January 30, 2005

Ah, Technology.

Rumor is there's a new Digital Rebel coming out at the end of February for the same price as the current one. Everyone who recently bought a DRebel can thank me for their technology becoming old. A month after I bought my iBook, new ones came out. Shortly after buying a Digital Rebel, the rumormill says new ones are coming shortly. Such is life. I'm not particularly worried; there's not much the current one's missing that I'd sell mine for.
Posted by Colin at 8:40 PM | Comments (1)

January 29, 2005

Better Build Numbers

Geek mode on!

In developing my junky little Mac application, I found myself wondering how best to manage software release numbers. Marketing numbers like 1.5 are all well and good, but how do I keep track of what version of the code a particular user has? And when I'm distributing betas (which I don't bother tagging in the code repository), how do I know which revision they came from? It makes all the difference in stomping bugs.

I briefly toyed with the software updating its own build number every time I compiled it, but that sucked. My testing is very much hands-on as opposed to reading through the code, for various reasons -- but mainly that Obj-C can be a little quirky at times, and that the code looks brilliant anyway after you've spend the last x time units writing it. When you test that way, build numbers increment disturbingly quickly.

Using Subversion for my SCM solution, the answer hit me like a load of bricks: use the repository's revision number as a unique identifier.

And so betas started going out that way for testing. I sent out beta 66 for testing, got reports back, made the necessary changes, and sent out 67. It made things damn easy. When users report a bug in a beta, I can very very easily pull exactly what they were using without polluting the repository with tags for beta releases. I don't have any wide-reaching beta program, so betas get sent out individually as bug reports come in -- I may have 2 or 3 different betas floating around at a given moment.

While it no longer increments its own numbers (though I'm sure I could write a script to make it do that if I was bothered enough), it takes me all of 10 seconds to edit the two files containing the build number. Simple enough.

On the topic of SCM: Perforce is crazy. I briefly toyed with it because I didn't want the hassle of compiling Subversion. The setup documentation for Perforce has a tendency to explain how to do something with Perforce-specific terms that aren't explained. While I may have been able to figure it out eventually, I didn't have the patience to play games (especially when I'm really unlikely to sink the $800 on it when Subversion performs just fine). Perforce may have some spiffy features, but I'm my IT department and my IT department decided to take a coffee break and get some real work done instead.

Posted by Colin at 9:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2005

Comment spam sucks.

Oh yeah, I forgot until I received Trinity's comment notification today that I'd switched over to requiring TypeKey to make comments.

I got damn tired of dealing with comment spam that kept appearing despite the best attempts to prevent it (and even though MT-Blacklist successfully recognized most spam and forced moderation, I still receive the notification messages and have to go through and empty out the comment queue).

Sorta sucks the fun out of bothering with the weblog.

Anyway, off to Photoshop to obsessively tweak a bunch of pictures for the photoblog.

Posted by Colin at 4:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 21, 2005

Spam from the past!

I'm not sure how this spammer expects to rake in the cash.

Today this subject line graced my junk mail folder: Payyless for Wnd0ws 95

Wow, Windows 95? I simply must have it! There's nothing like decade-old software to appeals to the consumer of today! While we're all at it, let's buy Yugos and Pintos too. I think I'll go leisure suit shopping after stopping at the disco, too.

Anybody want a nice big 15 inch TV? I hear they're all the rage in the rich houses!

Brother.

Posted by Colin at 1:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 20, 2005

VRWC Ahoy!

Here's fodder for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy crowd, if they're not all over it already:

1. Obtain CNN's "transcript" of Bush's inauguration speech.
2. Watch Bush's inauguration speech.
3. Compare the inaccuracies of CNN's "transcript" to the version press released from the Office of the Press Secretary.

CNN doesn't even attribute their "transcript", adding to the illusion that it was actually transcripted by CNN staff from reality. In actuality, all they did was slap up the written version of the speech (or an edited version thereof) straight from the White House and label it something it's not.

And yet some people who wonder why others are distrustful of the newsmedia.

Posted by Colin at 10:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2005

Techno Nirvana

I have achieved technological nirvana, courtesy of Apple, CompUSA, Sony-Ericsson, and D-Link.

D-Link products have been on rebate over and over at CompUSA, so I finally decided I'd go pick up a Bluetooth module for my Mac. Brilliant choice. I wish I'd done it sooner, since one of the reasons I sprung for the T68i a couple years back was specifically because it had Bluetooth.

Anyway, Bluetooth on Mac OS X is pure sex compared to Windows (I tried to love Bluetooth in XP, but it was a "sodomized with a splintered broom stick" kind of love). But the best feature is that iSync supports syncing to Bluetooth phones (and some Motorola phones using a USB cable) -- a feature I'm very grateful for. My address book (which I keep on my computer) and my phone's phonebook are rarely, if ever, in sync.

When someone's phone number changes, I make of a note of it wherever it's convenient, and it either ends up in the address book or in the phone. Problem is down the road when I want to call that person, I don't know which number's current (if I'm sitting at the computer with phone in hand) or I have the wrong number (if I don't have both phone and computer).

Enter iSync: the phone's already paired to the computer, so I just click the button in iSync, and a minute later we're golden. The contact information syncs up, and I can now make calls wherever I happen to be with the current number. Heck, I can work it right into my morning ritual of checking my e-mail and disconnecting the iPod.

Good stuff, though the Bluetooth circuitry does suck up battery a little faster.

Also cool: when the phone's paired with the computer, Mac OS X can pop up a dialog whenever I get a call, telling me who it is and allowing me to handle the call without ever touching the phone. Am I in love? Yes.

Posted by Colin at 1:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2005

Mmm, RAW.

Coming soon to an iLife '05 near you: iPhoto with RAW support!

Damn straight. Maybe I'll have to stop taking pictures until I can get my hot little hands on a copy, because my card's full of CRW images and I want them out!

Posted by Colin at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 9, 2005

Get Out!

If you're looking for some good hikes in Arizona that aren't in the books, check out HikeArizona.com. Absolutely huge number of listings, most including commentary from people of all who have actually hiked them. If you can get past the initially awkward site design and the mandatory registration, it's a great resource.

Posted by Colin at 11:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 6, 2005

TiVo and RSS

I just realized something, though I don't know why it never hit me before: TiVo is like an RSS reader for TV. Rather than you going and seeking out the content, it comes to you.

I also greatly miss my TiVo, and I'm thinking it's about time to buy a new one (especially after comparing it to building a XP Media Center system -- holy crap).

There's nothing like having your favorite programs waiting for you, especially when they're the kind that disappear for long stretches and come back, like Scientific American Frontiers on PBS. And with all the stupid pledge drives on PBS, I never know whether This Old House is actually on or not. Effortless television, how I miss thee.

Posted by Colin at 4:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 3, 2005

Life Hates Me

Have you ever had the impression that the world's out to get you?

I certainly have. Like today.

Last night I pulled the car in and noticed it was having some problems. I came inside, figured out what the problem was likely to be, and went to bed assuming I'd take care of it today.

Walk outside this morning and it turned out one of the rear tires was flat. Changing the spare in would be an option, but it's raining cats and dogs. It seems like it might be passable enough to drive down to Discount and have them do a free repair on it.

It stops raining. Huzzah. I call Discount and ask how it's looking. Guy says an hour and a half wait.

I go digging around looking for the bike rack, thinking perhaps I can drop the car off and bike back home (and be accomplishing something) instead of sitting in their lobby for two hours. I finally find the bike rack, but the keys to the hitch lock aren't with it. Remembering they're in my car, I go to the car to get them... and they're no longer there.

"Fine," I announce to no one in particular, "I'll just go waste two hours of the day." After all, I need some pet supplies anyway and there's a Petco and a bunch of restaurants across the street from Discount. I grab my keys and a coat and it starts pouring harder than it has in months. So hard that the only thing I can hear is the pounding rain. It floods outside.

So I gave up.

A few minutes ago I decided I'd just have to put the spare on and take it to Discount tomorrow, because the tire's just getting flatter and it won't be driveable. Like a good boy, I retrieve my tire gauge from the glovebox to take a reading off the spare.

The spare is freakin' empty. Steel belted and ready to roll, but so grossly under-inflated that it's neck-and-neck with the flat tire in its worthlessness.

Apparently I was meant to stay home today.

Posted by Colin at 4:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack