use of a substance, carrying out a physical behaviour or psychological disorder. There are many forms of it ranging from Smoking, Drinking through to drug use. There's one thing however that is only starting to get a mention about now, and this is the possibility of Video Game Addiction.

So what is video game addiction? Well, I suppose someone who appears to be addicted to a game would be classified as a Video Game Addict. To be classified as an addict, one would need to repeatedly play a given game, where it would be detrimental to the persons health. This is certainly evident from my own research and people who I know personally who appear to be addicts of a particular game. The game, World of Warcraft, involves what most good RPG's have. They have a role for you to play, they lead a life, they become powerful and it's seen as an alternative life. The game does this well, but there are increasingly more and more people who are becoming addicted to the game.

Do I blame World of Warcraft? I personally don't think blaming the game or the manufacturer as the problem, just as the brewer of a beer cannot be held responsible for your use of the product if you choose to get drunk. What is to blame is the failure to self-limit access to the game. People do immerse themselves into this game, where there are people who want to become powerful. To do this, more time has to be spent playing the game. The direct repercussion of this is that loss of sleep, loss of eating and loss of health start to happen.

I know of atleast 2 people I know who have at one stage or another been addicted to the game. Both had this problem where they were spending up to 12 hours a day playing a given game. Is it healthy? No. Why do they play this game for 12 hours? Because they don't set a boundary, and if you can live an alternative life where you became powerful, rich and were able to dictate an entire life, would you jump to that opportunity?

The interesting thing is, it is considered unsociable to do so by a majority of families who believe their son or daughter is addicted to the game. What they fail to realise is that by playing the game online, they are playing with other people who they can socialise with. It's just done infront of a computer rather than conventional methods of meeting a person 'in real life'.

Well, that's my thought for the day... had to post something Tongue out

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GreenTubeLAN 4: The G Stands For Games (03/02/2007 01:50:12 AM)

header_400Hi all, this is just a friendly message to say GreenTubeLAN 4: The G stands for Games will be held in 2 weekends from today, being the 17th to 18th of February, 2007. As always, venue is open for participants at 12:00PM Saturday, and finishes 8:00AM Sunday.

Please note that registrations will be made slightly different this time. They will be done on the site, and stored in a database to make it easier to accept payments. Feel free to register here!

GreenTubeLAN 4: The G stands for Games
Cost: $15 per head, no free entry. Entry is to be paid prior to entering the venue
Includes: A share in $50 worth of chips, access to bottles of drink in plastic cups
Capacity: 40 Participants
Venue: Frankston North
Special Items:
Additional Information: Basically we are trying to gather enough funds from this LAN so that we can find a venue capable of seating 100 participants. This is why the price is $15, and only includes a share in $50 worth of chips.
Network Infrastructure: *gasp* Most likely 100Mbit dissipated over multiple hubs. Make sure you have games installed for this very reason (unless someone can come up with a gigabit hub for a backbone).
Prizes: 1st Place in AoE 2 Tournament, 1st & 2nd Place in UT2k4 Tournament, 1st Place in V8 Challenge Tournament. Prizes pool is valued at $40.

Yeah, shut up - I'm advertising on my own blog Money mouth

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Web Development Assignment Finished (01/02/2007 10:44:48 PM)

I wish I could say I'm free, but I'm not yet. Now I have to start and finish over the next 2 days a Java assignment. After frantically dealing with images, documentation, oracle databases and writing lengthy queries, I was able to successfully upload a website after tidying up over the last few days.

250pxinterior_of_siemens_train_aftPublic Transport:
Once again, the topic of trains is in the news with yet another Siemens Train overshooting the Seaford platform. This has yet again caused more controversy over Connex's ability to operate the entire Melbourne network. What people fail to realise is that Connex is not the one who ordered these stupid, not-well-designed-for-peak-traffic trains, this was M>Train back in 2002. I also find it quite humerous that to fix the problem we are currently having, Ted Balieu has suggested that all Siemens Trains be removed from the metropolitan network. To do so, Connex would have to operate on an altered Saturday timetable which includes more 'peak service' trains. What I thoroughly enjoy laughing at is the idea that reducing the trains to a Saturday performance would help passengers out by letting them know atleast their trains will run. It's a funny solution simply because this would cause more of an overload than already present Laughing and I can't see why they can't split off-peak services to 3 cars or something like that. They are rarely full in Zones 2 and 3, but I suppose that's what Connex is paid for and not me. What p!sses me off is I guarantee that V/Line services will be even more packed than ever before making sure that I cannot get on my own train (that runs hourly) from Dandenong which has happened before *shakes hands and thanks those with met cards, pay much less than me and can get a train every 15 minutes*.

Channel 9 back in 2005 used to be my favourite TV channel. This is far from the case now. They have just canceled Outrageous Fortune!!! To compensate, they put on even more crappy quiz shows (like there isn't enough of them already). Channel 10 is getting worse for putting advertisements that take up a good 1/4 of a screen for about 20 seconds DURING A MOVIE!!! Channel 7 is really giving me the sh!ts by gaining most of my TV viewing and god help us all if Channel ABC continues this trend of running shows 10 minutes overtime!

Well, that's todays complaints. Stay tuned until tomorrow where I complain about whatever could possibly happen tonight. 

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Windows Vista (31/01/2007 08:56:34 PM)

vistalogoSo most of you think I hate Microsoft Windows Vista adamantly. Well, I myself hate the new Microsoft operating system, especially after beta testing it since the days it was known as Longhorn. It doesn't mean I won't use it, and it doesn't mean it is the biggest pile of garbage. The thing is, of course with the launch, I have had people wanting to upgrade to the latest operating system already! So, I thought I would post my proper views on the Operating System.

Why should I upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista?
If you like transparent windows and a somewhat flasher operating system with less viruses than Windows XP, then by all means upgrade. Is it worth the $282AU for the Home Premium upgrade (the home premium proper upgrade, not OEM nor Academic Edition) just to get a few new cool features? Well, that's up to you to decide.

What version should I get?
Home Premium is the lowest system you would want to get to notice any major improvements. Home Basic does not come with the Aero theme, not a good choice for laptops (whatever the reason may be), no Windows Media Centre, no Backup, no HDD Encryption (even Business doesn't have this), no games and no HD capabilities. Basically it's going to be minimum $282 to upgrade, then you need to make sure system is capable.

computerWhat is a reasonable computer?
For most of my clients, a simple RAM and Video Card upgrade should be all that's necessary. 1024MB of RAM is roughly $150, and a Video Card can be had for about $60. All up, $210 should upgrade your current system enough. Ideally, you will want a processor above 1.5GHz, a HDD with atleast 40GB of HDD Capacity, 1024MB of RAM (if you plan on running the Aero theme), and a 128MB ATI Radeon/NVidia Geforce video card.

When should I upgrade?
I would suggest holding off for at least 6 months given if you want help with any issues, next to no-one will have a thorough understanding of the Operating System. Of course, I will myself over the next 6 months thoroughly testing the OS on a spare machine I have lying around to work out what bugs are there, and what error messages mean what. By then, Dual Core machines with 1GB of RAM will be quite affordable, and Vista OEM editions can be found cheaper when we buy a new system Wink

Apparently Vista allows me to listen to music, photos and stuff. I couldn't do it on Windows XP!
If you honestly believe that Microsoft Windows XP was incapable of displaying your photos and listening to your music (which is what Microsoft Windows Vista is claiming), then you certainly will be unable to operate Vista's Media Center given you still need to copy photos off your camera, and copy music from CD's. My point is, Vista is only enhancing the way you interact with photos (ie using Media Center on your PC or a Media Center Extender like the XBOX 360). If you can't click Start - My Pictures, or Start - My Music, then Vista is going to be just as difficult to sort through Tongue out

Are you saying Microsoft Windows Vista is pretty much garbage?
As with the release of any new operating system, there is no reason to splash out on it. There are features that will be Vista-Only, for example the DirectX 10 Library (for gamers) that will require an upgrade to Windows Vista. This is why I suggest 6 months to 12 months before people will start realising they need to upgrade. For the time being, Windows XP is not passed its used-by date and can probably idealistically be used for another 2 years before support really starts to drop for it.

Are you going to use Windows Vista?
I have no choice but to. Given my career choice, I would be severely disadvantaging myself to not use Vista. I'll be using my newly acquired Ultimate Edition on my IBM NetVista 1.8GHz with 128MB Video Card and 768MB of RAM when I have the time and inclination to do so. Vista is going to be the future, no doubt, as software developers won't be switching to another platform just yet. I am personally holding out for the Longhorn Server to be released given the better RAM management and stability that makes Windows Server 2003 a great desktop operating system. Strange how it works hey Wink

linuxIs Macintosh better than Vista, Linux better than Vista?
Depending on the application, there are strong points to all 3 operating systems. Dependant on your needs, a Macintosh might in fact be a better solution. For myself, an Apple Macintosh is not an ideal Operating System. It is severely limiting (despite being a derivative of BSD), however in it's limitations is where Security becomes a great positive. For those browsing the internet, listening to music, making DVD's with no emphasis on game play (mind you, with Boot Camp you can install Windows to a mac but then you defeat the purpose of owning a Mac Tongue out) then a Mac is ideal.

Linux is in a world of it's own. The community in general (sorry to those in the community) is disgusting, and in my opinion very unhelpful. You will generally find a few who are happy to bend over backwards to help you, but overall it's pretty terrible. It's run mostly by teenage kids who don't know the first thing about it which is a shame (judging by many forums I have visited). The community is very much 'ha ha you are too n00bish' which in English translates to you are too stupid. Despite this, the operating system if you know what you are doing is quite a good operating system. It's flexible, and you can fine tune it to the finest of details. Would I recommend it to a client? Only SLED 10.1 without YaST, Terminal and any super user access Laughing so, short answer No.

I don't feel I need to reiterate the Microsoft Windows strong points, as you are most likely used to them now anyway. Windows is here to stay, and will be around for a long time. We will certainly see Mac and Linux come up with some decent competition (especially for those who can't afford $500 to upgrade Surprised who will stick with XP anyway).

Final Thoughts on Vista?
Of course, everyone has their own opinion on Microsoft Windows Vista. Personally, I can't see (from a technical aspect) how an Operating System should be allowed to use up 400-500MB of RAM on idle by default. I know it's terrible with Windows XP sitting on 500MB of RAM with stuff open (especially on my 512MB of RAM in my laptop). However, computers that will be released over the next few years will come standard with 1024MB of RAM and 128MB Video Cards, so this won't be an issue. What annoys me the most is how Mac, and Linux have been able to implement fantastic GUI's (for looks) and still use VESA drivers to draw them (VESA in english is pretty much just a standard driver that utilises no special features in Video Cards). It is not an excuse to say that Windows is not Linux nor is it Mac. The simple fact is, there is a drawing algorithm out there embedded into Operating Systems that do not require 128MB Video Cards.

To finish, I suppose time will tell on how successful the operating system is. The only time we will know if the operating is really a success is in 4-5 years if Microsoft is still making operating systems Wink


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