Older blog entries for TheCorruptor (starting at number 357)

I think I mentioned earlier that I was playing with screensavers on OS X, well today I fired up Interface Builder, went through some of the nib tutorials and had a play at extending the basic screensaver I'd put up on my site.

Interface Builder is surprisingly intuitive, and in the space of 30mins I had a working configuration sheet for my screensaver, and lo, a much nicer piece of code. I particularly like the way you connect widgets to call backs and ids. Means you can concentrate on what you need to do, unlike certain other UI Builders I've used.

Apple's docs are a little sparse in places (whose aren't?), but on the whole I've managed to pick up enough ObjC to wizz through the basic bits I needed and get all the widgets working. State is saved (as it should be), but I've noticed that on the first run it's making shite up on some machines and not others. I'll fix that for 1.1 -- in a week or so. ;-)

So, Little Fluffy Cubes for OS X is available. It's just an extension of the cubes I was playing with earlier, with motion blur, blending and user configurable speeds for the movement on all axis. As I've said before. Nothing fancy, but oooo, I've got some nice ideas for other screensavers I may do later in the year.

All in all I'm very pleased with Apple's dev tools. Everything seems to be "within reach", but I it's time I sat down and learnt ObjC properly. Today's exposure to it has lessened the scare factor somewhat.

So, what's next? iTunes plugin perhaps?! ;-)

9 Jan 2003 (updated 9 Jan 2003 at 19:28 UTC) »
Lik-sang supplied USB PS2 joypad adaptor and a large TV?

Mame never felt so good...

Mac Life

So, tady appears to be a good day to own a Mac. :-)

I've been using the browser for about 3 hours. It's fast, I've had no crashes, and I've been pretty happy with the way it's rendered the sites I most commonly visit. However, no tabbed browsing sux... I'm also very pleased that it's using Konq's engine.

The 17" Powerbook has everything I was calling for; built in bluetooh, bigger screen, dvi and faster FireWire. Excellent, except now I have to raise the cash and buy one...

But possibly the most interesting thing: Native X11 on OS X?! I also noted from the apple website that "Experts may choose to replace the native Aqua window manager with their own familiar, standard X Window Manager." Now that sounds *very* interesting. This will make work an even nicer place given the number of Sparcs we have running X...

Phew, been a while since my last entry. Time for a catch-up...

Civil

Not done much over the holidays. Artillery units are in, and the schema needs an update, which is done, but not tested or committed.

I have updated the website a little, and chakie has added a new screenshot. Seems we're back! :)

OpenGL

Well, I've been floating through the OS X Screensaver API and decided to have a go for myself. Knocked up a simple display list thing, which floats through environment mapped cubes. Looks fairly nice, runs fairly fasts, so mission accomplished. :-) You can grab it from my website

OS X

So, the new update landed, iCal and iSync are updated, and everything is running smoothly. Had a fun time this holiday going through everything and testing it out and reading through APIs. I particularly like the Bluetooth packet dumping stuff. Much fun, and I think this will come in handy at work.

I'm really enjoying it as a development environment now. There's of course the odd hiccup, but on the whole it just keeps on getting better and better. Annoyingly, I keep thinking of little applications that I'd like to write, and I just know there's not going to be enough time...

Life

The holidays have been good. Caught up on much of my reading, did some Java, visited Devon and threw one almighty NYE party for everyone here in Southampton.

Back to work on Monday, which I'm not looking forward to, but at least I've had a chance to relax and play with a few things. What more can you ask for? :-)

Oh, I know; Southampton stuffing the Spurs 4-0. MuHaHA! :)

18 Dec 2002 (updated 18 Dec 2002 at 13:42 UTC) »

Fun day so far. Installed Mandrake as a dual boot option on my work PC, in an effort to use win2k as little as possible. Fairly impressed with Mandrake from what I've seen so far given that this is the first time I've installed it. Everything went smoothly so now I'm hunting out differences between it and the other distros I've used before...

KDE 3 is quite nice (probably not news to anyone here) and I recently installed it rootless over Aqua via Fink. That impressed me more, and Fink is really starting to become a killer app for OS X. More power to them...

I expect the rest of the day will be spent configuring this machine and installing the various dev tools that I need. Better than work?! ;-)

Work

Finally things have settled down a bit. Looks like this week won't involve more travel... :)

Life

Went up to Liverpool for the weekend. Had the usual lock-in, piss-up and general laugh that you'd expect when you go and visit friends. Even met up with Nikki, who I've not seen in months. Was good to catch up with her and her man woes again...

Civil

Finished the first draft of the Scenario Schema. Needs annotations and some optimisations of the attr groups and local definitions of some elements, not to mention proper enumerated types, but for now it seems to be valid and does the job quite nicely. Of course, things are bound to change...

Everytime I write a schema I swear I'll never do another one by hand again. 280 lines of overly verbose XML. God, sometimes I miss DTDs. I should hunt out a Schema Major mode for emacs or something...

I also finished off the artillery units. Well, finished off in the sense that "these will do for now". I'm bound to dislike them when I see them in game, but they look reasonable enough in photoshop.

Finally, I'm knocking things off my Civil TODO list...

NYE

Plans are already underway for this years NYE party. I'll be DJing again, and it looks like we're going to have a large turn out. I'm also going to setup a webcam so we can link parties with Pap's in Liverpool. That should provide an extra element of fun!

Work

Lots of travelling. Currently I'm home for half the week and away 'oop north' for the other half. Makes doing anything at home a real PITA as I tend to spend at least one day catching up on what I've missed. Ie: Emily! ;-)

Markup for Games

Had an interesting discussion with Tripix re: schemata for games. Looks like Seal Basher will use this a a POC and we're intending to develop a separate library to support (initially) platformers, S.E.U. and B.E.U. type games. Early stages, and I need to sit down and work on some example doctypes while he messes around with a light weight parser.

Should be fun though...

Games

RewiredMind have invited me to start reviewing Game Cube releases for their site. No money involved, but I do get to keep all the titles and promotional material they send me. More for the CV...

Security

Still on a crash course wrt security related issues for our wireless apps and infrastructure. Books are getting bought, and mucho learning is going on. Interesting, and challenging. Just what I like... :)

Life

Seems I've spent virtually every night this week drinking and seeing mates. Pretty good to catch up on the social life as it means I can bury myself away and code/pixelate...

YaSS2

I've just been through the XML file that CrashChaos is using for the level definitions, and considering his outright disgust at XML a year or so ago he's created something pretty close to a work of art. Background and layer GFX are all nicely defined, enemies and enemy groupings are in along with positional information.

Looks like a good base to start from...

This got me thinking about writing another article, as between YaSS and Civil I've seen some great uses of XML in games. Might be worth doing some research and punting about.

Something for the new year...

Wireless

I've been having fun in the office. Came in the other day and my TiBook suddenly connected to a wireless network. Turns out we've got two test networks setup in the office for some of the mobile toys we're playing with, so I got kisMAC , ettercap and ethereal down and started sniffing. KisMAC works pretty well, loads a Viha driver for the airport card and gives you monitor mode. Also dumps the packets it gets, but so far I've not had a great deal of joy running WEPCrack over them. Ettercap and Ethereal work as you'd expect...

Obviously a small lecture on WEP, locking down wireless networks and changing the SSID quickly followed to the two guys responsible for setting up the base stations. It's not everyday you can telnet to a Cisco AP and get straight in with no need for authentication. Unless you work here...

Microsoft

I've ranted several times about Microsoft's complete inability to create a usable interface for PDAs and mobile phones. Everything from dialog boxes that are too large for the screen real estate (requiring you to scroll them around to get to tabs), to stupid recompilations of desktop applications, in the vain hope that they provide the type of functionality required for the mobile user (they don't! Face it, you're not going to write a word document on an XDA).

Pocket IE has recieved most of my wrath of late, especially when compared to Opera on Symbian. However, all that aside, it's actually been a pleasure to witness their stumbling attempts at producing products with appeal and functionality, not to mention stability (I've lost count of the number of times I've had to hard reset PocketPC). This Register article is particulaly amusing reading in light of my recent experiences, and several things strike me -- the most important being Microsoft's complete inability to develop for markets that they are not already incumbants in. There's been abortive interactive TV attempts, shoddy PDA systems, and now seriously delayed, over priced and downright unappealing mobile phones. 600 squid for signing code? I'll be writing some Java for Symbian then...

I'm hedging my bets that Microsoft's abortive platform will die a slow and lingering death. Unfortunately, I suspect Microsoft will do their usual and keep on releasing crap until version 4, by which point they'll have finally figured out how to emulate the environments already popularised by the competition.

As a last comment, I've been wondering for a while why Microsoft, even with the raft of User Interface Experts, focus groups and testing have managed to make PocketPC's interface so appallingly bad. Why isn't there an option to flip to a landscape view? Is this something Palm is to blame for? I seem to recall landscape displays on Psions and old phones long before I got my Palm... PCs have had landscape resolutions for years, at the very least mobile devices should give you an option.

Now, if I can rationally argue for another PDA that will run Linux for a comparision I might shut up for a while. I've got a feeling things may be a lot better with free software.

Code

I've been working on an OpenGL water effect for a while. After talking to the coder on YaSS we've decided this might come in handy for lava in YaSS2, so it looks like I'll have to finish that off in the next week or so and get it compiled on linux. I'll head off to RH over the weekend and download some ISOs and cruxify the spare laptop...

I also noticed that one of the more frequently asked questions of late on the SDL list is how to fade to black. Considering how easy this is, I had the thought that it might be nice to make a thin library (well, four functions really! ;-) I could easily fade to black in 8,16,24,and 32bpp. Extending this to fade between arbitrary surfaces (ie: between pictures) wouldn't be a hard extension either. There's a couple of ways to do it that spring to mind...

Hmmm, food for thought, although I suspect someone's already done it by now...

GFX

Finished the partial mock for YaSS that I mentioned earlier. This sparked some discussion for Bosses and ships that the level could contain, so it looks like I've signed myself up for a monster boss at the end. Won't give much away, but it should be quite impressive... :)

Weekend is lined up for Civil stuff. I heard a call for finished artillery GFX so this needs to be done, and I might try and finish some buildings as well... You never know.

Civil

Looks like we've broke the 100k hits barrier and download numbers are going up (despite us not getting another release out in the past couple of months.) I'm impressed! Never thought our little game would get so much attention. Although, it's not exactly little anymore...

chakie, msa and co. have done some sterling work to get us this far...

Work

It's been good to do some XSLT again and getting this interface complete for PDAs has been mildly interesting. Shame it's all so easy really (as are most XSLT apps). The only difficult bit has been remembering HTML markup that I've not used in years. God, I miss CSS2 ;-)

Looks like we'll also be getting deep into portlets and more server based Java code over the coming months. This is good as it piques my interest levels, but my CV is still out and about.

Might be nice to write a portlet that groks the stats/playlist from a ICE/Shoutcast server. I also fancy doing one for my ftp server...

Hmmm, setting them up as JSP elements might be the charm, and Kochanski is crying out for more load! ;-)

Panzers of Steel

Checked out chakie's tank game. As expected the auto* stuff didn't work out of the box on OS X (never seems to when I try it) so I'll probably throw the source in Project Builder and compile from there. I'm dying to see this in action for real. The screenshots have been too tempting...

Does highlight exactly how lame I am though. I hate going through the automake, ./configure, make path now. Some projects (normally *BSD) work a treat on OS X but Linux applications always need handraulic control. Even Civil gets on my tits when I have to make the install prior to building the OS X package. This is pretty sad isn't it?! I was going to force myself to use the CLI for building my own source, but PB makes it so easy that I've resorted to making projects for everything I want to port over.

I should go on a diet...

GFX

Spent most of last night working on some background mocks and ship sprites for YaSS2. Very exciting to see how it's shaping up. Looks pretty nice IMO. Plus, I'm a complete sucker for shoot-em-ups. First game I ever did GFX for was a shooter...

Civil

Started doing some buildings (again) for Civil. Couldn't seem to find the ones I was working on ages ago, but as they were crap anyway I figured I might as well start again. Might get time to do these over the weekend. Depends on my other chores...

Amiga

Note to self: please finish getting the A1200 back on the network!

Sorry, but I need DPaint, and the machine keeps staring at me folornly...

Code

Started playing with texture-coord effects in OpenGL. not sure if these will be any use, but it's worth looking at. Once done I'll probably begin doing a simple particle class that I'll use to handle the blood effects I want in Seal Basher.

Guess I should finish off the toys and start working on the engine.

Work

Things are very mobile here atm. We have JavaMidlets on Nokia 9210s, XDAs and Palm Pilots (very cool), Marketing movies running on Nokias and a new interface for webservices that works on PocketPCs. Fairly cool, except for working with Microsoft's PDA "operating system", which I have to say is the worst experience of my life so far. One of the PDAs here has enough spec to run full blown NT (64MB Ram, 300Mhz processor) but PocketPC (or winCE, whatever you want to call it today) is unreliable, prone to crashing and above all *slow*. Would love to cruxify it and install Linux instead, but my hands are tied. (I'd love to see how fast it ran!)

There's a reason PDAs are a minority market IMO; things haven't moved on since Palm Pilots. In fact, I'm more curious than ever to see what Palm 6 brings to the party. If it's good and the hardware's fast I don't see why they shouldn't reclaim market share from M$. Certainly PocketPC is worse than useless, and no where near "Prime time".

Of course, I may be in the minority as many people seem to love their iPaqs. They're good for war-walking, but I'm struggling to think of much else... ;-)

348 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!