Cyberpunk, Spirituality and Technology - The Voidspace Blogspot

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

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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:note 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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Breaking Language Barriers

emoticon:globesearch In the last ten or fifteen years Britain has seen a great deal of inwards migration. Of course this is not the first time, even in recent history, but every generation thinks that they are the first... Wink

The pattern of immigration has been changing though. Even five years ago there were a huge number of asylum seekers from oppressed and war torn countries: Iraq, Iran and Somalia [1] for example. Currently we are seeing a great deal of economic migrants from Eastern Europe, particularly from the new EU countries like Poland. I can't imagine why (of all places) Polish workers would want to come to Northampton, but very welcome they are. Smile

Delia helps teach English as a second language, as part of the 'New to UK' scheme run by the Jesus Centre. She has just been employed part time by them, to help launch a new initiate seeing how we can best serve the new communities in Northampton.

  • There are 7 million people in the UK whose first language is not English.

  • EAL (English as an Additional Language) is YAA (Yet Another Acronym) adopted by 'A Fresh Start' when referring to teaching English to learners under the age of 16. The term used for post-16 education is ESOL.

  • Potential ESOL learners fall into 4 broad categories:

    1. Settled communities (esp. Chinese); these groups can be difficult to reach, mainly due to irregular working timetables;
    2. Refugees:
      1. Asylum seekers (they usually face housing problems, culture shock, after-effects of trauma, difficulties in understanding the new system);
      2. Settled refugees;
    3. Migrant workers (mainly from Europe; their primary aim is to work and to learn/improve their English; they have no intention to settle long-term in the UK);
    4. Partners/spouses of students from all over the world who are settled for a short period, but have no time or money to follow intensive EFL courses.
[1]Northampton has a very established Somali community.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-21 14:10:58 | |
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It's Been a While, but I've Got My Excuses

emoticon:programs Hello folks. It's been a while since I've posted here, far too long. This is of course the traditional opening to blog entries on unloved blogs all across the intarwebs. Oh that it should come to this, my blog joining the ranks of the deceased or terminally ill livejournal homepages. Sad

Of course I have my excuses (which is no excuse), and I could always promise to turn over a new leaf and not leave it so long again. Alas, I suspect you may have heard all this before. Razz

Of course if you're that interested in what I have to say then you can visit my Techie Blog, which is thriving. This may say more than I would like about my priorities at the moment. The nub of the matter you see, dear reader, is that I am writing a book. A real live book, with a real live publisher and a real live advance and everyfink. This was the very dream of my younger pretentious self, but alack [1] it is a technical book - which hardly counts as a grand literary work.

I have now been employed with Resolver for almost a year, developing an application with a semi-obscure dialect (IronPython) of a semi-obscure programming language (Python). IronPython is actually the creation of the behemoth Microsoft, and thusly is attracting a lot of interest, and we folks at Resolver are pretty much the first people to develop a whole application with it. The book is (well... will be) called IronPython in Action, and is being published by Manning Publications.

I'm now onto chapter five and still enjoying the process of writing, especially having my work professionally edited and learning to stick to the subject. It is absorbing far too much of my time though, and is likely to continue to do so for the next few months. Perhaps when I find another few minutes I'll tell you about it...

[1]I have already used 'alas' this entry, and thought that its less multiplous sibling 'alack' could do with an airing.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-03-31 00:42:52 | |
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Me - the Computer Programmer

emoticon:computer Well, for nearly four weeks now I've been able to say that I'm a computer programmer. Smile

I was very surprised to find a job programming with the language Python. Even better, the people I work with are really cool, and I really enjoy the job. Smile

The days are still flying past. The nice thing is, that we are working towards a beta release for November. So just as the first enthusiasm for the job is starting to wear off, things should get really exciting again.

I can't tell you what we are working on, but don't worry. As soon as I'm allowed to say, you'll be the first to hear. Razz

One of the things that worried me about switching to a job programming was that I might lose regular contact with people. Working at TBS [1] (selling bricks) kept me interacting with all sorts of weird and wonderful people. On the whole builders are pretty down to earth, and I enjoyed that side of the job. I worried that I might end up working on my own in a darkened room, barely speaking to another human soul. Laughing

Thankfully, here at Resolver we do pretty much everything with pair programming. This means we talk everything through, and I rarely work on my own. Of course this could be a drag, if I didn't get on so well with my colleagues...

[1]Hey, nice website James.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-05-11 13:55:59 | |
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Job

emoticon:info Well... the unthinkable has just happened. Someone has offered me a job programming in Python. Very Happy

Once I have worked my notice at my current job, I will start work with ResolverSystems. They are a small team, all seemingly good guys [1], working on something new using some radical programming techniques.

I'm a bit blown away by the news, so I think I'll shut up now.

[1]Time will tell. Wink

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-20 11:44:23 | |
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SPV Unlock at the Voidspace Shop

Unleash Your SPV.

SPV C500 / C550 development process for unlocking your mobile phone handset for any network AND application unlocking allowing installations of unsigned software (such as backup apps, games and third party software) and writing your own applications. This is the official ORANGE unlock method.

With this process your handset will be able to take any SIM on any network [1] and any software. Only 4.99

  • The process is completely reversible.
  • Normal HTC Typhoon unlocking service price 20
  • Works with the latest ROM

To purchase, or for more information, visit the Official SPV Unlock Page.

[1]Sometimes called SIM free.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-17 21:53:44 | |
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Job Interview

emoticon:development On Friday I had a job interview. This was for a job working in London, programming with Python. Jobs programming in Python are rare enough, but this could be very interesting.

They've chosen Python for what seems like a very good reason, besides its sheer elegance and flexibility of course. :- }

The interview was five hours long. They are a small and young team, with currently three developers. They use pair programming. Because of this, it is particularly important to them that everyone in the team gets on and is able to work together. So I had a half-hour/forty-five minute interview with each of the programmers before doing some programming with two of them.

None of them asked me any personal questions [1]. They all asked me about design patterns. Laughing

It's impossible for me to gauge how well the interview went. My lack of an academic programming background showed up, and my diagrams of program structure were ropey to say the least. The rest went better, so I think I'm in with a chance.

The two core developers (well, the two who've been doing it the longest) come from a C++ and a Java background and are relatively new to Python. As a result I was able to point out a couple of minor features of Python syntax that at least one of the developers hadn't come across before.

They are all intelligent guys, and seem straightforward enough to get on with. Pair programming looks like an excellent development methodology, along with the other development choices they've made. I'd definitely like to get the job, but I'll find out on Thursday. Confused

Hopefully my strengths, Python experience, creative intelligence and strong productivity, came across and I'll have good news for you then. Wink

[1]One of them came close when he asked me one question about my time at University.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-12 16:31:04 | |
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Romanian Detective Puzzle

emoticon:paper My wife Delia is Romanian, however she speaks better English than most of the people I know. (Except with a gorgeous twang of an Eastern European accent that comes out every now and then.) She has a Romanian degree in English and Romanian [1] literature and really enjoys working as a translator.

A while ago I put up on Voidspace Services that Delia is willing to do translation work. We've had a few enquiries, but this is the first job that has come through; and it's an intriguing piece of detective work.

A lady contacted us wanting some writing on the back of some photos translating. She is tracing her family tree and had got as far as Bucharest and got stuck. Smile

Her grandparents moved from Israel to England years ago, and her grandmother used to talk about how wealthy they used to be when they lived in Bucharest. Of course no one believed her.

Her granddaughter has some old family photographs spanning from around 1918-1942 with Romanian writing on the back, including several names and a couple of addresses in Bucharest.

The writing is old Romanian (some of the spellings are different from modern Romanian), but Delia has managed to translate all but a few illegible words. She has also tracked down the two addresses in Bucharest and managed to deduce a bit about the relationships between the people mentioned. It's a very interesting peek into the past and someone else's family history.

The grandmother's story rings true. In about 1940 various laws were passed against the Jews in Romania. During my two visits to Romania I saw a couple of old and derelict mansion like houses. Delia said that these were abandoned when the Jews fled for Israel in 1940, and weren't re-inhabited. In the town of Roman, where her parents live, there was a large Jewish community before the second world war. Nowadays there are virtually no Jews there.

As Romania is shortly due to join the EU, the need for English <--> Romanian translators is about to sky-rocket. Romania is still gradually emerging from the communist pit it was mired in. Alongside this it has a steadily growing IT market, that will only continue to expand in the coming decade. Hopefully Delia might get some interesting work from this.

Note

You may be interested in an article on Life in Romania, or the gallery of Pictures from Romania.

[1]The 'old' spelling of this is Rumanian, but hardly ever used these days. As ever this note is added purely for the sake of the search engines. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-08 11:18:49 | |
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Voidspace Shareware Mailing List

emoticon:envelope To go along with the programs I'm releasing as Shareware, there is (another) new mailing list. This is for support, discussion, bug reports and feature requests. Smile

http://groups.google.com/group/voidware

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-02-28 12:18:31 | |
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Voidspace Shareware

emoticon:world I've just launched the Voidspace Shareware Page.

This is where the programs I release as shareware will be available from. Currently this is :

Another new program release will follow in the next day or so, with more to come...

For most of these projects free demo versions will be available, and for some of them the Python source code will be available under a Shared Source Type license.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-02-27 16:11:06 | |
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Job Hunting

emoticon:clock The job hunting is interesting. If you're interested in how it's going, you can read about it in Job Hunting, on my Techie Blog.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-02-24 18:52:02 | |
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