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Sat, Oct 05 2002

Thank you one and all for your kindness in wishing me luck on the trip to the US and suggesting possible places I can relocate to :-) It always warms my heart to hear from all of you and to know that I have so many good friends around the world even though I have not met any of you! But then again, maybe someday we will meet - because I've been hearing about these Blog Meetups (sorry dont' have a link since I'm at home ...) where bloggers can set up locations to meet other bloggers in their area. Sounds like a neat plan and I might actually drop in on a few meet-ups in my area when I get to the US :-)

I've been doing further work on Blog with the kind help of Edward McCain who has been forwarding me bugs as he finds them :-) We almost thought we had the "list index out of bounds" error in our grasp because Edward sent me his whole Blog directory (running 7.0 Beta 5) and I could see the error myself. But then I switched to Beta 6 so that I can debug the error and it went off! Weird is no the word for that particular error :p Of course, since then Edward has found two more errors - I fixed one but it was really late by the time I got the second error and so I decided to leave it till another day ...

Oh yeah, I got my tickets yesterday and I am supposed to fly out on the 13th, so there's only about a week more to go before I leave Sri Lanka. So don't expect too much in the way of coding from me in the week to come ... Ohio, here I come, woo hoo :-)
posted at 06:12:07 AM  link  comment

Thu, Oct 03 2002

I probably shouldn't have posted the e-mail from yesterday since it's turning into another "OS religious war" :p I really don't want the "my OS is superior to yours" comments since I don't believe any OS is superior - the choice is a personal one just as almost anything else in life is. The reason you find a particular OS to your liking depends on your requirements or even your current situation. So, as I told somebody privately in response to their comment, "The point is not whether Mac OS is superior to Windows or not - I've used Windows, Mac, IRIX, UNIX and various distros of Linux as well as OS/2. Each one is good for in its own way. But there is a way to ask a developer for software to be ported to your platform of choice. I've had plenty of people ask me politely if I'd consider porting Blog to Linux and I've always told them why I can't do it. But to have somebody who seems to know nothing about the OS he's championing, talk down to me and tell me why I should develop for his platform is a bit too much ..." I loved the comments this particular entry generated since that's probably the highest number of comments any entry of mine has generated <g> but let's drop the "holy war" shall we? :p

In more cheerful news, Blog 7.0 Beta 6 is out (and the download link is on the side bar and the downloads page ...) :-) Turns out the problems I was having were stupid ones created by myself rather than any problem with PlusMemo or the spell-checking :p The problem with PlusMemo had been due to the fact that I had downloaded the latest PlusMemo to the same directory where I had had an earlier build of PlusMemo and both the distro packages were named the same - I had a download manager doing the work and it automatically renamed the new distro and I simply uninstalled and reinstalled the old distro :p The old build wouldn't work with the new spell checking component (since it required the latest PlusMemo) and that's where my problems started. Once I figured that out and got that sorted out, I still got all words underlined as incorrect and it took me a while longer to figure that one out - guess what the problem was? There were no dictionary files <vbg> I'd had all my Blog files get deleted the last time I tried to fix the dual-instances of Blog deleting files problem and I'd thought I'd restored everything but obviously, I'd left out the dictionary file - and that caused such a big problem and a delay in Blog development :p

Anyway, once I got all that sorted out, I was able to test the latest functionality that I had put in. Incidentally, I added a slight twist to the HTML stripping code for the digest - now, it replaces line break tags with a single carriage return and line feed (CR/LF) combination and paragraph tags with a double CR/LF combination. It seems to work fine in testing but I'd still like to find out how useful you find it. Incidentally, I just had another idea for Blog itself - should I change the current behaviour where all CR/LF combinations generate a new paragraph to a single CR/LF generating a line break and doulbe CR/LF generating a new paragraph? That would actually make the text typed in Blog look a lot more legible and also remove the need for explicit tags quite a bit ... Again let me know what you think ...

Now on to the last (but not least <g>) bit of news. Remember the "secret" project that I was talking about a while back? Well, it's not so much a project as a journey - I am returning to the US in a couple of weeks or so :-) I don't know for how long since there are several factors involved in determining the duration of my stay but I will be traveling there and hope to be in Ohio if I even gain admission to the country (yes, there is some doubt about that :p). Anybody know of any good jobs available for a developer who knows several languages, in Ohio? :-)
posted at 05:32:29 AM  link  comment

Wed, Oct 02 2002

This is an e-mail I received yesterday from somebody - I will not comment on it since the words that came to my mind at first were unprintable :p Draw your own conclusions ...

"I have an interest in using blog, but I can't use damn .exe downloads because I use a Macintosh instead of crappy-ass PCs running Windows (which really blows). Can you at least MAKE something for people who use Mac OS X? Or AT LEAST something running the classic Mac OS. Please. SOMETHING!!!!!!! and make it a zip file or something. I can't use these .exe downloads. I can't stand it when people just make software/freeware stuff, and they only make it to where PCs running Windows can use it. Wake up! The ENTIRE WORLD does not RUN on Windows!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are OTHER OSes TOO!!! Especially Mac OS X (Which actually runs on UNIX if you dont know jack about a Mac). That's probably the biggest non-windows OS out there. Or, the Classic Mac OS. Following in 3rd, is Linux. PLEASE dont limit your audience to JUST windows users!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The world is BIGGER than THAT!! (and You deserve to have more people liking you and using your goods than this.) I'm begging you. Don't limit your a! udience to just the people who use the crappy OS on the shoddy machines. You deserve to do something better than this."

That's the whole e-mail and the only thing I can say is that if it were that simple to write apps for Windows *and* Mac, a lot more people would be doing it ... but insulting/haranguing developers and their development platform is really not the way to influence people and make friends :p
posted at 05:34:23 AM  link  comment

Tue, Oct 01 2002

Things haven't been going so smoothly lately. I opened up Blog to test the changes I made day before yesterday and turns out I had somehow broken the spell-checking since every word I type was underlined in red. I thought maybe I'd somehow switched the entry box to use Unicode since I had changed the font on the main form to a scalable font but switching the font back did not help. I was looking at the PlusMemo website since that's the component that I use for the entry box and realized that I was a couple of releases behind. So I upgraded and guess what? The whole she bang stopped working! Now I can't even run Blog and if I try to remove the PlusMemo component off the form, I get an AV in the Delphi IDE and I have to shut the whole thing down :-(

The good things is that Raymond Courteau who develops PlusMemo, responds blazingly fast to support queries. In fact, besides the guys at Addictive Software - whose great spell-check component they were kind enough to donate to me for free -, Raymond is about the only other guy I know of who responds to support queries so quickly - and, I'm not even a paid user of theirs! Anyway, Raymond did write back last night and wanted more details, which I sent to him but I have a feeling that the time difference is going to be a bit of a problem in resolving this issue quickly. Till I can get that sorted out though, I don't think I can proceed with Blog :-( Of course, I could always drop back to the older version of the component but then I'll still have to find the reason for the spell-check not working and if it is a Unicode problem as I believe, I don't have the Unicode version of the older component ... Ah well, we'll see I guess ...
posted at 05:37:09 AM  link  comment

Mon, Sep 30 2002

I rewrote the file upload code in Blog yesterday to be a bit more efficient and to avoid the problem of uploading the main journal to the image sub-folder. However, I have a feeling that I might have to do some testing before I can be sure that things work exactly the way they should - especially since I can't remember all the changes I made to support relative sub-folder naming etc. So even if I miss it, do take a good look at file uploading if you use relative paths or if you use an image folder, when you test Blog 7.0 Beta 6. I've also coded the HTML stripping function in and the digest should now function properly - at least I hope so, since I still haven't had the time to test the code to see if it works. I'll probably test both code changes sometime today and if it all works out, release Blog 7.0 Beta 6 today or in the next few days.
posted at 05:40:53 AM  link  comment

Sun, Sep 29 2002

Nigel discovered the cause for a Blog problem that had been perplexing both of us for some time now. The problem was simply thus: Nigel would make an entry, hit Publish and the journal does not get updated, he'd hit Publish again and it gets updated. The behaviour couldn't always be reproduced but it seemed to happen quite often. I was at a loss as to what caused it since I use Blog daily and it never happens to me. I looked at Nigel's settings, still could see nothing wrong. I then thought maybe he was using ZoneAlarm like Jim but that wasn't the case either. Nigel finally found the reason himself :-)

The reason? There is a bug in Blog that I had completely overlooked. When you have your images upload to a separate folder and you use images in your entry, that is when the bug occurs! The reason is that Blog changes folders to the image folder on Publish and then does not change back to the blog folder. So the first time when you have images to upload, the journal gets uploaded to the image folder and when you publish again, it gets uploaded to the correct location since the image list (for uploading) gets cleared after the Publish is complete. If anybody else is having similar problems, now you know the cause :p I will fix this for the next release - which I think I'll try to do within the next week as Beta 6. I don't know when the final release will be since I want to conclusively fix a couple of issues before the final release ...

What are the things that I want to fix? One is the custom snippet toolbar problems - for which I still haven't been able to find a solution which always works. The other is something that Duane Brosius pointed out - he mentioned to me that he couldn't see the scrollbar on the Journal Dialog's templates tab and that certain buttons weren't visible on dialogs unless they were maximized. I wasn't sure what caused it till Duane provided the answer himself - he's using large fonts and I'm not! I have looked through the Delphi knowledgebases and it looks as if I'm already implementing the suggestions they have for making large fonts work properly (at least, I was implementing everything except for assigning a scalable font to the form ...) so I'd like to find a solution for that problem too before the final release. BTW, I can't seem to find out where to set large fonts in Windows XP - or rather, when I set large fonts from the Appearance tab of the Display properties (which is the only place where I can seem to find a large fonts setting - I thought it was in a different place in Win9x? I just can't seem to recall where though ...), it doesn't seem to make a difference to Blog - it works fine. I don't know if my screen resolution (1024x768) has something to do with it too ... Maybe I should try at 800x600?
posted at 06:02:13 AM  link  comment

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