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Monday, May 16, 2011

Xoom updated - so far so good

My Xoom was finally on this list of rolling updates on Saturday so I allowed it to apply the update and reboot. Even though it had plenty of battery and did not asked to be plugged in I did that anyway. Install process was painless.

You can now size some of the the home page widgets. Nice to be able to see more of the calendar at a glance. We always have a ton of things in progress with two kids.

Otherwise I did not see any big changes. I used the browser quite a bit this weekend and it never crashed but it is hard to tell if that is due to updates or just the sites I was visiting.

The USA Today app still crashes but that must be a bug on their side. Pulse ran fine. I did a lot of news reading this weekend on the device. Nice to be able to quickly catch up with the world.

Lots going on in the land of Android tablets. Many more being released soon which I hope is going to be good news. I still need to finish updating my game to the higher resolution but I have been playing the original Half-Life, Opposing Forces, Blue Shift, Portal 2 and now Half-Life 2 again. Silly way to waste time. All started with Portal 2 meaning I was on Steam again. Decided to play the old Half-Life as it has been a really long time. I forgot how stupidly ridiculous they get with jumping towards the end of the game. It really took the fun out of things when it was just a jump attempt, die, reload process. When I got near Xen I stopped and played Opposing Forces and then Blue Shift. I had not played them before so it was fun. More puzzles in each with Blue Shift being really short.

I have played Half-Life 2, Episode 1 and Episode 2 but I don't think I ever played Lost Coast. Guess I will find out as I play them in order. Of course it was a massive upgrade in graphics from the original. Plus you don't slide around when you hit the A and D keys. That really stinks in the original. You can go up and down a ladder without fear of instant death which is good and you can jump up on pretty much any box which seemed to be a downfall of the first one.

On the coding side of things I am doing a home page with 6 buttons on the iPhone. Portrait will be 2x3 and landscape will be 3x2. Turns out Interface Builder is of no help in this area at all. You can make two different layouts but they are unknown to each other in the code. That is flat out stupid. On the Android you put your layouts in named directories and the OS chooses the right one for you. Under iOS you have to do it all manually and you have to double all your IBOutlet connections and switch layouts in code. I may just go the way of one layout and manually adjust the CGRect frame objects if they rotate the display. I can do the second layout in IB to get the proper rectangle numbers.

Everything is so manual under iOS. I really comes across and and old SDK reused for a device. I know folks out there hate automatic garbage collection too but really people it the computer / compiler helping you out instead of you battling everything. ASM coders hated C, C coders hate Basic and C++, C++ coders hate Java and C#. I have used all of them, I don't miss the "fun" of ASM, 27 pages of 6502 code for a 2.5k program. C was great but code was hard to share even with your own projects. C++ was wonderful but the syntax was wanky and memory management was never a walk on the beach. Java was initially slower but VM updates made it very usable and overall development speed greatly improved. C# improved on various aspects of Java and missed out on other areas in strange ways. Objective C is just something to code in, no real love or total hate, but does seem stuck a few decades back and really does not help you take full advantage of the device I run it on.