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Sat, May 18 2002

I watched "Bandits" today. I don't know whether it was my mood or the film itself but the characters didn't really appeal to me and the film itself felt a little bland at first. There is a movie critic online who feels that in writing about a movie, you should also write about the events leading up to watching that movie so that people will know your mood and your frame of mind :p I think I'll take a leaf from his book and go through the events of the day. I went out in the morning and bought a couple of more DVD's to add to my collection - "Bandits" was one of the movies. I then came home, had lunch and watched a Tamil movie on TV. It was a pretty good movie except at the very end when the protagonist cut off his tongue to ensure that he hadn't lied to the girl he loved about being dumb (I mean not being able to talk, he proved he was dumb by cutting off his tongue :p) and that her faith in him was justified. The tongue cutting scene had blood spurting all over and landing on the face of a baby who liberally smears his/her face with the blood. While it might have been oh so artsy-fartsy, it just left me thinking the director a stupid, idiot <vbg>

Anyway, I began watching "Bandits" after that and the movie really didn't do anything much for me at the initial stages but things seemed to turn around once Cate Blanchett arrived on the scene - maybe my mood improved or the movie itself picked up but it actually began to seem more funnier. Of course, I often could not hold back the thought of Galadriel from "The Fellowship of the Ring" anytime they zoomed in on Cate Blanchett but other than that it was fun :-) So basically, it started out slow but ended pretty well, plus the sound track was great since it included songs like "Total Eclipse of the Heart", "Holding Out for a Hero", "It's Not Easy", "Just the Two of Us","Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "Twist in My Sobriety"
posted at 05:05:43 PM  link  comment

Fri, May 17 2002

OK, I've got not one but two application releases today :-) They aren't really the final, polished product as such since I normally don't like to release an app till I had added a suitable icon to it but I'm releasing these two apps with the default Delphi app icon since they are minor apps plus it'll probably be next weekend if I wait to find the icon, recompile the apps and release them :p I haven't even created an app page for either application (and one of them doesn't even have a readme file ...) because 1) they are rather self-explanatory 2) I was too lazy <g> 3) I can always do it later :p

So what are these apps? One is the RenX shell-extension that I've been talking about. I ran it through its paces yesterday and discovered that while it worked fine with one file, that it wouldn't work with more than one file at all! I went on a major bug hunting expedition and finally discovered that the fault lay in a memory allocation problem because the instead of containing a list of files selected from Explorer, the final result in the program itself was a list of the same file name over and over again. I fixed that problem and have been using it to do a lot of renaming today and it worked admirably. Of course, I always used the Replace option and so there still might be a few undiscovered bugs in there :p

The other app is the e-mail address encoding utility that I wrote about in a prior entry. I've decided to call the program MailCoder and I checked to make sure that the encoded format works even in an anchor tag and it did. I then added a button that would simply copy the encoded string to the clipboard instead of the user having to select the string and then copy it manually. With that, I think MailCoder is completely done - except of course of finding a suitable icon and adding it :p So I'm releasing both the apps today and will do any further work as necessary ...

Speaking of further work, the release of Cee that I did last week had a couple of bugs and while I've fixed it, I haven't updated the download on the servers because I forgot to :-( Guess that'll have to wait till Monday ... So what were the bugs? One is not exactly a bug but rather an idiosyncrasy in Windows XP. It turns out that startup items in the registry are sort of cached by Windows XP so that Windows starts up faster and how XP caches the items is to copy it to a temp folder under your profile in Documents and Settings and run it from there. Now Cee expects the cookie database to be in the same folder as where it is run from and since the temp folder does not contain the cookie database, Cee exits with an error. This is one explanation, the other is simply that the Documents and Settings temp folder is set as the working directory for all startup apps <g> Whatever the case maybe, I was trying to fix this problem for a couple of days with no success (mostly because I didn't want to restart my machine to test whether it worked <vbg>) and finally my friend Robin - who had become pretty attached to Cee - simply added Cee to his Startup folder and removed the registry entry because he got tired of being faced with the error each time Cee started :-) So I decided to put Cee in the Startup folder as well instead of the registry and while that involved some further code to create shortcuts, I was finally able to do it properly and that particular bug was squashed ...

The other bug was to do with the timer in Cee. Whatever value you put in it, it got saved properly but the next time you started Cee it would revert back to 1. I ran the program through the debugger and the correct value was being read and it was even being put into the edit box but each time the Options dialog was called up, the value was again mysteriously being set to 1! I couldn't figure out what was wrong at all - I thought it might have something to do with the spinner control that I'd attached to the timer value edit box and looked at the properties for the spinner control but couldn't see anything that might hold a value and so decided that that wasn't it. Today I was going through the spinner properties again and I suddenly discovered one called Position which actually held the current value - when I saw it yesterday, I thought it had to do with screen position, talk about dumb naming :p Once I set the Options dialog value reading code to set the timer interval to the spinner control instead of the edit box, everything worked fine ...
posted at 07:01:54 PM  link  comment

Wed, May 15 2002

My parents received notification that the last of my stuff from the US had arrived during the weekend and they brought over the notice when they came over to Colombo on Sunday. So I stayed home from work on Monday, went over to the foreign parcels section of the post office and got the stuff cleared. It seems as if that marks the end of another segment of my life though I can really think of no particular reason for feeling so except for the fact that receiving the stuff from the US seems to kind of put a marker on the US period. Anyway ... I'm meandering :p I began making a detailed inventory of all my books and realized that I had a lot of duplicates since I'd bought the same stuff again when I was in USA. Guess I'm gonna have to sell off some of the excess though I'm not too sure that I'll get too much for it over here ....

I've been doing a lot of coding in my spare time :-) I began work on that file renamer shell-extension that I talked of in my earlier post and instead of keeping it simple so that it would simply match a pattern and replace it with a different string, I decided to go for broke and make it really complex :p So I added sequential numbering (with a given prefix or using the existing file name), renaming with a prefix and renaming with a suffix to the list of options. I can't think of any further simple renaming options though a few more complex ones do come to mind - such as removing existing numbers and then renaming in sequential order but I'm not sure that I want to code that yet <g> I've even created the documentation for the shell extension and have come up with a setup package. So expect to see that released sometime soon ...

Another app that I came up with is a pretty simple one - to encode strings like e-mail addresses into their ASCII character equivalents so that you can have e-mail addresses on web pages without the address being discovered by the trawling robots of spammers. It seemed to work fine during my preliminary tests but I just thought of something that I need to check on - whether a coded address works with an anchor tag or whether it needs to be coded in a different manner for the anchor tag. Once I get that sorted out, I think I should have another offering to be released - darn, looks as if I'm going to swell my application list quite a bit in just a couple of weeks :-) Ah well, the more apps there are, the more use that somebody or other will find them to be ...
posted at 09:22:29 PM  link  comment

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