The Haunted House

Sunday, August 19, 2007

J2ME Games

The other day at work we had an interesting meeting/demo about mobile phone software development. This reminded me of when I wrote a game for mobile phones on the j2me platform. It was a fun puzzler where you had to swap gems around on a board to make a line of 3.
It's a very simple concept but it was highly addictive. I remember Amanda got quite addicted to it whilst I was writing it. The good ol days :-) It is available on nokia series 60 based phones from
For the geekier readers it was a j2me java application written for the midp 2.0 platform. I coded it using Borland JBuilder. This was a common development environment to use before Eclipse was more widely used for mobile development. The whole game including graphics had to fit into a 64k jar file!!!.
It was a fun project to work on, but its a line of work that doesn't pay too well. Oh well.
To play the game you need one of the following Nokia phones:
Nokia 3230, 3250, 3620, 3650, 3660, 6260, 6600, 6620, 6670, 6680, 6681, 6682, 7610, 7650, N-Gage, N-Gage-QD, N70, N70-1, N72, N91

Labels: ,

Hurricane Dean

I have been reading various news stories today about Hurricane Dean which is making its way over to Jamaica. I certainly wouldn't want to be on that island at the moment.

Nasa has released some very impressive photos of the hurricane taken from the International Space Station. In the picture below you can see the space shuttle endeavour in front of the hurricane.

It looks like these storms are getting bigger each year. God knows how large they will be in 20 years!!

These piccies are the copyright of Nasa so they don't fall under this sites Creative Commons license.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

I found a really good review of my album yesterday. It's from hyphagogue. I have included the review text below:

"I try to do reviews in an orderly manner. When a disk comes in, I burn it into iTunes, then put the disk at the bottom of my review pile and I try not to write the review until I unearth the disk. In the meantime, music from that disk may come up in shuffle when I’m listening to the ’pod. And sometimes I’m so eager to write about it that I almost break my own rules and pull it out of the queue to get to it sooner. Such is the case with Mechanical from Creature (aka Stephen Haunts). As soon as a song from this disk popped into my ears, I was infected. Creature constructs intriguing tracks that meld EDM sensibilities, house beats and sound snippets created through "circuit bending," where new aural oddities are created by re-wiring electronic children's toys. The result is a disk of intriguing cuts filled with a wide array of sounds that get cut, chopped, de- and reconstructed, all under the cadence of body-swaying rhythms. Solid piano work on several tracks lends a sedate, classical flair under Creature's throbbing electro-constructs. Tracks such as "Vitamin," the title track, or "Daisy Cutter," with its repeated phrase, "disco bombing," pulse with energy and drip enough melty ear candy to satisfy people like me who thrive on the work of an artist stitching together bursts of noise and clatter and creating truly listenable music out of it. Check the thunder of the distorted drums that kick around Yaz-esque bop and slow chords in “New World" or the subdued but tactile raw power of the all-too-brief “Magenta.” The sixteen pieces here almost feel too short, but they pack so much into two to four minutes that it's hard to fault Haunts for his brevity. All in all, a great CD for those who need cool beats and lots of interesting sonic surgery with their electronic music."


Rowsley and the Nine Ladies

We went on a walk today with Neil, Caroline and Neils Dad. We got up at 6.30!! Which for a Saturday should be illegal :-) We made our packed lunch and drove over to Neil and Carolines house to meet them for 8.30.

The walk starts at Rowsley near Bakewell and goes to the ancient stone circle called the Nine Ladies. We decided to all go in one car even though it was a bit of a squeeze. We got to Rowsley for about 9am then the got ready.

The weather report for day was bleak. Lots of rain was forecast so we didn't take any chances and went in full waterproofs. Then if it rained it wouldn't matter too much. The walk wasn't too difficult. There was a fair bit of up hill on the first half of the walk, but it was pretty good.

When we good on the Moore it got a bit colder and wetter, but we were treated to lots of color with the heather growing everywhere (as seen above).

As we got closer to the Nine Ladies we saw a load of people living in tents. Neil said they were druids who have been camping there for a few years to protect the stones. This is because a local quarry wanted to build an access road to one of there pits. This would have meant destroying the stones. They are from around 3000BC, so quite old.

Not sure I would want to camp in the woods permanently, especially on a day like today where it is wet and windy.

The whole walk took around 4 hours. Toward the end of the walk it started raining quite heavy. It was good to get back to the car. We were all tired, but atleast we didn't have anything to do this afternoon except relax.

I am making a chicken pathia for dinner today. Curry, wine and a decent film will be a good way to end the day. I quite fancy watching one of the old Indiana Jones films :-)

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lazy Saturday

It has been a lazy day today and we havn't really done much. I did a little tidying around the house and then gave the camera a good clean as the lenses were getting a little mucky. To test the thing I just stuck my arm out of the bedroom window for a test shot. On looking back at the picture it struck me what a nice view we have over Belper and Derbyshire. Very calming.
Hopefully going to go for a walk tomorrow if the weather holds out. It is forcast rain, but we might be lucky.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ashford In The Water Walk

In the previous post I said I couldn't remember the link to the walk we did today. Well I have remembered now (thanks to Amanda). It's on the Discover Derbyshire and Peak District site.

There is some information about Ashford In The Water, as well as the actual walk route. If your planning on visiting the Peak District and you only get a chance to do one walk, then I recommend this walk as it has lots of nice scenary.

Labels: ,

Walk To Monsal Dale and Ashford In The Water

It's been a busy weekend so far. Yesterday morning I mowed the front and back lawn. It's been the first time in a while that the weather has been nice enough to do it. We bought Neil and Caroline's old petrol mower the other day, so that made the job easier. I still had to strim the grass first, and the mow it twice. Luckily it wasn't too hot.

In the afternoon we went over to Neil and Carolines for a BBQ. It's Carolines birthday during the week, hence the BBQ. As per normal Me and Neil were completely pissed by the end of the night. Amanda was quite tipsy too. Beer, Wine and the sun are an interesting combination.

Today Me, Amanda, Neil and Caroline went for a walk as the weather was due to be good. They picked Me and Amanda up at 8am and we drove past Bakewell to the start of the walk. We started the walk just before 9am, and it was already very hot outside.

This walk is very scenic. You go down into Monsal Dale. On the way down you get a really good view of the viaduct. The walk was also very steep in places. This was made harder by the heat.

The walk is 6 miles in total. Neils GPS reckoned we was doing around 2.8mph on average. Not a bad speed considering how hot it was. Also when we got to the forest, things cooled down a lot more.

We stopped for lunch about 12. We were all hungry by that point. My legs were starting to ache too. Sitting down for 20 minutes just makes you cease up, and it's difficult to get going again.

As we got to the last 3rd of the walk, we had to climb up a very steep hill. The hill was very rocky. Luckly it was dry. Trying to climb this hill when it is wet would have been difficult and dangerous.

This walk wasn't from the usual AA book. Neil got it off a website. I can't remember the link though. DOH!. I'll post again later when I find out the website address.

We are both knackered now, but we can now relax this afternoon and not feel guilty about be lazy as we have already done this walk.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 03, 2007

How to get your Mac address with C#

The other night I was playing around with some code and I need to be able to extract the users MAC address for their machine. A MAC address is a number that uniquely identifies your network adapter in your machine. This can be achieved by using the ManagementClass from the System.Management namespace in .NET. The members of the ManagementClass enable you to access WMI data using a specific WMI class path. More information on the Win32 classes accessed via WMI can be found here. This example uses the WIN32_NetworkAdapter part of WMI. More information about data passed back can be found here.

The code below is all you need to extract the MAC Address. You will need to include a reference to the System.Management assembly in your project.

private string GetMacAddress()
ManagementClass managementClass =
new ManagementClass("Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration");

ManagementObjectCollection managementObjectCollection
= managementClass.GetInstances();

foreach (ManagementObject mo in managementObjectCollection)
if ((bool)mo["IPEnabled"] == true)
return mo["MacAddress"].ToString();

return string.Empty;


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Good WCF Programming Book

I have recently just finished reading the above book on WCF programing by Juval Lowy. This book is a very good read. I spent a while looking for a book that doesn't just rehash the MSDN documentation and this book fits the bill. As well as telling you how to do certain things in WCF, it also spends a lot fo time telling you why you would want to do those things. The only bad comment I have about the book is Juvals points raised about MessageContracts. He states that:
"Any professional WCF programmer should use MessageContracts only rarely,
and therefore I will not discuss them in this book."

This is fine, but he doesn't explain why you should only rarely use them. When I find out the reason, I'll post back here. But apart from this minor gripe, the book is very good. You can read a sample chapter of the book from the O'Reilly Website if you want to check it out.
I also have Juvals Programming Components book too, but I havn't read this yet.



Last night Me and Neil went to see Transformers the movie in Derby. I have been looking forward to this film for over 9 months now. Plot wise, the film is very simple. It is a good old good vs evil special effects romp. This is all I was expecting, and it didn't disappoint. It's a perfect film to switch your brain off at and just enjoy the ride.

Because I used to work in video games, I am still very much interested in the animation technology that goes into making these films as there is a lot of technical overlap between games and film production. If you are interested in special effects take a read of this article over at I am hoping that the 2 disc special edition DVD box set will contain lots of documentaries about the making of the film because I like that sort of thing.

Anyway if special effects and action are your thing, then go and see the film in the cinema. This sort of film really should be appreciated on a large screen with a THX certified sound system. If deep and meaningful plots with profound and intricate human interactions are more your thing, then you will be disappointed, go and see Crash instead ;-)