sailing the NorSea


WEEK 4 2015

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Saturday 24 January 2015
Saturday - Warmish and sunny.

No app work, as it's a weekend and the hands need recuperation time. I did talk to S over lunch, and we hashed out some more ideas on how to do negatives properly, so that's an advance.

A few small household chores. The new vacuum filters arrived, I ordered them last week when the heretofore excellent Hoover bagless started having trouble picking things up. But this is not a vacuuming weekend, yay!

I went to yard sales with S&R in the morning. I didn't get much, but it was something to do, and I'm feeling restless.

In the afternoon and evening I didn't feel well for some reason. We went to the Chinese buffet in Palmdale for lunch, which has pretty decent food (for a buffet), but maybe there's a lot of MSG in it or something. Anyway, I felt a bit feverish and achy and didn't go over to my friends for Pizza night.

I think that's happened with that buffet before, but it's still better than the one in Lancaster, where I couldn't even make it out the door afterwards before the stomach upset started.

Friday 23 January 2015
Friday - Middling weather.

Worked on the app for a bit, but was feeling uninspired. Also it was noisy out. So I did a bunch of documentation stuff, with the idea of being quickly able to re-create the app, or a similar app, as needed. At four pages and 25 steps of documentation I still don't have everything in... But I do have some new ideas on how to handle things, so that's good.

Book #5 was Dragon Weather, by Lawrence Watt-Evans. This was another  book on my shelf that I can't remember ever reading, the paperback edition of 2000. It is fantasy - sword and sorcery stuff - but not particularly romantic. You could think of it as an early precursor to GRRM's Game of Thrones books, if not quite as unrelentingly violent. I enjoyed it enough to put holds on the sequels through the public library.

jimmy manspreading
Jimmy, relaxing. Stay classy man...

Thursday 22 January 2015

Thursday - Gray and overcast again. Glad I got out to see the comet last night!

Kind of a slow day, just working away on a few app related things, not much to say there.

I took my usual walk, 4.25 miles, at about 11am, and averaged about 3.2mph, which is good for me. I have an urge to up the mileage, but it's best not to rush these things, perhaps next week I'll add a mile. So far legs and feet are feeling OK about things.

After that I need to increase the distance still more, and also need to start carrying weights, to mimic a pack, and start some climbing and descending work. Maybe a mountain hike every week?

I can't take it too easy, getting into shape, because crossing the Grand Canyon is a real workout.

Assuming we take the Bright Angel Trail down to the campground near near the Phantom Ranch, that's about 9.9 miles. It's about a 4,000' elevation change, and typically you assume a 1,000' elevation change is about as much work as a mile, so the one way exertion is about 14 miles worth.

Assuming we take the North Kaibab Trail up, it's 13.8 miles and nearly 6,000', call it 19 miles of exertion. It looks like a bear. The good part is that when you get to the top you're done, unlike the first leg...

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Wednesday - Sunny and mild, great weather.

I worked on the app for a bit, switches and the model/KVO stuff that I was talking about the other day. I'm not sure I want to use notifications, but I have a better idea of how to do things I think.

Went out to lunch with S. She's struggling with coming up with a user interaction strategy that satisfies her. Essentially she wants to avoid "matching" and also avoid actions that are antithesis to the prompts, which is difficult with negation topics.

I've stuff to research, so it isn't too big a deal, we'll get there.

In the evening I went out and finally saw Comet Lovejoy with binoculars, then took a few pictures with the T3i. It was directly overhead, no more than 5 degrees from the zenith at 7:30pm I'd say, and while pretty faint still noticeably green.

I did this observing from my side yard, crouched down so as to avoid the direct glare of street lights, and can't say that I saw the tail, just the comet head. Still, that's something. I did remember to take a 'dark frame' so maybe I'll see if I can 'stack' some of the shots and get a noise free picture with a bit of tail in it.

Tuesday  20 January 2015
Tuesday - Gray and overcast. I actually checked the weather site to see if it was going to rain...

Just to add insult to injury my brother emailed to say that up in cold and wet Hyperborea he was able to see the comet. It's already passed closest approach to the Earth and is heading away again. Bah.

Work on the app continues. I don't know what's happening with the memory leak, I can't seem to replicate it in a small program, so for now I'll just ignore it. I even tried putting in different types of seques, and adding all 48 sound tracks without replicating it.

Working Properly: You can clearly see the base memory usage, the "staircase" allocation of memory for three sounds,
and the deallocation and return to base memory usage when the game page is left.

It's not the final version anyway - for that I'll make an entirely new version from a clean slate with whatever massive changes S wants. When I start that I'll keep a careful eye on stuff, profiling each step of the way to check for this kind of problem.

 Meanwhile I have other tasks to accomplish, using switches and cleaning up the code otherwise.

I spent quite a bit of time reading up about MVC layouts, in particular KVO methodology because I want to move code out of the View Controller and into the Model. But it's so baroque - I suspect that the inventor of OO programming was a descendant of Rube Goldberg.

Case in point: lets say you have an app with two light bulbs displayed. Whichever you touch turns on, and the other turns off. Simple, right? Over at Programmer's StackExchange someone gave an example of what the code layout would look like:


And remember, this is just a diagram, not the pseudo-code or code itself!

In other news I received an urgent message from an old client, apparently they were having problems with the time-card system I'd come up with back in 2010 or whatever. I took a look, looked at the screen shot of the code during execution, and was pretty sure it was an data input error. After we talked the client was able to verify that, so everything was cool.

Actually I'm a bit impressed by my old self's attention to detail - I was able to zoom in on the exact section that was giving trouble, because of a printed debug page option I'd put in, and in fact the error was caught by the section of code dedicated to trapping erroneous input data.

For writing in VBScript, it was a decent job, if I do say so myself.

Monday  19 January 2015
Monday - Another reasonably nice day out.

Back to work on the app. I'm trying to track down a memory leak, and it appears to be a system cache of the memory set aside for the audio tracks (a 32K Malloc for each sound track, each time the game page is loaded). I fiddled around with Instruments, Apple's logger and profiler, and could see the extra instances being allocated and not being let go. But, as far as I can tell, I'm doing things right.

I'm using ARC, and these are Apples standard sound object players, so they should be released by the OS when I leave the game page and view, but they aren't. Since they are (supposedly) controlled by ARC I can't even do an explicit "[soundplayer01 release];" without generating an error message. At the (online magazine) Dr. Dobbs a writer mentioned that iOS7 has a very similar 32K cached memory leak in the network stack allocation, and in my code the location of the sound file is described by a URL, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I created a couple of small audio apps using almost exactly the same methodology, but they act properly, so I'm scratching my head. It occurred to me that I used a slightly different release mechanism for the game page in the small test cases, a modal 'dismiss' rather than an 'unwind' - I'll fiddle with that tomorrow and see if it makes a difference.

It was actually clear in the evening, but I wanted to get to bed on time, because I'd been up late the last couple of days, so I didn't get out comet viewing.

Sunday 18 January 2015
Sunday - Not a lot to say. Our mild weather continues, without any storms in sight.

I didn't do anything on the app, time to rest my hands.

I did go out for a nice walk in the afternoon, 4.25 miles, since I didn't get out on Thursday.

Hazy night skies are continuing, so no comet viewing. It's the dark of the moon too, and it would otherwise be perfect (except for the seven or eight streetlights within 300' of my house).

Picture of the Week
A snow covered Reno, Jan 2005.
Photo Notes: A snow covered Reno, Jan 2005.

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