Tag Archive: programming

Tinkering with Raspberries

So… I got myself a Raspberry Pi. Well, actually two, but maybe we try to take it a bit slower and follow things in, more or less, chronological order.

So, again, I got myself a Raspberry Pi.
Why did I do it? Because I really like streaming. As I have mentioned in “Finally my TV does all the stuff I want” the first thing I do with a DVD after buying is ripping it in  order to be able to play it without having to use the DVD.
But I also don’t really like watching movies on my PC, which is where streaming enters the stage.

In order to allow my family to enjoy those movies while I’m not at home, equally without using and potentially damaging my precious DVDs, I used to leave my PC running, which of course consumes a lot of electricity, most of the time for absolutely nothing. And of course I was limited in my options switching between Linux and Windows (which I use for gaming) if somebody was watching a movie, or my family couldn’t watch movies because I was playing something.

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For about a month my Galaxy S2 runs Android 4. And I gotta say, I like Ice Cream Sandwich.

Sure, it’s not really all that different, but there’s a lot of small stuff that makes the user experience more pleasant. Thanks to an seemingly overall better performance Ice Cream Sandwich can afford adding a little eye candy like window transitions without sacrificing speed. And I really like the new system settings menu.

Under the hood there is still a lot more than we see now. The problem with this simply is that we’re not seeing enough applications using the Android 4 API, which of course provides programmers with access to all the new features.

So it’s been a month, and while enjoying the benefits of the update I also ran into a problem. And of course the problem was my application StoryTeller.

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No, really, I’m not.

While it is certainly true that I have spent most of my working life as some sort of web programmer I actually see myself as a server guy. I love tinkering with servers, networks and security.
On the other hand I really like programming. I guess you have to if you’ve learned all the following languages to a certain degree:

  • QBasic
  • Turbo Pascal
  • Assembler
  • Delphi
  • C
  • C++
  • C#
  • Java
  • Bash Script
  • PHP

Some of these languages I still use. I earn my money with PHP. But I develop an Android application in Java and there’s a ton of Bash Scripts in charge of building EasyLFS. And sometimes some code digging requires basic recollection of how to write C.

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Code is an important asset to every company. Thus it is only in the company’s interest to protect their code base as good as possible.
While this sounds like an introduction you would expect in an article about proper backups or access control I think it is equally fitting for this article about Version Control Systems (VCS).

Those who work on the code are only human, and as humans we sometimes make mistakes. This can be because we don’t quite know what we are doing, but it can equally be a case of “shit happens”. And if “shit happens” you want to be able to respond quickly and undo whatever has been been done. Preferably without having to run down to the basement to get the tape with last (possibly full) backup. Of course a VCS cannot cover all kinds of situations, but it can help in a lot of ways to improve development and help out in case something goes wrong.

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On the code again

Yes, I have gotten back into programming. As usual the reason is that I have searched for something I want but couldn’t find anything satisfying.

While I’m not much of a programmer, the only languages I can consider myself fluent in are PHP and Bash scripting, I do occasionally like to fire up an IDE in order to solve a problem. And with modern programming languages being so similar it doesn’t really matter if I’m writing a Bash script or use PHP, C, C# or Java. Usually the main difference is the vocabulary.

This time I’m having another go at Java as I am writing an application for my Android phone.

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Why on Earth do people now, with Smartphones taking over the world of mobile telephony, use the abbreviation app to refer to applications written for those phones?
Is it because a phone is so much smaller than a PC?

As an IT guy with varying experience in a couple of programming languages I think it doesn’t really make that much of a difference what you program for. You’re not coding in Sumerian, but, for example, in Java, if you develop for Android.
Neither do I think that mobile applications are less sophisticated or well written than a “regular” desktop application.

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