29 September 2008

Bluetooth Headset

As I work form home at least 3 days a week I communicate with the office via Voip. This is usually either the Voip built into Messenger Live or Skype. Up until recently I was using a Plantronics headset which was great even if I did look like a pilot. I decided that the time had come for a Bluetooth headset as the Plantronics one was on it's last legs.

It arrived Saturday and after a stressful Sunday night trying to install the drivers under Windows (as in I had to reinstall drivers for nics, stop and play with Bluetooth services etc) I can fully recommend that no one use a bluetooth headset under XP service pack 2. It's hideous, painful and one of the many reasons mortals hate PCs.

And whats worse is that now I have it working the quality is rubbish. I am going to plug my "preferred" laptop in and see if under Linux it's any better.

24 September 2008

Perforce Branching For ASP.Net Projects.

We use Perforce as our source control at work. It is OK but I can see why Google are investigating GIT ;) Having used it for nearly 2 years now I have got comfortable with it even if Owen (my co developer) has to remind me to use the "Revert Unchanged Files" option prior to submitting!!

Anyway back to the point of this post. I have tried branching within Perforce before with our ASP.Net application and have not found it to be an easy process. Don't get me wrong this is not down to Perforce but rather the fact that with an ASP.Net application you end up having to hack the either the solution or the project files in order to build the branch. The reason? It seems that you can not share a IIS virtual directory between two different branches of the same ASP.Net application.

The cure? Well today I hacked the project file of the web project to change the IIS instance name so that when I loaded the project it told me the instance did not exist and it would create it for me. Before now I have renamed the branch solution file but this is not ideal and I think the separate IIS instance is neater if far from perfect.

I not sure if the reading I have done on this topic has missed some vital element but I would be interested to hear how other people get around the same issue.

18 September 2008

Dropbox On KDE

So Dropbox has finally gone live.

For those who have not used it yet Dropbox provides a web based service that allows seamless syncing between two pc's. Not only that but it provides a mechanism for hosting your photos and providing links that can be shared with those you want to share with. There is a great screen cast for more detailed info on their site.

The great thing is that not only is it (very) fast but there are clients available on Windows, Mac and as of the 6th of this month a beta Linux client.

The not so good news is that it's a GNOME based Linux client. The even worse news is that it's a Nautilus based client.

So, the first question is has anyone got the Linux daemon running on it's own. The second question is has anyone got it working with Konqueror or Dolphin and the last question is if not anyone fancy helping me write a KDE based Dropbox client??

Greg Kroah-Hartman's Linux Plumbing Keynote.

Greg, for those not in the know, is a major Linux Kernel contributor.

His keynote for the Linux Plumbers Conference has just been posted on his blog (with some slides). It makes for some interesting reading considering the noise coming from the ubuntu leader and his team of late.

I would be very interested to see what position they hold next year.

C# Label transparency

I am writing a small configuration editor for work at the moment and have come to make the initial release for the other guys to test. As the tool could end up in the hands of our partners I thought I would add a decent looking splash screen and about box.

Creating a graphic was the easy part. I left room for a label to be added on the splash window to display the application version. This was an approach I took when working with VB6/VC++ many years ago so I could pass the version info in the page load event. The only trouble is that C# label controls do not support full transparency.

I did a bit of searching and reading of docs. It turns out that turning the .BackColor property to Transparent will only set the back ground colour to the colour of the containing control. Hence if like me you have a picture box and a label it will show the back ground colour of the picture box control, grey (or the default control colour).

Therefore, the following (where pb is a picture box control and l is a label) will do the job. The code should be added to the splash window class.

Private void pb_Paint(object sender, PaintEventArgs e)
l.Visible = false;
e.Graphics.DrawString(l.Text, l.Font, new SolidBrush(l.ForeColor), l.Left - pb.Left, l.Top - pb.Top);

17 September 2008

watch out world my brain is full.....

OK, so first proper blog.... what shall I write.....hmmmm??

My name is Andy, I live in Harlow (UK) and am a software developer. I work with DotNet during the day but once out of the office use and develop on Linux based systems. I'm 30 and am married to Lorraine with a 3 year old son, Bean (not real name.... but used for obvious reasons).

The idea of this blog is to note down stuff about software development, programming in general and Linux. For those interested in such things I am a Debian lover and am currently running Lenny on my Thinkpad R40, Sidux on my Thinkpad R60 and Kubuntu on my PC Specialist work laptop (dual boot win xp). All 3 are running KDE 4.1.1 as I am a big KDE fan.