There’s Something out there, in the dark…

As of late, Trouble has been afraid to go outside.

I’ll hold the door open for her, call to her, and count down from 5, which lets her know I am closing the door and if she wants to go out, she should go now… but she sits a distance away from the door, looking out but refusing to go.

Tonight, I carried her out onto the deck. She instantly ran to the door and started pawing to go back in. I thought I could hear rustling in the bushes down below. I opened the door and she scooted back inside.

I don’t know what it is… a neighbor cat, or a skunk perhaps, but something seems to have muscled in and claimed her territory.

So lately, she’s just been sitting on the carpet in the middle of the living room, for hours.


When I said Eclipse was the only IDE I knew that didn’t support soft text wrap, that was a misstatement. There was one other…

I refer to you a post from August 21, 2002:
Why InterDev Sucks

Of course, I’d betcha Microsoft has added soft text wrap to InterDev since then, while in that same time, Eclipse is still bereft of it.

Right now I’m learning a little Objective-C and using XCode, it has an interface loads better than Eclipse. If only Zend made a “Zend Studio for XCode”… but alas, all they make is “Zend Studio for Eclipse”, so I’m stuck with that for PHP development at work.

Eclipse suckage

So I tried the upgrade from the standalone Zend Studio 5.5 to the Zend Studio 6.0 plug-in for Eclipse.

Eclipse is somewhat nice, but, like many open source projects, sadly flawed in some basic functionality.

One feature, in particular, has me livid.

It doesn’t have soft text wrap.

What does this mean?

Well, say you have a long line of code.
In any other IDE, which is to say, GOOD ones, you can turn soft text wrap on, which puts a virtual line feed at the edge of the window. Anyone who has used any text editor, from Word to Xcode, is familiar with this. It means when you are typing, when you hit the edge of the window, the cursor comes back to the beginning of the line, even though you didn’t hit return. When you resize the window, the text re-flows to wrap at the new window size.

However, apparently no one who wrote Eclipse could figure it out, despite the fact that EVERY OTHER FUCKING TEXT EDITOR IN EXISTENCE HAS IT!

It means that for code on a long line, you must constantly use the horizontal scroll bar. Which is extremely annoying to me. It may seem like nitpicking, but when you code for a living like I do, it’s important that the text editor you use for coding is comfortable and efficient and doesn’t waste your time with a lot of extra unnecessary clicking and scrolling.

Some people like scrolling horizontally, the people who wrote Eclipse LOVE IT, but for god’s sake, don’t force everyone to use your preferred settings! Any decent IDE would have a simple checkbox at least, to turn soft text wrap on or off.

So far the only thing I’ve found is a hack someone wrote which *sort of* enables soft text wrap in Eclipse. Except from what I read, it breaks some other things, and is buggy. And hasn’t been updated since it’s first alpha release in 2006.


Just, sigh.



I just read through the feature request on the Eclipse website, apparently people have been clamoring for soft text wrap for YEARS (starting around 2002), but the developers didn’t build the feature in at the beginning, and now can’t figure out how to add it. So their solution is to just ignore requests for it.

Choice excerpts of user comments from the feature request:

“I can’t personally think of any other text editor that does not support this. ”

“I don’t suppose it could be given priority over other features, as an
embarrassing design omission of a REALLY REALLY basic text editor feature?

I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but it feels to me like “putting doorknobs on the
doors will be hard to fit in because there’s so many doors, and we’re really
busy putting pool tables in the game room, and rotating shelves in the library,
and auto-darkening windows.” (Please take that in the humerous spirit it was

“I would say this problem is the most critical in eclipse text editor as I don’t
know ANYONE who does not want that.”

“It’s a pain to see Eclipse missing such basic features.”

“I think it doesn’t sound good for an all-round development tool
like Eclipse to miss a basic function like this one.”

“There is a real demand and lots of people are surprised that Eclipse
does not do such a simple thing.”

“Ok, so despite 78 votes for this bug (which probably makes it one of the top
voted for Eclipse bug, if not the first), this was not scheduled for 3.2, for
3.3 and now not for 3.4…”

A Ride and a Crash

Went for a bike ride on Saturday with Sarah. We stopped at a bike shop on the way to the rail trail and got her tire adjusted and inflated, then found a parking spot at the head of the trail.

It was a perfect day, in the low 80’s but with cool breezes. The rail trail was busy, but not crowded – we would have to pass someone every few minutes, but mostly it was open trail.

On either side of the trail are farms and trees, with occasional views into the surrounding town, flashes of gas stations and restaurants through a break in the trees. There is an ice cream and polish food shop on the side of the trail at one point. We didn’t stop there but we did last time we were on the rail trail. It’s a nice little mom and pop shop with good food and ice cream.

We rode on, through a few intersections, through a couple tunnels, all the way to the other end of the trail, about 9 miles. We rested a bit and then headed back. After only a few feet, we quickly turned around – Sarah had left her camera on one of the picnic tables there. When we got back a nice couple was holding it for us, we retrieved it and headed out again.

We stopped at a beaver dam to look at it and the numerous dragonflies, Sarah managed to get a couple decent shots of a dragonfly, even though they would fly away if you got too close. We wondered about the beavers themselves, I posited they might be nocturnal and all asleep (we looked it up later, I was right).

Then we headed out again and that’s where things got bloody.

We were cruising along, when all of a sudden, Sarah’s bike wobbled, swerved, and she went down. Hard.

My blood ran cold, for two different reasons.

Firstly, it looked like she went down hard enough to have possibly broken something, and could be badly hurt. We were close to a town, but far enough that getting to help might be difficult, especially if she had a broken leg. Luckily, we had brought our cellphones, she had quipped as we headed out “you know, in case we need to dial 911.”

At the same time, I was worried that she would never want to go bike riding again. I flashed to my friend Mike who got into a car accident and basically decided never to drive again.

The rail trail is paved, which makes for a smooth ride, but a very hard and painful landing.

She had pitched off the bike partway sideways, partway over the handlebars. I pulled up and hopped off my bike. There were ragged bloody patches on her knees and arms, and her leg was stuck between the handlebars and the frame. I lifted the handlebars up so she could get her leg out, then I helped her get sitting up.

She had held out her hand as she fell, so her wrist took a hard impact, and hurt the most. Her fingers had bent backward when she hit, and her pinky was very tender to the touch and swollen. She tried to move her pinky and wrist, they still had circulation and movement, but she almost passed out when she first tried to move them. I sat with her, trying to think what to do next. She didn’t seem badly injured enough to warrant an ambulance, but she was too injured to ride 8 more miles back to the car. As we were, we were in the woods, but near a road. It seemed like if I got the car we would have a lot more options, we could drive to a hospital to get an x-ray, or if nothing seemed broken, we could go to Sarah’s and get her patched up.

A woman walked up and asked if Sarah was okay, if we wanted her to call an ambulance or anything. Sarah said no thanks, that she was hurt but didn’t think she needed an ambulance.

After a bit, Sarah seemed a little less dazed, and I got on my bike to ride back to the car. I felt bad leaving her alone on the trail. I marked our location on my iPhone’s GPS, and took off down the trail as fast as I could.

I’m no Ben Peck, but I made pretty good time back to the car. I put my bike in the back of the car and gave Sarah a call to let her know I was on my way. I had a little difficulty matching the iPhone location with the map on my Prius, I wish both would just show me the lat and long coords and let me punch them in manually.

After a little trial and error I found Sarah. I strapped her bike to the car, and we went into town to a pharmacy for Sarah-patching supplies. We sat in the park and I acted as nurse’s assistant in washing the wounds with saline and bandaging them up, since Sarah’s right wrist and pinky hurt too badly for her to use them. Then we went to a brewery/pub to get some lunch and get Sarah some much-needed beer.

iPhone has the slowest sync in the known universe

When you sync the iPhone, if you have made any changes to the apps you have on the phone, it does a full backup when you sync. Which for me, is pretty much every time.

A full backup is I N C R E D I B L Y     S L O W.
I haven’t timed it, but I would say between an hour and an hour and a half.
Which is a fucking long time, especially if you are trying to sync some podcasts and get out the door on your way someplace.

What I don’t understand: why isn’t it an incremental backup? If 95% of my iPhone is unchanged, why take over an hour to sync the whole thing, instead of taking 5 minutes to sync the part that changed?

It’s really, really frustrating. You also can’t use the iPhone while it’s syncing, so you can’t use it to call someone to tell them you are running late because your iPhone is taking FOREVER to sync!

My First iPhone App!

Ok, so it’s only a tiny step above “Hello World”, but it’s the first iPhone app I wrote.
Every time you press the “Roll” button, it generates a number between 1 and 20 and shows it to you in a message.

That’s it. The other buttons don’t do anything yet.

But you gotta start somewhere, right? =)

Now I’m tired and it’s time for bed.
But I feel good that I’ve started to make some visible progress, even if it’s only a little bit.

Stinky Garbage

Last Monday Adam threw out some turkey burgers.

By Thursday, the kitchen reeked of rotting meat, so he took the trash down to the garage.

So now the garage reeks of rotting meat, and the smell has pervaded our cars, and seeped into the basement, so it also reeks. The smell has slowly climbed the stairs and is now oozing out the basement door.

Trash day isn’t till Tuesday, so we’ll have two more days of stink, plus however long it takes for the smell to fade.

Damn Adam and his rotting meats!

iPhone mini-review

So I got the new iPhone on Friday… here’s a cursory review of plusses and minuses.


Form Factor
Comfortable in the hand, not too heavy or light.
Smooth edges, and the glass screen is comfortable to use.
There are only 5 buttons on the whole thing: volume up/down and mute switch on the side, sleep button on the top, and home button on the front.
Headphone jack is functional (guess the last version of the iPhone had issues)

Bright, crisp, nice.
Some people have complained that Apple shifted the color temp to be warmer than the previous iPhone, which is slightly yellow from absolute white, but it’s subtle, not really enough to complain about. Since it’s just a system variable, maybe they will release an update that lets you pick color temp.

Decent sound from such small speakers.

Unimpressive. It’s 2MP, which is about as low as you can go and not be blurry as hell.
About average for American cellphones, but on the low end for international (where 5MP is common).
There is no video capture, not sure if that’s a software or hardware limitation.
If it’s a software limitation, I can see that being added by a firmware update or 3rd party app.

Docking Port
This is typical Apple-dicking-you-ness. It uses the same port as my iPod, so the sync and charging cables I have work fine… except for the car adaptor. The iPhone says “this cable was not designed for the iPhone” when I plug it in. Typical of Apple, they have a chip in the accessories that prevents them from working with other devices that they OUGHT to work with.

So I had to buy a new 12v voltage adaptor. Which is weird – the power comes from a 12v car -> USB adaptor. The old one didn’t work, but the new one does. Wouldn’t USB be the same voltage either way? I suspect it’s a chip in there somewhere telling it to work or not. Stupid Apple.


The App Store
The App Store is fantastic. It could use some more organization, perhaps, but has tons of apps and the developers set the prices. Some apps are free, but the average price for most apps is $5-$10. Not bad.

This is something Apple really needs to work on. Granted, I’m installing a whole mess of 3rd party apps, but sometimes if an app goes down, then every subsequent app seems to crash on launch. The solution for this seems to be to power the iPhone down for 20 minutes or so, then power up again. I’m guessing this has less to do with 3rd party apps, and more to do with the underlying stability of the iPhone OS.

Built-in Apps
These are pretty good. As I mentioned before, no video capture, not sure if that’s a hardware or software limitation.

Very nice, though really needs Flash support. Adobe, Apple, kiss and make up, and make this happen.

Pretty good, but wish that it showed more data. There are plenty of ID3 tags that it doesn’t show, and song names are truncated with “…” if they are too long. Also, if you are listening to music, to pause it, you have to unlock the phone, tap iPod if you don’t have it running, then tap pause. Not as quick as an iPod where you just hit the Play/Pause button.

Oh, it’s a Phone, too

Actually, I barely use it as a phone, but the couple times I did, it worked nicely. Even though my AT&T signal isn’t great, it’s better than the reception I got with T-Mobile.