Arbitrary Thoughts

Google Play… why the name change…

Today I received an email from Google, announcing the name change to Google Play…

While there is nothing wrong in leading a playful life and being light-minded, I kind of start to resent the obsession and general infatuated life gaming and a play-centric life represents…

First came the BlackBerry PlayBook from RIM, and now Google is “playing” along and renaming the eco-system to “Play”

I’m just wondering what part of Play from the following definitions cover the new Google “Play” ecosystem…

I think the definition speaks for itself…

 engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose

Arbitrary Thoughts

Newest Headlines from the Adobe Developer Connection Newsstand…

The following rather insomnious introduction to my post is relevant considering the current development in the industry, because from where I am sitting, we can either ignore the significance of the events, we can consider the recent changes a rogue wave after which everything will stabilize and become it old self again or we can start considering if its the turning of a era in the software industry…

Rogue waves – also known as freak waves, monster waves, killer waves, and extreme waves. These are relatively large and spontaneous ocean surface waves that occur in deep water, usually far out at sea, and are a threat even to large ships and ocean liners.

Anecdotal evidence from mariners’ testimonies and damages inflicted on ships have long suggested rogue waves occurred; however, their scientific measurement was only positively confirmed following measurements of the “Draupner wave”, a rogue wave at the Draupner platform, in the North Sea on January 1, 1995. During this event, minor damage was inflicted on the platform, confirming that the reading was valid.
In modern oceanography, rogue waves are defined not as the biggest possible waves at sea; but instead as extreme sized waves for a given sea state.

– WIKIPEDIA, Dec. 8. 2011

Now this brings me to the recent announcements from Adobe on their latest postings on the Adobe Developer Connection… check it out…

 

Getting started with PhoneGap
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents-phonegap/getting-started-with-phonegap/

PhoneGap: Developing for iOS
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents-phonegap/phonegap-developing-for-ios/

PhoneGap: Developing for Android
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents-phonegap/phonegap-developing-for-android/

Introducing Adobe Flex 4.6 SDK
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/introducing-flex46sdk.html

What’s new in Flash Builder 4.6
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash-builder/articles/whatsnew-flashbuilder-46.html

Flex mobile performance checklist
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/flex-mobile-performance-checklist.html

Web and mobile reference applications with Flex 4.5 SDK and Flash Builder 4.5 (updated)
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/web-mobile-reference-apps.html

Adobe AIR with captive runtime support for desktop
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents/adobe-air-with-captive-runtime-support-for-desktop/

Adobe AIR with captive runtime support for mobile
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents/adobe-air-with-captive-runtime-support-for-mobile/

Dynamically adapt the layout of tablet and mobile apps
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents/dynamically-adapt-the-layout-of-tablet-and-mobile-apps/

Adapt UIs for multiple mobile platforms
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents/adapt-uis-for-multiple-mobile-platforms/

Hello World: Build a mobile app in five minutes (updated)
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash-builder/articles/hello-world.html

My top 10 ADEP publishing features by Anirudh Verma
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/enterprise-platform/articles/top-10-adep-features-anirudh-verma.html

 

Thanks to Adobe PowerWoman Rachel Luxemburg for the heads up on these great resources for developers using Adobe Technologies…

 

Arbitrary Thoughts

Introducing NPM…and a couple of comments

npm is a package manager for node. You can use it to install and publish your node programs. It manages dependencies and does other cool stuff.

Check it out…
http://npmjs.org/

However, there are a few comments I would like to attach, and that is e.g. for the installation…

It states on the npm website, that you can execute a one-line install using cURL by entering the following cURL command…

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | sh

However, if you attempt to do this without using SUDO, you might end up with the following error…

Error: EACCES, Permission denied ‘/usr/bin/npm’

So, to make life easier for yourself, add SUDO to the SH part of the cURL command, so it looks like this, and you will be fine…

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | sudo  sh

Secondly,  In mac OSX 10.7 compilation fails if you use “make -j n” command , you can use “make”.
Also, if you get some complaints that make command is not found, its probably because xCode (or another make tool) isn’t installed, easiest way around that is to simply install xCode from AppStore…

Arbitrary Thoughts

Breathing Explained

The nose has a left and a right side; we use both to inhale and exhale. Actually they are different; you would be able to feel the difference. The right side represents the sun, left side represents the moon. During a headache, try to close your right nose and use your left nose to breathe. In about 5 Mins, your headache will go? If you feel tired, just reverse, close your left nose and breathe through your right nose. After a while, you will feel your mind is refreshed. Right side belongs to ‘hot’, so it gets heated up easily, left side belongs to ‘cold’. Most females breathe with their left noses, so they get “cooled off” faster. Most of the guys breathe with their right noses, they get worked up. Do you notice the moment we wake up, which side breathes faster? Left or right? ? If left is faster, you will feel tired. So, close your left nose and use your right nose for breathing, you will get refreshed quickly. This can be taught to kids, but it is more effective when practiced by adults. My friend used to have bad headaches and was always visiting the doctor. There was this period when he suffered headache literally every night, unable to study. He took painkillers, did not work. He decided to try out the breathing therapy here: closed his right nose and breathed through his left nose. In less than a week, his headaches were gone! He continued the exercise for one month. This alternative natural therapy without medication is something that he has experienced. So, why not give it a try?

Thanks to my belowed auntie Jad for sharing this great piece of advice which in some parts of the world is trivial knowledge passed from parents to their children, and in the part from where Im originating: something replaced with expensive patented medicine pushed and produced by large medical companies…

Arbitrary Thoughts

Introducing ActionScript Blocks (ASBlocks)

Being in the time of changes, I as many others have taken a good look at my toolbox and taken up to review if there was anything in there I 1) could take out and hang back on the wall or 2) should put in my toolbox which wasn’t already there…

No need to worry, this is not another rant in the direction wether Flash/Flex is dead or not, Im merely sharing one of my more recent findings…

The ASBlocks project is a framework written in ActionScript3 AND Java to read and write ActionScript3 source code (classes, interfaces, functions and namespaces).

ASBlocks comes in 2 distinct flavors; ActionScript3 and Java. This means if you are looking to build a tooling application in Adobe Flex/AIR you can use the ActionScript as-blocks framework project. If you want a high powered, multi-threaded application backed by Java, use the jas-blocks framework project. Both frameworks implement the same ASBlocks Document Object Model (DOM). So shifting back and forth only has the learning curve of knowing each language.

Basically, all of this is referring to the processing and parsing of programming languages, relative to Input and Output from one processor to another in the compile or language processing chain. This project could be used to bridge the gap between Flex and other output technologies than AVM Bytecode (ActionScript Virtual Machine Bytecode) which is the current output since practically the only target runtime supported at the time of writing by Flex is Flash Player and AIR (Other AVM’s exist than Adobe Flash Player as you can see documented in other of my posts).

Now, things like ASBlocks can help change the landscape of runtimes being targeted by Flex, once you have an AST (Abstract Syntax Tree) for ActionScript in Java, its fairly straight forward to start using the AST to target various runtimes, such as e.g. HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Flex’s MXML is by far the superior domain specific language for UI representation available for production today, and backed by a strong language such as ActionScript, it continues to make Flex a really interesting platform for building UI, regardless of speculations against the future of Flash Platform.

When Adobe donates Flex, Falcon (NextGen Flex Compiler) to Apache, its interesting and we will see more of this kind of topic as the maintenance and further development of Flex is put in the hands of the Global Developer Community, which I expect will help to speed up the evolution of Flex as well as spark of a new generation of DSL’s for abstracting complex UI patterns…

Check out ASBlocks…
http://labs.teotigraphix.com/doku.php/asblocks

ASBlocks is incepted and developed by Michael Schmalle, owner of Teoti Graphix…
@TeotiGraphix

 

Arbitrary Thoughts

Working with Access Databases (.MDB files) on MAC OSX

Having switched to MAC and still trying to be a friendly person to people of other beliefs (and operating systems), I have been looking for the ideal solution to work with Access Databases on the MAC.

Searching Google mostly yielded advice to run Windows on a Virtual Machine or simply to also have a Windows Machine with Office installed and then just use Access to work with it… for so many reasons its not funny, I off course thought that would be equivalent to failing to have to resort one of these solutions.

Instead of making this a lengthy post about why and how, I will simply leave it as a recipe as I have come up with a simple, quick and easy solution that also happens to entirely free… and it doesn’t require you to open any command prompts, restart you machine or even call you computer saavy cousin, this is a 3 mins job you can do yourself… in a quick 4 easy steps !

1) Download and Install OpenOffice
http://www.openoffice.org/

2) Download and Install Actual ODBC Driver for Access
http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/20360/actual-odbc-driver-for-access

3) Configure the connection to your Database

  1. Run “ODBC Manager” (found in Applications/Utilities/)
  2. Navigate to “System DSN”
  3. Select “Add”
  4. Select “Continue”
  5. Enter “Name” and “Description” (Can be anything you wish, these values are only used for your convenience in the management of the connections)
  6. “Choose…” the MDB file from your local disc system
  7. Select “Continue”
  8. Select “Advanced  Language…”
  9. Remove the selection in the “Auto-detect language…” checkbox (VERY IMPORTANT, if you leave it selected you might not be able to read the data in the database)
  10. Select “Continue”
  11. Select “Test”
  12. Confirm that it reads “Test Completed Successfully” in the last line
  13. Select “Done”

4) Connect to your Database

  1. Start the OpenOffice from Applications.
  2. Select “Database” from the Welcome Screen.
  3. Select “Connect to an existing database” and select ODBC in the drop-down.
  4. Select “Browse” and select the database connection you created in previous step.
  5. Select “Next” and enter optional Username and Password (its possible you can skip this step).
  6. In the next screen you can either accept default or change the settings, this step is purely a convenience matter, so decide for yourself.

…and voila !!
You should now be able to both access and manage your data in your Access Database on your MAC OSX… and you managed to do it in less than 5 minutes and it cost you zero deniros !

Happy hacking…
Peter

PS. If you know of better or alternative ways to achieve the same result, please post it here and share with others… I know many people are facing this issue from time to time, and as you can see in this post, suffering needlessly since the solution is readily available and very simple.

** UPDATE – 3. Oct 2014 **

Since publishing this post in 2011, lots have changed, however seeing how many people actually come to this article, I want to point a better solution out than the one mentioned above.
It’s called MDExplorer and can be licensed for only 5USD, there is a free trial available.
http://www.mdbexplorer.com/