Before 2009, I’d never set foot in Germany before; not for any particular reason, I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. However, thanks to gracious invitations to conferences I’ve now been twice. 😀In May I went to Stuttgart for FMX, and last week I went to Munich for Qt Developer Days. It was an enjoyable conference, as always the best part is just meeting other delegates, the sessions themselves are merely the icing on the cake.

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I’ve been pushing quite hard to get this done before I head off to Qt DevDays next week, and luckily it all came together in the last few days: Some of the notable back-of-the-box (if there was a box) items: Upgrade to SpeedTree v5 - supporting all the great new features. See the SpeedTree site for more details on this release. More lighting options - Ambient Occlusion, Ambient Contrast, Specular Lighting, Transmission Lighting, Global Light Scalar, HDR.

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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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