sailing the NorSea


WEEK 35 2014

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Saturday 30 August 2014
Saturday - Quite hot.

Yard sales in the morning. I'd like a fan for the garage, but of course fans won't be selling for a $1 until winter temperatures set in... Afterwards it was lunch at Mahli's, then home for a nap.

In the afternoon I fiddled at bit with the app - the odd problems of yesterday were basically mistakes on my part in 'scoping'. Easy to do....

Movie night was Netflix and the first two episodes of 'The Bletchley Circle". Eh. We were expecting wartime drama with spies and such, instead it was ten years later and a lot of drama about women not being treated well. So we watched the first episode of 'Wild China', which was interesting (though to my mind the shots of herons eating frogs went on a bit long).

Friday 29 August 2014
Friday - More expensive busy work just trying to stay afloat. The morning was devoted to getting the old Ford Explorer smogged. With the Probe hors-de-combat it's my only remaining working vehicle, at 243K miles.

First it was getting the oil and filter(s) changed, then filling up with good gas and driving to Rosamond and back to warm up the catalytic converter, finally taking it by a "Test Only" station in town. It passed, so afterward I went home and paid for the registration online. So, a morning and about $275 shot ($60 oil and filters, $60 smog test and certificate, $90 DMV fee, and about $65 in gas).

I suppose, since I'd have had to put gas in it anyway, that I should just put in the cost of about 25 miles of warm up - a gallon, and the marginal cost of using Chevron Super instead of Regular, so maybe $250. It was almost time for an oil change, but I put in special high mileage Castrol and a new air filter, though the old one still had life in it.

It's expensive not to pass smog, best to pay a little extra.

I hesitated over adding "Heet" to it. I didn't know how the Explorer performed on the last smog test, and while Heet is good for hydrocarbons it isn't so good for NOX. So I didn't add anything.  Looking at the report it seems that I was nearest the limits in hydrocarbons, though not bad, so it probably wouldn't have hurt. Something to remember for next time.

Lunch with Roger and Sheryl. Went over some of the settings page stuff for the app.

Did some work on the app in the afternoon, ran into some puzzling stuff. Some stuff works, some doesn't, WTH? The app is really so simple that it doesn't really need the Model part of a Model-View-Controller design pattern, but I'm trying to do it right, just for the practice. Gahhh.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Thursday - A terrible night,I did the Tijuana Two Step from about 2am to 6am. Then I dragged myself over to the college health clinic for my flu shot appointment, only to discover that they weren't doing them yet. I also had them check my left ear, but they were unable to clear the blockage, and will try again next week. All this left me pretty wiped out, so I went home and slept for a bit.

Between the lavage induced mild nausea and the stomach issues it wasn't one of my better days.

In the afternoon I did a few hours on the app, but my brain really wasn't firing on all cylinders. Not a lot got done, just some gameplay logic stuff, and it's still pretty crufty.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Wednesday - Cleaning day. The downstairs missed getting vacuumed mid month, so I took care of that in the morning. The presence of three cats, two of whom are long hair, made itself known by forcing me to empty the cannister of the vacuum three times. Admittedly it's only about a two quart volume, but still...  It looked much much better when I was done.

The cats hid upstairs. Riley came down first - almost immediately after I was done, Jimmy after an hour, and Suzy played it safe under a bed upstairs until early evening.

S called around lunchtime and asked for some help in taking an old dining room table and furniture to Goodwill. It had belonged to her parents and she inherited it years ago - 1970's era stuff, and about 3" lower than standard. Apparently she never liked it much and found a nicer set, so it became a donation.

I got lunch out of it at Mahli's next door, and we swung by the library briefly, when I picked up a couple of books on iOS, one fairly recent, one an antique version of  Erica Sadun's 'cookbook'.

In the afternoon it was app work. I fiddled around with Notifications, but it's an ugly, ugly system. And non-ARC, so there'd be a lot of very delicate cleanup involved in using it. After an hour or two I decided that I'd try delegation instead.

This is a somewhat tedious way to do things, but rather surprisingly, it works. If you have a primary view, and a subview, it allows you to trigger a method in the primary view from a method in the subview, and send information from the subview method to the superview method. The information can include the sending subview object itself, and all it's instance variables! Which is kind of mind bending, but it seems to work.

Which is typical Objective-C - you can do it one way easily, but it can be incredibly hard if you don't see the correct way right off the bat. Delegation is one of the favorite Apple  'design patterns' but I'd always shied away because of the opaque nomenclature. Ah well.

Tuesday 26 August 2014
Tuesday - Did some work around the house in the morning, but concentrated on the app.

Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you.

Annoyingly, I was unable to get things going the way I wanted with the app. This was particularly annoying after having a lot of progress on Monday. As always it's an information relaying issue, essentially a callback thing. After six  hours of work I decided that the way I was trying to do it, pointers, just wasn't going to be allowed by Objective-C. There is an alternative, 'categories', but that didn't seem to work reliably either.

There are more ways, Notifications and Delegations, so I'll try those tomorrow.

Monday 25 August 2014
Monday - School day. The instructor showed up late, again, but we actually had a bit of lecture (at an elementary school level), and got our accounts to the server.

The way it works is that you have a folder on the server that holds your assignments; after logging in you copy it to your workstation to work on in class or lab (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign executables are on the workstations), then copy it back to the server to be saved when you've finished.

The class is, supposedly, going to issue us USB sticks to save our work on independently.

He did not say, but I suspect anything non-system is wiped from the workstations every evening. It's what I would do if I were the systems administrator.

S talked me into signing up to visit the student health van on Thursday morning. It's a free flu shot, and I'm having some hearing issues in my left ear, so why not? Taking anything that seems like charity rubs me the wrong way, but then again they charged almost $200 for the single class, and God knows that I don't get anything else for the taxes I pay to the State of California.

Remember that Student Body ID I had to sign up for? The one with a photograph and a bar code that links to a database with all your info. Yeah, it isn't used at all for Student Health Service. Essentially you fill out a paper request form,  then hand to a secretary who types it in again to the system, then writes out a little appointment card by hand. Just like they did it in the 1950's. Heh. She never even asked to see the Student ID.

By the way, my Student ID number is the smallest thing on the card, maybe two points high, I could barely read it.

It was an interesting experience in another way. Around the house the loss of hearing isn't a big deal. But in a noisy area like Student Services I was completely overwhelmed, saying "Eh?" and "What?" and relying on S to repeat things into my good ear. Sheesh. Now I know, a bit, how my Dad felt.

In the afternoon I worked on the app some more. I was able to send a notification to 'super', which is what I wanted, but I found a tutorial that shows a way to probably do it better than the way I did it. I was trying to do too much in a single module, simplicity is the key: put the pan/drag in one method, identification and snapping into others. More "refactoring" I guess.

It being a new Moon it is also, of course, overcast and windy out.
Sunday 24 August  2014
Sunday - Warm but not crazy. I'd guess high 80's. I turned off the a/c in the early evening, turning it on again when going to bed around 10pm. It shuts off about 1am, by which time the house is reasonably cool.

I didn't do much. I was tired, wanted to stay off my feet, and so on. So I "watched" the Chargers-49er's game in the afternoon. It's hard, after so many years with a TIVO, to put up with the vast amount of delays and commercials. One forgets just how bad it is. Oh well, free to me.

While watching the game my friend Tim texted to ask about the condition of the Grandview house in Martinez after the Napa earthquake. I hadn't even know there was an earthquake, but I emailed Bob, who replied that he was out of town but that the cat-sitter reported no damage to cat or property. Which is good. I suppose we should look into the foundation work - it's really a lousy job that they did, even for the 1920's.

In the evening I finished up another Campbell book, Book #36, The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Guardian. This is the sequel to last week's book and, again, decent space opera.

There's actually another book after that, but they want $11 - one has to draw the line somewhere....

Picture of the Week
Bosai exhibition at Little Tokyo Cultural Ctr. 2014 
Photo Notes: Bonsai tree, Little Tokyo Cultural Center, August 2014.

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