Ambassador Orientation

Waylon has a good summary of the two days the ambassadors spent up in Auckland on his blog here. A few other points:

  • We got to play Xbox 360 – very cool.
  • Lift Plus (the energy drink) have sponsored us, so expect to see lots of drinks around campus when we have presentations.
  • Woosh Wireless have sponsored us, but they aren’t yet in Palmy, so that’s a moot point for anyone at Massey.

I really need to find a good reason to do some MS dev work, just to get an appreciation for and understanding of Visual Studio, etc.

Ah well, I’m really tired, so I’ll keep it short.

I’m looking forward to seeing the other ambassadors photos (*hint*) – the ones up so far are awesome,


Jonathan Giles.

XPath and Leopard

Well, my work on implementing an XPath engine within Mandarax is finally looking up. There is only one area that I’m facing big troubles, and I’ll start worrying about that later (tomorrow most probably). It’s cool what it can do now – you can give a query like “/fact | /rule” to gather all the rules and facts within the knowledge base, or if you want all rules with a certain size, you simply go “/rule[@size=’10’]”. The number of queries is unlimited – I’ve built a plugin system so people working within Mandarax can easily add further datatypes to the engine, allowing it to then provide results for that data.
Compare this with having to write your own code each time you want to find something out within the knowledge base, and the benefit becomes hugely obvious. And here is a view on the code repository zoomed in on my XPath code (I admit the code isn’t nice right now – it’s in debug mode):
Other than that, I’ve just been finalising (and bug fixing) Leopard Tutor, my app for a massey associate professor who wants to use it to teach students Java and object-orientation. They basically build up a UML diagram from a source code listing. Hey Microsoft – wouldn’t it be cool to get this switched over to a C# teaching tool? It would take very little work, and it’s another way to get students to learn .NET over Java. Ask me for more info .
Jonathan Giles.

Full time programming

I think the trick to being a full time developer in my eyes is to either have lots of projects going that you can switch between, or at least have projects where you can architect the solution. Otherwise things get boring quickly.
I have never been in a situation where I only had one project going or where I’ve used someone elses architecture, but I’m not looking forward to the day when this becomes the case.
Maybe I’ll just need to be my own boss

MSN Spaces and Firefox

I don’t know about anyone else out there, but whenever I try to write a blog entry using Firefox it crashes. I’ve just found this great plugin for firefox that helps with this problem – it allows you to run IE within firefox, for those problematic pages. You can even specify sites that should always open using the IE engine, for example
You can download this plugin from here.
Jonathan Giles.

Anyone got a loan? :-)

I’ve been spending the last few weeks looking at houses with Julia (the fiancee). It’s kind of depressing knowing that I’m going to need to go to the banks and try to get a loan on my income, which as a student may be ok, but it’s certainly not going to satisfy any bank. On top of that, looking at the online calculators, it’s crazy to think that a small loan will be payed back in double (nearly triple) by the time we pay it all off. Didn’t Einstein say compound interest was the 8th wonder of the world?

Looking through another nice house today, and meeting with a mortgage broker tomorrow. It’s strange, I’ve never had problems in the past with having a little bit of money, but now that I want to borrow $120000 to $150000, I all of a sudden have a feeling of disinterest in purchasing a house

So, I’m accepting donations to the ‘House Jo and Julia Fund’. Come on, let’s spread the joy to a happily engaged couple . Donations would be happily accepted, and could help with tax writeoffs .