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Sat, Apr 07 2001

I've been feeling really out of things and not even in the mood for coding ... So I decided to just give things a rest and just relax today :-) I played "Phantasy Star Online" after quite a long time and was even able to bump my mag upto level 50 - yay!!

I wasn't able to play too much today since I had decided to attend to quite a few chores around the house that I'd been putting off for a long time. Once I got through with the chores, I really felt like doing some coding and so sat down with the code for Blog. I added the archive feature so that I could specify a date range and Blog will create files (named by date) for those old entries and also create a main table of contents file which would link to all those files. Of course, since I might be building just a sub-set of my archives, the table of contents file code had to make sure that it created links even for dates which might not have been included in the current archival run.

The coding was not too bad and it actually worked after the first few bug fixes <vbg> Of course, it didn't work perfectly in the sense that I asked the archiver to build entries for two weeks and while it did the table of contents right and build the archive file for the first week, it didn't do anything for the second week ... I was not in the mood to do much further debugging and so went on to code another feature - a right-click context menu in the Blog edit window so that I won't have to type in common HTML code like paragraph, line break, hyperlink, image etc. That seemed to work pretty fine right off the bat and so I decided to give coding a rest for the time being ...

posted at 08:48:51 PM  link  comment

Fri, Apr 06 2001

A co-worker who went to India recently came back a couple of days ago and he had told me that they were selling CD's with MP3s of old Tamil (an Indian language which is also used in Sri Lanka) songs for Rs. 100 (about $2) over there and that you could get them to burn a customized selection on request. He'd got about 14 CD's and he got them for me today :-)

It was quite a bit of walk down memory lane to listen to those MP3s <g> I hadn't heard some of those songs since I was about 15 or 16 and some I hadn't heard in over 20 years! I took the CDs home since I wanted to copy them but unfortunately, either my friend hadn't taken good care of them (the CD's were given to me in an envelope with no cases ...) or the copying hadn't been a good job because most of the MP3's gave me CRC errors. Out of the 14 CDs I was able to copy enough files to fill one CD :-( Oh well ... cest la vie ...
posted at 08:38:04 PM  link  comment

Thu, Apr 05 2001

I tried one freeware ADO component for Delphi that I could find on the Net yesterday with Blog but it wouldn't even work ... I then tried converting my database structure to FoxPro since I've been using FoxPro since I began coding but then realized that Paradox had one thing that FoxPro missed - an autoincrement field type <g> It could have been implemented pretty easily in FoxPro via code though but I decided not to bother as I already have quite a few entries in my existing Paradox tables and I have no tools for moving them over to FoxPro - unless I write a utility in Delphi and I don't want to do that ... too lazy :-) Incidentally, I hadn't realized that Paradox was still around as a database tool <g> The last I had heard of Paradox as a database app was a very long time ago - the most memorable being the little easter egg that FoxPro (or was it Access) had of two ducks (pair o' ducks, get it? <g>) getting hit by lightning ...

Anyway, I decided not to try for journal sharing (viat TCP/IP) and not to convert the database format to FoxPro. I did manage to get multiple journal support into Blog and so it seemed to me yesterday that Blog was ready for releasing. I even did a build and it came to around 5.25MB with the BDE engine :-( Then I realized that I didn't have archive building completed yet and so I decided to add that as well before I did a release - why do half a job? Of course, then I thought a bit more about it and realized another cool thing would be the ability to add HTML skeletons in the edit window - you know, for stuff that you use all the time - hyperlinks, images, paragraphs, bold, italics, line breaks etc. So I want to do that too and then call Blog a done deal ... I guess I'm gonna have another busy weekend <vbg>
posted at 08:39:57 AM  link  comment

Wed, Apr 04 2001

I guess I'm going to start ranting today and so I'll just post the good news here first so that all of you who don't want to go through my rants can read this and skip the rest :p The good news is that Aaron came home yesterday! Chris told me that he's home from the hospital and so he's doing well - thank you all again for your prayers and your concern :-)

And now for the rant <g> As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to actually get Blog upto standard so that I could release it and in doing some research I discovered that I could use ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) to perform the database connectivity functions in Blog instead of BDE (Borland Database Engine). Since ADO comes with most of the recent Windows releases (namely Win98 and Windows 2000) most people will have it on their machine already and wouldn't have to do download all the BDE stuff (which adds about 3 or 4MB to the file size I think ...)

So far so good ... So I started looking into ADO with Delphi and I discovered that while Delphi Enterprise has ADO components included, I had to shell out about $200 to get them for Delphi Professional. Since I've already paid almost that much for Delphi Professional and since I am not using Delphi for anything that makes me any money, I didn't really see that as something that I should do ... and here comes the rant <g> So why can't people do anything for free anymore? I sometimes feel as if I am the only one doing stuff for free and that I should stop wasting my time and do something else with it ...

Now I know that I shouldn't feel that way as I've met plenty of other people who do stuff for free and there have been a lot of people who wrote in to tell me that they appreciate what I do and then there's sinesolis who spent a lot of his time to do graphics for Scope for free ... but still, there are days when I feel like this - hey, I'm only human :-)

I searched around quite a bit for ADO Delphi components and found quite a few of them but all of them were selling for around $40-$200 or even more ... I guess, I am in a minority of people who don't think money is everything ... Oh well ... I'm off to try and figure out whether I could still use ADO to do what I want to do or whether I should just stick with BDE and hoep for the best ... I'll keep you updated ....
posted at 08:55:15 AM  link  comment

Tue, Apr 03 2001

Guess anybody who's waiting for the next Scope release will have to wait a little while longer since I'm having too much fun with Blog ... sorry :-( I wanted to release Blog as I think a lot of people who maintain web sites will find this to be a very useful utility. However, there are a few things that I need to fix before I can release it.

For instance, Blog currently supports only one journal though it does allow you to post it to multiple sites. I know that the first request once I release it is going to be for multiple journals and since the database structure currently doesn't support multiple journals, I wanted to build that in before doing a release since otherwise doing it later would mean that I would have to convert all existing databases to the new format. And *that* would mean a new utility and I just don't want to do the extra code <vbg>

The second feature that people are going to ask for is the ability to collaborate on a journal or to have shared journals. I don't know whether this would really be possible with the model that Blog is following but I do want to look into the possibility at least ...

Then of course, there are all the other stuff involved with doing a new release - documentation, graphics, web page, support options etc. I don't know how much of it I will get done but I do want to at least do a "Powered By Blog" image for Blog users to put on their sites ... I guess I'll have to take things a step at a time ... :-) As always, I'll keep you posted ...
posted at 11:26:24 AM  link  comment

Mon, Apr 02 2001

Hmm ... either Blogger is having a lot more trouble since their upgrade than I thought our Evan Williams (CEO of Blogger) is more responsive to e-mails than I thought :-) I'd e-mailed Evan a couple of days ago since I'd noticed that he'd mentioned Scope on his site some time before I actually started using Blogger - the coincidence kinda amused me ... He responded almost immediately and then I wrote to him today to tell him that I won't be using Blogger anymore since I'd started using Blog. And now I tried to use my Blogger account to remove certain things from there and I find that while I can see my entries - I can't edit them or change any settings ... coincidence? I don't know <g>

On another front, I started building an InstallShield setup of Blog to see how big the final package would be and while the Blog.exe itself is less than 400k, the Borland Database Engine and other files that I thought might be needed totalled to almost 6MB ... I don't know whether I really want to do a release like that :-) But I guess I'd better first test over here and see if it really works and also whether I need all the files that I *thought* I might need <g> Of course, since I still don't even have any good graphics for Blog (I'm using some default stuff ...) it probably will take a couple of days before I can actually do a release ....
posted at 08:36:26 PM  link  comment

Well, now that I've finally got Blog working the way I want, back to normal business :-) First of all, a big sorry to all of you who wrote to me but I didn't have time to respond to over the weekend as I went into the throes of coding <vbg> Now that I've finally got the coding urge out of my system, I will start responding to my e-mail ... soon ... I promise :-)

A little bit of good news - Chris (Aaron's uncle) tells me that he seems to be responding well to chemotherapy. He said that Aaron's white cell count has gone down drastically as well. I'm sure that all of your prayers had an effect. Thank you for your concern and for caring!

Oh I forgot to mention that I did fix the sub-directory changing problem with Blog. Now Blog also has the option where I can specify a directory for an FTP site so that Blog will first switch to that directory before uploading the journal file. Now I can update all three of my sites at once - I'm ecstatic <vbg> Well, I'm off to start on those e-mails ...
posted at 07:04:29 PM  link  comment

All right!!! It actually worked :-) Except of course for my RazorSys mirror since my files there have to be in a sub-directory and I had no provision in the FTP section of Blog for changing directories or for specifying a directory ... I guess I'll now have to work on building that in but other than that, it seems to work great <g>

I've also managed to tweak the file compilation so that the executable file is down from around 1MB to a pretty svelte 340k :-) Of course, I still have no idea how to do a distribution set up from Delphi so that it picks up all the necessary files - or even if that is possible with Delphi but I guess that can wait ... I do definitely want to distribute Blog because this is going to make web site maintainance such a breeze and I'm already loving the ease of use of Blog but normal users might find a few of the rough edges on Blog a bit grating <vbg> So I intend to polish things up a bit, figure out how to do a complete installer setup and then put Blog up for download ... Back to work for me :-)
posted at 02:15:38 PM  link  comment

This might actually be my very first post with Blog (I've renamed Jot to Blog since there are way too many apps out there named Jot <vbg>) ... I've put some of my older posts from Blogger into my database for Blog and am going to give this a shot and see if it works ... It has been performing pretty well today on all the tests I ran on it but this is the first real live test for Blog (other than for the FTP test that I ran yesterday that is ...) Here goes ... :-)
posted at 01:01:52 PM  link  comment

Sun, Apr 01 2001

I've been working on and off the whole day on Jot and it's coming along great though not so fast as yesterday's work on the GUI :-) Today I completed the GUI in the morning and since then have been working on the actual functionality and since that gets into the area of writing more than two lines of code for the first time <g> I had to go through learning a bit about Delphi code. I have however got the whole thing working except for the actual template replacement and I just did a test of the FTP stuff and overwrote my Tripod site's main page with a simple text file ... Ooops :-)

Well, at least now I know that Jot really does work It has the ability to handle multiple sites and multiple templates for those individual sites and all of that seems to work fine. This way, you can have the same posts on several different sites and each of those sites could have an entirely different look - a pretty intriguing idea actually ... I might just decide to have different looks for each of my mirrors once I get Jot working just for the heck of it <vbg>

The only things that remain to be done are template substitution and automated archiving and then Jot should be ready for prime time. I'm really happy about how easy it was to get an app coded and out the door with Delphi - if I'd tried to code Jot in C++, it probably would have taken me about two weeks of work :-) Of cours, the downside is that the final product is prett huge ... The Jot executable itself comes to around 1MB and I know that it will also need the BDE (Borland Database Engine) plus probably some other run time files as well ... But for the moment, I'm not even sure I will be distributing Jot since that would mean that I would have to support and develop two different apps at the same time ... But then again, if it functions really well, I just might release it since this will make web site maintainence and updating a breeze ....

Hmm ... Blogger doesn't want to seem to want to work with me today ... Good thing I'm working on Jot to replace it then <vbg> I've been trying to make this post for the last 15 minutes and my web site doesn't update with this post at all ... Oh brother!

posted at 09:34:38 PM  link  comment

Sometimes, I don't understand the way I do things myself <vbg> Well, OK, I exaggerate but take today for instance ... I'd been planning to work on Scope this weekend but yesterday I began thinking how great it would be to have a standalone app that worked like Blogger but had some of the features that I missed in Blogger like being able to post for past dates and being able to update multiple sites with the same entry.

I kind of tossed the idea around in my head last night and then today when I got up in the morning, I was even more inclined to do it. I'd gone over to a computer show in Novi yesterday where I'd seen a copy of Delphi 5.0 Professional for sale and today I just went over again to Novi on a whim and bought the Delphi package. I spent several hours at the show and came home around 4 o'clock. Since then, except for a couple of breaks to cook dinner, eat and watch "First Wave" on the Sci-Fi channel, I've not budged from my computer :-)

I've already got most of the GUI working for my app (which I'm calling Jot at the moment - though I may change the name since I believe there is already another app named Jot out there ...) as you can see from this screenshot:

Now I know I'm going to spend most of tomorrow getting the rest of the app working as well ... Then it probably will be good-bye to Blogger from my site since I can do what Blogger does (and more) with Jot :-) Oh well ... I guess, I can always get back to Scope in a week or so <g> And to think I didn't even know Delphi when the day began .... :-)
posted at 12:13:17 AM  link  comment

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Copyright (c) 2001 Fahim A. Farook