Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programmers

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Comment word verification

Sorry, but I was finally pushed into turning magic word input on for comments on this blog. Anyone may still comment, but you need to decode a picture in order to do so.

posted by Graham Lee at 08:03  

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Better clear the office out, can’t remember what the carpet looks like

OK, so I said there was a good reason to set up Þæs Ofereode apart from the bandwidth at SDF not being up to the task, and it’s time to come clean. Yesterday I handed in my notice to my current employers, and I’m off to Opera Telecom to become a QA/Test developer. It looks like I’ll be doing funky things with GNUstep so regular readers of iamleeg will not notice a move away from Objective-C and UNIX related ventings.

Of course this has been brewing for a few weeks, but I wanted to make sure my eyes were crossed and my teas dotted before letting anyone else know. Especially on the big scary intarwebs.

posted by Graham Lee at 22:07  

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New website

For reasons which will be made clear in an upcoming post (probably next week, I’m off to the ‘sunny’ Vaterland soon) I’m in the process of consolidating all of my website activities (except for bloggage) onto Þæs Ofereode. This also lets me do funky things like svn and mysql hosting which I’ll sort out over time. I have an email address there but currently am seeing inexplicable bounceage so I won’t publicise that yet. The comp.lang.objective-c alt.FAQ‘s new home is also there, because the bandwidth at SDF is too small. When Apple publicised ObjC 2 on their Leopard preview page, my SDF site fell of the intarwebs with people looking to see if I’d written about it. Announcements about the ObjC FAQ move will be made on the newsgroup in due course.

posted by Graham Lee at 16:34  

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hell hath frozen over

Hell, or “vi vi vi: the editor of the beast” as Matt succinctly put it.  Anyway, I just wrote a Makefile with multiple dependent targets, and it worked first time.  That just shouldn’t happen – especially when you only ever used Project Builder to avoid having to write Makefiles.  I didn’t even have to look at the O’Reilly/Cygnus book much.

posted by Graham Lee at 01:18  

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

WTF is a Veo?

Can anyone explain what this cpu_type represents?  And yes, reasons I’m delving around in libstuff to follow within a few days…

posted by Graham Lee at 06:30  

Saturday, August 12, 2006

NeXT Luminaries

Here I am, trying to look as important as the bunch of people around me.  Right bunch of luminaries they are too, but I won’t spoil the surprise of trying to guess who everyone is.  If you know, comment ahead.  Points for recognising someone’s hat without recognising the person themselves will not be awarded.  All quite large, 2016×1512 JPEGs.  Thanks to Ken Tabb for snapping the button.

posted by Graham Lee at 01:14  

Friday, August 11, 2006

Report from WWDC

You’re not going to see many discussions of talks from the conference, and this is no exception.  Beyond the keynote, the only talk I can discuss is one I went to today, which was a public talk by Amit Singh (author of the most excellent Mac OS X Internals, which I didn’t bring with me in case the plane tipped over in flight) in the Apple Store across Market Street from the conference.

Amit’s presentation style is as engaging as his writing, and he didn’t let the wrath of the demo gods spoil what was an engaging talk.  While he was necessarily light on substance (he couldn’t just read the book out, or we’d all still be in there) the demos gave indication of what is possible with Mac OS X and the material discussed in Internals.  In terms of OS X mentality we’re of the same stable, although he clearly knows much more about the system than I could ever lay claim to.

I got to ask him what the best and worst features of Darwin are in comparison with other UNIX.  His answers were interesting and enlightening; best is the pragmatism Apple engineers use in generating new API or taking from existing code; worst is the poor approach to open source taken by Darwin.  I couldn’t agree more.

posted by Graham Lee at 08:14  

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Greetings, Jobs-pickers

It seems to be de rigeur to provide a rundown of the top 10 Leopard features from yesterday’s Stevenote, and as I can neither sleep nor be bothered to read sample code, it’s a bandwagon I’m happy to jump on, albeit in my own cynical style.  Cue the Fluff Freeman voice effects…but first, let’s look at the hardware.  Amazing.  The amount of space they’ve freed up in the cases is stonking, so both the Xserve and the Mac Pro now actually have Pro-level expandability.

  1. 64-bit top to bottom.  What, you mean there are programmers out there too lazy to separate their workhorse from their presentation?  Apart from convenience, and a bigger OS+app footprint, I don’t see that we gain much here.  Now we have four Mach-O architectures, and the system libraries have to implement all four.
  2. Time Machine.  I’m assuming that the BBC wouldn’t let Apple license the Doctor Who theme music.  Because that time vortex looks just like, well, the time vortex, and every time I saw that UI I wanted to sing the theme (sorry, Back To The Future, you lose).  On the other hand, this is a sweet sweet feature and I can’t wait for Leopard GM so I can dare to switch it on…
  3. Ship the whole package.  I can’t remember nor be bothered to look up what Steve said but it was something along the lines of you now get all the apps with the OS.  I for one cannot wait to pay £69 for Leopard and receive my free copy of Shake.
  4. Spaces.  About.  Blinking.  Time.
  5. Spotlight enhancements.  See my comments on Spaces ;-).  Spotlight in Tiger was just plain broken, hopefully they’ve sorted this out properly.  After gratuitously faffing about with the Mail UI in Tiger, only to make searching even worse than before, hopefully Maileopard will actually be able to find a mail I write.  Networked spotlight definitely is most welcome.
  6. Universal Access.  The new voiceover capability is indeed much better than anything available in a current mainstream OS, sounding less like Steven Hawking (which is I think the same synthesised voice as the Amiga) and more like Davros.  But making this a Top 10 keynote feature?  I smell government contract compliance…
  7. Mail features: stationery, notes, to dos.  Oh.  My.  Gods.  Would someone please build a partition wall between Steve’s office and the UI team, he keeps suggesting stuff to them.  Why would I want this?  Why would I have an OS on which I can stably run multiple apps, and write myself little notes on Stickies widgets, if I’m then going to fold all of the functionality into the Mail application?  Can’t I use iCal or OmniPlan for my ToDos, like they’re designed for?  And stationery; I hate to shout, but HTML MAIL MUST BE BANNINATED FROM THE INTARWEBS.
  8. Core Animation.  As my good bud Ken pointed out, this doesn’t seem to be anything you couldn’t previously do with Tiger classes such as NSAnimation or NSViewAnimation, but maybe it’s a snatch easier.  The thing is, judging by the reactions of the Americans in the crowd, I’ve got a feeling this is going to be the "Web 2.0" of the Mac UI.  I feel violated.
  9. Dashboard features: dashcode, web clip.  Oh great, now we get to see thousands upon thousands of derivative widgets.  And web clip could’ve been so much cooler; it looks to me like it’s "render this whole web page, and display a punch-out with the following CGRect".  What it should be is "load this web page, and render this section of the DOM".
  10. iChat++.  I don’t really like tabs in Mac apps (AppKit does multiple windows per document, not multiple documents per window, as I said to John Gruber in response to his predictions, and the HIG deprecates trying) but I’m glad they went with OmniWeb-style tabs instead of Safari-style tabs.  The ability to stream an app’s view over iChat is absolutely fantastic though, this really is enterprise-level IM (regardless of the Photo Booth-style effects).  I’m looking forward to taking a photo of my office to use as my iChat backdrop wherever I am, too :-)

So there we go.  Sorry to sound incredibly underwhelmed, but there it is.  There’s been plenty of juice in the WWDC but not much of it came from the Stevenote.

posted by Graham Lee at 15:07  

Friday, August 4, 2006

See you at WWDC…?

Going to WWDC this year.  I’m not going to make any technical predictions, because last year I suggested that the Intel rumours were just a rehashing of regularly-repeated hype, and that there’d be a new edition of Hillegas to cover Core Data.  So, this year I’ll restrict myself to predicting that Steve Jobs will be there, and will say “Boom” at least once.

Fellow attendees: don’t know what my movements will be, except that I’ll be at the Thirsty Bear on Monday with some WebObjects people, but I’d like to meet as many of you as possible so please add onetrueleeg at mac dot com to your iChat list!  :-)

posted by Graham Lee at 10:34  

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