Back in February we bought two new chickens. We’ve had our original two for nearly two years and we figured that we could handle another two in the garden.

Although the chickens spend most of their time wandering around the garden, I decided to extend the run by another metre just to give them a little more room in the morning while they wait to be let out to free range.

We located a local poultry farm, Chalk Hill Poultry, and popped down to pick up a Sussex Star and and Bluebelle. The two new chickens were named Lilly and Bluebelle.

The new residents had to spend the first three days in the Eglu run so they would get used to that being their home. During the first day of this Egna and Pecker were very loud as the scratted around the garden. Generally showing their lack of appreciation for the new visitors. As the evening wore on and the solar powered chickens wound down, they all roosted up together and with a little argy bargy – got along.

Over the next few days the four got used to each other and with the odd bit of aggro the old chickens let the new ones understand their place in the pecking order.

Over the following six weeks they have formed to groups of two who can generally tolerate being in reasonable proximity of each other. The odd bit or arguing happens – but as a general rule they seemed to be getting on.

Bluebelle grew very quickly. We often commented that she seemed more like a cross between a emu and a velociraptor. She’s a little bit mad with massive feet.

Having bought the chickens at point-of-lay we expected them to actually starting laying any time. At six weeks they were behind how long we waited for Egna and Pecker, but then we are just coming out of winter so we did bother too much.

Over the last week Bluebelle started becoming aggressive toward Lilly. Grabbing her behind the neck, chasing her round the garden more, and almost trying to confine her to the Eglu.

Anyway, this morning I got up at 6am as usual and let them out of the run before quickly going back to bed. We were up late last night and we lost an hour because of the clocks going back, so it was really 5am.

Lying in bed I heard what can only be described as the most pathetic attempt at a cock-a-doodle-do… and in that moment all the strange images of six weeks of Bluebelle rushed before my eyes, the big feet, the size, the stupid run around the garden, the pecking or Lilly, and I knew, that she was a he!

I heard the crowing a few more times before I got downstairs to look out of the french doors into the garden. And there before my eyes, I witnessed Bluebelle, stand up high, proud, and announce in the most pathetic excuse for a crow, cack-er-duddle-dum, I am a man!

Wikipedia Eglu

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That’s Entertainment

This is one of the most visual songs I can recall. Listening to it or even just reading it always sends me to the place that Weller is describing. Very few songs can do that.

That’s Entertainment

A police car and a screaming siren –
A pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete –
A baby wailing and stray dog howling –
The screech of brakes and lamplights blinking –

That’s entertainment.

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots –
An electric train and a ripped up ‘phone booth –
Paint splattered walls and the cry of a tom cat –
Lights going out and a kick in the balls –

That’s entertainment.

Days of speed and slow time Mondays –
Pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday –
Watching the News Ledge and not eating your tea –
A freezing cold flat and damp on the walls –

That’s entertainment.

Waking up at 6 a.m. on a cool warm morning –
Opening the windows and breathing in petrol –
An amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard –
Watching the tele and thinking about your holidays –

That’s entertainment.

Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes –
Cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume –
A hot summers’ day and sticky black tarmac –
Feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were faraway –

That’s entertainment.

Two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight –
Two lovers missing the tranquillity of solitude –
Getting a cab and travelling on buses –
Reading the graffiti about slashed seat affairs –

That’s entertainment.

Albums: Sound Affects

See Also: Paul Weller Official Website

Wikipedia Paul Weller, The Jam
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Under the Sakura

Under the Sakura

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Apple Tech Talk

I was lucky enough to get an invite to the Apple 4k Tech Talk in London a couple of weeks ago. It was a worth while trip to the big smoke just for some of the snippets of information your get from some of the talks. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many forums or blogs you read, how many articles or books you scour through, it takes someone talking to make something make sense.

I didn’t take copious notes like many other people did; there were a large number of people sat there typing in to their Mac Books, almost verbatim anything said!

Anyway, here are a few items I scribbled down that may be of interest.

The first two sessions I took were “Effective iPhone App Development” by Lawrence Coopet.

Data Storage
1. When storing config/session states, be careful about writing lots of objects into a dictionary as individual items. Create a session object and write that instead and don’t just write everything to NSUserDefaults.
2. Think about where you store this data… Archive and implement NSCoding and Data Recovery.
3. Use SQLite
4. Use CoreData
5. Store sensitive data in the KeyChain. This has the benefit of being able to share between projects – company data – application data.

When Caching data, make sure you place it in the correct place and never hard code your paths to this data.
All the paths are stored in NSPathUtilities.

NSTemporaryDirectory – this will always be cleared and will never be backed up.
NSCacheDirectory – this is saved, can be cleared, but will never be backed up.
NSDocumentsDirectory – never cleared, always backed up.

Choosing the right place for your data will determine how much iTunes has to backup when syncing your device.

Targetting iPhone OS
1. You should ALWAYS set your Base SDK to the most current OS version – ie. currently 3.1.2 – regardless of which OS you are considering deploying to.
2. Set you Deployment Target to the minimum OS you want your app to run on.
3. You should check for presence of OS features in your code. eg use NSClassFromString and respondsToSelector. However do this at the start of your app and set flags accordingly so that you are not taking speed hits during normal app operation. checking straight global C functions is very quick.
eg if ( UISaveVideoAtPathToSavedPhotoAlbum )

Application Flow
1. Stay focused!
2. The best system is generally – List View – Info View – Detail View. Allow the user to choose to drill down on data rather than forcing too much information on them in one go.
3. Always use the 1 screen 1 controller model.
4. Make sure you are not hardcoding references back to other objects in your application. Using the Model Controller View model your controller talks back to your model but your model should never talk directly to your controller. Your controller talks to you view but your view should never talk back to your controller. And you should never every have your view talk directly to your model. If parent communication needs to take place, then implement delegates. This way you can avoid App specific communication paths.
5. Use Delegates
6. Use Notifications through NSNotificationCentre

Memory Management
1. Make use of the measurement tools regularly – checking for leaks and generally memory usage.
2. Under Snow Leopard make use of XCode Static Analysis – it’s a fantastic tool. (BTW: It really is!)
3. Use the 1 controller 1 nib model.

Application Life Cycle
1. Prefix your classnames with your own token to avoid namespace collisions. eg UI, NS etc…
2. Avoid underscores at the start of method names – these are reserved to Apple.

Proper Code Paths
1. Follow correct code paths. eg. You implement drawRect and call setNeedsDisplay. NEVER call drawRect.

Make sure you handle applicationWillResignActive, applicationDidResumeActive, and applicationWillTerminate.

1. Make sure you use the Async API for Networking and Reachability.
2. Use NSTimer – don’t sit around in threads counting down!
3. Use NSOperation and NSOperationQue. Subclass NSOperation and override main.
4. Keep object access confined to one thread.
5. Design out the need to use locking/signalling/syncing
6. Avoid performSelectorInBackground and detachNewThreadSelector – if you are using these then you are doing it wrong. Use NSOperation.

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Artist Required

I really do need to find an artist to help me work on iPhone games!!

Please apply….

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