Jamie Balfour BSc

Welcome to my personal website!

Technology enthusiast

I am very interested in technology, particularly relating to computer science. I am most interested in web design and development.

My main hobby is programming. One of my most well known products from this is ZPE. I also am the sole creator of BalfBlog, BalfBar and BalfSlider.

A little bit about me

In 1997, when I was six years of age, I got my very first computer. I was always very interested in the ins and outs of it and dismantled it to see how it worked.

Years later, in 2016 I received my BSc (with honours) in Computer Science, obtaining a First class degree.

I'd like to welcome you to my website and hope you enjoy using it as much as I have enjoyed building it!

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Me
Jamie Balfour BSc
Full stack developer

Personal Blog

With Pokémon Sun and Moon just around the corner I felt that it was high time that I compiled a top ten list of the worst Pokémon in terms of design. Remember, this is opinion based. Disagree all you like but it will not change the fact that this is my opinion.

I think my list does pretty much summarise the worst designs and names, and I think it goes to show just how bad it's getting over time. My list is only the top ten, I'd like to say that other Pokémon deserve to be in here too such as Magmortar, Diggersby, Probopass and Binacle. 

#10 - Escavalier

Escavalier

I'm just not a fan of either Escavalier or Accelgor. Escavalier (for those who do not know, cavalier is French for a knight or mounted warrior) is the combination of a cavalier and Excalibur (King Arthur's sword). The Pokémon has two jousting lances, which just look ridiculous in the first place, and is encased in armour not too unlike that which cavaliers would have worn. Just silly and uncreative. 

#9 - Machop, Machoke and Machamp

Machoke

These humanoid Pokémon really make me angry and always have. The very fact is they are based entirely on humans. The name is even pathetic, since macho is a word in English which just means 'tough'. They even wear a pair of underwear and have slick back hair. All in all, Machoke is my least favourite of this family since it really does resemble a human far too much.

#8 - Purugly

Purugly

I hate cat like Pokémon in general, since all of them are incredibly boring. None quite make it to the same ranks as Purugly. It's name is just atrocious; a terrible combination of pur (like a cat) and ugly. And it is ugly. This Pokémon shows absolutely no signs of unique or fresh and really just adds another silly cat Pokémon.

#7 - Cofagrigus

Cofagrigus

A sarcophagus/coffin Pokémon?! In fact, a possessed coffin now makes a Pokémon. I hate the pre-evolution, Yamask, just as much as this, but I pick on this because firstly, it looks childish and pathetic and secondly because this is just pure lazy. I imagine this all the time to reside in Gobi's Valley in Banjo-Kazooie back on the N64, but not in Pokémon.

#6 - Garbodor

Garbodor

Okay, a pile of rubbish is now a Pokémon?! This Pokémon is crap. It's design is horrible. It looks like a combination of a bin liner (garbage bag) and rubbish that's spewing out of it. It's name is terrible too: a combination of garbage and odor. 

I can tell you, I would never be a proud owner having this pile of crap as my Pokémon.

#5 - Klinklang

Klinklang

A rip off of the original Magnemite family but looks even worse. Magnemite and co are one of thos families who really look awful, but Klinklang and just feel like somebody thought "you know what, we'll rip of the crappy Magnemite family and make a new range of crappy Pokémon". 

Klinklang is a terrible name too - a combination of klink and klang, two sounds associated with metal hitting together. 

#4 - Chandelure

Chandelure

A fecking possessed chandelier?! Really just when you didn't think it could get any worse (well you probably did since you are reading towards the worst Pokémon design ever) we get Chandelure. This Pokémon's name is a combination of chandelier and lure since being a Ghost type Pokémon it lures others. Who enjoys fighting using a chandelier then?! 

This Pokémon's typing is great since Fire and Ghost is a rare combo, but since it's ugly design (and it's family aren't any better) I just refuse to use it.

#3 - Klefki

Klefki

Another 'possessed object Pokémon'. Yeah right! Game Freak once again ran out of ideas and when one of the creators of these Pokémon got into his car and started the ignition suddenly came up with the idea that we could really use a keychain Pokémon. No bleeding way. 

Game Freak still brought it in and we now have our third possessed Pokémon in the list. Another absolutely waster of a Pokémon. 

#2 - Honedge

Honedge

Alas, Game Freak, the creator of some of the most successful games ever, decides to continue to shoot itself on the foot with the introduction of Honedge. This is one of the worst names ever. Hone, which literally means to refine or sharpen in the case of a blade, mixed with edge, specifically talking about the edge of the blade. It's evolution's names are just as bad. The name Doublade (double blade) and Aegislash (Aegis was the name of Zeus' shield in Greek Mythology and slash mixed into one). 

Anyway, once again we have another 'possessed object Pokémon'. This is another one the developers thought to look to the real world and just cheaply use an object and claim it to be possessed.

#1 - Vanilluxe

Vanilluxe

Woohoo! Number 1! 

I absolutely hate Vanilluxe. This Pokémon has the most childish design of all Pokémon, fails to introduce anything non-real world, and is just beyond belief pure lazy. I despise this Pokémon, and not just because it's an Ice Pokémon, but because this Pokémon is just awful. The name, which appears to be a combination of both vanilla and deluxe, is pathetic. "I'll have a deluxe vanilla ice cream please". Deluxe appears to have been stuck in here also since this is a tertiary evolution, making it the 'deluxe model of the family'.

Who would want to fight using an ice cream?! And how on earth is it so powerful; Vanilluxe has the highest base stat of any non-legendary Ice-typed Pokémon?! 

It's design is awful, obviously appearing to be like an ice cream cone with two wafers in it's head and then a giant cone shape for holding at the bottom. Honestly, when I saw this Pokémon I laughed and shed a tear at the same time - I literally froze and double checked what I had seen was correct.

I'd like to thank Calum for unintentionally suggesting I write this post.

Windows 10 was an amazing operating system for a few days when I first installed it on to my gaming PC. My gaming PC, The Zebra X2, is a beast of a machine which can run most games that I play like Starcraft II and GTA V in the highest available settings (Core i7 4770K, 256GB SSD, 8GB DDR3 RAM and an AMD 7950) but latterly it struggled with simple things like starting up.

After I installed Windows 10 the machine ran fine. However, one day when I was playing a favourite game of mine, Command and Conquer 3, I noticed a slight drop in framerate from playing it the time before. I didn't think too much of it at the time but gradually I noticed that each time I played this game it was getting worse. At the very end before I ridded myself of Windows 10 it was running so slow that when I used the graphics intensive Ion Cannon superweapon the game would just freeze and the animation for the superweapon would not be shown. The game would resume after the Ion Cannon blast was finished. So what the heck was going on?

My initial thoughts were that the hard disk drives that I stored my games on were starting to fail. I tested them all with SMART tools and none of them showed any signs of failure. I then assumed that it was my SSD so decided to install an old SATA III HDD into the system and installed Windows 7 on to it. It ran fine. I upgraded it to Windows 10 and again, it ran fine. So I assumed it was the SSD. I left the SSD in the system just disconnected. 

After time, the same weird thing happened to my system - it began slowing and the graphics were getting messed up in games. So now I assumed it was the graphics card or the PCI controller that had failed on me. I took the GPU out of the system and used the dedicated graphics built in to the CPU. The system ran just the same so I now knew it wasn't the graphics card that had failed, but wasn't sure if it was a motherboard fault such as the PCI controller or the memory controller.

I decided to reinstall the SSD and flash my BIOS. Clearing the BIOS meant that I could set it back to the factory defaults and test it with them (I had tried this several times before but to no avail). Nothing changed. 

My next choice was to clear the SSD and install Windows 7 on it. After reinstalling I panicked slightly as it wasn't working well at all with the Desktop Window Manager crashing on startup. After installing Service Pack 1 everything seemed to work perfectly. I would like to say that Windows 7 was the solution but I can't be sure. 

I would probably put the problem down to several things: Windows 10 was clogging up the system (don't know why), the original BIOS was not designed for Windows 10 and would have required an update (I have since updated again and may try it again in the future with Windows 10) and that Windows just needed that little reformat that us Windows users need to do on a regular basis.

My fix appeared to have come from the reinstall of Windows 7 and the BIOS reset. I will keep everyone up to date with my progress with Windows 10 again in the future.

The Windows 10 upgrade tool can be a pain!

08.06.2016

Due to the upgrade tool in Windows 7, I have been upgraded to Windows 10. This time the system appears to be running well - that is at least in comparison to how it was before. I will keep you posted when it begins to slow down again (if it does).

Today I have decided I will no longer add support for Internet Explorer 8, 7, 6 and below to BalfBlog, BalfBar, BalfSlider, BalfRibbon and my own website.

Subsequently, users of these will see a very small reduction in file size. 

After many years of adding extra support to my website for older browsers, I have decided it is time to move on. I am officially ditching a percentage of users of these older browsers.

Just yesterday I got myself an Xbox One (There may be a review on this coming soon). I tried out Internet Explorer on it, which I found out was Internet Explorer 10.

I also discovered that my PHP script to detect Internet Explorer 8 accepted Internet Explorer 10 as being an older version than Internet Explorer 8. This is a simple mistake to make but it's also incredibly easy to fix.

Here was what I had:

PHP
preg_match("/.* MSIE [1-8] .*/i", $userAgent)

And here is a working solution, to detect all browsers less than IE8:

PHP
preg_match("/.* MSIE [1-8].[0-9]?; .*/i", $userAgent)

And the reason for this happening is down to the fact this only checks the first number of the version, not the second, so IE10 would be recognised as IE1. I also put in, just for the sake of it, a check for a dot (.) and a check for a minor version number ([0-9]) and a semi-colon at the end. At the beginning and end of the regular expression match are any symbols.

One of the most upsetting things that can happen with any technology is that it starts to die, or die prematurely. This is exactly what has happened with my Nexus 7.

Many others have complained as well. Here is a list of issues:

  1. When I rotate it from vertical to horizontal it takes about 7 seconds to flip.
  2. Music can't play in the background most of the time because it can't cope. It pauses the music and I have to resume it.
  3. Chrome takes about 15 seconds to create a tab, even if there are no other tabs
  4. Occasionally, going home makes the system crash and it takes me back to the login screen.
  5. Changing users takes about 10-15 seconds to change between two users on the login screen. I even decided to remove every other user on the tablet in the hope that it would make it faster.
  6. The battery life is subsequently wasted by all of this, and system restarts are frequently required. It also heats up considerably.
  7. Scrolling is never fluid - it just jumps.

This is a Nexus 7 32GB with 15GB of data. By the way, I have an iPad 16GB as well and have it almost full (11GB of data on it) and it still runs fine.

Here's the proof it happens to others.

Nexus 7

The 2012 Nexus 7 is a cheap tablet that seems to have problems

A little introduction

First of all, welcome to my first blog. This blog is hosted on Blogger.com, which I believe is owned Google.

I hope sometime soon I will have my own website dedicated to these kinds of posts, but for now I'm just using this (really nice) blogging system as I used for my summer school course.

After a bit of research I discovered I was correct in thinking Google bought Blogger.com some few years ago (ok 2003, 7 years ago) and they did so from a company called Pyra.

What this blog is

I am proud to say that this blog will be my own way of talking about technology, politics and all the other things I love. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

FireWire and Windows 7

The main body of this post is about FireWire and Windows 7 in terms of compatiability.

Today I had a strange experience with FireWire 400. My external drive was not recognising on Windows 7. I had never experienced this on any OS before, including Vista.

A selection of ports

FireWire is one of the fastest connections out there.

So how did I solve this?

I found a nice little solution: you must first go to the Device Manager and run the driver as a legacy driver. Currently, the OHCI (Open Host Controller Interface) standard that is going around is replacing the legacy drivers (hence why they are referred to as legacy) but it currently not fully ready to replace the original FireWire drivers, lacking backward compatibility that actually works. This is because the majority of new drives do not use the legacy connection anymore, as I discovered with my new external drive, which I will talk about later.

FireWire is currently my connection of choice for data storage as it is a speedy, efficient and all-round well designed connector that follows a tree-architecture rather than a polling system.

Some thoughts

I've always liked the idea of docking stations - ever since I was a child I was buying USB based docking stations to add more connectivity to my laptops and then with other laptops that came with a dedicated bus docking solution the options became even better. But what if there was a connection that took the bus speed like a docking station connector but wasn't proprietary? What if we could use a single connection to do this?

Well, there already exists that! Did you know that ExpressCard is both USB and PCI-Express in one connection? This means that it gets full bus speeds and would allow us to use an external graphics card using the PCI-Express bus like you do in a desktop. How amazing would this be?

I recently bought a new laptop and it features ExpressCard, which I think is the most amazing standard of all. But I also realised that it's been fast at disappearing from the market, which seems a shame. 

ExpressCard

ExpressCard is a really awesome standard

Comment below and let me know what you think!

I have updated this post with new images

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