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Sat, Apr 14 2001

I decided to give DBISAM a whirl today and set to work early in the morning ... My existing Paradox tables for Blog converted over great with the data - the only problem was actually something stupid that I'd done, I had set the journal entry time field as a DateTime field instead of a simple time field and had to spend a little time to convert it over. Once that was done, things looked pretty good :-) Converting the existing Blog code to use DBISAM was a snap as well since all I had to do was replace the existing TTable components with the DBISAM equivalent.

Since the DBISAM site had said that their trial version was only hampered by a nag screen, I had hoped to distribute Blog with the nag screen on and let the users put up with that minor inconvenience <vbg> since I just can't go to the expense of buying DBISAM at the moment but when I ran the app I discovered that the nag screen actually said that this trial version using DBISAM was not to be distributed :-( Oh well, there goes that idea ...

I put aside coding for the rest of the day and decided to just relax. I burnt several CD's full of Tamil (Indian language) MP3 songs that a friend had lent me. I'd been meaning to buy TDK's Mojo when it was released but the availability of so many MP3's and the inability to play them (I mostly listen to music while driving since I don't have the time at any other time <g>) made me decide to go out and get a hybrid CD player today! So I went and got a Philips Expanium. It's pretty good since it comes with a cigarette lighter adaptor and a car kit for the price of the player but for anybody who wants control over what they play and how they play it - this certainly is not the player of choice! There is no title display and as far as I can see, there is no easy way to select individual songs .. but fortunately, I just pop in a CD and listen to everything that's on it and so this is not too much of a problem for me :-)

While I was out, I saw some pretty cheap DVD's at Sam's Club and decided to grab a few too :-) I got "Last Man Standing" (I love this kind of rough and gritty action movies <g>), "Tango and Cash" (it was really cheap <g>) and "The Substitute 2" (I already had "The Substitute" and "The Substitute 3" on a double DVD and this completed the collection <g>). Of course, I should have sat down to watch my latest DVD acquistions when I got home but instead, I sat down for a game of "Phantasy Star Online" ...

I decided to play online since I'd been playing offline most of the time and spent quite a few hours online but my experience was kind of mixed. I met quite a few people who were willing to help out a newbie and give me rare items but I also found a lot of people who were there just to cheat and steal ... Come on! This is just a game!! But then again, I guess the same could be said to me and that I shouldn't get mad at people for stealing from me but when the only weapon that's any good that I had gets stolen from me by some idiot, I guess I am justified in being a little miffed :-)

I did however meet up with a guy who introduced me to "Phantasy Star Online" (PSO) clans :-) He belongs to a clan named The Vampire Court and he asked me to join the clan - which I thought was really cool :-) He also gave me a mag (it's kind of like a familiar - go get the game <vbg>) which I didn't realize at the time was as powerful as it turned out to be - shows just how bright I am :p But I finally went offline around 8 o'clock (yes, I played through the day ..) but went back to playing offline since I was really addicted by this time <g> It was then that I found out how powerful the mag that I'd been given was! So that got me pumped up and I played for about another two hours before finally going to bed ...
posted at 10:54:26 AM  link  comment

Fri, Apr 13 2001

Well, either the Scope 1.0 release must be really working well or nobody has noticed it yet <vbg> I haven't heard anything from anybody and I guess that must be a good sign :p Anyway, yesterday I came to a decision as to my further coding efforts since Scope is kind of at a milestone point ... I decided to do a complete rewrite of Blog before I did any further work on Scope :-)

My decision was mainly due to the fact that I'd been really bothered by the huge size of the Blog distribution and really wanted to trim it down to a manageable size ... I was even tempted to go ahead and buy Delphi Enterprise on EBay for around $400 just for the ADOExpress components (and I couldn't really afford to do that but what can I say? I'm kind of impulsive and driven :p) Then I looked around at several BDE alternatives and finally settled on a freeware alternative which was actually for Delphi 3.0 but since the source was provided, I decided to do some massive rewriting and come up with a solution of my own ...

But that was before I discovered what I discovered today :-) It all started with me finding a freeware CVS app named FreeVCS while looking around for some Delphi stuff... I discovered that FreeVCS was extremely light (only about 200k) and that it was multi-user! So I did some more digging since I knew that FreeVCS used some sort of database format and that the source code was available ... It was then that I came to know of DBISAM. It's not free and I think the cheapest it sells for is around $225 for an Academic License but it does everything I could want from a BDE replacement that I'd want for Blog! It's multi-user so that I Blog can actually have shared journals if necessary, it's very, very compact and it has utilities to convert existing BDE databases! Now only if it didn't cost so much money, it would be perfect <vbg>

I did decide to see if the people at ElevateSoft were in a generous mood and asked them whether I could have a complimentary copy or at least a lower priced version of the software since all my development is freeware. I hope they do say yes because I am not making any money out of any of my coding and while it would be great to have Blog be really spiffy with the power and versatility that DBISAM provide, I don't think I can afford to buy another item of software at the moment ... Oh well ... I guess we shall see ...
posted at 10:25:36 AM  link  comment

Thu, Apr 12 2001

Well, Scope 1.0 final is finally out! I updated the Scope page slightly, added a new page for Blog, added some more links to the sidebar and generally cleaned out my sites a bit - but not too much :p I'm using the latest Scope and it seems to be behaving pretty well though there are still problems with certain GUI elements - especially the rebar controls but they can wait ... Enjoy and let me know what you think :-)
posted at 01:31:59 PM  link  comment

Guess what? The long delayed (and hopefully much awaited :p) Scope 1.0 final is finally here :-) I completed coding yesterday and then Chris took a look at the final product to see if he could find any bugs that I'd missed. He found one that I thought needed to be fixed and I did that and so it's redy for release - but before you go dashing off to download it, I have to tell you that it's not up for downloading yet :-( I realized that there was a lot more that I had to do before a release - update the product page, add links on the sidebar for the mailing list and stuff like that ... So it might not be till evening today before it is finally released but rest assured that it will be :-)

I guess some people might have thought that I was putting Scope coding on hold indefinitely because I'd begun work on Blog <g> But rest assured that this is not the case - I will probably be working on both Scope and Blog since I have seen quite a bit of interest in Blog as well and so forsaking my earlier resolution not to do anything further with Blog, I will continue to improve Blog too ... In fact, I have been so bugged by the size of the Blog download that I've still been searching for a way to reduce the size of the distribution. I have even been tempted to try and buy Delphi Enterprise on eBay (it goes for close to $400) but that really is too much for me to pay for something that I will just use to produce free software ... So I guess I'll just have to keep on looking ...

Oh yeah, I did set up a wish list on Amazon.Com :-) If anybody is interested (which I kind of doubt <vbg>), you can search the wish list's on Amazon.Com by my last name or my e-mail address (which appears at the top of the page) and find my wish list ... I think I will put up a link to it from the side bar too - just in case :-) In fact, I realize that quite a few things are missing from my site and that I need to do a lot of updating - there is no link to the GroupHug mailing list, I probably need another list for Blog (or all of my software besides Scope), I need a product page for Blog and so on ... So I guess there's a lot more that I need to do ... Oh welll ...

Speaking of updates, I realized that I still don't have any documentation for Scope at all! Now that I have finally reached a final release, I probably should include at least a text file detailing the features and usage for Scope but I just don't feel like doing another doc file <g> So if some kind soul out there would like to do an HTML help document for Scope, I'd be glad to compile it into help format and put it under the Help menu - does that sound like a plan?
posted at 08:28:01 AM  link  comment

Wed, Apr 11 2001

I heard on the radio today that a guy had changed his name to Dot Com (does that make his middle name Dot? <g>) While what somebody else does is completely their own business and choice, I can't help wondering about the reasons for somebody to do that? Is it just to cash in on all the current Dot Com mania or is it simply because they have no respect or attachment to their current last name? I can't ever imagine changing my last name from Farook to anything else because I love my last name - mostly because it happens to be my Dad's name :-) In fact, till I was about 20 years old I insisted on people calling me Farook instead of Fahim ... I was just thinking of that habit on the way to work today and I was wondering whether I had been influenced in any way by Ursula K. Le Guin's EarthSea trilogy because in that series, a wizard can have influence over you if they knew your "true name" ... But then I realized I couldn't have been influenced by Sparrow Hawk and his friends because I'd been using my last name as my name since I was about 10 years old whereas I hadn't read the EarthSea trilogy till I was about 15 or 16 ...

I received a couple of interesting e-mails yesterday ... One was from Raven who had actually given Blog a try and he pointed out quite a few things that I had missed in my release - such as using Scope instead of Blog in the about dialog because I'd copied the text directly from the Scope about dialog ... oops :-) He also made several suggestions to improve the usability of Blog such as having links to my web site and being able to access the read me from the Help menu ... I also heard from Chris (whom I talk to almost every day via instant messenger) about Blog and he had many further suggestions about how I could improve and enhance Blog as well as a lot of annoying usability bugs ... I guess I will be working on those sometime soon too but then there's Scope development to be done as well <g>

And my second e-mail was about Scope development :-) It was from Scott Lemon who's become one of many Scope evangelists <vbg> He's been spreading the word about Scope to everybody he comes in contact with (and I've seen this in action since there've been hits to my site from several Novell newsgroups - Scott works for Novell I believe ...) and he tells me that everybody he talks to about Scope loves it! And that makes me happy too since there's nothing like having people like your work! Anyway, Scott reminded me of several things which still aren't working in Scope so I should get back to coding on Scope sometime soon too - so many things to code and so little time <vbg>

Scott also suggested that I should probably set up a "wish list" on Amazon and have people donate to it :-) While I don't believe in selling the stuff I work on because I believe in the concept of free software, I also have nothing against gifts <vbg> - actually I love receiving gifts! (But then again, who doens't? :p) So I might actually do that ... I've been looking at the wish list facility on Amazon but couldn't find the thing I really wanted at the moment - the ADO components from Inprise so that I can make the Blog distro so much more lean and mean ... So I guess I'll have to be content with putting some Terry Pratchetts, Delphi coding books, lots of DVD's and some PlayStation and DreamCast games on my wish list if I do intend to start one :-)
posted at 09:00:08 AM  link  comment

Tue, Apr 10 2001

Hmm ... Blog's been out for a day and no response from anybody <vbg> I guess nobody has either downloaded it or really found it useful ... Oh well ... and here I thought that it might actually revolutionize the way that people post :p

I do find the new right-click HTML shortcuts pretty useful ... I've been putting paragraph tags in by hand till now but now all I do is select a paragraph and right-click and select "Paragrahp" from the context menu and I'm done - not too shabby if I do say so myself ...

Anyway, not much going on today at work ... the current project I'm working on is still going on ... we are supposed to be working on phase 2 at the moment even though phase 1 has not been deployed yet and I've completed my stuff on phase 2 and am currently fixing bugs for phase 1 ... I'm kinda inclined to go on to phase 3 but it might turn out to be a major mess since too many phases of work at once can become a pretty confusing thing ... I guess we shall see ...

I was thinking of a story that I'd written half-way a long while back on my way to work. I'd started the first version of the story a long time ago in 1990 but lost it when one of my teachers erased the diskette on which I had the story saved. I restarted it a couple of years ago on my Windows CE 2.0 HPC while waiting for a flight in Las Vegas but never completed it ... Recently, when I bought a targus stowaway keyboard for my iPaq, I added another paragraph to the story but never got around to doing anything further with it ... But now it seems to cry out to me <g> So maybe it's time that I started on it again ... but that would mean taking time away from something else like coding or gaming ... decisions, decisions!
posted at 11:00:21 AM  link  comment

Mon, Apr 09 2001

Anybody who'd been reading this page during the last 10 minutes or so (before this entry appeared) might have noticed that a new download link had been added to the sidebar :-) Yes, Blog 1.0 is finally here for download <vbg> I finally managed to get the problems with archive creation sorted out and decided to do a release before I got too embroiled in something or other again ...

The download is pretty hefty - almost 5MB and I did notice when I tested that I couldn't download from Tripod but the mirror sites should be fine. I did test Nortiq and that worked and RazorSys should be OK too ... The download is actually a self-extracting archive and once extracted you'll be presented with a set of setup files. Run the Setup.Exe, answer the questions and you should have Blog all set up and ready to go. The directory where you installed Blog will also have a Blog.txt file which should answer most of your questions as to how to use Blog. Let me know if you have any problems or questions ...

I do use Blog on a daily basis since Blog is what I use to create these entries but I've never installed and used Blog on a machine after doing a Setup install - so you might run into some problems ... If you do, let me know ...
posted at 01:40:55 PM  link  comment

I haven't been doing much posting (as anybody who reads probably noticed <g>) for the last few days and so decided to catch up today. In fact, all the posts from Friday onwards that you'll see here were posted by me today :p I thought a good recap of my week was necessary since quite a bit had been happening on the coding front - though not much with Scope :-( The thing is that I feel that Scope currently is functional enough to be used and so I can put aside further coding till I can get Blog out the door but Blog is coming along slowly because of my frequent switching back and forth between BDE and ADO but that will stop now since I've decided to stop looking at ADO for the moment ... So who knows? Maybe next week there will be a new Scope update ...
posted at 09:10:34 AM  link  comment

Sun, Apr 08 2001

Another day of mostly relaxing and doing a little bit of work around the house - like two weeks worth of laundry <vbg> I decided to go back to the Blog code today and it turned out that BDE was giving me some weird errors with the archiving function and I had no idea what the problem was ... So I decided to give ADO another whirl but what a mess that turned out to be :-)

I had two free ADO components to work with and each had different problems - the first one wouldn't support the normal TTable methods and so it looked as if I would have to rewrite all the code that I'd already done for Blog. So I tried the other ADO component and that did support all the TTable methods and it did seem to work much better than the first ADO component as well - at least, that's how things seemed till I tried to run Blog :-) Then I found out that I couldn't even insert a record because I would get an error message stating that the table was not editable and I did all the possible checks I could and as far as I could determine, the table *was* editable ... I was pretty frustrated by this time and so gave up on any further coding - especially since I had to cook dinner and stuff - but I decided to stick with BDE (however cumbersome it might be) for the moment since it does work ... Maybe if I win the lottery, I'll be able to shell out $200 and give the Inprise ADO Express components a try <vbg>
posted at 09:00:53 PM  link  comment

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