Category: The Shtick
Posted by: seanmcox

Back in February, we lost our laptop to a tragic toddler and milk accident. We lost a lot of things, and we have restored almost all that we could. One item I was anxious to restore was some of my Image Editor work.

Anyhow, last night, I was finally able to get things back in order. After one failed attempt to find a good Java decompiler, I sat down a couple of nights ago and quickly found one that was promising. It even integrated right into eclipse.

The long and short of it is, The Shtick Image Editor is back in production.



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Category: The Shtick
Posted by: seanmcox
The new The Shtick is no longer just a prototype hatching on a subdomain in obscurity. It is now the full fledged public The Shtick residing at www.theshtick.org

The official launch was on Saturday, and coincided with the making public of The Shtick Auto-Twitter for Nucleus.

One item that now becomes pseudo-public with this launch, is my reincarnation of The Glyph Project. The reincarnation of the glyph project really isn't very far along right now, but I plan on importing a couple of databases, and polishing off the home page to get it on more solid footing. Then I'll be pretty much ready for the big time. I don't tease myself that the times of an ancient Egyptian linguistics wiki will ever be very big, but at least, I hope, that students, and eventually respectable Egyptologists will find it useful.

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Category: The Shtick
Posted by: seanmcox
For the past week I've been putting together a new The Shtick. It's something I'd been thinking about doing for months now, if not years. Ever since I registered theshtick.org, and separated it off from my personal/family web page, I've known that The Shtick has needed a more professional focus. It has just sat dormant while I figured out what I wanted and got the motivation to make it happen.

Once I put the new site up at www.theshtick.org, the old site will still be available at old.theshtick.org where it will continue to collect dust.

I'm fairly happy with the current design. I still need to create menu icons for items that appear on the home page. (The 3x2 grid of colored squares that currently appears is intended to eventually be filled with icons.) I also need to create a template for the site's news blog.

In that vein, it is amazing to me that I haven't officially released an update of The Shtick Image Editor in over two years. Part of letting The Shtick collect dust, I imagine. I certainly have a more updated version to post, and I really should get around to making it available. (For myself as well as others. When I don't even get around to packaging a proper installer, even I'm much less likely to use the product.)

The blog used to be dedicated to the image editor, but has been repurposed as a general The Shtick new blog. If I'd had such a blog earlier, there would probably be more. As it is, I will soon be adding a few news items regarding some of the projects I wish to make available.

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Category: The Shtick
Posted by: seanmcox
Over the break for Christ's Mass, (which I don't generally attend) I had a little to-do list that I made for myself. A few of the items on that list involved making updates to my image editor. Just before the break I discovered that Java had a docking toolbar component. (Why in the world did I not know that already?) So, the old get-in-the-way toolbar is now gone and there is now a nice docking toolbar. I had also mentioned something to some of my co-workers regarding a pixel counting algorithm I was using and they had some interesting suggestions for me on improving the performance. That improvement is now implemented.

I also set up my image editor to be have more memory accessible (to handle large images more reliably). That also had some co-worker input. However, there was some skepticism about whether or not the images should need so much memory. It doesn't seem that they should, but the image editor was choking nonetheless. After I got done with the changes above I sat down to consider packaging up the new version of the image editor.

*** Read the full version for a harrowing tale of Java memory management. (Alas... I wot well that no reader of mine programs in Java. 'tis, but in vain that I ply myself to write of my adventures.) ***

I'm hoping the next release will also contain other improvements as I am now very much in the mood to attack the image editor. Today, for example, I ran across (for the second time) some information on Java's new SplashScreen feature. (It can preload a splash screen and display it while the virtual machine is startg up.) I wasn't sure, originally, if it would work for me, but I took a closer look today and it seems to be flexible enough to suit my needs. That also, then, will be implemented in the new release.

I'm versioning it as 1.2 beta 1. I never really released 1.1, but it never was release ready. It needed better memory management and a config file to be really worth much public advertising. (And I need a suitable shopping cart to make it marketable.) Better, memory management is coming, however, and a config file would not be difficult in comparison.

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Category: The Shtick
Posted by: seanmcox
Well, I was gonna try to write a bit earlier today, but nucleus wasn't working.

You see, I had a little issue recently with file permissions in my website. A folder had gotten set so that all read/write/execute permission were removed from it, which effectively prevented me from doing anything with it. So, that needed to be fixed, and as it seemed I didn't have root access, that meant I had to email tech support. (No, this wasn't a nucleus folder. It was far more innocuous.)

So I email tech support and clearly indicate to them what my problem is. I tell them that I've tried changing the permissions back and that it's just not working. So, true to form, they read the words "file permissions" and ignored everything else I said. They replied with a worthless barely related response explaining what file permissions were and how to use chmod.

I should have seen that coming. I've almost never received an answer to my question after emailing once to website hosting tech support. It's like hoping to find an answer in the windows help file, fixing a device problem with windows automated troubleshooting, or finding a word I don't already know in the either of the two one-dollar dictionaries I have sitting on my shelf. (I'm generously supposing that there might be an unremembered incident where I was immediately helped.)

In any case, it was then time to flame tech support to promote the obtainment of actual result. I made sure to add a phrase of all-caps to add some spicy "YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT" flare. (That's not what I said, but that was the effect. The actual message was less colorful, but hopefully made them feel stupider, because apparently that's something they need to know needs improvement.)

That worked. Idiot tech support referred me to not such an idiot tech support. (The guys who can actually solve my problems, who I have now come to understand to be "just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous" tech support.) Not such an idiot tech support's first email informed me that the had reset the permissions on the folder in question. Yay!

So, today I wanted to blog. Jumping into the nucleus administrative page I was greeted with a big fat warning informing me that and installation file, "config.php", had permissions that allowed write access and that I either had to fix that or turn off the warning.

The problem was clear. There was only one way this was likely to have happened. Not such an idiot tech support hadn't just reset the permissions on the one folder; they'd reset the permissions on all the files in my entire site! Fortunately, nobody has write access to anything accept "owner", but nevertheless, I fear something else may have been disabled by this permission overhaul. (Generally they used a pretty secure and functional overall permission, but even if everything else is as fine as it seems to be, I've been caused to greatly desire repenting for the sweet thank you note I sent when I was told the problem was "fixed.")

I may have thunk,
that it were a skunk,
but I smile and say,
I still like today,
adventures and trouble,
shall triple and double,
but friends and their smiles,
bring ease to life's trials

I like my audience.

Fortunately I also had something to blog about today. (Otherwise, I would have blogged about how little I'm given to do at work, and possibly who uncommunicated some of my would-be assignments have been. That would have been as dull as it sounds.)

Nevertheless, perhaps tech support people should join phone sanitizers on an interstellar voyage to colonize a planet like Earth.

In other news, Ephraim is learning "nose", and "toes". (I even got him to imitate me pulling my hair today, so I may be starting him on "hair" soon.)

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Category: The Shtick
Posted by: seanmcox
I have a number of projects that I've been working on and I thought it would be worth giving a status report.
I have, briefly:

  • Quorum Secretary - A tool to manage home teaching and other data for an Elder's quorum.

  • The Shtick Image Editor - An image editor which is planned to be sold from my website.

  • Scripture Topical Guide - A scripture study tool.

  • castilloportraits.com - My father-in-law's artist website

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21/10: Domain Moved

Category: The Shtick
Posted by: seanmcox
www.smcox.com has finally been moved over to my new server. My blog can now be reached at the shorter URL: http://www.smcox.com/nucleus/.

For now, aside from my blog and a few other things, my site is largely a page informing web surfers of a new home for The Shtick. (The 404, "page not found", error does the same basic thing.)

When I find the time, I will be making a family website for www.smcox.com, but that will take at least a month. (I want at least a good solid month of people being redirected, quite visibly, to the new home of The Shtick.)

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