Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend work

The weekend is one of those times where you can, usually, get a clear run at some things.

I started yesterday by trying out the Express Edition of Visual Studio 2008 (C++) and in general it was fine. I found it a little slower than previous versions I'd used but that was the only bad thing I have to say about it at the moment.

Being the express edition means that a lot of things are missing, but this version will be useful for acquainting myself with the new environment until I get hold of the Professional Edition.

Yesterday was also taken up with a search for a library which would provide the SMTP/POP3/IMAP and SSL functionality I need. I looked at a few options but kept coming back to the Chilkat range. If it does everything it says on the tin then it will be a good fit. At $289 (approx. £135 at current exchange rates) for a bundle containing the company's range of libraries I can save myself an enormous amount of work. I'll download the libraries later and try them out.

One of my big tasks at the moment is to complete a new website for my company. This will be a hub site where I'll continue to promote services whilst I'm developing software and later it will link out to the site for the application. It has been badly in need of a refresh and I'm still on target for a month-end live date.

One thing I needed were some stock images for the site. After a brief search I came across the iStockphoto site. There is a huge range of images on that site and they are all brilliantly priced.

Since the website will only need small images I can obtain them from iStockphoto for around $1 each. A quick search came up with a number of suitable images for the website. These have been purchased and I'm working them into sample pages in Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 to see how they work with the new layout.

I decided I needed a break this afternoon. After rising at the normal Sunday time I was in front of the PC for a while, finally deciding to stop for breakfast at midday.

I enjoy non-technology tasks to clear my mind and give me time to think about what's next. Today the vegetable patch got some attention (5 hours worth) but it's finally looking great and hopefully the next batch of seeds will turn into something other than slug food. It's amazing how a few hours of work like that can not only clear your mind but energise and relax you at the same time.

But, break's over. Back to those sample pages for the website.

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