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Sat, May 12 2001

Wasn't really in the mood to code since I am still feeling sleep-deprived <vbg> So did everything except code most of the day - I went out and bought some more DVD's to add to my collection, really got into "Unicorn Point" which is the fifth book in the Apprentice-Adept series and watched a couple of movies on DVD. I loved one of the early John Woo movies from his Hong Kong period - the one where he introduced Chow Yun Fat :-) I love those blood-drenched action flicks :p

Finally got around to working on some code and found out why I was putting off working on Blog :p The MidWare code was being really difficult and it had looked as if I was within sight of completing the initial work on Blog CS (I have decided to call this vesion Blog CS for Client-Server <g>). I couldn't get a simple login dialog working fine with the existing MidWare framework :p I finally gave up in disgust and decided to recode everything in MIDAS and by the time I went to bed, I had quite a bit of the MIDAS stuff in place ...
posted at 11:26:15 AM  link  comment

Fri, May 11 2001

I received another Powered by Blog button from sinesolis today - geez, that guy's indefatigable :-) And he promises to do some more buttons - thanks for all the hard work sinesolis! Here's his latest creation:

On a completely unrelated note, has anybody else heard about/been following the game surrounding the upcoming Spielberg movie AI? It seems to be a total multimedia experience like what they did to promote The Blair Witch Project but at a much deeper and more all-encompassing level. It had all started with the trailer for AI and then had gone on to include phone calls, faxes, e-mails, dozens of websites and much much more! I really like how the story is turning out in the game since it is pretty engrossing - plus, I guess I have this habit of half-believing what's on websites and so the whole story in a sense seems very real :-) Anyway, if you haven't heard about and would like to see the story unfold, the best place to start is The Guide Be warned though, The Guide is actually a guide to what has happened so far and reads a lot like a story - if you want to actually play the game, The Guide might spoil your fun because it is sort of like a walkthrough ....
posted at 09:01:01 AM  link  comment

Thu, May 10 2001

Sinesolis had made a great looking Powered by Blog button for me that he sent to me yesterday. Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of e-mail systems, I did not receive the button he sent me the last time but he sent it again and I finally got it. I really like it and if anybody out there is currently using Blog to update their site, I'd appreciate if you displayed this button on your site with a link to mine :-) Here's the button (I'll put up a permanent link by and by ...)

posted at 01:01:34 PM  link  comment

I've received a couple of responses with regards to my rant yesterday ... and no, none of them were negative :p But I must iterate again that it was not meant as an attack on any of the users who are anxious about further development on Scope or anybody in particular for any reason :-) It was simply a statement of the frustration that I feel sometimes that I am not really making a difference with the stuff that I code, I guess - and of course, also an explanation of why (or how) I devote time to a specific project ...

But enough of that :-) There's quite a few other things that I wanted to mention that I didn't get to because I went on and on with my rant yesterday :p One thing is that I've received quite a few e-mails about the fact that people can't always access the downloads from the Tripod site. This seems to be an issue with Tripod and all I can suggest is that you use one of the mirror sites ... But that brings up a little problem with one of the mirror sites <vbg> I seem to be having some sort of an IP caching issue with the Nortiq mirror site since I am behind a firewall at work. The site that I see both through my browser and FTP is different at work as opposed to home ... So I have stopped trying to update the Nortiq mirror for the time being and so that leaves you with only one mirror site but that should hopefully be enough :-)

On the coding front, I actually went back to my MidWare based code for the client-server model for Blog and was able to fix most of the problems! Guess a little time away from code can sometimes help <g> So I am currently planning on completing the version, give it to my uber-beta tester Jugg <g> and see what comes up ... Since the client-server version is a bit bulkier than I had originally anticipated and since it involves running two different executables, I am actually thinking of retaining the single-user version separately for people who want to run Blog on one machine and don't want to maintain a shared journal/site. This might end up in a bit of mess since I will have to maitain two sets of code for essentially the same program but it might be worth it ...

Incidentally, there is something that you can do to help with Scope :-) A couple of days ago they announced on The Screen Savers that they are going to have a new segment called Download of the Day which would feature free programs. Now if any of you is so inclined <vbg> you can e-mail them to let them know about Scope (or for that matter Blog - if you use it ...) :-) So why aren't I doing it myself? Mostly because I wouldn't have the enthusiasm you would have and I don't feel like blowing my own horn :p
posted at 09:43:07 AM  link  comment

Wed, May 09 2001

I got a note from a user yesterday who was worried that I might not be developing Scope any further :-) I guess that was natural since I haven't talked about Scope in a long time and all I do is write about Blog development ... but have no fear, I will get back to Scope as soon as I finish my current work on Blog.

The fact of the matter is that I mainly code for myself unless I get some push to work on a project. I had completed the basic features that I wanted from Scope and while I do get a lot of e-mails from users telling me how great Scope is and how much they like it, I also get a lot of e-mails from people who don't even bother to say thank you but simply want this or that feature or even worse <g>, launch into a tirade because a particular feature doesn't work.

While I understand the fact that I have a responsibility to provide working software, I'm also doing this in my spare time when I could be doing something else that I enjoy or working on a different project because the software does what *I* wanted it to do :p So what am I saying? Am I asking you to cough up some dough? Of course not!!! I have always loved the concept of having (and providing) free software but I do like to see some reciprocation ...

And reciprocation is something that sadly seems to be missing more and more for free software and free efforts :-( I'm not saying that reciprocation is totatlly missing because I've had a person donate a hard disk to me when I used to work on LiteStep and Sinesolis did those graphics for Scope on his own time and then there KuhnDog and Lyon who donated space for mirror servers as well as John who's been helping me a lot with Delphi stuff but a lot of the time people are just content to take and not give something back ...

All of my software from Scope onwards has been released as CareWare. I was hoping that that would encourage people to join the GroupHug Mailing List and perhaps help others by way of simply being there to listen to somebody else's troubles and offering advice. I even had this grand dream that so many people would join that they would even be able to discuss a problem somebody in there area had and so be able to help somebody out offline. But what do I know? Do you know how many people have joined the mailing list since Scope was released? Barely a handful - probably five at most!

I know I'm not the only person facing this issue. Chris Pirillo of LockerGnome fame issued the Libera Manifesto which was aimed at the same problem. Then there's my friend Rootrider over at ShellFront who has been talking about the Libera Manifesto quite a bit himself - probably because he's had to face the issue too. He wanted to organize a ShellCon so that alternate shell developers and users could get together - did anybody offer to help him organize it? Not as far as I know!

I guess I'm on a regular old rant :p And this by no means is aimed at the person who asked me whether Scope development is over or those people who send me feature requests for Scope :-) I love receiving feature requests because that tells me that people are using my software. I'm simply trying to explain the slowness of coding and why I'm not always working on a particular project - it's because I just don't feel motivated ... So I work on what *I* feel like working on - it's as simple as that :-)
posted at 09:25:54 AM  link  comment

Tue, May 08 2001

Guess what? Proving once again that I cannot estimate time-related matters correclty, I got my copy of Delphi Enterprise yesterday :-) I had thought that it would take at least two more weeks for met get my hands on it but the postal service for once decided to give me a pleasant surprise I guess <g> Anyway, since I have Delphi Enterpirse, I do intend to go back to the client-server version of Blog and see whether it would make sense to rewrite it in MIDAS ... Of course, as luck would have it, I'm kind of being buried alive at work with a number of projects and so it probably will be slow going for me but I do hope to know whether MIDAS is the approach I should take by the end of the week when I should have a little time for coding :-)

Of course, I've already installed Delphi Enterprise (I'm impatient what can I say? <vbg>) but haven't had the time to really play with any of the MIDAS stuff. As you may recall, I've already made quite a bit of progress with the client-server model using MidWare and if it looks as if MIDAS isn't that much of an improvement over MidWare, I might just stick with MidWare since there wouldn't be as much coding to do ... I guess we'll just have to wait and see ..
posted at 01:35:30 PM  link  comment

Mon, May 07 2001

I did get around to doing a bit more work on Blog yesterday and I managed to complete all the little problems with that particular build of Blog so that it was ready for release :-) And since at least a couple of people had asked me about the new leaner, meaner Blog <g> and because it's going to be a couple of weeks at least before I get my new copy of Delphi Enterprise, I decided to release Blog 1.1 with the DBISAM engine ...

The download is considerably smaller now with the removal of the BDE (Borland Database Engine) and so the file comes to barely over 1MB as opposed to the almost 5MB download earlier. I'm pretty happy with this particular build since I was even able to figure out the problem with archiving ... So here it is for anybody who wants to give it a try :-)
posted at 10:34:19 AM  link  comment

Sun, May 06 2001

Hmm ... I hadn't realized how much time had passed since I last made an entry here ... Too many things have been happening to keep track of and I guess I just let the flow of events carry me along and simply lost all track of time and events ... Anyway, I'm finally back and this actually might have been due to a guy who calls himself Nobody Special :-) He wrote to me yesterday and inquired whether everything was all right since he reads my journal and had noticed that the frequency of updates had been dropping off quite a bit ... He also mentioned that he had a blog of his own here - I went there and found it pretty interesting ... seems to be actually a fictional blog - something that I hadn't considered ...

One reason that I hadn't updated my journal much recently was because I'd discovered that the Archiving function was broken after my transition to DBISAM and when I went to fix it, I discovered that my source had moved on in my effort to create a client-server version and I hadn't kept backups :-) I finally decided to get off my posterior and do some work and so I went back to my last BDE version today and converted it to work with DBISAM again and fixed the archiving as well. And that's the other reason I started posting again <vbg> Of course, nothing is perfect and in this new version I re-introduced an old bug in an effort to fix a new one :-) Originally when I wrote the archiving code, I'd noticed that the final week in a given date range never got archived though a link was created for it - I fixed it with a code change to the date range check I was using but then discovered that the archiving code was now actually creating archives for all entries from the beginning even though I might have specified a from date which was a month or so after I began this journal. I fixed that problem today but the old problem of the last week being missing is back again :p Guess it's time for another logic check ...

So what the heck have I been upto recently? Not much actually .... My health (or rather my sleep ...) has been kind of out of synch recently and when I don't get enough rest, I don't work too well. So I've just been dealing with the day to day stuff of work but not doing anything much more than watching TV or reading ... Plus, I'm still waiting for my version of Delphi Enterprise to come in so that I can get back to work on Blog ...

In the meantime, I returned the Philips Expanium that I'd bought a couple of weeks ago, that I mentioned here in the journal, because the inability to properly select songs got to even me :-) Plus, of course, I hated not being able to see the song title or the artist etc. The TDK Mojo finally got released sometime last week and though I scoured the local Best Buy and Circuit City, I couldn't find even a hint of it. So I decided to go online and while TDK's e-shop did have it, they were retailing it for $199. So I did some more searching and thanks to CNet's shopping site, I was able to find it at Buy.Com for about $30 less. And the best thing was, they didn't charge me any tax or shipping and so I just got it for $170 flat!! Since then I notice that Buy.Com has reduced the price by about $5 less (the last time I checked) and so if anybody's interested, you can probably find it for even cheaper online ... Buy.Com shipped the Mojo out two days later and I got it on Friday - talk about a fast deal :-) I've been using it since then and am very satisfied - it has a large, backlit LCD display which shows quite a lot of status information and the Mojo is pretty versatile in song selection allowing me to select songs by artist, album, title, directory structure on CD (all of this for MP3's of course since it reads the ID3 tag ....) and so I'm happy :-)

Other than for playing with the Mojo and burning more compilations of my audio CD's into MP3 collections, all I've been doing is trying to complete the latest book I'm reading - Piers Anthony's "Robot Adept". I can't even recall when I first began Piers Anthony's Apprentice-Adept series - must have been close to 10 years ago actually .... I had read first three books in the series and had thought that was it but then about 3 years ago while browsing through the books in a second hand bookshop in Georgia, I discovered that Piers Anthony had later continued the series - not surprising since the man has one of the largest series that I know of by any author - the Xanth series with over 20+ books. (Hmm ... I take that back <g> I just realized that another one of my favorite authors - Terry Pratchett - also has a very large series of books - the DiscWorld series ... and that is around 25 books at the moment and still going strong ...) Anyway, I found that the continuation of the Apprentice-Adept saga had added four more books to the series. I bought the books but hadn't read them since I was too busy and had too many books to read anyway :-) So I just kept them till sometime last year (or was it this year?) when I finally began on the first book - "Out of Phaze". I read most of the book in pretty good time but somehow didn't finish the last chapter for several months which I finally did a week or so ago. So then I began on the second book (or the fifth depending on how you look at it <g>) and been taking that pretty slow too till yesterday when I got really interested and read quite a bit of it ... maybe I'll finish it today .. who knows?

Wow!! Look at that! I seem to have written enough to catch up with all that I haven't written in the last week or two :-) Guess, I'd better stop now before Blog chokes on this :p
posted at 10:35:51 AM  link  comment

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