Hard at work. W00t?

2006-May-15

It’s amazing, the amount of stuff that can be accomplished when you immerse yourself in your work.

These past two weeks I’ve completely rewritten a multi-threaded TCP (and UDP) server that I developed about a year ago that my company uses to communicate with its numerous mobile assets. This not only includes completely revamping the architecture, but also refreshing the management-console UI and completely rebuilding the device simulator (part of out test/QA toolset).

I’m considering writing a generalized article on this project. Detailing what was done and the though process behind it. A brief overview follows, and more details will probably be forthcoming (so long as I can generalize the explanation enough – so that I don’t reveal any company secrets, of course ๐Ÿ™‚ )

It’s a .NET 2.0 solution, if you’re wondering. It was formerly a primitive console application that has been in use for about a year now. It was sufficient for handling input from multiple connections from various device types but we reached the design’s limits when we started implementing outbound communication to the devices.

We tried extending the base but it was really just a single-purpose app to get us through the hardware testing phase (we custom develop our own hardware too, btw). We didn’t want to do too much to it while the hardware was maturing so we worked on other facets of our product portfolio up until this point in time. My senior developer took a crack at it, but hit the limit of practicality in terms of the bending the original app to our will. He did an awesome job laying the groundwork for me though (happiness is working with other talented people). But, before he could burn himself out I took over and shut myself off from my regularly scheduled activities (namely architecture and development oversight). I hate to do that sort of thing but sometimes circumstances dictate.

Anyhow, the longer I spend typing out this blurb the more inclined I am to write up a detailed article. Perhaps this week, when things have finally settled down with the actual development.

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SubEthaEdit + MacZot = bliss!

2006-Apr-25

SubEthaEdit from CodingMonkeys is being promoted by BLOGZOT 2.0 on MacZOT.com. MacZOT and TheCodingMonkeys will award $105,000 in Mac software if the goal is reached. If you don’t yet have it, get blogging about it and you can qualify for a free copy.

I’ve been using SubEthaEdit for two years now and it’s a fantastic piece of software. Its collaboration features are top notch, and what set it apart from other editors, but it is a excellent standalone tool too. In fact I use it above all else for general text editing on my home machine.

Get it at: CodingMonkeys.de.


The impending death of UMD (movies)

2006-Mar-30

This article has been making the rounds of the geek-web. Looks like WalMart is dumping its stock of UMD formatted movies.

Lets see what we have here:

  • A proprietary format that could only be used if you had a PSP;
  • that cost the same amount of money as a DVD;
  • doesn’t have all the extra-features of a DVD;
  • and doesn’t show the movie at full DVD resolution.

Furthermore, a canny PSP owner can just buy a big memory stick (yet another wonderful proprietary Sony media format), encode their existing DVDs, and transfer them to the memory stick to watch on the PSP. The device had its own built-in UMD movie bypass!

Wow, now there’s a formula for success!

The mere fact that any retailer got into UMD movie sales in the first place boggles my mind.


Ableton Live

2006-Mar-13

Okay, with Reason 3.0 in the bag for over a month it was time to branch out a bit. Reason sounds fantastic (imho, of course) and I find it incredibly easy to use, but its sequencer is too simplistic and the lack of audio-in was starting to get to me. So I decided that I needed a better sequencer and recording tool.

Candidates: Logic (from Apple) and Live (from Ableton).

Well, my choice was made easier as I had just recently acquired an M-Audio Ozone keyboard (gen 1, unfortunately) and it came with a copy of Live Lite 4. I installed and within a few minutes of reading the manual, figured out how to hook it up with Reason via ReWire and I was off to the races.

Wow. The Live concept of a pallette of “clips” (essentially loops) that can be triggered at will, and automatigically mixed in on the appropriate measure, is super intuitive. The interface is simple and provides easy access to a ton of effects (between Reason and Live I’m spoiled with choice). I really dug it.

The only drawback being that most of my sound-design is done in Reason and Live doesn’t seem to launch it automatically when it detects a ReWired instrument in the “Live Set” file. Minor slow-down in my workflow, so no big deal; I might be overlooking an option though.

Anyhow, I was so taken that I shelled out for the upgrade to the full version of Live 5 yesterday. More effects, more options, more happiness.

I guess I could’ve went with Logic (I didn’t even evaluate it, so I’m not sure what I’m missing out on) but Live gave me everything I needed (and more) to add to my toolkit. Heck, it even has VST support which opens up even more options for me and I can still go out and get Ableton’s Operator soft-synth to add yet another instrument. I might have made the wrong choice, and I was deffinately not doing my usual due-dilligence by not evaluating Logic, but Live was almost exactly what I envisioned for a sequencer and blew me away. Who knows though, I may yet need Logic!

Now, what I really need is some focus on making actual tunes rather than just farting around, fiddling with the widgets and making aimless noodlings.


I’m just not a Networking Guru

2006-Mar-07

Acquired a Fortinet Fortigate 100A (pdf link) firewall/internet-gateway device for the office. Overall impression: pretty decent product. Configuration and administration are simple, whether through the Web interface or command console. Works well for our purposes too (small business network, 20 users) and has handled everything we’ve been able to throw at it. And then…

The hardware architect (my counterpart on the hardware team) noticed that a certain group of our mobile devices were connecting sporadically to our network. He setup the same type of modem on his laptop and would try to open a simple TCP connection and it would sometimes succeed and sometimes fail. We noticed that this started happening around the time we installed the new device.

Oh crap.
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Web 2.0 redux

2006-Feb-17

wankr beta – collaborative masturbation network

This truly is the summary of the “Web 2.0” phenomenon.

Please, for the love of [thing], stop the bubble before it it forms.


The Top Ten Sci-Fi Films That Never Existed

2006-Feb-15

David Wong, on Pointless waste of time writes about The Top Ten Sci-Fi Films That Never Existed

Excellent, even well written (as in articulate and cogent) article. From an obvious sci-fi, gamer, geek culture fanboy.

[So What Happened?…] The Chicago Cubs, that’s what. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Why? Because Cub fans sell out Wrigley Field every game, regardless of how bad the team is. Management makes money regardless of whether or not the team is winning, so why bother?

Likewise, studios think video game fans will pile into the theater on opening weekend regardless of whether or not any effort was put into the film. Will that change? Come ask me after I’ve seen the Peter Jackson-produced Halo.

Show some love and read the article