Monday, February 05, 2007

Xach has shamed me into posting a blog entry

Life has been decidedly non-lispy lately, so I haven't had much to update in that area. I did a very quick reflector for a new addition to the Paragent.com service, but that was a very small bit of lisp coding that really took advantage of networking code I already had in place for Archon.

We rolled out some new features for Paragent.com including: Google searches right in the interface, hotfix lookups from microsoft's knowledge base, as well as license key reports.

Otherwise, it has really been a mix of decidedly non-programming activities that have been frittering away my time, including making a bunch of sales calls last month.

I have also been working on getting ready for our first ever Paragent.com trade show appearance. We are going to be in Las Vegas February 18th-21st at the Venetian for the 11th Annual International IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition. We decided rather last-minute to attend, so we have been pulling stuff together as quickly as possible. We don't want to blow too much money to attend, but we don't want our booth to look like a Jr. High science fair project either. We have also been getting schooled in the fine art of monopoly power. If working with the people that put on trade shows isn't actually working with the mob, it has to be a fair simulacrum. You get to answer questions like: Do you want to pay double to keep us from turning off the power in your booth outside of show hours? Do you want the $450 4 day, single computer wireless access, or the $2000 capped ethernet connection? Oh, how about the $62 dollars per day to empty your trash can (said trashcan having been rented from them, mind you). Just read the Grapes of Wrath, it is a much cheaper experience. I must blog more on this fun when we get back.

Oh, I've also been getting back into a little Cocoa programming. Leopard is going to have the new Objective-C 2.0. Improvements include new foreach syntax (even though I thought the NSEnumerator pattern not really painful), class properties, some other minor additions, and the biggie: a generational garbage collector (queue fanfare). What isn't getting into obj-c 2.0? Closures.

I am still of the opinion that Objective-C and Cocoa are the best gui development environment I have ever used. On the other hand, it is one thing to come to Cocoa from C++ or Java, and another to come back to it from Lisp. I have been looking into the Cocoa bridges for Lisp, but there isn't one available yet for my Lisp of choice. I've been doing a little digging to see how hard creating a bridge would be, but programming in Cocoa is just as much about the tools like Interface Builder as it is the available widgets. I don't even know enough at this point to carry on a conversation about it, but I am looking. The first step may in fact be an XCode lisp plugin.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A sobering look at alternative energy

I think I am going to keep this article in mind whenever I am thinking of alternative energy. I tend to find things like fuel-cells, solar-panels and the like pretty cool—not because I am an environmentalist, but because I am a geek. Then you read something that puts you back down on terra firma with a hard thump.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Can this possibly be right?

According to this article, Sarbanes-Oxley Act is apparently requiring Apple to charge $4.99 for unlocking the 802.11n support in computers that have been shipping with the functionality disabled. I don't know if S-O is just the latest boogeyman, but I hear it come up at least twice a week in some negative context regarding its unintended impact on business. If S-O is so sweeping, broad and ill-defined that a company like Apple has to start charging customers for something they would otherwise give them for free, it ceases to provide any meaningful positive impact.

[UPDATE]
Jeff Harrell does a much better job over at Shape Of Days.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Blu-Ray Just Lost

This article at Ars indicates the "adult entertainment industry" is backing the HD-DVD standard. Apparently Sony doesn't want porn on their precious format. Sometimes you just have to shake your head. I believe the 3.5in disk was a Sony product, but apart from that now-obsolete media, Sony has a pretty abysmal record when it comes to getting consumers to buy. Beta, Mini-disk, memory-sticks, Blu-ray, and probably many more. [note: I believe beta is still used in some professional settings, but I could be wrong]. At some point wouldn't you just give up?

Not Likely

According to this article, the Apple, Inc. board may be "forced" to fire Jobs as CEO. This is not the first article to suggest such an outcome of the backdating scandal. What I find interesting is that none of the articles I have read explain why exactly the board would be forced into such an action. The board is responsible to the shareholders. I think it is pretty clear that the majority of Apple stockholders want Jobs at the helm. Unless there were some legal limit to Jobs remaining as CEO, the board doesn't have to do jack—backdating or no.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iPhone


So, got your iPhone on order yet? That is one sweet, sweet device. Unfortunately, there is some grumbling that folks are being told at MacWorld that Apple is not going to allow 3rd party apps. That is just dumb, dumb, dumb. I can imagine their arguments for it, and I think Apple will be printing money with these things, but for my part, it would kill much of my enthusiasm for the device. What is the whole point of promoting OS X on the device if they are going to hobble it? The people that would care about OS X on the phone want 3rd party apps, and the people that don't want 3rd party apps could care less about what OS is being used. Just doesn't make sense to me. That being said, there is no official word from Apple, the phone is not even out for another 6 months, and the real story may be different. Lets hope so.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Overheard on #lisp

[4:25pm] Xach: sorry, i want santa to think about any details i didn't already specify
[4:26pm] froydnj: Xach: pffft, santa needs a list!
[4:27pm] Jasko: He's consing a list and checking it twice
[4:34pm] froydnj: Jasko: Santa Claus is coming to the heap?
[4:38pm] Jasko: froydnj: He knows if you've been badp

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Time to panic

I was having a string of kernel panics, and was not sure what was causing it. There seemed to be a correlation with using Parallels and World of Warcraft. My initial thought was that perhaps I had a bad stick of memory that was being exposed under high memory loads. I upgraded my mini when I first got it to 2GB of ram. It was a very stressful upgrade, and I was dreading the thought of cracking open the little bugger again if it was in fact the memory. Thankfully, I found the following commands to tell OSX how much memory to use.

sudo nvram boot-args="maxmem=1024"


To set it back, use:

sudo nvram boot-args=""

I also found reference to a panic.log file during my google trolling, so I dug around, and found that it did record the KPs. I grabbed the first line from the last one, put it into google, and came back with the diagnosis that there was a good chance it might be the airport card.

It turns out that a) I just recently started using the airport connection on the mini because I had to move my setup down to a spare bedroom while I work on my home office in the attic where my hard-wired ports are. b) The only reason I was running Parallels was so my son could stream Noggin videos online, which only runs on windows. So the kernel panics were always happening during high network usage.

I guess this is motivation to get the darn attic finished.

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