playswithfire

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Word of the Day: Sinusitis

Well, actually maybe it’s the word of the end of the week. Wednesday night, yesterday and today my sinuses feel like someone snuck into my house and packed them with cotton and ran off. Ow ow ow ow ow.

In the meantime, Advil Cold & Sinus has become my new best friend; I can actually breathe for 3 hours or so between doses. Speaking of which, I’m off to pop some pills.

New Addiction

For a while, I had a rather serious Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes addiction. It’s a great hack’n’slash game to play by yourself, but it also can be played in four-player cooperative mode. The graphics aren’t bad, but the gameplay is what makes it fun.

I have a bad feeling about X-Men: Legends. The graphics are better, you get to play your favorite heroes, and you can play it four-player co-op. Looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Hopefully this won’t get too much in the way of me writing my blog spam filter, which I still haven’t finished. I’m pretty sure those 7622 comments aren’t all people just dying to talk about my prose.

Cleaning Up

I have become the victim of a bunch of blog spam. I’m writing up a little program to “sanitize” my comments from an MT export file so I can actually fix things up. When I return, I’ll probably have something in place to try to dissuade the spammers from posting.

If your blog is affected somehow by this (i.e. comments pointing at other blogs) please let me know and I’ll remove those first.

WWDC & San Francisco

I’ve spent the last week mainly in San Francisco at the Moscone West convention center for Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. I gave the entirety of the What’s New In Cocoa talk, which is an overview of all the new features that the Cocoa Frameworks team has put into Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” (Yes, that really is the official product name). I’m told my talk was well-received, and I enjoyed giving it, even if I think I wasn’t that hot and the last demo didn’t work for me.

I’m always fascinated by cities like San Francisco. It’s exhilarating and inspiring. It’s also at times sad and bleak. I was walking down the street towards Union Square earlier and saw any number of people walking around, places to go, things to do: tourists lined up for the cable car at Powell & Market, people shopping, banking, going to their offices, etc. It’s a busy place full of people who look like they have a Purpose.

Between all of those people are the ones holding cardboard signs that say things like “Spare change, God bless” and “Any help appreciated”. They run up from there to things like “Buying drugs and booze - at least I’m honest” and “My wife has been kidnapped and I need ransom money”. I hate walking past them sometimes because I could give them cash, but I don’t. Maybe it’s stupid, but I hate not knowing where that money’s going. I’ve given to specific charities before - food banks and the like - but not around here. I should do that sometime soon; it’ll probably make me feel better.

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, but things have settled down a bit and at least with WWDC over, I’ll have some time to catch up on all the things I’ve been neglecting at work and at home. The pile of bugs I’ve got fixes for but need to commit, as well as the pile of laundry I need to work through. Again.

I really do need to work on getting better about the whole laundry thing.

Disgusting Foodstuffs

My parents have a summer place in the Thousand Islands in Northern New York. The Antique Boat Museum is having an exhibit for the next year about Round Island (or Frontenac Island) and my parents have lent the “Mimsy” to them for the exhibit.

The “Mimsy” is a Dyer Dink and by all accounts sails like a bathtub. Still, the old wood and the red sail look great to me.

I appear to have made some rather serious culinary purchasing mistakes in the last couple of days. As a public service announcement, I’ll let you in on my embarrassing purchases, so you don’t have to suffer the same way I have.

First up, the Chocolate brownie CLIF bar. Never before have I purchased food that looks more like something you shouldn’t step in. The stuff just looks like, well… crap. Have about a gallon of water available to eat this too.

The other one is Safeway Select Clear Sugar Free Naturally Flavored Raspberry & Blackberry Sparkling Water Beverage. I’d link to a picture but I can’t seem to find one on Safeway’s site. You’ll just have to be on the lookout for it yourselves in the store. I picked it up because I completely missed the red streak with white letters in it that said “SUGAR FREE”. Ordinarily I would never have picked anything sugar free, but I wasn’t paying attention. This stuff is nasty.

‘Course, I should probably just put a big red streak with white letters on this site that reads “CONTENT FREE”. It’s a blog. What do you want, Hemingway?

Three Years at Apple

It completely slipped my mind, but yesterday was the third anniversary of my start at Apple.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoy working with the people in my group. It’s an incredibly sharp bunch of people, and in the last three years I’ve learned more about programming, software design, and compatibility than I have in ten before that.

We’re getting ready for our Worldwide Developer’s Conference and things are pretty hectic at work between fixing showstopper bugs and doing slides for the presentation I’m giving. Fortunately, the next couple of weeks should be less painful.

Whoa. 50 Entries.

I was just looking at my entries and it turns out my last one (yes, it was a long time ago) was the 50th.

I think I need to work on this whole “posting” thing.

Flattery Gone Wrong

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but if you’re going to imitate something for crying out loud get it right.

Lately, I’ve had to use the Firefox browser for some things. It renders nicely. It’s pretty quick. They’ve done a great job on making it a functional browser, but it’s a textbook case of how cross-platform attempts at things can be screwed up by not understanding how the UI on the target platform actually works.

The thing that pushed me over the edge on this one is Firefox’s attempt at sheets. If you’re using Mac OS X or can watch over someone’s shoulder who is, try this: launch TextEdit and type a few things into the window. Hit cmd-W and watch what happens. A sheet drops down asking if you want to save the document:

There are two important things to notice about this sheet:

  1. The sheet is document-modal. For that window, the only thing you can do is answer the question about what action you wish to take. However, you can still interact with any other window in your application.
  2. That document-modality has an additional implication: if a sheet drops indicating the changing of settings, then those settings should apply only to that window.

Here’s where Firefox gets it wrong: their sheets do none of these things.

  1. The sheet is application-modal. When the about box for Firefox or the preferences dialog is dropped as a sheet, I can do nothing else with the rest of the application. I can’t switch to another window to do other browsing.
  2. The settings that are described in the preferences dialog apply to the entire application, not just the window the sheet is attached to.

Don’t get me wrong: I like Firefox. It does almost everything browsers should, but it’s things like this that make it annoying to use on the Mac. It’s presenting Macintosh-like interface elements without respecting the proper use of those interface elements. It’s almost like someone saw sheets on the Mac and said “Hey! That’s how they do dialogs!” without actually reading the documentation on dialogs and when to use them.

If you’re going to live on a platform, you should try to match its interface idiom as much as possible. The mismatch between what Firefox does with sheets and what the rest of the OS does with sheets makes Firefox less-pleasurable to use on Mac OS X than Safari, even if for some of the stuff I’m testing Firefox works better than Safari does at the moment.

Happy Birthday!

…to Mac OS X.

As a friend of mine pointed out (he’s been working here longer than me) Mac OS X 10.0 was released three years ago today, on March 24, 2001. 10.0 wasn’t the fastest release, but it was the start of what’s become (I think) an impressive comeback. I’m really proud to have been a part of it since just before the release of 10.1.

Collector’s Items!

I’ve been trying to clean up stuff in my house - it’s a bit of a mess. Well, it’s historically been more than a bit of a mess, so now it’s just a bit of a mess. It’s kind of neat, though; I found these today:

The six-color logo and the old Apple ][ style font.

No, you can’t have them.