Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Life Update (13/09/2009 07:54:10 PM)

I've been flying under the radar lately due to the immense pressure surrounding client work lately, so my apologies for not blogging earlier. Basically this blog post is really nothing more than a reassurance that I am not dead (or to put it bluntly, I still have a pulse) and as such, there isn't too much exciting to post about.

minip180_q_400PC Upgrades:

Last time I blogged properly, I had been to Respawn LAN (which surprise, surprise is on again this weekend) with my PC and the truck load of HDD's I have. Well, suffice to say I have finally moved my HDD's into the new case and using the wonders of IDE technology, have managed to free up enough SATA ports for my collection of 1TB Hard Disk Drives. The downside to the current set up is I now have nothing RAIDed (although the important client files are synchronised properly between my Mac and Laptop). Still on the hunt for a Micro-ATX motherboard with 8 SATA Ports and isn't too expensive. Not getting far with that, mind you - I haven't exactly had the time to really hunt one down.

I've still got a little way to go with my PC; the first step will be 4 x 2GB DDR2-1066MHz RAM (more because I can than anything). I'm still working out what to do with the video card. The 512MB HD4850 is absolutely fine, but that may turn into a 1GB HD4870 (size reasons only - the HD4890 would require me to remove 2 HDD's).

Windows 7:

So as part of working for a Microsoft partner, I'm supposed to enjoy and promote new Microsoft technologies. I've migrated my Laptop and PC over to Windows 7 (Mac gets the privelege of Windows XP) and the good news is the Laptop is running much more reliably than it ever did under Microsoft Windows Vista. However, you must keep in mind that this was migrating from Vista x32 (Business) to Windows 7 x64 (Ultimate). Hibernate times are much quicker, start up times are much faster and the number of crashes are minimal (even with RTM!). Anyway, it's good to finally have a laptop that I enjoy using (although I need to reseat the Heatsink for the video card - 70*C is not cool enough on idle for my liking!).

On a side topic, at work - my manager / supervisor managed to load up Windows 7 onto a stock-standard Intel Pentium IV-2.4GHz and 1GB of RAM. After turning off some services, Windows 7 was running on about 280MB of RAM, and was running quite smoothly. Granted, any form of cool-looking Aero GUI was turned off - but the Windows Experience Index still reported a good 3.0 for Processing power and HDD speed. I can't comment on applications (such as Microsoft Office), but it's certainly easy to see why Windows 7 may soon be on Netbooks and Atom PC's.

True Blood:

front_cover_521Mmm... now here is a TV show that I've been convinced to watch by a couple of individuals. For those who don't know, it's based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels (Ok ok... so I stole that off Wikipedia) and involves some very insane acting and story lines. Some kind of R rated drama / comedy (who'd have guessed) that is, lets face it, poorly executed - but somehow very addictive.

In it's own crude way, it's much akin to Outrageous Fortune - just replace Vampires with your typical islanders and bogans from New Zealand, change V with Marijuana, base it in West Auckland as opposed to Louisiana and you have yourself Outrageous Fortune (in it's own unique way). That's not to say that True Blood is anything like Outrageous Fortune - most certainly nothing like each other.

Anyway, if the intro theme doesn't suck you in (Bad Things, Jace Everett), then I don't know what will. I have the sound track, and the music, for the most part is pretty good. I suppose I have been a bit of a sucker for western music, but this one seems to be well crafted.

Finally - it most certainly isn't some chick flick like Twilight (ducks for cover). It's also the only TV Show since Outrageous Fortune (2005) and The IT Crowd (2006) that I have been not only sucked in, but addicted to.

iPhone Development:

Ok - not so much in the way of actually releasing anything yet for the iPhone, I have something in the works as a bit of a "working with the framework" that might make it to the App Store by Christmas. The short of it is that it uses multi-touch, but the genre is most certainly for a niche market. I can't say much yet, but it's along the lines of watching paint dry and / or watching grass grow. We'll see what happens, but the idea is kind of cool enough that it is a viable $1.00 application even if nothing more than a gimmicky game. Unfortunately, I've only had about 2-3 hours to really dedicate to it. In that time, I have some game music in the works as well as some graphical assets. Although, I will be looking at outsourcing my graphics work soon *hint hint!* as - lets face it - I can't draw for shit.

For those who know me and shaking your head, you're probably right - the idea won't get completed. The difference is I have some motivation this time (i.e. App Store + Extra Income), so all those projects such as the XNA Bogan Kart, Theme Hospital remake, Sekryt Projakt etc... have pretty much died.

Having said that - Bogan Kart may still come. There's still some interest out there - and XNA is pretty easy to use (deployment to Microsoft Xbox Live would be awesome). As soon as someone wants to do some 3D modelling (and do it unpaid), I'll start coding the framework!!! It'd be awesome to drive around in shopping trolleys, cardboard boxes and toilet seats around race tracks. If Bogan Kart was ever released, it would be Open Source and free ofcourse - it's just there because I think it'd be awesome to play a racing game as your typical Bogan.

Future:

Hmm... don't know yet. A few places to check out this week around Nunawading (Wow... 3 N's). After coming off the pressure this weekend, I have some time to clear my head (as best I can) and focus on my real job. Things are CRAZY AS HELL at the moment for me, so apologies for not keeping in touch with everyone as regularly as I would like to. A few of you know the full story - more of you know parts of it, but an average of 5 hours sleep a night is not good - so to get back to 8 hours is the goal.

RESPAWN THIS WEEKEND!

- - Craig Mattson

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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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