Waking Sleep

Sometimes, right now being this case, I’m never quite sure what will spew forth into the blog. My mind can lead itself down some pretty twisty turns.

My "foundational" work on Archer is taking longer than expected, naturally, BUT .. is yielding some fantastic results.

I’ve been spending the last couple of days doing a number of things.

1. Tightening up the base code, my skeleton apps, and the Tools dll. Although I don’t have a _lot_ of functionality at the moment, I want to do it right from the beginning. If ever the niggling voice jumps in and says that would be better in Tools, I take some time listening, weighing up, and if the voice is speaking truth, then Stop. Change. Update Tools. Update Apps. Begin again.

It means I’m slower, especially at this stage. But it also means (and this weighs far heavier than the former fact) that the code is cleaner, there are no shortcuts (well, not many), and that my development is tight. Clean. Clarity of purpose.

2. In my User Skeleton App (which is more a combination of a simple desktop app + nettalk web server) I’ve added the Advanced User functionality (User Groups, Security Profiles). This has meant that not only was I able to add the functionality on a "dummy" system (thus not having to worry about breaking complicated functionality), but I got to make sure future projects have this plugged in from the start.

I’m finding that the idea of this particular skeleton app is changing. Not the idea. The reality. It’s still a skeleton, but more and more it’s becoming something special. I guess this is happening as my base functionality (and understanding) grow.

3. Developing a Task management system (simple, of course) to .. manage .. my tasks. I’m getting swamped trying to keep up with everything I write down in my notebook. I’m sure there’s a lot of good ideas that go to waste, because I write twenty pages a day and don’t read back over seventeen of them.

Yes, Projman was a Task management app. But Projman was more of a test. It wasn’t built on a solid foundation. I was then even more newbish than now. My methodologies were lame (although back then I thought they were okay). Which makes me think .. in a year, will I think my current ones are lame? Probably. This makes me want to strive harder to get better quicker in this stuff.

This Task management system will be simple, streamlined, and powerful. That’s pretty much what any company will say about their product. You’ll just have to wait and see I guess. I do plan to release it as an app, but not for a while. It will stay plain (not prettied up) while I use it day in and out, making sure the processes are .. clean, lean and fast. Simple. Powerful.

For now, Rasp is my main concern. No. Immediate. After the next build (my current plan), I’ll begin charging for Rasp. I’m going to do something similar with SecretKeep and DeleteThem as well. As small as they are, functionality-wise, there’s still no good reason why I can’t start selling them. Professional products. If people don’t buy them, then so be it. I will learn why, and return more powerful than ever before! Wait .. :).

So Rasp. Yeah. So the User functionality will slot right in. And i’ve been nutting out the folder/files/users/security thing. The more the ideas coalesce in my mind, the more convinced I am that this product will rock. Seriously.

4. The website. Arggg. That reminds me .. stupid IE<7 not liking transparent pngs. I’m just going to have to do everything in bmps or something.

Ahem. Some might have noticed on the Archer site there are a couple of new images. I’m wanting to take some of the good from what I see on a lot of awesome looking blogs and web 2.0 development sites. They have clean but spek looking images for processes. Most especially downloading.

So the site is going to visually start looking better, hopefully. Not cluttered. Better.

Also, I want to get a blurb on the frontpage. Something that says "You really should look at our software, our products, we are awesome, but humble, and funnny, and if you are George R R Martin please personally email me and we can be best friends".

5. Well, there’s probably more, but this black duck has to go to bed.


I was talking to Bruce this evening, and realised, by the time of the Aussie Clarion Devcon (I never know which order to put the words .. is it the Aussie Clarion .. or the Clarion Aussie??) we will have our mits on Clarion 7. This got me quite excited. More. Clarion 7 has kind of been this hazy fog in the future, a dream seen through a grey stained glass window seen through my rugby jersey after a game in the mud. Now, the very idea of the reality of holding it in my muddy hands fills this heart with joy.

Not "heading up to home" joy (heh), but .. "Diablo 3 has been announced!!!" joy. You know what I’m talkin bout.

Actually, that’s not _too_ far from the truth. More than ever lately Development has eclipsed Gaming in my excitement tank. Sure, I spend at least 40 minutes a night playing tennis and boxing on Wii Sports, sweating it up (it WILL get me fit .. ha ha), but that’s for .. well .. fitness. And a little fun.

Anyway, I’ve a feeling this post is gonna quadruple the size of the Dev Dawn frontpage. So without further ad …

If Only Business Had Goliath Tanks and Tech Trees

.. then I could harvest some resources to build tanks, then buy The Burning Crusade.


Work is progressing. My plans for an off-shoot Rasp program have stumbled. Not done, just .. halted for the moment. I need to build some other thing to get it working.

But the new version of Rasp is done. Automatic/Manual Importing of Files in a brand-spanking new interface! File Types! A Welcome Page! Whoot.

However, I still have to update the Help file, so the install won’t get done until tomorrow night.

Other plans are going ahead. I’ve got another update for SecretKeep due. That and a project app that’s kind of what Projman was going to be. I really need something to keep track of ideas and todos and tasks (same thing?).

Have been thinking about DevCon, and wondering just what I’ll speak on. It’s kind of a scary nebulous vision at the moment. Clarion? Programming? Development? Heh heh. But never fear! There’s always a song or two buried away in my brain .. which might account for the lack of intellect in all things coding.

I’ve become enmoured with the Tennis lately (The Australian Open) .. despite what certain _other_ developers say (yeah Bruce .. that’s you i’m talking bout) .. i love watching these people, warriors almost, battle their way through each match. I love reading up on each player, finding out their .. mythology. I think that’s a good word. It’s like discovering a whole new world of characters who have had lives before-hand, filled out, not-cardboard. Ha ha .. it’s real life i know, but .. there’s something special for me finding out the Nadal is one of only two people to have beaten Federer last year. Or read about the Sampras and Agassi rivalry.

It’s just plain cool. For me. Maybe for you.

Since I have become somewhat disillusioned with the greatest of team sports lately, it’s easier to become attached to Tennis, because an individual can shine despite the lack of efforts of others. They stand alone. Fight alone. In the end, it’s them and the _other_. Nothing more. And that’s just gas.


In A Big Balloon

Capesoft have begun advertising their 2007 World Tour, and it is gonna be Kickin!

Last year at the Aussie Dev Con, they tore the place up. Mickey Mouse Hands, Practical Development, Mickey Mouse Hands, Using Various Capesoft products, Mickey Mouse Hands .. awesome.

And this year they look set to do it again. Only bigger. Better.

In a nutshell the goal of the 2007 World Tour is to make the event the most productive week of your whole year.

And let me just say, there is no doubting the benefits of attending workshops led by Bruce, Jonno, and Geoff (Hi Geoff, we have yet to meet .. but don’t worry, I only headbutt and tight-head-pop the people i like).

There are people who have trouble connecting with the audience. There are people who don’t have one-on-one communication skills. And there are people who don’t like being up the front, but are pushed up there.

The Boyz (and Girlz I presume, Hi Capesoft Girlz) from Capesoft are none of these. They facilitate _thought_. And this is what makes it such an awesome experience.

One important ability is to excite people again about something they might not be so interested in. It’s been ten years of development, without a big win. Code is getting sloppy, you’re caring little about maintenance. It’s just small bug-fixes being pushed out the door. Come along to the Capesoft World Tour!

You will be challenged and encouraged .. and .. like Mel’s William Wallace bringing passion to the hearts of Scotsman everywhere, the Capesoft Crew will scream about Freedom and Telling The Englishmen ..

And you will believe them.

This is, in the end, the greatest ability a speaker of any sort can have. To make you believe. Belief in whatever it is they are talking about. Steve and his new phone, Watching Clark drop dirt onto his dad’s coffin, white and black so sharply defined (okay, that’s for smallville nerds only), watching a bloke at the front put on big white gloves and tell you that his (their) products will help you be better at what you do.

That’s belief.

But, as is true in life, you probably will have to see to believe. Unless by some freak of chance my words have helped you _believe_. That, or the faint whisper of Jeff Buckley singing Hallelujah in the background, swelling to crescendo as the plot lines resolve in tragedy.


Finally, on a different pimping note .. Rasp version 0.1 Beta was released last night. It’s my third app of the last week, which is pretty sweet. I’m stopping for a while, even though there are a few more in the wings. I’ve an idea to further enhance the core functionality of all Archer (need to get a shorter business name) apps.


Just for the uninitiated, the title is a homage to the wonderful Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld

Joomla is a lot of fun. The more I delve beneath it’s archaic exterior, the more I like it. It has what I need at this point in time.

I’d _like_ to have everything ajax-i-fied.

I’d _like_ to get some cool prototype-ee image functionality going on.

I’d _like_ to have people start visiting my site (ha ha).

But I don’t need that stuff at the moment. What I need is what Joomla provides. A great way for me to add content and not have to worry so much about presentation. It takes care of what is showing on the front page. Joomla handles what the Forums are up to (nothing yet), and gives me stats like page visits etc, easily findable.

Definately, when the time comes, I’ll upgrade. There’s a new version of Joomla arriving. Perhaps it’ll be that.

Dev Dawn has had a little tweak here and there. I’ve put back some more posts to read on the front page. Along with a bit of css to allow distinguishing the posts, and a bit of extra info (date/time).

I’ve still got to get my third product out tonight (Rasp). Won’t be long. Just have to add Icons to the buttons, the Help File (and File menu link), and the About window. Then package it up (along with the beta licence) and bamf. Upload. Post on site. Post on forum.

What’s been bothering me today is hard to express.

I’m looking for ways to get the word out about Archer Technology Services (ATS from here on in), and the products. My first thought (good/bad .. not sure) was the blogosphere. A lot of other people seem to become semi-famous through use of it. So why not me?

Well. Because. That’s why.

The only way I could think of that wouldn’t require me to abase myself to the Never-Wrong gods of Slashdot and Digg was this .. send out special invitations to a number of blogs to review the software. More specifically. Every blogger gets invited to review two out of the three (currently) existing pieces of software for ATS.

Importantly, in the invite email, the list of bloggers invited is included. The hope would be that those who were too big to care, would see that others of their calibre (in Blog-Kingdom Heirarchy) were invited too. Not sure if it would work. Possibly.

Anyway. I’m still out-to-lunch on the matter. There are other ways. I can contact actual software review sites. Visit mirc channels. Post on other people’s blogs. Go to seminars. Send out emails.

Plus, there’s the (shock) real world interaction too. Telling people at work, at church .. maybe even stopping people on the street, although that might not be a good idea around here, specially after dark (ha ha).

Anyway, the tiredness is creeping in, and i really want to get Rasp done tonight.

Fare thee well

A Big Weekend Out

Well. Phew.

As per the previous post, I’ve been working my tail off .. but no longer for imaginary ideas and applications designated to be just on my hard drive, never seeing the light of day. This work .. the WORLD can see! Whoot.

http://www.archertechnologyservices.com is just going off. It’s such an amazing-ling empowering experience. I’m actually the destiny of this master .. or something like that. Very cool.

I’m aware that a lot of folk have already gone through this experience, and that there’s lots more hurdles coming to .. overcome. It’s just hard to contain the excitement at this point in time. Fervour. Belief. Joy. Awesome.

I had a very naive idea of getting all three products (SecretKeep, Rasp and DeleteThem) ready for distribution this weekend. It was 2am this morning (Sunday), the install of SecretKeep had finally gone through enough testing to get it on the site for download .. when I realised .. it ain’t gonna happen. Although the other two will be considerably faster. I had to furrow a lot of ground with SecretKeep ..

There was the general functionality of the application. Testing on another machine (only one at the moment). The Help file (thanks to Dr. Explain was quicker to push out than it would have been). The Licence stuff (even though it’s in Beta .. i’m still not quite sure about what goes on there). The Installation file itself (do I use my Tarma ExpressInstall which has been discontinued, or InnoSetup, the freebie. I went with Tarma).

Now that I have a rough list of stuff (and I’m not stupid enough to believe it’s everything yet) that needs to happen, like said, the other two should go a little quicker. Not working Sunday’s put a dent in the speed, but I _anticipate_ getting Rasp and DeleteThem up for download (ha ha .. up .. down) Monday night (aussie time).

Anyway, off to watch some Arrested Development .. man that’s a funny show.

The Importance Of Small Things

Perhaps not Small, but more often Forgotten.

1. Honesty

2. Fearlessness

3. Passion

4. Diligence

5. Humility

Can you see where I’m going with those headings? Sometimes I hear the vision in my head, but right now, I’m not sure it will come together.

Work is going ahead fervently with Rasp, and more .. building a foundational bulk of software that will help run the business. Not just building either, acquiring is in there too.

Currently I’m putting in User Groups, Security Profiles, Folders .. and the logic that binds them all together. It’s actually more difficult than I first thought. Well, not that I _thought_ about it. Rather, it’s difficult. Period.

I thought, for a change, that I’d look over some external entities. Sometimes this blog can be a little internalised. That’s not necc. a bad thing, but a healthy perspective/character means you poke your head up from time to time.

There seems to be a proliferation of small Web 2.0 apps churning through the mill. This has been the case for some time now, most certainly, but now .. it seems the sueet (spl) is rising to the top. I think this year we’ll see a lot of great ideas being badly executed. Not just what we’ve known last year, but far more. More. MORE! Heh heh.

I also think this year that good development will forge ahead. Software is easier than ever to promote. I mean hey, that’s what all these social networks are for! Isn’t it? Ha. But seriously, if you take a minds-eye look, there are already existing networks, huge, complex, and established. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to _work_ them. I’m in the middle of this right now.

There’s a mercenary component here. For sure. But also, there is diligence in establishing relationships. I want to have bloggers talk about my software some day. Like they talk about Steve, about Vista, Photoshop. Maybe that’s some big dreaming, but seriously .. this is a great place to dream big. The web.

There’s a lot to do. But it’s step by step, little by little (somtimes big steps), every day.

Honesty, because people respect the truth. You don’t have to tell everything, blabbering. But when it counts, honesty is the bom.

Fearlessness, because most often you take a good look at what is before, and it’s scary. Unknown. Risks and turns and bends in the road.

Passion, because people will believe. Passion gives substance to your vision.

Diligence, because it will never be easy. And even when it is, around the corner is a big-ass rock waiting to crush your spirit. Whether it’s a piece of functionality that will just not unwind in your mind, or a business deal gone so terribly wrong.

Humility, because, in my opinion, we are come from nothing to begin with. You will always find someone faster, stronger, quicker. Someone with a better pedigree, a brain that solves logical problems just _that_ much faster. A business mind that grasps simple mechanics just _that_ much easier than you. Humility, because when we understand that, we can let go of the little-man issues, and strive to be the best. I know that sounds like a stupid assumption. But, in my short 30 years, it’s been born out in truth time and again.

And lastly, I forgot one.

Belief, because when you believe, and others believe (tied to passion), magic can hum through the air. Sure, Steve Jobs has this, but there’s a negative connotation that goes with it. I guess, belief has to be taken alongside these other attributes.

Then, lastly (2), this one is important too ..

Happiness/Joy, because without these two, then anything else is meaningless. I’d rather enjoy cotton-chipping in the stinking hot sun than hate a desk-job in the air-conditioning. However, I love my desk-job in the air-conditioning. I find _joy_ in it. And possibly sometimes I make joy in it. Not always. Sometimes the diligence has to kick in and over the laziness/depression .. but .. without happiness/joy, then life is meaningless. Development life. And otherwise.

You know I speak truth.

Or some version thereof.

Ha ha, my looking at other stuff didn’t last long did it. Oh noes.