It was about 10pm last night and I figured I’d just do half an hour’s practice on the guitar as I often do. I often use headphones to avoid causing undue annoyance to the neighbourhood, and like a lot of music equipment my Pod has a ¼″ headphone socket, despite the fact that most regular headphones use a 1/8″ mini-jack, so I use a converter that came with the headphones (Sony in this case), pictured below.

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I like Steam. Sure, you’ve got all the people moaning about not being able to sell on their games afterwards, but I don’t care about that - maybe because I don’t buy that many games compared to some, and I tend to hold on to them regardless more often than not. It’s the nearest thing to XBox Live on the PC and it does a pretty good job of it. Buying games and keeping them up to date is simple, and it’s indie-friendly with far less of the snooty attitide that seems to be increasing in the console online marketplaces now they’re established.

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Oh hell yes. Finally, one of the best British classic rock bands that was sorely missing from Rock Band makes an appearance on 20th October, and how: Another One Bites The Dust Crazy Little Thing Called Love One Vision Fat Bottomed Girls I Want It All I Want To Break Free Killer Queen Somebody To Love Tie Your Mother Down Under Pressure Now, I could lament the absence of Don’t Stop Me Now, and Princes of the Universe which I would have loved, but really that would be being petulant because this list is pure class.

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A few weeks ago I decided to start seriously investigating switching to a DVCS. I’m currently up to my eyes in work and haven’t really had time to progress that in the last few weeks; however some absolutely abhorrent performance / reliability problems with Sourceforge’s Subversion server made a large merge process so costly to me (in the end I had to commit in small chunks, breaking transactional consistency, and it needed so much babysitting because of the speed / reliability it took me 4 bloody hours just to commit!

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I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve needed this on OS X, but it came about from needing to write a document for a European customer and suddenly realising I didn’t know how to make an umlaut on my Macbook Pro’s British keyboard. On Windows I might fire up the Character Map, but I didn’t know how to do it on OS X. Here’s what I discovered: OS X friendly apps like Mail, Safari, iCal and even Firefox have a ‘Special Characters’ entry on the Edit menu which brings up an equivalent of Character Map.

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There’s one problem with having a relatively public presence online, even in such a niche that I’m in, and that’s how to deal with unsolicited friend requests. I’m a happy user of LinkedIn, I have a Gamertag you can see on the right hand side there, and I’m also a reluctant and infrequent member of Facebook. As well as letting people who know me connect, it also means that on some occasions, I get friend / contact requests on these systems from people I’ve never heard of before.

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I haven’t been a fan of tower defense games very much, I’ve found them a bit dull and repetitive sometimes, and there’s far too many of them. But Defense Grid has very much hooked me in and is proving to be a lot of fun, and at 800 MS points (or about 7 or your Earth pounds) it’s an absolute bargain. I think one reason I like it is that there’s no tower damage.

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I haven’t used dedicated photo-management software before - iPhoto always looked really nice, but since it only works on the Mac it didn’t seem worth investing lots of time in populating data there that I couldn’t use on other platforms too. However, since this year I took the laptop on holiday with us, to ensure I could cope with any urgent business while I was away (the wonders of being self-employed), I figured I’d take the opportunity to try out Picasa 3 to transfer, organise, label & share our photos in real-time as we progressed through our holiday.

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It’s nice when software reflects a programmer’s sense of humour and humility. This message appeared when I restarted Firefox 3.5.3 after an XP crash: Bravo - thanks for making me chuckle, and thus forgive you instantly for any error (and it might not even have been yours). Bless.

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I’ve been involved in open source for a long time - probably what might be considered a ‘generation’ in this industry. I was a fan of open source before I even knew the term existed - during my formative coding years in the early 90’s I was always releasing code for free and encouraging people to tell me why it sucked, and doing the same for them. Of course, most of the discussion went on over FidoNet, BBS-relayed emails, the very early (pre-WWW) internet and code on FTP sites, but the principle was much the same.

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