Mig crash  Welcome to James's homepage   
    Hello there!     

Now I'm not the kind of person who likes to use their homepage as a "Find out all about James" information centre, so here's the briefest outline as to who I am and what I'm up to. First of all, I was born in England, and at the age of 9, moved to South Africa where I did some of my schooling. I moved to Chicago in America for a year and then returned to England where I've been ever since. I went to Imperial College and obtained a degree in Materials Science, and then, oddly enough, moved off into Chartered Accountancy. Geez ... was that dull or what?! I returned to Imperial after a year and gained a Ph.D. in Materials Science, followed by 2 years post-doctoral research. Then I headed off to study Dentistry at Guy's Hospital (no .. that's not Kings thankyou very much!) in London, and now hopefully, I've sat the last ever exam in my life! Recently, I fell totally in love with Kay, a friend of mine who I'd known through my Dentistry course, and yet had hardly spoken to her whilst we were on the course. We went away to go to a friend's wedding, fell madly in love, and what more can I say? A romantic dream come true! What else can I tell you at this point? Maybe you'd like to see a picture of Bandit and Roscoe, the two wonderful dogs I grew up with?

Well, that's enough of an introduction: let's get onto hobbies, links and the generally more interesting!

"You are entering a restricted area - leave immediately!"

Flight sims

By now you may have noticed a certain theme to this site - yes, I'm mad on flight sims. As far as I'm concerned, PC's aren't there primarily for word processing, number crunching or playing solitaire. Nope. If you haven't experienced the thrill of evading a surface-to-air missile, whilst receiving the above message from 20 migs that have just blipped your radar receiver, then you're missing out on a major adrenaline rush. So here's some links to get you mixing it up there with some folks who'll think nothing of showing you the working end of 30 million dollars worth of technology. I love it!
  • DID in my humble opinion (and many others) develop the best flight simulators, and you won't go far wrong with F22 ADF or EF2000. Get them now! And if choppers are your thang, then you'd better pick up Jane's Longbow 2. Recently, there have emerged some gorgeous sims, and I can't recommend enough Microprose's Falcon 4 and European Air War, as well as Jane's World War II Fighters.
  • The place to find out what sims are around, how good they are, what their faults are, and what's in the pipeline, is Combat Sim. These guys live, breathe and sleep flight simulators, and no-one is better informed out there on the net than these guys. And boy, do they keep their site up-to-date or what!
  • You'd better have some decent hardware to get the most out of today's and future sims, a fast processor and loads of RAM are of course obligatory, but more so now is the need to have an excellent 3DFx card, incorporating the Voodoo 3DFx or Voodoo 2 3DFx chipsets. I use an Orchid Righteous coupled to a Matrox Millenium II and they're gorgeous. Oh, one more thing, whilst you've got your wallet out, get yourself a really good sub-woofer and some reinforced concrete for your walls. If you want to find out all the pos and cons of various pieces of hardware, then check out Tom's Hardware Guide.
  • No serious flight sim addict would be without true HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) controls throwing all your keyboard commands onto a joystick and throttle control. Join the debate as to who makes the best if you want to, or save yourself the stress and get yourself Thrustmaster controllers like the brilliant F22 PRO joystick and F-16 TQS throttle, running off a dedicated speed adjustable dual port game card. And to help you program these, get yourself either Commander 2, EZ Build or Winstick, but best of all, get the completely sexy and gorgeous Fox Two Pro (OK - I admit it, I'm biased. But then I developed Fox Two Pro!!). If you're having problems with your Thrustmaster hardware, you may want to see if you've got the latest software versions here. For reviews of their products, I'd check out Combat Sim and GameCenter.com.
  • There are a lot of homepages out there dedicated to flight sims and military aircraft, but in my humble opinion, they don't come much better than these .... Eagle's Flight Sim Page, Cowboy's Thrustmaster Users Group, Fighter Tactics Academy and Snajper's Inn. And for some great links, check out those on the Flight Sim Central links page.
  • Finally, the newsgroup flight sim addicts all congregate in is comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.flight-sim - see you there sometime! :)

..and finally
For all you really keen flight sim fans, there's nothing better than the real thing, so here are some links to various military aircraft sites and image libraries. As I find more good ones, I'll add their links to the list.

So, what else is on this site?

foxyanim.gif (71Kb)

First and foremost, this is the home of Fox Two Pro and Fox Two, applications I have developed to help Thrustmaster owners program their hardware.

Latest news: Fox Two Pro is now shipping !!!!!

Fox Two - that's rather an odd name isn't it James?

Now look here, it's better than what I originally came up with: ATE '98, an abbreviation of Another Thrustmaster Editor. I got my inspiration, if you can call it that, from watching too many films with fighter jets firing missiles away and shouting "Fox Two". Fox Two came about not only because I've always wanted a text editor dedicated to Thrustmaster programming, but also from my experience in developing PilotADE, an application for helping programmers develop apps for the brilliant US Robotics PalmPilot. And as a dental student, I have to say my PalmPilot is totally indispensable. Take a look at one next time you're out shopping.

If you're interested in taking a look at Fox Two Pro, then head off to my Fox Two Pro page and see what it's all about. If you'd rather stand up, put your head between your legs, waggle your ears and shout "wibble" continuously, then apart from gaining my total admiration for reading this gibberish the wrong way up, might I suggest that you seek medical help sooner rather than later? Wibble ... errr ....
Dive city
Another hobby of mine is scuba diving (did you know that scuba stands for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus?), and my first dive after I qualified was a diver's dream come true. Read all about it on my diving page. Note that it's a complete myth that scuba stands for Sinking 'Cause Underwent BSAC Acreditation. If you didn't understand that joke and you're a diver, congratulations on being trained the thinking man's way!
This is no place for hangups, but with this fascinating subject, size is everything. I've got a 10 inch f4.3 reflecting telescope, and no matter how disinterested you are in astronomy, when you point a beast like that at the stars, you can't help but be amazed at the Universe we live in. Head on over to my Astronomy page for more on such matters.

South Africa
The most beautiful country in the world, I miss not being there a hell of a lot. It's a stunning place, and Cape Town is unbelievable. See what I have to say about SA here.

So why did that chicken cross the road? Doesn't it depend on the chicken?

Search me ...
There's a lot of information on the net. Finding it of course is another matter!
If you're searching the net, then I suggest you start your hunting by asking Jeeves. Or why not grab yourself a copy of WebFerret from these guys. If you're looking for software, then I always start at Tucows or Stroud's site. For drivers, I tend to look at Win95.com, and if it's files in general you're after, then find them using Filez.com or FTPsearch.
  She's a babe for sure   Visual Basic

Now I'm old enough to remember the days of the Sinclair ZX80, Tandy TRS 80, Commodore PET and the BBC computers, and to have witnessed the technology explosion, from these humble machines to today's powerhouses is nothing short of breath taking. But funnily enough, I'm still glad to see my favourite language BASIC is hanging in there. I spend a lot of my time programming, using Microsoft Visual Basic 5 Professional, and it's gorgeous. It may not produce the smallest or fastest apps, (I remember the 1Kb limit on the PET very well!) but it certainly is the fastest development language. You can create a beefy app much quicker than it would take you in something like C. And of course, the reality is that unless you're programming games or heavily intensive graphics apps, most of the time the program sits idle waiting for the user to do something, and not the other way round.

Anyway, here are my VB links I use a lot - if you're a VB programmer, I thoroughly recommend you explore these sites as they contain code and controls that will enhance your programming ability greatly.

  • My first port of call is always VBnet as the advanced programming tips here are superb. The site is regularly maintained, and my own app Fox Two would be very amateurish without some of the tips I've learned here. And talking of tips, whether you're into VB or not, why not get a tip on your favourite apps delivered directly to you from ZDTips for free every week. What a great way to learn.
  • When you're programming and you're running up against a brick wall, it's more than likely that others have had similar problems, so have a good hunt round the Microsoft Knowledge Base to see if your solution is already out there. Or try their advanced search page. The Visual Basic Support site can often get you out of a scrape, or have a hunt through this list of problems, bugs and fixes.
  • Writing your first help file is so daunting, and I have to say that the help files accompanying VB5 don't really shed much light on the matter. So here's what you need. Use Word for Windows for creating your help files - you save them as RTF files, and get hold of Microsoft Help Compiler - you need this especially if you're using Word '97 otherwise you'll be stuffed when you try to compile its RTF files. The help file in Microsoft Help Compiler is excellent - read it well.
  • A new discovery for me - if you're into games development, then you'd better check out Matt Westfall's site. And for some great controls, I'd look to see what Mabry Software's Home Page has to offer.
Don't forget the newsgroups as well - there's some bright people out there. I tend to use the following:
  • comp.lang.basic.visual.misc
  • microsoft.public.vb.controls
  • microsoft.public.vb.winapi
  • microsoft.public.vb.bugs
  • microsoft.public.vb.ole
  • microsoft.public.vb.syntax
    'Friends, Romans, Countrymen ...err...'

If you're expecting a long list of links to my friends' homepages, forget it. Don't get me wrong - they're very intelligent people. It's just that their knowledge of setting up homepages is actually less than their knowledge of the lesser spotted, artichoke eating, rabbit's mating call. Still, a few of them do know what they're doing, so let me introduce them ...

  • Well, you've seen the X-files no doubt, so my first guest needs no further introduction ... Chris Carter. Oh all right, so its not the Chris Carter, but you really ought to take a wonder over to his site and see what can be achieved when you have an excellent knowledge of HTML. And his Disney pages are breathtaking. Enjoy!
  • An old buddy of mine from University days, Will is one talented guy. A diving instructor, pilot, excellent swimmer, computer programmer and a bloody electronics genius, this guy redefines the term "gifted." Browse around his site and take a look at some of his computer artwork. People who are as talented as this just make me sick! No offence Will! :)
  • Avi's just getting to grips with HTML, but as you can see, he's a quick learner! Well, let me qualify that last statement ... once he gets going he's quick. But you should have seen how long it took me to get him into creating a homepage. And then there's the story about persuading him to buy a computer ...... I reckon by the end of the century I'll wean him off that 14 inch monitor as well! Anyway, this is one person to look out for in the dental world of tomorrow - he really is that damned good. Just don't play snooker with him though .... :)
  • One of my closest friends, Johan's site holds a lot of memories for me. My final year in Dentistry was damned stressful, but it was also a year of great fun. I just don't know how Johan and I spent so much time on our permanent Ethernet connections, surviving on about 3 hours sleep a night! But it was worth it - endless evenings flying online together, surfing, we had the best times - and the beauty of the net of course is that even though he's now back in Sweden, it's as though we still lived in the same hall, because we're often chatting in the evening on ICQ, just like old times :)
      On my travels ...

I've come across some interesting sites, so in no particular order ....

  • I'd be lost without MedLine, the Medical journal reference locator.
  • Buying or selling, the best and latest adverts are always in The Loot. Check out what things cost here in beautiful tropical idyllic England ... err ...
  • I'm sure you've received a good map book for Christmas, but was sending it to another relative for their present really that great an idea? Oh well, see if you can find one here.
  • If you're well read, you'll read The Economist - a brilliant business publication, now on the WWW.
  • Now this one's an interesting site - The anonymiser. Did you know that when you're surfing the net, Big Brother is watching you? No? Go here and find out what they can know about you already.
  • A popular science program watched by millions in this country (not least of all because it's filmed live and their experiments go deliciously wrong every now and then!), Tomorrows World is excellent. One of the many pages from the World's best television network, the BBC.
  • Cameras on the Net! The title says it all....you can now visit sites which have cameras connected to the net which take photos of wherever they're pointing to periodically. Including the Antarctic, Sydney .... brilliant.
  • Lost in England? Maybe you need a street map. And if you've no idea where England is, ya gonna need a bigger map.
  • Read about the fascinating history of the Pirelli Calendar, and take a look at this month's offering.
I'll add more here as soon as I've finished redesigning my homepage.

E-mail me

Mailer If you feel a compelling urge to send me some e-mail, or if you just feel that you need someone to listen to your ideas about trying to cross breed carrots and brussel sprouts, then here's my e-mail address: nutty@flyfoxy.com

If for any reason this address keeps bouncing, you can mail me using my secondary e-mail address: jameshallows@blueyonder.co.uk

Security! If you enjoy sending e-mails full of text but you find that all you can manage to write is usually only one line, then why not just encrypt them with PGP? Yes, now you too can enjoy generating e-mails full of wonderful garbage that'll give your spell checker hours of fun. If you're going to send me encrypted mail, here's my Diffie-Hellman Public Key for PGP 5.0. (Thanks Diffie - see you next week sometime.) If you don't have PGP and can't get hold of it, begin an e-mail with "-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----" and then dance around on your keyboard for an hour. It'll look just the same!

If you've noticed a certain similarity between my pages and those belonging to Chris Carter, then speculate no longer I tell you. I can assure you that this is most certainly a blatant example of copying someone else's hard work because I was so damned impressed with their layout and I couldn't for the life of me work out how they'd done it.

However, this is in no way any reason to feel that Chris has been hard done by and ought to be held in any esteem whatsoever. Why? Well, this git just landed a job in Hawaii working on some of the sexiest telescopes on this planet, which in my book, makes him a justifiable target for any abuse that comes his way. And believe me, if you'd seen his haircut recently ...... (if anyone knows a site which covers the history of mop design, please send me that link for inclusion here) ....

But seriously, I jest - if you want to see one of the most impressive sites by an individual whose pages dedicated to Disney's Beauty and the Beast are nothing short of inspirational, go and visit his site. It really is that good. Just don't forget the abuse!! :)

Did you know that you're not the first buddy to drop by and laugh at my HTML inadequacies? No? Well in fact, you're joining a growing number of other lost souls - to be precise, since May 8th 1996 according to Web Counter. And they're still laughing. But that's the beauty of the net. I know they're out there, but I can't hear them. I hope your life is now more complete. And do stop laughing, I'm developing a complex ... err .....
I last confused myself totally with this HTML stuff on:

Thursday 9th August, 2001.

This page is best viewed at 1024 by 768 or higher, 24bit colour, and with your eyes open.

Dr. James C. Hallows