3sailing the NorSea


WEEK 31 2016

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Saturday 30 July 2016
Saturday - Moderately hot - in the mid 100's, but also smokey and rather humid. My friends who go to yard sales quit early, saying it was just debilitating.

We had lunch at a Mexican place - mostly because we wanted someplace with good a/c.

I worked on the app, since it was too miserable to do anything else.  Still futzing about with sounds. I ran into a weird problem where I couldn't copy some objects from one place to another - I think perhaps stuff that's in an AV queue is treated a bit differently despite having NSCopying in their protocol. But overall, some progress.

I realized yesterday that some of the methods I was using wouldn't (easily) allow localization, so I had to change things around.  But it's better to realize that now, rather than later.

The most marketable languages are still English, Spanish, and Han.

In the evening I read Book #34, The Long Cosmos (Long Earth #5), by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. It was enjoyable, well written and moderately inventive, though not really a "can't put down" sort of book.

Friday 29 July 2016
Friday - Very hot again. 110F.

If it weren't for the app work and the foot issues I think I'd take off on a long road trip, doing the BLM free overnight camping thing. Sigh.

Working on the audible prompts still. There's always a 'gotcha' and bug or two, and unexpected issues, and I just have to find and fix them, which isn't adding to the codes clarity or briefness...

I had the foot sutures removed.  I had a 1:00 appointment, and showed up 10 minutes early...and sat there for an hour.  Then the receptionist asked if I could come back later.  They were obviously jammed in the waiting room, so I said "OK".  They've been good about things, and it's not like I had big plans for the afternoon.

So, at 3:45 the nurse and assistant inspected the incision, said it looked good, and pulled the stitches.  No particular pain, I'm grateful to say. I have to be careful walking for the next week or so, then it should be OK for normal walking, then by Labor Day good for light duty hiking. Yay!

Some book's I'd requested on inter-library loan came in: The Long Cosmos (sequel to #30, #31, #32, #33) and also Stiletto (sequel to #27). I'd actually tried to check out the electronic copy of Stiletto after reading The Rook on vacation - and after nearly a month it still wasn't available. So I ordered the dead tree version, which arrived in three days.

Thursday 28  July 2016
Thursday - Very hot again.

Working with the AVQueuePlayer again.  Finished recording the prompts, then had to re-record some, and change others, then put into the code and debug. Found more problems.

The audio prompts, old and new, were recorded over various sessions in the last year, so the pacing and timbre and volume and all that are off. But it's fixable stuff, and my voice will probably not be the actual anyway.

One amusing thing is that the original negation prompt was recorded as, say:


So, when I add a negation phrase prefix  we get something like


Very hillbilly....

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Wednesday - The fires seem to be out. Very very hot again. 115+F on my patio thermometer. Officially it went up to 111F,  so that's probably about right.

The a/c couldn't keep up with things, it was  85F inside by late afternoon - and that was downstairs where it was "cooler". Gahhh.  Obviously I couldn't program in a 90F office.  It gives me a headache - and the laptop starts acting up in that kind of temperature.

It's actually supposed to get hotter for the next couple of days.

Working on the app.  I finally got the AVQueuePlayer to work.  At first it wasn't making any sounds, although it wasn't throwing any errors either, and I was puzzled.  Then I noticed that there was the faintest "pop" sound when I tried to play it.  Apparently the OS wasn't retaining a reference to it, and it would therefore just play a few milliseconds of the first track, and then would stop.  So I changed

@property AVQueuePlayer * queuePlayer;


@property (strong, nonatomic) AVQueuePlayer * queuePlayer;

and Bob's my uncle. Brother. Whatever.

The logic is different now, as well.  The bins on higher levels are unique, so each has it's own prompt and speaker button, so I need three queue's, plus one "overall" queue.  And since I'm still concerned about processing delays I'm leaving in all the old code for now, in case I have to go back to it.... And the things you put in the queue are differnt, AVPlayerItems, not AVPlayers, so that's more coding.

Lunch with S, and we talked over the progress we'd each been making. I'm not sure if we'd had a face-to-face since the 4th of July, so we covered a lot of ground.  And had some nice Thai...

Tuesday 26 July 2016
Tuesday - Very hot again. Not quite as smokey.

Worked on the app.  Now that we have more verbal prompts, of different lengths, just submitting a sound with a delay-to-play-delta-time isn't going to work.

So, I spent some time researching Apple's AVQueuePlayer, and working with that. It seems like it should do the trick, with the caveat of possible longer delay times.  The prompts are short, 0.8 - 1.8 seconds, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Monday 25 July  2016
Monday - Hot and smokey.

Worked on the app.  I have trouble finding keys still, but I can find the key values easily enough, so I can just add the words "prefix" or "suffix" for the artist when creating the little sound files, then search for those values (ignoring what keys they might be attached to), and when found that will let code know what I want...

Since Apple's Quicktime didn't save keys correctly, and Apple's iTunes didn't save keys correctly, and Apple's GarageBand didn't save keys correctly I decided that it was time to go out and buy Apple's Final Cut Pro for $300....not.

What I actually did was download Audacity and install it for free, being very careful not to download from SourceForge. I also had to download and install the  ffmpeg and lame codec packages, but it all worked just fine.

It only has seven pieces of metadata that you can write, but that is fine for my purposes.

It also has a tool to help you find spaces in a single track between spoken phrases, "label" them (the spoken bits), and then export them all to separate files automatically. With an option during each save to set the metadata!

Which is exactly what I wanted to do, and did.

I talked to S briefly, she mentioned that she'd installed Audacity on her Win7 laptop a while back, and has been using it to set up the soundtrack for the video we are going to put on the app store website.

Sunday 24 July  2016
Sunday - Hot.  In the low 100's maybe, nothing too exceptional.  Still very smokey out.

I did some light chores around the house and yard.

Did a little work on the app, for a few hours. I try not to do much on weekends, but the foot surgery kept me from doing much last week.

I had an urge to go out and do something, but foot and temperatures meant I really needed to just stay at home. Bah.

Picture of the Week

A rocky beach north of cayucos.
Rocky shallows, with seals on top, north of Cayucos.

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