Why did you say six months?
He's coming.
This matters. This is important. Why did you say six months?
Why did you say five minutes?

Tuesday, September 11


Stupid Physical Objects

My dishwasher and washing machine have both decided to play up.

Meanwhile, though, in Happy Abstract Concepts Land, I've been playing with Pandora. I'm late to the party, but I'm not sure how long it's been available in Australia.  (Answer: About two months.  So not that late.)

The user interface is very nicely implemented - clean, simple, and functional. The one feature I really wanted, though, was a button to tell me why it chose to play a particular track.


Why this track?

California Dreamin' by The Mamas & The Papas

Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features acoustic rock instrumentation, folk influences, heavy use of vocal harmonies, acoustic sonority and call and answer vocal harmony (antiphony).

Why this track?

I'm Happy Just To Dance With You by The Beatles

Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features pop rock qualities, rock & roll influences, a subtle use of vocal harmony, extensive vamping and major key tonality.

Why this track?

Message To My Girl by Split Enz

Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features pop rock qualities, acoustic rhythm piano, major key tonality, a vocal-centric aesthetic and many other similarities identified in the music genome project. Also you listed Split Enz in your station preferences, you goof.

Well, I might have elaborated slightly on one of those.

I'm impressed, and I do this kind of thing for a living.

So I went to download the Android app, and promptly got friendzoned.

So I thought I'd try out Spotify as well, and installed the app, and checked on the essentials (do they have Big Pig's second album?  Nope.)  and settled for the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

And then I noticed that it was importing my iTunes library.  Well, good luck little app, that's 1.26TB of data.  iTunes chokes on it regularly; let's see how Spotify copes....

Better than iTunes it seems.  Both iTunes and Spotify are showing all four years worth of audio files* but Spotify is using one-third the memory to do so.

* As in, four years of listening time.

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Monday, September 10


A Nation, Friendzoned, Part N+1

VMWare have released an update to their Workstation product, version 9.  Main feature seems to be support for Windows 8.  Also better remote management (not much of an issue for me) and USB 3.0 support.

They've also updated the price from $199 up to $249.

They've also created an Australian store, with prices 40% higher than the US store.

I upgraded to version 8 because it was on sale for $70.  It would cost me $175 to upgrade to 9, and honestly, I can't be bothered.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:17 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Is Busy Today

Throws up quick video to keep readers distracted.

Knows audience.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:46 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, September 09


Unicode 1F4A9!!!

My new cuss word.

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Friday, September 07


Spring Cleaning

So I cleaned my desktop rather than my floor, but it still counts, right?
Click for BIG FISH!

Update: Pony icons available here.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:05 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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iPad Pre-review

That screen is beautiful.  It's big enough for comfortable web browsing, when the Nexus 7 really isn't.  Though for an IPS screen the viewing angles aren't that great - it loses clarity quite noticeably at even modest angles.

So far, I still prefer the (much cheaper) Nexus 7.  It's much lighter (almost exactly half the weight), easier to navigate (physically, due to the smaller size), more comfortable to hold (the rubberised back makes a big difference), and much more responsive.  

In particular, Google Play kills the App Store dead when it comes to performance.  It can take several seconds for an app to start downloading on the iPad, and you just have to sit there and wait.  If you try to select another app to download, it cancels the first request.  The Nexus 7 lets you just go blip-blip-blip.

On the other hand, I have some much more featurey apps on the iPad, like GarageBand, ArtRage, and Pages.  And I've finished my big bulk app install and won't need to go through that again for a while.  We'll see how it holds up for doing actual work - I use the Nexus 7 for reading, playing games, and checking on things, but even answering email is a chore on a screen that small.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:19 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Kindle "Fire 2" launch, TL;DR edition:

Fire HD: 1280x800 7" IPS screen (matching the Nexus 7 and yesterday's Kobo announcement), microUSB and microHDMI.

16GB: $199
32GB: $249

Fire HD 8.9": 1920x1200 8.9" (surprise) IPS screen, microUSB and microHDMI.

16GB: $299
32GB: $369

Only dual-core CPUs instead of the Nexus 7's quad-core, but I don't know how much difference that will make for day-to-day use.

The Fire HD is 13.9 oz (394g) and the Fire HD 8.9" is 20 oz (567g).  The Nexus 7 is a svelte 340g, but I don't think the extra couple of ounces on the Fire HD will hurt too much.  The iPad is 662g, and let me tell you, it gets heavy after a while.  (Pretty screen, though.)

Looks like a great launch: The $199 Fire HD provides twice the storage of the entry Nexus 7 but otherwise comparable specs (and HDMI output as a bonus).   The Fire HD 8.9" is smaller and lighter than an iPad - and a lot cheaper at $299 vs. $499 for the entry model.  You can get a 7" and an 8.9" and still have a dollar left over compared with the iPad.

Of course, Amazon is being Amazon, and we antipodeans aren't allowed to actually buy the damn things, but apart from that, it looks like a great launch.  My best hope is that this will prod some of the other tablet companies into motion.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:59 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, September 05


Apple vs. Samsung - Wait A Minute. Strike That. Reverse It.

Previously in As the Worm Turns, we discussed how the jury in the case had ignored instructions from the judge and assessed damages to punish Samsung rather than to reflect actual financial harm upon Apple.

Now the jurors have opened their mouths again and demonstrated that they also ignored the judge's instructions on prior art, the key to Samsung's entire defence.  That is, they made an error of law, rather than of fact.

The jury concluded that the prior art did not invalidate Apple's patents because the code would not run on an iPhone.  Of course, the same argument would show that Samsung did not infringe on Apple's patents because their code won't run on an iPhone either.

And the judge specifically instructed the jury that this is not how prior art is evaluated.  (Groklaw cite the relevant sections at the page linked above.)

Best quote:
I think he may have a valid point. Perhaps apple have invented some new numbers, like eleventy-four, that don't fit into the old computers properly due to magic and stuff.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:16 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Potential For Non-Suckiness

Delphi XE3 provides native support for Windows 7 & 8 (including what they're calling "Metropolis" this week), MacOS X, Android, and iOS.

Prism XE3 is ObjectPascal (the Delphi language) for .Net (Windows) and Mono (Linux and Mac).  The language is largely the same, but the UI class library is different.

RemObjects Oxygene is Prism for .Net/Mono and WinRT (that is, Prism is Oxygene for .Net), Java (including Android, which runs almost-but-not-quite Java), and coming up to a beta release for "Nougat".

Only problem is, they hint but never explicitly say what "Nougat" is a code-word for.  Apparently either MacOS X, iOS, or (most likely) both.

Update: Details are up, and Nougat is indeed both MacOS X and iOS.  Sold!

It's still messy, but probably the least messy solution for cross-platform native apps available today.  And it's not horribly expensive.  The Oxygene .Net/Java/Nougat bundle is $499; Delphi XE3 Professional is A$1169.

Assuming that Nougat covers all Cocoa platforms, that Oxygene bundle is perfect for me.  One language lets me target the desktop on Windows 7 & 8 and Mac OS X, tablets and smartphones running iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 & 8 and Windows RT, and servers running Java, .Net, or Mono.  And I can easily embed Python and Ruby on the .Net/Mono and Java platforms (using IronPython, IronRuby, Jython, and JRuby respectively) to bring my existing code across.  (Not sure about doing that with Nougat, though.)

One other interesting thing: With XE3 Embarcadero introduced a new EULA that forbade third-party (or indeed hand-rolled) client-server extensions for Delphi and C++ Builder Professional - you had to buy the 2x more expensive Enterprise or 4x more expensive Architect packages to do any client-server work at all.  Since client-server architecture is universal these days - everything is client-server - this was unenforceable and frankly stupid.

The user forums erupted in protest....  And the offending EULA clause was pulled.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:52 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, September 03


New Server Dance

Python, MySQL, Java, Erlang, MongoDB, Redis, RabbitMQ, CouchDB, Riak, ElasticSearch, Xapian.

Once upon a time I programmed in Progress.  It was my database, my programming language, my query language, my display language, my database design tool, my search engine, and my text editor.

Not every change is for the better.

Case in point: Progress is now called Progress® OpenEdge® Advanced Business Language.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:33 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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