Thursday 22 June 2006

Harder than it looks

My attempt at making a brick barbecue may not look too neat - I was using old bricks and breeze-blocks from the back of the garden, but it's pretty solid.

I'm about half way through, as I grossly underestimated the amount of mortar it takes to stick a bunch of bricks together. I've popped to B&Q today for the next load of sand. It's surprisingly satisfying to actually make something big and solid like that.

Wednesday 21 June 2006

Migrate to Linux Desktop

I've decided not to put it off any longer. I've finally had enough of Windows. It's time for the big switch from my increasingly sluggish Windows XP machine to Linux.

I've had more Linux than Windows machines at home for ages, but have never really had the guts to use it as a regular desktop PC.

I'm pretty sure the transfer will leave me with a more stable working environment and I'm very sure that Microsoft don't really deserve my hard earned Sterling for the DRM/Spyware ridden Vista.

I'll probably still use Windoze for games until I can persuade Wine to play them, but for everything else, there's a viable Linux alternative.

So far, I've migrated my office documents, email (including GPG), contacts, calendars, instant messaging. I'm now working on getting my iPod working properly (it's already looking like I'll be able to sync my contacts and calendar easier than before).

I feel better already!

Tuesday 6 June 2006

New Blood and Motivation

Our XP team is distinctly low on developers at the moment. We're down to five from twelve earlier in the year. The backlog of stories is constantly growing as the team just doesn't have the bandwidth. The extra pressure may be partly responsible for pushing good people out of the company.

It seems that any team looses motivation without a transfusion of new blood, even though years of team experience should create a much more capable entity.

The remaining developers have all been with the company for 5+ years which creates a more cynical atmosphere than usual. New blood brings with it enthusiasm untainted by previous business mistakes, which blends well with experience gained by learning from those mistakes.

The small team size also means that we don't have variety of skills and enthusiasm. Specific jobs cannot be handled by people with a preference for that type of work, so boredom sets in.

The good news is that we're recruiting heavily now and will hopefully soon have some of the necessary claret. It's up to us to make the team successful again.

XMAME Working

Discovered that XMAME now has a parameter -grabkeyboard that fixes the problem in my last post.

When XMAME runs from MythTV, it grabs the keyboard focus, instead of leaving it on the paused MythTV interface... Hooray, I can play OutFoxies again!