Poppy Day

(Originally posted 11th November 2008)

Today was poppy day. I’m supprised the kids at work actually honoured the two minute silence.

My thoughts were very much with my Popa and my Great Uncle who took part in D-Day who were spared the Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori and lived a good long life but are sadly no longer with us.

CAP Work


I’m in the throws of writing a little two part application for work that allows users to see what computers are avaiable for work and allows us, the administrators to see who is and more importantly who was logged on when and where.

The technical details of proposed implementation can be found here.

The client will be written in Java and the server (display) in php.


Virtualisation and Gaming

For those of you that don’t know I use Ubuntu as my main operating system; at home, at work and on my laptop.

I still however have applications, mostly games, that I still have to keep a windows install handy for. At the moment at home I dual boot between windows vista and Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex.

With all the advancement in virtualisation technology recently I thought I’d take a few of them for a spin and see if I could get any decent games to run on them. The ideal situation would have been being able to boot up into Ubuntu double click a shortcut and let the virtual machine present the game without the teletubbie xp background.

My main game of choice at the moment is Oblivion which at the time of writing is a few years old so you might have been excused for thinking that virtual machines would have the technology avaliable to them to either pass the 3D rendering to the host GPU or to at least emulate a 3D device in some way.

It appears in practice we couldn’t be further away.

I tried a windows xp virtual machine with 2GB of memory and 128 MB of video memory and oblivion crashed out with an error. To be fair to VirtualBox its seemless mode was very good apart from one glitch in drawing my background and I was impressed with its seemless mouse interaction between host and guest OS.

I also tried to install Paraelles but the program itself wouldn’t actualy install. This was a shame because for the googling I’ve done paraelles seems to be the solution closest to having 3D acceleration working. I would have also though being a relatively smaller player in the VM market paraelles would want to make sure their solution installs on as many platforms and distributions as possible.

I did find a patch to fix the problem I encountered with paraelles but by the time I had done all that googling I didn’t have it in me to be bothered to patch and recompile. In a tough market like virtualisation products need to just work or people will just move on to another solution that will. Perhaps paraelles should sit up and take note? (according to my googling installing paraelles on ubuntu has always required more than average user knowledge to install so this is nothing new…)

For fairness I also tried installing Oblivion via Wine and Crossover games, neither of which worked.

I guess my days of dual booting will continue for a while to come yet, or until virtualisation solutions provide proper 3D acceleration support or the devs at wine fix the bugs that affect direct x games.

In My Head


I’m laying here in bed contemplating time. How something can come out of nothing, into existence and then leave as quickly as it came.

How we can learn from the past mistakes of others and ourselves to change the present to alter the course of the future. It’s totally fascinating.

The more you think about it the more you realise that time isn’t just a flow of hours, minutes and seconds its much faster than that its a continuous flow of perception.

I’m of the opinion that time has to be perceived in order to manifest itself. With no one to perceive time then the world just keeps going round and round. Time is in the perception of the observer.

This is why we can’t see into the future because its something that is yet to be observed but we can see the past so clearly.

Even the idea that ones own self is in a constant state of flux is incredible – a person can redifne themselves at any point in there life and as many times. A persons ideological and belief structure is constantly changing and evolving as it comes into contact with new material that supports or contradicts existing attitudes and beliefs.

I doubt we’ll ever understand the true nature of time, why it exists, how it exists and where it comes from and goes too.


Cobweb 2

I’m thinking about rewriting (read: recoding) my dissertation project as a sideline programming project.

The final version of Cobweb that I coded for my dissertation was okay, but it didn’t work particularly well. I think with some refinement and some decent HCI analysis for the frontend Cobweb could become a handy service orientated collaboration tool.

If you want to read my original dissertation its avaliable here.

I’m currently trying to decide whether to brave writing the application in C# – which I’ve never used for anything serious or to use Java which I haven’t used in anger for a good year and a half.

In My Head

Sorting Traffic

When driving, I let other traffic in; usually only cars that are newer than mine. This got me thinking – what if it was made law that you had to give way if a newer car was waiting?

People with OCD everywhere would rejoice knowing that slowly but surely the roads are transforming into some kind of order.

The banks would rejoice knowing that a nice big cash injection was on its way from people who don’t want to give way to others.

The environment would rejoice, assuming that newer cars were more environmentally friendly. This would be a great tactic if some new source of non polluting energy was found say magnetic or hydrogen cell.

The second hand car market would thrive, older dirtier cars being crushed and recycled.

The number of RTAs would go down because people would not only have to acknowledge a car but read its number plate too – leading to lower speeds and safer roads.

Of course this is all in my head – what an amazing place.