Bed's Stuff - Articles in Tech Talk category

Android Dev First Impression - WTFOMGBBQ

So I'm setting up the android SDK to play with, installing the Google "Android Developer Kit" which contains a modfiied Eclipse preconfigured with the android SDK. OK sounds good.

Except on creating a new empty blank project it throws errors and I can't build shit. So I google and many other people have this problem - it  seems to be related to the eclipse/SDK versions as what I have isn't up to date - even though this all came from the latest download package available.

So I upgrade the android dev tools using the android SDK manager to the latest versions - all good. But when I try to update eclipse, it throws errors about not being able to reach the update servers. So I goggle - and I needed to remove the file "log4j-1.2.15.jar" from /Library/Java/Extensions/ - because somehow that java extension mucks up eclipse's ability to talk to the internet. o_O

So I do that and checking for updates in eclipse no-longer throws an error - BUT -  it finds no update. Meanwhile the updated android SDK eclipse plugin is complaining saying that its incompatible with the old version of eclipse I have, and that I should update eclipse. But eclipse can't find any updates!

So I go back to google and it turns out that I need to update eclipse via the "Install New Software" option - which I try, and it then determines that it needs to UPDATE and not install new, which I say "yes f&cking please" and it starts... but then throws an error about not being able to download files! RAGE!

Back to google and the answer is to disable the 'http' update source and enable the 'https' update source. Installing 'new' software again and it worked - although it did warned me that its updating unsigned or verified content - 'sif I care at this stage- but finally I can create a blank project without any errors.

Lesson: I'm never complaining about xcode again - even in iOS 2.0 when the AppStore launched, I was able to just download and install xcode and start making an iPhone app with the simulator (although getting it onto a device was all sorts of pain). Not off to an impressive start Android! Hopefully the new Android Studio will be better, when its ready for production use.

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Dear Australian eBook publishers on Apple's iBookStore

Dear Australian eBook publishers on Apple's iBookStore,

Compare these two pictures and tell me why on earth I'd buy from iBooks and not Amazon?dd

ibooks

amazon

Here's a tip, don't try and sell an ebook for the same price I can pickup a physical copy of the book. AU$9.99 for an ebook is about the right price, AU$29.99 is not. As much of an Apple fan I am, and as much iTunes credit I have sitting there, I'm not going to spend 3x the amount just for the 'Apple experience'. Besides I much prefer the Kindle (on iPhone & iPad) app over the iBook app, Apple pay attention to that too.

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Setting up a Trac Server Under OS X 10.6

Trac is an excellent open source tool that allows you to manage a software project;s development life cycle, incorporating a wiki with issue/bug tracking while integrating with a source control service such as subversion. Months ago I had set up a subversion server which was working great on my iMac. I then wanted to setup a Trac server to go along with it so I could manage all aspects for my projects properly. Here's how I did it.

Installing and setting up Trac

Trac is written in the python scripting language, also requiring a number of other third party libraries. While a compatible version of python comes pre-shipped with OS X 10.6, these prequisite libraries do not. However its extremely easy to install trac along with all its prequisites by using python's great 'easy_install' feature. Simply fire up a command line by launching Terminal.app and run the following command:

sudo easy_install trac

This will download and install everything you need for you without further input, so let it do its thing and when its finished we are ready to create our Trac environment. Because I had previously set up my subversion server under a dedicated OS X user 'svn', I wanted to run trac under the same user. Thus I was going to create my trac environment in the /Users/svn/trac/newproject directory and do so by ensuring it was created with appropriate permissions for the svn user. This can be done by prefixing any command with 'sudo -u svn', which will run the command as the svn user. For steps on setting up a dedicated user for this purpose see my previous subversion howto. Run the following command (after ensuring /Users/svn/trac/ has been created) in the terminal:

sudo -u svn trac-admin /Users/svn/trac/newProject initenv

This will create a whole bunch of directories and files and you can then run the standalone Trac server manually to check that these first steps have worked:

sudo -u svn tracd --port=8000 /Users/svn/trac/newProject

This will make the trac server listen on TCP port 8000, so we can then browse in Safari or the browser of choice to http://127.0.0.1:8000 and see that we have a trac server running. Its not terribly useful yet however, as we still need to create users, assign administrator privileges to somebody and …

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Fugliest iPhone App EVER

I didn't think it was possible for any iPhone application to be as ugly as a windows mobile application. I was wrong.

fugly

Its so bad it makes my eyes bleed. How did this get past the Apple approvers? My mind boggles.

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Windows 7 vs OSX Leopard

For nearly the last year I've been using my Mac Book Pro with OSX Leopard as my primary operating system, which replaced years and years of Windows XP. I still had to run XP for work development, which I did in a virtual machine. A few months ago I had to move the VM to Vista to help ensure our application compatibility. So now the Windows 7 public beta was available, I decided to try it out as my work VM. Of course I have a handy backup of my old Vista VM - just in case. However after a week of use, I don't think I'll need the backup. Windows 7 should really be called Vista SP2 and it optimises and polishes off the Vista core. In-fact I would say now that Windows 7 finally catches up to OSX, in terms of being a polished, good looking, efficient, practical modern operating system. Having said that, I will not be moving back to the windows platform as my primary operating system any time soon. I really prefer OSX, and here's why...

Font Rendering

When I first moved to Macs, I thought "everything looks better, text is easier to read without straining my eyes". So I googled and found that there's a ideological difference with how Microsoft and Apple go about rendering their fonts. To get a clear understanding of the differences see "Font smoothing, anti-aliasing, and sub-pixel rendering". Personally, after over ten years of viewing fonts the Microsoft way, it took less than a month to become used to and much prefer Apple's way.

fonts

Task Management

Finally, Microsoft have realised the advantage of a combined application launcher and switcher. The new taskbar acts very much like the Dock now - and personally I think this is a great thing. Icons stay in the same place. Apple dock gives a dot under or next to running applications, while the TaskBar draws a box around running applications. Microsoft have this new 'jumplist' feature - but this has always been present with the Dock by right clicking the app icon to access application specific functionality. However the OSX dock can contain 'stacks', or folders. Just drop a directory on it and you've got an easy menu heirachy, this is not possible with the new windows 7 taskbar.

OSX Dock

Windows 7 taskbar

As for switching tasks, on the OSX side you have exposé, which will display all windows so you can …

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About

Andrew Bednarz - otherwise known as Bed, is a Digitarian who love avant-garde/black/folk metal, jazz, sci-fi, pro-wrestling, point & click adventure games; and of course his wife and cats.