To Recycle?

Working on the next release of DeleteThem.

I’m convinced that I need to use a Recycle Bin kind of functionality.

However, the current code (thanks Roel for pointing me in the right direction) uses SHFileOperation, and it is SLOW. Take out the "Undo" flag, which of course is the "send to Recycle Bin" stuff, and bam, fast again.

So I’m not sure what to do.

Do I go with the slow but safe option?

Do I go with the fast but scary option?

Or, the third option, can I somehow create a cool Recycle Bin functionality of my own that combines Safety AND Speed. Hmmm. Interesting.

The Ebb

The last week or so has seen some fairly "aggressive public displays of communication" on my part. I stepped forcefully into a whirlwind of chaos, all because one morning at work I imagined up a story about a Fox and the Forest. Well, not _all_ because. _In part_ because.

It’s hard sometimes to know when to draw the line. When to respond, when to apologise, when to keep the six-gun blazing.

The Internet Never Forgets it was remarked to me recently. It’s true. Our lives are immeasurably changed by what people can find out, and the Internet makes that finding out quite a bit easier. Easier than a day when crows and pigeons were the preferred methods of communication.

It’s almost two months since I began building ATS. In that span of time I’ve had almost 100% concentration and energy on the go. Last night, after such a crazy week, I almost lost the vision. No. I did lose it. For a moment. I sat at the desk wondering. The tasks are there, I know what needs to happen. It’s just .. it is a long road.

Sounds like I’m whining, I know. Or sympathy begging. That’s not what this is.

I’m not certain what will happen in the next few weeks, months, and the years to come in the world of Clarion. Indeed, maybe in ten years I’ll be writing novels or making computer games. But for now, this is where I am. Does the vision I have for the Community of Clarion bear any merit? Hey, it’s only been a week or so. Some people need time. Others will never come around. Still more prefer to use the community when it suits, and build their own place.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Build my own place. I’m not going to stop trying hard to help unite a community. It won’t happen in a week. And i’d be a bigger fool than usual to think so. That particular vision will take time.

What I can do is forge ahead with the plans for ATS. There is a mountain of work to be done, people to cooerce, bands to book (ha ha), and software to write.

Stopping the melodrama now. Ha. Till next time,

How Would You Like That Gear Ground?

It really does grind my gears. "It" will be explained shortly.

This blog I see as a breathing space for me apart from the professional face that I’m learning to have when dealing as "Archer Technology Services".

So I’m definately going to have a rant now and again. Hopefully not too often.

Okay. Here goes.

I got whipped today on the Clarion newsgroups (comp.lang.clarion) for announcing DeleteThem. Why?

Because it is just a GUI for the command line DEL function.

Seriously. That’s insanity wrapped in stupid foil. Of course that’s what DeleteThem is! I would never proclaim it to be an awesome product filled with a multitude of magnificant functionality. It’s a nice GUI with a history of deleted files that you can browse or print. That’s about it. There will be more functionality as time goes on perhaps.

But that’s not the real heart of the matter is it?

Since "that article" yesterday, I’ve had a few sides of the coin weigh in. Some have earnestly put their words together. Others have used <g> way too much (of which I am guilty it pains me to say). Others still have just opened up with a six gun. And don’t presume I’m just talking about people who don’t agree with me.

What grinds my gears. What really grinds my gears is that, despite the fact that DeleteThem is a GUI on top of a single function, someone would take time to try and make me feel a fool for daring to announce such an application on the newsgroups. Because we are programmers.

I’d like to start firing off witty harsh phrases right now. They are burning within me.

But what roils within me, stronger still, is a need to call out these folk. Turn. Stop this foolishness. It’s not at all what the community needs. There are always fives sides to why someone says something, or does an act, or thinks a thought. Sure. But right now, the colors I’m wielding are Black and White.

Enough. I’m sick of it, and here I’ve only really been trying hard on the newsgroups for a few days. Can only imagine how some feel after years and years.

To all the readers of this blog who frequent the newsgroups and feel the same way, I have a request. Take an hour a week to post a couple of replies, thoughtfully, with the sole (single and pure) purpose of growing the community. This could be announcing a new product and following up any comments. It could be putting together an insightfully witty animal yarn. Perhaps you’d just like to encourage those new faces asking questions.

Whatever it is, please let’s bring it. Enough is enough.

I’d Cry If There Were Any Tears Left

Ha ha ha. I’ve been reading way too much fiction lately. Melodrama.

Anyway, a few things.

The Day The Whiner Cried .. A Call To Arms is an article done up for the nourishment and benefit of the Clarion Community. Read it and weep. No. Read it and Be Encouraged!

Work is progressing with Archer. I’m readying a new release of DeleteThem (this subdomain redirect seems to be broken, here’s the actual link). I’ll be pushing out releases of all three products within the next while. A major component of each release will be the Updating functionality, courtesy of SafeUpdate, another fabulous Capesoft product.

Apart from that I’m gearing up for sales. Have realised that each of the Product components on the Archer site needs a "Pricing" page. Will probably do that tonight. Sales is something I want to get right from the beginning, but the reality is, I won’t. So, I want to get as much right as I can. Be as prepared as possible, so that when something goes tutsup, I can respond quickly and efficiently.

Been having fun getting more active on the newsgroups. Am trying to make it a daily thing. Not the perusing, cause that’s easy. The active conversing. Pimping the site, products, but also just being a presence.

Lastly, I’d like to point you in the direction of Clarion Desktop. This is a product created by Gary James of Strategy Online. I’ve been rabbiting on lately (see article above, and the Fox story) about Community etc for a while. Gary has built a product that is _all_ about community. It’s a great piece of workmanship. Sure, there are probably things that could be done with it, I’m not worried about that right now. What I see in Clarion Desktop is a vehicle for great things. Purpose. Vision. A product such as Clarion Desktop allows us to pass something easy and awesome onto newbies. It’s going to make life for old timers, middle timers, and new timers a lot easier .. PLUS .. it’s a news portal. Gossip door. "Wha’s Happenin" linkage. This is good. Very. Good. So thumbs up for Gary! And at something like 30 dollars for a years subscription, it’s a no brainer for supporting the community.


The Day The Whiner Cried .. A Call To Arms

A while back, I posted a short story on the main Clarion newsgroup. It was a tale of Foxes and Forests, inspired by some of the newsgroup messages posted in the presumed calm before Clarion 7 is released.

Some people are born to be whiners. Some people have an amazing ability to point out fault. Some people have genuine complaints against SoftVelocity. Others dutifully get about their work, barely raising their heads. Some, fewer than the rest, toil hard to encourage respect for SoftVelocity. There are plenty more categories.

In light of the firestorm on the newsgroups, I have a question that’s burning a big charred hole in my brain:

Is the community of Clarion important enough?

If we truly want a community that will thrive (and I believe most of us do), then enough. Enough of the crap that is spanked about on the newsgroups. Enough crazy weird-ass socially inept comments and agendas.

Sure, I’d love for SoftVelocity to be more open handed with the community. I wish they’d employ an evangelist. Change their protocols. Whatever. That’s a separate issue to the behavior I’ve witnessed the last while (and which has been around since day zero I’ve been told) within the community. It’s appalling. Seriously.

If you’re going to whine about some stinking fish that’s been out in the sun for weeks now, then buck up and cry somewhere else. The only thing that a constant whine does is bring down the community.

If you seriously have a gripe, then always pimping said gripe on the newsgroups is worse than foolish. You are obviously not getting anywhere, so find another way to whine. Another path. Get out and play a bit of rugby. Go for a swim. Start a blog about your woes with SV. Write articles. Make songs.

If you are going to write a song, then instead of writing about "hating the Ho-SV-shizzle", get passionate about a vision.

For the community to grow (it’s not right now, not really – middling is a word I’d use), then we need to start believing in a vision. A vision of shipping product. Of DevCons. A vision of making software that will be talked about. Of getting the best that Clarion offers, plus all the other zillion tools the developer has waiting on the interweb.

We, the Clarion Community, should by all rights be a force to be reckoned with. There should be hundreds of thousands of people using it. Loving it. Making it a better product by being part of the Community.

United we stand, whiners we kind of slouch.

I’m glossing over half a hundred issues and concerns, I know. Fixing every little problem isn’t the purpose of this article.

This article is a call to arms! It’s a fire in the belly, the beauty that draws you home. The joy of life. Belief!

There are a number of practical ways to start growing the community. Every good sermon has three points; I’ve got seven. You could do one, all, or another not-mentioned point. Whatever it is, if it builds the community, then awesome!

1. Start a blog and write about Clarion. Visit other blogs, comment. Take time with this, spreading the word out into the world.

2. Write about Clarion. Whether it be articles for Clarion Mag, or for the local newspaper. Really pimp this thing.

3. Join in on good discussions on newsgroups, IRC, Skype etc. Don’t be enticed by the Foxes and Snakes. They’ll pounce quickly and drain your life away, and apathy or anger will set in.

4. Ship products.

5. Ship good products.

6. Ship awesome products.

7. Believe.

Reading back over the article, I wonder if perhaps I’ve used some harsh words and made a few big calls. Normally I’d apologize for any bad mojo that’s going to be caused by this article. But I stand by my words. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m not going to sit idly by. It’s time for the community to grab life by the hojos. It’s time to pick up our torch and pitch-fork. Send the hounds out after the foxes and lets kick this place into gear.

In the words of the great Logan:

‘Nuff said, Bub.

Being Special

There is something intoxicating about being special. A person defers to you in conversation. The team lifts you up after scoring the winning try. A son hugs his mother, asking her to tell him about dinosaurs.

See what that special is? It involves relationships. Relating to one another. One person, speaking, doing, thinking, with or toward another.

What makes a good developer?

That’s not a question I can answer. That’s up to you. We have to find it out for ourselves.

The question that needs to be answered, is not a singular internal question.

It’s .. larger. Unselfish beyond self.

What is true development? I believe, it’s community. It’s relationships. It’s a team working together.

So what makes a team? Better yet, what _breaks_ a team?

Being special in development means more than being awesome at code. Amazing with structures. Clarity of purpose beyond the ken of normal mankind. These are of themselves wonderful abilities. They make an individual special.

Being special means _more_.

Breaking is far easier than building.  Our insecurities, the lies we tell to cover our frailty. They all break. Some things, some words, some deeds more than others. Maybe it’s jealousy. Maybe lust. Maybe a desire to be someone we just can’t quite be. Whatever it be, it be broken. It breaks. Severs.

Being special means building.

What am I talking about? Seriously, what purpose did I have in writing this post?

Not really sure. I guess I’m searching through my thoughts in preparation for the time when I have a team. The things that are going to make a team work. That’s what is going to separate. A single successful development (I’m not there yet) is still single. To progress, a team needs to be formed.  To form a team, you need to understand people. To bring them together certain barriers have to be overcome. Insecurities delt with. Or at least addressed. Actually, I’m not talking about just any team. A successful team. A _special_ team.

Being special is important. We can’t be special to everyone. But we can be special to those around us. And they can be special to us. I’m not talking fluff here, that exists, but I’m talking about group dynamics. Teamwork. Relationships.

The night is young, or old.

And there’s another episode of Heroes left to watch.

Telling Stories

Contrary to the last post, this one isn’t going to be about software development. As I’ve got as my main focus for Clarion and Development, Dev Dawn will mostly be used as an outlet, more like a personal blog. Hope that’s okay.

I’d love to tell stories for a living.

The biggest problem is that I never finish what I start. I’ve got at least 30 unfinished novels. Lots of short stories, one screenplay, and heaps of poems.

Most of them are unfinished. Well, not the short stories .. but the _vision_ for the short stories are unfinished, mostly because I was writing them together like a tv series, and only got a few done.

Good writers _write_. They keep going. That’s how I figure is the only way I’ll get anywhere. I just have to concentrate on one story, and finish it. Then another .. one step then another. And so on.

The second problem, related to the first, is that after a while, after the lustre of what i’m working on has faded, I move onto something else, something more exciting. It might be a new story, or a business software idea, or even a few times an idea for a game. But in the end, the project lies forgotten until the next time.

Another problem is that I get stuck on inconsequential issues. It shouldn’t matter that I don’t have a slick and awesome website to put my stories onto .. but at times it has really blocked my progress. I start thinking about putting together the website, and that takes my mind from the story .. and suddenly I’m fleshing out notes for a huge story telling website.

This isn’t always a bad thing .. but it’s happened so many times now that I come to dread it’s onset.

Of course, it happens with all my projects. At the moment, I’m stalled on Bank Buddy, a very cool personal finances tool. It’s an awesome idea, and has come together pretty simply .. but I can’t get past a couple of sticking points. And it’s frustrating. Thankfully I can still see light at the end of the tunnel with this particular project.

Back to the topic at hand.

I’d love to tell stories for a living. Books. Comics. TV. Movies. Radio. Each medium would provide new challenges .. but at the heart, it’s all story telling.

A few years back I had a site, TaelsOnline, for which i wrote a small number of short stories. I took it down a while back, but still have the url.

I’d like to start it up again. Maybe. WordPress is a good tool .. but what I want out of a storytelling template is a bit more. Modding WordPress is simple though .. maybe someone else has done it already. Will have to check out the wordpress scene.