Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lizard air conditioning

Posted by Chris @ 8:29 PM

I'm not sure how my mind works, but it does produce some cracking ideas. Let me guide you though this one.

Dave has had a couple of issues at work today, he's not been able to test because a test server has been switched off to minimise overheating of the production servers, and this is due to two air conditioning units failing. And that got me thinking, us humans would make matters worse if we were in the room, as we give off heat, because we are warm blooded. But what if you put cold blooded people in a hot room - they'd absorb the heat!

LIZARD AIR CONDITIONING!

Genius I know. It needs a little more thought, but here is the major unique selling point, it is environmentally friendly, and carbon negative*, just what THE WORLD has been waiting for. Open your minds, and embrace the future of lizards!

* I can't prove this.

Friday, April 18, 2008

4 things

Posted by Chris @ 8:34 PM

1. War on Terror, the boardgame is officially on my Christmas list!

2. The new Indian Cricket Premier league kicks off tonight apparently. I say apparently as I've formed my entire opinion on this from odd bits of news reports. That said I think it sounds like a good thing, it is about time Cricket gets dragged into the modern world and gets a fresh audience. We made a good start with the 20/20 tournaments, and India seem to have just taken it to the next level. Why the ECB won't release English players to play in the league I don't know. Surely the money, training and regular play over there will improve their game at the national level? Well that's my theory anyway (although it hasn't worked for football has it!)

3. Hooters want to open in Sheffield. Some campaigner with nothing to campaign about has decided to protest about this, going on about exploitation. Bobbins, if the women want to work there then let them. It is their choice, they can read their contract before starting work there, and if they don't like it they can quit. End of, no exploitation that I can see. And the only reason you think it is sexist is because a version for women hasn't been opened - tell you what, I'll open a bar called “Todgers”. Who's sexist now? The only thing I do object to is the proposed location, Leopold Sq is not the place for it, somewhere up West St probably is.

4. We Ski - I've only seen a bit about this game, but from what I have seen I think I want it! And if we do get a Wii Balance Board then it will just add to it.

So that is the 4 things I wanted to say, you'll probably have some comments, so go on, leave them...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Google App Engine - first impressions

Posted by Chris @ 10:20 PM

I saw the news of the Google App Engine this morning, and was wondering just exactly what it meant. It sounds promising, a full stack, fully scalable, incorporating Python scripting, Google's BigTable database and Google's file system.

The problem, I am an ASP / ASP.Net SQL Sever developer, and so python is completely alien to me. So, this evening I set out to give Google App Engine a go. As the 10000 signup places are gone all you can do is download the SDK - this is essentially the Google Apps Engine running on your own machine, so you don't actually need to sign up for the engine just yet. Make sure you've installed python before installing the SDK.

Once python and the SDK are installed, follow this tutorial. A couple of pointers to following this tutorial.

  • If you're doing this on Vista, you might get annoyed with security popups if you put your files in the Google Apps directory, so stick them somewhere else that isn't so secure, I put mine on my data drive, E:
  • When they say run this cmd line to start the web server, you need to open a cmd prompt, then enter dev_appserver.py and the path to your helloworld directory, so for me the final cmd looked like dev_appserver.py E:\appengine\helloworld
  • To stop the webserver they say to use Ctrl+C when the cmd prompt has focus, on Windows (or my laptop at least) you actually need to do Ctrl+Break
  • When talking about adding in static files to your application the tutorial is correct, but there is a bug in the SDK, so instead enter this in your app.yaml (see this thread)
    - url: /stylesheets/main.css
    static_files: stylesheets/main.css
    upload: stylesheets/main.css

Other than that you should be able to follow the tutorial and see the results.

So, what do I think? Well, on the face of it it looks promising. Obviously learning python is a major barrier, as is the fact that Bigtable is not a relational database, so I need to get my head around how that works in this environment (I'm guessing the theory is to have some kind of data access layer doing joins etc.) But, the benefits are equally attractive; free, scalable, hosting, highly configurable web applications, good API access to Google user accounts and email services.

I need to play with the SDK a bit more before I commit to using it for any of my current sites, but if things go well there is no reason not to, it is far easier to get started with than Amazon's offerings have ever been, well done Google!

Monday, April 07, 2008

New coin designs

Posted by Chris @ 8:17 PM

New UK coin designs

I missed the news about this last week, but I've finally caught up. The Royal Mint released the new designs for UK coins and my my, they are stunning. I'm not sure what I was expecting from them, I think to be a bit shit to be honest, but these far surpass any expectations I had. The reason they're so good, well I think it is down to the fact there was an open competition and so the brilliance of Matthew Dent was able to shine through. The single best bit, all the coins form the Shield of the Royal Arms - check it out!

Dramatic Lemur

Posted by Chris @ 8:09 PM

Judging by the view count on You Tube (2,511,959) I'm a bit behind on this one, but just in case I'm not, check this out. You MUST have the volume on to watch this. And I'd like this to be at the start of a film by the end of the year!