December 2006 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

CFG Studio 2 (29th December 2006)

I’ve spent nearly all of today working on CFG Studio 2. Managed to make a lot of progress. If I can keep this going through tomorrow I’ll make an updated beta release on 31st December. My aim was to make another release before 2007 so it looks like I’ll make it.

One thing I found is that the Microsoft Common Controls 5.0 inherit a lot of XP theming than the 6.0 controls! Unfortunately the 5.0 controls lack a few of the ‘nice to have’ features. But getting curious niche applications like CFG Studio 2 to look and behave more conventionally is a big plus for usability.

Here’s a before picture, using the 6.0 controls in Windows XP:

Here’s an after picture, using the 5.0 controls in Windows XP Media Edition 2002:

I’ve also started making the Values Adjuster feature I’ve been thinking about for a long time:

There’s a lot of backend refinement, more edit capabilities and other improvements for this release. Should be yet more to look forward to during 2007.

A Lovely Xmas (29th December 2006)

Zoe and her girlfriend Sarah visited us on Xmas day. Dad had set up our 1:43 scale slot car track which we got as a shared Xmas present about a decade ago. After some new brushes the cars were going around really well, with Zoe and I keeping neck and neck for many laps at a time.

There were a surprising number of presents to and from everyone this year, somewhat like last year. Much ripping of wrapping paper was involved. Mum cooked a delicious lunch and it was a thoroughly merry Xmas.

Work Sessions (29th December 2006)

On 2006-12-19 I began working on Work Sessions. This will be a time logging program to keep track of my billable hours while working on website projects professionally.

Here’s how it looks so far:

It’s already reading the data and every preference from the INI files. Everything resizes and all the keyboard shortcuts are up and running. You can even edit the data in the grids! All this in about 10 days. Next step is the Start and Stop buttons for the actual timing.

I’m using the 5.0 controls. Only downside is that the FullRowSelect from the 6.0 controls wasn’t part of the 5.0 controls. Still, the ListViews look totally blinging and everything else about them works perfectly. Ownage!

Given Blood for the Second Time (2nd December 2006)

I’d been sent a lot of reminders saying their stocks of the O- blood type were running very low and they needed more urgently. Blood saves lives and type O- is especially useful. So yesterday I gave blood for the second time.

I got a keyring as this was my second time. You also get different cards saying how many times you’ve donated. Mine is the 1-4 donations one. These are just gimmicks but it’s kinda cool all the same.

I had hoped to visit Fliss this week and go with her, like last time, but we couldn’t get it organised in time. So I went with my mum instead. I recognised quite a few of the staff there from the last time. They are really nice people and we shared a few giggles. I hope to make this a regular thing; some people there had given blood 25 times!

Blog Rebuild (2nd December 2006)

At the moment this blog (and this whole site) is made from static HTML pages. I want to migrate it to use a simple PHP include() system. Doing that to Calthorpe Park School has made maintaining it much easier and I’d like those same benefits here.

I think each news entry would be set up as a small PHP file and I’ll use the URL structure to decide what navigation and suchlike will be produced.

I’d like index pages to automatically produce a list of entry titles which occur in that time period. By putting the PHP files in folders I can use the URLs to give the physical organisation for this, but I’m not sure how to get the titles out of each file. I don’t think I’m ready to make a database system for this yet.

Underwater Tunnels for MISA (2nd December 2006)

I finally found enough time to make some really detailed experiments with the water.dat. After sixteen hours of tests I’ve found a way of layering pool water to create continuous water with normal air below it. I use a visible surface on the top layer with an invisible surface for the rest. It works!

It includes a tunnel to drive inside with layered water above you can swim in:

The tunnel from illCOM to illURB.

I’ve released a layered water test suite which includes a strip of layered water above a tunnel from illCOM to illRES. The link takes you to the Myriad Islands Tunnel topic, which includes screenshots. Instructions are in the readme.txt file included in the test suite.