Thursday, 19 July 2007

Ubuntu ...and the problem called Vista

Now I have been using Vista for quite a while, longer than most; using it on my main PC since RC1, however it has not been plain sailing and to this end I've finally had to install Ubuntu on it to get some sense of stability. I will most likely be wiping the Vista Partition and installing XP in the near future, a regretable end to a great OS that could have been. Below are some of the reasons I give to why I am changing back to XP but still using Ubuntu as its main OS at the moment.

  • Vista is slow, I guess this is the main reason that everyone jumps to but I also agree. It uses a much larger chunk of memory (excluding cache) that XP ever did. This caused me to go out and buy another GB of memory just to get it up to a reasonable pace. However Ubuntu is fast and responsive, and with Beryl running it can match or exceed any of Vista 'amazing' new graphics.
  • The age old Linux selling point of 'we don't get viruses' is always loverly, I am guessing when people are buying a new PC its fast and responsive... until they load Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Spam ... the list goes on, and it can slow down your PC a treat... anyone tried Norton lately... Crikey, never again! But this again helps Ubuntu feel a lot faster and more responsive.
  • Gaming, OK it is Ubuntu's weak point and therefore is the only reason why I still have a version of Windows running under dual boot, but boy was Vista bad. I really didn't like the Games Explorer seeing as quite a lot of my games never appeared on it so I would still have to go through the menu's, or Icon's weren't the correct size and such. It seems like a good idea for new games but really at the present time is an annoyance. Also game performance, play Supreme Commander and expect Vista to knock off at least 5-10FPS compared to XP... its terrible, and I will only talk about DX10 being its good point until the games and Mid-Range cards get released.
  • Stability, This for me was the main reason why I changed to Ubuntu. Vista for all that MS was saying was completely unreliable and unstable for me. I doubt I once had a session in which I didn't have a program crash, my Reliablility index was a joke and I saw one too many Blue Screens... and nope, everything works in Ubuntu and no crashes yet.
  • Updating, In Vista I could use the auto-updator, but still that only updates Windows and Office... um... what about even the other Microsoft Products. But then I would have to still go around to find updates for all the other programs on my system, but compare that to Ubuntu's Update Manager in which it will update ...everything in one place... its great for people new to computers and speeds up people with experience.

Until Vista sorts out the serious problems with Stability and therefore application compatibility along with Game Performance I think I may just stick with XP and Ubuntu for the time being...

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Yet another article published

Well just been looking at the current issue of the Microsoft Student Zine newsletter, and I've had another article published, this time about being a Microsoft Student Representative; ironically as the newsletter mentions, I am no longer one, I am a Microsoft Student Partner.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

OPO Interpreter for Windows Mobile Devices

So what is OPO anyway and why have I been spending months writing an interpreter for it anyway? Well OPO is the translated bytecode for the OPL programming language that was used in Psion handheld devices and currently on Symbian Smartphones. As I still truely love my PSION but also my nice shiny Windows Mobile device I wanted to be able to run all the programs I developed over the years on my new WM smartphone, therefore I looked around and couldn't find an intrepreter and so I wrote my own!

Well thats where it got tricky as it hadn't really been done before and finding out what goes inside the OPO file was kinda annoying; though greatly helped by the work of Mike Rudin the author of RevTran. Don't worry my program doesn't reverse translate your programs, it just runs them as they would under the normal PSION based OPO interpreter.

Although its not completed yet, I have about 60-70% of the OpCodes in place, theres still lots to do but quite a lot of the cool stuff is done like Dialog Boxes, Menu's but some of the tricky stuff that OPL uses a lot like Databases is slowly getting there.

Well the development is currently getting hosted over at Google Code so have a look:

OPO Interpreter

Plans for the summer

Well I have finished my 2nd year at uni; oh what fun it was. For one thing I found out that although I have an IQ of 137, I'm actually dyslexic... which was a bit weird. But ah well, it all helps in the end.

So what do I do now with all this free time, well I have many things planned though regretably the main thing is to go out and find a job... oh joy. But there are quite a lot of programming projects that I would like to do or finish off over the summer.

I've been working on an MSN Plugin for Swansea universities radio station; I have no idea why they couldn't get one of their CompSci's to do it but it made me learn a few things about Windows Live Messenger Plugin System which was cool...

So now I am working on a new plugin of my own to make a work around for the file transfer problem that some universities have. Well if you don't know most universities will block File Sharing programs such as Bit Torrent, Kazaa and so on but they will allow MSN. So why not create a plugin that creates a virtual Peer to Peer network. It would work by the plugin communicating with other users on their list that also have the plugin and thus creating a large network structure in which the plugin can route files across... sound cool? well it will be!

Finally get round to finishing my OPO Intrepreter, its about 75% done in terms of OpCodes it supports but the remaining ones are the tricky ones... wrapping System Calls anyone? Well it should be great and I will be releasing what I have anyway to some Psion Forums soon to try and get some interest in it.

One of the fields I am really interested in is compression and encryption so when I found out about the Hutter Prize which is a prize given to a program that can compress human knowledge the most; in this case 100mb of Wikipedia then they can win lots of money. So I have been messing around to create some cool new compression algorithms which do work rather nicely.

Well there are some other stuff I will be working on such as learning LUA so I can make a mod for Supreme Commander and also I have to contact lots of different companies for DevSoc to see what freebies/sponsorships I can get from them. Well currently the people I want to contact are; Microsoft(Well I am a MSP after all), Canonical(Ubuntu People who are giving us lots of CD's), Apple(Even I want an Apple laptop), Google(Can I have a job... please) and other companies... so lets see how it goes.