Saturday, May 29, 2004


So anyway, here's my take on Perth, in case somebody out there actually wants to know.

Perth is a very laid-back, relaxed city. There's a lot to see, a lot to do, things to touch and experiences to be had, but it's incredibly peaceful and quiet, especially after 5 o'clock (there's no nightlife whatsoever). So, it's a good place to settle down and live... when you're 60. Thrill seekers, look elsewhere.

The shopping here is decent, nothing compared to Hong Kong or Malaysia though. You can buy some interesting Australian-themed souvenirs. Kangeroo scrotum (said to bring good luck, except for the original owner) comes to mind. A wide selection of "indigenous artifacts", made by real tribespeople, is also available, which include paintings, digeridoos, boomerangs and ... rocks. Also check out the local foodstuffs. Fremantle (a town right next to Perth) is a port town, so there's plenty of delicious fresh fish and other seafood available. Chocolate, ice-cream and any dairy-based products are also good, because the cows are right next to the factory.

A highlight of my vacation there was the 1-day tour of Perth. A charming and fat gentleman, called Ron took us to see a wildlife park, a chocolate factory (free chocolate tasting), a vineyard (wine tasting), a fruit store, a convienience shop, a boat cruise and finally his own house. That's right, his own house. Where he cooked a very tasty bbq lunch for us. His mom showed us his 3 story house (located on prime waterfront land, with a glorious view) and his personal yacht.

It turns out Big Ron's a multi-millionaire.

What a mess

I tried porting over the project to use JME, but it's been surprisingly difficult so far. Surprising because most of the original code was ripped off from there in the first place. Now I've reached what appears to be a dead end.

Here's some background info on the project: It's a Java game project designed for multiplayer, originally created for a school project. It makes use of the lwjgl project, to allow 3d graphics and sound. Features of our project include:

- "Martian" terrain with textures
- 3D player models, which were stolen from polycount
- Powerups
- Multiple weapons deal out death and destruction
- In-game chat
- Lobby system where you can set up a game with others

Right now, what I'm trying to do is to replace the in-game engine with JME, because it has a lot of cool features and special effects.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Back from holidays. Nothing except National Service to look forward to now. At least I have the spare time to work on the game project.

Eclipse came out with a new version recently. The most obvious changes are the appearance of the interface, and code folding (you can hide any block of code away).

On my todo list today is to write some JUnit tests for the project. Not sure how to proceed with this one, but I just like the idea of having automated tests filter out bugs at the touch of a button.

Friday, May 21, 2004

I was originally going to post a short blurb on the different Java IDEs out there, but I realized that it's a highly personal choice. There's no real killer feature that distinguishes one from another. The IDE I'm using right now is Eclipse.

A short guide to getting Eclipse running from scratch:
1. Go to the downloads page on the website.
2. Click on the main download site
3. Select the latest version available(currently 3.0M8)
4. Select your operating system.
5. The download will start now.
6. Unzip the file to any location you choose
7. In the eclipse directory, double click on "eclipse.exe". It's the one with an eclipse icon.

Eclipse will start up immediately. No installation required. At this point, you may want to create a shortcut for Eclipse on your desktop or start menu.
I would definitely recommend going through the help contents, which can be accessed from the "Help" menu bar. For standard users, you can go through the "Workbench User Guide" and the "Java Development User Guide".

I'll be taking a short vacation in Australia with my family. Be back next week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

So, we had a meeting to discuss our group project yesterday. I think we must have spent 5 minutes total in discussion. Then we went to play street soccer.

I'll be watching Troy later on. I hope it's good, the last movie I watched was Van Helsing.

A good site to visit if you like technology in general is Ars Technica. The site mainly covers news in the IT world, but they also branch out into a lot of interesting directions. Be sure to take a look at their forums too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Finding this site really made my day. I love this show.

A group of friends and I will be meeting up today, with the pretext of discussing our games project. I predict that the day will be spent playing Winning Eleven 7, and then some real football later on.

I really need to get some proper sleep now, seeing myself in the mirror scares me (hello outbreak of pimples, didn't see you yesterday. have you met mr.dark rings around my eyes?)

Open Source software

Most of us, at one time or another, have installed pirated software on our computers, or perhaps distributed it to others. Even in the world of business, this is a fairly common practice for small to medium companies. A recent example comes to mind.

While I'm not going to discuss whether this is right or not, an alternative to casual piracy is to use software released for public use. For instance, instead of cracking that copy of Winzip or Winrar that you downloaded, why not try 7-zip, which is free for public and commercial use? It supports all the major formats you will find on the internet today, and comes with it's own format which has very good compression.

Which brings me to the term "Open Source". Open source simply refers to software which has it's source code released. Anybody who wants to can download the code and modify it to suit their needs, or simply use it normally.

Are you just an average user? You can skip the paragraph below then.

Are you a software developer? If your code is based on open-sourced software, there is one thing to watch out for: the license. Yes, free software comes with a license too, though I'm not too sure what happens if you actually violate this license. If it comes with the General Public License, it means that any software you write using this product will become open source too. You will have to make your source code available to the public. The Lesser General Public License means you don't have to release your code. It's as simple as that.

I hope to cover some useful open source programs soon, together with a short guide on how to get them up and running. The biggest source of open software on the web is SourceForge.

One of my fantasies is to start a software company based on free software, because I'm an incredible cheapskate.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I've been tired and dull the whole day. I planned to put up some links to a few open-source programs which I like, but I'm lacking the energy right now.

Today, my grandmother and auntie went back to their home, after a 2 week stay here. I kind of miss them already, we rarely get to see each other.

I also set up my free newsgroups account today. I only subscribed to a few interesting groups, but there are thousands of messages already. I'm using this program as the reader, it's very easy to use and doesn't require an install.

You can find lots of other small, useful programs in this article. If you're into music or recording, you can read the other articles on the site too.
Having just came back from the party, I find there's not much time left to write. (I'm dead tired). The party was fun, I had fun, everybody had fun.

In soccer news, the final day of the season has passed, and there were no surprise results to be had. Arsenal preserved their season-long unbeaten record, and the other two big teams, Man U and Chelsea, won their respective matches. I guess nothing significant really happened, except that Newcastle cinched their place in the UEFA cup. Congrats.

With Leeds relegation into the first division, I shall look forward to seeing how they perform next season. Life in the lower leagues is not to be seen as a setback, but a new experience. The only thing that I hope for is for them to put an end to their financial and management troubles. I'm really not a very demanding fan.

Over the coming 2 weeks, I will be writing on my experience of working on a computer game project. It used to be a school project, but my friends and I will be working on it on our free time now.

After those 2 weeks, I will be going to serve in the army. I'm going to miss my slacker's lifestyle.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Oh the thrill!

I've decided to add my voice to the millions of others out there.

More to come after I return from a school function.