A while back, the husband of a friend of mine got a nasty, painful rash on his face. When it got up to his eye and started to affect his vision, he went to the hospital, and after a bunch of tests they found out what was going on. I asked my friend about it when they got home, and apparently the hospital staff had been a lot less helpful than they could have. She didn’t know exactly what the problem was; she said they had called it “zoister” or something like that, and she probably wasn’t even remembering it right.
I figured she probably wasn’t, because that doesn’t sound like any disease I’ve ever heard of. So I tried punching it into Google, and sure enough, it had the answer. “Do you mean zoster?” I clicked the link, and there it was: herpes zoster, better known as shingles, the revenge of the chickenpox virus. Why the hospital folks didn’t just say “he has shingles,” I’ll never know.
It took a few days before I realized the implications of what I’d done there, though. You may have heard the famous quote from Charles Babbage: Continue reading ‘Wrong figures, right answers’ »
I got a request at work yesterday to look at an issue one of our clients was having. A certain service didn’t seem to be doing anything at all, with no failure messages in the server logs. After asking a few questions and checking out the log, I determined that the initialization code for that service had never run when the server started up, so I pulled up a local copy on my dev system to figure out why. Continue reading ‘Always Review Your Code’ »
Jolyon Smith has been posting a lot of really rosy stuff about Oxygene lately. And he even commented on a recent blog post of mine, in response to my frustration about Embarcadero blatantly ripping off paying customers by not including Android support as part of the baseline Delphi installation:
[Oxygene is] a better Pascal even than Delphi these days and fully supports Android (and iOS) development using the platform native frameworks, so you get to learn “proper” Android development (portable skills) without having to swallow the Java pill.
Thing is, I’ve been doing some serious looking at Oxygene too lately. I haven’t reached all of the same conclusions he has, though. But then again, I’ve been trying to do different stuff. Continue reading ‘First look at Oxygene for Android development’ »
If you haven’t seen Gabr’s latest post about Delphi language features, it’s worth looking at. I don’t agree with everything he posted, but he’s got some good points.
But he’s also got some annoying problems in the comments department. Some obnoxious troll is spamming up almost half of the (extremely large) set of comments under the post with a bunch of preaching about how Python is soooo much better than Delphi because it’s less verbose. His thesis seems to be that since you can write equivalent functionality with (as he claims) one-tenth the lines of code, that Python is ten times more productive than Delphi. Continue reading ‘Delphi and Productivity’ »
This isn’t the post I was planning on writing. I was really looking forward to this latest release. I really wanted to like it. I really wanted to use it, and I really wanted to be able to talk on here about how awesome it is. Afterall, this release was going to finally bring Android support to Delphi, which has been something it’s needed for several years now.
Unfortunately… it doesn’t. I just got my SA download and installed it, and there’s no Android support anywhere to be found. Apparently that’s not part of Delphi; it’s an “add-on pack” that costs 140% of what I already paid for SA this year! All that’s in Delphi XE5 itself is the Desktop development stuff I already have, which has scarcely changed at all since XE2. With pricing that high, you’d almost think someone in Embarcadero marketing is deliberately trying to drive users to Oxygene! Continue reading ‘Delphi XE5: Promised Android support not included!’ »
I went to visit my family over Labor Day. We hung out, talked, watched some TV, and went out for dinner at a local restaurant. We took my car, and on the way back, because my stepfather’s always commenting on how cool it is, I let him drive.
He was really impressed by the handling and also by the cool electronics, and that was without even showing him the voice control feature. He even joked that he was going to borrow it and take it to the next football game so he could back in and watch all the action on the backup camera. But the thing that really amused me was when he said it was “like driving a Cadillac.” Continue reading ‘The cool thing about technology’ »
I have a friend who’s blind. She considers herself very fortunate to live in a time when modern technology means that that’s not the utterly debilitating curse it’s historically been. She’s a self-described “accessible technology geek,” and occasionally she shares some of the things she finds with me.
She recently told me about an iOS app she found called TapTapSee. The premise sounds very simple: you take a picture, or show it one from the pictures collection on your phone or tablet, and it identifies what it’s a picture of. But of course, if you know anything about programming, you know that’s not “a simple task” by any means! Continue reading ‘Artificial intelligence: The pieces are coming together.’ »
As I pointed out yesterday, with FastMM available, memory management is so much of a solved problem that it’s a non-problem. So dropping a performance-killing pseudo-GC “solution” on us is patronizing and insulting in the extreme, not to mention a massive waste of effort that could have been spent actually improving the language and/or standard libraries. But I did notice one very interesting thing from its implementation: the introduction of the [Weak] attribute, and a few other related attributes, are something fundamentally new in the Delphi language. Continue reading ‘How to simplify memory management the right way’ »
There’s been a lot of talk recently about immutable strings in the iOS compiler, which, as Marco pointed out, is not actually implemented (yet) but is just something that’s under consideration. And it appears that he’s uncomfortable with the removal of AnsiStrings. That’s a good thing, IMO. I think they should be put back, particularly for UTF-8 strings. Continue reading ‘NextGen: Delphi’s “Visual Fred” moment?’ »