Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category.

Wrong figures, right answers

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’ »

Delphi and Productivity

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’ »

Delphi XE5: Promised Android support not included!

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!’ »

The cool thing about technology

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’ »

Artificial intelligence: The pieces are coming together.

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.’ »

NextGen: Delphi’s “Visual Fred” moment?

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?’ »

The US Supreme Court just ruled that publishers have no right to differential pricing

If you’ve been paying attention to copyright and the myriad ways it gets abused by publishing interests, you’ve probably heard of the Kirtsaeng case.  For those just tuning in, here’s quick recap:

John Wiley & Sons is a publishing company, involved in one of the most despicable fields within the publishing industry: the publication of academic textbooks.  Anyone who’s ever been to college and had to pay the exorbitant rates they charge every semester, just because they can, will need no explanation as to why these guys are scum.

The interesting thing is, while they charge whatever they can, “whatever they can” means different things in different contexts.  Some parts of the world are wealthier than others, and in some countries there’s just less blood available to be squeezed from that particular stone, and so they have to set the prices lower so as not to be unaffordable.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of economics, when presented with these facts, should recognize that an opportunity for arbitrage exists here: buying goods in a low-priced market and reselling them at a profit, where the prices are high.  And that’s exactly what this Thai guy called Supap Kirtsaeng did. Continue reading ‘The US Supreme Court just ruled that publishers have no right to differential pricing’ »

The language engineer’s triangle

Interesting new post by Andreas Hausladen this morning.  It seems that there’s new copy protection in XE3 that scans all DLLs in the same folder as BDS.exe to ensure that they’re signed, apparently to keep crackers from pwning BDS with a poisoned library.  And according to Andreas, it really slows down the IDE’s startup time. Continue reading ‘The language engineer’s triangle’ »

Thoughts on Embarcadero’s business model

Like a lot of you, I got my SA subscriber’s notification that XE3 has been released last night.  (I decided not to cancel after Embarcadero reconsidered the changes to their licensing policy.)  I’ve been too busy today trying to track down a tricky bug in a personal project I’m working on to download and install it, so I don’t have too much to say about the product yet.  I’ll post a first-look review sometime soon.  But that’s not what I wanted to say here right now.  Since my previous article, I’ve been talking a fair amount with David Intersimone, and it’s been quite the enlightening experience.  A lot of it was private, of course, but there’s one thing that I’d like to talk about. Continue reading ‘Thoughts on Embarcadero’s business model’ »

Embarcadero’s indefensible licensing change

If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a very disturbing post by Jolyon Smith about a leaked NDA document covering a licensing change in Delphi XE3. The upshot is that new licensees will no longer be able to use Delphi Professional for database development unless it’s a local database only, even if they use a third-party library.

And it gets worse.  This issue is exploding on the Delphi forum, and partway down there’s a post from David Intersimone, in his usual damage-control/spin control style, stating that:

All Delphi customers up to and including XE2 are covered – even if you upgrade to XE3. The EULA only affects new customers from XE3 and forward.

In other words, this isn’t just a fake document cooked up to rile people up; we now have official confirmation from an official Embarcadero spokesman that it’s true–but don’t you worry your pretty little head, it doesn’t affect *you* if you’re already using Delphi.  It’s just for new users.

Continue reading ‘Embarcadero’s indefensible licensing change’ »