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Sat, Jun 01 2002

I've started work on another one-trick-pony project :p This one's called Comparator and it was started because I've been recently organizing my e-book collection and realized that I had quite a few duplicates in compressed format. One archive might be in ZIP format while the other might be in RAR format and I wanted to be able to compare them side by side. Of course, if I use WinRAR, I can simply start two different sessions and then compare them side by side but that's a lot of mouse-clicks and I'm lazy :p So I came up with Comparator which will show the contents of two archive files side by side and since it understands a variety of archive formats (over 23 I believe ...), I won't have to use (or have installed) several different archiving programs. So far the program works fine but now I want to include the ability to compare a normal text file with an archive or to compare a full directory against an archive or for that matter, to compare two files against each other or to compare two directories against each other or any mix of the above. Incidentally, when I say compare, I don't mean that the program actually does any comparison work at the moment - it simply displays the file name, the size and the file creation date so that user can do an eye-ball comparison of these values but again, I have plans to extend this to at least color code differences between files which match by name.

That's one project and another one that I've started considering just today is an e-mail client :p I know that there are more than enough e-mail clients out there already but the basic fact is that none of them have all the features that *I* want. I currently use Eudora and am the most happy with it but recently it has started displaying a curious problem - I get "=20" at the end of lines (seemingly only for HTML e-mails or formatted e-mails and even then not in all cases ..) I've seen this problem in the latest beta ( I think ...) and the last public release which is 5.1. I use the beta at work and the public release at home and so encounter this problem regularly. I have looked at alternatives but I don't like Outlook or Outlook Express - especially since my boss started having a weird problem recently where his Outlook Express would send out e-mails to seemingly random people on his address book! The e-mails would go to the proper person but they would also go to numerous others. I checked the headers of some of these e-mails and only the actual receipients address was there. I suspected that maybe the others were being added as a BCC but couldn't figure out how this could be so - except perhaps for some corruption in the address book or a virus but even a virus had to be ruled out since repeated scanning by a daily updated copy of Norton Anti-Virus didn't find anything. Incidentally, the problem stopped as soon as I switched my boss's mail client to Eudora but now he's complaining about the "=20" problem :-(

I've tried The Bat but I don't like the fact that it can't display images in HTML e-mails since that's kind of important to me. I've also tried PocoMail and while I like the scripting and quite a few of the features, I find the interface to be a bit archaic (not withstanding the skinnable toolbar ...) or rather the icons in the interface to be archaic I guess and find their handling of HTML e-mails a bit of a problem as well since I prefer not to have the preview pane on - if you don't have the preview pane on, you have to click a button to download images on a per message basis. Plus, I like the junkmail filtering feature on Pocomail but it isn't exactly friendly since it deletes anything it thinks of as junkmail off the server with no user confirmations and since it's junkmail filter looks for things like three exclamation marks in the body of an e-mail, it routinely takes out e-mails that are not junkmail and since I keep mail on server when I check e-mail from work so that I can get the mails I want once I get home as well, this will result in me having to forward the mistakenly junked e-mails to myself again - and of course, if I checked e-mail with Pocomail after that, that e-mail would get junked again :p

Because of all of this, I want to write an e-mail client which would be pretty simple but would allow you to write live spell-checked e-mails, check multiple accounts and allow you to have multiple personalities, handle HTML e-mails properly and display images automatically (or not based on a user-selectable setting that can be toggled on and off at will), support multiple address books (mostly because I want to give the option to add all incoming e-mail addresses which aren't in your address book to your address book automatically but I want to keep that a secondary address book so that you can prune it any time and control it without it affecting your main address book), handle junk mail but not do things arbitrarily but instead give the user the choice and a few other things like auto-completion on addresses and stuff. I think that's all I really want :p Whether I'll code the thing or even get started on the project is another matter ... Guess we'll see ...
posted at 06:33:00 AM  link  comment

Thu, May 30 2002

The Blog Server test didn't work yesterday either and I did some tests early in the morning at work and discovered that it worked fine at this end! I don't know if my recompilation of the Indy component with the bug fix didn't go through fine or if there is some other problem from home that I'm not aware of. Guess I'll have to do some extended tests tonight or maybe over the weekend. Incidentally, I checked the automatic dialling out code that I'd put into Blog yesterday and found out that that didn't work either :-( That's probably going to require a lot more work than the POP access stuff - it might turn out that I can't do the next release of Blog as soon as I had hoped to ... I guess we'll see ..

Update: All right! The Blog Server functionality finally worked the way it should! Turns out that even though I had fixed the bug in the Indy components, it didn't take due to certain factors. I re-compiled the code today and it worked - well ... almost except for a different bug that I had to fix as well but once that was done, things worked smoothly. So that's one down but there's still the dial-up bug ...
posted at 11:01:21 AM  link  comment

Wed, May 29 2002

Well ... let's try the remote blog thing again :p I've got a couple of interesting things to comment on today. One, discovered a bug in Blog that had been there for a time - at least I think so though I can't figure out how it escaped me for so long ... maybe it was a bug created during a "Replace All" on the code. Anyway, a user was trying to specify a directory for his blog and Blog wasn't working properly on the FTP part of it. I think he made a mistake himself in that he gave the full URL instead of just the full directory path in the Full Path setting on the Sites tab (which is again partially my fault since it's not explained properly - fixed now since I added an example to the tooltip hint <g>), but in looking at the code to see what I had done, I realized that there was a small bug in the code too.

The FTP component I use (Indy FTP) does not allow you to change directories from wherever you are - you can either change to a directory below the current directory or you can move one level up from the current directory. Those are the only two options :-( So what I do in Blog is, get the current directory (which the FTP component allows you to do), count the number of / characters in the current directory to figure out how many levels of directories I need to change to get to the root directory and then do a directory change using the absolute directory given in the Full Path setting in Blog. Unfortunately, my code was using the Full Path setting to calculate the number of directory levels to go up instead of the current directory value and that was the bug. It's fixed now and so everything should work as it should - hopefully ...

I was again trawling the referrals to my sites and came across a new link from a message board. The only reason that I find this particular link interesting is because the original poster mentioned the fact that I'd worked on both LiteStep and DarkStep and somebody else responded to it saying that he didn't know that I'd worked on them :p Since I spent about two years doing nothing but code on LiteStep and DarkStep every spare moment I got, I guess I find that a bit ironic but then again, I probably have a slightly exaggerated sense of myself since you can't expect everybody to know every little app I coded on, right? <vbg> The only reason that I don't even link to the DarkStep site from my sites is because I've given up totally on DarkStep development and don't even provide support for it any longer. I've often thought of starting work on another shell! (maybe coded in Delphi ...) but I just can't pick up enough enthusiasm or maintain the enthusiasm once I've actually got myself to start some work. Ah well ...

Update: Drat! The problem with POP access still remains! I don't have the time to debug it online now and so it will have to wait till the weekend or till I have some time after work at work ... I was so hoping to have this done today so that I can start putting together the docs for a new release. Oh well ...
posted at 06:41:19 PM  link  comment

Tue, May 28 2002

I've noticed a lot of searches on similarities between Guy Pearce and Cher hitting my site. Now I know why my site is being hit - it's because I talk of both Guy Pearce (in referring to the new "Count of Monte Cristo") and Cher at the Grammy's (or some such other awards ceremony) in the same journal entry but what I can't figure out is what this sudden fascination people seem to have in finding links between Cher and Guy Pearce. I guess there are all sorts of weird searches on the web - if that is any kind of an explanation :p And of course, now that I've mentioned those two again in a journal entry (and I seem to get picked up fairly easily by Google ...) I'll probably get even more hits on that search - ah well ...

This will probably be my first testing of the client side capabilities of the newest version of Blog under real-life conditions. I'm making this post under Client mode and hope to have it published when I get home in the evening in Server mode and that should get me started on using the thing once and for all and that would actually let me find any bugs in the latest code. I've been meaning to do this for a time now but I've always been so busy at work during the last few weeks that I just didn't seem to find the time. But since I've got my bike, I was able to get to work early today and get through quite a bit of my work quickly and so I've got the time to do this ... So let's see how well this works!

Update:The Server mode test didn't work - not due to a problem with Blog but because one of the components that I'm using (Indy POP) has a bug which I fixed on one machine but wasn't fixed on my home machine and so it wouldn't connect to the server properly. Ah well ... I don't have the time to fix it now and so I guess I'll have to try this again tomorrow ...
posted at 06:57:31 PM  link  comment

Mon, May 27 2002

It's a long weekend over here (again <g>) and a busy one at that. Even before I had come over to Sri Lanka, I'd been planning to get a motorcycle when I got here since I just can't drive a car over here - at least I don't think so, not after driving in the US for four years. The drivers here are crazy since they don't seem to obey any road rules and sometimes even rules of common sense :p Anyway, I bought a bike almost as soon as I got here but that was in Kurunegala - it was a reconditioned Suzuki and it was not yet registered. Since I had to do the registration myself and the bike was in Kurunegala while I was mostly in Colombo, the bike just stayed there and nothing got done for a month or two. One my cousins (who'd helped me in the getting the bike in the first place ...) said that he'd be able to sell it and I agreed to it since I was having second thoughts about buying a reconditioned bike. He gave me the money even though he hadn't sold the bike and I went ahead and purchased another from Colombo, this time a Bajaj - Indian make -, since the bike was brand new and the dealer promised to get it registered.

Of course, the registration process took about three weeks and even when that got done, which was sometime last week or the end of the week before, I ran into problems getting the bike back from them. They had the bike at one place while the papers were at another and for some weird reason, seemed to be having a lot of problems getting the two together. I'd gone over on Tuesday to try and get the bike but had just been given the run around - customer service here is mostly non-existent :-( I was really mad, black guarded them soundly and then came back after they promised to "definitely" have things ready for me on Friday. I called them again on Thursday and was told that everything would be there on Friday. Friday morning I had to rush over to Kurunegala since my parents needed something done but rushed back by the next bus since I wanted to get the bike but what did I find when I went over to the dealership? They told me that the bike wasn't there! They hadn't brought the bike over from the other place even after all their promises and I was ready to bust a blood vessel. The salesman who talked to me was a different one and he seemed to be more obliging and he talked to his manager, made some calls and got the bike included in a delivery that was coming over from their warehouse. Of course, I still had to wait there for three or four hours while the bike got there, then go through the paperwork and I finally had my bike :-)

It is good to have a bike back though I am really scared by the idiots on the roads even now since they don't seem to have any concept of the fact that there are others on the roads besides themselves. Ah well ... at least I'm mobile now (or more mobile than being on foot <vbg>) and I enjoy the feel of having the wind in my face ... Of course, it's been raining pretty much the whole day since I got the bike and so I can't always go out much - ah well, that's how it is I guess :-)
posted at 06:17:04 AM  link  comment

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