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The Banana Peel
My Sentiments Exactly 
Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 4:18 AM
As a Mac fanboy, this Joy of Tech comic reflects my feelings and anxieties about Leopard dead-on!

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Ultima III, IV, & V on the Macintosh 
Tuesday, September 18, 2007, 5:43 AM
Do you remember the Ultima series of D&D-style video games?

I remember playing Ultima III, IV, and V in the 80s and 90s. They were awesome in their day. Many of my youthful late night hours were spent sitting in front of my Apple II+ hacking and slashing away.

Fast forward to 2007. I know for a few years now about a shareware re-creation of Ultima III that was actually sanctioned by Lord British. But then, I came across xu4, an open-source project that has made the original game run on modern operating systems. Furthermore, I also found Ultima V: Lazarus, another open-source project that has re-recreated the Ultima V game using the Dungeon Siege engine.

Now, while xu4 is faithful to the original, right down to the graphics and sound, Lazarus is not due to the use of a 3D engine as well as several other factors that you can read about here.

I don't have Dungeon Siege, so I cannot check it out. However, I was able to run xu4 on my PowerPC Mac w/ 10.4.10 installed without issues. And boy did it bring back memories!

Check it out for yoursevles!
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Is Microsoft's Antitrust Pains w/ the EU My Gain? 
Tuesday, September 18, 2007, 4:02 AM
I've been following Microsoft's dealings w/ the EU antitrust courts for a while now, and where the company seemed to have prevailed in the U.S., it is running into a much tougher stance in Europe.

While a part of me wants to shout w/ glee and say that Microsoft is getting its due in a different court system, I do wonder, though, if the Europeans have a bias against American companies in general.

I mean, it's not just Microsoft that's having issues, but Apple also, and maybe others I have not read about....

Your thoughts?
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No ICloenable<T> in .NET Framework 2.0 
Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 4:28 AM
I just realized that I needed to implement the ICloneable interface in one of the classes I wrote for work, only to find out that there is no generic-enabled ICloneable<T> equivalent in .NET Framework 2.0. So I whipped one up for myself.

It's such a useful little interface, wonder why the .NET Framework architects didn't think to include it.

I looked into the documentation for Framework 3.0, and it appears to absent there as well. Hmm....
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Vim, My New Ruby on Rails Editor 
Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 3:15 AM
Back when I computed on green-screen terminals running VT100 emulation connected via telnet to Unix systems, just about everyone used vi. I think some people used emacs, but I liked vi's simplicity and usability.

Now, some years later, I have bought and drank the IDE kool-aid. I use Apple's Xcode to support Freeciv on the Mac, Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 to support my day job as a C#/ASP.NET developer, and Eclipse + Aptana to dabble in Ruby on Rails in my spare time.

However, I finally got fed up with Eclipse's speed on my not-so-recent Mac (alright, it's actually ancient by computing standards) that serves three masters: myself and two other family members.

So I took inventory of the features I relied on when I used Eclipse, and I went about searching for a speedier and equally priced replacement. Lo and behold, I came cross the Vim editor, which is not only a much improved version of the old vi editor I, but it also supports a large array of scripts that can be easily downloaded and installed to enhance and extend vim.

After some experimentation, I settled on the following setup:
  • - GUI version of vim, installed via MacPorts
  • vim - Command-line version, installed via MacPorts
  • rails.vim - Ruby on Rails: easy file navigation, enhanced syntax highlighting, and more
  • genutils.vim - Enables extra functionality in rails.vim
  • vividchalk.vim - Color scheme strangely reminiscent of Vibrant Ink for a certain OS X editor
The following table gives you an idea of the features in Eclipse that I relied on, and how I am coping with vim:

Feature Eclipse Vim
Syntax highlighting Yes Yes
Auto-insertion of keywords, symbols, & markup tags Yes No
Hierarchical view of Rails application directory structure Yes No, but I can get there using the Finder or Terminal
Integration with Subversion Yes Yes, with the use of another script, but I found it clumsy, so I reverted to using svn via the command-line
Class outline Yes No, but a quick text search suffices for now

As you can see, I am doing pretty well. For a little extra typing, I gain development speed plus a much smaller CPU footprint. I'll buy that for ... hey, it's free!

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