Mar 312008

After my provider fixed my mail outage, among the messages that came in was one from my mom letting me know my grandma had died on Thursday. I’ll leave the issue of why she didn’t use the phone as a mystery for the ages.

I’m not sure what the right words are to describe how I feel. It’s not sadness, exactly. I guess maybe I feel… troubled. I’m not as close to her as I am to my mom’s parents, but I think back to all the fun we had with her when I was a kid, and those are great memories.

The fact that both of Dad’s parents suffered from Alzheimer’s leaves me nervous. What does that mean for my dad? How about for me?

Genetics can be a heartless bitch.

 Posted by at 3:35 AM
Mar 302008

The new entertainment center is here and mostly set up.  I need to go out and pick up a component video cable today — to get the cable box working without one, I borrowed the Mac mini’s DVI/HDMI converter and cable, so I need to get the component cable to swap things back around.

The center looks beautiful.  So far, we have the TV, cable box, receiver, Blu-Ray player, and even the old 5-disc DVD player hooked up to it.  The Mac will join it later today after I run out and buy that cable and return a spare audio cable I wound up not needing.  I’m also going to look for a good universal remote; we currently have to use three remotes to drive this setup.

 Posted by at 10:15 AM
Mar 292008

Tomorrow, at long last, our new entertainment center into which our HDTV will fit is due to be delivered.  We got a lot of the old stuff torn down and moved out of the way tonight, and will do the rest in the morning.  The afternoon will be spent waiting on them to show up with it, then assembling the new setup in it.  It’ll be interesting.  I’m pretty sure I’ll need to go pick up some cables in order to do it right (now that we have the digital TV, I’d like to use digital audio cables, for example).

I also hope the cable company’s office is open on Saturday, so I can swing by and pick up the cable they insist I use when activating HD service, which I also need to do.

 Posted by at 12:57 AM
Mar 282008

I spent a little time this afternoon writing out a draft reference document for the nsIJSON interface.  If you know stuff about this interface, you should give it a look and see where things need help.  In particular, I’ve yet to quite figure out what the whitelist and optFilter parameters are used for exactly, so they’re stubby.

Addendum: Turns out the whitelist and optFilter parameters may be going away soon; I should know soon.

 Posted by at 6:28 PM
Mar 282008

I thought after posting yesterday begging folks to let me know about documentation issues that badly need addressing before Firefox 3 ships, I’d mention some stuff that I already know needs doing.

  • The New in JavaScript 1.8 article is still pending some work, I believe.  John Resig will be handling the final work there, if there’s any left that needs to be done.
  • The article “Alternative style sheets” needs to be written. I’ve been stalling on this because the spec is a little dense and I’ve never really felt like wading through it, but I can’t stall on it much longer.
  • Offline resources in Firefox” needs to be written, too. This has been on hold for a while while work is done on the code it will cover, but that stuff has been settled now, so it’s time to write this up.  I expect to start work on it today or Monday, depending on how long it takes to get replies to a couple of emails I’ve sent out related to it.
  • The nsIJSON interface needs to be documented; this is another one where until recently it wasn’t quite ready to be written about yet.  This one I’ll probably do today.
  • I also need to update “The Thread Manager” with more information, as well as examples.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list, of course, but these are the “big” things left to do.  There should be no problem getting those done before Firefox 3 reaches the release candidate stage.

 Posted by at 12:13 PM
Mar 282008

I got the updated SDK installed last night, and to be honest, while it’s obvious what’s new, it’s also pretty clear that the stuff isn’t really all that useful yet.  For example, although Interface Builder is included now, there aren’t any project templates for IB projects.  In addition, although the release notes say to “read the full release notes for instructions on how to create a project using Interface Builder,” those instructions are actually missing.

I played with IB to create an interface, and almost immediately ran into problems.  Although you can create tab bars and toolbars, once you drag items onto them, you can’t edit the items (at least, I was totally unable to select them once they were in place).

The updated Xcode that’s included now has support for hooking to your iPod touch or iPhone to run your builds (if you’ve got the paid membership in the iPhone developer program).  That’s good progress.

There’s apparently an update for the iPhone SDK documentation available (at least, the doc viewer window says there’s one), but trying to download it fails consistently with a “file is not on server” error.

I’m really excited to be able to develop software for iPhone, but the tools just aren’t ready for people that don’t have time to throw their lives into learning the quirks of a system that’s going to get better in time anyway.  Hopefully the next update to the SDK will get it to the point where I can start doing some code in earnest.  I’ve already got two or three projects in mind.

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 Posted by at 12:03 PM
Mar 272008

We’re into the final stretch on Firefox 3, with Beta 5 coming up any time now, and then the release candidate stage.  It’s time to batten down the hatches and get a grip on the final touches needed to the documentation.  For that, I need your help!  Take a look at the issues on the two lists before and touch bugs that need to be dealt with before Firefox 3 ships.

If there’s anything on either list that you feel absolutely needs to be dealt with before Firefox 3 ships, please add a comment to the bug saying so!  I believe that all or nearly all the Firefox 3 specific issues have been wrapped up (or are in the process of being wrapped up) at this point, so I’d like to be told if I’m wrong.  My purpose in life is to have our developer docs rock, so if there’s anything that doesn’t, now would be a good time to let me know.

Firefox 3 is turning out to be our biggest and best release yet (except maybe 1.0).  It’s easily got more user-facing awesomeness than any previous version of Firefox, and it’s all in a gorgeous package to boot.

 Posted by at 3:16 PM
Mar 272008

Tomorrow I should be receiving an initial rough sketch of the layout for the new MDC skin.  Basically, this will let us figure out where everything will go on the page.  Our main goal is something clean and easy on the eyes, since a lot of people will be staring at these pages for a long time while they write their code.

The thing that we talked about the most yesterday, and will be one of the ongoing design issues, I think, is where to put the language links.  I rather suspect that readers would prefer not to have to scroll to the bottom of the page to get to them, which means finding a way to put them nearer the top.  But we’re trying to avoid using a sidebar, in order to reduce page clutter.  I’ll be curious to see what the designer comes up with there.

Another big issue is the very different feel that Deki Wiki has as compared to MediaWiki.  Between having the added sections at the bottom for files, images, and so forth, and the different feel to how section editing is done and so forth, there will obviously be a learning curve to our writers, editors, and readers as we make the transition to the new software.

However, I think it’ll be well worth it when all is said and done.

Getting this done is an interesting experience for me.  It’s the first time I’ve been this involved in the more “business” aspects of project management since back when I was writing games in the mid-’90s and managed a couple of projects.  Finding someone to do the work took longer than I thought it would, but it came together very fast once I got some good recommendations in from various folks in the Mozilla community.

 Posted by at 2:23 PM