Log in

Dec. 14th, 2007 @ 06:46 am hey, I wrote something (maybe not what you think)
I woke up one day a few weeks ago and decided I was missing something important. I started spending all my free time programming, and the more I did it the more I wanted to do it. I got sucked back into the feedback loop! I've burned off a lot of my life on various games and I can live with that, but I'm very happy that for whatever reason I want to do this now. Will the motivation hold up? I think it will - I broke through some critical resistance layer.

It's pretty intimidating when you've barely programmed in ten years to learn a brand-new language on an OS you've never programmed for, relying on libraries you've never seen, in a world that's come quite a distance since you got your degree. Oh, and I'd never written anything with a GUI before. Balancing all that is that today's tools completely kick the ass of the "vi and make" world I came out of (of course I had to learn the tools too) and I did dodge the worst pain of OSX programming by starting with leopard. Objective C 2.0 finally offers garbage collection (though if my console messages are any guide, there are GC bugs in the apple frameworks.)

I'd never seen objective c before this. It is a nifty little language. It's a superset of C, so any C code can be linked into an obj-c app unchanged, but there's a thin object/messaging layer on top of it that opens a ton of doors. Just about anything you want to be determined at runtime can be. Typing is optional. You can dynamically add methods at runtime - by runtime-determined name if you want. You can catch unrecognized messages and forward them to another object, and the runtime will make this transparent. You can add methods to unrelated classes that you don't control without even subclassing them, which means you can easily change the behavior of apple's built-in classes if you feel like it. You can tell any object to listen for property changes in any other object, and it will be notified when they take place, so there are wide-open communication channels that you don't have to plan in advance. I'm still wrapping my head around all the possibilities.

Of course it being C means your foot is available for frequent shooting, and key-value observing and other features make it easy to write programs where the flow control is impossible to figure out. But I guess all interesting languages make it easy to write code nobody can understand.

Point of all this is, I need some feedback. My software doesn't do anything too earth-shaking, but it scratched a personal itch - I've been waiting years for something that does this to come out for the mac. Actually I couldn't find any software for any OS that does it. Finally i got tired of waiting. The real purpose of it was to familiarize me with cocoa so I could do some iphone programming, and that mission is accomplished.

Before I can release it I have to figure out a hosting setup that doesn't go over my DSL. I opened an account at bodhost.com yesterday but they set me up with too old an OS. If I can't work things out there I'll have to try somewhere else. Can anyone personally recommend a reliable VPS provider that offers centos-5.1 or another linux dist released in 2007 as an OS choice? Only VPS will do, as I require total OS control but I don't want a dedicated machine.

I'll post a testing release for download as soon as I have the hosting problem solved. Yes, I know I didn't mention what it does. Allow me my mysteries. (Don't get too excited... though I admit I find it weirdly entertaining to watch it do its thing.)
About this Entry
Date:December 14th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
The vi & make world isn't entirely in the long, long ago just yet.

While cpan & yum have become my friend over the past 2 years, I'm still firmly entrenched in the vi world (the vim world really, but that's splitting hairs).

I will admit the UI products I build & maintain for my clients are a hastily cobbled together PHP monster that bleeds ajax & shits javascript (did the metaphor just get too graphic?) but the backend is some solid software that I'm quite proud of.

All running on Fedora or CentOS depending which datacenter you're talking about.
Date:December 14th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)

I use open hosting

(Permanent Link)
I use openhosting for some simple things (standard mail/web type stuff): http://openhosting.com/

I can't really comment with much authority on the reliability, but it's never been down when I've been looking (I don't monitor though and don't look very often) and my parents haven't complained that the grand child photos aren't working...

[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
I've been relatively pleased with Quantact for VPS. I started on a more expensive Xen slice but moved over to an OpenVZ slice because I needed more disk space (although I am finding certain memory-intense applications don't seem to work as well). I'm not sure about your OS freshness request, as I personally just use a Debian base and upgrade as needed, but the OpenVZ plan page lists:

* Fedora 3/4/5/6, Centos 4/5
* Debian 3.1/4.0
* Ubuntu 6.06
* Gentoo 2005 S1
* Slackware 10.1

One of the biggest reasons I have been sticking around there (other than inertia) is that the owner/admin is very accessible by email and willing to make an effort or give a decent explanation when I have requests or questions about the service.

Really though this comment is just an excuse for me to post something on topic and ask you if you could give us a LASIK status update now that a lot of time has passed. I'm still trying to collect as much anecdotal information as possible before deciding for myself.

[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
Short update: my eyes are still too dry all the time, though it's mitigated when I remember to take these every day, and my left eye vision has degraded to the point that I notice it frequently when using a computer. I can't seem to do anything about my left eye; I tried to get a lens for it but so far no lens makes it better, just a different kind of worse.

Despite all that I still might be glad I did it. It's beyond hard to compare having done it with not having done it. Is the sum of all the daily annoyance that I didn't experience greater than the annoyance now? I doubt it. If my vision gets much worse and I continue to have trouble correcting it, regrets will mount. Maybe technology will save me again ten years from now.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)

I suppose taking eyedrops daily is much better than putting in contacts or wearing glasses all day.

If you did find a lens for your left eye, would you wear a monocle? I would like to see those come back into style.

[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
I've been happy using Linode. They seem to keep their OS choices pretty up-to-date, with Ubuntu 7.10 and FC8, for instance, though not CentOS 5.1. The VPS implementation uses UML at the moment, but there's a Xen beta going as well now, I believe.
Date:December 14th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
Let me add a vote for Linode. I've been a happy customer for ~4 years. Chris Aker (the owner) is very responsive.

Steve, long-time lurker, first-time commenter.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
Whoa, garbage collection bugs? Inconceivable!
[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
i love coding. i've made so many things over the years. the last project is aerolith - and did this in Qt. Qt is one of the coolest toolkits i've ever come across. still, i'd like to learn how to program for the mac.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
Ive used tektonic.net a couple times when I didn't want to add another dedicated machine to the collective and have been re-impressed by their setup every time.

[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
It might be worth checking out Dreamhost. I've never used their virtual servers, but they started offering them a few months ago. I've used them for hosting for years, and they're pretty reliable, very responsive, and nice and cheap.

They're running Debian, but it looks like a late 2006 install on my machine. No idea what their VPS runs, but it's probably similar and may be more recent.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 14th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
root on your instance, real support, people who give a crap:


I have some more suggestions if you need more power or want to spend some cash. I used them for work, never any problems or unusual downtime. Please let me know if you need more details.
Date:January 8th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC)

welcome back

(Permanent Link)
Welcome back to geekdom paulp.

Regarding hosting, your best bet is to use the worlds largest computer system as your ISP and stop wasting time being your own sysadmin. ie: google.com =)

Assuming you are going to open source your work, you can throw your source code up on code.google.com. If you want a website, create a new blog on blogger.com and customize the template. If you want to allow people to discus things in groups use groups.google.com.

Oh and if you are really gun ho about hosting your own shit instead of using all those nice google resources, you want ubuntu, not centos.