Cyberpunk, Spirituality and Technology - The Voidspace Blogspot

The strange and deluded ramblings of a rather odd person. Hello Dude - It's Me

Please Fasten Your Seatbelts

And Loosen Your Clothing

 

 

These pages are all my own work. Unfortunately that may be a terrible admission. In these pages are various writings of mine, from the first part of my life story, to poems, to mad ramblings without excuse. Below the links to the articles is my blog. Not to be confused with the Techie Blog, this is random ramblings from life.

Rambling Rumination

Diving or Drowning Part I. The first part of my Autohagiography... up to the point where I first take ecstacy. The tale of how a polite, well mannered middle-class child became such a ruffian.....

Diving or Drowning Part II. The second part of my life story - the further fall....

Life in Romania. An article about living in Romania. This follows two visits in 2004 and 2005 to visit my wifes parents. Life is very different in Romania than it is here in Britain.

A Random Assortment. A short collection of my poetry. There's one or two gems buried in here.

HumanOS v1.3. Subtitled baby crocodiles, computers and the human personality. This is an article that compares the human mind to a computer operating system. It touches on artifical intelligence and the ages old Nature versus Nurture debate.

Christian Meditation. A short piece on Christian meditation - exploring living Spirituality with God.

Imagine Paradise. No its not about a large network of computers, its actually about Christian Community..... and why we bother.

The first is an article on the spiritual power of symbols and sacraments. The second one, is on what sort of truth we can expect to find in the bible - with a brief section providing one possible reconciliation between modern science and Genesis. They should both be understandable by 'beginners' to the subjects.

Quick 'n' Dirty HTML. Need to get a webpage up quick and never done any HTML before ? This article will get you up to speed with the basics, using a TABLE for layout. Not for those who want nice, standards compliant, XHTML and CSS...

Voidspace Story. My cyberpunk short story. Lovely imagery but very short *sigh*. Come and play in the Void !

Beginners Guide to Atlantis. My beginners guide for new players of Atlantis - the computer 'Play-by-eMail' game. Very useful if you`ve just started to play.

Resolver and IronPython

emoticon:avocado After over a year of working as a programmer for Resolver Systems I can finally tell you what I've been working on.

We're now 'out of stealth mode' officially, and Resolver is in the hands of a few beta testers.

Resolver is a new spreadsheet program (a desktop application) for companies who push spreadsheets beyond what they were designed to do.

Resolver in action...

I won't bore you with all the techie details, but if you are interested you can read my announcement on the Techie blog. I've also launched a new website, with articles and examples on how to get the best from Resolver: Resolver Hacks.

Resolver is written in a new programming language called IronPython. I'm currently writing a book on IronPython for Manning. As well as this, I'm giving a couple of talks on the subject soon.

A talk on 'Python in Your Browser: IronPython and Silverlight' at PyCon UK in September. The following week I will be giving a similar talk (to a very different audience) at Mix UK, the Microsoft developer conference. Then in November I will be at another Microsoft conference in Barcelona called TechEd. I won't be speaking there but will be on the Microsoft dynamic languages stand. All more than enough to keep me busy. Wink

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-07-21 16:07:42 | |
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Technology: Social Networking and Webcams

emoticon:pen_book This blog is supposedly about Cyberpunk, Technology and Spirituality. I usually reserve the geeky stuff for my Techie Blog, so I thought it was time for a technology related entry.

Social networking websites are now a dime a dozen, but they are something I have always resisted until recently. They allow you to maintain a list of friends or contacts and keep a profile with contact details interests and so on. All the different sites have a slightly different focus, but they all share one thing in common: the more work you put into developing your network and maintaining your profile, the more page views (and therefore income) you generate for the site owners. I'd far rather put my time into developing this site where I have complete control over all the contents.

I do use one actually, LinkedIn. This site focusses on developing professional contacts. I don't spend much time on it, but I've actually made some useful contacts through it. (Recently someone from Mozilla contacted me through my LinkedIn profile to see if I was interested in a job - I wasn't, but I did put them in touch with someone who was. It is an extremely interesting project and hopefully readers of my Techie Blog will be able to hear all about it soon.)

About a week ago my webby friend Justin started experimenting with some of the social networking sites and invited me to join Facebook. I signed up but didn't think I would use it much.

It turns out that five different circles of friends I know are using facebook: some of my family, people who go to my church, colleagues, friends from town and some of my programming contacts. bizarre

So within a short period I've got quite a long list of friends. Not only that but it is surprisingly addictive. You get to see all the recent news from people in your friends list, hunt for new friends and send silly messages to each other. Smile

Of course all this activity means that the big social networking sites are in a battle to the death to be the biggest. Most of my friends use facebook, so I will stay with facebook. Whichever site becomes the biggest will gradually sideline the competition.

I thought it was cool that my church was getting so technologically hip. Facebook seems like it could be a useful way of keeping in touch with friends and contacts. Uhm... that was until I read this article:

The article claims that the different networking sites divide along the lines of social class, with the middle classes favouring Facebook and the poorer classes going for MySpace.

Personally I always find MySpace pages loud and difficult to read with all the strange background colour and picture business going on.

This is also terrible news for my church friends, the Jesus Army prides itself [1] in being a church of the poor. Looks like it's time to switch to MySpace guys! This doesn't include our Coventry folk of course, who are that bit more intellectual than the rest of us. Wink

Anyway, all that guff is just the first half (but don't worry - the longer half) of this blog entry.

The second half is about webcams. Smile

Technology can be a controversial subject. On the one hand it is fun and exciting, but some would say it is leading to a fragmented and more isolated society (more obsessed with updating their facebook profile than real human contact).

The webcam I bought months ago finally got put to use. Delia (my wife) comes from Romania where her parents still live. Her family don't have a computer, but the next door neighbour does, and today Delia talked to her family over Yahoo Messenger [2].

Being able to see and talk to her family regularly is going to make a big difference to Delia. Maybe technology isn't all bad. Cool

[1]And rightly so... Jesus had a lot to say on the subject of money, and the core of the Jesus Army live in Christian Community together - sharing their income.
[2]Not my choice!

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-06-30 00:35:17 | |
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Scifi and Technology

emoticon:movies Well... two of the subjects covered by this blog are supposed to be technology and sci-fi, but my last two pieces of penmanship on these subjects actually ended up on my Techie Blog. Kind fellow that I am, I thought I would give you a quick pointer to them:

I tend to avoid tech heavy entries in this blog these days, that after all is what my tech blog exists for. I'm also a 'little busy' and don't do much reading at the moment, which is probably a bad thing. I'd far rather be creating than consuming though. Wink

What I should be blogging about is the other supposed topic of this blog, Spirituality. I have some amazing experiences of God at times (really - nothing compares), and get all inspired to write. Usually the urge has evaporated by the time I get home though...

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-06-19 16:56:38 | |
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Virginmedia Gets it Worse than Wrong

emoticon:html A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how Virginmedia hates their customers, because they steadfastly ignored my pleas for help via their web-form.

Today (nearly three weeks after the request for help), I got a reply! The summary of my request, was that I wanted to upgrade my service and didn't have all the necessary information. I don't have a landline and their customer service line is an 0845 one that is very expensive to call from a mobile. I put all this in the form, and asked that someone phone or email me to help.

Today I got the following reply:

Thanks for your email to Virgin Media about upgrading your services.

If you want to upgrade your services you can call customer services for free from any virgin landline on 150 or 0845 454 1111.

This email even contains my original request, stating that I didn't want to phone them, proving that the person who sent this email couldn't even be bothered to read what I had written... Idiots. Razz

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-06-04 12:56:26 | |
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Virginmedia Hates its Customers (and their website sucks rocks)

emoticon:movies Or at least has sufficient disdain for them that it doesn't feel the need to respond to questions, queries and complaints... The odd thing is, that this disdain even extends to ignoring requests for help about upgrading a service.

NTL broadband became Virgin media recently (don't ask me who bought whom). NTL have always had a bad reputation for customer service, and it is reassuring that Virgin media are continuing this fine corporate tradition. Despite this I have been reluctant to transfer away. NTL (as they were) are one of the few broadband providers in the UK who can run intarwebz pipes to your door without requiring a phone line. This means that you can satisfy your insatiable passion for lolcats [1] without paying for a landline you don't want.

On top of this, their 'unlimited' service really means unlimited. Various internet providers (particularly mobile internet) offer 'unlimited' services - but the not-so-small-print specifies that this is 'unlimited so long as you don't use more than X'... Has the word 'unlimited' changed meaning behind my back, or are they just lying?

Anyways... back to the point. I recently wanted to widen my pipes, I can has moar internetz. Unfortunately, upgrading via the website requires umpteen versions of different NTL account numbers. The only support number they list is one of those 0845 numbers that cost a fortune to phone from a mobile (see previous comment about not wanting / having a landline) so I used their 'contact us' webform. After what felt like eighteen clicks I finally got to an email form where I could ask a question. The only options I could select were disconnection query / complaint / moving house. I hadn't intended to make a complaint, but by this time it felt kind of appropriate anyway, so I selected this option (informing them that it wasn't really a complaint) and asked for help upgrading my account.

I bet you can guess what happened next. Yup, you got it, nothing. Actually I did get a confirmation email telling me that they would eventually respond. But they didn't. A few days later I went through the same process, but by now it was a complaint. Same confirmation email and same lack of a response. sigh So there you have it: don't bother complaining to virginmedia through their webform because they don't reply and they don't care.

Eventually I gave up (this was a few weeks ago) and did manage to dig out my NTL numbers and upgraded the service. This was supposed to get me access to several freebies, which are probably not worth the having but I thought I would login and have a look. I logged in and tried to access them, but it just dumped me back to a page asking me to login. I then tried to access my webmail account (I never use their account - but hey), and it asked me for a password and informed me that the standard one (which worked elsewhere) was wrong. So I used the 'forgotten my password' feature - which promptly informed me that it had emailed my password... to the account I was trying to access. Now if only I could figure out my password I would be able to look at it! doh

Their website has lots of other usability issues, it had me going round in bizarre circles several times. What's worse is that they seem to have dropped (at least I can't find it) the 'service page' which tells you when any planned maintenance, or other outages, are likely to happen. Now when my pipes suck instead of blow, I don't know whether it is intended or just because Virginmedia sucks...

Thanks fore listening to my rant. Razz

[1]And yes... I've read them all.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-21 15:05:16 | |
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The Polaroid PDC 3050 Camera (and maybe the web doesn't know everything!)

emoticon:mobile I'm selling a digital camera and laptop [1] on ebay. I've had the camera for a while, when I bought it 3.8 Mega-pixels was a fairly high resolution for a digital camera.

When I came to get the technical specs for this camera there was almost nothing on the web about it, even on the Polaroid website! I was surprised, I always assume that the internet knows everything...

We bought the camera originally from Argos, so perhaps it was only ever sold through them, and not generally available. (Although there are plenty of references to the PDC 3080, which must be in the same series.)

One thing I did find, was a gallery showing various pictures taken with the PDC3050:

Anyway, for the sake of posterity, what follows are the bare details that I do know about the camera.

It is a 3.8 Mega-pixel camera, with 3x digital-Zoom.

The front of the PDC3050 Polaroid digital camera
  • 16MB Internal Memory
  • Takes SD (Secure-Digital) memory cards
  • 3x Digital Zoom
  • 1.5" Color LCD Display
  • VGA Video Camera (640x480 pixel video and sound recording)
  • 2272x1704 Pixel Maximum Resolution (3.8 Mega Pixel) (down to 640x480 minimum)
  • TV-out
The back of the PDC3050 Polaroid digital camera

Other specs include:

  • f=6.21mm, F/3.3, F/8
  • Close-up mode
  • Takes two AA batteries.
  • Many display mode, including slideshow.

Now hopefully that will be useful to someone, somewhere, sometime. Laughing

[1]Nice laptop by the way, loads of extra goodies; you should buy it. Razz By the way, I'm convinced that the secret of success for selling on ebay is all about the description. Include real images, be enthusiastic, and include all the details about the object you are selling. This may sound obvious, but I see a lot of poorly described items that sell for less than they could do.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-14 21:16:08 | |
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Finding Your Way With GPS

emoticon:paper There is a new article by Rene Tse up in the Technology Section.

This article is a review (from real road trips!) of five of the most popular GPS software systems. It lists the pros and cons of the following programs:

  • CoPilot Live 6 from ALK technologies
  • Destinator PN
  • Iguidance 3.0 by iNAV
  • Mapopolis 4.7
  • TomTom Navigator 5

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-01 23:57:52 | |
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Sad News to Report

emoticon:waffle With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.

Larry LaPrise, the man that wrote 'The Hokey Cokey' died peacefully at the age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.

They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started...

Oh, I've just returned from a second visit to Poland, Poznan this time (very beautiful, but no pictures sorry). It was another programming conference, so you can read the Tech-heavy report here.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-04-18 02:30:38 | |
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Ruggedized Devices and the Top Ten New Smartphone Technologies

emoticon:baldguy There are two new articles in the Science & Technology section of Voidspace. These are:

  • Top Ten Smartphone Technologies

    A close look at the top ten up and coming technologies for smart-phones and mobile devices. From flexible displays, to 3D accelerators, to fuel cells; there are interesting changes afoot in the world of communications.

  • Ruggedized Devices

    If you're anything like me, then any new and cool gadget comes with a risk that it will soon die from being dropped, squashed or otherwise destroyed.

    This article is a look at some of the cutting edge rugged mobile devices, with a review of their features and the pros and cons. There is some impressive looking gear shown here.

These articles are both written by Rene Tse. I particularly like the article on rugged mobile devices. I'd love to get a new PDA [1], and I even kept my last one for two years without breaking it, but having one that can cope with rain and klutz-induced-disaster would be a big bonus.

[1]I'm particularly tempted by the HTC Athena which is now available in the UK. Luckily for my pocket, my current contract doesn't expire for another few months.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-04-03 17:37:27 | |
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Travelling, Talking About IronPython and a Funky Image Viewing Program

emoticon:worship Ouch. It's actually around three months since my last posts on this blog. In a feeble attempt to make amends I'm making a few in a row. Smile

It's been a mad three months (see the last blog entry for details). As well as writing I've done a bit of travelling, my first ever trip to the USA (Dallas in Texas), and Krakow in Poland. On both occasions it was to talk about IronPython, but I met some great people and generally had a great time.

As part of our presentation, my colleague Andrzej Krzywda and I wrote a small application in IronPython. It's for viewing images, so you might find it useful, and even better it's free:

Multi-tabbed image viewer

You can download it from: Tabbed Image Viewer Download Page

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-03-31 01:05:10 | |
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XDA II (and other cellphone unlocks)

emoticon:newspaper There is a new phone unlock available from the Voidspace collection. Smile

This unlock procedure will take you through getting your HTC PDA / cellphone unlocked.

It works with models including :

  • O2 XDA 2 / IIi / IIs
  • MDA compact
  • QTEK S100
  • SPV M500 & M2000
  • Siemens SX66, PH20B01

Plus any HTC handset since the XDA 2. These handsets can be unlocked without a hard reset or flashing the ROM.

The following phones can also be unlocked, but may require a ROM reflash (instructions included). They shouldn't require a hard reset.

M5000, XDA Exec, MDA Pro, Qtek 9000

For more information, and a list of the other unlocks available, see :

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-12-30 19:26:42 | |
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