August 31, 2001

First off, I’d like to thank Raymond over at Electro-Concept Mauricie – their support is phenomenal! I am not even a registered PlusMemo user but I told him of a problem that I had with using PlusMemo for Blog and he sent me a fix today! It is refreshing to see companies and people like Raymond and Glenn Crouch over at Addictive Software and to know that there still are people who take customer support seriously :-)

As far as Blog 5.0 goes, I have got the cookie (and I meant fortune cookies – not the other variety <vbg>) support in and things seem to work great and there isn’t even an appreciable increase in the Blog file size after adding the cookie support because most of the cookie management is done by a different app that I’ve created. It’s called Cee … because Cee is for cookie <vbg> Currently it’s a very rudimentary app which just allows you to enter new cookies one by one or import them at one blow from a text file which is formatted in a specific way. Eventually, I’m hoping to make it a full-fledged signature generator so that you can use the same cookies for your e-mail signatures and for your blog. So why aren’t I still releasing Blog 5.0? Because there is this one annoyance that I’d still like to sort out before I do a release so hang in there just a little bit longer …

Something I forgot to mention yesterday or day before yesterday … or whenever :p jugg suggested that I put up a link on my page for people wishing to sign up for PayPal with me as a referral and I did do that the same day itself but forgot to mention it :-) There is now a PayPal button at the bottom of the page and if you click on it, it will take you to their sign up page (I think …) with me listed as referrer … Just thought you might want to know :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 7:37 am  |  1 Comment

August 30, 2001

Well … Tyran pointed out a few more bugs and certain things that could be improved in Blog yesterday and so there’s lots for me to do :p Plus, I’ve decided to merge the Blog and BlogPlus source code since it is going to get harder and harder to maintain two different sets of sources. Of course, this will mean that I will have to go to a two distro format – a full install and an upgrade – so as to keep the download size minimal for existing users but I think that’s worth it :-) This means that I will not be doing a release of BlogPlus but be doing something along the lines of Blog 5.0 beta 1 or Blog 5.0 PR1 as soon as I get the last few features that I want to add in and get the bugs sorted out.

The spell checker and thesaurus aren’t by any means the only new additions I want for Blog 5.0 however. I want to add a new < $BlogCookie> tag which will insert a random or sequential cookie into the blog from an internal database. This however, again brings up the whole bloat vs. feature debate since I’m not sure that everybody would want that particular feature. So what I’m contemplating at the moment is sort of a compromise – I will have the < $BlogCookie> tag and the cookie insertion feature in Blog but I will not have a UI for cookie management in Blog since that would have been the source of a major size-jump in Blog. Instead, I am thinking of coding a new Fortune Cookie app which will provide all the cookie management functionality for Blog and allow you to even have an automated signature generator :-) Blog and this new app will share the same database and people who want cookie functionality will have to download both but for others, there shouldn’t be too much of a size increase in Blog. What do you think?

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Posted by Fahim at 8:05 am  |  6 Comments

August 29, 2001

Have you ever had a dream where you dreamt that you were dreaming? Boy, that sounds confusing :p What I meant was that you dreamt that you were sleeping and while you were sleeping (in your dream) you have another dream? I had that happen to me last night and boy was it confusing! I woke up (in my dream) and said “Oh I was dreaming” and then I woke up for real and said “Ah, I was dreaming!” <vbg> Now I know exactly how Morpheus feels like but then again, that’s why I started writing that story in the first place – because I sometimes wonder about my own dreams :-) Speaking of Morpheus and my story, I know I haven’t been writing it – again (as Tyran pointed out to me yesterday <g>) but I will get back to it soon, I promise!

I have to say that Glenn Crouch over at Addictive Software is the fastest support I’ve ever got from anybody! I wrote to them yesterday asking them about how to get Addict (their spell checker component) working with one of the memo components I was testing out and I got a response back in less than an hour and that is fast!! I highly recommend Addictive Software to anybody who wants a spell checking component for Delphi (not just because they gave me a copy for free <vbg>) because it’s a great component and their support is top notch!

Speaking of great support, I did hear from the PlusMemo people in the form of an e-mail from Raymond Courteau – turns out that they had responded to me earlier but my e-mail server had bounced the e-mail back. (Wonder how many other people can’t get a hold of me for the same reason? Maybe it’s time to change e-mail addys …) They didn’t want to provide me with a free copy of their component but they did say that I could use the demo one with the nag screen in Blog. So that’s what I’ve decided to do since I really don’t see a point to paying money to get a component that I’ll use in an app that I will give away for free :p But Raymond has been really helpful with figuring out a problem that I had with PlusMemo and Addict even though I am not a registered user! Now that’s service :-)

I got PlusMemo and Addict to work exactly the way I want them to with Blog and finally BlogPlus is ready! I do have a few minor things to fix and then I will be putting up a copy for download. If you do like the app but don’t like the nag screen, I have a solution that won’t cost you a penny :-) (No it’s not a crack :p) All you have to do is sign up for PayPal giving me as a referrer and I believe you get $5 in your account and I get $5 in mine for you doing that. Once I have enough, I can simply buy PlusMemo and get rid of the nag screen! How’s that for an idea? :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 8:40 am  |  1 Comment

August 28, 2001

Tyran and Phil both have written glowing reviews for Blog at BetaNews :-) If I had just one or two users like Phil or Tyran for Blog, I would be coding that app for ever but fortunately, I seem to have a lot of users like them who are just interested in improving the app and are always ready to help me out with beta testing, bug hunting etc. For that, I am thankful to all of you :-) Of course this is not to say that the users of my other apps are inferior in any way <vbg> Actually, I often wonder what makes me work so much on Blog and neglect Scope and I can’t come up with a really good answer but the closest is probably the fact that I get more feedback with Blog – when somebody uses Blog, I know they are using it because I can see their site and that is gratifying … maybe that’s it or maybe not :p

I still haven’t heard from the PlusMemo people. So, I wrote to another company who have a great memo component, Dream Company, about their Dream Memo component but haven’t heard from them either. I’m beginning to believe that only US companies are generous enough to give away software for free but I would have appreciated at least an e-mail from these people to say that they weren’t interested in giving away their components. Oh well … John did write in immediately yesterday and let me know about SynEdit, which is an open source memo component which allows syntax highlighting but they have two problems – 1) The component doesn’t support word wrap and I do need that 2) It doesn’t seem to be derived from the Rich Edit control and so probably won’t work with Addict :-( I guess I could try to modify the source to my needs but I was hoping for a less time consuming solution … Ah well … such is life :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 8:07 am  |  No Comments

August 27, 2001

Since I kvetch all the time about how bad, selfish or callous people are, for a change I’m going to talk about how good and generous people are :-) As I mentioned yesterday, I was looking into adding spellchecker and thesaurus support to Blog. This meant that I needed to have two Delphi components – a spellchecker/thesaurus component and a memo component which supported syntax highlighting (the latter not necessarily for the spellchecking but for another feature that I wanted to implement …). So I looked around and the first spellchecking component I looked at was Addictive Software’s Addict. I liked it so much that I didn’t even bother to look around for any others :p I e-mailed the people at Addictive Software and told them that I was doing a freeware app and whether they’d consider giving me a free copy of Addict. Glen Crouch at Addict wrote back almost immediately (on a Sunday!) and told me that they’d be happy to give me a copy of Addict as long as it was used for freeware! I am just bowled over by such generosity! I can only say thank you Glen and all the other folks at Addictive Software!!!

My choice for the memo component was PlusMemo from from Electro-Concept Mauricie – I wrote to them as well and asked them about the possibility of getting a free copy of their component but have not heard from them yet. I hope they say yes because then I can actually get to work on building this new version of Blog which is going to be pretty cool! I currently do have a prototype going at my end using trial versions but that has nag screens and stuff. Anyway, stay tuned as to what happens and once again, thanks Addictive Software!!

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Posted by Fahim at 8:00 am  |  1 Comment

August 26, 2001

Now I’m pissed off … again :p Some guy went over to BetaNews and said something along the lines of “why should I use Blog when there is Blogger? I give it 3 instead of 1 (out of 5) only because it is nicely done …” What has Blogger got to do with Blog? One is a web based app and the other is not! Plus, there are many reasons why people prefer to use Blog instead of Blogger (and I did list some of them there though technically I shouldn’t be rating my own app <vbg>) I’m proud of Blog and I do try hard to ensure that the users get a very good app and it really gets my goat when somebody disses an app (whether it is mine or somebody elses) just because there is an alternative and they prefer it. Review something based on merit not based on the fact that you like something better!!

Anyway, I was stuck at work yesterday till about 5 o’clock though the actual work was over with about two hours earlier. I spent the time trying out some new stuff that I wanted to put into … umm … Blog <vbg> I’m not sure that I will be releasing these new additions as a general release because it probably is a lot of bloat for most users since what I am adding in is support for writers mostly – stuff like automatic spell-checking, a thesaurus and perhaps syntax highlighting (if I can get that to work properly …) so that HTML tags will be displayed better. I moved the code over to a different directory and have named it BlogPlus for the moment but till I get it working I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. If it isn’t too bulky, it might become Blog 5.0 but if not, then I’ll probably have a separate BlogPlus that I’ll use and anybody else who wants it can use but Blog will remain as it is now … Guess we’ll see …

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Posted by Fahim at 8:51 am  |  No Comments

August 25, 2001

Well, the weekend’s here and I’m at work :p The project rollout yesterday went pretty smoothly – or as smoothly as could be hoped for but I was at home till after 10 o’clock monitoring stuff and running conversion processes. Then I had to come in today to ensure that everything was hunky dory but it never is as easy as that is it? <g> There were about two hundred odd records which fell into the exception bin and most of them look as if they will have to be checked individually … so a long day ahead … ah well …

Guess I won’t get much coding done but then again, I’m not sure what I want to work on next – there were a lot of further feature requests for Blog that I didn’t include in the 4.0 release but I think I’ve been working on Blog for too long – so probably time to get back to Scope :p But I guess we’ll see what takes my fancy …

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Posted by Fahim at 9:27 am  |  No Comments

August 24, 2001

A weird thing has been happening today – I’ve been receiving a SirCam virus e-mail from the same address with the same subject line and the same attachment. So far I’ve received about 16 copies of the e-mail (not counting the four or five I received yesterday). Following the quote from “GoldFinger” which says “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is enemy action”, I’m beginning to suspect that this might indeed be enemy action :p I have written to the owner of the e-mail address but no response – the e-mails keep a comin’ and so I wrote to the admins of his domain since this happens to be a university but still no response! Now, I’m getting really annoyed … any suggestions?

On the other hand, I was able to get the documentation updated and all the features in for Blog 4.0 and so you know what comes next – yes, release time :-) This release has a lot of little feature enhancements and the list of changes is the longest (I think) for any release of Blog. There are a few things to watch out for, for existing Blog users. First, you will have to run the Data Conversion Utility – there is a new build so get it and run the 3.7 -> 4.0 conversion. Second, I have added three toolbar buttons (one for previewing your journal on the web to the main toolbar and two for bold and italic text to the edit toolbar) and you might not see them unless either you delete the Blog.cfg file in your Blog directory or click on the little arrow at the end of your toolbars and select “Reset Toolbar”. In either case I’m afraid that you’ll probably lose any customizations you made to your toolbar … sorry :-(

I think that’s all that you’ll have to watch out for but quite a few settings have moved from the Global Options dialog to the Journal tab of the Journal Management Dialog but I have tried to ensure that the Data Conversion Utility ports over your existing settings. There might be some problems however and so I’d advice you to look over all the settings and go through the documentation again to at least find out about the new tags added to Blog. Speaking of documentation, you can now have the documentation open up in your default text editor by simply selecting ReadMe from the Help menu :-) Enjoy!!

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Posted by Fahim at 1:21 pm  |  No Comments

Didn’t get much done yesterday at all. I was working from home but I was suffering from lack of sleep (I have a problem with sleeping that seems to crop up around the time of season changes – probably due to changes in how much sunlight I get …) and a major headache. I had finished reading “Destiny’s Road” day before yesterday (excellent, excellent book!! Hope there is a sequel …) and the next one I selected was Gordon R. Dickson and Keith Laumer’s “Planet Run”. Since it is a collaboration between two of the best in SF, I have great hopes for it but haven’t started it yet because I haven’t felt like reading.

Unfortunately sinesolis got pink eye but the silver lining (not for him but for Blog :p) was that he had the time to do some icons that I wanted to include in Blog 4.0 – thanks again for all your wonderful work sinesolis!! Since I have the icons, I should actually release Blog 4.0 today but there are two things that I still need to do. I still haven’t done the enhancements to journal purging and Rick has convinced me to add a title per entry in Blog after some discussion :-) I know some people wanted this feature while others feel that it can be done simply by using HTML in your entry but I can see how certain things (like consistent formatting and linking to each entry) can be better facilitated with a separate < $BlogTitle> tag. Once I get all of that done (I don’t really know when since this week is going to be pretty busy at work as well …), you will finally be able to get your hands on Blog 4.0 :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 7:26 am  |  No Comments

August 23, 2001

I think I should start codenaming each build of Blog by the people who push that particular build to be what it is by feature requests or bug testing <g> Blog 3.5 was Jason and 3.7 was JeroenWelmoetTracie and 4.0 is definitely TyranPhil :p Phil probably thought that I didn’t have enough to do since I mentioned that 4.0 was almost ready and so he put forward one bug report and a couple of feature requests <vbg> Incidentally, I’m just kidding here – I appreciate all the positive input from Phil, Tyran and all the other Blog users as well as users of my other apps :-) If the feedback wasn’t there, none of my apps would be where they are today. So a big thank you goes out from me to all of you!!

I’ve added a new option to the Data Conversion Utility at Phil’s behest to allow a user to change the Author name from one value to another globally. This is due to the fact that from 4.0 onwards the Author is saved individually with each entry instead of being a global setting which can be easily changed. Of course, I have a feeling that I’m going to get another request soon to make that name changing option more flexible on a per-journal basis but for the moment it’s global. I also added in the remote template option so that you can associate a template with an external file – if the file changes, the template is replaced with the contents of the file. Another idea from Phil :-)

I’ve got two other ideas from Phil that are not done yet – one I’m going to do but the other I’m simply considering at the moment. The first one is to make a more flexible purge option – which incidentally seems to have dropped out of Blog somewhere along the way :p So I’m planning to allow the option to purge entries older than a certain number of days or maybe a certain date or to purge all entries – all of these will work for the currently selected journal – not globally. The other suggestion was to have something like a < $BlogCookie> tag which would insert a random (or sequential) cookie from an external file. What do you think?

I’ve also received a request from Rick to have a title option in Blog and if I understand what he means correctly – the title would be per day and not per entry. I don’t see the usefulness of a separate field for a per entry title because you can simply use HTML to specify the title in the entry itself but a per day title is a different matter. I am interested in the idea but am wondering whether anybody else would like or need this feature besides Rick? As always, I’m open to comments, suggestions, requests etc.

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Posted by Fahim at 7:18 am  |  3 Comments

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