Utveckla till iPhone? Dax och damma av faxen!

Att börja utveckla till iPhone är inte en helt lätt process, i alla fall inte om man vill slutföra den som ett litet företag. Det mest bakåtsträvande steget i hela processen var när själva registreringen skulle slutföras och Apple bad mig att faxa in en kopia av mitt registreringsbevis! Jag äger ingen fax försökte jag förklara för dem, kan man skicka en scannad kopia? Nej, fax var det som gällde, till ett amerikanskt nummer, förmodligen direkt till Apple själva.

Tack vare goda kontakter på ett större företag (som jag skulle utveckla iPhone-applikationer åt) fick jag använda deras fax för att registrera mig. Det kändes dock som om man behövde ta två steg bakåt för att ta ett steg framåt. Hoppas bara jag inte behöver skicka in min kod för genomgång på hålkort.

Are you not (yet) against software patents?

Are software patents protecting the inventors and is something needed to protect intelectual property?

Read this: http://news.zdnet.com/2424-9595_22-218626.html

If it designed to be used to protect intelectual property then it is now abused by large companies for making absurd claims, in this case Microsoft.

Makes me want to patent the “O”-button… peple cant write blgs withut it.

Software that impressed me

Few pieces of software have managed to make a deep impression on me, through my ten years I can only remember a few moments I was really impressed with what I had just found or tried. Here are my “highlights” in no particular order. I might want to add that some of these events took place long ago.

Windows 98
The operating in itself was perhaps not so impressive but the hardware support was like nothing I had never seen before. This was put to its edge when I one day moved a harddrive with Windows 98 from one computer to another (due to memory failure on the original computer) and I was deeply impressed that the operating system quickly adapted to the new hardware, installed new drivers, rebooted and then worked!! Not only did it work for the moment but I remember that computer running for at least a month or so before I reinstalled it anyway since I wanted to be sure as to have no internal conflicts within the operating system. If I had tried this with Windows 95 or earlier I’m sure the computer would have found a way to vaporize, explode or otherwise mutilate itself.

Google Earth
Where there anyone not impressed when they first saw Google Earth? It’s an amazing piece of software, one thing is to invent it but it’s a whole other thing to acctually implement it and get it to work! Truly amazing.

I do not know how old this command is, I just found it a year or so ago, but it is like the swizz army knife of backups! I found that I could with ease sync very large folders over remote connections using SSH and not have to worry to much about transmission payload! This wonderful command calculates the difference between the two folders, at both ends, and then syncs the changed contents. While this might not be very impressive rsync takes it one step further, if a file differs it also calculates which parts of the file have changed and only sends the changes! In essence, that 2 Gb log file that keeps changing every night can still be synced since rsync will only keep sending the changes to the file and not the whole file.

VMWare server
I always knew that virutal servers where nothing for me. Boy was I wrong! Almost by misstake I tried out VMWare Server when it became free to use in development and I’ve not stopped using it since! The ability to host several development machines and try out different configurations without have to worry about breaking the servers is great. Just snapshot a server, try whatever you want and if you do not like the result just revert back to the snapshot! The bonus that it hosts several of my development environments on a single PC (or laptop!) is not something I even think about.

Microsoft Open License

I have a Microsoft Open License, a developers license to many of Microsofts products. Today I wanted to evaluate Crystal Report for user at a customer of mine. While this seems easy enough it took me several hours to manage this “small” task. Here’s roughly what happend.

First off, my agreement with Microsoft recently expired and I had bought a renewal which had to be activated. Fair enough, according to the letter I had recieved I should visit a site at eopen.microsoft.com and so I enter the address and waited. Nothing. Was the server down? After waiting again some 20 minutes “for the server to come back” I realized that on the paper it said https and not http. I entered https and there was a reply! How could they not redirect to (or at least inform about) the secure site on the normal address/port?

20 minutes wasted.

Well into the site I found my old agreement, found an “add agreement” link and added the new one. Done and done… or so I thought. I switched over to msdn.microsoft.com where I downloaded software before but here I’m still met by a message telling me my subscription is out. The two systems don’t seem synced and after som frustrating clicking about on both sites I conclude that I must enter a “benefit access code” which I’ve never heard of before. I try my agreement number(s) but no success. I go back to the eOpen site and check my agreements and they are still there, one of them active until 2010. I randomly click on every link I can find (and there are tons) in hope of finding where to get my benefit access code and I end up on the most diverse places all over Microsofts network. After about 1 hour of frantic clicking and searching I found a page that obviously had a blocked pop-up window I had overlooked, turns out this pop-up contained a agreement acceptance that I had to sign.

1 hour wasted.

With the agreement accepted I found I still could not access my licenses but I still figured I needed that benefit access code. After some clicking in the menu I found that I could assign my agreement to an employee (…and since I’m self employed I quickly assigned everything I could to myself), I added subsription options and lo and behold, in red text, “benefit access code”! I jump over to the MSDN site, enter my name, e-mail and the magic code…. and it’s rejected. I spend some time trying to figure this one out and decide I’ll wait for an introduction e-mail I’ve been promised by the system (maybe the code wasn’t active yet?).

30 minutes wasted.

An e-mail arrives with the access code, the exact same one I tried before. I hit it again and still I’m rejected. I try a couple of combinations only to find myself locked out of the login-system for entering the wrong information to often.

10 minutes wasted.

During my 10 minutes time-out period (it said 5 minutes but I was by this time furious with the system and had also recieved a survey from Microsoft to evaluate their website which I was delighted to take… I think I answered at least a couple of questions with something other than the worst possible option) I read my mail carefully and found that somehow, somewhere, my first and last names where switched. I entered MSDN again and entered the information again, but with my first and last names switched. Success!

5 minutes not entierly wasted, I did get in now!

Finally into the system. Now, let’s download Crystal Report which is a tool often used with Visual Basic. I search for Crystal Report. No result. I search for Visual Basic and get several options. I choose to download one of them and the download manager installs on the computer (this was not my regular computer so it did not have the downloader installed). After the installation the downloader starts… and stops… and freezes the machine. Reboot. Logout. Go home.

Only a few minutes wasted in the sense that I gave up and went home.

From home I have my work laptop connected and finally manage to download Visual Basic 6.0. I burn the two ISO-files to CDs and I install Visual Basic. All through the installation I search for options to include Crystal Report but find nothing. When the installation is complete and I search through the program options but can’t find it there either. Finally I go back to searching the Internet and find a Knowledge Base article describing it’s position. It feels like a treasure map. On one of the CD’s (though different one for every distribution) 4 levels down in a folder structure an Crystl32.exe is found! I double click it, install it and … where did it go? Poff. Gone? Re-reading the instructions I find that it does not create any shortcuts (why would they start now?) rather I either find it in the directory structure of Visual Basic or in the Add-in menu. Finally… and this last bit only took a little over an hour but at least there was steady progress all the time.

In conclusion… Microsoft, seriously: SIMPLICITY please!

Featured picture on Wikipedia.org

Lone HouseTodays featured picture on wikipedia.org is a lone house in sunset. Now there is nothing special about the picture in itself other than that it is pretty beautifully set. What is special about it to me is that it was rendered using an open source 3D rendering software called Blender. Images like these used to be rendered by Silicon Graphics dedicated machines running programs nobody would ever have access to, at least not outside of very large companies. Now I’m not saying it’s easy now, but at least it is possible, for almost anyone to start using software to create whatever comes to mind. This can be programming, music, art or possibly just about anything else that people can think of using the computers and Internet for. This is a time of great oppertunities and I hope that everybody who has an idea can use the tools available and create something that will be in museums or history books in one hundred years.