Why I'm now a Mac guy, part 1

I had never touched a mac in my life until April of 2005. This is an example of why I love this platform so much

We're in Monterey this weekend (well technically Pacific Grove) and it's kind of Rainy & Cold. I had a few moments to myself and decided to dig into Quartz Composer to see what all the fuss was about.

Within 30 minutes I had taken a picture from our Aquarium visit this morning and converted it into this 68kb movie

It's not that I think the movie is so great, it's the ease at which I created the effect and the size (68kb!)-- OSX is really a tremendous operating system that has so much power integrated into it's core that Apple makes easy to use (Again, 30 minutes to generate from a dead start... I could do a new one in about 20 seconds now that I 'get it')

It got me wondering... Is there any value in integrating something like this in some fashion with RW? A few obvious ideas are perhaps an easy way to generate animated graphics or buttons but I could also see Quartz Compositions as a way to do picture or text effects easily.

Best of all? If done properly once the base framework was in place, it could be 'open' in that anyone could create new effects to add and share in an open community way (imagine this.. the current image inspector allows you to scale the image, flip it and rotate it... Imagine if you could transform it in dozens of ways including shadows, borders, etc. and imagine if you could create custom effects to add to the library built into RW using Quartz Composer)

In reality this kind of functionality needs to reside in the core RW product not a plugin so I doubt I'll ever do anything with it but it's so intriguing it really makes me think of all the possibilities.


Steady Progress

Llike I said in my last post, steady progress is now possible on RapidBlog.

Here is a screenshot of rapidblog proof of concept within RW. You can see the blog posts that were entered via the web as well as a new entry at the bottom that I'm adding from within RW.

This is really barely functional and I'm still just putting together proof points of the various pieces but the progress is happening much faster now. Right now I'm in that nice place where I'm not scratching my head trying to figure out how to move forward, instead I'm adding bits and pieces at a pretty fast rate and every day it get's more functional -- It's kind of a fun spot to be in.

Pasted Graphic


A Breakthrough

As many of you know I have the mysterious 'rapidblog' entry on my web site promising fine remote blogging... I had the skeleton of a program that did this (not at all complete but let's call it proof of concept) working in a stand alone app but for the life of me I could not get it to work within RW... I've spent probably 3 weeks fighting it almost every evening.

Tonight i gave up and re-implemented my skeleton using a different technique and It works!.... This is a huge breakthrough, assuming my kids stay healthy and I'm able to focus a bit I'll probably do a private beta with the next few weeks and if that goes smoothly a public beta shortly after that... i know I've been promising for a while but tonight was a huge night

Stay tuned

Lockdown 1.0b3

I released Lockdown 1.0b3 last night. The biggest change is that this release has an 'alternate' configuration method that you can use if the automatic one doesn't work (basically it involves copying a directory into the plugin and then dragging the resulting file back to your site...) It should make it fairly easy to configure for the folks where the automatic configuration doesn't work.

Tom Beardmore gave me a subdomain on his account to try to figure out what was going on with some accounts (thanks Tom!), it turns out that (in at least that case) PHP runs as 'Nobody' which means it can't create files in your directory unless you open your permissions wide open. I presume they run with these permissions for security reasons (although I don't instantly see how it's that much more secure). It really makes me appreciate my own hosting company, they have super generous disk & BW allocations and have very liberal policies of what you can do with your account (and PHP runs as yourself!)

Anyway assuming no major bugs are found in the next few days I'll probably call 1.0b3 the '1.0final' release. I have some more ideas for enhancements to Lockdown but they will have to wait for 1.1 release.


Introducing Lockdown


You may not know this but the busy gnomes at Loghound software have about 5 different plug-in's in various states. The next one I really wanted to get 'out there' is rapidblog but i've recently run into some integration issues (nothing that can't be fixed, it just slowed down my work quite a bit) and to be honest with you working on web services enabled plugin's is a LOT of work...

To that end when I came across my most recent snag with rapidblogger instead of digging in I decided to take a break and actually finish one of my non-web services enabled plugin that I wanted for my own use.

I'm happy to release my next Rapidweaver plugin called Lockdown. It's a simple plugin to solve the vexxing problem of password protecting a page or a series of pages (get it, it will password 'lock' every page underneath it in RW). This plugin won't be for everyone.. It doesn't work on .mac for instance but I think it should work for most other people

So go ahead and give it a spin, you can download it here

As always, your thoughts or comments appreciated

loghound at gmail dot com


Hot on the heels of 0.9 is 0.9.1...

Hot on the heels of 0.9 is 0.9.1..

Defect Fixes:
* The CSS style sheet always forced a white background
* The preview pane wasn't always working (and in fact it still doesn't always work... this may have to go eventally)
* Some spelling mistakes fixed

* You can now choose to sort by many more factors "Relevance", "Interesting" "Date Taken" or "Date Uploaded". The free version only let's you sort by Date Taken
* You can now pick the size of the picture to 'lightbox"
* You can now restrict date search either by "Date Taken" or "Date Uploaded"

Known Problems
* Archiving has a few problems... I need to redo the way I save data, I'll do it in a way so all of your current pages still work.
* Preview pane doesn't work sometimes for what appears to be random reasons, I'm using the webkit engine and I always feed it the data but it stops sometimes...

Get it here



Difference between 0.9 and 0.7? .2!

I'm so excited to release version 0.9 of my rapidflickr plugin... get all the flickr+rapidweaver goodness information here

I know I've been talking about 0.7 but I spent so long getting it out and in testing it was working so well I decided to call it 0.9

Why 0.9 and not 1.0? Basically I've not had as much feedback on the advanced features as I'd like so I wanted to get it out there and see what the community thought first..


Case Insensitive Compare -- Avoid it like a swarm of angry bees

So 0.7 continues to be 'just a few days away'... I've been working on some slick slideshow features that have required me to work with photosets.

Everything was going well until I started running into 'invalid signature' problems. You see when you make authenticated calls to flickr there is a particular method to creating the calls. Part of that mechanism is to create a 'signature' (basically a MD5 sum) of the arguments including a 'secret key'. It's actually kind of a slick system as it provides secure access without having to give out your flickr username & passwd.

I've had authentication working for quite a while but when i tried to use photosets (which require authentication since I'm creating & adding photos to them) it didn't work and complained about 'invalid signature' Thankfully I got help from another cocoa/flickr developer (Blake Seely) who eventually pointed out my problem, I was ordering the arguments wrong.

"How can this be" I thought "I'm using the standard NSString compare functions"... Well not exactly, you see I was using 'caseInsensitiveCompare' not 'compare'. The arguments to photoset include both photo_id and photoset_id. Guess what? Turns out that case insensitive compare sorts them one way and 'compare' the other which was the cause of my signature problem.

It was strange to me until i looked at the ascii chart:

0 nul 1 soh 2 stx 3 etx 4 eot 5 enq 6 ack 7 bel 8 bs 9 ht 10 nl 11 vt 12 np 13 cr 14 so 15 si 16 dle 17 dc1 18 dc2 19 dc3 20 dc4 21 nak 22 syn 23 etb 24 can 25 em 26 sub 27 esc 28 fs 29 gs 30 rs 31 us 32 sp 33 ! 34 " 35 # 36 $ 37 % 38 & 39 ' 40 ( 41 ) 42 * 43 + 44 , 45 - 46 . 47 / 48 0 49 1 50 2 51 3 52 4 53 5 54 6 55 7 56 8 57 9 58 : 59 ; 60 < 61 = 62 > 63 ? 64 @ 65 A 66 B 67 C 68 D 69 E 70 F 71 G 72 H 73 I 74 J 75 K 76 L 77 M 78 N 79 O 80 P 81 Q 82 R 83 S 84 T 85 U 86 V 87 W 88 X 89 Y 90 Z 91 [ 92 \ 93 ] 94 ^ 95 _ 96 ` 97 a 98 b 99 c 100 d 101 e 102 f 103 g 104 h 105 i 106 j 107 k 108 l 109 m 110 n 111 o 112 p 113 q 114 r 115 s 116 t 117 u 118 v 119 w 120 x 121 y 122 z 123 { 124 | 125 } 126 ~ 127 del

Yup, there it is... at 95 the '_' character, right between uppercase and lowercase. Lesson learned


rapidblog in the works

I've gotten a lot of email recently about rapid blog.... Just let me say it's in the works.

Basically it will allow you to edit/manage a blog from either rapidweaver OR remotely through a web interface. Either way you will get the nice rapidweaver page layout.

My goal is a public beta before Valentines Day (February 14)


Back from Germany

Hello All,

I've been in Germany for my 'Day Job' this last week... Now that I'm back I should be able to start doing the work to finish up version 0.7... I usually don't bring a camera with me for business trips but my 4 year old was very insistent that he wanted to see 'Pictures of me' so I brought it and snapped a few pics.... It ended up being pretty fun, below are a few pics

Greg & I Enjoying some brew

On the manufacturing Floor..

German Bagels!!

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