The Myth of the Genius Programmer

YouTube recently suggested this video to me, being several years old you may have seen it, but if you haven’t then I also recommend watching it. It is an interesting talk on the idea of a genius programmer, and will probably ring true for most programmers out there.

I found quite a few similarities in it with agile development techniques, and most of it applies to both open source projects and inside most commercial and corporate development teams. I really found a lot of the ideas and advice agreeing with agile ideas and generally sound like good ideas.

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building a pc case from wood

Towards the end of last year we changed broadband to Virgin and it worked out the same price we were paying before to get TV included. This presented a small problem, as the new Virgin Tivo box didn’t fit in the cabinet under the TV as there was a media pc in a full-sized desktop case taking up too much room. I thought about what to do, and considered buying a smaller case (as the computer in it is pretty small), but actually decided that it would be interesting to build a case.

The requirements were pretty simple. It had to house a mini-ITX motherboard, two hard drives, with space to expand for four or six if I ever require it (though powering them may be another matter), and be reasonably accessible. I had decided that the computer didn’t need to be visible from the front, so started thinking about a taller, vertical case to drop down behind the TV. This seemed like a better idea, than any desktop style case sitting under the TV.

As it was never going to be seen, I simply bought a large piece of MDF, and started by simply drawubg outlines for a few components I wanted space. I decided to leave space for a full-sized dvd drive in case I wanted to add it later. For the hard drives, I already had an old drive cage from another PC. The mini-ITX motherboard layout can be found online and so I simply measured, rather carefully, where to put the mounting risers and drilled holes for them. To my surprise they screwed in and held without needing any glue.

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White bee

At the pub in Hursley on Friday, a white bee landed on the table outside.
White bee
An unusual colour, I think it might be an andrena cineraria, a type of miner bee. Ive never seen one before, but it was quite cool to look at.

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Southackton meetup on Thursday

The Southackton group had a pretty good meetup last thursday. Lots of fun things going on. There were walking robots, autonomous wheeled robots, RF hacking of LightWaveRF remote control systems, arduinos, raspberry pis and more. Also, there was cake!

Autonomous robots

Benjie RF hacking

Mark supplying cake

Hacking some android hardware

Our youngest attendee!

Wheeled robots

Arduino controlled robots

home-built portable server (raspberry pi)

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Cycling in 2012

Looking back over last year, I really tried to get into a regular pattern of cycling to work. Some good weeks and some bad added up to 31 days over the year, which sounds somewhat disappointing. 341 miles cycled to work and back sounds a little better, but I really must do better this year. It will be interesting to see how much I actually manage over the course of this year.

Mountain biking wasn’t really any better either, only managing just over 5 rides, though I really enjoyed them. Several of the rides were in the dark and my little light didn’t really do what was required, so I bought a pair of Chinese clones for a fairly modest price. Light-wise, they are brilliant. Not sure about the cardboard in the battery pack, but the light output is incredible for the price, and I have yet to have a single problem with them.

My first serious mountain bike ride was a 26km loop near hursley, following part of Clarendon way which was affectionately nicknamed the cheese-grater as we were going down a dirt staircase with barbed wire on one side at some speed in the dark. A nice ride, despite people getting a few punctures.

Then we went out to near Winchester for a ride a CheesefootHead – This was supposed to be a 20-25km ride, but turned out to be a 37km ride which nearly broke me. Not to mention being chased out of a field by a herd of very inquisitive and curious cows who were just getting that bit too friendly! Fantastic views from around here though, which I had brought a camera.

Then I went back for my second go around Queen Elizabeth Country park, having come-off badly on my first attempt with a good hole in my elbow. The uphill parts are pretty tiring, but the route is really nice and I really recommend getting out there if you are nearby.

We also did a ride from Hursley, up through the south edge of Winchester, along the golf course and down through Twyford, Colden Common, and Fair Oak. The time of year was bad as the nettles were massively overgrown, but it was a really nice ride. The GPS stopped in the middle, hence the straight line.

And the last ride of the year was another loop from Hursley, which gave me a really good chance to test out my newish lights as it was properly dark and pretty much all offroad. The lights worked great, and the really soft and muddy ground made for an interesting ride. Quite tiring and tricky because of the mud, but the hardest bit was trying to get the bike in the boot of the car without covering everything in mud!

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It’s the 2013 New Year!!!!

It’s the 2013 New Year!!!!

13 - 1 (1).jpg

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