January 31, 2002

Here I am about 32,000 feet above sea-level according to the last announcement from the captain and it is after 9 o’clock at night EST though I am definitely not on the eastern time zone by now … I thought I’d write some of this down for publishing later since I probably will never do it otherwise :p It’s been a couple of eventful (and sometimes frustrating <g>) days. I came over to Detroit last night since they were predicting sever thunderstorms in Detroit last night and since I would have had more than an hours drive to get to the airport in the morning today (and wasn’t really sure what the road conditions would be …) I decided to get into town early. I did get in with the snow but at first it was like census night in Bethlehem – every motel I went to, there were no rooms vacant :-) Finally found a place and it was cheaper than some of the places I’d first gone to too – go figure …

Got up in the morning today and the snow storm really was here (and there I was hoping that the weathermen would be wrong once again, darn!). I was half afraid that the flight would be canceled but surprisingly, the automated system said that the flight was still on time. I got ready and left for the airport and found to my surprise that I’d been staying less than five minute’s drive from the airport. The queues were long to check in and it took me over an hour and a half to get checked in but the rest was easy enough. I had been half afraid that I’d get pulled up since my luggage contained an XBOX and a DreamCast and I thought that for sure they would run the luggage through the X-Rays and would think it was a bomb of some kind :p Fortunately, that didn’t happen since they never ran my luggage through the X-Rays at all. I did have a little trouble getting through the security check-point but that might have been because I was wearing the holster for my Pocket PC <vbg>

So I got in with about an hour to spare and they even started boarding the flight with minimal delays – a half an hour to get the food in – but the trouble started once we were all in and ready to take off. First, they delayed the flight so that some people from connecting flights could get there, then they said that they had to de-ice the plane and then they said that they had some problem with the power from the airport and that they had to re-route the power. All this took about three hours and then they said they were ready and then they said, “oh no wait … we aren’t!” :p This time it turned out that they were getting some error messages on the onboard computers and had to have the techs come take a look at it. That turned into a good two hours as they had to either replace a computer or track down a faulty circuit – not sure which. Then they were ready to leave but it turned out that they didn’t have two starter trucks since this was a big plane and they needed two – two of the three starter trucks they’d got so far had broken down! Finally they got a starter truck but we’d been sitting on the ground close to six hours by then and the crew’s legal flying/in flight time limit was being reached and they weren’t sure that they could legally fly – so they had to check with the authorities to make sure that they could fly. I was getting pretty pissed off and apprehensive too by this time since I was beginning to think that the flight would be canceled and that I might have to spend another night in Detroit. However, they did get the permission to fly and we took off almost six hours to the minute from the time we were originally scheduled to take off.

My connecting flight from Tokyo to Singapore is shot to hell and gone by this time since there was only a two hour window between the original time we were supposed to land and the time the connecting flight was supposed to take off. I do have about sixteen hours in Singapore though and am hoping that they’ll make some arrangements in Tokyo so that I can still get to Singapore in time. But at this time, I have no idea what will happen … stay tuned :p

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Posted by Fahim at 9:22 pm  |  No Comments

January 29, 2002

Well … yesterday and today has been fairly hectic and what with a snowstorm and perhaps six inches of snow or more predicted for tomorrow and day after, my next few days are going to be up in the air as well. My site probably won’t get updated again till I do get back to Sri Lanka (God willing …) and I probably won’t get my e-mail or be able to respond to any e-mail for a while. Just wanted to let you all know … Hopefully, I’ll be back online soon … Till then …

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Posted by Fahim at 7:12 pm  |  No Comments

January 28, 2002

A few weird problems have been plaguing me (or rather two of my apps <g>) over the weekend. First up were a couple of bugs in Blog – I’d done a special build for Jason since he wanted a particular feature that I was able to cram in before I started work on Blog 6.0 but it turned out that the Find feature was broken in the new build :-( The weird thing is, using the same build, Find works fine for me but not for Jason. Then I heard from Nigel who had switched to cable modem from DSL and Blog suddenly stopped working for him! He gets a weird error message and is unable to publish though he did say that he had some problems with Trillian as well though SmartFTP seemed to work fine for him. I have been mulling over both the problems and coming up with various scenarios but nothing seemed to help. Finally I did another new build of Blog and sent it off to both Jason and Nigel but haven not heard from them yet.

The other problem-child-app was BOB – Steve Gabany wrote to me and said that he couldn’t see the Select button on the Site selection dialog. Now I’d changed the dialogs a bit in BOB – originally, I was using the same dialog for defining sites and selecting them and so whether you clicked the Site Management button or the Add button under the sites list, you got the same dialog. I changed this confusing behaviour for Blog 1.2 and had two different dialogs and thought this might be the case with Steve. I asked him and he came back with the perplexing answer that he had no Add button (or any button for that matter …) under the Sites list. I asked him to send me a screenshot and sure enough there are no buttons because his BOB window is a strangely elongated one with the log pane overlapping (and covering the bottom portion of) both the Files and Sites lists! I am totally at a loss as to what caused this behaviour since I am running BOB 1.2 at this end and it works fine for me and I don’t think the download is corrupted because I know of at least one other person who downloaded and ran BOB 1.2 and he didn’t seem to have any problems … All in all, a weekend of weirdness :p

This is the final week (hopefully …) that I’ll be in the US and so I’m not sure whether I’ll get any coding done after this. I probably will work on the above bugs if possible but I’d like to leave aside Blog 6.0 for the moment since I’d hate to start something and then keep on thinking about it but not get the chance to do any coding because of the trip :p Oh yeah, I did discover that I might be able to add the auto-dial feature to Blog pretty easily but I’m not sure that the online detection feature works perfectly – at the moment I can only test online-detection for a modem connection but I want to make sure it works fine with a LAN, DSL and cable connections too. So I guess I’ll have to enlist the aid of some users but probably not this week :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 6:40 am  |  1 Comment

January 26, 2002

I’m watching “Rounders” again. I can’t remember when I last watched the movie nor can I remember anything much about the movie except in terms of broad plot outlines – which is always good since it is no fun watching a movie while remembering all about it … in most case :-) However, it did get me to thinking that it would be a great thing if we could take a snapshot about how we felt about a certain movie or situation at a given time so that we could take that snapshot out at a later time and compare it to how things had changed. What got me to thinking like that? Well, it’s because I vaguely recall that my feelings about the movie the first time I’d watched it had been different. I had thought disparagingly about Matt Damon’s character for being so addicted to playing cards but this time I was like “if he enjoys it, he should be doing it.” :p Of course, my sentiments about the character played by Edward Norton has not changed – I think he’s a weak low-life and that friendship stretches only so far. Matt Damon certainly shouldn’t have gone out on a limb for Norton because Norton had already gone way beyond the bounds of friendship by putting Damon in debt – no matter what Norton did for Damon in the past. Of course, that’s just my opinion … <g>

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Posted by Fahim at 10:42 am  |  No Comments

January 25, 2002

Didn’t do much in the way of work yesterday at all – I helped a new Blog user setup the PHP comments system that I use as well and then played a lot of “Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance” and watched a movie. I keep on chipping away at this new project I’ve conceived in my mind but nothing concrete has come out of it yet and so I will not write about it – why write about something that will not see the light of day at all? But then again, there have been so many other projects of mine which haven’t seen the light of day – Bandit and WebPrint to name just two. The difference is that those two apps are at least in working order and really do what they should do – I just haven’t bothered to release them. Whereas this new project is just an idea I’m toying with but if it does come to be, then another un-released project – Quester – will tie into it as a plug-in. If it were to come to be, this would actually work out pretty well since I’ve had a lot of people ask me for a separate search functionality in Scope and I really don’t think that would fit in there but providing Quester as an external app which can not only do searches for almost any site you can think of but can also provide the functionality for you to extend what engines you search and how you search them. That alone seems like enough justification for the project but before I get ahead of myself <g> I need to get it working first … So we’ll see …

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Posted by Fahim at 8:12 am  |  No Comments

January 24, 2002

The shell replacement related project I hinted at yesterday has come to naught due to … umm … creative differences :p It has however led me to think about starting work on a new project. I am strongly tempted to do so since I have ideas floating in my head that need an outlet in the from of code <g> I am not sure I should do so though since my other projects would suffer if I did. I’ve already got the project route mapped up for Blog up to 7.0 and I know there are people who are eager to see a new release of Scope as well … So I probably would be better of putting my time and energy into those projects but still … Ah well, I guess I’ll figure it out as I go along …

Speaking of Blog, I did do some further coding yesterday and squashed the minor bug that had been reported to me and also added a few more new features/changes. I have however decided against doing another release since neither the changes or the bug are overwhelming enough to make it worthwhile. So I’ll probably go on to 6.0 and the next release will be when I have at least some (if not all …) of the features of the 6.0 release completed. Of course, all of this will change if somebody finds a critical bug <vbg>

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Posted by Fahim at 9:32 am  |  1 Comment

January 23, 2002

An extremely slow day after yesterday’s hectic coding, releasing and bug-fixing :p I’ve decided to take things easy and just sit back and relax … I’ve even set aside some e-mails that needed to be responded to just because I feel so very lazy … I’m playing “Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance” at the moment and it is extremely satisfying to mindlessly trudge through a dungeon, hacking and slashing at enemies :-)

A couple of things of note. I re-discovered a web site that I used to visit often a while ago – ShellScape. Of course, one of the posters there discovered my site at the same time and so this is turning into a kind of a mutual admiration/linking thing <vbg> The whole story of how this came to be is long and I don’t even know if I feel in the mood to write all about it but suffice it to say that my interest in Windows shell replacement has been rekindled lately and so I talked to somebody I knew from the olden days about it. He asked me to come on IRC and talk and that led to me meeting a lot of people from the shell replacement days – I hadn’t been on IRC in a very long time either :p This led to me talking about my software and site and so, that led to my site being mentioned on ShellScape and me mentioning ShellScpae here <g> The repercussions of that meeting might not be over however but I won’t say more till I know more …

I’ve got a minor bug report and a few feature requests for Blog since the 5.0 release and I’m not sure whether I want to do a 5.1 release to address these issues or just jump into the 6.0 coding and roll all of that into 6.0 as well. Guess I’ll decide once I actually start coding :p Speaking of coding, I had to uninstall and reinstall the Indy components about three times yesterday :-( This was because I found out that they had released a new build of the Indy 9.0 components and mistakenly thought that they’d fixed the SOCKS implementation stuff for the components which was removed after the initial 9.0 release. I didn’t realize my mistake till I had installed the stuff and tried to recompile Blog. I had to re-download the original 9.0 code and install it. I hope they fix it soon though – I really would like to try out the later 9.0 code but the SOCKS stuff is important since I’m using it in both Blog and BOB.

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Posted by Fahim at 11:06 am  |  1 Comment

January 22, 2002

Done! The updated Blog distros are all uploaded and I have actually heard from somebody who tried it and found that it worked without a hitch … So go on, try it and do let me know how it works out for you :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 5:40 pm  |  2 Comments

I screwed up :-( The new built-in data conversion code had a bug in it that it would try to convert Cee data files without checking to see if the user had Cee installed or not. Because of that, Blog 5.0 upgrades would have crashed on the machines of those who didn’t have Cee installed :-( I’ve already fixed the problem, updated the documentation too while I’m at it and am getting ready to upload it all to the servers. But since I’m on a dial-up connection and all the files come in at about 5MB, you may have a bit of a wait on your hands. I’m sorry about this … I’ll post another entry when the uploads are done …

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Posted by Fahim at 4:22 pm  |  No Comments

I’ve just uploaded the installer version of Blog 5.0 :-) Now, don’t go rushing along without reading the documentation if you are an existing Blog user even though there is an Upgrade option on the installer :p I forgot to do a few things and since I’m on a dial-up connection and the installer is a hefty 2.5MB (blame the ZIP compression used by the NullSoft Installer <g> I use RAR myself and it manages to squeeze in just a bit more …) I will not be uploading it again – especially since I have to upload to 3 different sites :-( What did I forget? I forgot to change the instructions on how to upgrade on the Blog.txt file! Although from Blog 5.0 onwards all database upgrades are supposed to happen transparent to the user, I had to use the Database Conversion Utility one final time since there is a little problem there that cannot be fixed any other way. Both the Blog 5.0 installer (if you use the Upgrade option) and the separate Upgrade package (not yet uploaded by me …) will have the Database Conversion Utility (DCU) included with them. Simply run the DCU first and select the “4.0+ -> New Format” option from the Convert menu (after backing up your Blog data first, of course <g>) and then run Blog 5.0 and you should be set … Just don’t forget, OK? Have fun with the latest Blog and let me know what you think … (and yes, I’ll upload the Upgrade package as soon as I can but even that’s around 1.4MB …)

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Posted by Fahim at 10:46 am  |  6 Comments

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