It's a Big World

2009-04-30 20:00:00 -0400

ENTP’s founder Courtenay has an interesting comment up on his blog today:

As a side note, none of these people are from the US, which is a reminder to those of us North American-centric coders that there is a huge world of smart people out there.

Which is funny (or ironic), because on WNYC just now they were discussing 1) the surprising lack of H1B applications for the first time in a long time, and 2) proposals in Congress to make access to temporary worker visas more restrictive. Interesting times.

Tempo Maintenance Tonight: APR-23

2009-04-22 20:00:00 -0400

We’ll be interrupting service briefly tonight (23-APR-2009) on Tempo for a bit of background maintenance that should improve stability of the service. This will take place at 11pm EDT.

My Thoughts Exactly

2009-04-18 20:00:00 -0400

On the Apple Push Notification Service for iPhone OS/SDK 3.0, there’s an interesting comment thread over on Mobile Orchard. Ryan Daigle writes:

This has the potential to become a very expensive and heavy-weight hack to masquerade as a local cron system on the iPhone.

As Adrian Hosey reasons in that same thread, it really is a lot of fail-prone nonsense. There should be some kind of local device API for scheduling with launchd or whatever the OS uses.

Campfire could use Save Points

2009-04-15 20:00:00 -0400

Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness Savepoint

Due to a series of unfortunate events I am in this spot where we lost some code, including some custom PL/SQL written for chart series and data calculations. Most of these queries had been pasted into Campfire at some point so I’m digging through transcripts looking for code to reuse.

Campfire is a web-based chat and collaboration tool; we use it all the time here at Zetetic, so much so that I’ve even taken to using a really great third-party client called Propane for it. In any event, it often happens that I need to search through our transcripts to find a particular conversation or look up bits of code that might not be anywhere else. And it’s always a nuisance to identify what you’re searching for when you search on a string of text and then proceed to click through each matching transcript.

So an idea occurred to me: Save Points! It’s very, very common in many of the interfaces we use (at least in the tech world) to have some kind of toggle in the gutter of a view allowing us to mark an item for later review. GMail and Google Reader both use a star for this:

Google Reader Star

In Apple’s XCode IDE (and many other IDE’s), we often click in the gutter next to a line of code to set a breakpoint:

Xcode Breakpoint

What I think Campfire needs is a turn on this type of interface, a feature I can’t help but think of as a Save Point. I want to be able to click in the gutter next to a line of conversation in a Campfire chat so that I can later pull up all my save points instead of searching. In fact, I’d also like to be able to click on the save point and give it a name.

Campfire Chat

The reason I think it would help me in my current scenario is that presumably when I pasted something like “woot! this is the final version of such and such query and it totally works fast!”, I’d paste the query and then I’d just click a quick save point in case I wanted to return to that point in the conversation at some later date. Here’s hoping the 37Signals folks will consider implementing such a feature.

iPhone SDK 3.0 beta - no backing out!

2009-04-13 20:00:00 -0400

Right now we’re putting the finishing touches on our first iPhone app to get it into the App Store, or hopefully at least through the approval process. Who knows, really. But we’re hustling, we’ve put a lot of work into these products and we’d like to at least get them out there soon.

In the spirit of staying on top of things, I downloaded and installed the iPhone SDK 3.0 betas (1 and 2) on my development machine. I just wanted to be able to take a look at things so that I could get a head-start on the next generation of our apps. But so far, errors and extreme weirdness have been keeping me from my work on our current apps for the current platform. You’d think when you switch the build environment for platform 2.2.1, the entire XCode environment would adapt, but that’s not what happens. The helpers seem to be generating nib files for the new SDK, I can no longer create grouped-style table views, there are random crashes, nuisance deprecation warnings for the new SDK I’m not using.

Obviously, beta software is beta software, so caveat emptor, but I can’t find any good information on backing out the 3.0 beta installations and resetting my environment. In addition, I’m told that Apple isn’t accepting apps in the store built using this new version of XCode, even if they are built for the current platform, which is in and of itself really lame if true. Still trying to confirm that. So I’d advise anyone doing development right now to hold off on installing the beta SDK environments on their primary development machine. Install it on a spare machine, I reckon. What a nuisance!

Update: Apple does warn you about this on the SDK download page. Among others:

  • iPhone SDK for iPhone 3.0 beta is for development purposes only. This software should only be installed on devices dedicated exclusively for iPhone 3.0 beta application development.
  • iPhone SDK for iPhone 3.0 can not be used for submitting iPhone OS 2.2.1 applications to the App Store.