will

Where there is a Will

Will McGugan's Blog

I am a freelance software engineer living in Glasgow Leicester.

I post mostly about tech (particularly Python) and photography.

Background: A code monkey

In the last few weeks I have been tinkering with a dynamic website created with Turbogears, but that's not what this blog entry is about. The website I have in mind is similar to a forum in that most of the content come from the users (can't tell you exactly what it is just yet). I wanted a way for users to post comments with simple formatting, but I didn't want to let them enter straight html - for all the problems that would cause. No doubt, some wise-guy would figure out that he could enter the <blink> tag! So I decided to implement something like BBCode, which I dubbed 'Post Markup'. continue reading…

I spent most of 2006 working on Motorstorm, one of the first ever PS3 games. Work gave me a free copy of the recently released Japanese version. If only I had a PS3 to play it on!

Congratulations to my colleagues at Evolution Studios for all their hard work.

Today I played chess with my good friend Will. I had fun but after a dozen draws I got bored. It turns out we are quite evenly matched.

In my new job I just don't get the exercise I used to. Sure I can do a little resistance training at home so I don't look too out of shape, but you have to do a little cardio if you want to stay young and pretty for as long as possible. So I decided to resurrect a hobby of mine from my youth and bought a bicycle from a local shop in Chester. It really is true what they say; you never forget how to ride a bike - although my legs did seem to have forgotten they were strong. So I have spent the last 2 weekends cycling about Chester in glorious weather, and enjoyed it immensely.

It has come to my attention that there is a woman on the internet demanding that everyone sends her a postcard. She actually expects us to go out of our way to purchase a postcard and a stamp and send them to her. In return for what? Absolutely nothing! The audacity of this woman, the bare faced cheek!

I expect you are as disgusted with all of this as I am, and I urge you to contact this crazy postcard lady and explain to her in no uncertain terms how inappropriate her behaviour really is. Write your grievances on the back of a postcard and mail it to her. With bit of luck we can block her doorway with cards and bring an end to this nonsense once and for all! You can find her address on www.sendmeapostcard.org.

My cousin Mirren got married recently, and I went to her wedding. I'm not going to bore you with details of people you don't know - this is not one of those blogs. If you are interested though, have a look at the pictures on my flickr page.

A while ago I wrote a chess module for Python. Now this is not a chess-playing module, rather it parses chess moves, stores board positions and works out legal moves. It can also read and write PGN files. I can fairly confidently declare myself as an expert in this kind of thing, having written the PC chess game Chess Commander.

Chess is something that is very well defined, the rules are laid out in black and white, but there are enough juicy problems and gotchas to make it interesting to work on. It was the special case moves such as en passant and castling that were most tricky. I made extensive use of Python's generators extensively which did simplify things a great deal. continue reading…

I love this photo I took - it could almost pass for one of those classic computer graphics images with spheres reflecting spheres, that you would see on the walls of students bedrooms in the 90s. Thank you Sony Cybershot!

Day 2 of my pseudo-holiday led me to the Blue Planet Aquarium, near Chester. Now since I was at an aquarium, you may be expecting pictures of fish. A perfectly reasonable assumption, but you would be dead wrong. It turns out that taking pictures of fish is actually quite difficult to do. The flash reflects off the glass and water, and the little buggers wont stay still. Fortunately there were also bugs* and amphibians to snap.

*Technically speaking, none of the above are bugs. A 'bug' is actualy an insect with sucking mouth-parts. This is one of those little facts that you can quote verbatim in order to appear smarter than you actualy are. I know I do.

My sister visited to day and it gave me the opportunity to go out in Chester and take a few photos with my digital camera. Im not going to bore you with tourist snaps, I'm going to bore you with pretentious arty photos.