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WEEK 19 2015

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Saturday 9 May 2015
Saturday - A nice day. I did some chores, this and that, and fiddled with the app a bit. I tried a few different options, trying to get the switch controller to work the way we want, without any luck. Bah.

Friday 8 May 2015
Friday - More nice weather. Cool and a bit windy, but not like Thursday.

In the morning I wrestled with UIAccessibility containers some more. Bah. Everything works as it should (except the transformations, which is a separate issue) until I get more than about 5 elements in the container, then it defaults back to the standard row-by-row selection, rather than individual element selection that I specifically implemented the container to do, as per Apple's documentation!  Sigh. I'm glad I made a little testcase before modifying the actual production code...

I told S that it's the programming equivalent of walking into a glass door - things are fine, your hard work is paying off, you're happy and pleased and suddenly: WHAM!

Lab in the afternoon. I didn't do well, my brain was obviously thinking of other things. Ah well. On the bright side, I've met my 24H requirement - by six minutes!

Book #23 was Prospero Regained (Prospero's Daughter #3), by L. Jagi Lamplighter. It was OK - in fact, it was pretty good. You can tell the author is gaining experience and confidence as you read through these books.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Thursday - Windier than all get out. I finally texted G and said we'd put the digging off until next week...

Other than that, just working on the switch stuff. I have it working (90%) for a small testcase, now I need to get it incorporated with the real code, somehow.

Essentially what iOS does is look for an accessibility tag on a screen element (button,slider,text input), and send the 'focus' to that element. That's the default, and it kind of works for simple control elements. Image accessibility tags are off by default, but can be easily turned on. You also can attach labels and hints to be shown or read by the system speech synthesizer too - Apple got that part right.

If it's something even mildly complicated like a cell in a table or the header controls in a view it probably breaks and you have to code it up yourself. And if it's not a standard control you have to do it yourself. And the order it parses the elements is fixed - upper left to lower right, which often makes no sense.

You can fix this by turning off the default tags. Then you create a series of virtual frames over the top of the things you want to access (the frames are called 'accessibility elements'), then put those elements in the order you want them to be accessed in an 'accessibility container'. The elements can have useful information attached, just like the standard UIKit elements. You then include some standard methods - it's an 'informal protocol' - and Bob's your uncle.


Because unlike pretty much everything else in iOS the accessibility element frames are in physical coordinates, not view coordinates. So your frame around, say, a horizontal button in a subview at the right side of the screen shows up as a vertical frame in the lower left of the screen! WTF Apple?

Which is the 10% that isn't working for me. I'm using a transformation ('convertRect:') from the subview to the device coordinates, but it isn't working - the final position is clearly just the local view coordinates in the screen hardware coordinates. It's easy enough to hand code the transformation, I've done it a zillion times, but I shouldn't have to.

We had a nice thunderstorm blow in, early evening, with rain, thunder and (somewhere) lightning. Nice.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Wednesday - It's gotten windy again, reminds me of Lancaster in the 80's and 90's.

Mostly I fiddled around with switch and accessibility stuff for iOS. Part works, part doesn't, this stuff takes time. The documentation and examples are mostly awful.

I've the iPad connected to test things (the Simulator is almost useless for this stuff - Apple's happy to eff up Xcode and the rest with regular pointless changes, but doesn't give a damn about fixing that 2nd rate piece of s***).

An annoyance: Every time I connect it OSX asks if I want to install iOS 8 on it, and download the pictures via iTunes. Every single time. No and no. iOS 7 still has 20% of the market share, we need it to test against.

In the early evening I went over to the college lab, to get a few hours for lab. Last time the annoying talkers were kids watching boxing, this time it was a kid in front of a turned off computer, playing a handheld game, and talking loudly about it to his neighbor.

The Blue Griffon editor is stupid - every time I insert a horizontal line I have to apply the settings, 25%, 2D, black, etc, it doesn't remember them (unlike the much older kompoZer. And, for some reason, it won't let me copy/paste and existing separator.

Tuesday  5 May 2015
Tuesday - [Update: 6may2015] G stopped by just before lunch, and I had him do a bunch of tasks
  1. take the 25 remaining tiles out of the Explorer, and stack them by the fence.
  2. stack the other 15 tiles I'd already removed two weeks ago with them
  3. stack the 25 landscape blocks out of the way
  4. move the 30 cinder blocks out of the way
  5. clean up the side yard preparatory to putting some pavers down
It was a solid 3.5 hours of work, but he did a good job, and I paid him for his time (and made us both burgers for lunch!).

I broke down and paid for a file transfer program for OSX. I feel kind of like a chump, but it's worth $10 not to worry about things, and to get back on track with updating the web pages...

Started updating things. Several lost weeks.

And I realized I never got Gimp working properly on OSX. Hmmm. Well, everything in time...

Monday 4 May 2015
Monday - [Update: 6may2015] Fiddling about, reading documentation on switches, VoiceOver and UIAcessibilityContainers, and CoreBluetooth foundation stuff. My head hurts...

Class in the afternoon.

I downloaded Blue Griffon to edit web pages on the Mac. It's a descendant of KompoZer supposedly. No one's updated Kompozer in years, and it has issues with later versions of OSX. Even Blue Griffon hasn't be updated in a couple of years, but it's free, so...

Then I tried to get a file transfer program. FileZilla was my first choice, but it's hosted by SourceForge, which means all sorts of advertising malware would be downloaded, so that was out. Everything on the OSX App Store was pricey - even the 'lite' versions are $10, which is ridiculous for programs that have functionally been around for decades.

I guess I could update things from the command line...

Sunday 3 May 2015
Sunday - [Update: 6may2015]  Very nice weather. I spent the day doing more minor yard work.

Thursday some friends came by and turned over the vegetable planters, so yesterday and today I spent time putting in the tomatoes, and also putting in some marigolds I bought Friday into the flower pots in the new east wall raised flowerbed.

My friend's teenaged boy has agreed to come by and help with some yard chores that my hands just aren't up too, next week, so maybe I can make better progress on things than I've been making.

Book #22, was a Honorverse prequel: A Call to Duty (Manticore Ascendant Book #1), by David Weber and Timothy Zahn.  Not bad. Zahn's a good writer, but spends a lot of time writing novels set in other people's creative universes, which is too bad. It probably pays though.

Anyway, it was a library book, and I picked it up on a whim, read the blurb and didn't feel like reading it. It's a prequel to the Honor Harrington books, which I've gotten a bit tired of.

Then, bored, when it was near return time I picked it up and started reading midway through...and it was OK. Not great, but OK. So I read the whole thing...

Picture of the Week

Marigold planer

Marigold Planter in progress.

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