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Zugg Software :: View Entry - Living with Vista and Delphi 2007
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Guinn
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Joined: 03 Mar 2001
Posts: 1127
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:19 am   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
Guinn wrote:
Ouch, 2GB DDR3? I'd have gone for 4GB DDR2 for cheaper.

Don't diss - 4gb is excessive. I've been running Crysis on max settings all day and the 2gb hasn't minded at all. That's at 1680x1050 on my new 24" monitor too :D (only 150 on dabs - I highly recommend) The main draw is that the timing matches the fsb/cpu clock - I think it's working out better overall.

Also, 750gb drives - they're an utter skank. 40-50 for 250GB, 60-70 for 500GB, 105-115 for 750GB? I think they must've held that price meeting on Friday afternoon. I'm going to keep buying 500GBs until the price per gig comes down - my new case has 5xlarge bays and 7xsmall - I won't run out of space any time soon!


1680x1050, pah, got a nice new 24", running Crysis at 1920x1200 here Twisted Evil
Got my quad up from stock 9x266 to 8x400 without any special cooling and it runs 1:1 with the RAM I've got so I'm pleased. I agree on the HDD prices, I kept the two old SATAs I had so 2x320 in RAID-0 with a 500GB external for backup does me nicely.
Good call on the Antec P182 case btw Zugg, got the same thing here and makes installing things a snap, especially when you remember that I had a Shuttle before.
SATA RAID is a nightmare, I always end up having to get nLite to add the drivers to the install CD since I don't have a floppy disk drive anywhere anymore.

I'm using Windows Server 2003 x64 as my desktop OS at the moment (waiting for a Vista x64 w/SP1 install disk) and it's making me seriously consider not going back to Vista. Everything just works so easily. Not that I ever had any problems with Vista, but Server 2003 is a very nice desktop OS (faster than XP).

Anyways, I'm babbling

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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:42 pm   
 
You know, there's a school of economic thought that argues that new technology doesn't have a positive impact on labour productivity until at least 50 years after its invention. It sounds ridiculous, but then stuff like this happens :(

I personally never buy a motherboard without SATA ports - I can't stand the hassle.

And wow, Rainchild, that's very cheap. You'd have to factor in the added cost of buying a Dell rather than DIY, but still. In three years, something's bound to go wrong.

I was teetering on the brink of buying an upgrade edition of Vista - I think I'll stick to OEM after hearing your troubles. Only about 110 for Vista Ultimate, which isn't too shabby when you compare to the price of XP a year after release.

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slicertool
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:09 pm   
 
All I can think about is hearing us complain about Vista and think back about 5 or 6 years ago when everyone was saying the same things about XP. Now you've got XP being the stable standard which everyone loves and people complaining about the next gen OS. I have gotten to the point where I refuse to run any new OS until at least SP1... maybe SP2. All of the big problems that can only really be found when tossing it out to a couple million people in an OS get fixed at that point, some features which were more hassles than anything else get streamlined, and OS quirks are figured out by the 3rd party vendors so that moving my stuff over doesn't have both OS and application level issues. Yay for being behind the times ;)

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Rorso
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:19 pm   
 
slicertool wrote:
All I can think about is hearing us complain about Vista and think back about 5 or 6 years ago when everyone was saying the same things about XP. Now you've got XP being the stable standard which everyone loves and people complaining about the next gen OS. I have gotten to the point where I refuse to run any new OS until at least SP1... maybe SP2. All of the big problems that can only really be found when tossing it out to a couple million people in an OS get fixed at that point, some features which were more hassles than anything else get streamlined, and OS quirks are figured out by the 3rd party vendors so that moving my stuff over doesn't have both OS and application level issues. Yay for being behind the times ;)

It was same when Windows 95 was released. A lot people whined about how good their Win3.11 installation was compared to that nasty Win95 Rolling Eyes. The thing is, I think, that quality is poor these days. For example we have this television receiver at home that when recording a movie there's some 4% probability it will not save the movie to harddrive when done Shocked.

The funny thing is that the receiver can retrieve updates to its firmware but they don't appear to release any for years to fix bugs. I think companies rush the products to the market just to get it there before the competitors. Though with Windows resistance is futile anyway, as there is no alternative. Windows is your only choice so it is odd if they couldn't properly make Vista have good quality.
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saet
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Joined: 12 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:24 pm   
 
Quote:
1680x1050, pah, got a nice new 24", running Crysis at 1920x1200 here


Pfft.... 30" 2560x1600 ;)
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:37 pm   
 
Quality is definitely poor. I remember the problems with XP, but Vista is much worse. XP was a step forwards in stability in a lot of different ways. Vista feels like a step backwards.

Not disputing that there is still some sort of hardware problem though. But I'm not having any trouble booting XP or using XP. Only Vista.

I tried some other ideas this morning. Since the Vista install was hanging on the "Installing Updates" section, I remembered that there is a network issue with Vista and the new Comcast router, so I tried installing Vista telling it *not* to use the Internet for updates. But that failed at the same spot. Also, the "Windows Vista Annoyances" book that I've mentioned above has a section on how to install Vista from the disk without needing XP installed first. Turns out that you just don't enter your license keys. Then ignore all of the dire warnings from Microsoft about how the installation might fail and you might need to buy another copy of Vista (silly scare tactics). Then you get a list of different versions of Vista that are on the disk. Select the one that matches the version that you bought (Vista Business in my case). Then it will let you do a full install without needing XP first. Once Vista is working, then you enter your license key later.

Anyway, when I tried this, it also got to the same spot of "Installing Updates" and just hung forever.

Also, when I went back into XP and tried to restore the Vista partition to the new disk using Acronis again, Acronis started complaining about some sectors on the disk that it couldn't read. I think it was complaining about the new disk, but it's actually hard to tell since it just gives the disk number and not the volume name or drive letter.

I also found a jumper on the new SATA drive that will enable 150 MB/s instead of the normal 300 MB/s transfer rate. I change the jumper to see if that would help, with the idea that maybe this cheap SATA controller can't handle the higher transfer rate. That didn't help either.

The hard disk that Vista originally reported as going bad isn't even plugged into the computer. And yet there are still disk issues here. So it's either the SATA controller or the motherboard at this point. I just hope it's not the power supply because that's the one component that I *didn't* buy from Newegg yesterday. This power supply is still pretty recent, so I just can't imagine that it could be bad already.

But it looks like I'm just stuck until the new computer parts arrive. I wish there was some way to pin down exactly what hardware was causing the problem. But diagnostics these days all seem to suck since it's usually just cheaper to buy new hardware.

Crysis at 2560x1600?? Man, you must have a supercomputer with liquid nitrogen cooling to be able to run Crysis at that kind of resolution.

Anyway, I'm going to go away now and try to relax a bit. I'm just so angry at all of this that it's hard to settle down. Especially since there really isn't much else I can do at this point and I just hate having to wait and twiddle my thumbs for the next two days. I thought about trying to install Delphi 2007 on this laptop, but given how badly cursed I seem to be right now with computers, it's probably a bad idea to touch it. Last thing I need is my laptop to get screwed up.

What I'd really like to do is get lost on a deserted island in the Pacific somewhere where they have never heard of computers before. But then I probably wouldn't be able to start fire, and I'd start getting computer game withdrawal and then eventually starve to death. So maybe not.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:44 pm   
 
That's rather sexy, Guinn - I haven't overclocked yet simply because I don't need to. My framerates are fine. I'm sure I will one day, though.

I suggest spending the next couple of days playing MUDs - it seemed to work well for your creativity in the past :)

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Rorso
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:17 pm   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
That's rather sexy, Guinn - I haven't overclocked yet simply because I don't need to. My framerates are fine. I'm sure I will one day, though.

I suggest spending the next couple of days playing MUDs - it seemed to work well for your creativity in the past :)

I think there are some small things on the website that could be looked into as well. Like the RSS feeds :).
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Tarn
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:39 am   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
You know, there's a school of economic thought that argues that new technology doesn't have a positive impact on labour productivity until at least 50 years after its invention. It sounds ridiculous, but then stuff like this happens :(


Hmm, that was food for thought.

Whoever said that should consider how old the transistor is and then try to make the argument again with a straight face.

Other big winners way inside 50 years include the telegraph, telephone, fax machine, email, etc.

For a couple of big simple inventions, how about the paperclip and sticky notes?

Quote:

And wow, Rainchild, that's very cheap. You'd have to factor in the added cost of buying a Dell rather than DIY, but still. In three years, something's bound to go wrong.


Extra cost of buying a Dell? Last time I looked, Dell was competitive at the "$500 box to run a glorified text editor aka programming IDE" level even if you value your time for the DIY cheaply. I've used the onsite service, but the last time was quite a few years ago: the main advantage was time savings vs shopping for replacement parts.

Quote:

I was teetering on the brink of buying an upgrade edition of Vista - I think I'll stick to OEM after hearing your troubles. Only about 110 for Vista Ultimate, which isn't too shabby when you compare to the price of XP a year after release.


I don't see the point of upgrading an O/S (versus a clean install). It's always so fiddly. If it's an upgrade price on a full O/S version that's fine, of course, but I'd rather take the opportunity to start out with a clean registry and no accumulated cruft elsewhere.

Other comment for this thread: Zugg, you seem to use a lot of third party components which cause you endless headaches. I seem to use fewer and fewer these days for that reason. Over the past 5 years, has something like the third party toolbar you use saved or cost you time vs writing your own?

-Tarn
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:22 am   
 
Telegraph, telephone and fax were all invented in the 19th century. Transistors were in the 1920s some time, so they reached their peak (allegedly) in the 1970s, which sounds about right to me. Email should just about be breaking even by now - I'd think about all the time spent on newletters, circulars and spam, and all the people who don't know how to use email (they're more common than you'd think). I'm not necessarily saying that their theory is right, or even often right, but you can definitely see how they drew their conclusions. I can still think of plenty of people who're useless with computers.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:16 am   
 
Quote:
has something like the third party toolbar you use saved or cost you time vs writing your own?

Definitely *saved* a *huge* amount of time and effort, even given the problems that I have. This kind of stuff is easy to overlook, but doing it right is a whole project in itself. When doing competitive commercial apps where the user interface is important, I'd always use 3rd party components. The trick it to pick a vendor that is in it for the long haul and who provides good support. As much as I complain, DevExpress has some of the best support in the business. And I'd much rather spend my limited programming time on the core part of my products rather than user interface components. Off the top of my head, I'd guess that 3rd party components have roughly doubled my productivity.

Back to the computer problems...Unfortunately there is very little useful work I can do from my laptop right now. Working on the web site requires Dreamweaver (well, it doesn't "require" it, but I like it a lot), and all of the site files are on the main development computer. Since I was getting so many weird problems on that computer, I decided to just turn it off until the new hardware arrives to minimize any possibility of further damage. I don't even want it powered on in XP to serve files in case the SATA controller is flaky and causing disk corruption.

So, no working on the web site. My MUD files are also on the development machine (pkg files, map files, etc), but I might be able to turn it on long enough to grab them onto my laptop. What I really need right now is to have my settings all stored on MyMuds.com ;) I'll probably spend the time thinking more about various project designs, such as MyMuds and the new mapper. I often don't take enough thinking time for design before I start coding, so that might be the best use of the time.

Rorso: I wasn't aware of issues with the RSS feeds. I honestly don't know much about RSS...the current feeds are part of the MX Portal code that I am running on this site, so I didn't write it myself. If you have details on specifically what needs to be changed, make a post in the Website forum so that I can look into it when I have time.

Quote:
$500 box to run a glorified text editor aka programming IDE

Might be true for some people, but not me. Since Delphi 2007 is written in .NET, it uses a lot of resources. 2GB is minimum (and 4GB is going to be really nice). Add Vista on top of that, and you need a pretty decent system these days. Dell is definitely a good deal though. Chiara's Vista laptop that she got last year is a Dell and it was about $600. I was impressed with what she got for that price.

Honestly, if I hadn't had such a good experience building my own gaming system last year, then I might have just gone with a Dell. Especially since Best Buy is now selling Dells, so you don't even need to wait for a system to be built and shipped if you don't need something custom. I haven't even looked at the Dell systems lately and probably should have. Buying the components from Newegg to do it myself was just an impulse decision since the research from building the system last year was still pretty fresh in my mind. Also, it probably didn't help that I've had bad luck with the last few "purchased" computers (although none of them were Dell). This time I just really wanted more control over the cooling and heat control and noise level of a new system. Also, I'd end up messing up the Dell anyway since I'd want to move over my existing SATA disks.

My main goal in all of this is to avoid reinstalling all of my applications into Vista again. That took many days, and I just finally had gotten Vista tweaked and working the way I wanted. Getting a Dell would be a good way to get a relatively clean Vista install, but then I'd have to reinstall all of my other apps (and actually, even Dell still installs a bunch of crap with their computers, although a bit better than other vendors. Getting rid of McAfree on Chiara's laptop was a pain).

Quote:
I don't see the point of upgrading an O/S (versus a clean install). It's always so fiddly.

I agree completely. Don't let the terminology fool you. And "upgrade" version of Vista still allows a clean install. You just need to run the Vista disk from within Windows XP the first time (or use the trick of not entering your license key as mentioned in the Windows Annoyances book). The difference in price between an "upgrade" version that normally requires XP and a "full" version of Vista was pretty substantial when I bought it last year. I think the upgrade was something like $199 and the full version was $399, or something like that. OEM is definitely the way to go if you must get a "full" version. I got an OEM version of Windows Media Center for my gaming system last year and it was pretty cheap. Even came with a free Vista upgrade coupon, but I'd never put Vista on my main gaming system. Maybe in a couple more years.

But I *never* "upgrade" the existing O/S to the new one. That just creates a mess like you said. When I installed Vista last year (see another blog entry for the gory details on that mess), I did a clean install to a new disk, and then started installing all apps from scratch.

I've never been very interested in overclocking computers. Seems like a good way to make them less reliable (and shorten their life by running them hotter) for just a few percent more speed. Maybe I'm missing something, but it just never seemed like a good tradeoff.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:25 am   
 
Oh, and I scored bigtime today thanks to Chiara. We were out running errands and I was still whining about all of the computer problems. During the conversation she mentioned that I had bought everything for the new computer except a new power supply. I had mentioned that disk problems can sometimes be caused by a failing power supply but that I had already replaced the power supply fairly recently (was it a year ago already?). Anyway, she said that it sounded like I should probably get a new power supply just to be safe.

We happened to be near the CompUSA in Colorado Springs, which is apparently going out of business. We went in an I scored a CoolMaster 750W power supply, normally costing $189 for *half price*! It's a bit of overkill for this system, but I certainly won't need to worry about the power supply being underpowered.

After buying it, I then realized that I *did* need a new power supply because the one in my current computer doesn't have the power cables for the PCI Express cards, and my new graphics card will need that.

So, if Chiara hadn't mentioned this, I would have gotten my new hardware and then realized half-way through the build that the old power supply didn't have the PCI-E power, and then I would have had to go out and bought one. By then the CompUSA sale would have been over, and when I looked at what was available at Circuit City and Best Buy, I would have ended up spending more money for a much worse power supply.

Hopefully this is a good omen for the new system.
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slicertool
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:50 am   
 
God bless spouses.

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Rorso
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:20 am   
 
Zugg wrote:

Back to the computer problems...Unfortunately there is very little useful work I can do from my laptop right now. Working on the web site requires Dreamweaver (well, it doesn't "require" it, but I like it a lot), and all of the site files are on the main development computer. Since I was getting so many weird problems on that computer, I decided to just turn it off until the new hardware arrives to minimize any possibility of further damage. I don't even want it powered on in XP to serve files in case the SATA controller is flaky and causing disk corruption.

I thought you were an Emacs user Very Happy. It is really comfortable to just start Putty and login to the shell of the web server and start Emacs to get working. The zScript syntax colourizer was written almost entirely using Emacs that way. Though I did use a separate editor for the little layout I used.

Quote:

I'll probably spend the time thinking more about various project designs, such as MyMuds and the new mapper. I often don't take enough thinking time for design before I start coding, so that might be the best use of the time.

It is interesting when you read a book about software development. The one I have push a lot on the waterfall model and similar models. I tried it once to do it more formal than just starting to code and it was a lot of work to write the various documents. For example requirement analysis, architecture design document, design document, etc. Each document also had to go through a Fagan inspection before it could officially be used. Everything had to be traceable back to the requirements specification between various documents to ensure that the requirements would be met.

Though I think this is mostly good for larger projects with many developers I found that it was quite useful to have your design document that you could refer to when implementing.


Last edited by Rorso on Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Guinn
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Joined: 03 Mar 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:20 am   
 
Zugg wrote:
I've never been very interested in overclocking computers. Seems like a good way to make them less reliable (and shorten their life by running them hotter) for just a few percent more speed. Maybe I'm missing something, but it just never seemed like a good tradeoff.

Very much depends on the parts. Certainly the new Phenoms can't touch the Core2 chips at the moment (hopefully that'll change) in terms of headroom. Mine went from 2.4GHz stock to 3.2GHz without any special cooling or any tricks. For that I left it on standard voltage and only tradeoff was the CPU now idles at 35 degrees rather than 31 and at reaches 59 instead of 49 under load (running Prime95 for 12 hours). 59 is still very much safe. Fang could probably up his new E8500 from the stock 3.16GHz to 4GHz without much effort. It's not just a few %, it's about a third extra without any real reduction in operating life (might last for 8 years not 10). Of course, that doesn't mean a third extra performance since the rest of the components don't scale so well but still worth a look.

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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:59 am   
 
Zugg wrote:
I've never been very interested in overclocking computers. Seems like a good way to make them less reliable (and shorten their life by running them hotter) for just a few percent more speed. Maybe I'm missing something, but it just never seemed like a good tradeoff.

Basically, the kind of person who overclocks is the kind of person who buys a new computer every 2-3 years to stay ahead of the curve. They generally don't care that the chip's lifespan is reduced from 10 years to 5.

Guinn wrote:
Fang could probably up his new E8500 from the stock 3.16GHz to 4GHz without much effort.

More, I expect, given that I'm installing a water cooler. <3 45nm. Haven't needed it yet, but this weekend I'm going to fudge Crysis to force it to "Very Good" even under DX9. We'll see how it likes it then :)

Also, every graphics card I've ever owned that has a PCI-E power connector has included a molex-pci adapter. It uses up two molex connectors, so you might've still needed a new supply, but it can be handy.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:57 pm   
 
Hmm, a third more speed might make it useful. And it's true that in most gaming systems, the decreased lifetime probably isn't an issue since the computer gets replaced with a faster system well before it fails. And it's not usually the CPU that seems to die first anyway. My "gaming" system downstairs is actually an HTPC (Home Theater PC) that drives an InFocus projector for movies and games. So it is in an HTPC case (makes it look more like a stereo component) in a equipment rack where ventilation isn't as good as having a tower out in the open. The system was actually designed for cool running and quiet operation (heat pumps instead of fans, etc) and not pure performance. For example, it only has an NVidia 7600 and an AMD 4000+ processor. So I don't overclock it because it want it to stay cool so that the fans don't ramp up their speed and get noisy in the movie environment.

With the development computer, reliability is paramount and I'll have plenty of performance for Vista. If it ever becomes an alternate gaming system then I might play with the clock speeds. It should be nice and cool (although noisier than my HTPC) so I might be able to overclock it a bit, as long as that doesn't lead to any reliability problems. Last thing I want is for Windows to crash because of some overclocking issues.

Rorso: I have a degree in Computer Science and have had that kind of formal stuff beaten into me. Maybe that's why I don't like it ;) Those kind of formalities are crucial for a team of developers. They basically force the kind of communication that is needed for a large project. But for a single developer like me, it's easy to go overboard with those kind of formal systems. It would be really easy to spend all of my time writing requirement and design documents and never get any code written.

When you are a single developer, it's all about balance and juggling multiple jobs. You have to balance time between design, coding, debugging, documentation, and customer support. There isn't enough time to do 100% on any one of these jobs. My current "balance" is probably 5% design, 25% coding, 30% debugging, 10% documentation and 30% customer support. The coding and debugging go hand in hand depending upon the task that I am working on. The documentation I unusually postpone until the end of a beta cycle, and the design is usually done near the beginning of a beta cycle. The customer support happens every day, even on weekends (for urgent issues). Each day I try to do the customer support before lunch, then take a lunch break. The mindset required for customer support and for coding/debugging is very different, so a lunch break helps my brain get into the programming groove. On days when I'm in the middle of a complex task, I will sometimes skip the customer support in the morning and just go straight to programming, but that's pretty rare.

So yes, Design gets the short-end of the stick just because I don't have any other developers to communicate with and can keep most of it in my head. I reserve design for "hard" and complex tasks. I spent a lot of time on design before I started writing CMUD in the first place and have mostly stuck to that design. I will need to take another big chunk of time to work on the design for the new mapper so that it ends up being worth the time to rewrite. So while customer support and coding/debugging happen daily, design happens in big time chunks in between beta cycles. You can't just do design for 30 minutes a day...it takes a solid number of days to get the brain into the right mode.

Anyway, that's what works for me. I still read programming journals and read all about stuff like Agile development, etc. Sometimes there are good ideas that I can take for my own situation, but more often than not I think "wow, I'm glad I don't have to work in a team programming environment". As a former manager, I know that some of those design methodologies really help a lot, but that's one of the reasons I specifically formed my own business and decided never to have any other employees (other than Chiara, and she isn't a developer).
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:49 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
I might be able to overclock it a bit, as long as that doesn't lead to any reliability problems

Generally speaking, loss of reliability is the sign you've gone too far. You can always decrease the clock when that happens.

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Tarn
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:12 pm   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
Telegraph, telephone and fax were all invented in the 19th century.


And were very labor and effort-saving devices within way less than 50 years of their invention.

Quote:

Transistors were in the 1920s some time,


Two of the three guys who invented the transistor were only about ten years old in 1920, and the other would have been something like 18. It was invented in 1947, and was a major time and money saver way before 1997.

Perhaps you're thinking of vacuum tubes, but they were slightly earlier than your timeframe?

Quote:

so they reached their peak (allegedly) in the 1970s, which sounds about right to me.


That's 20 years, not 50, and I still think that they made an indisputable difference in the 60's (the 50's could be argued a bit).

Quote:

Email should just about be breaking even by now - I'd think about all the time spent on newletters, circulars and spam, and all the people who don't know how to use email


Think about all of the things you handle via email that used to require written correspondence. Think of how few professionals need a secretary today, but would have had one (or shared one) in the 70's.

Quote:

I'm not necessarily saying that their theory is right, or even often right, but you can definitely see how they drew their conclusions. I can still think of plenty of people who're useless with computers.


Knowing a few holdouts doesn't mean that it's not a vast timesaver in the economy at large.

End of derail I think :)

-Tarn
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Tarn
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:22 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
Quote:
has something like the third party toolbar you use saved or cost you time vs writing your own?

Definitely *saved* a *huge* amount of time and effort, even given the problems that I have. This kind of stuff is easy to overlook, but doing it right is a whole project in itself. When doing competitive commercial apps where the user interface is important, I'd always use 3rd party components.


Great. I guess I've been burned a few times by tools that turned out not to be updated in the long term.

Quote:

Off the top of my head, I'd guess that 3rd party components have roughly doubled my productivity.


Surprising. Nice, though. Maybe I should take another look around at what's available.

Quote:

Quote:
$500 box to run a glorified text editor aka programming IDE

Might be true for some people, but not me. Since Delphi 2007 is written in .NET, it uses a lot of resources. 2GB is minimum (and 4GB is going to be really nice). Add Vista on top of that, and you need a pretty decent system these days. Dell is definitely a good deal though. Chiara's Vista laptop that she got last year is a Dell and it was about $600. I was impressed with what she got for that price.


Hmm, I'm running .NET just fine on a fairly old machine (~5 years on the home machine). The compiles for large projects are a bit slow, but a modern CPU and more memory would solve that.

Quote:

I've never been very interested in overclocking computers. Seems like a good way to make them less reliable (and shorten their life by running them hotter) for just a few percent more speed. Maybe I'm missing something, but it just never seemed like a good tradeoff.


The two overclocking crowds seem to be (aside from tinkerers):
1) get top performance from cheap hardware
2) get better performance from top hardware

(1) doesn't seem worth the tradeoff for a work machine, and (2) isn't something I really need.

-Tarn
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Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:25 am   
 
Man, I got on-site for a day and there's like ten thousand posts :D

I was just going to chime back in on the DevLaptop vs DevComputer ... with mine I bought a laptop with 17" screen (1920x1200), I also bought a 24" monitor (also 1920x1200). So I can dual-monitor (browser/chat/outlook on the 17" internal screen, and visual studio on the 24"). At 1920x1200 I find I usually only need the one screen anyway, so often just shut the laptop's lid and have it all on the 24" monitor.

For gaming, I also use the laptop, again either plugged into my 24" monitor, or sometimes if I'm feeling like a real big screen, plugged into the 42" plasma in the lounge (since it has a DVI connector), or if I've gone to a friend's house, the built in 17" is still really nice for gaming.

And for geek points, I have my file server sitting next to my 24" on my desk with its own 17" monitor and use a program called "Synergy2" so that my file server acts as a "third monitor" to my laptop (including clipboard sharing). So often when gaming, I'll run up a browser/dps parser on the server so I don't have to take the game out of full screen.

It's very versatile when you got the set up right :)

The downside is you can't do troubleshooting/repairs on laptop hardware yourself, but the upside is you can't do troubleshooting/repairs on the laptop hardware yourself... if you know what I mean :)
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mikeC130
Wanderer


Joined: 03 Jul 2006
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:56 am   
 
Remember the movie Office Space? It may be time for your old machine to be taken out into the field...
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:01 pm   
 
Quote:
It may be time for your old machine to be taken out into the field...

Heeeheee...that's the best idea I've heard all week Twisted Evil

UPS Tracking has the packages arriving tomorrow. Unfortunately, we seem to be last on our local UPS route, so I might not have anything until late in the afternoon. But I don't have anything else scheduled for Saturday, so I should be able to get the new system built by then. Looks like the whole week has been a write-off.

Rainchild: your setup sounds pretty good, but I still couldn't do that here because the laptop only has analog VGA connectors. On a big digital LCD monitor, I can really tell the difference between analog VGA and digital DVI connections. Especially when programming and staring at text all day long. The analog connections just make it too fuzzy for me. So I'd need a laptop with multiple DVI outputs. In a sense, my development machine *is* my file server. At least it's the system will all of the big SATA drives on it. And it has a 300GB IDE where I keep all of my image backups.

Anyway, I guess I still like to keep both systems optimized for what they are used for. I want my laptop to be small and light and easy to move around. My current Toshiba is great for that, and even though it's a couple of years old, I'm still very happy with it. The big development system can be a tower sitting in the office with lots of disks and dual LCD monitors. This will be the first time that the development computer has rivaled my HTPC gaming system for horsepower, but that's not necessarily bad. I can still test my software on my laptop to make sure it performs well on slower computers.
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Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:05 am   
 
Back on the topic of vista... I'm a very keyboard based user - hate reaching for the mouse when coding.

For example, under XP if I want to go to the Zuggsoft forums (which I do quite often)... I would push the windows key, then "a" to open the favourites menu, then "z" to open the Zuggsoft site. The trouble with the new vista menu is when you press the windows key, the focus is in the search box (which is cool in some ways too, eg I can type SQL<enter> and it will launch my SQL developers studio)... but yeah I missed those other shortcuts. So I found this useful opensource program: www.autohotkey.com which lets you attach macro's to keyboard sequences in order to do stuff.

In addition to the standard vista shortcuts (such as "windowskey+e" to open "my computer"), I've added "windowskey+g" to open google, "windowskey+a" to open my favourites, "windowskey+d" to open my recent documents list, and "windowskey+u" to open the shutdown menu (since I used to go "windowskey, u, r" to restart my computer in XP). I'll probably add more as I go along. I'm thinking one to open an "elevated" Explorer window and/or "elevated" command prompt, and whatever else I can think to make my typing life even lazier :D

And while talking about keyboard shortcuts, have you tried the new "windowskey+tab" instead of "alt+tab"... that thing is so cool, I could watch the windows zoom past all day :D
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Tech
GURU


Joined: 18 Oct 2000
Posts: 2733
Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:54 am   
 
Slight derail again. My PC has been long in need of updating and it died rather unceremoniously last weekend. I did have time to look at it so I thought it was a fluke thing (I fiddled with fan about year ago and it was running louder since). I may do some troubleshooting this weekend, but it looks like it will be time to build that PC I've been putting off for ages. I do have another motherboard I can throw in if that's the issue, but right now I have no idea what went bad.

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Asati di tempari!
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