April 27, 2002

I guess it’s a good thing that I never took up fortune telling as a profession … because I’m so darn bad at it :p I said last week that it was going to take weeks of work for me to get the work done for the next release of Blog and guess what? The basic work is already done!! Not tested yet except for very basic testing but all the main features I wanted are in there – now you can operate Blog in three modes: standalone works just the way it does now, client allows you to e-mail the current entry to a preset address and in the correct format for Blog server and server checks a given e-mail address for new messages, adds them to Blog and then publishes the lot as in a normal publish run.

Of course there are a few things missing – I haven’t had the time to add a timer for server mode which will continuously check and publish at given time intervals and an inclusion or exclusion list which will limit who can post to the Blog in server mode via e-mail. I also wanted to build a comments system into Blog using the same mechanism as the multi-user posting where people can send in comments on posts via e-mail and then Blog would keep track of them and publish them but I realized later that such a system is going to require it’s own template and a new set of Blog tags as well (probably) and so decided to leave that till the next version. There are also quite a few bug fixes from the previous release to be made. And, as I mentioned at first, the whole thing needs to be tested thoroughly and I still haven’t done that either. So, I guess the next release is quite a while away yet but not as far away as I’d thought at first :p

Actually, this is a long weekend (we had Friday off) and I was hoping to get most of the bug fixes and testing done over the weekend but then my aunt (my father’s brother’s wife) passed away and so I had to go for the funeral yesterday. Since they live in Matale (which is about three to four hours away from Colombo where I am …) it took the whole day and I got back late last night. I’ll be out today and tomorrow will go in getting the usual weekend stuff done and that I guess will be the end of that weekend. But fear not valiant reader, truth, justice and bad coding will prevail :p I hope to get at least the timer and inclusion/exclusion list features done this week – the bug fixing has to be done at home since I don’t have a list of the bugs at work … of course, it would be simpler to e-mail myself the bug list at work but who said I was bright? <vbg>

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Posted by Fahim at 8:06 am  |  3 Comments

April 21, 2002

Well … I finally did get around to doing some coding :-) In order to get there though, I had to install Delphi at work and find all the different components I have installed on my machine at work and this ended up being a lot of work … But it was worth it since I have finally done some more work on Blog in a long time! I’ve been able to add the ability to automatically connect and disconnect from the Internet based on whether a Net connection is detected by Blog. The basic code seems to work but what I’m wondering is whether it will work on all Windows platforms since I have so far only tested it on Windows XP. I would hate for Blog to get Windows version specific at this stage but I can’t say for certain whether it is so without further testing.

Incidentally, I brought my code home and tried to compile it at home and discovered that some of the components I had installed at home were older :p Now I’ll need to find all the latest components for home as well before I can do any development with confidence. I did manage to compile the latest Blog code though and discovered that the Net connectivity code needs some further tweaking – Blog does indeed dial out when it detects that there is no Net connection but the dialing code is not blocking i.e. it does not wait till the dialing operation is complete. So I guess I’ll have to try and add some sort of event driven code to detect when the connection attempt succeeds (or fails) and proceed accordingly … Ah well, guess I am a long way away indeed from the next Blog version since I haven’t even considered the POP access component or the client-side mailing component. I guess all I can do is work on it a bit at a time …

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Posted by Fahim at 9:06 pm  |  1 Comment

April 15, 2002

Aargh!! The whole long weekend we had over here (from Friday to Monday inclusive of both days …) is over and no coding done! Why not? Because I’ve been suffering from the flu since Wednesday night :-( Yeah, the same flu that I had just a few weeks ago and it’s a doozy I tell you … I’m beginning to think that there is some sort of malign influence aligned against me – every time a long weekend comes up, I fall sick and so don’t get any rest nor get any coding done :p Anyway, I got through the flu and was finally up and about yesterday though I’m still suffering the results of the flu – such as not being able to taste anything, ugh – but haven’t actually done much except to catch up with all my backed up e-mail from as way far back as the middle of March … I guess that’s something though some of the people I wrote to probably don’t even remember what the heck I am talking about <g>

One piece of good news is that I received four out of the five bags of books that I sent off from the US before I left – it took more than twice the claimed time of four to six weeks but it did finally get here. One piece of advice to anybody who’s considering using book bags, be sure to pack your books in sturdy boxes and *then* put them in the book bags if you love your books. I did pack my books in boxes but they weren’t sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of the journey and had broken open and some of my book covers were bent and pages were smashed up – I hate that :-( I’m still missing another bag as well and am hoping that it didn’t go astray since I sent it off at the same time as the other four – oh well … I spent the afternoon today alternately responding to e-mails and inventorying my books as well as finding space to put them all. I finally got done with both tasks a little while ago and so decided to do update my blog as well before I have to go to bed since tomorrow is a working day :-(

Oh yeah, I added another feature to the long list of features that I keep on compiling for the next release of Blog – even though I seem to do no coding at all. The feature? Since I’ve been talking about adding a feature which would essentially make the stand-alone version of Blog also act as a Blog server, I thought why not make the stand-alone version also a client for this Blog server? Confused? :p Basically what I mean is that you will be able to run Blog in three different modes: a) stand-alone b) server c) client. The stand-alone mode will work as it does now, server mode will check a given e-mail address at given time intervals and use any incoming e-mails (or specific e-mails with a given subject line …) as entries and publish them automatically. Client mode will simply allow a user to compose a Blog entry and then will e-mail that entry to a given e-mail address when the Publish option is invoked … It sounds simple enough but since I haven’t started implementing the two latter modes, I won’t know whether it actually is so simple till I try it … I guess we’ll see …

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Posted by Fahim at 9:09 pm  |  1 Comment

April 7, 2002

I am beginning to wonder whether moving back to Sri Lanka was the wisest choice after all :p I haven’t had much spare time to do anything at all since I came back. In fact, I couldn’t even do the weekly update I do to this page since there was a family gathering on my father’s side of the family and I had to go over to where my parents are (where I have no access to my computer and since I have to travel by bus, where I cannot take my notebook with me for fear of damaging it during the journey …). The gathering itself was quite nice and it was good to see a lot of family members that I hadn’t seen in a while but that meant that my whole weekend went into that.

At work, I’ve been working with Visual Studio .NET for the last three weeks or so and I must say that I like it quite a bit! I hadn’t had much experience with C# before that but by Friday I had managed to get but not one but two applications for work completed using C# – one was an ASP .NET website which provided a front-end to an Oracle 9i database (which I also set up …) which hosted a database of the footage we have at work and the other was a compiled C# executable which would take a CSV file of salary data and convert it into an ASCII file in a specific format with header and footer information for one of the banks used by the company. I am quite pleased with how the applications turned out and am also pleased at having got some coding done at all.

Of course, what I’m not pleased at is the fact that I still have done no work at all on any of my apps since I came back :-( I’ve got tons of bug reports and feature requests for both Blog and Scope and there are also the grand plans that I’d made for Blog … unfortunately, since I leave home around 6:30 am and don’t get back usually till after 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening, there seems to be not much time to get anything done at all! It’s now that I long for the US where I could go to work, get back, watch TV, surf the web and still get my coding done too! I don’t know why my time’s not being used as efficiently here but then again, I guess the main problem would be one of distribution – even if I did get Blog coded, I just couldn’t afford the bandwidth to upload it to all my sites. So then I’d have to either take my notebook with me to work by bus (which I really don’t want to …) or put the distro on a few diskettes using a disk-spanning compression program and then upload it once I get to work … Ah I don’t know …

There’s a long weekend coming up next weekend and that’ll probably be one of the last stretches of off-time I’ll have since we’re supposed to be working on Saturdays to meet an overdue deadline by June from the week after and maybe I’ll get some coding done then but I won’t hold my breath – there’s just too many things to eat into my time. Anybody need a good coder in Australia, maybe? :p

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Posted by Fahim at 9:38 am  |  1 Comment