Miscellaneous ephemera
  • 2017-06-15 — The WWDC is always such a disruptive week in the life of an iOS/Mac programmer. Still trying to organize how I'm going to start catching up on everything.
  • 2017-06-14 — I have to make these articles look better on iOS devices. I hear it's all the rage these days.
  • 2015-12-18 — Doug suggested I start blogging again about the progress I'm making on BookHabit lately, and I may just do it. It just might happen.
Today I decided to go thru the modest collection of EZ-135 and Zip-100 drives that I still have. Yesterday's work getting the PowerMac G4 on a clean copy of Tiger made this relatively easy to attack, but it was still surprisingly slow and aggravating. There's a reason this old machine had a hardware reset button that would instantly reboot the machine whenever you needed it, and I must've poked it a dozen times today. And then there are the other two or three dozen times I used the software reboot. [Read more…]
(in Computers)
I'm in the middle of a backup project to (hopefully) end all backup projects. I noticed at one point this spring that you could buy a 6T drive for 0. This is enough room for me to fit all the backups of all other backups on this one drive, and I could then back that backup on my other previous backup drives. This is not a mentally healthy activity, except that it's making me finally get rid of this neurotic wonder I have about what things I do and do not have backed up over the last several decades of computer use.

There are many ridiculous details to this journey, but I'll just mention one here: How I finally got all my 3.5" disks backed up. [Read more…]
(in Computers)
Fri, Apr 15, 2016, 3:38am Ray Tracing à la Metal
So, a couple of days ago, I was feelin' pretty suave getting the ray tracing going in pure Swifty goodness. But I could not resist the allure of the GPU. I decided to stalk the illusive beast known as Metal. And that's kinda what it felt like. I did not jump right in and start coding it up, since I have but a modest idea what's going on in Metal, apart from aping Apple's example code, and transliterating some OpenCL code, earlier in the year. For me the troubles were about how to paint on a texture and to understand the ins and outs of the Metal Shading Language.

For those just wanting to know if it was worth it: The same 1600x800 scene and over 480 reflective objects, went from 702 seconds in the pure Swift version down to 14 seconds! Roughly a 50x speed improvement. That is racing a 12-core Xeon with hyperthreading against a D700 graphics card. Well worth the time invested to compare. [Read more…]
Tue, Apr 12, 2016, 10:28pm Ray Tracing à la Swift
Recently, after a big work push, I needed a break. Something else to work on for fun. While asking around if there was a Slack domain that specifically tried to gather people together interested in doing graphics and GPU programming, I decided to just start it and see if it could draw any interest. The group is called Cocoa3d (email me if you'd like an invite), targeting any kind of use for GPUs on Apple devices, also including gaming in general. A bunch of really great people joined and we started talking about various projects people were up to. [Read more…]
Thu, Jan 28, 2016, 2:37pm Displays, Spaces, and Workspaces
I have a multi-monitor desktop setup, as many programmers do, 3 in my case (two apple thunders and one dell 4k in portrait). I use spaces extensively as a regular way of working. I usually have several Xcode projects going for various clients and my own stuff, as well as other projects using other editors and a lot of Terminal windows. Each Xcode project probably has anywhere from 3 to 8 windows open, each usually with a few tabs. Naturally I spread them across the displays as is convenient. (I love the portrait 4k monitor to have one luxurious long view of my main coding window.) [Read more…]
(in Computers » Mac » OS X)
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 7:24pm New Server Home
All my domains (said like a monarch) were down for about a week or so, but I have finally found a new server home and still getting things configured. Looking at their sorry shape, it is also making me think that they could use some love. Ideas? What about your old websites? Still keeping them up? Moving on to just having your online presence being on "social media"? (Hey, weren't blogs supposed to be social media?) [Read more…]
(in Blogging)
Sat, Jul 12, 2014, 1:56am A Big Year for Programming
So 2014 has turned into an unexpectedly big year for programming for me. As an Apple developer, it's obviously been affected by Swift's arrival, but I was already in the middle of a lot of new projects, making for a crowded learning schedule. I've sort of grouped them into different areas: scientific, functional, parallel and Mac/iOS-related.

And I'm dabbling with going back to blogging. If you find this interesting and are reading, thanks! I'll try to keep things interesting. [Read more…]
(6 comments, in Programming)