MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World - 2010-08

FreeBSD - Cutting down
iPhone - Change the colour of the SMS backgrounds
Updated iPhone apps
iPhone / iPad development
Playing Volleyball again
In San Francisco again - Part 3
My last City2Surf walk

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FreeBSD - Cutting down

Posted on 2010-08-27 18:00:00
Tags: FreeBSD

It has been two years since I had a fleet of FreeBSD machines under my control. It has been two months since I lost the videocard of my FreeBSD desktop at home. It has been a good year since something went wrong with the hardware on my laptop and X caused it to hang very fast. It has been a good couple of months, actually since I bought an iPhone and a Mac mini, that I did some FreeBSD development at home. I don't read the mailinglists anymore, I rarely answer emails in relation to it anymore, I haven't visited the IRC channels in months. I think that it is a past station for me.

Completely? No. I still use it on my laptop, in console mode, while traveling from home to work and vice verse. I still update the ports misc/zoneinfo and the timezone data on it. I still use it at home to do my email on, to IRC on and to do things for which I don't have the software on the Mac mini. I made an app for the iPhone called "The FreeBSD Project" which gives some of the social aspects of FreeBSD and the people around it.

Today I've decided to handover some tasks in relation to the things I did for the FreeBSD project. One is the GNATS Auto Assign project for the PRs in relation to the ports system, most likely going into the capable hands of the Bugmeister team. The next one will be a batch of ports, they are up for grab. Except the software I made myself and misc/zoneinfo, something I still manage to keep up to date.

I will see if I can get the FreeBSD Multimedia Resources back into air again, it has grown stale for a good 15 months. Point the finger at me if you need.

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iPhone - Change the colour of the SMS backgrounds

Posted on 2010-08-22 08:00:00
Tags: iPhone

Whoever designed the background colours of the iPhone SMS application should think about it once again. The standard background of the window is white, the background of the incoming messages is white, the background of the outgoing messages is green. Which background is your eye drawn to first? The green background, thus your own message. Which colour makes you go "Hey, I got something on the screen?"? The green one.

This issue can be fixed on a jailbroken iPhone if you have either SSH access to it or via a terminal program:

iPhone:~ root# cd /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ChatKit.framework
iPhone:/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ChatKit.framework root# ls -al Balloon*
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 1502 Jun  1 13:40 BalloonInputField.png
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 1907 Jun  1 13:40 Balloon_1.png
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 1805 Jun  1 13:40 Balloon_2.png
iPhone:/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ChatKit.framework root# cp Balloon_1.png Balloon_1.old
iPhone:/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ChatKit.framework root# cp Balloon_2.png Balloon_2.old
iPhone:/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ChatKit.framework root# cp Balloon_2.old Balloon_1.png
iPhone:/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ChatKit.framework root# cp Balloon_1.old Balloon_2.png

People with graphical skills can download, enhance and upload the images themselves to fit their needs :-)

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Updated iPhone apps

Posted on 2010-08-19 18:10:00
Tags: iPhone, FreeBSD, L-Space

iPhone apps updated:

  • The FreeBSD Project: iPad compatibility added, fixed Planet FreeBSD links towards the original postings.
  • L-Space - Discworld: iPad compatibility added. See previous posting on this weblog :-)

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iPhone / iPad development

Posted on 2010-08-19 18:00:00
Tags: iPhone, Coding

Until the release of the iPad the world was very easy for an iPhone programmer: The screen was 480 x 320 pixels. You substract a number of pixels for the banner at the top with the carrier, time and battery level on it, and depending of the style of your application substract some for the menus at the top and bottom. The leftover area is for you! Oh, if you hold it landscape, you end up with a screen of 320 x 480, minus a couple of pixels for everything described before.

Then came the iPad with a muuuuch larger screen and the iPhone4 with a little bit bigger screen. And all the hardcoded values of the screen size, banner, menu areas etc were suddenly invalid! Oops.

To be honest, that are easy things to fix. Instead of using hardcoded values (which should have been #define's in the first place anyway), you just call a function which return the values based on the environment you are living in. Problem resolved. Maybe...

Not only were the dimensions of the screen wrong, also the look-and-feel of the screen now looks wrong. On a small iPhone screen, this is how for example a list entry looks: A three word name, plus an > to indicate that if you touch this that that there is more to see about "Foo bar quux".

| Foo bar quux          >  |

Now we increase the dimensions to the iPad:

| Foo bar quux                                              >  |
Instead of a nicely filled line, it is now a short text on the left, a lot of white in the middle and an > at the end.

How can we overcome this? Maybe we shouldn't try to get iPhone applications directly ported to the iPad... The iPad has a iPhone compatibility mode for iPhone apps: Instead of using the whole screen it uses only a middle part of the screen, with the same dimensions of the iPhone. Hardware compatibility via software, everything still works!

That works fine for the old apps, but what about the new apps? Before the iPad came out, the SDK version was 3.1. To make programs work on the iPad, you need to use the SDK version 3.2 which supports programs on both the iPhone and the iPad. To make programs which work on the iPhone4, you need to use the SDK version 4.0, which only supports programs on the iPhone and iPhone4.

So, the questions these days are: Which SDK do we use, which hardware do we develop for and how do we make it look good?

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Playing Volleyball again

Posted on 2010-08-19 08:00:00
Tags: Sports, Volleyball

Thanks to the invitation of Natasha Moore, I am playing volleyball again. It is in a recreative competition in the Menai sports complex, so it is only fun and games, no hard training. So far we are the last in the league, which means that things only can go better!

The team consists of eight people, a leftover from the fact that after the first match we lost two people and in the third match we got four extra people. That means that we have to wait out two rotations before we can go in again. It's not really optimal, but it will do for now. Playing volleyball is more important than that.

The first matches were confusing with the volleyball I was used to when I played it in the Netherlands. Because it is recreational volleyball and the team is young, the play isn't going too well yet. I am talking about playing ping-pong volleyball (getting the ball over the net in the first touch), unnecessary playing underhand (when you're near the net), using a single hand or fist (or foot *shudder*) or double fist to touch the ball etc. I am trying to explain the game and the setup of the game to the team, but so far it isn't being listened to. Give it a couple of more weeks and it will be there, but for now... No, we are not going to win this competition.

For people who wonder how it works: The first touch returns the ball to the middle-front man, who plays it to either left or right who gets the ball over the net. Play high, play controlled. That kind of play will give the advantage that you don't have to wait for the opponents to make a mistake, but it will push the opponents to make mistakes and thus give a scoring advantage.

Talking about score, something really weird has happened in the period I wasn't playing... The international volleyball association changed the scoring rules. Was it before 2000 that only the serving team could score points and that the team reaching 15 points first (with a two point difference) won, after 2000 they increased it to 21 but also the team not serving could score points. Suddenly sets are artificially limited to about 40 serves! According to the explanation on Wikipedia "primarily to make the length of the match more predictable and to make the game more spectator- and television-friendly.". We don't have cameras nor spectators, why do we need this? *grumble grumble*.

Natasha, who is the shortest person in the team, can do some great upperhand serves which makes everybody in the team jealous and the opponents shiver in fear!

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In San Francisco again - Part 3

Posted on 2010-08-09 18:00:00
Tags: Travelling, San Francisco, Rant, TV

The hotel I stayed in last time has changed only a little bit. Was there a small TV last time, this time there was a huge LCD TV. Was there a video-player last time, this time there was a DVD player. Was there a wall with videos for lend last time, this time there was... NOTHING! Okay, that sucks big time because last time I spend some serious time watching different kind of movies than I normally watch and learned a couple of nice actors.

Because of the absence of videos, I had to watch TV. So I checked Discovery Channel, which didn't really have anything attractive on in the evenings. Next one is History Channel, which had two interesting programs which reminded me of the program "Tussen kunst and kitsch" (Between art and kitsch), about two people (sorry I forgot their names) who went through old collector places to find interesting stuff. The story of the two was boring, the knowledge they had about things was massive. The second one was pawnbrokers, instead of hunting for treasures they waited for them to be delivered. The story of the pawnshop was boring, the knowledge of things was again massive. And I found a channel which had Star Trek: The Next Generation on at 22:00 so I could watch it and go to sleep while dreaming of Q and the Borg.

Weather-wise: It was cold. Warmer than San Francisco, but cold for a summer for a country which lies at the same height as Spain! I met up with Jos Backus, again this time, and he showed me again the nice places around Sunnyvale. Thanks Jos!

The week I spend at the Riverbed TAC in Sunnyvale was a good experience, meeting up with new and working together with my old colleagues, experiencing a different style of how a TAC is managed, having the fun of handing over cases to my colleagues in Sydney (did I actually do this or was it just wishful thinking?) and spending some time with former colleagues who left for other roles.

Before I went back I noticed that my bag was falling apart and that it needed a replacement otherwise all my clothes would end up over the landingstrip! On the way back on the plane I was pre-warned this time and got myself eye-patches and a neck-pillow and I slept for about 60% of the time and dozed for a couple of more hours. The plane left two hours late (after they let us on!) because of a missing or failing crewmember-oxygene-bottle-pressure-measuring-device-button-light-switch-thingie. So instead of arriving at 06:15 I arrived at the reasonable time of 08:15. No hassle with customs, no hassle with quarantine.

So, is United Airlines really that bad? Yes. With a capital B and A and D. They were before taking off already out of apple-juice and they have absolutely no control over the inside of the plane, more than once I was woken up by the speaker system begging the people to stay in their chairs because the seat-belt sign was on. It is times like that that you wish that the broken crewmember-oxygene-bottle-pressure-measuring-device-button-light-switch-thingie would cause some airbubbles and that everybody without the seatbelts on would end up in a negative G situation and then with their face flat on the floor. It is a way to learn that there is a reason these seatbelts are there :-)

Anyway, I'm safely on the ground again and have my three loved ones around me again!

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My last City2Surf walk

Posted on 2010-08-09 08:00:00
Tags: Walking

Since I moved to Sydney, I have nearly every year joined the yearly City-To-Surf walk. Okay, it is supposed to be a run but since my running skills have never been able to keep up with the requirement (think about the 12 minute Cooper tests at highschool where I managed to do the minimum of two kilometers in just under twelve minutes. Give me long distance cycling every day above running), I join the greater group of walkers.

The times I put down when I'm on my own aren't bad, it takes ten minutes per kilometers making it a 140 minute or two hours and twenty minutes event for me. When walking with others the time vary, depending on more than three hours when we had Dirkie in a sling and a couple of breaks for feeding, changing nappies etc. The year after, with Dirkie in the stroller, was close enough to 140 minutes again, with Dirkie walking with me (read: 50% walking and 50% on my shoulders) it was a close to three hours. And this year with Hanorah in the stroller back to close to 140 minutes.

So, why the last one? Because of inability of the City2Surf organisation to get enough medals at the finishing line to handout one to everybody finishing. For the so-manyth time in a row... For upsetting my little ones for the second year in a row.

The math shouldn't be so difficult: Last year there were 75 thousand entries, so you get 75 thousand medals. This year you have 80 thousand entries, so you get 80 thousand medals. For each person from who you get the entry form and the entry fee, you order one medal.

So that at the end of walk, when the 14 kilometers are done, when the little ones are really ready for a special reward for their efforts, they will be the happiest ones on the world!

But I don't want to put them through the effort anymore and not be rewarded like all the people they seen around them, so this time will the last time!

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