May 23, 2020

Browsing the archive

As the evening progressed and what passes for darkness in late May set in, I found myself browsing my old entries on this site again.

I think it started with wondering something about Gothenburg startup hack, but I quickly passed Middle earth: shadow of Mordor and then, inevitably, fell into dreams and memories of Webos phones.

If there was a really small phone with a good enough camera, I think I could really enjoy a small-screen lifestyle.

I also learned that - according to the best records I have - the next time i run Göteborgsvarvet will be the tenth. At least that will make the number easier to remember, for a while.

I discovered when I started using my little personal weekly planning and productivity system. I started thinking of Berlin, and the age when Björeman // Melin had less than 50 episodes.

The point here is that it is nice to write things down, and to do it in a place you can actually go have a look at every now and then.

Writing on spec

Another update to Podcast Chapters is currently waiting for Apple to review it.

It is really a single patch, but an important one because it causes some podcast players to only display a single chapter. It also causes garbage characters to show up at the end of chapter titles in some places, but given the problem I am a bit surprised it did not surface earlier and much more frequently.

My error was a classic case of not reading the specification closely enough. Some textual information should, basically, be ended with trailing zeroes, while others should not. This is marked quite clearly in the ID3 tag specification, yet not clear enough for my distracted mind. What happened was that I added trailing zeroes in my string writing function, because all those zeroes-requiring places were breaking. Then, I clearly did not think far enough to realize that the other strings had no indication of wanting zeroes and thus probably should not have them. Plus it all worked in the players I had access to testing in, so I went on my merry way releasing versions.

Now that I finally got a clear and major problem report, I realized I had seen a few indications before, but not dug into them because they were not causing issues.

My way to locating the problem was also rather long. The problem report was of chapters failing to appear in Antennapod, an open-source (and very nice-looking) podcast player app for Android. Suddenly, I found myself setting up all of Android studio, building, running in simulators, debugging Java code, and having a surprisingly good time of it all. I was expecting the whole process to be much more of a slow mess, especially on a Mac, but clearly things have progressed a lot since I last attempted to run an Android simulator.

And it was all worth it for the ability to set break points and inspect local state. Then I just needed some breakpoints in Xcode of the writing side of the process and a little bit of staring at the specification before the pieces fell into place and the handful of changes were ready for upload.

Might come out tomorrow if we are really lucky. Soon, in any case.

I wonder if WWDC will bring anything fun for Podcast Chapters?

Otherwise, I think I still have a few things left on the to-do list …

May 16, 2020

I bought Tetris effect a second time.

Depending on your point of view, the surprise will either be that I did so, or that I actually hesitated a few moments before doing so.

The cause of hesitation? The controls. Together, the two Quest controllers have all the necessary buttons. The controls are as identical to the Playstation as can be. The crucial thing lacking is the digital cross of the Playstation controller. Without it, you have to use the left analog joystick to move and drop pieces, and that can never be quite as precise as having distinct buttons for each direction.

Nor, it turns out, as comfortable. Toward the end of a long-ish session, something about my grip had shifted ever so slightly and I suddenly found it more difficult to drop pieces exactly when and where I wanted, and easier to do so by accident. Even before that point, I was definitely making a few more mistakes than on the Playstation. I also noticed my thumb feeling a little bit tired.

Tetris is best with digital controls, that is for sure. But this is not a game breaker, I imagine I can get used to the analog controls enough to suddenly have sunk surpirsing amounts of time into Tetris on the Quest. There is also hope in that the game supports game pads out of the box. I connected one of my Dual shocks and found it to work extremely poorly, but my Quest ran out of battery and shut down only minutes later so that could be a factor too. Plus pairing of Bluetooth devices is still labeled as experimental, so who knows. With all the stuff being added and adjusted on the Quest, I have high hopes for great controller support going forward.

Controllers or not, how could I not like having the vibrant joy of Tetris effect anywhere? The colors feel warmer, and everything feels a bit smoother and sharper than on the Playstation. I have not played wearing headphones yet, but I assume sound immersion will be just the same when I do.

I foresee needing to charge the Quest more often going forward. Battery packs, anyone?

May 13, 2020

May 13th

This could be my eleventh week of working from home.

We discussed how long it has been last night, so I felt somewhat compelled to figure out the number.

It is still higly enjoyable, but I am fully aware just how easy the easy mode on which I am playing this game really is. Lots of space, the right amount of people to neither step on toes nor feel lonely, and a job where we were pretty much ready to work remotely from the start. No video meeting excesses, and no lack of communication either.

Despite all the luxury, I still do not quite understand those people who feel they have so much more time for things. To be sure, there is some more time, mostly gained from not needing to travel between work and home, but nowhere near enough to make me feel like I need additional hobbies, new TV series, or anything like that. I feel like I get to about the same amount of things on my to do for fun-list, but perhaps I have gained some breathing room inbetween activities? Perhaps.

I still seem to get to my list of games or movies just as rarely as before.

Writing this classically relaxing on the couch, Macbook on lap, slightly missing my mechanical keyboard. Not nearly enough to bring cables, adapters, and actual keyboard into the situation though. Typing on the 40% just keeps feeling better though, I especially feel numbers and arrow keys have become better recently. I have hardly even thought about chaning the key layout in quite a while, which I suppose is a good sign too.

I do still feel completely loss whenever typing ~ would come in handy, which is not nearly often enough for me to really learn where the heck I put it.

Guess I should make a map or something.

This weekend is when Göteborgsvarvet would have happened on a normal year. I was signed up to run, but the cancellation happened nice and early so I am not at all feeling like I was cheated of a major part of spring. But I am thinking about getting a half-marathon distance in somewhere during the weekend. It has been a very long time by my standards since I was anywhere near 21 kilometers. I am confident I could do it, but I do not know to exactly which level I would feel it the days after. "More than I think" is probably a good estimation.

There is more fun to be had with Podcast Chapters too, some interesting bugs to dig into and fun new features to think about. The last version came out May 1st, which truly feels like ages ago. So not such a bad lapse there after all, but I still would like to get at least some of those bugs caught soon.

Writing, writing is also nice every now and then. Turns out.

April 19, 2020

En vårsång för utvecklare

(Melodi: Längtan till landet (vintern rasat))

Lintern parsat ut i våran källkod
varje varning smälta ner och dö.
Ingen ser bland kodens mörka ställen
gömmer jag död kod som kommentar.

Jag kör VS Code med purpurtema,
debuggande, as-sur, viskande:
"Vilken idiot har skrivit koden
som mot mig just nu så hånfullt ler?"

Jag kör VS Code med purpurtema,
debuggande, as-sur, viskande:
"Vilken idiot har skrivit koden
som mot mig just nu så hånfullt ler?"

Git bisect och jag blir inte vänner,
i kaninhål har jag trillat ner.
Famlar blint och skriver till konsollen,
mitt självförtroende jag nöter ner.

När så Chrome har ätit allt mitt minne
och så prompt det lägger sig att dö
Tänka jag blott i mitt stilla sinne:
Kan man leva på att baka bröd?

När så Chrome har ätit allt mitt minne
och så prompt det lägger sig att dö
Tänka jag blott i mitt stilla sinne:
Kan man leva på att baka bröd?

April 13, 2020

East of easter

I am entering week five of working from home.

At least I think it is week five. It seems hard to keep track.

I still do not miss the office at all. This is exactly how I imagined I would feel working from home, which means it is also a surprise that it actually has turned out that way.

The easter weekend slid by in such a way that I feel like work is way off in the distance, but also like there are so many more things I could do before getting back into work mode.

Podcasting fun

We are releasing a big episode of Kodsnack tomorrow. Our friend Johan not only suggested a topic, but also rounded up a great panel to discuss said topic. In the end I was left with a six-person, one and a half hour conversation to edit.

Aligning all those tracks turned out to be one of those huge mental barriers. I might have thought I would have broken down all of those editing podcasts since 2012, but clearly not.

Fortunately, everyone managed to get a recording of their own audio, meaning I could do a lot more for all those inevitable times when two or more people tried to start saying something at once. Heavy filtering helped a lot, too. I wrote a long-ish text trying to inform everyone of the most important preparations and setup tips. I think I hit the major points (and that I should have managed to be less wordy), but I should also try to find a good rule of thumb to try and prevent audio leakage. I removed a lot of audio where one microphone picked up the voice of the speaker and light audio drift made it a faint echo, loud enough to be worth deleting.

I guess a simple "Use headphones" would go a long way.

Anyway, the recording was a lot of fun and I would love to do more discussions of the same kind. On the same topic, or on completely different ones.

For my own part, I would have liked to be more prepared. My week kind of conspired against it, but I still should have been able to find a bit more time to think about general structure and questions (not that the panel needed them).

Once the evening was over, I went to bed and slept for almost ten hours, so the week had clearly taken its toll.

Podcast Chapters teaser

I have another fun feature coming up. I am not sure if it will be truly useful to anyone else, but it is a cool thing to demo, and it is enabled by another feature which I am pretty sure people will find useful.

I would call that a win.

Podcast Chapters seems to have sold relatively well recently. I have absolutely nothing to do with that as far as I can tell, but it makes me think, again, that I sould try to get word out a bit more in general. If nothing else to hear more about what people might want out of the app.