24-06-2013 13-49-43Oracle Data Provider errors can often be the most useless text you’ll ever read. They never seem to offer any assistance in actually finding out what the problem is.

Take the one I’ve been presented with this morning. The error to the right is one that normally strikes fear into any developer who uses the ODP library for accessing an Oracle database from the .NET framework. Usually it points to a corrupt Oracle Home folder or a misaligned registry entry, but it’s never an easy one to solve.
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Fighting Fantasy bookThe Twilio powered Adventure Game has been a great success so far but I think I need to add a few elements from the original Fighting Fantasy books to move the game away from a simple path-following story to a more interactive story.

First-up is the introduction of enemies. Warriors, ghouls, werewolves, trolls and fiendish imps. Each one you meet on your travels will need defeating, which means we need to introduce health and a dice roll mechanism, which will probably end up being a simple random number generator to begin with. I’ve yet to work out the precise mechanics but I’m thinking you might earn back half the original health of the enemy you’ve beaten. We’ll need to add in some food and potions along the story too, to build up the health.

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Many blog authors use plugins in WordPress to make their code samples look good. Code is generally written in most IDEs in a mono-spaced font, yet blogs are written in proportional fonts so code pasted in between blog text is usually very unreadable until you add a plugin to wrap the code samples in a mono-spaced font style.

There are a great deal of plugins available for WordPress which will make your code samples look good and the one I’ve started to use is called “Prettify GC Syntax Highlighter” (It had the highest rating!) The style is great but you can’t easily add captions to the code.

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To play just call the number or text the word ‘Play’ to – +44 (0) 118 324 7006 †

51339jW18WL.Image._As a child I loved playing/reading the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. (See Amazon) The very fact that I was able to decide how my story went was probably one of the first role playing games I ever played. I remember going through all of them in my local library, then waiting patiently for the new editions to arrive.

As a challenge, my girlfriend and I set about recreating the same sort of thing using PHP. She chose to go down the browser route and I decided to try out the Twilio platform which would allow the user to play via their phone, initially using the touch-tone signals and eventually moving onto SMS based play. I’d previously played with Twilio at a very low level, creating a messaging platform for the radio show, The Games Cast.
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As almost all developers will know, in a commercial development team, work is handed out in the form of tickets. Each ticket, in my view, represents a single piece of work and no ticket should cross the streams (or subsystems.) ie; the ticket shouldn’t contain requirements for changes to both the code and the database, as this is, in my opinion, two separate tickets that are related to each other (or, the code ticket depends on the database ticket – see the logic?)

Up until recently we’ve been assigning tickets to devs and discussing with them which tickets are next on their list, going by priority, ticket-type etc. Whilst this worked in some cases, in others it didn’t as the priority wasn’t clear enough and developers tended to cherry pick the best tickets first, as opposed to the most important, or they hadn’t written them down or something else came up that was more important and the list was thrown out the window.

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