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I've been thinking a lot at work. Today, this has been because one of our systems is as slow as all fuck, but also when I've been working with Excel and creating the tools I need to create the end-result.

I like tool creation, by the way. Often, it's reasonably simple, the end results are visible, and if you hook everything up for easy prototyping then you get feedback early and often. It feeds the little part of my brain that says 'I made this, and I can see it doing something cool'. This is as opposed to mainframe jobs that, while a fuck of a lot more impressive in scale, power, and (sometimes) the level of coding insanity, don't have any UI or meaningful feedback.

But I digress.

UI has been on my mind. Little things, like smartphone interfaces. One thing that bugs me about the Shiny! is the SMS interface. I've been using a Treo 600[0] for something close to two years now. The text interface enticed me to send texts, simply because it threaded. By which I mean that it sorted all texts by contact, and then displayed ingoing and outgoing messages by time, latest at the bottom.

In other words, it threaded texts like time-lapsed IM conversations. This I liked a lot.

Windows Mobile doesn't do that. It has a messaging app, that sees all messages as equal — it handles e-mail, texts, Outlook mailbox synch (ugh), and MMS. All these show in the same style — as a mailbox. This means that when you reply there's no obvious way to see the context of the message you're replying to, and it takes a few clicks to see sent messages rather than them all being on one screen.

In other words, SMS are e-mails sent to phone numbers, with a character limit. This I do not like at all.

A few other things bug me, like the Sym key iterating through symbols rather than the PalmOS' simple drop-down menu of symbols. Fewer button presses, but you can't see what you're getting before you get it. And a few other non-UI niggles, like there being no decent LJ client.

All of this makes me want to find an SDK and write some of my own apps. But the SDK requires Visual Studio[1][2] and learning new languages and API calls and other such shite that takes away time from the very important tasks of 1) writing, 2) video games, and 3) talking shit down the pub. Doubly so because I can't do it at work. Triply so because it's a big investment of time and cash to fix what amounts to a few silly design choices and will probably lead to nothing more than irritation and frustration. Bah.

On the other hand, it's a chance to use this icon again.

I've an idea brewing which builds on the New Awakening stuff I was writing up last year. More on that tomorrow, I think.

[0]: Which I could probably make a few notes from selling/giving to a worthy cause even if it is Orange-locked, let me know if you know of one.
[1]: Which probably should be a retail rather than warez version, and is ~£550. I think not, somehow.
[2]: And no, I am not confident enough to write the code without API docs. And language docs. And a proper IDE, with autocomplete and object model hierarchies coded in. Fuck off, but my first foray into useful .NET programming is not going to be written in Crimson Editor.



( 9 informants — We want information! )
Mar. 6th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Not seen spoke to you in ages. How would you feel about you and Jane being invited for dinner sometime?
Mar. 7th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
My personal feelings are summed up as "Mmm, food" along with chance to catch up.
Mar. 7th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
Ok then. I'll give you a ring sometime soon.
Mar. 6th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
Crimson editor is in fact my editor of choice for windows. If i know the language and library calls. Not for Java, with horrible object calls.

So yeah. um. It does indeed seem to much of a project.
Mar. 7th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC)
Crimson's a fucking good editor. I've put it on every 'Doze box I've used, and replaced the notepad executable with it. It does have one annoying memory leak, which just occasionally fires off and slurps all system resources, but it's infrequent enough that I like the editor.

But yeah. I'll keep looking. Worst comes to the worst I'll steal some software. Oh noez!!!1!
Mar. 7th, 2006 04:25 am (UTC)
Have you looked at the Visual Whatever Express stuff? I don't know if that has everything you need, but they are supposedly free versions of the IDEs and whatnot.

But I completely agree with you on tools authoring. It's pretty sweet to be able to code something useful start to finish in an afternoon.
Mar. 7th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)
The Express editions are interesting but ultimately useless - they don't have anything to do with the .NET compact component framework, which is (AFAICT from the MS webshite) required for Windows Mobile programming. Also, no documentation for anything above beginner/"hobbyist" level in the language. Even if there was an Express targetted to Mobile, I daresay it wouldn't cover hooking out SMS receipt API calls and so on.

Which is annoying.

Writing tools is great fun. I just wish I needed more tools. I can't think of anything much that I really need on a day-to-day basis, especially not for home use. Damnit, I need to code.
Mar. 8th, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)
Dang, man. Sorry about that.

Yeah, I started picking up Perl again and while I wasn't big on it when I first used it back in 2002 or so, I'm a big fan of it now that I've have some work experience. (Ironically, I'm not really supposed to use it, which is a source of bitching on my part. It just goes offends my sensibilities to write compiled code for what is only slightly sophisticated shell scripting.)
Mar. 8th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
Oh well. I'll just have to stealfind some software.

Perl is a fantastic language for glue and duct tape. I'm a big fan even though I know a lot of detractors, mostly because I love the things that they hate.
( 9 informants — We want information! )



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