Songsmith

Finally, Microsoft put out something worth downloading, and it won’t install on my VMWare machine:

Songsmith.png

Yeah, that's public, Java.

Having to program in Java is a real eye-opener. It’s really not something I enjoy, mainly because I know there are better ways to do just about everything other than “the Java way”.

Take visibility, for instance. You can declare attributes and methods as private, protected or public. But if you have two objects of a particular class, they can access each others private variables. How fucking crazy is that? I mean, something is hardly private is a different object can still access it!

Another place where visibility is fucked up is in terms of methods and availability of these. If I have a class that is not defined as a public class, and I have an instance of this class, I can find out what it’s declared methods are. But I cannot invoke them, even if they are public!

I’ve got a project where I have to build a parser, and evaluate expressions. Sometimes there is a statement that can affect the state of the afore-mentioned object (which is in turn a sub-class of JFrame).

One of the statements is to resize the JFrame, which I can do by using the .setSize() method on this object. However, I cannot declare my own methods, even as public ones, and then call then from the client class.

Seriously, this is shit. All I want to do is basically pass a message to this object, and there’s no way for me to do so without changing the visibility of the class. I have a reference to the fucking object, I just can’t really do much with it.

Drop Box

Yeah. Thanks a Fucking lot, Drop Box. Next time, before you decide to quit the Finder, maybe check I’m not copying a heap of files somewhere.

Fail.

AdiumX 1.3.1

I have, courtesy of MkConsole, the data from some of my log files displayed on my desktop. This is really useful, as I notice stuff that gets logged there.

It’s less useful when applications write more stuff to the system logs than is strictly necessary. For instance:

Picture 1.png

That’s just a small segment of the issue, but it clearly shows that the latest release of AdiumX, 1.3.1 is dumping two lines to the console or system log every minute.

For google, the logfile data that is coming out is:

> 11/09/08 6:41:18 PM [0x0-0x48048].com.adiumX.adiumX[828] INFO cmdproc.c:98:show_debug_cmd() S: 000: QNG 42  
> 11/09/08 6:41:37 PM [0x0-0x48048].com.adiumX.adiumX[828] INFO cmdproc.c:98:show_debug_cmd() C: 000: OUT  

Time to go without IM for a little while.

Might get more work done anyway. But only if I kill Twitterific too, I suspect.

Panasonic, your logic is full of fail.

Heard on a TV ad just now:

Because the Olympics are filmed using Panasonic video technology, then it makes sense that you watch them on a Panasonic Plasma or LCD TV.

Clearly, someone at Panasonic can’t figure out that tricky logic stuff.

“Because you shit food out of your arse, it only makes sense that to eat it you should shove it up there too!”

Idiots surround me.

I’m currently sitting in a café in King William Road, trying to get some coding done. I’m not achieving much, and there’s one simple reason.

There are a pair of absolute fuckwits sitting next to me, and they haven’t stopped talking for about an hour.

The guy, very gay, seems to be a drama teacher. If you are Australian, think of that show “Summer Heights High” - it’s Mr G. all over. I mean seriously.

The woman apparently has something to do with the arts - I haven’t been able to figure out exactly what skills she has, as whilst she’s been yapping non stop she hasn’t really said much of substance.

The last straw was when they were talking about some drama awards night, and she called it “wanky”. I was about to lean over and explain to her about irony - she hasn’t stopped wanking for about an hour!

Pretentious idiots annoy me. I’ll put up with snobbiness or aloofness in people who have real skills or talent. But these people are driving me nuts. I nearly bought my headphones, I so wish I had.

Aha! She’s a drama teacher too!

“It’s just like Pulteney Grammar all over again!”

I’ve never wanted Jaq to hurry up and pick me up from the café so much!

Public Transit ain't that great

A couple of weeks ago, there was a puff piece in the local newspaper about a guy and his wife (and teenaged daughter) don’t drive, don’t even have a car. They catch public transport everywhere, and it works for them.

Adelaide is a funny place. It’s not really densely enough populated to have a first-class transit system, and because it isn’t really that good, not many people use it. This is possibly also in part due to how easy it is to drive everywhere in Adelaide, including into the CBD.

I’m a big fan of public transport, it just isn’t working that well here right now.

I used to work in the CBD, and if you live/work/play/study in the CBD, then Adelaide’s public transport is fine. I used to be able to stagger up the hill to the nearest (well, second nearest, as they closed the nearest) railway station, and as long as I was there by 8:02 am, I would be in time for work. Unless a freight train happened to come along at 8:01am, and I wasn’t able to cross the tracks until too late to catch my train!

I had another option, which was to wander a little bit down the hill, and catch a bus. But buses are much less reliable (yes, even than our pathetic train system here in little old Adelaide). Since I am near the terminus, then theoretically, the buses shouldn’t be late, unless the previous bus was so late that it made this run late. Which happened about 50% of the few times I caught the bus into town. The train was more convenient anyway, since it (usually) stopped closer to my work.

This year is a different matter. I am studying at the University near my house. It takes about two “three-minute pop songs” to get there by car. Seven minutes. And that’s from my driveway, to the carpark that is a one-minute walk from my building. Meaning I can leave home at 8:50, and even if the traffic is slow, still make it to a 9:00am lecture on time. If I’m going to a 12 noon lecture, I need to leave earlier, since there is never enough parking, but that is another matter.

Actually, I guess it’s related to what I’m about to rant about.

If I catch the bus to said 9:00am lecture, guess what time I need to be at the bus stop? Remembering that the transit time for a car was 7 minutes.

I need to be at the bus stop a full hour before my class starts.

One hour.

If the bus is on time, which is unlikely, then I’ll be early for my class. If the bus that is scheduled for half an hour later was on time, then I’ll arrive just in time for class. However, the buses are never on time. I don’t know if they are early or late, as it’s hard to say whether the bus that actually arrives is 3 minutes early, or 27 minutes late. I have had instances of me having been at the bus stop well before the due time of the bus, and having had to wait 45 minutes.

Now, this bus is traveling against the “peak” flow of traffic, and it is still managing to be off schedule.

I used to live on a bus route that was better serviced, but then I was traveling into town, but more importantly, it was a “smart” bus stop that told me how long it was before the next bus was coming. This would be useful for me now, since I can walk 10 minutes down the road to another bus route (but, let it be said, that doesn’t seem to make any difference to my travel and wait times, as the buses all come at the same time!) However, since I am going “against the flow” in terms of my direction, it is likely they wouldn’t even bother with e-boards on my side of the road.

I think one of the problems is that the transit authority in Adelaide don’t like to change timetables. They see this as a big issue, and will only change timetables about once or twice every three years.

Traffic conditions change much more regularly than this. I’d like them to reexamine every couple of months, and tweak the service. The worst thing about the system is that it doesn’t meet it’s timetables. Why not change the timetables? Make it a realistic setup, instead of forcing the drivers to stick to timetables that obviously aren’t maintainable.

I’d really like to see a decent electronic system. A combination of the smart stops, but better electronically available timetables. Not just PDF copies of the timetables on the website, but a proper, searchable system.

I envisage a Google maps-like page, where you can choose your start and finish points, and the system shows you all of the possible transit options between these points (including connections, if necessary), and when the vehicles are scheduled to run.

For instance, I could say I wanted to get into Adelaide from my house, and it would show me the next departure time of the train, and the bus, and the relevant arrival times.

I can currently use the “Nomad on Board” crappy system on my phone, but I need to know in advance the route numbers, and it’s really not efficient to compare them. And the times are out - it seems to think I’m in a different timezone to what I actually am anyway.

Safari 4 Breaks Lots of Stuff

Okay, I’ve deleted the Safari 4 Preview.

It just breaks too many things.

Firstly, it makes my Online Learning system not display properly.

Secondly, it makes ecto not work very well. It causes it to not post, and in fact not even retrieve posts from the sever very well. And it makes data just magically vanish.

Finally, it kills the ability to edit posts in WordPress Admin area. That’s right, it breaks TEXTAREA tags.

How the hell can you do that?

World's Fattest

One good thing about doing benchmarking of algorithms for homework is that I have time to watch TV while I wait for code to run.

And then I see things like the World’s Fattest Man, and World’s Heaviest Teenager.

How the fuck does someone get to 1000 pounds. And you can’t tell me that the teenager’s Mother isn’t to blame for him being so large.

I just couldn’t see the point of living if I could not move around.

Database Management

Databases are interesting. That’s not really what I mean, databases are kinda boring. But necessary.

Accessing databases, however, can be interesting. Not in the sense that it is something you’d like to be spending time on, but more in the “May you live in interesting times” Chinese curse sense.

I know enough about databases to design simple ones, and access complicated ones using something like SQL. I’m not saying I’m an SQL Wizard, but I can generally fudge around enough to actually get at the data I want. It’s really something I’d rather not do, fiddle around in SQL, but sometimes it’s a necessity.

I do like tools that make accessing databases more “fun”. There are two types that I’ve been using a bit lately.

The first are wrappers that make database tuples appear as objects. For instance, SQLAlchemy in python, and Java Entity Classes allow you to basically fetch an object from the database, operate on it, and ensure that the data is pumped back into the database. It’s a really neat way to handle data, and allows great persistence of objects in OO programming.

The other is a GUI tool designed for accessing a particular DBMS or set of DBMSs. For instance, MySQL comes with an administrator program, which does a passable job. Lately, however, I’ve been required to access a PostgreSQL database. And there is a great tool for that: Navicat. With the latest version, you can even access a PGSL database over an SSH tunnel, all without having to set the tunnel up yourself.

For instance, I have a machine at my work that I can ssh into, but I can’t directly access the development machine that has the PGSL database on it. I can set up the database as if I were on the work LAN, and then set up the SSH tunnel into the machine I can access. First time, without any hassles, and I was connected to the database. Securely. Over the internet.

I also tried another application I downloaded. But it was written in Java.

Java apps on the Mac really don’t fit. I haven’t used too many on Windows, but as soon as you launch a Java application in OS X, you know it’s a Java app. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t use the right file open and save panels. That have all of my shortcuts that make it possible for me to work on several different projects and keep sane, and well organised.

I’ve fiddled with a couple of other Java apps, and almost without exception I have thrown them out immediately. There was a clunky merge application, which lasted one run. Same with PowerArchitect. It just interferes enough with my workflow that I can’t make it happen.

Hell, it seems like a well-written application written for Windows, and running in Wine or VMWare seems to feel better than just about every Java application I have ever used. Well, maybe not every one. I guess a Java application that didn’t feel like a Java application would slip under my radar.

Which is what I’d want.