March 31, 2011

IM purgatory

Ars is reporting on a new feature in Trillian that allows you to continue IM conversations while hopping between computers and phones. In the background, Trillian will continuously sync messages across logged in devices. I had long wanted this feature and would consider dropping Digsby. Alas, my current company blocks IM clients so I've reluctantly moved to Meebo. It's a nice enough web client, but Digsby allows me to archive to the web via Dexrex.

Dexrex has its own issues. I've used it for a couple of years and after IM-History went defunct-ish it became the only game in town. After importing IM conversations from several old machines, I have access to random discussions going back to December 2005 (the first with Lady Crumpet, no less!). Still, being the only game in town means that search can stop working a year ago and it still not be fixed, and that there's no support for mass export of your messages making it effectively like Meebo. When search worked, it was invaluable to find recommended articles from friends or to remember when a co-worker asked for a certain feature. Without search... well, offsite backup is nice. Dexrex are in the middle of a massive re-tooling, so maybe these annoyances will be remedied.

posted by sstrader at 7:56 PM in Internet | permalink

March 30, 2011

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer; Seth Grahame-Smith

Last read before The Pale King comes in (The following items have been shipped to you by The Pale King ...).

A weird combination of historically informative and trashy. The story unexpectedly illustrated the great uncertainties involved in very iconic events that are otherwise often shorthanded with certainties. The major player that was slavery shares time with economics and territorial expansion. And vampires. My only frustration was the same I have with any historical novel: their made up bits feel too much like history. When Lincoln reminisced of his youthful experiences, was that drawn from actual documents or simply true-to-character? Either way, a fun read.

Continue reading "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer; Seth Grahame-Smith"
posted by sstrader at 10:58 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

Reuseable frameworks for building applications

A month or so ago, I started working on an Android app that will allow you to develop applications on the Android itself. I'd found one application that allows you to add minor scripting on phone events, but haven't found anything as encompassing as what I'm working on. It could be out there, certainly, but the task is the fun part no matter if it's been done before.

Working through the application, I'm remembering how many times I've encountered this before. I'd written several script interpreters, the best of the bunch using the brilliant Boost Spirit Parser library. Where I currently work, they use a Sterling Software application to create order capture pages. Two previous companies I'd worked at (not Sterling) had products that were also based on building applications within an application. At one, I ported a very simplified version of the desktop version to WinCE. Similar to DSLs, these were domain-specific platforms. You couldn't write a word processing application within them, but you could write a training application or a set of intelligent data entry forms. I know I've thought this before, but as often as this task is written and rewritten, can't this be made generic somehow?

posted by sstrader at 8:45 PM in Programming | tagged android | permalink

March 20, 2011

Little Brother; Cory Doctorow

Started this to burn time until DFW's The Pale King arrives in the next few weeks. But with my new job being on the Marta line, I'm burning through books much more quickly and this grabbed my interest more fervently than I'd anticipated.

The plot is about a teenager in San Francisco who uses his technical savvy to defeat the various tracking mechanisms around school and throughout the city. His skills become more vital after a terrorist attack hits the city and DHS starts disappearing anyone they deem suspicious. It's set only slightly in the future, with all of the tech possible if not widely used. His exploits are often annotated detailed descriptions and keywords the reader should use to google for more details. All very anarchist manifesto-y, but it's directed towards teens to make them more surveillance-state aware and filled with good tech and privacy rights history.

Continue reading "Little Brother; Cory Doctorow"
posted by sstrader at 7:31 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

Sense and Sensibility; Jane Austen

The characters were at time excruciatingly self-absorbed, idle, aristocrats, but once past that, I started to appreciate the author's observations. It's a fascinating look into the history of English society in the early 1800s, written by a 19-year-old. Looking forward to watching the Ang Lee movie and eventually moving on to her sophomore work: P&P.

Continue reading "Sense and Sensibility; Jane Austen"
posted by sstrader at 7:19 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

March 6, 2011

Where was I?

Last month was many interviews and finally a new job at Last week was my first week of new employment. w00t! No, I can't get you a discount on a new or used car.

Also last month, we began getting our new windows at home. These had been planned for months/years and our unit finally hit the schedule. We were supposed to be the first batch and ended up being the last. Not only that but also: they only replaced half the windows and don't have the other half schedule for another month or so (first "two weeks!" then "it may be three weeks" then "we haven't scheduled that far out..."). *cough* *assholes* *cough*.

Concerts were the Met simulcast of Nixon in China at Buckhead Fork and Screen (saw Rheingold there back in November, Walkuere is next). Peter Sellars was the director and it was fun to see him interviewed during intermission. Nixon's visit was in 1972; the opera premiered in 1987. Friday the 18th was Liszt's Piano Concerto #1 and Beethoven's Symphony #7 at the ASO. Jaap van Zwenden conducting; Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano. The next Friday, the 25th, was a Nicola Benedetti recital at Emory where she played one of my favorite pieces: Prokofiev's Violin Sonata #1. Beautiful! It was a very psychological recital. The Prokofiev was raw and angular; the Chausson lush and filled with pathos; the Richard Strauss (he wrote a violin sonata?!) equally expressive yet with a more formal outpouring. Neat.

posted by sstrader at 7:33 PM in Concerts , Where was I? | tagged metropolitan opera | permalink