Friday, July 27, 2007

Arkonoid Game on the iPhone?

Somewhere I found after fishing around on the internet, an Arkonoid clone done completely in DHTML. Although not perfect, this game by Scott Schiller I consider it well done.

I did notice that the game did not work in IE6. I haven't tested it in IE7 yet. It worked fine in FireFox and Safari running on a Windows XP box.

And, what I'm really trying to get to is it runs on an iPhone (sort-of). Scott mentions that he modified the game to work on the iPhone (sort-of), so, Wednesday night after dinner, I bid my wife ado and went off to the Apple store at the Oakbrook Centre. In my pocket written on a yellow index card was the URL listed above. I entered the URL into an iPhone there and tried out the game. Below are a few comments I have regarding it:

  • First some positive things... The game is playable, unlike the one I'm working on. But bearly so. More on this later.

  • The ball / paddle speed in the game is good. I have a ball and paddle in my game but they move much too slow on the iPhone.

  • The graphics for the game (on the iPhone or in a regular web browser) is very sharp and professional looking.

  • Despite self-effacing comments at the top of the main Javascript file, I think the coding is pretty well documented (not perfect but still pretty good). There is alot here that a Javascript developer can learn from.

  • Now the negative... I had to do the finger-pinch (or is it unpinch) move to zoom the page big enough to play the game.

  • The button to start the game is way too small for iPhone usage. I had to zoom the page even more just to get it so I could barely press it will my finger without pressing buttons on either side.

  • The hack he implented for the iPhone is that you can press a spot on the x-axis to move the paddle to. You cannot slide the paddle back and forth. This works rather clunky.

I plan on studying the Javascript for this game. The main reason, I want to find out how Scott kept his game performance good even on the iPhone. I have some ideas on how to track paddle movement based on a post I read on the iPhoneWebDev Google group. I want to create a test event page more suitable to my needs and post it on Chomer.com. Then I will go to the Apple store again and try out my test page to collect more detailed event information. And, finally (I hope), I will update my game so that it actually works correctly!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

iPhone event handling frustration

I went with my wife on Friday evening to Oakbrook Centre to the Apple store and tapped in the URL for my iPhone game.
  • The game fits in the screen properly.
  • The game's attract mode worked pretty good, but it ran WAY slower than it did in the Safari browser on my PC at home.
  • Tapping the screen did start the game, but...
  • onmousemove did not work.

I've been scouring the internet looking for information on how to use the proper event handlers in Javascript to make it so the user can use his finger to move a paddle back and forth over the screen (this info is a little hint on the game I am working on). I've had very little luck so far.

As far as speed, I might be able to set the setTimeout timer value to a smaller value when running on an iPhone.

I'm somewhat stumped regarding the paddle control right now. Any ideas regarding how to do this in Javascript?

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Friday, July 20, 2007

iPhone Tech Talk in Chicago

Apple is going to have an iPhone Tech Talk in Chicago on August 28th this year. I work in Chicago so this is a great opportunity. I submitted a request to attend. I hope I get in! That would be a fun day. I think I can get the day off from my boss.

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The "World's Handsomest Man"

You might be wondering why the heading of my blog says:

Also known as "The World's Hansomest Man."

My wife Yvonne calls me that. I think it's going to my head!
She is such a joy. We've been married 5 years today.


Developing for the iPhone

Though I don't own one yet, I find this subject intriguing. A cool site that gets you off to a good start is: http://www.iphonewebdev.com/ Click on the Examples button. This is where there is some really good stuff!

It's a fun place to poke around. Yes, I am working on a game for the iPhone. It is well along it's way to completion. I'm initially testing it in Safari on an XP box. Once I think it is ready, I'm going to the Apple store to test it out on one of their showroom models.

What is the game? I'm not telling until it's done!

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Monday, July 16, 2007

iPhone First Impressions

Sunday evening my wife and I were at the mall. Ah! The Apple store. We went inside and I played around with an iPhone that they had tethered to the table. Here's a few comments that I'd like to make:
  • The fonts are pretty amazing, i.e. it's amazing what you can read even before you zoom in on a web page. I could read the page of the Movieland Directory without zooming (in landscape mode).
  • One bad thing, I seemed to have to press down rather hard to get it to register my touch.
  • The right edge of the display seemed less sensitive than the rest of the screen.

It could be that the iPhone I was playing with had gotten alot of abuse being on the "floor" so it might have been abit "beat up." Who knows! Still can't afford one now.


Using Blogger editing - Some Problems

First of all I've noticed that uploading pictures in IE7 does not work.
Next, if you insert pictures into a blog post, they end up inserted at the top of the blog, NOT where the insertion point is!

Suggested placing of pictures in a blog post:
  • Use IE6 or Firefox for the post.
  • Begin your post with some spaces, then move your insertion point somewhere in the middle (this makes editing easier later).
  • Before writing one word of your blog you should insert your pictures first, starting with the last picture to appear first.
  • Do one picture at a time to keep from getting confused.
  • Then add the text to your post.
  • To do some "fixing up" you may want to click on the Edit Html tab and edit there (assuming you are HTML literate).

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Grosse Point Lighthouse "photo walk"

My wife and I went to the Grosse Point light house in Evanston, Illinois on Saturday. It just so happens to be the place that I proposed to my wife! I like light houses. I had driven by this one many times without knowing it was even there!

One day I was looking through a book on lighthouses of the Great Lakes, and there it was. I know where that is! There on, it has become a favorite place for me to visit. The following pictures were taken with a simple Canon Powershot A70.

Walking over to the Lighthouse

On the left we are walking from our car over to the lighthouse. This shot is is facing East towards Sheridan Road which the lighthouse is on (on the other side of the street).

The Lighthouse Keepers House
Here is a shot from across Sheridan Road of the lighthouse keeper's house. The lighthouse itself is not really visible itself because of all the trees.

In Back: Passageway connnecting keeper's house to lighthouse
This is a nice shadey spot.

Sign about the Grosse Point Light Station
It's a National Historic Landmark.

Shot from front.
In this shot you can see the lighthouse towering overhead.

Lighthouse Wildflower Trail Garden.
There is a little garden in the back with a path that leads down to Lake Michigan.

A shot looking up at the tower (1).

A shot looking up at the tower (2).

Behind the lighthouse.
The building on the left used to house a large fog horn which was used to alert sailors when it was foggy and they couldn't see the lighthouse light. You can see some of the wildflower garden growing by the building.

Lake Michigan (1).
Looking over some bushes.

Lake Michigan (2).

Wildflower Garden.
The garden is small but nice.

Sand Dune.
Walking up this sandy path over the ridge will take you to the shore of Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan Beach, Swimmers and Life Guards.

Beach Volleyball Anyone?

The Lighthouse peaking over the Tree Tops.
This picture was shot from the beach.

Lighthouse tower.
Shot from the wildflower garden.

Scale model of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse keeper's quarters is now a small museum. Tours are $5 per adult during summer weekends.

Lighthouse keeper's uniform.
This thing is made out of wool! As a worker for the U.S. Government, a lighthouse keeper was supposed to wear this thing at all times when on duty. This includes hot summer days.

Stepping up into the top of the tower.
The light uses a 2nd order Fresnel lens (pronounced: "Frenel").

Lighting Gearbox.
The Grosse Point lighthouse has a white light with flashes of red in it. This gearbox would control the flashing of the red by moving a red piece of glass in from on the light approx every 15 seconds. It had to be wound up every two hours. A big weight in the hollow wall would cause it to run. Rewinding it pulled the weight back up.

Opening to the top from the staircase.
You have to watch your head when you come up these babies! By the way, there are over 100 steps.

View West from the top.

View North East from the top (1).

View North East from the top (2).

View East from the top.

Frenel lens.
Note that it can be over 100 degrees up here. Imagine wearing one of those wool uniforms!

Yvonne and myself posing for a picture.
My wife and I get someone to take our picture.

Another shot South East.

The Fresnel lense is easy to scratch.... don't touch!

The Bahai Temple off in the distance.
Unusual building that resides in Wilmette Illinois.

One more view South West.

It was a lovely day.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

TMD Update

I spent a bit more time working on the Movieland Directory version 2.0 last night. A few minutes only. I thought it was interesting that after making my last post about my work on the site, Tony told me that the unique visits went up. Just for your information, the work I'm doing now for the new version is not on our web host. I'm initially doing all the work on a ColdFusion Developer web server running on my PC at home. So, the link above will take you to the live production version of the Movieland Directory, not to the new version 2.0 version.

There will be a beta at some point. But it is way too early right now to be thinking of that. Sadly, I can't work on it "full time." And even if I could, I would probably be too restless to do so.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Inching forward on the Movieland Directory 2.0

I spent maybe 15 minutes working on version 2.0 of TMD last night. I got quite abit done for 15 minutes of work. If I would just put in some real time on this project, I might be done by now and people might be awe-struck at how cool it is!


Oracle Invalid Character Error, ColdFusion and a semicolon

I faced and solved a real puzzle at work today. Hopefully the following will help someone. First, let's layout the scenario:
  • I have ColdFusion MX running locally on my PC.
  • I have a version of a web site running there that uses a DSN to a development Oracle database.
  • Running the application on the local server, everything works fine.
  • I moved all the code to the actual "development" server. This server is hosted internally by our company.
  • I run through the same steps on this server as my local server.
  • I get an Oracle "Invalid Character" error. The web page displays the SQL that it was trying to execute.
  • When I look at the SQL, it looks ok to me. There is nothing like a missing comma, or a single tick mark in between any other tick marks, or any such thing.
  • I paste the SQL into TOAD and run it. Argggh! It works fine!

To Summarize:

  • I'm doing the same thing on two ColdFusion MX web servers.
  • Both are running the same ColdFusion code.
  • Both are accessing the same Oracle database instance.
  • Both are running the same SQL.
  • On one environment it works, on the other it fails.
  • Run the SQL that fails on the one web server in TOAD and it works fine.

The Issue and Solution:
The SQL was not multiple statements run between a BEGIN and END statement. It was just a single SQL statement. But it ended with a semicolon!

When running several SQL statements at one time, you put a BEGIN at the front and an END at the end and you seperate things by semicolons. The semicolons are needed in this case. But when running one statement alone, it is not. And though however my PC was set up allowed the semicolon to be there, on the other server it did not!

To fix the problem I removed the semicolon at the end of the SQL. Now it runs on the main dev server as well as my localhost web server running on my PC. This was abit tricky!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Well, today the wife goes back to her job as an occupational therapist. I'm so proud of her! By the way, she calls me the "handsomest man in the world." I think it goes to my head sometimes!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Movieland Directory Coding

Spent some more time working on new version of the Movieland Directory last night. I'm still trying to figure out some navigation issues with the new design. I have a desire for the BACK and FORWARD browser buttons to work properly, coupled with the code not getting too complicated!

A day or two ago my code had seperate headers and footers on each page that is designed to be search engine friendly. Not too efficient! Last night I created ColdFusion functions to generate these. I've added them to two of the pages. I have a few more to do. The footer includes a link that can be clicked to validate the HTML on the page. I plan on posting these pages in an obscure directory on our web host for testing. This testing isn't really even the main functionality of the new site. The main point here is that:
  • The HTML is properly formed.
  • The HTML and content is search engine friendly.

After this part is done, the next things I want to do are:

  • Have the initial navigation start code will be added.
  • Add javascript code that loads initial user interface.
  • Change style sheets to hide Raw HTML (which I mention above). This HTML and it's content is going to be for the benefit of search engines only. The content will describe in a textual way what the actual content is in the Real interface!


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Movieland Directory Update

Our web host found some more problems that had slipped my notice for the production environment of the Movieland Directory. I got those problems fixed yesterday.

Also spent time working on the new improved version of the Movieland Directory. Not alot of time, but some time.

I tried getting Visual Interdev 6 to work with IE7 on my PC at home but to no avail. I wish that I had not been so quick to install IE7.

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Happy 231 America!

Well we just got done celebrating the 4th of July. My wife and I figured out that the country is now 231 years old. The the United States has many flaws, I still thank God that I live here. The freedoms and opportunities we have here are unparalleled.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

video.Maru and polygeek.com weirdness

Robert Scroble of Scrobleizer.com had a post about this web site where Dan Florio provides all these custom flash video interfaces for people to look at/use. The link in his blog post to you to the following URL:

I've been thinking about a video interface on the Movieland Directory, I've been looking around for information on this so naturally I was interested.

Well, I went there and I went, "Where's the content?" The headings are there, the side bar navigation is there, the comment posting at the bottom of the page is there... but where is the content? I went to different pages on the site and they were all the same!

Below is a composite image of the video.Maru page (I did not include all the user posted comments at the bottom):

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Monday, July 02, 2007

It's been a long time since I've posted something on this blog! It might be another long time before I do so again!

I'm cold, my brain is numb.