November 20, 2002

Reading maketh a full man

I have been meaning to write about what I’m reading at the moment ever since I started this blog but I’ve never got the chance to do so – either I’ve had some other topic to rant on about or I’ve been too busy coding to write here at all. Well, it’s time I did this entry – not that it really matters to anybody, but I just want to write about this particular series – especially now 🙂 So what the heck am I reading these days? I’m reading Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s DarkSword trilogy – I’m actually on book II, "Doom of the Darksword" at the moment. Incidentally, I’d always thought that Tracy Hickman was a woman till I read the back cover of the book and found out that he was a guy – OK, fine, maybe I still don’t realize the gender difference between the different spellings of Tracy :p (Is there one BTW? There probably is, isn’t there?)

I am probably going to ramble around a bit before I come back to the series – let me warn you :p I started reading when I was around six or seven years old and have read voraciously ever since then. For the longest time, science fiction has been my preferred genre – at least, that was the case till about five or six years ago when I began to be seduced by the insidious call of fantasy :p I’d read fantasy before too but I think ever since I discovered Terry Pratchett, I’ve been reading more and more fantasy and neglecting science fiction. Incidentally, I buy a lot of books to read later and so I have many other books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman but this is the first time I’m reading a book by them – and I think I’ve had at least the first two books of the Darksword series for over six or seven years now!

I liked the first book because it was about a world where everybody has magic. Incidentally, this world was supposed to have been populated by people who left Earth (using magic of course) due to the persecution of magic users on Earth. The people were supposed to have been led to this new world by Merlin – a nice touch I thought. The first book was all about how this boy born without any magic at all (and anybody without magic is considered dead on this world since magic is life) forges a sword which can absorb magic – the darksword. Of course, there are many other plot elements such as the fact that the boy will be killed if he’s discovered because anybody without magic is to be *mercifully* put to death on this world.

The second book is about the journey of this boy and his friends to the capital of their country so that the boy can claim is inheritance. The story became even more engrossing suddenly because the boy falls in love 🙂 I think I am a sucker for books with a romantic thread in it – I first started reading Westerns because Louis L’Amour always had a love story in his books :p I have enjoyed the love story so much in this particular instance because it seems to be very realistic – at least as far as I am concerned because I feel the same way as the characters in the books do. Maybe it is because I am in love at the moment or maybe I just get caught up in books but this story calls out to me 🙂 But I am still reading book two and so that’s all I’ve read …

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Posted by Fahim at 7:26 am  |  2 Comments

I am surrounded by so many kind and generous loved ones and friends that I sometimes wonder what I have done to deserve such goodness 🙂 Jen bought me the domain and then when I asked if anybody would like to help with the hosting, Edward tells me that he was planning to get me hosted as a Christmas gift! In the meantime, I had talked to my friend KuhnDog (who has been kindly hosting me at RazorSys for over a year now) about whether I was taking up too much of his bandwidth and he was like “Not at all! And if you want to redirect your domain over to the subdomain I gave you, that’s fine!” As I said, what have I done to deserve such kindness? Thank you all for being so generous to me and now I would like to announce that is open for business and from now onwards, that’s the place to go to get any of my software 🙂

Speaking of software, I did do a new build of BlogMan and uploaded it yesterday. It now works as it should and there is no versioning problems. I do need to get some screenshots and put up a page for it as well as for some other apps which are just there on the sidebar with no home page for them. Plus, there are several utilities that I have developed (WebPrint and Bandit come to mind) that some people are using but is not up for download at all. I need to do all this but there is so little time, darn it! :p

And speaking of so little time and new apps and stuff, guess what? I have another new app ready to go – I coded it yesterday :p Jen needed something which would create thumbnails of given images and upload both the image and the thumbnail to an FTP server. Now when I’ve needed to do this in the past, what I have done is use ACDSee’s HTML album feature to create the thumbnails, delete the generated index.html file and then fire up SmartFTP to upload the images and the thumbnails to my server after linking them all in the correct page. However, this takes way too many steps and if the images are in multiple directories, you have to do some of the steps multiple times. I took a look at PhotoMeister which is a complete image manipulation/retouching solution and it has an HTML album creation tool which also does FTP but my question was what if I don’t want to generate the HTML? What if I just want to create the thumbnails and optionally upload them – which I frequently do? So I created this new utility that I call Nailer :p

Nailer is simplicity itself since there is only one screen to the app and no menus at all 🙂 There is a list on the left hand side which shows the images to be processed, there are buttons over the list to add images to the list, to clear the list and to process the images in the list and there is a preview pane for a selected image as well as a processing options pane below that on the right hand side of the window. You simply add images to the list, set the processing options such as thumbnail size, prefix for thumbnails, whether to FTP the stuff or copy the thumbnails to a local directory and then finally click the Process button and you’re done! Of course, I just had another brainwave – to make the processing options wizard driven so that you are taken step by step through the processing options when you click the Process button and have better control over the final image creation process – such as whether to put the thumbnails in one folder and the actual images on another folder on the FTP server. But that can come later, for the moment Nailer is working and I’m happy about that 🙂

Posted by Fahim at 5:46 am  |  3 Comments