What *I* did on my summer vacation

Been a while, eh?

First, in the grand tradition that Siracusa started, follow-up. Despite setting a calendar reminder, I forgot about .moe domain registration day and lost the one domain I would have been tempted to buy: moemoe.moe. (There’s nothing there, yet, but maybe someday.)

After TextDrive sank into the abyss, I set up my email and web hosting on a $5/month VPS from DigitalOcean. I still have no complaints; my little server has served (ehehe) me well. [I have to write this now, because I’ll probably try—and blow—upgrading from Ubuntu 12.04 to 14.04 sometime soon.]

I’m surprised by how privacy-conscious I’ve become, in the wake of both the NSA and the more general realization of just how much data companies can collect these days. I’m using far less Dropbox and far more Bittorrent Sync… and I’ll probably switch from that to SyncThing, once that hits 1.0. (That said, I’m not under any illusions that my data is secure or private—but maybe people will have to work a little bit, and their reward will only be my data.)

As far as where I’ve spent my time so far, this year: I’m pretty good at wasting my life. My job continues as ever, despite some truly dark days around the turn of the year. I’ve begun exercising again, after some random pain encouraged me to stop, and Marin and I are slowly working through our backlog of recorded TV shows. (We’re now halfway through Person of Interest season 2. Season 3 ended this June.)

I just finished reading a book—my first of the year […]—and am working on my second. (Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): a great read, and highly recommended.) I don’t know why I don’t read more; I have a ton of really interesting books on my shelf.

I recently bought a TV mount, and so over the weekend Marin and I had the pleasure of manhandling a heavy, expensive, holy-crap-how-does-this-have-that-much-dust television. Once I get a couple longer cables, I think the thing will look downright snappy. (As an added bonus and/or primary motivator, my frickin’ heavy center speaker is no longer balanced on top of some spacer bricks, themselves balanced on top of a bookcase, behind the TV.)

At WWDC in June, Apple announced that they’re creating a new programming language called Swift. That’s thrilling news to me; I’ve never liked the look of Objective-C, and have always wanted to learn how to write programs for my Mac (and, more recently, iOS devices). (The closest I ever got was back in the days of Mac OS 8: I had code that would create a window, had a menubar, and employed an actual event loop… not especially impressive, but you have to consider that there wasn’t much of an internet back then.) I’ve been slowly working my way through Apple’s The Swift Programming Language text ever since.

The bulk of my non-wasted time, though, has been sunk into another Rails app that I’ve been hacking on since March. I thought it’d take a month or two, but feature creep has extended that—and I still have some annoying problems to face down, still. (Hence this post: procrastination at its finest!)


6 Responses to What *I* did on my summer vacation

  1. GreyDuck says:

    See, you have been busy!

    I joked on Twitter about picking up ‘flaming.moe’ but it’s not like I need YET ANOTHER domain I won’t use…

  2. Brent says:

    That was the main issue I had, too. Anything I did end up doing with it wouldn’t actually use the “moe” angle, so it’d be a waste.

    Oh, boo. “isso.moe” is also taken.

  3. Your Mac is a Unix system. There is a host of powerful, stable languages available for it. Any technical reasons for ignoring them in favor of Swift?

  4. Brent says:

    Recall, L89SM, that I’ve been a Mac user my entire life–native applications matter to me. I use and like Mac OS X and iOS, whereas I couldn’t give a shit about Android or Windows or some random Unix variant… so the new native language of OS X is naturally of interest.

    Besides, it’s not like I don’t know anything else; I’m still a two-bit Rails programmer, as well.

  5. L89SM says:

    I don’t discount platform preference or personal interest as good reasons to choose a language – the latter is why I learned brainfuck, a language undoubtedly far less useful than Swift. But that’s not what I’m asking about. I’m curious if you’ve identified any specific technical advantages of Swift that make it preferable to other languages available on OS X. Hypothetical examples:

    – Swift is the most powerful language available that gives me sufficiently easy access to the Objective C libraries I need for my project.
    – Swift makes it very easy to build GUI applications under OS X.
    – Swift is a very high level language like Python or Ruby that has far better integration with OS X.

  6. Brent says:

    I don’t think there are as many language possibilities out there as you think there are. Yes, you can write programs in Go or Lua or Java–but there’s no way any of those programs will ever be native to OS X. That “native” look and feel that’s so important to me is based primarily on the use of Apple’s Cocoa frameworks–which are written in Objective-C.

    Any alternative programming languages would need a bridge, then, as those Cocoa frameworks are that important. There have been a ton of bridges over the years (I recall Java and Ruby ones that were officially supported by Apple, briefly), but damn near all of them have been abandoned as time has passed. The one active bridge that I’m aware of today (given my fondness for Ruby) is RubyMotion… but choosing that over learning Swift would both cost more money and expose me to the significant risk of RubyMotion failing in the future.

    That leaves Swift (new hotness) and Objective-C (old and busted*), which for now is a matter of personal preference. It’s pretty clear which way the wind’s blowing, though.

    *not really, but I must completely my Men in Black II reference


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

powered by wordpress