The new version of Apple's xcode (2.2.1) is nearly a gigabyte. It also required me to join the Apple Developer Connection, which I suppose I can live with, but the download is irritating, particularly as a large section of it is Intel binaries, which I don't really need or want. I need the latest version because I want to add a feature (all will be revealed presently) to the newsreader Vienna, partially as a learning exercise and partly because I want the feature. My telecom will think I have gone mad.
Oddly, development stuff is not done by Software Update, even if you have installed the development tools.
From Apple, in their welcome email: "The Apple Developer Connection is here to support your success." Quite.
Robert Scoble (Microsoft's premier blogger, and a rather interesting innovation by that company which has traditionally been rather slow to pick up on new ideas) is promoting the site of a student who's asking for money to buy a mac. Tsk.
Also, his (Scoble's) blog runs on Wordpress.com, an open-source php-based platform. The whole thing is rather odd, really, though I do think it shows an improvement in Microsoft's handling of the rest of the world.
I was at the college CSC (Central Societies Committee, which runs college societies) AGM today. Nothing dramatically interesting, but at a vote on recognition for the new-ish Young Progressive Democrats society, I voted yes (I have a vote by virtue of being the treasurer of a society, or actually of two societies). Now, the Progressive Democrats is a rather economically right-wing political party; lower taxes, cut public services, privatise, deregulate. (Their leader, Tanaiste (vice-prime-minister) Mary Harney, who's also minister for health, is obese. I have no time for ironic political appointments). I personally don't agree with their policies, but there was no particular reason their society shouldn't be recognised; there are recognised societies attached to most of the other political parties, even disreputable ones like Sinn Fein, and the society itself seems to be doing fine. So I voted to recognise. This was the only vote with significant dissent, apparently mostly on the basis that the voters weren't keen on the party, rather than for any reason to do with the society's handling of itself. People were a bit surprised, afterwards, that I voted the way I did.
There was also the election of the CSC executive. Now, I had considered standing for this, out of interest, and because it would appear to be the step after 'society treasurer' in that organisation's cursus honorum, but when it comes to it, I'm not entirely sure what the CSC executive does, and I really wasn't too bothered. As it turns out, I'd likely not have got in anyway; I'm not dramatically well-known outside of the societies that I frequent, and a surprisingly large number of people stood; 18 for 8 places.
On a similar note, I am standing for treasurer of the LGBT society (I'm currently treasurer of the computer science society and the internet one). I'm up against at least two people (the current incumbent and a first year), so I may well not get it. Still, I'd like to try; I think I'd be reasonably good at it. It will also be interesting in that it'll be the first election I've ever stood in with significant competition. So slightly nervous about that.
The following is a brief guide to some of the features of Google's AdSense advertising programme for small publishers. Looking at AdSense recently, I realised it had become rather more complicated that at the beginning, when it was close to self-explanatory.
Some time ago, I wrote a series of programming tutorials. They enjoyed modest success, less, I think, because of my skill as a technical writer and teacher than because at the time one of them was the only tutorial on its subject. They were even used as a reference in some lecture slides from Imperial College London. I was chuffed, let me tell you!
Now, after they'd been around for a while, Google opened its AdSense platform to small publishers. Very small. As small as me, with my 100 or so hits a day, even. So I registered, and popped up a few ads, just to see what would happen, you understand. The first month was unremarkable; $4 or thereabouts. The second, ditto. Soon, though, things began to pick up, and I also started my reverse lyrics search engine (which appears to have been the first of its kind. Finally, the big day came. I accumulated $100, enough to receive a cheque! The cheque was a rather large affair, posted from New York, and in US currency, but I thought not on this as I brought it down to the bank. Money for nothing! Or at least money for something that I was doing anyway.
Getting started. You have to be over 18. Fill in the form on the Adsense page, giving them a URL you plan to use AdSense at. Once you're approved, you can use AdSense on any page that conforms to the acceptable usage policy. Wait for a few days, and they should tell you that you're in. If you're signing up, why not use the button below? It doesn't effect your usage at all, but I may make something for referring you :)
If you're using a blogging service or app and don't fancy messing with templates yourself, you should check with your vendor; many blogging systems have some sort of AdSense integration.
Now, other things. You can put a Google search box on your site; if users use it and click the ads you get paid. You can also refer people to AdSense (my box above does that) and to AdWords, the ad purchasing system. Finally, and bizarrely, you can refer people to Google's custom Firefox distribution. I've never had much luck with ANY of these; your milage may vary.
When creating ad units to put on your page, you get to choose colours, size and shape, and also channel. You can create channels; you will be given statistics on each channel separately when you check your earnings. This is handy; if you want to trial whether an ad in a particular position on a particular page is making any money, just create a channel for it!
Now, it is, of course, tempting to click on your own ads, or get friends to do so for you. Google is quite good at catching people at this, though, and you forfeit any unpaid earnings if this happens, along with being kicked out of the programme. Very few people return. You are also forbidden from asking your visitors to click the links.
Problems. The single biggest problem is poor targeting of ads. If they are wrong, your visitor won't click. Unfortunately, any very high-earning keyword is likely to trump your actual content; if you mention mens' naughty bits, places of residence on the Iberian peninsula, usury, or a variety of pseudo-legal substances available on presentation of a bit of paper at Boots', those are likely to swamp your actual content.
Payment is handled by either cheque, or, nowadays, EFT. I'd recommend you set up EFT, if you live in a supported country. Just fill in your bank details, and verify the account, and AdSense revenue will start turning up in your account (assuming you accumulate more than $100). Cheques have come on a bit since I started; the Irish ones are now issued by Citibank Dublin, in euro. I was receiving a cheque every month until last month; I have now switched over to EFT.
So, is AdSense right for you? First off, for a corporate website, no. It's just silly. You're giving your competitors advertising space, and it makes your website look unprofessional. For a blog, in many cases, I think yes; it generally won't annoy your readers too much, and should help offset hosting costs. Ditto for most textual content, actually. Message boards are more complex; apparently, people just tend not to click. There are plugins for the big ones to insert AdSense masquerading as real posts, but to my mind it looks tacky and will annoy your users. Unless you have lots of traffic, you're not going to make a fortune on AdSense, but it'll often at least pay for hosting and the odd cup of coffee :)
If you have questions, feel free to ask them here, and I'll try to answer (if I know :) )
I've recently been using Pages, Apple's new(ish) word processor. Somewhat light on features, but quite quick and pretty, and certainly far ahead of the horrible ClarisWorks derived AppleWorks. One big problem. In Ireland we generally speak UK English. We spell 'colour' 'colour', not 'color' as our misguided westerly neighbours do. And it goes on! 'Organise', 'centre' and 'paediatrician'! No doubt any readers from across the ocean are shaking their heads in disgust and horror...
Now, my Mac knows it's in Ireland. It gets weather for Dublin (actually, by default it got weather for Cork; not sure about that one). It knows to go to the Irish version of Apple's online store. And the system spell-checker knows to use UK English. Safari does, so does Adium, and TextEdit, and myriad other lovely applications. But Apple iWorks doesn't. It goes right on with its crimes against language.
As it turns out, the solution lies in the 'International' pane of System Preferences. Simply click 'Edit List', and check the box beside 'British English'. There you go. Would have been simpler if they'd just based it on whatever the other spell checks are based on, but it's certainly better than being stuck writing in American pseudo-English. Why, before I knew it, I'd have been writing things like 'mom' and 'productize' and 'do it for jesus'!
When I was about 15 or 16, I was fat. (5'11", 85kg. I'm now 65kg). I'm now fairly skinny, I think. I attribute a lot of my current insecurities to that, though; I'm unable to think of myself as attractive, and constantly worry about my weight, setting a much higher standard for myself than for anyone else. My passport photo dates from then. I used to be extremely awkward about people seeing it, but was convinced to show it to people recently, and can now see the funny side, mostly.
Reference current-ish pic:
Not, mind you, that it really makes a difference, except I don't find it as hard to look in the mirror. No-one my age is attracted to me, though. Not entirely sure why. Suppose I must be ugly, and/or socially broken.
Headline: Boot Camp reveals that OSX is slower than Windows. Actual content: one particular computer game (World of Warcraft) runs faster on Windows on the MacBook Pro than on MacOS. As it was originally available and presumably designed for Windows, and is only recently available as a 'universal binary' (with 386 code), this is not really the amazing revelation that they seem to think it is, and is certainly a far cry from 'reveal(ing) that OSX is slower than Windows'. Whether it's stupidity, or just desire for a good headline, I'm not sure. The Inquirer is generally rather good, though some of its writers are somewhat illiterate.
Magnetic strip pass cards. Just like keys, except they don't work properly. Doors in college seem to have stopped accepting my one, so will have to go and get a new one. Very annoying. Also, they stop working, hopefully in the 'open' position, in fires and power cuts. A power cut in this damn place is highly disconcerting, incidentally; the whole room goes completely dark, and lights on the decommissioned Halon system control panel come on. Things beep. Outside, a noisy diesel generator comes on. And so on. Yuk.
Google Groups, inheritor of DejaNews, has added RSS feeds of USENET groups! Simply go to your favourite group, and click the little orange XML symbol cunningly hidden at the bottom. I have recently become an RSS addict, largely due to Vienna, a nice Mac RSS reader.
Ever need to quickly resize an image to fit on a blog or similar, but not have an appropriate tool handy? No? Well, I do - loading GIMP just to resize images seems overkill, and I sometimes want to put images on my blog while using other computers.
Anyway, I wrote this. Fairly primitive, but it can take an image from the web or by upload and resize it. Hopefully some people may find it handy. It's by no means a full online image editor, though I do plan to add more image editor-y features soon.
Posting stupidpictures and making fun of them is a time-honoured internet tradition, and I'm not going to be the first to break this charming and harmless custom.
So, have a terrifying recipe book from some time ago. Back in the days when nothing was so important to cookery photography as glisten. Can you imagine eating any of these things?
A display of bird life, killed and cooked, or possibly just painted. In the background, mad Uncle Fred cackles; his plan has come to fruition. A child looks on in confusion. Lady in pink pulls her face into a hideous rictus of a grin; she never should have accepted the invitation to dine.
This appears to be some sort of cake made out of salmon. And probably gelatin. They liked their gelatin in those days.
Can I press you to an artichoke with white goo? Or perhaps you'd prefer a thistle with a bee in it? Yes, that might be the safer choice.
That's a hedgehog made out of ham. Yes it is. It is to be served with toast.
What's this? Why, ham jelly, of course. What else? Served cold.
A stark warning on xeno-transplanation.
More may follow, depending on my levels of nausea.
For the last few months I've been using a UML system from Bytemark to host my web sites and email and so on. Though it was doing the job, it was beginning to become a bit overwhelmed. So last week I shifted to a rented dedicated server from Hosting365, in Dublin. A few teething problems, but up and running now. It has a 10mbit/s connection, with no transfer limit but a "reasonable use" clause. I'm not really pushing the envelope, for now.
So, if anyone wants any hosting, particularly hosting for odd things like Ruby on Rails or Java servlets, let me know (email@example.com, and I may be able to do it for cheap or free. Currently hosting this for a friend; nothing else as yet.
Sourceforge is a repository for open source software. You see a lot of links to Sourceforge downloads. These bring you to a mirror selection page. When you select a mirror, it immediately starts the download. This is irritating if you want to download the file to a different computer, through an ssh session or similar.
I wrote this to ease the process. If you give it one of the download selection urls as a parameter, it downloads the file directly. It's set to use my local mirror, HEANet. If you want to use a different one, modify it appropriately. Cheap and cheerful :)
Just rang guy I was kinda-sorta going out with and who I hadn't heard from in a week. Yep, he's lost interest. I do seem to drive people away, on the extremely rare occasion that anyone's interested :(
Would have been much simpler if he'd just told me in the first place, or even texted back when I asked, though. I was vaguely hoping his phone had died.
I blame my genetics; it'd be much simpler if I wasn't so fucking ugly.