Monthly Archives: November 2007

Mice Getting In The Way

I have noticed lately that I am spending so much time with my mouse. I have to use it to open and close stuff and I I spend time scrolling through explorer to just click on a small [+] in order to open a folder menu or open a menu item and it's taking me more and more time to do the same stuff because these programs are getting so complex the only way to navigate them is with a mouse.

There are a few text editors out there that allow for this kind of productivity, of course with this productivity brings a learning curve. Those are VIM and GNU Emacs. I am currently looking at the two, but am going to start off with VIM.

One thing you might find useful is Navigating Firefox via the Keyboard.

Vista Media Center PC Woes

I have decided to run through the media center PC and start getting it to work. So far I have had to remove both the capture card and the audio card to get Vista to boot.

I have not been able to get my network access to work through SAMBA and my DLink DNS-323 (Network Attached Storage). I kept ketting password credential (System Error 86) errors. I found a post that talked about changing a registrey seeting to XP compatibility:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\LMCompatibilityLevel

Change this from 3 to 1.

Saturday 11/24 Update

After updates the ATI HD Capture Card caued the Black Screen of Death. I had to remove the card to get the machine to boot. Right now the Media Center PC is without a sound card, and without a capture card. Making it completely usless as far as a media center PC is concerned. I think I will dual boot with XP Media Center and UBUNTU. Forget Vista for now. (Time to downgrade)

Computer Games Today

The computer games today suck. I am sorry but they are either this online / multi-player type the single player version is so short it's not worth playing. My reviews of the games today are:

  • World in Conflict – Awesome Graphics. Single Players Sucks!
  • BioShock – Unable to install (AVG thinks it's a virus), to top it off, Target would not take the game back as a return, so I am stuck with a game I can not play.
  • Battlefield 2 Expansion Packs – Downloaded from EA Games, but they would not install. Their site says they will not give me a refund for downloaded games, but I was not able to install it. I mean the download manager did not give me an option to install or decrypt or anything.
  • Oblivion - Rather Cool. I love this game. I just wish it had people with guns.
  • Company of Heros – Rather Cool. I would like a game like this with modern weapons (thought I would get this with World in Conflict, but no)
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 – Big let down. Must use parties and the game is rather linear. Single Player option is limited.
  • Call of Duty 4 - Nice graphics, but the game is rather linear and dull.

 

Goodbye TechColumbus

I had my Final meeting with TechColumbus this week. There's just something going on that I don't quite get, communication gap or something. What I find so strange about my relationship over the past year is that something is just missing.

Emily & I were talking about it Monday night and we think that maybe the name is wrong. It should be FinanceColumbus. Because rather than helping small companies or telling them where they are they seem to presume you want 10 million dollars and are ready to shoot you down because they either don't undersand what you are doing or you are not connected.

For example: This Monday I met with someone in their early 20s that has never started a company and I went in to ask about TechGenesis and/or market research. Instead, because he did not get the software I was talking about AppGin.Com, he started to give me advice on a Business Plan. I mean really, what a waste of time. Define your market, define your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), etc.

I had another meeting last year describing a version of AppGin that was similar to CogHead, or LongJump and the guy said, so what? It's a database. Again, perhaps it was my communication, but I doubt it, I don't know how much clearly you can show someone an example of the site and them not get it.

My final thought is not a nice one, is that TechColumbus is just a non-profit run by Venture Capital firms. Which means they have a mandate, and the mandate is something like "no single founder companies". Then they do everything they can to discourage them. Or finally, maybe they just don't like me personally.

In anycase, I don't really care. AppGin will work someday and make some money I just wish all those in Columbus thinking about this company/non-profit for assistance to rethink that choice. On the other hand if you have had good experiences with this organization, please contact me I'd like to hear it.

Speaking at CodeMash 2008

I will be speaking about Robotics at the upcoming CodeMash, held January 9-11 at the Kalahari Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio.

This years talk will be about robotics software and will originate from the Java source code in my book to using .Net, PHP, Ajax, and even some Ruby.

I think the most important thing is that you can do some really cool stuff with software, if you are willing to use the best of everything out there.

Caught Up In Semantics

Semantics refers to aspects of meaning, as expressed in language or other systems of signs.

I have been thinking of late about what language to use for some of the problems I have in programming (communicating with computers) and it seems that the reason I will pick one language over another is that it enhances to some extent my ability to communicate with the computer or maybe a robot.

In reading and listening to some Google Tech Talks, I have revisited some of the design pattern arguments even listened to a talk on Common LISP witch spoke of various implementations of multiple dispatch and how LISP had this built in, whereas other less adept languages had to resort to design patterns (i.e. Visitor Pattern) to make up for this.

It made me also think about why computer science and computer languages have not really advanced in the past 50 years. I mean we are still using LISP and refering to a language that was designed in the 1950's. I think it is really more about that our ability to communicate has not evolved much, we are still stuck in certain paradymes of thought which lead to ways of thinking about programming and communicating with our computers. These paradymes are stuck in ASCII text and QWERTY keyboards.

One idea could be to combine a Dasher interface to programming, but this I think stil limits us into thinking in text, though the input for a programming language could be much faster since the word probabilties are less. Still I think our brains limit our software.

We communicate with people everyday, so we are hardwired for this sort of communication, message in, process, message out. However this is very efficient considering the phrase:

Do a google search for the keyword "code generation" then give me print outs of the screenshots for each of those sites, then email a word document of the same.

Now this is a lot of information contained in such a short phrase. A person could do this but a program would need to know how to: google search, take screen shots, print, create a word document, then email it. Although I could write this in some computer code, I would need to tell it exactly how to do each of these things which is a lot of code…

 

Business Plans Are Crap, Without Market Research

In talking to a bunch of people about start-up business ideas, they always talk about your Business Plan.

I find this so lazy it's funny. They should have asked, where's your market research? Because a business plan without that is useless.

If I were ever going to give someone advice about a business I would first ask what's your Business Abstract?

  1. What do you want to sell?
  2. How much will you make per sale?
  3. How much will it cost you to get 1 customer, time/dollars?
  4. How much money do you want to make per month?
  5. What research have you done to to support this market?

I think I have always balked when people asked for a business plan because I thought to myself, how can I give you a plan when I am still figuring out my market. Do you want me to give you some BS? Now I can qualify that, by asking, why do you want a plan with no market research?

Switching To Ruby – Part 1

Why switch? That was the first thing I thought of when I started thinking about learning Ruby. Why not Python, or just stick with Java and PHP.

I started thinking a few years back about why I decided to switch from Java to PHP for web programming. I choose then because PHP reminded me of the simplicity of good-old ASP style web development and I was sick of WARs, JARs and CLASSPATH. Just include the file and your done.

So I really had everything I needed a good web programming language, PHP and a good fast compiled language Java, so why change?

The first reason seemed to be the “sheep effect”, this being that all cool people are learning and using Ruby, I think I am cool, therefore if I am not doing Ruby then I must not be cool.

The second reason is that there are some things that I don’t like about PHP, these are minor nuisances, but do not rise to the level of dislike. The same goes for Java, actually there’s a lot I don’t like about Java more than nuisances so there’s no convincing me there…

A few things I have liked so far has been no {curly braces} and no ;;semi-colons;; so the language itself is a lot easier to read.  I also like  closures, so I can reference an  entire block of code by 1 variable.

My Quest For Another Language – Part 3

I think it's time to stop the analysis. I did all I could do. I have ready all I could read. Now it seems like I just need to start working with one of the languages to see how much I like it.

Since I have already started down the path of Ruby (purchased 3 books) I will stick with it and see how it goes.

The winner for now is RUBY.

Over the next few months I will blog about switching to Ruby f rom PHP and Java…