Category Archives: work

Why Qt 4.5 is a really big deal

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Okay, this will be a post about software development, but I’ll try to avoid using jargon in explaining the impact of yesterday’s release of Qt 4.5.

Qt
software

So first of all, what the hell is Qt?
Well, it’s a software library that allows programmers to easily write programs that run on Mac, Windows, Linux and even cell phones.
If a developer want their code to run on all these platforms without using something like Qt, it often means man-years of work, and platform-specific oddities can arise, such as Adobe not having a 64-bit version of Photoshop on the Mac (because they use Code Warrior’s PowerPlant on the Mac, which is no longer supported except as an open source project).
Qt is also an extremely powerful and fast library, which is not often the case for these kinds of things.

Ok, so what’s the big deal with version 4.5?
Until yesterday, if you used the Qt library, you had to either:

  • release your application’s source code to the public under the “Gnu Public License” (GPL), making it Free Software, or..
  • pay a lot of money (thousands of dollars) annually for the Qt “commercial license”

But yesterday for the first time, Qt is available under the terms of the “Lesser Gnu Public License” (LGPL).
This license allows developers to use Qt, and not release the source code for their program, and not have to spend thousands of dollars a year.

That’s enough for now. My compile is finished. I may come back and add more later.

Chandler Goodbyes

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A lot of people are saying their good-byes in email to everyone.
An “alumni” mailing list has been set up to keep in touch.
This seems like the civilized way things end.

I feel a bit guilty (but not much) because my last day is Jan 31, not today like many others.
But I, too, will be moving on.

Given the small world that is software development, I expect I will run across many people over the years.
That’s one thing that Facebook and LinkedIn are good for — keeping in contact.

Chandler layoffs

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Chandler Project

OSAF
announced
that they’re cutting almost â…” of their staff (from 28 to 10), and I’m one of those cuts.
We were told in a meeting on Monday, and the blog post went up Tuesday.

I was surprised by the abruptness of the move, and its timing.
Previous guidance had been given that funding would go to the end of the year.
But now it sounds like the funds for 2008 will be drastically less than those for 2007.

Alas.

So now Chandler has to get itself set up to make some money.
I’m guessing by incorporating some sort of Google technology into the product.
Or perhaps on the server side.
But these are just guesses on my part.
Finding grants and similar endowments might be another strategy.

For me, personally, it means returning to looking for contract work.
I’ve already had a few nibbles, so it looks like all will be well.
I may be doing some work with Qt.

Alias get-together, and music

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cest what
Lisa, me, Bob, Tom and Moira

I went downtown to ¿C’est What? last night to meet up with Maria and several other Alias folk.
Since Alias was swallowed whole by Autodesk a while back, I guess we were all ex-Alians..

While talking about what people are doing, someone mentioned Chris and Anita’s catamaran, which led to finding their web page about their year-long journey:
www.summatrix.com/padma.

It would be cool to do an video iChat with Chris and Anita from ¿C’est What? some time..


Then today I ran across a haunting song that I’m sure I’ve heard before and like very, very much:

It’s CC licensed, which is cool, and probably why I’ve heard it before.
I think it was used as the soundtrack to a YouTube video or something similar that I saw.

Airport Fun

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Gate 134
Waiting at Gate 134

boingo wireless
“Boingo”? Did Cory start up an ISP?

I’m sitting here at gate 134, with no WiFi because it’s provied by “Boingo Wireless”, and the minimum you can buy is 24 hours for $10.
If they sold 1- or 2-hour chunks for $5 they would be rolling in it, the idiots.

10 bucks a day
Wow $10 for 24 hours!
But I only want 1 hour

For the first time, I got pulled aside at US Customs.
I think my guy was alarmed when I said I was going on business and I would be attending a week of meetings.
He gave me an orange clipboard, and I went into the people-we-think-are-working-illegally waiting room.
Well, it wasn’t called that, but that’s what it felt like.

The lady at the front asked me to put my two index fingers against a biometric fingerprint scanner,
took my passport and boarding pass and asked me to sit down and wait for my name to be called.
She kept the documents, which alarmed me almost as much as taking my fingerprints.
I wonder if there is a mechanism by which I can get my fingerprints expunged.
I doubt it. “Foreigners” have pretty much zero rights in the U.S.

When my name was called I talked to a guy who was clearly zeroing in on my being a salaried employee.
But when I told him that (a) I worked in Toronto, and (b) was incorporated, he calmed way the fuck down.
He said it would be easier if I got a typewritten letter next time clearly delineating the relationship between myself and OSAF.
I dunno, this is the first time it was a hassle of any kind.

So now I am waiting at gate 134 for my flight to San Fran, after having a modest lunch of tuna sushi and a diet coke.
I have a couple of bags of Skittles for the plane, and I found an outlet into which I’ve plugged my laptop, so I’m good to go.

Or sit and wait until 1pm, as it were.

Week at OSAF last week

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I spent the week last week in San Francisco, working at OSAF HQ during the week.
As always, it was a lot of fun, and this time, the walk from the hotel to work was fraught with peril.

I stayed at the Hotel Fusion, which is two blocks from the Apple Store on Ellis Street, off of Market (the main drag in SF).
So my first hurdle is to walk past the downtown SF Apple Store without going in.
Once on Market, a couple of stoplights away is CompUSA.
And this CompUSA has a big Apple section.
Oh, joy!
And this CompUSA had a way, way bigger selection of computers, accessories and peripherals than any Future Shop, Best Buy or Compu-Smart in Toronto.

At this point, I’m about ½ of the way to OSAF.
But the path is not clear yet!

There is a store around 2nd and Market that I think is called “Jeffrey’s” or maybe “Jeffrey’s Toys”.
I remarked on it at first because I thought it was funny to see the name “Jeffrey” displayed so prominently close to OSAF because one of my OSAF buddies is Jeffrey H.
But on the way back on my first work day, I decided to wander in and check it out.
Bad news!

From the outside it looked like it had the usual assortment of novelties and games.
Yo-yo’s, frisbees, Monopoly, etc.
But then I found a small section filled with .. German Boardgames.
Urk!
On that day, that’s as far as I got.
I spent about ½ hour just delving over the assortment of games they had to see if I wanted to buy one.
I managed to make my saving throw though and me and my wallet left unscathed.

But I was definitely going to return.

And I did, the next day, again on the way back to the hotel.
But this time, I decided to explore further in.
I had seen people holding magazines and I thought I would check out the magazine rack.
The store goes pretty deep into the building!

I walk back to the slightly darker area in behind the cashiers, only to find.. comics!
Lots and lots and lots of comics!!

Now, I’m a comic collector from way back.
Since I was 8, in fact.
Just ask Luisa about when we were house-hunting a decade ago, asking if the basement had enough room to store 43 4-foot long boxes of comics.
Yes, 43.

So here we have not just a few comics, like you might see in a variety store (US translation: liquor store).
No, here we have all the new titles separated by publisher.
DC, Marvel, and the rest.
Plus a section for recently-released stuff (older than a week),
and the usual boxes of back issues (roughly older than a month).

My main worry once I was finished spending money was how I would fit it into my luggage to get home!
I thought I had already exhausted all my extra space with all the books I had bought a block from the hotel!

I should put up some pictures I took of the books and comics spread out on my hotel bed.
I’m such a nerd.

*sigh.
Just doing my bit to help the San Francisco/US economy!

Going Native – iTerm 0.7.8 Intel build

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Now that I’m on my Mac Pro full time, I’m on the hunt for native Intel apps.
Mostly I’m finding my main tools are already Universal (a side benefit for waiting for the Mac Pro before jumping on the Intel bandwagon).

However, one app I use almost 24/7 was problematic: iTerm, a terminal program.

Now, iTerm has been universal (meaning it has both native PPC and Intel code) since version 0.8. However, I have found all versions after 0.7.8 to be buggy and not well-behaved.
I tried downloading the latest and greatest stable version, but i started getting rendering errors (blocks of black showing up) and the main text was over-bold for some reason (I was able to tone it down by setting the colour to a very drak grey instead of black).

Well, I’ve had enough.
iTerm is open source, so I checked out the version of iTerm that was current as of 0.7.8 (which has a modification date of Mar 11 2004) and built it as an Intel binary (not universal – maybe later when I have copious amounts of spare time).
This wasn’t rocket science – zero coding was required.
Indeed, I didn’t even have to change **anything**.

You can grab it here:
iTerm 0.78 intel

Here’s all I did:


cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@iterm.cvs.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/iterm co -D 2004-03-11 -P iTerm
open iTerm.xcode

Xcode proceeded to update the project and somehow magically set the target architecture to i386.
Cool.
I clicked on “Build” and away it went.

When it was done, lo and behold there was an Intel version of iTerm sitting in the “build/Development” folder.
I double-clicked it and, booya, it ran fine.

Now the development version is not for distribution so, okay, I changed *one* setting:
I changed the popup that said “Development” to “Deployment”.
Another click on “Build” and there sat another iTerm in build/Deployment

I hope this is of use to someone other than me.
I’m I the only one who finds iTerm 0.8 and later frustrating?