Minecraft Lag

Minecraft was lagging after about five minutes of play. On my netbook, I expect that. It has a single processor. On my work laptop for lunch breaks and company outings, sure. Integrated graphics. On my quad i7 with hyperthreading, 8GB of RAM and a graphics card that was new when I built this thing a year and a half ago? Fuck no. I will not lower my graphics to “fast” or change render distance from “very far” because I can play Skyrim with almost all the pretty graphics turned all the way up. Minecraft has a lot of blocks to load, but if it didnt have issues 6 months ago, I don’t see why it should now.

Well, to make a long story short, when I went to java.com and told it to update me, it kept giving me Java 6 update 31 as opposed to java 7 update whatever. Java 6? Lag. Java 7? Works great.

You know, I’m sure this information is out there somewhere, but I sure as heck didn’t find it. I figured Java.com would have the newest stuff.

iOS 5 and xcode 4.2 woes.

I’ve been working on programming for iOS for almost two weeks. I have accomplished, in my opinion, nothing. Well, I did manage to spend two days on the first tutorial due to a mess-up where the UI didn’t connect to the code properly. I can’t find any description on how do effectively connect them. Probably because this isn’t Visual Basic (which I haven’t done in five years) and I haven’t done very much GUI programming outside of VB.

The idea, at one point, was to follow tutorials to get the hang of it. I know so many programming languages they all meld together, so this should be easy, right?

Yeah but most of my programming was done on notepad++ (until it started crashing every time I wanted to start it). Apple has xcode 4.2, which is much more complex. The main issue is that iOS 5 and xcode 4.2 just came out on October 12. Yeah. There is nothing out there to explain to me how this works in this new environment. There is no “Window-based Application” option. When I make it with an empty application and add an xib file, the xib file isn’t connected to anything and I have no idea how to connect it. When I made a one-view application, it has a storyboard instead of an xib file and I somehow can’t make them behave the same. I can’t find similar options in how to treat the two.

The only thing I accomplished, besides getting the “Your first iPhone application” tutorial to run, was to map a slider and a progress bar together. Everything else I do, I run into issues connecting the UI and the backend code and I don’t know why. I’d like to do tutorials for what I have, the new stuff, instead of downloading xcode 4.1, but see… beside that first tutorial I did, Apple has no tutorials for this either. Okay, so it isn’t even a month old and it turns out they messed up the OS anyway. STILL.

I mean, part of me thinks that I’m dumb, the other part just hates Apple. I don’t think I can do this anymore, and telling my boss that I can’t do something that he saw a 7 year old doing in a youtube video won’t be easy either.

Software Demo CD

So apparently our software demo CDs don’t work for all our clients. Of course, we don’t hear back from everyone. God forbid anyone gives us feedback, but I think my two years at a college IT department and my four months here should really have solidified that hope as “lost” by now, but apparently I still have hope. Silly me.

I’m not sure what the original issue was, exactly. All I know is that the problem got dumped on me at some point after my coworker got tired of it, with the directions of “find a way to make it work.”

Now, what we had was a powerpoint presentation that autoran. You navigate through, read stuff, and there are “buttons” that you click to view video demos. The video demos are actually EXE files, probably for compatibility or whatever. I don’t know; the original discs were made sometime between 2006 and 2008. The issue I got was that the videos wouldn’t play and my coworker couldn’t get it updated to work properly at all. Nothing ran right when I got it. It autoran an html page where you click the powerpoint, it downloads, and then it can’t play the videos/exe files that give you a warning about how terribleawful it is if you play these sketchy exe files.

The first solution was to make it a tiny website, but I didn’t. It just didn’t work the way I wanted it to, so I gave up. I asked about DVDs; logically a DVD would be great. Sadly, it would need a lot of menus, and I couldn’t even find something that made menus the way I wanted them. Worse, my boss doesn’t think many of our clients would HAVE dvd drives in their computers. As my friend Matt said, “what, do they run DOS too?” (The answer is “that is a distinct possibility.”)

I went back to powerpoint eventually. PP 2010 does the “powerpoint for CD” thing differently than past versions…. based on what the Internet told me. It seems less versatile now. But! But I did see that instead of writing directly to the disc, you can have it toss everything into a folder. This allows me to fix all sorts of annoying issues.

First: change the format from pptx to ppsx. See, when I autorun this powerpoint, I don’t want it to open up the powerpoint software. That stupid edit mode! No! But that’s what Powerpoint Show files are for. It just opens it up like you pressed F5 to play the powerpoint and everyone is happy.

Second: Change the autorun.inf file. I changed it to point at the new ppsx file instead of that stupid html file that powerpoint thinks I should use.

That almost makes it work the way it should! But, well, exe files. For some reason, they only work if you open them first, and of course, there’s the security warning because it’s an exe file. I came up with the idea of just putting some other file format in the place of those stupid exe files, so I toss in a wmv, burn the CD, and give it to someone else. (The exe files always worked fine on my computer, but nobody else’s machine.) The WMV works! Yay!

So now my job is to figure out which .avi files from when these things were recorded four years ago correspond to the stupid exe files. And really? They don’t. At all. I couldn’t find them. So in what I feel was a half insane move, I searched for “exe to video converter” and the answer was basically what I expected. “o lol” BUT! See, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t realize that an exe file could actually be a zip file. Which is weird, because the icon on those exe videos have a little icon that SAYS ZIP ON THEM. I never even thought “This says it’s a zip. I should unzip it.” I do unzip the files and look! Each one contains an avi file and some tiny video player.

It was the happiest thing that happened to me this week.

I remake the powerpoint so it points to the avi files instead, and bring it to one of my coworkers. Well, it didn’t work. First of all, avi files just don’t seem to work right in Windows 7 with Windows Media Player. It doesn’t play video, just sound. I don’t know why and I don’t care because I can’t expect clients to install anything on their machines. The files also don’t open…. so hey, I’m going to try wmv. I’d rather mp4, but camtasia studio doesn’t have that option. Will this work? Fuck knows, I have about three files converted so far.

What I learned:

  • exe files can be zip files
  • I love you google
  • Who designed this powerpoint. My eyes are sad.
  • I can’t accomplish anything some mornings
  • Everything is broken.
Most importantly: DEMO CDS ARE HARD.
“Demo CDs” usually refer to music, so googling sucks. Very little software is meant for what I want to do. There are companies who will produce a demo CD for you. For money. After a long time. I have no idea why powerpoint doesn’t work the same way it used to, but there are ways around it.

Airports Are Weird: Advice Gathered for a Newbie Flyer (who is me)

I haven’t been on a plane before. Not once. People seem surprised by this, but I say “my family was lower middle class. McDonalds was a treat and our vacations were driving an hour away and sleeping in a tent. Then my mom’s boss gave us the first ever pop-up tent trailer to exist! That was cool. And by cool I mean ‘the canvas was filled with holes mice chewed in them.’ Anyway, you can shut up.”

Saturday will be my first time on a plane. I’m going to Atlanta! For work. Having never been on a plane, or in an airport, or near a (commercial flight) airport, I really have no idea what to expect. TV and news has given me a vague ideas about a lot of lines and body scanning and lines and running. Everyone runs through an airport because they’re late in the movies and on TV! I don’t plan on emulating them.

These long, pointless paragraphs lead me to what I’ve learned (and will be referencing until I’m back home): What I’ve been told to expect and what I’ve been told to do at an airport. The first things that I read, linked by my friend Matt, is this blog. It was a very useful read, and aimed directly at me! Awesome!

Here is my list of things that Matt, that blog, and my coworkers have told me:

  • Just put everything you don’t need on the flight in your checked baggage. You don’t want to end up having to carry around a bunch of heavy bullshit if you miss your flight.
  • Ticket counter does two things: checking baggage and getting your ticket
  • Make your checked baggage easy to identify by tying something colorful onto it
  • Wear easily removable shoes for the security line, and socks because the floor is gross.
  • Don’t step through the metal detector/scanner until security tells you to, even if it’s your turn.
  • NEVER leave your stuff unattended. TSA dislikes that.
  • Use the bathroom before boarding the plane.
  • Seat numbers are on the overhead compartments
  • Personal items go under the seat in front of you. Bigger items go in the overhead.
  • If you get on the plane last, you don’t have to sit on the plane as long! But also someone has probably taken your luggage spot.
This is what Matt says the process is like:
  • Arrive
  • Ticket counter (Check luggage and get ticket)
  • Go to security line.
  • Remove shoes and belts and metal and everything from your pockets. Except the boarding pass. Also be sure your ID is nearby the boarding pass.
  • Place removed items in a bin! They go through xray
  • Go through metal detector/that creepy machine everyone talks about
  • Get your shit from the bin
  • Leave the screening area
  • Put on shoes
  • Find gate.
  • Chill out
  • They load by zone so don’t flip shit and line up before our zone is called. (Higher the number the later you get on the plane.)
  • Don’t rush off the plane when you land. It’s like a bus, but slower in some ways because it holds many more people and has many more safety procedures.
  • Follow signs to baggage claim and claim baggage
These are my coworker’s suggestions:

  • FOllow my lead and do whatever I tell you to do

ColdFusion setup minipost

There hasn’t been much in work or personal life that lends itself to a lesson. At least, not one that I can write out. I’m still not 100% sure what’s going on when I try to set up a ColdFusion server with IIS. I keep doing something wrong, and I’m not sure what. I do know that I need to install IIS first, obviously, followed by ColdFusion and then MS SQL Server afterwards. There is some option that ColdFusion needs (or maybe a security setting it can’t have) in IIS that I don’t know about yet. It seems like uninstalling IIS completely and making sure every option is checked (except in security, where just Windows and standard authentication are checked) makes it work.

I wish it was as simple as me forgetting ASP.NET or something, but it doesn’t seem to be.

Relearning why I never wanted to be a programmer

Checkboxes, when unchecked, don’t send with the form. It makes sense. Therefore, when updating the database if this box is checked or not, I need to be sure the form field exists on the sent page.

It’s fine though! ColdFusion has a function for that!

Wait a second…

This doesn't seem right

I kept looking, mostly using the ColdFusion 8 documentation, and I saw something: quotation marks. Bang boom add ’em in and it works. ColdFusion’s idea of what does and doesn’t need quotation marks is a little difficult after 4 years of programming in C, plus two before that when I programmed in Visual Basic. In my mind, form.formwhatever is a variable, not a string. Yeah, so it might have a string inside it, but we’re not checking for that, are we? We want to see if a variable exists, and variables don’t hang out inside quotation marks. That’s what strings do.

The lesson here, honestly, is pay attention to syntax. Just because it seems stupid doesn’t mean you can ignore it, so you should save yourself the hassle and make sure the syntax is correct.

View local website on iPad over ad-hoc network: the solution

Now, I addressed this issue yesterday. Today, it seems I have a solution of some sort. Let’s get this out.

The Problem:

  • Laptop/webserver containing our software is to be used for demonstration
  • No wireless connection at the demo locations
  • iPads need to connect to the same software that is on the laptop. This shows both how the software functions and adds a new selling point… if the iPads work.

You may or may not have read the last entry, but I had a number of problems getting this working. The big one for me was that it worked two weeks ago but doesn’t now and I have no idea why. I’m still guessing DHCP issues somewhere along the line, but that doesn’t matter much. I did find a solution.

The Solution: