VAT calculations

Posted on 28 November 2008 in Programming, Resolver One

There's been an interesting discussion over at Smurf on Spreadsheets about the consequences of the UK government's temporary VAT rate reduction. For the benefit of non-UK readers, VAT is basically the british sales tax (it differs a little in implementation from a simple sales tax). It is currently 17.5%, but as a reaction to the financial crisis, it will be reduced to 15% from 1 December 2008 until 31 January 2010 inclusive. Whether this makes sense as a matter of economic policy is, of course, highly contentious. But this is a technical blog so I'll stick to its effect on spreadsheets :-)

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Ironclad 0.7 released

Posted on 27 November 2008 in Programming, Resolver Systems

Excellent news from my friend and colleague William -- he's released version 0.7 of our Ironclad project, a library that allows you to use the useful C extensions that have been written for CPython (Python's reference implementation) from within IronPython (Microsoft's version for .NET -- the version we use at Resolver Systems).

William has many caveats about how far there still is to go, but this new release is tantalisingly close to being ready for alpha testing. Huge chunks of numpy, the numerical Python library for doing difficult maths with large data sets, now work. This is fantastic stuff -- close enough that we're now seriously considering having it as an option (with an explicit note that it's not ready for production use) in the next release of Resolver One -- or at least the one after that.

[Update] The redoubtable Michael Foord, another friend and colleague, has written a much better and more detailed post about this release on the IronPython URLs blog.

Resolver One plug

Posted on 26 November 2008 in Resolver One

A quick plug: there's only one day left to get Resolver One at the old price!

As of midnight (GMT) tomorrow, the discounted price for Resolver One 1.3 will come to an end, and the price will rise from $199 to $399. If you want to get your copy at the old price, you should buy now...

Affective robots

Posted on 26 November 2008 in Robotics

I wouldn't normally link to the Daily Mail (whose politics I dislike), but when it's my fiancee and her work being profiled...

Do one thing and do it well

Posted on 20 November 2008 in Business of Software, Resolver Systems

It's all change at Resolver Systems.

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Best. Video. Ever.

Posted on 20 November 2008 in Funny, Memes, Quick links, Robotics

Cats and robots. What more does a meme need?

Book meme

Posted on 13 November 2008 in Memes

Via the unofficial planet python, specifically Grig Gheorghiu:

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Here's mine, from A Vertical Empire by C. N. Hill (a history of the british space programme):

"All this wrangling cannot have helped the progress at Saunders Roe, or the prospect of trying to sell it to the German Air Force."

Meh. Not terribly exciting. I should have gone for the cool book :-)