Archive for February, 2007

MS+search=no results found

February 25, 2007

PrestonLee has a comparison of searching for an email in Outlook and Apple’s mail app.

Windows – up to Vista at least – was also really, really bad. Vista is, at least, supposed to be somewhat less impractical.

So… let’s try their new “Live” search engine.
The first search term that comes to mind: ms+search. Where do you suppose Live search factors in there?

First, maybe? Second?

No. Live search isn’t on the first page of results. Indeed, none of the first page is even talking about Live search. There are a few (8) related searches, though. Let’s check them.

The first one, “Ms Search Engine”, sounds pretty good. No, it’s not there either. Keeps going on about some Flash-based search engine called “Ms. Dewey”*, which apparently disciplines you when you search badly.

What about the second? “Ms Search Win”? A bit obscure, but you never know…
No, nothing.

Indeed, none of these “related searches” will tell me about Live search. I think I’ll stick with Google.

I think I suddenly lost all confidence in the notion of Vista providing a decent desktop search.

*: The search results for “MS Search Engine” referred mostly to “Ms. Dewey”. Wikipedia tells me that this is an experimental user interface for Live search that Microsoft is mostly using viral marketing to tell people about.

Seraphiel 0.50 released!

February 21, 2007

Seraphiel 0.50 has now been released! This version adds quite a major feature: mass messaging assist! Basically, if you are sending a message to another member of your own kingdom (it only works on intra-kingdom messages), Seraphiel will automatically reload your message and select the next province in the kingdom so all you have to do is press the “Send Message” button once for each message you want to send.

Also, links within kingdom forums are now turned into hyperlinks as well.

If you are using the Greasemonkey script, please update your version of Greasemonkey to the most recent version (this is currently 0.6.6). There seem to be some issues with older versions.

Both the extension and the Greasemonkey script have been updated, so enjoy!

There seems to be an issue with the formatters and the kingdom page on Patron-level accounts (in all versions). The fix is simple but will take a while, so it’ll probably end up in the next version.

Technical note: The extension is now created using the original version of Arantius’ User Script Compiler instead of a somewhat modified version of it. So if you wish to edit Seraphiel you can just use that to compile the user script. At some point I’ll create a Developers page with this sort of information on it…

Slight website update

February 19, 2007

I replaced the individual download links with a page that just explains how to install Seraphiel (and has the download links for both on it). Should make things a bit easier.

Added a page with some screenshots too.

Schrödinger’s operating system

February 16, 2007

If you’re not familiar with the concept of Schrödinger’s cat, you may want to read a quick primer.

You don't even need a radioactive particle

Seraphiel 0.42 released!

February 14, 2007

This update just fixes a small bug that was preventing the tags feature from working. Both the extension and the Greasemonkey script have been updated – download links on the right.

The Mac user has left the building

February 12, 2007

I’m sure most people have at least heard of ads Mac has been circulating recently, and more specifically, been internationalising in recent times (if not, maybe you’d like some context?)

Now, I might mention, I don’t actually mind the ads, though whether it’s purely because they haven’t actually been showing them locally and I can watch them at my leisure on Youtube (or, more likely, because of schadenfraude) is another question.

That said, they don’t make me want to switch (I haven’t had a virus in years and am proud of my complete lack of artistic talent 🙂). Unless… maybe getting a Mac will cause a Windows user to give me a C++ GUI Programming Guide? I could use one of them.

I should do more of these. That was fun.

I should also find a better tool for drawing than MS Paint.

Seraphiel 0.41 released!

February 11, 2007

After a grueling, almost-2-month-long coding process, the new version of Seraphiel, 0.41, is now available.

I lie, I lie, I just added in a small function this afternoon. Basically, this adds convenient links to the Affairs of the State, Military, Building and Mystics advisors in the top bar.

Note that due to the limited space available in that area, the links will only actually be visible at a screen resolution of 1024×768 or greater. Any smaller and they’ll still be there, just below the area that’s actually displayed. I will investigate options as to how to get them visible at lower resolutions.

Anyway, both the Greasemonkey script and the extension have been updated. The links are on the right.

Two things to note:

  1. The download link for the Greasemonkey script has been changed, due to a temporary problem with uploads on the server I’d been using for that. Once that’s resolved I’ll switch it back.
  2. The “b” has been removed from the version, after two months I figure it’s looking fairly stable enough that we don’t have to call it a “beta” anymore.

Oh, and I added a FAQ too (I can hear it now: Worst. FAQ. Ever.).

Painting your object-oriented door

February 10, 2007

The other day I was thinking about object orientation for some reason. Probably because I’d been working in Java a lot at the time and had also (re)read about hammer-building factory factories.

Anyway, I got to thinking, how do you paint a door in an object-oriented world? I mean, one’s first instinct would be to call door.paint(Color.Red) or something. But a self-painting door? What the…? And with a self-painting door, you can’t control how you want it painted. But what if the door’s implementor created a door.paint(…) method that only supports 3 different colours, and no patterns other than a straight, single-colour door? How would you feel about going down to the hardware store to pick up a door, but the instructions said “You may only paint this door a straight brown, white or green”. Well, I probably wouldn’t buy that door. Leastaways, I wouldn’t if I wanted something to coordinate with my orange-coloured house (note: my house isn’t actually coloured orange).

And you can’t just paint(door, RED). This is the Kingdom of the Nouns, after all. What else? Well, I suppose you could modify yourself to extend the Painter class, but we don’t support multiple inheritance so you’re going to be in trouble when you want to trim the hedge and find you don’t have room to inherit from Gardener.

me.paint(door, Color.Red)? Suddenly you’ve got a paint method sitting in the middle of whatever class we’re in (Person perhaps) – are we going to be adding trimGarden(garden.getPlant(hedge[0])), takeOutGarbage(When.Soon) or mow(lawn) soon? And if not, how are we going to get those details in?

No, you’d need to hire a DoorPainter.

Offer offer;
Door door=new Door(DoorTypes.Wood);
DoorPainter doorPainter;

	doorPainter.setColor(0, Color.Red);
		doorPainter.haggle(Calendar.NextTuesday, Expressions.LessThan, 160.0);
		catch(WillNotGoAnyLowerException e){
} until(me.isHappy());
doorPainter.paint(Calendar.NextFriday, 250.0);
catch(NoAnswerException e){

And then… the inevitable strikes. Where am I going to put this code? I think I’ve already decided I can’t put it in the Person class. Hmmmmm…. ah! I’ll just use a little NegotiationFactory.newNegotiation(Service.Paint, door.getClass());

Note: OK. I admit it. This is terrible design. At some point, you stop, think about it, and try to come up with something better, and even if it isn’t pure, it’ll work, and you don’t need to create half-a-dozen classes to paint a door.

What’s my point? I don’t know. I was bored (having finished my book) and on a bus, and suddenly felt inspired to write this on a piece of paper I had with me. I thought it was mildly amusing.

Maybe it’s a warning, but whether it’s a warning to make sure that one doesn’t get carried away and object-orient stupidly off into the sunset or to take an extra book if I’m near finished the last one, I couldn’t say.


February 7, 2007

The PS2 is currently outselling the PS3 in Japan. Wow.

And I, for one, welcome our wii new overlords

February 4, 2007

The sword-fighting, tennis-playing Wii-bot (caution: some foul language in the video when the camera operator gets hit by a tennis ball) [you may need to try a few times. it’s been slashdotted, and the server’s not really coping].

This can only lead to trouble.

Trouble, as in televised duels between wii-mote controlled robots. Not so much the destructive kind of trouble (though those sword moves looked rather menacing).