Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Busy, busy, busy. (06/07/2009 05:42:01 AM)
My apologies for the late blogging, but while I have an hour or so this morning on the train - now would be the most appropriate time to blog. Anyway, here are the highlights and topics for the week:

Work Life
Not much more on last week really. I'm now working on an ASP.Net system designed as an inhouse product (which basically means we have the power to approve and reject features as we see fit). The latter half of the week involved playing with spreadsheets and rewriting formulae to work in our application. This was pretty cool - although the amount of code written versus time spent is pretty low - but I suppose there's not much you can do about it while you try to dissect a spreadsheet full of ridiculous formulae and a long testing procedure. I'd imagine I'll be starting the week finalising one calculator, and apparently this week - I get myself an introduction to the system. Unfortunately, they had a party on some yacht across the Yarra Friday night - disappointing as I thought I had other arrangements - I couldn't feasibly go. I'm sure there'll be plenty more where that came from though and hopefully I can make the time to get to a few.

Back in regards to Calculators, I thought C# and VB were supposed to be equals. If that is so, why the hell are all the financial calculations under Microsoft.VisualBasic.Financials?????? Sure, I can import them to C#, but why is there no global class? Grhhhh!
Mobile Internet
Seriously, what is the point. No, I'm not talking about Mobile Internet being pointless - just that there are some nights my Mobile Internet drops in and out with the only way to reconnect to launch an internet application on the iPhone. Where the HELL is the always on component? More importantly, what's the point of having 3G if all it's going to do is drop in the middle of a phone call? I'm not too impressed given I'm paying $70 a month for the service! It's a joke.
The Future of GreenTubeLAN
Last night, the 4 of us who run it got online for a meeting about the future of GreenTubeLAN, and we're all of the same opinion. GreenTubeLAN as a public entity has run it's course. It's clear that the combination with DLC-Lan works, however we have lost alot of people over the years and those still coming would register for just about any LAN with any name. So that's why GreenTubeLAN will be going invite-only and when we want to run it with about 15-20 people. The fact is none of the admin team (myself included) have much time to prepare much and we've been burned at the last few LAN's after many days of preparation (whether it's people not showing up or the gods against us - complete power failure in Narre Warren rings a bell!).

So yeah - it is with great regret we are rolling back the operations to an invite-only LAN, but this decision shouldn't affect many people. I will still be around DLC-Lan as will most of the other staff. We will still have 60 player LAN's in Frankston, just not under the banner of GreenTubeLAN. There is talk of a reshuffle with admin and staff for a more publicly aimed LAN in Frankston and I'll keep everyone updated here as the news comes. I suspect some decision will be reached during the first week of August.
That's about it for this week I'm afraid. There isn't a lot of news, I haven't moved out yet (although this week there's a few $120-$140 pw units in Drouin about 500m from the Station I will look at checking out during the week!) and yeah...

- - Craig Mattson

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Woohoo! A New Wireless Router! (28/06/2009 10:04:45 AM)

It's been a pretty BIIIIIG week again with a lot happening. I am enjoying a very quiet Sunday so I can catch up on much needed rest / game playing etc... At the start of the week, the new iPhone OS 3.0 was released introducing features that most normal standard Mobile Phones have such as MMS and Internet Tethering. I can't exactly see why it's called 3.0 given the interface hasn't changed, menu's haven't changed much either... looks more like another Service Pack / Minor Revision to me! If Microsoft had the same approach, we would be up to Windows 21 by now (think of all those Windows 2000 Service Packs!).

Work Life

Anyway, in regards to work life - things are starting to make sense more rapidly (last week, I did say that I wasn't picking up things as well as I would have hoped for) - at least with the product I am currently working on. I've been able to fix some bugs with relative ease, and implement new functionality in regards to business rules with e-mail requirements (to which a build is apparently happening Monday for - so fingers crossed I didn't introduce any bugs!). I'm certainly enjoying the job more-so than last week. I'm hoping this again improves over the next couple of weeks.

Mobile Again!!!

Thursday night, I finally got myself a new battery for my laptop - after spending 2 weeks without one, it's great to be mobile again. Being able to do some work on the train, reading e-books, doing some work for some clients etc... it's great. And now with 3G Tethering, at least when I am in Pakenham onwards - the internet is quicker than my home broadband connection! I'd better watch the data ofcourse - I don't want a $4,000 bill just for one days use of the internet heheh... But the speed is good - and hopefully if I do move out (and it happens to be in Melbourne somewhere), I can pay for an extra 5GB and not worry about the landline! I'm still annoyed I can't break into iPhone development yet - this requirement to get myself a MacBook to do some Objective-C programming is really giving me the shits. If I knew I could make $30,000 or so out of an application - then sure, I'd splash out on a MacBook Pro straight away. But for the time being, my ThinkPad T60p is still well and truly overspec'd (It now has 8GB of RAM and soon to be running Piss64) with a great screen resolution that it's not going to be replaced any time soon!

Wireless Router!!!

Yes, I finally brought one - just some random D-Link run-of-the-mill router. So far, the internet has been live for 18 hours with no crashes, so I can re-retire my old Netgear 802.11b router + D-Link DSL302G Modem once again. This now leads to another important point - it's time to dismantle and smash up the Billion 7300G. Much akin to the video destroying my old Toshiba Satellite 200CDS, I need some suggestions as to what could be fun - whether it be a sparkle bomb, hooking a rocket up to it, drop testing it, the good-old car running over it trick (a truck or tractor maybe?), horse stomping on it........ It needs to be fun though.


I've been pretty quiet on the music front lately. I have a few remixes in progress - particularly for Wizards and Warriors and a few videos that have been requested for YouTube. So far, that list includes: Mega Man 3 - Protoman Theme, Air Fortress - Introduction Theme, Faxanadu - Overground Theme (again), Mega Man 3 - Dr. Wily Stages 3 / 4 and for some reason, some real music - Titanic - My Heart Will Go On and Forrest Gump - Main Theme.

They *are* recorded on my Video Camera already, and they will be posted on YouTube when I can be arsed getting them off the camera (truth be told, I can't find my Firewire card - and my battery leaked!!! Shows just how much I use it.). But anyway, once they are up - I'll post an alert here.

Wish List and Things To Do...

With some newly found freedom over the weekends, I've got to start putting them to good use. First and foremost is moving out. Again, I'm in 2 minds about whether I move into Melbourne, or just move into Warragul / Drouin. Pros and Cons to both. Warragul / Drouin being on the Train Line ~ $58.90 per week by Train, rent is approximately $150-$180 per week, I gain 3 hours each day to relax / work on client business. The second option is Some of the South Eastern / Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. Rent is approximately $250-$300 per week, I lose 120 minutes each day on Public Transport (crowded / standing), but closer to work (particularly if I am driving or were to look at Box Hill).

The better financial and personal decision would be Drouin / Warragul (or even Longwarry - Nar Nar Goon), which gives me time to browse over the next year to purchase a house (wage is just under the right amount for a good home loan, and I want to ensure I have some sort of future where I am first before consuming myself in debt!).

The Wish List has already begun which includes an LCD TV, 2 x 24 " LCD's.

LAN Party - Coming Soon

1st to 2nd August at the DLC Venue guys!!! This time, the LAN will be run by Neon and his group of Admin. Great news for me - I will actually get some time playing games. It's $20 per person, and estimated to get 60 people registered. I know it's not over the school holidays, but it should still be fun - at least if you do the Saturday night, go home early Sunday Morning. I think the arrangements will be very similar for a DLC + GreenTubeLAN (i.e. midday to 10:00AM) - have to keep your eyes on the DLC website.

Um... that's about it. This has been a ramble. I'll try to make minor updates during the week, but if not - until next week.

- - Craig Mattson

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First week at work amongst other things... (21/06/2009 07:57:29 AM)

Ok... so it's Sunday morning, and I did promise an update on the weekend (so those of me through various IM clients who have been bugging me for this update, here it is!!!).

Work has been interesting. I've been getting up at 5:30AM each morning to catch the 6:51AM train from Drouin, got myself a weekly ticket which was expensive - but much cheaper than a couple of driving trips. The good thing about paying full fare is First Class seems like a bargain which is particularly useful for the 6:25PM Bairnsdale service. Travel does also consist of one tram change which has proven to not be much of a problem at all. In fact, although I spend anywhere from 1:30 to 2:00 to get to work (and of course, again on the reverse), the travel time seems like nothing. I suppose I do have work to do, music that needs listening, people who need my technical expertise etc... But otherwise, the trip to and from is pretty easy and relaxing.

As you would expect, moving into a development job does require a good understanding of what systems you will be working on. Unfortunately for me, these systems make Access Education look like Hello World even with it's 40 tables and 200 stored procedures, it's nothing compared to the first system I am working on. So yeah, it's quite daunting.

This week has mainly been reading Source Code, setting up my computer, setting up Virtual Machines, setting up IIS7 (which after installing one system, I've learned heaps about Application Pools and Components) and setting up COM+. By about Wednesday, I had the chance to look at Source Code and start to piece together the workings of one application. Classic ASP is pretty easy, and particularly, the integration with COM / VB6 does make things more appealing than PHP in regards to setting up complex business applications. By the way, I really should put a plug in here for Professional Active Server Pages 3.0 by Wrox as the book is easy for beginners and covers a complex range of integration topics namely Active Directory, ADO, XML, COM and COM+, Message Queuing etc... So yeah, if you need to learn Classic ASP, that's the book you want! Much better than Google + Brain!

On Friday, I was finally given some bugs to look at fixing, and I'm happy to report that I was able to offer a fix for it. Although, the fix was with a Stored Procedure rather than the application code - I was pretty happy with myself.

So, do I like the job? I honestly don't know. This week, for the first time in my life, I thought I was a complete dud. That is; I wasn't understanding things as well as I would have liked which conflicts with everything I have done. Towards the end of the week, I was feeling much better - especially after being able to do something useful! The other thing I'm not good at is relaxing. I'm a person who wants to do stuff. I don't like to wait, I don't like feeling like not achieving anything. I know it's not the right attitude to have when it comes to programming (the Access Education website was similar in regards to not achieving much in a single day), but yeah - just getting used to the whole proper development role for a company has been interesting thus far. Compared to my other jobs I have had, the days go very quickly. That's a bonus as far as I'm concerned at the moment.

So yeah - in other news, Railworks has finally been released - on Steam. If you signed up like I told you to do (on the website), you will find it available for $29.99USD with your promotional code. So get downloading! There's a million improvements in regards to signalling and lighting, and worth the $38.06AUD it cost me when I brought it.

Also - there is a possibility of a LAN Party happening in Seaford again, this time not run by GreenTubeLAN + DLC-Lan. Instead, Neon from SAN-LAN is looking to do something in August if interested. Keep an eye on the DLC-Lan forums. I'll be there!

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Finished Casual Work! (13/06/2009 04:03:36 PM)

So... I finished my last shift 3 hours ago from the time of posting. I have now finished up at all casual jobs, ready to start a full-time permanent position as a .NET Developer in Richmond! I'm certainly looking forward to it - and actually launching my career finally in Software Development / Consultancy / Whatever-IT-Related... I'll post more about what I end up doing at the end of the week.

- - Craig Mattson

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