The end of August and September has been very busy. Working in the City of London during the day is both challenging and tiring. The good things about working in the Corporate world are they way they manage themselves, technology and customers. Every company I have worked at has been different with some far better than others. Where I am now is probably one of the better companies to work at but a lot of it boils down to having a good people manager who keeps a level head. I was asked by my partner the other day why I chose not to become a manager and it was a simple response. Technical staff are by and large the last people to go unless the whole department gets out-sourced.
Having a hobby writing code is fun and rewarding even if I do not sell anything. Like an artist, it nice to create something out of nothing. Unlike the old days when we created programs in machine code, it’s a lot easier now to develop applications as you have excellent tools available like Visual Studio, Mono, XOJO or Java.
In my August thoughts post, I was going to commit to a new project in September and its almost at an end. I had planned to start on a project with someone to write a monitoring solution for IBM WebSphere MQ but decided to shelve that for now as we are both strong personalities and I was not happy with the initial design. If I love the design, I will happily code away but if I think the design is not right or the technology used is not right then its like making me walk on glass. The whole experience will be painful and no fun. Its probably why I like to create my own projects and work alone these days.
Every now and again, old friends, work colleagues or family ask me what new things I have purchased as I have spent most of my life a technology sucker. Until a few years ago, if it was the new best thing, I purchased it. Blackberry phones, yes. Windows phones, yes. Windows mobile 6 and earlier phones, yes. I had some awesome laptops and phones over the years but most of the time I felt they just had that something missing. This year, I have an iPhone XS Max, Apple watch series 5 and a Galaxy Note 9+ for backup. I have several ThinkPad and Apple laptops. On my desk I have a 5K iMac (beautiful) and a Lenovo ThinkPad P70. Laptops for programming on the go include ThinkPad X1 Carbon 1st Gen (I sold a 4th Gen X1 last year and regret it), ThinkPad T460 (really nice), MacBook Pro 13 2013, MacBook Pro 17 2010, ThinkPad X260. Lots of older ThinkPad’s in storage. Why so many ThinkPad’s people ask, well, I love the mouse nub and can’t get on with the mouse pad on laptops in general. I will purchase a Microsoft Surface Book 2 or 3 (out in October) as the surface book is a wonderful small laptop and great for email and WordPress.
I have decided to configure some of my laptops for specific projects. The 1st Gen X1 Carbon is running Windows 7 with Visual Studio 2008 and working on a project called MediaLibrary. MediaLibrary was a project I stopped in 2017 when went through a divorce. Now I am settled in my new life, its nice to pick this up again. It’s a library a .Net programmer can use to store information for Playlist and tracks like in iTunes or on an iPod. I will have a video on YouTube when its ready. I should have this project up for sale in October 2019. I am writing the documentation and need to put it through more testing. Not sure if I should just make it .NET 4.0 and minimum project version for VS2010. Probably have both frameworks supported.
With Windows 7 usage about 16% and Windows 10 around 60%, is it worth creating apps that are tested on Windows XP and Windows 8? Is it time to just jump on the Windows 10 only bandwagon? For now I will follow the Microsoft support cycle on OS versions.
With regard to the software released as free or coffee ware on FitzSoft, I may add usage option or survey to ask the user to send back to me what OS they want my software running on. It would cut down on testing time if I could reduce the number of operating systems supported. Or I just may add a simple survey on the web site.
That good old VB6 again…. If Microsoft can open source WinForms, why can’t they open source visual basic 6. I would probably say its all down to ActiveX and the DLL hell that produced (or people may drop .net 😊 ). A new version 7 auto could generate manifest files for each dll and the running exe can read and load into a virtual memory space. Also add true colour and Unicode support and people will drop .net and flock back. I really don’t want to let go old the old lady VB6 but having to factor in HIGH DPI support in future, I will have to march forward writing apps in .net.
The new project….. This is still being decided. One thought is to create new versions of iDump/iDumpPro which would be Version 2020 or 5.0 depending on how I want to go with versions in future. There are some good apps out there now that read and write to iTunes and iPhone/iPads that mean the amount of work required to match them will be immense. I only have a couple hours a day at best to work on my own projects. bcPodNanny and bcPhoneNanny are freeware from FitzSoft and they copy music from iPods or iPhone/iPad etc so is it worth re-inventing the wheel?
Along with MediaLibrary.NET, I have taken SimpleAudioConverter and renamed the project to fsAudio and will do a new video for YouTube when its ready. Formats supported are now: MP3, MP2, OGG, OPUS, WAV, WMA, AAC, AACPlus, ACM, W64, AIFF, AU, PAF, SVX, NIST, VOC, IRCAM, PVF, CAF, FLAC, RAW. You can copy and convert music from Folder, iPod & CD. Although iOS is not supported, it may get added in a future release. I may also in future add recording from stream casts/Internet Radio.
Back in the day I had created B4FtpServer and PlatinumFTP client and server. Built in scripting engines and task schedular, it was a good piece of software. Due to pressures in life (2 jobs and baby) I had to stop selling and support the product. Looking back through the manuals I had printed for these; I get that classic nostalgia feeling as these projects were fun to work on. I am going to rewrite PlatinumFtp Server and client in the next year. I may even do a YouTube video series comparing the old version and building the new version. It will be fun to look back in 10 years.
Last night I had a dream…. As I am using a number of laptops and need to sync or copy files between them, I had a dream that I have created a command called fsCopy. fsCopy was installed on each machine and it was used from the command line with switches. It could wildcard copy directories including subdirectories, send encrypted, specify user and password. As I use Linux every day at work, I would compare it with the SCP command but fsCopy had lots of additional features. I will add this to my list and may even make it the next project as I need such a tool.
That’s all for this month. Who knows, next month may be different although work will be crazy busy, it may just be a minor update.