Thoughts

Installing Steam on Mac OS with a Case-sensitive boot partition

So Steam has now been released for the Mac. Whilst this is a massive step forwards for the Mac as a platform – finally giving Apple a credible position regarding gaming (after the 2007 deal with Electronic Arts, which didn’t even promise Mac native games but merely wrappers around Windows titles*, apparently went nowhere) – there are still clearly rough edges which makes Steam feel more like a late beta.

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iPhone development…

After a long slog ironing out some last-minute bugettes (and a major performance issue I’d accidentally introduced by attempting to bubble-sort an 10,000-entry strong list) I’ve just posted an updated release of Æther Tool to Apple for approval.

This is my first commercial app, admittedly, but it has taken a great deal of time, sweat, and (almost ;) tears to progress this far… and it makes me wonder how other small- or one-man developers approach the development process and how long this generally takes.

And now, following in the footsteps of the seminal “How 12 Hours, 2 Guys, 6 Cups of Coffee = 1 iPhone App there’s Sahil Lavingia‘s oneweekapp.com.

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Microsoft Xbox LIVE…

Finally realised that to trial Xbox LIVE Gold you need to create a new account – I never got a trial because I imported my old Xbox account.

Underwhelmed by the new Gold-only features: Facebook is alright – I like the photo browser, but doesn’t appear to be integrated; Twitter is an #epicfail without a browser for following links (my phone can do this, ferchristsakes!) and likewise doesn’t seem to integrate with anything else; and the Sky player stutters even on lowest quality whilst I can watch BBC iPlayer in HD without problems.

In all, anyone who upgrades to Gold for these features (which can’t even be trailed without) will be disappointed – Microsoft should stick to selling Gold accounts for multiplayer access, rather than convincing people to upgrade for gimmicks.

(Even better, PS3 multiplayer is free!)

If I were Microsoft I’d give people an hour of Gold/multiplayer membership a day, but require a payment to upgrade to permanent 24×7 multiplayer. This would let casual gamers get a feel for multiplayer (and so probably end up selling more Gold subscriptions) without removing the impetus from hard-core players to pay for the service. Simple!

Microsoft Outlook #fail

Since I’ve just re-installed my ageing work desktop PC with a shiny new Windows Vista Business installation (which has its own share of quirks) I thought I’d also give Microsoft Outlook 2007 a try over my standard PC email client, Mozilla Thunderbird.

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#o2fail

A good summary of the arguments is here.

twitter is on fire over the issue too.

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Debian abandons GNU-libc for Embedded fork

I’ve hosed systems in the past by inadvertently downgrading the C-library, which breaks… everything. Luckily, this is why I have test machines before updates are rolled out to all of our servers.

Even so, this makes upgrading glibc to a newer version a somewhat fraught experience – especially when it can’t pass its own test-suite (when enquiring about this, I was told that the test suite “is only intended for glibc developers, not end users“… great – an absolutely system-critical component with almost no possibility of roll-back and a broken test-suite. <sigh>

The Debian project isn’t happy with things either, and just a couple of days ago Aurélien Jarno announced initial moves to abandon glibc for the eglibc (Embedded GNU libc) code-base. This was quickly picked up and seem to have been met with approval.

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Windows Vista Installation Experience…

We now have a fair collection of both 32bit and 64bit Windows Vista installations at work, with Vista Home Premium and Vista Business on laptops, and Vista Business on desktops. However today, for the first time, I came to install Vista from scratch onto a pre-existing machine which had been shipped with Windows XP.

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Wide-spread exploitation of security hole in Windows Live Mail

Yesterday, April 5th 2009 at approximately 4:30pm (BST), several messages were sent from my HoTMaiL account to every single one of my MSN contacts. Luckily, this account is long-dormant – but unfortunately, Windows Live operates a shared list of contacts between Mail and Messenger (which I do still use, for my sins).

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Thoughts on Windows 7

I’ve now been using Windows 7 Beta on-and-off for a few weeks. In all honesty, I’ve spent most of the small amount of time I’ve had with it playing games, so I can only reflect on my initial impressions. However, there are some observations I have as a (broadly) neutral observer which may be generalised across 64bit editions of Windows, or may be specific to Windows 7.

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Windows 7 βeta

A Windows Vista-running PC decided to implode the other day, crashing with random noise on the screen (or a really strange frosting-type effect, where slightly off-white static quickly encroaches from the edges of the screen) after Windows has been running for a while, for a few minutes after starting a DirectX game, etc.

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