Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Week beginning 23rd February 2009 (27/02/2009 07:21:05 AM)

60cbeb2a968b4abb9ed35a7105ff5c74_504Hi All,

I know it's not the end of the week yet, but I figure it's about time I post something to try and keep up to date with blogging. The truth is; I've not been myself over the last few weeks. Maybe something to do with the bush fires, maybe something to do with stress, maybe it's just guilt - I don't know. I just feel ... terrible.

I suppose it really boils down to the recent events in the world and how they're effecting me. For instance; before Christmas, I had a full schedule to keep me on my toes. Of course, I wasn't particuarly pleasant in the latter half of 2008 - but I was working 4 days a week, University 2 days a week, and a particular assignment on the "day off" a week. Now I'm pulling a 1.5 hour shift at one workplace during the week and getting a relatively good shift at my other workplace where the roles have really reversed. I can't say I'm impressed with the way my primary work is going (that is; give everyone an even distribution of shifts irrespective of if they are emergencies, trained up suitably etc...), but that's their decision and this gives me a new reason to source a job as soon as possible.

Job Hunting has been slow, very very slow. I've applied for a handful of positions, not too many and no real bites yet. So I'm going to scale up the job hunt next week as lack of money, running around with the lack of money and well - living in the area at the moment is pretty draining.

This year more than ever, my 21st birthday has been and gone without really doing anything for it. That is; it came - it happened (sort of) and it's now gone. Not that I'm worried about having a party (since when am I ever anyway???), but for it to really just drift past with everything happening may be an indication of things to come. I'm not in the mood for a party, nor am I really caring at this stage - might do something next year to make up for it, but yeah.

So what could be getting at me for guilt? I don't know really - I'm doing what I can without really pushing me over the line, and maybe starting to really get annoyed with the amount of donations requested for the same charity where-ever I go. Saying no to these people gets a long hard stare from the requestor, in particular at Flinders Street Station the other day. I do my bit to help, unfortunately I can't keep putting money in boxes for each and every person who requests money. I've made a sizable donation in total already (that figure will remain undisclosed, and the reason it's relatively high is I expect to have to pay back tax this year). So why guilt? I really don't know.

Moving out will be next on the agenda after getting a job. I have a feeling maybe it's independence I need rather than having to deal with coming home to the tiniest of room that just keeps getting piled up (I seriously have a stack of things infront of my PC screen - thus haven't used it in the last few days). So when I move out, I trust one less stress will be there in regards to coming home only having to spend 2-3 hours searching / moving stuff to do something.

My entrepreneurial skills are being utilised at the moment with a few business ideas and plans becoming properly written up and bound, although I suspect that these are still a few years off persuing some of these business ideas. They range from retail chains through to consultancy firms and methods of rolling one out. At this stage, everything remains top secret (stored somewhere no one would ever look) until these ideas are realised (if they ever are).

I got a new keyboard finally! Yamaha PSR E413 to be precise. Nice little keyboard this is! It's a good mid-range keyboard suitable for a lot of different tasks such as performances and midi controlling. I've got everything with it (case, stand, pedal, USB Cable and Power Supply which yamaha now sell separately!!!), and it sounds pretty cool too! With my video camera and a good keyboard - I suspect I will be recording a few performances for YouTube to complement and replace existing ones. Anyone that has heard me play probably thinks I'm pretty terrible (which well, lets face it - the keyboards I have had don't do justice to myself), but after this keyboard sounding very real (i.e. the Grand Piano noise sounds too good to be a Grand Piano!!!) - I'm happy to report that my playing doesn't sound like a cat s***ing on a hot tin roof. So yeah, I suspect I will be playing a few things soon(ish) for recording purposes.

It also means that my FL Studio work should increase as the Midi controller works properly (no dodgey writing of driver hooks in VBScript or JScript for the other keyboard I had). It's now about time to look at an X-Fi sound card as well to write some of these instruments for midi into the card for a bit more remixing. Who knows, one day - a remix may end up on OCRemix after all!

Anyway, that's really all I have time for at the moment. Hopefully I get back on my feet soon - I've never felt not in control before quite like this. At least Monash have fixed up my Majors (Net Centric Computing and Security / Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems) on my transcript. So roll on job hunting!

- - Craig Mattson

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Nokia Mobile Phones and User Interface Design (19/02/2009 09:02:33 AM)

nokia63001_400The Nokia 6300 is a well featured cheap phone that boasts quite a number of features that turns this phone into a step below a smart phone. For instance, you can access the Internet using Opera Mini through a GPRS connection on a GSM network. The phone also plays MPEG4 videos at 25fps and acts as an MP3 player, so as far as usefullness goes - it is a step below a Smartphone.

While it doesn't boast GPS technology, infrared or a Microsoft / Apple operating system, it is a good lightweight and thin mobile phone that has suffered through heavy use, including multiple drops onto concrete at work and on the run. My phone is still functioning well, however the battery life is pretty ordinary (although I suppose this is in proportion to the somewhat ambitious features that Nokia has included if used continuously for a short period of time).

This is where my blog today stems from. With the battery life pretty ordinary on the Nokia 6300 as is, you would think they would pay particular attention to efficiency and power saving features of the mobile phone itself. Not true in the case of a low battery. My biggest gripe about the Nokia 6300 is the fact the phone when low appears to use more power than when it has sufficient charge in it. For instance, I would expect a device low on power to disable features and to run in low power mode (dim the screen, turn the volume down etc...), but not this Nokia. Each low battery alert begins with a white screen with grey text "Battery Low". The brightness stays on for approximately 5 seconds until it fades half way for another 10 seconds before shutting itself off. The pattern repeats itself approximately every 2 minutes until a point where it is critically low and repeats every 30 seconds to 1 minute. On top of this, a loud tone is made. Now, with Bluetooth turned on and a GPRS connection, logically I would have figured GPRS would be disabled and Bluetooth turned off. Instead, the Nokia just flattens it's battery quicker by displaying useless warning messages.

Now the interesting thing is, my Pocket PC has a low warning / critical battery feature and dims the screen. It's biggest power saving feature (and possibly one of the more annoying ones) is to disable SD / MMC Card access. This is OK, if you aren't working on a document that requires SD card access (so you can't SAVE!!!!!). If anyone has ever owned a Motorola (particularly, a RAZR V3 or KRZR K1) will know how annoying the tone is on a low battery. For those who keep their phone on all night, the loud tone that never seems to stop will appreciate why there are some nights I simply cannot get back to sleep (I'm one of those people who takes ages to sleep - and if I get up, I can spend another hour trying to get some sleep).

All in all, it seems to be a common thing. "Oh my! Battery Low! Lets alert the user by brightening the screen, playing audio every 1 minute so someone can charge me!" seems to suit the Nokia model at least. I await the day I get a Mobile Phone that lasts as long as my ancient brick Motorola CDMA phone (the one that lacked SMS sending capabilities) and has the functionality of my Nokia 6300. I'm guessing I'll never see one :).

- - Craig Mattson

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Long awaited update (10/02/2009 06:58:42 PM)

Hi All,

I know it's been a while since posting - but there's alot been happening too! So where do I start?

Recession:

I'm now qualified, I have some experience and I can't find a job in IT. I suppose this is partly due to the fact that I am also not looking for many jobs at the moment, but there is definitely a decline in the number of jobs on offer - in particular for graduate students. It's annoying that I'm still doing Data Entry, now that I am qualified and all - and even that's coming to an end with Newspaper jobs declining (or at least, for CareerOne and Times Education Supplement).

The IT industry seems to be one of the hardest hit with the recession, and I suppose that stems from the attitude that businesses can function without Information Technology. One client has discovered why it is necessary to have an IT department, but in many cases it's just a scale back.

Microsoft announced that they were axing the Aces game studio (responsible for many franchises including Microsoft Flight Simulator and Train Simulator). One has to ask the question - why? Is Microsoft really suffering a bad loss by having Aces open? For a game so close to release - including procedural rendering technology in regards to DEM data, Train Simulator 2 was to become a showcase for this if you will, that could potentially open up the possibility of other Supply Chain / Logistics simulations and What-If Analysis simulation of transport systems. But apparently, this wasn't to be - and a potential loss for Microsoft. Not only that, but they also put on hold Flight Simulator - a game with over 25 years of development. Strange one though!

University:

Ok - Monash is completely finished, and I'm glad. But you'd think with all their best efforts in causing many administrational errors, they would be able to produce a proper transcript? BZZZT! WRONG! Somehow, I was not enrolled in the Security and Net-Centric double major. Pretty darn annoying! So after a lengthy chase up of my Transcript, it turns out that they acknowledged they were wrong and amended my Transcript. Did this solve all the problems? No! I was expected to pay for a new Transcript. After some threats and quotations of the Trade Practices Act (1974), I received my new fancy Transcript with the specialisations listed.

I swear, with the dis-organisation of the university, I really do question how they would go with a larger faculty.

Last LAN:

GreenTubeLAN + DLC-Lan #2 was held on 31st January to 1st February and I must say - it was another fun event, although fun for a different reason. After the hot weather, I suppose it was only expected that we would have 10-15 people show up. This was rather disappointing for the figures to cover expenses, but none-the-less, we all had fun with a lot of games being played! The network was reasonable (although with 12 people, even a Gigabit Hub would have been suitable) and we played games all night.

I found out that Call of Duty 4 is much more fun when I don't have people telling me that it's fun. There's also a bus bearing the numbers 754 which is particularly close to 457. But yeah, compared to Counter Strike: Source, I much prefer it.

Anyway, cheers to Noel for the barbeque and the use of the hall again! We have tested and confirmed that we have a working PA system, so hopefully next LAN we will see beyond 40. As the numbers were extraordinarily low, this won't be considered a LAN that we have run, evident by the lack of photos and videos.

Anyway, bring on the next April LAN. I might even head off to Respawn before then to see what ideas and recruits I can get :)

Fires:

For those who know, we've been under fire alert. I won't go into too many details - newspapers are plentiful here, but yes - we were under threat from the Bunyip fires. I am alright, as is my family. Just to show you how close we came, here's some photos.

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Approximately 12:00PM :: Saturday 7th February 2009.

bunyip_fires_032_400
Approximately 3:00PM :: Saturday 7th February 2009.

bunyip_fires_038_400
Approximately 3:30PM :: Saturday 7th February 2009.

bunyip_fires_046_400
Approximately 4:00PM :: Saturday 7th February 2009.
 
bunyip_fires_084_400
Approximately 4:30PM :: Saturday 7th February 2009.
 
bunyip_fires_085_400
Approximately 4:30PM :: Saturday 7th February 2009.
 
bunyip_fires_116_400
Approximately 6:00PM :: Saturday 7th February 2009.
Anyway, I have other pictures of Labertouche and Jindivick - too many really to post here, so I may post them at a later date. The long story short is that I am safe. Not so for some of the families I know.
Ciao!!

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