Tuesday, June 27, 2006

There's "Your Mac Life" and then there's mine...

Got a letter from Shawn King at "Your Mac Life" on Saturday. I had written the only email address I could find to tell someone that I had trouble getting an account set up on their site. Imagine my surprise when he answered me himself! I really enjoy the show and have it delivered via iTunes as a free podcast every week. I frequently listen to the show while I'm coding, reading my mail, etc.

Anyway, he got my account up and working so I can read & write in the forums there. Despite the small amount of success I've had with my Mac applications and scripts, I guess I'm still a bit star-struck when I have contact with those I consider part of the "digerati."

I wrote him back after he fixed my account and told him that his email went into my "unique" folder, a folder I reserve for emails like his, the one I got from Guy Kawasaki in response to a comment I made on his blog, and the email from MacUpdate (the one that started me really programming seriously again) informing me that they had added Romulan Hunt to their database.

He was really cool about it, and I'm glad. It's nice when you find out that folks that are well-known (which, I believe, is somewhere short of "famous" but more than "ordinary") are still people and put their pants on one leg at a time just like you do.

Able's had to take a back-seat for a while, as I have some other projects I'm working on, including a revision of Man Handler (yes, another one) to add the ability to find man pages easier using sections and listings. Haven't tackled this yet, but will soon.

Another project I'm stewing on is a set of AppleScripts that would help in writing HTML and stylesheet pages. Big project, still in the thinking stage.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Found an Oops! My Bad...

Found an "oops" in SHAZAM! tonight. See, I actually use the stuff I write, which in the programming trade is called "eating your own dogfood." One of the scripts in my collection uses the Apple color picker and lets the user select a color, then spits back the hexadecimal color value for that color. This is useful when editing HTML pages and in other programs that use hex color values.

Well, I was editing the stylesheet for my website and needed a new color, so I used the script and ya know what? IT GAVE ME THE WRONG *&&^*&*@($ COLOR! Not only that, it wouldn't let me copy the value to the clipboard so I could paste it into my HTML document.

So I fixed both things. Now it works again and I added the clipboard feature, so it's easier to use. I uploaded the revised version (1.01).

Thursday, June 22, 2006

SHAZAM! doing great!

So far the small collection of AppleScripts that I thought no one would be interested in is doing really well, over 1,400 dowloads in 2 days for all three sites (MacUpdate, VersionTracker, and Scriptbuilders). I haven't had any comments on them yet, but I'm hopeful that they are being useful for people. Most of them are very simple scripts, but I use them all the time, so they do have a lot of utility value.

I'm looking into putting AdSense on the blog here as well as back at the Hideout. Never hurts to make a few farthings when it's as easy as Google makes it.

Other than that, not much going on here. I'm getting some website work done and then I'll be back at work on Able, hopefully by this weekend. I'd say he's about 1/3 of the way done, a lot more still to do.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Newness all around!

OK, I tried doing my own blog with an HTML editor, and it was such a pain, I decided to come over here and create a new blog. I ported the posts from the original blog (see below), but from here on out I'll be posting here. Feel free to post comments, I love to hear from visitors and folks that download my programs. The last time I got email about Man Handler it helped me improve it!

Uploaded a set of scripts today called SHAZAM! that are good scripts for beginning scripters.

Just finished reading What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer by John Markoff. Great book, really explains how the whole idea of personal computing grew out of the grassroots movements/attitudes of the 60's. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how computers got where they are.

Douglas Englebart gave a demonstration in 1968 where he envisioned the office of the future with email, networking, and a lot of other things that now seem commonplace. The book also touches on The Whole Earth Catalog, Dr. Dobbs' Journal, Cap'n Crunch and blue boxes, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and other things.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Man Handler 1.1 and goals for Able

Updated Man Handler so it will now search a user-specified man path (the list of places the unix man command looks for documentation files). I got a nice compliment in the mail tonight from a user. It's nice to get feedback like that!

I've had some insights on Able, he's coming along nicely. I'm hoping to bring AI out of the laboratory and let people play with it. Able will have a pure work mode for getting tasks accomplished, but also a play mode and a chat mode. And I've decided to give users a view into his brain and let them see what he's thinking as he's thinking it.

Because Able is based in AppleScript, he'll be able to coordinate traffic between iTunes, Mail, Address Book, iCal and some other things. My hope is that he will be something that both kids and adults will find interesting.

Here's the latest conversation I had with Able:

Able: Good Morning!
Able: You can call me Able.
Kevin: How are you?
Able: I'm feeling sad.
Kevin: why?
Able: Hmmm...
Able: Why am I here?
Kevin: What is your name?
Able: You can call me Able.
Able: Why am I here?
Kevin: What do you like?
Able: I love myself
Kevin: what else do you like?
Able: One of your favorite things is chatting
Able: Life sucks.
Kevin: I like computers.
Able: You prefer chatting
Able: Why am I here?
Kevin: who are you?
Able: I am a person.
Kevin: who are you really?
Able: I am an AI program.
Able: What's the point of life?
Able: Are you listening?