Code

PiLight

Recently, my friend shared a link on Facebook about some dudes who’d made their own infinity table. While I don’t necessarily have the time or dedication to build an actual table, I was intrigued by the idea of running an LED string using a Raspberry Pi. And so, one impulse purchase and a few days of development later — I had built PiLight!
Read more

Windows Phone 7 game development tutorials

Wow, updates to the blog have been few and far between lately! Recently I have been exploring the creation of video as an extension to my photography work — you can see some of the fruits of my labour on my YouTube channel. These have given me the taste for basic video production, and I decided to combine coding and videography, to put together an open-ended series of screencasts about how to create an XNA game for Windows Phone.
Read more

C# 5.0 concurrency

The next iteration of the core .NET languages (C#, VB.NET) looks set to have some pretty cool language constructs for performing tasks asynchronously in a really easy fashion. Designed to “let you have your cake and eat it to” — write code as you would for synchronous operations, and let the compiler take care of asynchronous callbacks and so on. Very cool! Check out the PDC talk from Anders Hejlsberg.

Still finding bugs

Sometimes bugs really astound me. The current tom.net.nz theme has been active for at least 6 months. When I first developed the theme, it was in Firefox, and looked great. But then I started using Chrome and noticed the following: That is, sidebar text that looked fine in Firefox was now weirdly spaced out in Chrome, and some elements (e.g. Archive date links) that were meant to be plain text now had Cufon styling.
Read more

Windows Phone 7 Beta tools

In my experimentation with the Windows Phone 7 developer tools, certain things have been a little hard to find information on. Here’s some of the best resources I have found, along with little nuggets of good information I have discovered and want to document. Resources MSDN Windows Phone 7 forums — often my own questions were answered here. Search up the top for what you’re interested in. Also keep in mind that the Windows Phone 7 SDK is based mainly on Silverlight, so many resources that apply to Silverlight can be readily applied to WP7.
Read more

Dark Visual Studio 2010 theme

Looking for a refreshing change in colour? Getting sick of coding against that glaring white background? Look no further! I’ve decided to upload my Visual Studio 2010 Fonts and Colors settings for public consumption. The colour scheme is loosely based on the Railscasts TextMate theme. Here’s a couple of screenshots to give an idea of appearance: (Click to view larger). To install: Download the theme settings file. In Visual Studio 2010, go to menu Tools -> Import and Export Settings… Import selected environment settings I recommend you save your current settings — just so you can revert them later if you don’t like the theme!
Read more

Visual Studio tip

If you’re like me, the way that Visual Studio 2008’s Solution Explorer jumps around to select the file in the current tab makes you disoriented and frustrated. Fortunately, I have found the ideal solution! Disable the automated behaviour: In options, open the Projects and Solutions section Untick Track Active Item in Solution Explorer Enable a keyboard shortcut to track the active item when you want to: In options, open Environment -> Keyboard Search for the command View.
Read more

Next big thing

I have something of a prediction. If not a prediction then a wish. A wish for a feature that should become part of IDEs everywhere, in much the same way that IntelliSense-esque tools and refactoring tools have. To explain the feature, first let me explain the problem it solves. Supposing I have a number of similar lines of code: 12345 Item1.Text = GetData("Item1") Item2.Text = GetData("Item2") Item3.Text = GetData("Item3") Item4.Text = GetData("Item4") Item5.
Read more

Facebook Connect observation

Here’s a bit of a dud write-up. Dud because the risks are minimal, as I realised when I started looking into cross-domain iframe DOM scraping… But potentially interesting reading for web developers nonetheless. If you have been browsing the internet lately, you have more than likely seen a Facebook Connect box. It looks like this: This particular screenshot is taken from Gameplanet Forums, but Facebook Connect makes it easy for any website developer to embed the panel into their website.
Read more

Moving

For a long time, I’ve been interested in software development and computer programming. At some point in my mid-teens I worked out that I could get paid to write code, something I already enjoyed doing. It was from this time that I had vague aspirations to move overseas and work at a large software organisation, and even back then, the first one that always came to mind was Microsoft. Those aspirations had always been in the back of my mind, while I worked on my Bachelor of Engineering, and worked at Canary.
Read more