Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Over time i've accumulated several hotmail / MSN accounts that have died away for one reason or another. I also have a google talk account and a yahoo account. The main reason i don't keep in touch with the contacts i have on these accounts is the hassle of having all the clients installed and up to date. So what if you could have one webpage that allowed you to be logged in to all of these accounts at one time, using one interface with all of your chat windows appearing in one place, sound good? Check out Meebo. In their own words is a website for instant messaging from absolutely anywhere. Whether you’re at home, on campus, at work, or traveling foreign lands, hop over to on any computer to access all of your buddies (on AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber) and chat with them, no downloads or installs required, for free!

It works really well and the interface is very cluter free and user friendly. What's more, they allow you to create widgets for your site / blog so people can send you chat messages from your blog directly to your meebo page, if you are logged into meebo at the time you can have an IM chat with your visitors.

I've added one to this blog so feel free to send me a message!

Friday, 5 October 2007

The Dark Knight

One of my favourite recent films was Batman Begins, fantastic film, the whole feel of the underground, dark gotham city was brilliant. It had a more comic book like feel than any of the previous batman titles and the follow up, the dark knight, looks to be going in the right direction too!

There were some pictures knocking about the world wide web of Heath Ledger as the Joker and he looked fantastic, kudos to the make up team. The joker in the comics was a psychotic nutter who was completely unpredicatable. Whlie Jack Nicholson's Joker was a good portrayal it wasn't really very "Joker" like when compared to the comics.

According to Slashfilm Heath Ledger gets it right, scaring Michael Caine into forgetting his lines!

Hopefully the film can live up to it's predecessor and outshine Tim Burton's orignal batman film based on the same story.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Lego Star Wars

OK, so this is a bit late but it's still pretty cool.
If you're into your lego and you're into star wars you might wanna consider ordering yourself a Millenium Falcon

It's a bit pricey at $500 but it should look amazing once it's assembled.

Something to do while you wait for Lego Starwars: The Complete Saga to be released! Then you've just gotta decide on your console of choice, with the Wii having motion controled lightsabers it could be a difficult choice!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Exploding Power Supplies Continued...

A few weeks ago i posted about my exploding power supply issues. Well, I received a shiny new power supply back and i also got a refund for my postage which was very good of them.

So i got home and plugged my new power supply in and.... nothing! I feared initially that the power supply frying itself may have taken a component or two with it but hoped it would be ok, it wasn't.

Now i've got a new RMA number for the entire PC and the company i bought it from and they have arranged to collect the PC from work which will save me on the postage for the whole PC. I guess it's gonna be another couple of weeks before i can get back to the WAR beta and XNA development projects.

Friday, 21 September 2007

NumberFormat issue answered

I posted my issue on MSDN to see if anyone knew what i was doing wrong or if there was a workaround but one of the answers i got made some sense as far as explaining the omission of a "pence" symbol on the NumberFormat object.

Posted by IsshouFuuraibou...
I think because "pence" or cent symbol is an exception to the rule and not the standard. In many cases monetary systems don't have "pence" currency. For example the smallest denomination for the Japanese Yen is 1 Yen. This is true in many other currencies. You'll also see that in all cases where you have a "pence" symbol, you can also format it as "$"0.00. From what I've seen the culture info doesn't store the pence symbol.

The full thread is here.

While that is a fairly reasonable explanation it still seems to be a fairly large omission. Although the "pence" symbol is the exception to the rule it is applicable to a large portion of the world, all of Europe Australia, the US. Sounds like a flaw to me, surely you include it where applicable and omit it in the other cases?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

NumberFormat object flaw?

I've been working on some price tables on our website today and we want to make sure everything is formatted correctly based upon the users culture. Obviously you would assume that the the CultureInfo.NumberFormat would be the way to go and, for the most part, it is. If you want to format your numbers to have seperators in to break them up or format a currency string with a currency symbol then you're laughing,

decimal.ToString("N0", cultureInfo) will give you your number with the correct seperators in the correct places i.e. 10000 becomes 10,000 in en-GB culture.
decimal.ToString("C2", cultureInfo) will give you your currency string, i.e. 100.59 becomes £100.59

All is well, or is it? What do you do if you want the "pence" symbol for a culture i.e p or ¢? There is no property on the NumberFormat object to do this for you, at least not that i could find.

Anyone know what i'm missing here or have a decent workaround? I've got by for now with string manipulation but that involves hard coding the p or ¢ into the code. If we decide to introduce a new currency with a different symbol then it will require a code change.

Monday, 3 September 2007

System Convert Class

As they say, every day is a school day. I was getting an "Invalid Format Exception" when trying to read a VAT rate from a config file and convert it to a decimal using Convert.ToDecimal(). It turns out that the Convert class by default uses

I was testing a website and i had my CurrentCulture set to French which meant the value of 0.175 for the VAT rate was no longer valid as in France the currencyDecimalSeperator is ',' not '.'

Because our config entries will all be in English i created a NumberFormatInfo object which could then be passed into the Convert method call and it all works fine.