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A very large difference in ease
Jun 19th, 2017 by Ken Hagler

Simple Web Development with Xojo. Do you find it frustrating to create web apps? HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and AJAX can be challenging, and frameworks such as Node, React, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET, PHP and Java are often overwhelming for those just beginning web development.

There is a simpler solution: Xojo. Using a single programming language and a single IDE, you can go from zero to a working web app in an amazingly short amount of time with Xojo. [Xojo Blog]

In my experience the difference in complexity is enormous. Not long ago I was assigned to write a GWT composite widget containing over a dozen other widgets. To be sure I understood the written spec, I first created a working prototype of the widget as a Xojo container control so that I could show it my boss and confirm that I understood what he wanted. Once he had confirmed it, I implemented the same UI using GWT. The Xojo version took an hour and had a dozen lines of code. The same UI in GWT took a week and 150 lines of code.

The end of CityDesk
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

RIP CityDesk – Joel on Software. In those days all the cool kids wrote their own blogging platforms. I wrote CityDesk. In what turned out to be a monumentally wrong bet, I thought that people would want to blog on Windows, with all the slick WYSIWYG editing goodness that wasn’t yet available in early versions of HTML. CityDesk kept your entire website in a SQL database (Microsoft Jet, the backend of Access) and had a frontend like a word processor. Every time you needed to publish, it generated the entire site as a set of html pages, which it then uploaded to an ftp server for you.

[…]

Over the years the CityDesk code base (VB 6.0, another bad bet) stopped running on the latest versions of Windows. Nobody else cared but by that time I was using a custom version of CityDesk which only ran on Windows XP. So until recently, I had a virtual machine set up with Windows XP running in there, and a copy of CityDesk.

[…]

Matt Mullenweg over at WordPress has been trying to get me to move Joel on Software over to WordPress for so long it’s not even funny. I finally gave in. [Joel on Software]

I used CityDesk myself to manage my main website for a number of years after the sad demise of UserLand Frontier, before finally replacing it with nanoc around the time I moved to Austin in late 2012. It was an unusual product in that it was actually better than any Mac alternative at the time (something that’s usually true only of games).

Twenty Years
Sep 17th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve now had the orange-road.com domain name for twenty years.

Google Fiber
Apr 14th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

My apartment got Google Fiber yesterday, so I got it set up last night and cancelled my Time Warner internet service today. I get twenty times the bandwidth for $50 less per month. Google also allows their customers to plug in the box themselves instead of making them wait at home all day for an “installer” as cable companies do, and they even let people pick up the box from their office if they wish. That was a particularly nice touch, as I live just a few blocks away and normally walk past it a few times per week.

In addition to getting an Internet connection just as fast as my gigabit Ethernet wired network, I get about a 166 megabits per second over WiFi, which my AppleTV uses. The difference is pretty noticeable with Netflix and YouTube.

There is one aspect that could use improvement. The Google Fiber network box doesn’t have a bridge mode, which means I couldn’t use my old router. That required a certain amount of hassle with updating things on my network.

Amusing Easter Egg
Apr 5th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

This weekend I was playing Crusader Kings II, a historical strategy game covering 769 to 1453. While playing a Norse ruler, I discovered a mysterious metal box while sacking a French city. Shortly thereafter, this event happened:

The key fits the lock, and you slowly open the chest. It contains nothing but dust! As you run your hand through it, strange lights begin to manifest in the room and you close your eyes when the first ghostly apparitions appear. You hear the screams of your guards, and when you finally open your eyes again, the specters are gone… and your guards have been reduced to ash.

So, apparently I found the Ark of the Covenant.

Blog fixed
Mar 18th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

The problem I was having with my blog software has been fixed, thanks to MacHighway’s support people. It’s nice to do business with a company that actually cares about their customers!

Blog glitch
Mar 16th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

In the past few days something has started interfering with WordPress’s XML-RPC interface. That’s a problem because MarsEdit, the client app I use, depends on it. Although they initially denied it, my hosting provider is now admitting that it’s their fault. I’m hoping I can convince them to fix the problem.

Job listings can get pretty stupid
Mar 1st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

While looking through job listings, I occasionally come across one that makes me wonder how the poster managed to operate a computer long enough to post the listing. Consider this one, seen on Craigslist:

We’ve partnered with a small company in Austin who is looking for an iOS developer. Our client has the wireframe, design and backend completed. Now they need a strong developer to tie everything together.

This project can be done outside of your normal work hours, but must be tested and completed by March 9th in time for SXSW.

In other words, they need an iOS app finished in eight days and they’re only just now posting the job listing. I predict disappointment in their future.

Twenty Years
Aug 29th, 2015 by Ken Hagler

As of this month, I’ve been working in the software industry for twenty years.

Oh, the humanity!
Mar 31st, 2015 by Ken Hagler

Battle of Khvoy Results

This weekend I was playing Victoria II, a historical strategy game where you control a country from the beginning of 1836 to the end of 1935. The objective can be pretty much anything you want it to be, and in this game I was playing Persia. A battle against a huge Russian army produced the outcome seen in the screenshot. This is the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in the computer game.

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