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Showing posts from 2010

A new PC

That's it. I've done it! I have just ordered a bunch of new kit from ebuyer and dabs. I'm building a new workstation. I know, all these macs and sh*t, however, with a mortgage and a kid there's no money for a Mac. So back to basics: Windows and a custom-built PC. In other words get as much umpf as possible for your pennies.

My only requirement was memory tbh. I wanted lots. I wanted 32GB of RAM or something like that. Then I had a look at the prices. So I settled for 6! With another 6 at christmas... :-)

OS? Well, not much choice, I will start with  64-bit Windows 7, but I might give Ubuntu a partition. Problem is I need to run LightRoom and PhotoShop, so not much room to argue really.

My problem now is... the moment I placed the order,  it occured to me that I'm gonna have to literally PULL THE PLUG from my old PC. You see, I'm bloody emotional, I can't let go that easily. All my previous computers (and I've built a few) were built side-by-side with th…

The iPad is here

Thanks to my dear friend from NYC and his... accomplice :), I have had an iPad delivered a couple of days ago. I haven't actually managed to do much on it yet, I have spent my minimal free time in the evenings having the iPad lying on my desk connected to my desktop, while I was trying to find any decent specialized iPad apps in the AppStore, which is not as easy as it sounds.

Quickly let me get through what everybody else has already said: looks stunning, feels sturdy, screen is amazing and bright, battery life exceptional. That all we all know. Here is my take on the rest - a very quick first impressions review...

Ergonomics
Sturdy feeling generally and the thick bevel allows you to handle it very easily. On the desktop surface is perfectly usable. It's like a normal notepad instead of a pen you use your fingers. Admittedly you can write faster than you can type on one hand, but for casual use it's perfect. In bed lying on your back it's unusable, too heavy. Lying in …

Apple vs. Adobe

So Apple releases a new "Terms and Conditions" prohibiting Flash developers from using Adobe's tool for cross-compilation of Flash code to native Objective-C and I wonder:

Why such hatred?

In my eyes Adobe was one of the very few companies publishing their software for Macs when the Mac had a close-to-zero market-share, it made the Mac user synonymous to the Photoshop or AI user and put simply it supported the Mac during the dark ages of Windomination. Now that the Macs are cool and have a (still comparatively small) market share, why does Apple turn their back to a company that invested millions in making their software work for their platform?

When you are a platform maker what you really want is people to write software for you, and people who make tools that create software to make them available to your platform. You are the creator of an ecosystem and you want software to populate it.

I understand that running Flash directly on the iPhone, as a Safari plugin let's …

ToolBox III - Public Beta Trial

It's been a couple of months now, that I have been designing the next version of ToolBox and last night I managed to finally get a beta version out on my web-site.

It's been hard work trying to refactor code (clean it up/modernize it along the way), then build new functionality and incorporate a few libraries and technologies I've been playing with these past few years (for example a new image manipulation engine, a new TileGrid component).

This beta has the potential of becoming a release soon, I had to draw a line on new features and stop there, otherwise I wouldn't be able to release it soon enough. The new version has many changes underneath, but in terms of user interface it allows you to fully customize a ToolBox.

For the first time users can choose to display text below an icon and also create a secondary text comment for each icon and display that on the ToolBox. What is more, the primary icon text that is displayed is now decoupled from the hint, which can be qui…

Pascal features you can fall in love with

I am a bit sentimental I admit it. For years and years and years I've been writing and teaching Pascal, Pascal OOP and Delphi (not since 1999 though). Ever since the early days I had a certain fondness ofn the Pascal enumerated types and the Ord() function.

The Ord function returns a cardinal number (integer) for any given ordinal type. Ordinal Types are cardinal numbers like byte, integer, shortint etc., chars (!) and enumerated types. So Ord(0) = 0, and Ord('@') = 64 as 64 is the ASCII code of the '@' char in the order of the ASCII characters. Nice.
In the same category as Ord(), are the functions Pred(), Succ() and procedures Inc() and Dec(), which increase and decrease ordinal numbers. Things like Inc ('A', 32) is a valid thing in Pascal, and increases the ordinal value of 'A' by 32, making it an 'a'. Thus making the nicest of capitalisation routines that you can find in any computer language: if (c in ['A'..'Z']) then // co…

GetDIBits vs. Scanline vs. Pixels[] in Delphi Bitmaps

I've been always wanting to sit down one day and solve this problem; test the speed of manipulating pixels on a Bitmap using the three options:

- the convenient but understandably slow Pixels[],
- the "interesting" Scanline property and
- the Windows API GetDIBits and SetDIBits.I have been traditionally using Pixels for quick work and the Get/SetDIBits for low-level pixel manipulation such as the filters used in ToolBox. Never really used the Scanline property in anger, I was always thinking, DIBits "had" to be quicker. Little I knew...I have been experimenting with two tools that I've written and never released to the public domain. The first is the BMPCreator which I wrote in order to create 256-level grayscale bitmaps, the other is the IconCreator which uses a grayscale bitmap and applies color maps to it, giving you the ability to create different colored versions of the same icon (like in my database visualization tool VirtualTreeNavigator).Yesterday I wr…

And you thought Chrome was the best...

Wowdi! Didn't expect that. "The Register" reported the news about Opera 10.5 beta and I immediatelly went to download the latest version. Using my own "benchtests", i.e. the little JS/HTML5Canvas expirements I wrote during the last few months (Mandelbrot and 3D Dissolve JS), I compiled the following list:

BrowserMandelbrot (ms) (*)Dissolve (fps) (**)Chrome 4.0124848.1Firefox 3.6127751.3Opera 10.5beta36972.3Safari 4.0255149.2
(*) Lower times (in milliseconds) are better
(**) Higher FPS rate is better

There you go then, Opera annihilates the competition with a beta! That will make some Google and FF engineers scratch their heads a little bit. Firefox 3.6 came with a lot of improvements closing the gap to Chrome. Opera now comes and from being the slowest browser in JS now becomes the fastest with a difference! More than 3x the speed of Chrome in Mandelbrot? That is absolutely amazing.

Very well done guys, you are obviously doing the right thing up there in the North.…

iPad - The future has arrived

Just been watching the video at http://www.apple.com/ipad/. I've been grinning, I've been laughing, I've been drooling. This is EXACTLY what I was expecting for 3 years now. Ever since I bought my first-gen iPod touch, I've been thinking about this device with the same interface but just a bigger screen. I have even bothered to get into Photoshop and mock up an ideal iPod touch (screenshot to follow). For 3 years the rumours were everywhere, now this is reality.

But two more months of wait? What am I supposed to do now?

I think I'll just download the SDK and pretend that I own one using the emulator...

Well done Apple, you've got everything right! Even the price!