Archive for October, 2009

Tock Tick

Posted in Games, Tales from the grind-stone on October 21st, 2009 by MrCranky

2 more days in Reading, tick tock, tock tick. The new laptop MGS have ordered for me has turned up, and all in all it’s very shiny. Well not so much shiny as glowy. Seriously. There’s like a dozen different backlights, under the keyboard, around the trackpad, and the little alien logo on the top cover, all of which can be set to any colour you like. Which is absolutely overkill, and yet the loveliest little feature I’ve seen in a long while. All of mine are set to dark blood red of course, as it should be!

Windows 7 is working out really quite well as well – the new taskbar system is very much how I think of things when I’m working with many windows. I was always quick to turn off the grouping of windows under Vista, because it was just annoying. The grouping under the large icons in Windows 7 however seems a lot more natural, and I no longer have the “so many windows the taskbar gets flooded” effect I used to suffer from. I’m trying awfully hard not to be a Microsoft corporate shill, but it does feel like this is thankfully a better successor to XP than Vista was. We’ll see how things pan out with driver support and Nintendo, but I’ll probably upgrade the office soon enough.

Not much else to say really, I’ve been under the weather a bit, so fairly unproductive, but I’ve been fine with that for a while. I’ve been working on our Space prototype and sorting out some really interesting problems to do with scale and large objects, but I’ve reached the point where I need a few hours with some whiteboards, some loud music, and some serious thinking time, before I can progress to the eureka solution which feels like it’s hovering just beyond my grasp.

In the meantime, I’ve been killing time with Edge (the subject of the shenanigans from Tim Langdell, which are now thankfully almost done with – in case you haven’t heard, he’s losing), iBASS (a legacy from my younger days, which has been somewhat disappointing in it’s obtuse puzzle design), and a return to Left 4 Dead prompted by testing out my super-powered laptop (which by the way runs L4D like a dream, as long as I remember to put earphones in because the fans are super-loud).

The onset of illness

Posted in Tales from the grind-stone on October 3rd, 2009 by MrCranky
As I write this, with clammy skin and fuzzy-head, I’m thinking that my current trip back to Edinburgh is going to leave me with some unwelcome left-overs. My fiancée has picked up a horrible and intense cold-like illness, and as I’ve been providing care, it’s pretty likely I’ve now got it too. I can feel the start of it – the back of my throat starting to rasp, the contents of my head feeling like they are swelling to a size bigger than my skull. And as I’m heading back down to Reading tomorrow, I think I’m going to end up suffering through the worst of it on my own.
As bad as mooching around the house in Reading while ill will be, it will give me a good excuse to take some time off and relax; something I’ve not managed to do in a while now. I’ve been working pretty much flat out on Microsoft related work, culminating in this trip back home (well, technically Dundee, but I’d be in trouble with the missus if I didn’t use it as a reason to have a long weekend back in Edinburgh). While there’s been time off, it’s been wrapped in working weekends to make up for the time lost. I don’t really like doing that, but I’d committed to getting something achieved by today, and working through was the only feasible way to get that done.
So it’s probably good if I’m forced to slow down a bit and return to some sort of normal schedule. I’ve come to the end of the initial contract with Microsoft, but since I’ve been doing useful work, we’ve agreed to extend it further, with some conditions. Namely, that I no longer have to be living and working full time in Reading. Hallelujah. I’ll be getting married next month, and I wouldn’t rate my odds of seeing 6 months married if I was still living away from home. Instead I’ll be based in Edinburgh, with some significant amount of time on-site with the developers, and regular visits back down to Reading.
It’s been very taxing trying to maintain things in Edinburgh remotely, on top of a full time contract at Microsoft, and visits to Evolution. I seem to spend all of my time on trains. But the new working arrangements should be much more manageable, and allow me to get back some semblance of a normal life. If nothing else, it will allow me to get some time in the same office as Tim – who’s done a sterling job avoiding going stir crazy being in the office all on his own for almost 6 months now.

As I write this, with clammy skin and fuzzy-head, I’m thinking that my current trip back to Edinburgh is going to leave me with some unwelcome left-overs. My fiancée has picked up a horrible and intense cold-like illness, and as I’ve been providing care, it’s pretty likely I’ve now got it too. I can feel the start of it – the back of my throat starting to rasp, the contents of my head feeling like they are swelling to a size bigger than my skull. And as I’m heading back down to Reading tomorrow, I think I’m going to end up suffering through the worst of it on my own.

As bad as mooching around the house in Reading while ill will be, it will give me a good excuse to take some time off and relax; something I’ve not managed to do in a while now. I’ve been working pretty much flat out on Microsoft related work, culminating in this trip back home (well, technically Dundee, but I’d be in trouble with the missus if I didn’t use it as a reason to have a long weekend back in Edinburgh). While there’s been time off, it’s been wrapped in working weekends to make up for the time lost. I don’t really like doing that, but I’d committed to getting something achieved by today, and working through was the only feasible way to get that done.

So it’s probably good if I’m forced to slow down a bit and return to some sort of normal schedule. I’ve come to the end of the initial contract with Microsoft, but since I’ve been doing useful work, we’ve agreed to extend it further, with some conditions. Namely, that I no longer have to be living and working full time in Reading. Hallelujah. I’ll be getting married next month, and I wouldn’t rate my odds of seeing 6 months married if I was still living away from home. Instead I’ll be based in Edinburgh, with some significant amount of time on-site with the developers, and regular visits back down to Reading.

It’s been very taxing trying to maintain things in Edinburgh remotely, on top of a full time contract at Microsoft, and visits to Evolution. I seem to spend all of my time on trains. But the new working arrangements should be much more manageable, and allow me to get back some semblance of a normal life. If nothing else, it will allow me to get some time in the same office as Tim – who’s done a sterling job avoiding going stir crazy being in the office all on his own for almost 6 months now.


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