Category Archives: General

How was your 2010?

The new year is fast approaching, so I thought I’d join the rest of the blogging universe in a quick reflective post.

This year was a decent year for me.  Some good new clients, a second book deal, and a rediscovered love of martial arts.

Next year I’m hoping to keep going with the books, get my brown belt, go back to Los Angeles, do some more open source work, and continue with my Japanese studies.

How was your 2010?  Did you achieve what you wanted?  What do you want to do next year?

Funambol Open Source from Packt Publishing

Packt Publishing have released a book on the Funambol Mobile Open Source system. I’m not going to write a review of the title, because I worked on it, so I can’t be completely impartial.

However, I will say this – I really enjoyed working on it. I use Citadel for my email, and it can easily integrate with a Funambol server. If you’re looking for a PIM and push email system that works with a variety of mobile clients, then you should definitely check out Funambol – it’s free and open source, and can scale to suit anything from a small business like mine to a much bigger enterprise.

The book takes you through the basics of setting up a server for personal use and scaling it for more users, then goes on to explain how to create Funambol extensions. You can check out the book here.

Blender 3D: Architecture, Buildings and Scenery

Packt have sent me a copy of Blender 3D: Architecture, Buildings and Scenery to review.

The book arrived in the post today, and I’ll be working on a review of it over the weekend. My first impressions are positive, however.

I’m looking forward to working through it – some heavy duty rendering should be a good way to put my new quad core PC through its paces!

Slow Windows 7 Install – Expanding Windows Files

My main PC suffered a series of related failures last week – the PSU died, and it took the motherboard with it.

I had to wait until I got paid to get replacement parts, and that turned out to be quite a challenge.  My PC was an early dual core – one of the socket 754s.  It had four RAM slots, and two PCIe ports (which were used for SLI).  It also had three PCI slots (which were used for various cards), and two IDE + several SATA ports.

Finding a similar socket 754 motherboard from a store that offered fast delivery was almost impossible.  In fact, the only one I managed to find didn’t have the listed board in stock.

I ended up buying a new motherboard + processor + RAM bundle  because it was inexpensive, and the only way I was going to end up with a working PC that could take all my bits.  So I’ve upgraded to a quad core and got some faster memory 🙂

Of course, this means I had to reinstall Windows 7, which has been an interesting process.  The installer ran incredibly slowly the first time I tried it – taking several minutes to bring up the first screen, about half an hour to copy the files, then hanging at 0% on Expanding Windows Files.

I tried restarting the process a few times, and also removing all extra drives, but that didn’t help.  Then I saw a post on Technet which offered a simple suggestion – disable the Floppy drive in the bios.

In my case, I hadn’t wired up my floppy yet, but in the bios the “Drive A:” option was set to 3 1/4 Floppy.  Setting that to Disabled made the Windows 7 install fly by at the speed you’d expect of a Quad Core.

If you’re encountering similar problems installing Windows 7, try disabling your floppy drive before doing anything fancy or unplugging any of your drives.  There’s a good chance it will help.



Reminder for UK People – Tax Returns Due This Month!

This is just a quick reminder for any self employed UK people – the deadline for filing your tax return online is the end of this month!

I hope you’ve all been more organized than me, and you have your books all filled out. I still need to work mine out – my internet banking has been broken for several months, and the bank can’t figure out why I can’t log in, so I’ll be doing it the old fashioned way, leafing through paper reciepts and invoices 🙂

Make sure you file on time – the fines are hefty if you miss the deadline.

NaBloPoMo Day Two

Well, it’s day two of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), and I’m already unsure what to write each day.  Usually, I only blog if something important happens, or if there’s an idea worthy of an in-depth discussion.

Rather than churn out 31 “What I did today” posts, I’ve decided to spend some time thinking about interesting topics – both for this month, and for the future, after all, nothing looks worse than a blog that goes un-updated for months on end, so it’s always good to have some ideas tucked away.

So far, I’m taking inspiration from the world around me, and that’s something that I think a lot of bloggers could do.  I plan to post more on things like Security issues, software updates, Identi.ca discussions (and Twitter discussions), things that show up on Freenode / OFTC and other IRC channels, and the results of things like Ubuntu meetings.

There’s enough going on in those areas that there’s always something to say, and blogging about those things doesn’t mean leaving out the occasional how-to, introspective, or “this is what I’m up to”. It does, however, mean that there’s no need to fall back on the dreaded Top 10, or journal style post!

Welcome to 2010

Well, it’s the new year now – in fact, it’s a new decade!  I’ve already done a year in retrospective post, so this won’t be one of those, but I thought I’d still post something today, to start the year as I mean to go on.

This month is also National Blog Posting Month.  I took part in one of those last year, but didn’t do so well because BT managed to break our internet connection.  Here’s hoping things go better this year.

I hope you’re not all too hung over!  Enjoy what’s left of the holiday season, and best wishes for the coming year.