sailing the NorSea


WEEK 48 2014

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Saturday 29 November 2014
Saturday - Reasonable weather.

I'm still cleaning in the garage. I wanted to remove the summer air-conditioning units from the windows, but the garage was so messy that it was hard to find a place to put them. Or even get to my tools. So I decided to put up some shelves, which meant moving the tool bench, at which point it made sense to paint the bench and wall behind it, and... Now I have to wait for paint to dry.

Lunch with friends.

Then, back to working on the app in the afternoon. Still trying to get the feedback stuff right...

Book #48 was The Rheseus Chart, by Charles Stross. This was another Laundry Files story, but didn't advance the overall arc much, really more of a stand alone story. OK, but nothing spectacular, and I'm glad it was a library book.

They are predicting a big storm in the next few days - it keeps getting pushed back - so I may head down and check on the boat after the test on Monday.

Friday 28 November 2014
Friday - Back in Lancaster, warm and sunny, for late November.

Still grinding away on the code.

When making my coffee yesterday morning some dripped on the hot plate. And made a nice sizzling sound. So I recorded it on my phone, then played it back while holding it over the laptops microphone. And.... good enough for the sparklers sound effect.

In general it is proceeding. But there are lots of little details to finish up. For example, there's a need to prevent user interaction during feedback animations. But these are varied (5 levels of play, positive and negative feedback for correct, incorrect and partially correct answers), and are 'dispatched', i.e., asynchronous, so you don't really know exactly when they'll end. So triggering something after they end is a pain.

Once the 'little' details are cleaned up there is still a bunch of work to do, for tap and switch versions, and to handle pad rotation and stuff. These are separate from the main logic, and likely to be complicated, so I'm leaving them until last, deliberately.

Then we'll incorporate the 'real' artwork and audio, all of which will be slightly different in size from when I'm using.

Then, off to the App Store.

It's a rather painfully amusing memory: I'd estimated to be mostly done by the end of October. I can look at the Snapshot Log (Apple's CVS for Dummies) and see that I've been working nearly every day since October 9th on the current version (V2), not slacking off. So, currently at 50 calendar days, rather than 20, and still going...

It's cool in the mornings, so the schedule as of late is to
I haven't even been taking my afternoon walks.

napping suzy on laptop
Suzy likes to hang out with me when I'm working. Here she is, napping
 on my laptop after watching the cursor-bug skitter around the screen for a while....

Thursday 27 November 2014

Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving!

Nice weather here, even better - a bit warm - down in Simi Valley.

The friends that I usually visit with were invited to their relatives, so their relatives invited me (and L) as well. So we put on our casual best and headed down to Simi Valley, where we had a good time with K&L, good food and good company.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Wednesday - Another nice day. I did get over to Walmart, but late, and there was a huge line and the bays were full, so... There is weather predicted for the weekend, so I should head down and check on the boat beforehand, really. Maybe Friday.

I also went by the library and checked out the iOS book that I'd been forced to return last week - hey, people have had their chance to check it out, now it's mine for another six weeks or so...

My friends are having fun in Texas. I guess they visited an old-time school, Car Henge  Cadillac Ranch, and other places - pretty neat.

Just working away on the app here. I had a scare when the code suddenly stopped working in the morning, and the debugger kept popping up, even though I'd only done a bit of clean up here and there. Worrisome, because I'd had Xcode completely choke on a project last year, and had to recreate it. After a while I realized that it was just that I'd accidentally set a breakpoint...

Just grinding away on stuff. I need a "sizzling" sound for the sparks animation. Maybe I'll fry up some bacon and record it.

Tuesday 25 November 2014
Tuesday - Cool at night, in the 30's, but warming up nicely during the day, into the 60's.

I didn't get over to Walmart for a battery. No great rush I guess.

My friends made it to Texas, sounds like they're having a good time.

It's been pretty quiet, mostly I'm just grinding away on the app. In this case it's the positive feedback animations, implementing a 'sparks' effect by using a CAEmitter layer, which has a plethora of options. I also had to update the logic for the correct answers for the simplest level, having left it until last... Anyway, it's coming along. I need to modularize some of the animation steps now, code size is increasing again, but it should be pretty straightforward.

One of the things S wants is an animated example of how to use the app, that plays on startup, easily dismissible by the user. It's not amazingly difficult, but the question is whether to use a screen recording, a video of someone using the app on an iPad, or to create an entirely separate animation sequence. That last sounds harder, but it'd only be ten or twelve steps, and would help minimize the download size of the app, since we'd need five or six of them. There is an option to reduce size, which is to set up a server and let the app download the videos, but then we're maintaining a video repository somewhere...

Monday 24 November 2014
Monday - Cold but sunny in the morning, warming up very nicely in the afternoon.

I didn't get over to Walmart for a battery, this was EXAM DAY at the college. It was just above freezing, but we walked over to the college anyway. At a few minutes after the hour the aide came by and put a "class canceled" sign on the door. S said she wasn't surprised the instructor didn't show, as this "practical" test today and the final exam next week (said to be an exact duplicate of the mid-term) were the only things left to do in the class. I guess I'm not cynical enough yet, I was surprised.

We spent an hour or two reviewing stuff on the app, then went our separate ways, meeting again for lunch. She had to go out and get an allergy shot, I had to go out and get a Flu shot, and since it was right next to the Thai Cafe'...

My friend T is on the road, off to Texas for a few days with his family. It sounds like they're having fun. I enjoy road trips, though usually it's just me and a friend, not an entire family. Looking back at the vacations my parents took me and my siblings on; pre-cell phones and before a big selection of FM radio, and today's personal music and video players ... I'm astonished they let us live.

A client I'd done work for last year called with a request, so I spent a little time looking at what to do about that. I'd been asked to remove a data validation field, done so, and now they wanted it back. The actual time to do the task was a few minutes, but I spent a couple of hours looking for my backups and trying to remember what I'd done. I have notes, and I clearly was dubious about the change back then, my email to the contact had that section in bold and bright red, saying essentially "Do you really want to do this?" Heh. Well, so it goes.

Sunday 23 November  2014
Sunday - Partial overcast and partially sunny and somewhat windy again. In fact a lot of leaves blew right out of my yard! Sadly it blew  bunch in as well, so it's a wash, chore-wise.

I was still feeling a bit under the weather, but I did get out in the garage and work for a few hours, moving the bench a few inches. This took forever, because of its awkward location and the vast amount of stuff stored in and on it. I couldn't even budge it until I cleared the shelves. It probably weighs 70lbs on its own. I did find the ancient kit of dinghy fiberglass materials I bought years ago - apparently there's been a leak inside the box somewhere, judging from outward appearances....

I did go over to Walmart early, 9am, to get the battery replaced in the Explorer, but there was already a huge line. I'd talked to Tim and he said that he'd heard that the Walmart and Costco brands were as good as Diehard used to be, but cheaper. So...

We are supposed to have our 'Practical' exam tomorrow at the college. Unfortunately my notebook, along with my USB key full of work on an attached lanyard, has gone missing. I did a small amount of reading and review, but without notes, and tutorials, and without Photoshop and Illustrator at the house (I can't find my old install disks) I don't fell great about things. All I need is a "C" though, and I can probably get that....

Picture of the Week
Cayucos Gates
Photo Notes: Cayucos Gates.

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