Andrew Channels Dexter Pinion

Wherein I write some stuff that you may like to read. Or not, its up to you really.

December 31, 2005


It's come to my attention that someone has been liberally borrowing from my CV. Aside from the flattery, which is nice, I'm rather disappointed that the "author" didn't make at least a token effort to disguise the source of the words they borrowed.

If you're into comparisons, the "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" version is here. It's interesting to note that Patrick Galagher the plagiarist notes on his home page that he dislikes "Dishonesty, hypocracy"(sic).

I was alerted to this by a recruitment consultant who I'm impressed to see did a little due diligence on their candidate, rather than passing every CV onto their client regardless of quality. Good work there. It's also caused me to notice that my CV is a little out of date, I'll have to fix that.

Posted by Andy Todd at 12:54 PM | Comments (5)

December 22, 2005

Editor Envy

Every now and then I suffer a little cultural cringe at being a Vim user. I cast about looking for another editor just in case I chance upon the latest, best productivity tool. And then I go back to using Vim.

Recently, prompted by a blog entry from Tim Bray I loaded Aquamacs onto my spiffy new Powerbook. It's good, and prompted me to load emacs onto my Windows and Ubuntu boxes.

But you know what? After a bit of playing around I came to the conclusion (without coming up with a checklist) that to all intents and purposes Vim and Emacs are now pretty much functionally similar. And I know Vim. So why swap? Back in the dim and distant past Emacs was far superior to vi, but Vim now has all of the bells and whistles (most borrowed from Emacs) that are necessary for a proper editor. Things like multiple buffers, syntax highlighting, decent search and replace, code folding and half decent scripting support (Vim scores higher here because you don't have to use Lisp). So I realised that the grass isn't greener over the other side and that I'm happy where I am thank you very much.

An experience that was made even happier this week by this Vim tip for better looks on Mac OSX. Even better, this page helps identify which fonts we can use. My .gvimrc file on my Powerbook now contains these two lines to make it look really rather pretty;

set guifont=Monaco:h10
set antialias

Posted by Andy Todd at 07:56 AM | Comments (3)

December 14, 2005

Presentation Software

I've been using s5 for all of my presentations for the last year or so. It's simple, straight forward, and runs on any computer. But it only really does slides.

My OSDC presentation was five slides and a twenty minute live demonstration. It will come as no surprise that I made a few typing mistakes as I performed it.

Watching a few of the other presentations I couldn't help but be impressed by the flawless keyboard skills of the other presenters. After about a day and a half I figured it out - they were cheating. They had pre-recorded their demonstrations and were simply replaying the keystrokes. It was incredibly cunning and I wanted some of that action, not least to make me look good the next time I present to Sydney Python.

Thankfully Richard Jones was true to his word and has now released Bruce, his interactive presentation software. Take a look, download it and have a play. The next time you need to an interactive presentation it will be your best friend.

Now if I can get it to work with tools other than the Python interpreter I can use it during my day job as well.

Posted by Andy Todd at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2005

Machine Envy

Having said that I was destitute, the discovery of a couple of coins down the back of the sofa and the delights of the Tax Office's salary sacrifice arrangements have changed the landscape somewhat.

On sober reflection I decided not to wait until January and on Saturday I picked up a brand spanking new 15-inch Powebook. Then I took it back to the shop. Twice. It transpires that the two units they had in stock both had duff batteries. So I'm stuck with a portable computer that must be permanently connected to the mains.

Having said that, blimey it's a nice machine. I haven't had a lot of time to tinker with it yet because the weekend was taken up with household chores (and trips back to the shop). After the obligatory software update (including an upgrade of the OS from 10.4.2 to 10.4.3) I installed some software essentials and started exploring it's features.

As it was all the rage at one point to mention the tools you use on your Mac here's mine. I list the programs in the order that I installed them, which may or may not be an indicator of their importance to me;

Next I shall be looking for a way to drag all of my music off my iPod into my iTunes music library. It's suprisingly tricky to do, but I'm hopeful that this guide will be of some help.

As an aside, and a snarky one at that, I'd like to say that the customer service at the local Mac centre has been great, despite the slightly faulty hardware. Unlike the shocking experience I had at a certain Sydney CBD Apple centre that I won't name but certainly isn't getting any more of my money.

Posted by Andy Todd at 10:13 AM | Comments (4)

December 09, 2005

Even More Woe

On the day that my iBook died a replacement battery arrived from Apple. Today I phoned them up and tried to return it as door stops don't traditionally need battery power.

My first failure was not returning it within the 14 day no questions asked period. Regardless, they said they would have accepted it back if I hadn't opened the packaging. But of course I had, because I wanted to check that it wasn't a spectacular battery failure when the thing quit in the first place.

So now I'm $200 poorer and a lot wiser. I'll see you all over at ebay.

Posted by Andy Todd at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2005

Building GUI Application in PythonCard

My talk is complete, so here are the slides and accompanying paper. More information wil be forthcoming but my laptop isn't getting on well with the wifi at the conference.

Posted by Andy Todd at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2005

OSDC meet Web 2.0

I'm not going to write detailed entries for each of the session I attend, but you can keep an eye on what's going on by look at the "OSDC2005" tag on flickr and How very 2005.

Posted by Andy Todd at 09:02 AM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2005

OSDC 2005

On Sunday I'll be climbing aboard the paraffin budgie to Melbourne to attend OSDC 2005. If you're going to be there I look forward to seeing you. If you're not I'll attempt (infrastructure willing) to blog some highlights from the three days of talks.

Just don't expect a lot before Monday afternoon as I'll be too busy practising my presentation (12:15 in the first stream, avoid the other talks because they won't be nearly as good).

Posted by Andy Todd at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

Thrice Woe

It's no longer a non-functioning Mac, it is now officially a door stop. After an anxious two week wait the repair technician called me at lunchtime and said that my iBook needs a new motherboard. Which the cynic in me translates to "it's dead as a Dodo and we're hoping that replacing the motherboard will fix it. What have we got to lose?".

Regardless, the price they quoted to fix it was about a hundred dollars less than buying an entirely new machine. I declined and they are shipping it back to me where it will make an attractive addition to the bottom of my study door. With a bit of luck that kilo or so of white plastic will stop it swinging when the wind gets up.

Je suis tres, tres, desole.

Posted by Andy Todd at 01:38 PM | Comments (2)