by Caleb Jaffa

Archive for February, 2009

Lexikon version 1.1

I just got an email that Lexikon version 1.1 is ready for sale. I expect it to hit the store on Monday sometime. While I wanted to do some more refactoring under the hood, I decided to cut a quick release with some new things. Mainly I did two things, I turned off Pinch Analytics use of CoreLocation. This means no more requests to use the GPS. Secondly I polished the UI a bit more. Nothing has changed functionally, but it should look nicer.

I’ve got some plans for version 1.2 that should further refine the UI. I’ll also be exploring some suggestions from users to see if they work. I’m also hoping to refactor the models cause right now they are skinny and my controllers are too fat, when ideally it should be the other way around.

If you have any other suggestions feel free to email them to me or leave a comment. I’d love to do what I can. Unfortunately I can’t provide offline access and beyond switching to the Swedish keyboard provide suggestions for spelling. Though I am looking in to other options to do those, but it would require licensing a Swedish-English dictionary’s content and thus would go in to a more expensive paid app. I’m not sure I can compete with the existing offerings. Personally I find the Lexin dictionary to be most helpful with its examples and structure as opposed to most Swedish-English dictionaries.

Macs I’ve Known

The Macs I’ve known is a fairly short list compared to many I know. I grew up in a household that followed the x86 processor line. I have memories of the computer lab in elementary school which was Apple computers. In high school I learned C++ and did computer graphics on 5200s. I was on something called the web & tech crew that was a half dozen students who got a free class period to play on the T1 and our own computers which were among the best in the school in exchange for doing the school’s website, cleaning printers and helping out with the tech support. As an aside this ‘class’ was probably the most important I ever had as it gave me hands on experience to learn things like Linux, PHP and MySQL with other students) I still remember when the beige G3 showed up for my friend Scott and it was Christmas Day tearing in to the box.

I was away from computers other than occasional help with problems for a couple of years between the summers of 2000 and 2002. Though I did play with a developer build of Mac OS X at an Apple developer’s house shortly after the Cube G4 was announced. It was love at first site. When I returned to computers I was working again as a web developer and I finally had my perfect machine of a pretty OS that worked with Photoshop and had a *nix core. I had a then top of the line PowerBook G4 800 TiBook. This computer is the first and only (knock on wood) computer I have ever spilled a drink on. My boss had asked everyone to shift a couple of feet so we weren’t directly in front of our computers for a quick meeting. As I turned back around it put my usually capped water bottle in the path of my arm. Those precious seconds that the water puddled on the speaker grill before it seeped in and the computer was still cheerfully working stretched out long. I tried to think of a way to unplug the power and battery before it was too late, but got to neither before the screen blacked out.

A little while later I ended up buying my first Mac and personally owned computer. It was early summer 2003 when the 17″ PowerBook was first out, it was the first AlBook and the 15″ hadn’t been updated to the new form factor yet. Normally revision A hardware can be quite sketchy, but that PowerBook is still solid, I have since sold it to my brother and I think his wife is/was using it.

Not long after I was instructed to take home or throw out an old Sawtooth PowerMac G4 400. Of course that came home with me. I upgraded the processor and replaced some bad RAM. It was a loud beast, but ran well, especially for helping rip/encode DVDs and as a backup machine.

Next I bought one of the last PowerBook G4s a 15″ 1.67 GHz. I was glad to be back in the more portable form factor. I was tired of lugging the 17″ around to work daily and school. It didn’t hurt to have a speedier machine as well. There was always something off about that machine and so I purchased AppleCare in the first year. Turned out to be a good investment as when it was almost two years old it had to have the logic board replaced. At almost three years old it spent a couple of weeks at an authorized repair center and over a month with Apple getting just about everything replaced. It still isn’t the perfect machine, but it is chugging along somewhat for my wife these days at almost 4 years old. (This isn’t so unusual for a Mac, but then the G4 is long in the tooth back then)

I switched jobs around some and landed at a company that wanted to get a new Mac so they could do browser testing in Safari anyway. They had one in the form of the original Bondi Blue, though I’m not sure what model. They bought a 2GHz iMac for me to work on. It was nice, especially to not have to work on a x86 box (Windows of Linux my choice, like I did for the first month or so). It was the Mac that I got to learn the frustration of the Might Mouse and how invariably soon you can scroll up, but you can’t scroll down using the scroll ball.

When the above PowerBook went in for its first logic board replacement it happened to fall around the holidays and I had a couple of trips to Sweden to see the girl I’d marry. I decided it was a good enough pretext to justify finally getting an Intel machine. I got a MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz. I’m still not sure why, but I went against my principal of always getting the beefiest video card I can. Then buying a couple of flights to Sweden that exceed the price of the computer you are buying has a way of limiting what you want to spend.

Tomorrow I’m going to put in my order for the new unibody 17″ PowerBook. While I pretty much swore off the 17″ for its less than portability after my first one, here I am going back. My lifestyle is completely different now. I used to usually have work and school everyday that I trucked my laptop along with me. Now I work from home and my commute is just to the other side of the flat. When I do go somewhere that I want to bring my laptop it is usually for extended periods. I usually spend two weeks anytime I return home to visit my family. It’s not unusual for my wife and I to spend time with her parents. During these visits I usually/hopefully have work to do. In a somewhat realistic dream world I might have gotten just a MacBook since they don’t have integrated graphics anymore. Then hookup to external displays when working, whether at home or visiting family. However right now that would mean purchasing additional displays for the places I stay, it would be better if I could bring one along with me. If the 15″ had a 1680×1050 display I would have gotten it in a heart beat. However I’m starting to feel limited by 1440×900, so while I don’t relish the thought of the 17″ on my shoulder going to Utah and back to Sweden, the thought of the 1920×1200 screen to work on wherever I am is appetizing.

This MacBook Pro will get its keyboard swapped for a Swedish one for my wife’s sake and go to her. I’m sure I’ll think of something to do with the PowerBook G4 though my wife is bound to push hard for anything that gets rid of it.

I’ll write again about my thoughts about the 17″ unibody once I’ve had a chance to use it. Hopefully it will show up quickly, currently Apple’s website states 7-10 working days to ship and I’m flying out to visit my parents for two weeks in less than three weeks. All I need is a day to get it setup and files copied over before I go. I never used more than one battery at a time anyway so it doesn’t matter to me that I can’t just swap it out. The increased lifespan and battery life is a fair trade off for me. In fact the 8 hours which probably means 4 or 5 for how I will use it meets most of my needs for how long I usually go without being plugged in. I’m hoping this revision A is as solid as the first 17″.