You First Programming Language

Programming Languages and their Compilers.

The first challenge for anyone who is new to programming is to make a choice between the various compilers available for a particular language. This post aims to guide you to the world of compilers, so that you can make your choice easily.

1. C++: Microsoft Visual C++ Express Edition. Free & Fast + Great debugging support.

2. Python: The Python Official Compiler. Available and supported for multiple platforms.

3. Java: The official Sun Java JDK (Java Development Kit), + Multi platform.

4. Visual Basic/C# and the .NET platform: All express editions are free and best suited for anyone who is new to programming.

5. Pascal: The official Pascal compiler, supported.

CCCP: Combined Community Codec Pack

I watch a lot of anime. And at first, when it came to watching downloaded files that were in FLV or AVI format (settle down, I only download them when they haven’t come out in English yet), my computer didn’t know what to do with them, until I found the CCCP.

CCCP stands for Combined Community Codec Pack. putting this on your computer guarantees you’ll be ready for just about every file type and compression ratio that people can throw your way. it’s a small, bare-bones player, which is good for me. I don’t need a playlist or to know how many times I’ve watched something or even the artist–I put most of that in the filename.I do, however, need something that won’t freeze up my computer or take up the entire screen when I play a file. The best part is that the CCCP is FREE and available in a single download from their website. Also, if you’ve ever had problems playing media files on other programs on your computer, I’ve learned by accident that sometimes applications like Windows Media Player can borrow/steal codecs from CCCP, meaning that it’ll be able to play all sorts of video types too.

I Can’t Believe The Audacity

One of the best examples of Open Source software I have found is Audacity.

Audacity offers the ability to create multitrack recordings, which is great for musicians. It also can convert its own files into mp3 format to be shared. The software will also generate tones, which I used as I was developing a tutorial on music theory. I have also used it to create spoken-word podcasts for classes I teach. Sometimes Open Source software can be unstable, but Audacity has been around long enough that the bugs are pretty well worked out. Also, while there is a secondary file that must be downloaded and then “found” by Audacity (a common procedure in the use of Open Source software) in order for some of the plug-ins to work, the instructions for doing this are clear. If you are considering learning how to use recording software, Audacity is a great way to get started. It’s good enough that I use it exclusively for my recording needs. And it is a great way to get started using Open Source software for lots of different purposes.

Using PSP As A Skype Phone

Recently I have been short a cell phone and have been using my PlayStation Portable (PSP) 3000 model as a Skype phone.

The service is cheap and effective, though some precautions that I did not know may be useful for anyone else sporting the idea. The PSP 3000 model comes well equipped for this type of service with a built in microphone and fairly decent speakers that make for instant, out of the box use. Out of the box the PSP 3000 can connect to Skype and–after a simple, free, account creation–can call anyone else on Skype, no matter where they are for free provided you have access to a WiFi network. However, given you make a phone like me you can also subscribe or pay for credits from Skype to make it a bit more useful. You can actually call regular phones anywhere in a given area for a relatively low price. I spent eight dollars on a three month contract that allows me to call anyone in the Canada-US range. Impressive. Less efficiently one can alternatively buy individual credits like minutes and use them, but I have yet to take that venue. Now, there are cons to using this cheap and effective service. One is that it requires a WiFi connection, making the viability of receiving calls or replacing a current main phone out of the question, though you can arrange to buy a phone number for your Skype. The other con is that Voice over IP (voice over internet, or VOIP), even through a reliable service like Skype, has an echo effect for the one receiving the call on a normal phone that is aggravating and halting. After all is said I find I only use my new phone on close friends and family, choosing carefully who I inflict this echo-y goodness on. Users be warned and informed.

IM+ IPhone App Review

This is a nifty little app for the iPhone. This works just like a normal messenger service and you can have a number of accounts on this, including Facebook (but only for the premium version).

You get a choice of status’ as well (Online, Away, Invisible and Offline). The UI is pretty straight forward and intuitive. There are some nice touches, eg. to toggle between conversations, you flick the page to the right or the left, and voila – you can chat to another friend! It’s also quite well designed, so it looks pretty and even comes with emoticons. I really like this app as it doesn’t just work using a wireless connection (yes, that’s you Skype!) but it even works on Edge and 3G. Connection can be a bit patchy at times, particularly if I’m out and about, but if you’re just staying put at one place it’s fine. There are some limitations, eg. you can’t update your status, can’t upload a profile picture, patchy connection when you’re on the move, etc but I would definitely recommend this, particularly the Free version!

Dell Axim X51v Pocket PC Review

Today I am reviewing the Dell Axim X51v Pocket PC.

I have been using this device for about a year. At the time it came out, it was far more advanced compared to most other pocket PC devices due to its fast processor (624MHz), versatile connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth, IRDA, USB), expandability (CF, SD cards), and high resolution screen (480×640 pixels). I purchased the device from Dell on sale at a price that was better than other devices at the time. When making my purchase, I considered a Pocket PC phone device, but ultimately chose the Axim due to it’s powerful features and large 3.7″ screen. I am able to use my Verizon EVDO phone for data access so the only downside of not having a PDA phone is having to carry 2 devices. The advantages of the Axim’s power allow me to use it for many tasks including GPS navigation, music, video, web browsing, email, games, and much more. There is also a active user community of other Axim users who are able to help me with any problems I might have. I highly recommend this device to anyone considering a powerful PDA device.