December 01, 2010

"Find It, Fix It, Move On With Your Life"

The simple mantra behind troubleshooting and bugfixing.

One of the hardest things about solving a problem is keeping your eye on the problem while a cacophony of distraction whirls around you. People want to tell everybody it isn't their fault. You want to tell everybody that it isn't your fault. Random people will want to find out whose fault it was so that they can be seen to have blamed somebody, as if that constituted a sensible contribution to the issue. These things are luxuries few can afford while the problem remains unsolved.

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March 20, 2008

At Last, A Wireless Bandwidth Solution


At last, a solution to wifi bandwidth problems. It's the Wifi Speed Spray!

Why was this never thought of before?

November 24, 2007

Spot the Difference

If you are looking for a reason to spend the dosh and get a film image drum scanned, here is what you get for your money.

Can you spot the difference?

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September 17, 2007

Jaw dropping WOWvx

Walking down one of the side aisles at IBC I noticed something hovering in front of a screen. IBC is an event crammed with HD screens and other yummy goodies, and this screen didn't look outwardly any different to the others: A Philips badge bottom centre, and a 3 dimensional picture hovering in front of it.

No really, real 3D, promise.

I did one serious double take and can honestly say I was blown away.

At the entrance to one of the display areas they were showing off a multi screen display, and this photo completely fails to do it justice:


Philips calls it WOWvx.

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January 10, 2007

Apple Solves the iPod Dilemma

The iPod is an amazing machine. It works like humans would expect it to work, and it does so for a long time. And they sell like hotcakes.

The only issue left remaining for me was the annoyance of carrying around two portable handheld devices - an iPod, and a mobile phone.

At some point though Nokia and Sony Ericsson were destined to absorb the iPod's features, and potentially offer a phone that would become sole occupant of the wearer's pocket.

Or Apple could have released a mobile phone of their own.

And they just did.

Image source:

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October 12, 2006

Apache Harmony

In the middle of 2005, the Apache Harmony project was started in the Apache Incubator, amidst a flurry of discussion and speculation.

Simply put, Harmony wants to build a Java JVM, a faster and more modular drop in replacement for the existing JVM's released by Sun, IBM and BEA.

Following the announcement of the project's beginnings, what followed was one of the most intense discussions on any open source project ever, and questions were raised as to whether it was all just talk, and no actual code. Slowly the noise died down, and Harmony plodded on.

Earlier today, I attended a talk by Geir Magnussen at ApacheCon 2006 where a summary was given of the project so far, and to be honest I am blown away.

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September 11, 2006

HD is King

Or so you would believe from this year's IBC exhibition in Amsterdam.

Today I got to get the real work done. I got to see the new HD set top boxes from Amino, and I managed to get hold of the last pieces of the IPTV puzzle we have been building.

The real bling for me was the ranges of camera equipment being shown by Sony and Grass Valley. They had both set up and lit a complex set, with each camera showing the resulting HD above it. The crispness of detail in the HD pictures was stunning.

More fun stuff was the HD virtual set being being shown off by Orad, called Proset. They demonstrated their system live, with a news presenter in a combination real and chroma key studio, inserting all the graphics that are usually seen overlaid on top of the screen into the scene itself. The cameras were free moving, but motion tracked using sensors on the cameras and in the studio. TV graphics are cheesy at best though, now the cheese is part of the set.

The big showcase of the day however was the screening of Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man's Chest on a Christie 2K DLP Cinema projection system. Digital cinema technology, being called D Cinema, has come about in response to the rise of HD, and as a solution to the high cost of film print distribution. The 2K refers to the number of lines on the screen. It was impressive stuff. The only flaw I picked up that may have been caused by the projector, was that the end credits didn't scroll smoothly for some reason - there seemed to be a slight amount of jitter. Still, at data rates of 250Mbps, D Cinema is impressive.

September 09, 2006

SD Must Die

I have about a day and a half to take in the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam, and half a day in, my feet want to fall off.

Today's goal was to find where the major players were exhibiting, and what they were showing off, but first - you noticed what they weren't showing off - SD was nowhere to be seen. Actually I found one plasma at a stand, showing a grainy version of ESPN, but that was it.

In short, HD is king.

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September 02, 2006

The Danger of Knowledge

So, is your technical or engineering team a fountain of knowledge? Have an answer for every question? Can they blind you with science? Confident in their abilities?

Damn right they are, that's what you're paying them for, isn't it?

Does your technical or engineering team revisit what they know? Continually add to that knowledge with new research? Do they challenge conventional wisdom? Do they take note of what their competitors are doing in the marketplace, and are they ready with a response in good time?

Are you sure?

This is a cautionary tale.

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June 17, 2006

A Tale of Two Interviews

As a contractor, the purpose behind your work is to put yourself out of a job - job done, you move on to the next project. It keeps life interesting, you have to stay on your toes, and you end up doing a few interviews.

Interviews, I have had all kinds, but this last week I had two that were polar opposites of each other, one where the interviewers did everything right, the second where they did everything wrong.

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