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Visual Studio 2010 Express Registration Key
Date: 12/5/2010
6VPJ7-H3CXH-HBTPT-X4T74-3YVY7

Just FYI you know.
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Pinnacle VideoSpin
Date: 10/5/2010
If you ever consider downloading and using Pinnacle VideoSpin, stop... turn around... and run away as fast as you can. It takes the definition of crap to new levels. Lets see:
  • 130 MB download... Oooook... better be good.
  • Open downloaded exe and it says "Saving setup.exe to \temp...." which it then runs and that then saves Setup.msi to \temp..."... what the? Did they save 3kb doing the Russian Matryoshka doll thing? That is just lazy slack programming.
  • Finally its installed and I run the damn thing, and it comes up with a splash window. Then some time later a blank window with not much in the way of menus or toolbars appears... thinking thats the app I look for something to use to er... like edit videos. Nothing. So I switch back to the "splash" screen still in the background. 3%. 5%. 8%. 11%. 12%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. 13%. Um... task manager... no CPU... no disk access.... it's hung. Ooooooooooooooook.
  • Kill both processes it's started... look in Start -> Program Files -> VideoSpin... no link to uninstall. Ooooooooooooooooook.... arrrrrrggggghhhhhhh.
  • So Add Remove Programs.... uninstall. Uninstaller is currently hung and the system is laggy. I guess that its par for course.

    Like I said... run away. Run far far away.

    That is all.
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    Application Crash Handling
    Date: 5/5/2010
    I've got a number of outstanding Scribe bugs that involve crashes at the moment so I've been trying unsuccessfully to collect crash dumps and work out where the crash happened. The existing system writes a minidump to a file and I should be able to use that to find the stack trace of the crash and what threads were doing what. However the reality is that when I get all my symbols and binaries lined up VS2008 (express) fails to match the .PDB's with the binaries. I know that I have all the right files and paths, but I guess it just can't cope with VC6 built binaries/symbols.

    So where does that leave me? I'm downloading VS2010 express at the moment to try and build Scribe/Lgi with so that I can try postmortem analysis with that. Hopefully the minidumps from a VS2010 build will seamlessly load into VS2010 and work. I already have good systems in place with the saving of symbols during my release process, but I need to close the loop so that crash dumps get reported back to me more autonomously.

    This week I added proper version information to the version resource on the windows builds. That is handled by a custom build step running a python script that pulls the scribe version and build identification and the current SVN revision and then embeds that into the Resource.rc file so that it ends up in the version resource of the final binary. When the application crashes I try and load that information in to use as the filename of the crash dump so that you get something like this:
    InScribe-2.00.24.4774-crash.dmp
    So in the near future I'm planning to add some code that scans the install folder for .dmp files and offers to upload them to memecode.com to report the crash. Then I can collect them and fix the problem. In theory.
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    I <3 Python
    Date: 22/4/2010
    I've been in a somewhat reflective mood since I posted that comment about not being sure I'll still be coding in C++ in 5 years time. And yesterday I had reason to do a little scripting. So I decided to break out the python interpreter to write a wrapper around mp4box to convert a raw AAC file into a MP4. I attached that to the context menu for .aac files on my WinXP box and it just works nicely.

    So today I wanted a similar script for compressing/decompressing bzip2. So I wrote one and attached it to the "*" files and folders context menu. Nice. This is much better than those weird little DLL's that are available for the same tasks. And I can see all the behavior under the hood and modify it if need be.

    Tomorrow? "Open Command Prompt Here", "Copy My Path"... etc, the skies the limit! I'm officially a python programmer (yeah ok, I know enough to be dangerous lol).

    Update: Opps I wrote a working FLV demuxer in Python. So now I can go FLV -> aac/mp4 audio file in one step. How hard would be it to hook that up to a youtube page? *wink*
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    Scribe v2.0 Final
    Date: 14/4/2010
    Well according to the Bug DB all the P1 and P2 bugs are fixed (although not all fixes released yet) and there are just 5 P3's standing between me and a v2 final release. If I go by my self imposed metric of all P1, 2 and 3 bugs fixed for the final release.

    So far no one is complaining about that so yeah I forge on ahead. This could mean that if I knock those over I need to setup the upgrade process for people. I recently fixed the InScribe purchase page to correctly show the key and download on checkout. But I'll have to revisit all that for people upgrading to v2 from v1.

    I'm hoping that Beta23 will be the last beta, and basically the next build after that will enable the new key system for v2 and that'll be the finished retail build. Some 'n' years late... I don't know what 5 years ago I started this re-factoring thing? A few failed attempts and then I finally settled on an API and a new backend DB format.

    Update: 2 left... and I'm wondering how important this one really is. The mail3 format doesn't allow folder loads to be done incrementally, in that I run the query, and control doesn't return to my code until the query has finished executing... meanwhile the app hangs. So there is no opportunity for me to update a progress bar.

    Finished? Maybe... the bugs are now all dealt with, but there are some non-bug related things to process before the last (??) beta becomes the "Final" build:
    • Easy migration path for mail2->mail3. Maybe a nice little "Do you want to upgrade your folders? Yes/No" on starting v2 for the first time.
    • Collecting final submissions from all the translators.
    • Preparing the codebase and website for v2 upgrade sales.
    • Maybe some new icons / colours in the UI and documentation. Required: 1 reasonably talented graphic artist.
    • Revise all the help files for accuracy and readability. Required: 1 reasonably competent technical writer.
    So you see the next stage could still take a while, but it's the home stretch... and in the mean time the users have a stable beta... no "release candidate" to use :)
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    XCB out, GTK in
    Date: 19/3/2010
    So I've removed all traces of XCB from the Linux build of Lgi and replaced it with Gtk2. I found that the Xcb library too under-documented, the community / mailing list helpful but not to the point of resolving issues I had and most of all, the end result was much slower than xlib, for reasons I don't fully understand. So I give up.

    The Gtk build of Lgi boots a blank window in LgiIde so far, which is a good sign. A few hours of hacking and I have something to look at already. I expect adding some basic sub-views, menus etc will actually take relatively little time, although that said I already have no time to work on code so maybe they cancel out!

    And yes, this does mean I may be moving away from Lgi as a "to the metal API" and it might morph into a wrapper around something else as a half way house for my apps. I may not be using C++ in 5 years time, the world is changing and the web is taking over everything, and I have less and less time to work on fun projects. Maybe even the Mac port might become a wrapper around Gtk... who knows. But it does give me options.

    My plan with the Gtk stuff is to use as little as possible of the Gtk layout stuff and have it as a very thin layer between Lgi and the underlying OS. That way hopefully the apps look and feel like an Lgi app still, and not Gtk like at all. I generally feel Gtk has the lowest look and feel index of all the xp-libs, but it runs everywhere and the license is compatible. The other option in my mind was Qt, but the slots system pissed me off no end when I used it 6-7 years ago. So I really didn't want to use that. And Wx is a wrapper around Gtk anyway, so why bother with that?

    Unless there is a compelling alternative to Gtk that I should know about?
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