working beyond familiar boundaries

The rubber ducky photo is courtesy of the iPhone 7 Plus, its dual lens camera, and the built-in Apple app. Using the app I selected the the short telephoto, square aspect ratio, HDR, and Instant live photo filter. 

That ducky has been in this house since my oldest adult daughter was two. Out of respect for her I won’t say how long I’ve had it.

I was attempting to write this entire post using the WordPress iOS app on the iPhone and the Microsoft folding portable Bluetooth keyboard. This isn’t the first time I’ve used or written about the keyboard. The problem is I’ve rarely used the keyboard/iPhone combination, far less than I originally intended. I bought that keyboard so that I could write just about any time, anywhere. We can all see how that turned out…

Unfortunately when I sat down tonight to try and use it, the WordPress app was rather uncooperative. It let me select my lovely rubber ducky photo and upload it to my blog, even associating it with the initial start of the entry. But when I attempted to try and write anything, the app seemed to think I wanted to modify the photo. In the end the entry just “went away” from me, and I couldn’t tell using the iOS app on the iPhone if the entry had gone to the draft side of things, or if it had just simply been deleted. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you view this, it had gone off to become a draft. The only way to continue to edit it was to open up my WordPress blog using the web-based view in Chrome on my MBP.

I have several entries using this combination, all successfully entered, so this isn’t something new for me. The only problem is I wrote them back when I had my iPhone 6S Plus, under iOS 9, and earlier releases of the WordPress app. Going forward I really do want to use my iPhone exclusively to create content for my blog. The iPhone is an incredibly powerful overall creative tool, the camera an excellent tool for documenting and providing supporting photography to my writing. The Microsoft keyboard syncs up quickly and flawlessly, and works quite well with other tools that need textual input. It’s just that when I mix everything together to write up an entry that the results are less than what I’ve experienced in the past.

I consider these minor challenges to be overcome. I want to “turn on” the writing so that I’m at least creating at least one post/day. I want to focus on the “web log” aspect of the blog. It’s not here for marketing, it’s here to log the next 365 days of 2017. I have a deep feeling there’s going to be a lot to cover. My rubber ducky seems to feel that as well.

powershell on a mac, part 2

Visual Studio Code in PowerShell Git Repository
Visual Studio Code in PowerShell Git Repository

While taking breaks during the day (and later this evening) I pulled the PowerShell source from Github. I got it to build, after a fashion, but the build process wants to run a series of tests, and the tests are failing a bit. Considering this is alpha code, I’m not that concerned, and consider this to be a learning opportunity.

I will clarify this about the build directions on OS X;

  1. install a PowerShell pre-built binary as Microsoft recommends and start that up;
  2. go down into the PowerShell top Git directory (in my case it was ~/Git/PowerShell);
  3. execute ‘Import-Module ./build.psm1’ within PowerShell.

That will define the PowerShell function Start-PSBootstrap that you need to execute in order to set up the PowerShell build environment. That little detail about sourcing build.psm1 is missing in the OS X directions, although it’s there in the Linux directions. Good thing I read around a bit…

GitHub Desktop with PowerShell Repository
GitHub Desktop with PowerShell Repository

I am pleased with the tools I have installed on the MBP. Visual Studio Code seems to be a rather decent editor (and debugger with the right extensions installed). I’m using it so far for Rust, Go and Python, and tonight I got it set up for C# editing. It comes with the ability to navigate a local Git repository copy out-of-the-box. All on a MBP under Mac OS X 10.11.6. I’m also pleased with GitHub Desktop. I can browse the repository metadata and the diff tool is again pretty decent. My only problem is I couldn’t use the Desktop to do the pull; I had to use the command line tool. I’m no git expert, and my understanding of the Desktop is even more limited. But again, it’s an opportunity to learn.

I’m something of a tool packrat, having installed a fair number of editors and IDEs over the years. For example I’ve purchased a license for Sublime Text, I’ve got Komodo Edit 9 installed, and I even have a copy of Atom installed. About the only editor I don’t have on OS X is Notepad++ (unfortunately, only available on Windows), an editor I use on Windows when I need to get serious about text and code editing without the bloat of a full-up IDE.

So, new tools, new code, a new(ish) shell to spark some interest. I’m looking for a full-up replacement for Java, so maybe I need to give C# another look. PowerShell is written in C#, so there’s that. I know that the cool kids look askance at C#, and I know that Java is still considered the #1 language for making a living. But Oracle has made using Java hellish, and I have no desire to use the language any more. C++, C#, Python, Rust, Go, Javascript; there are so many other good alternatives and what I listed doesn’t scratch the surface of computer languages. It’s such a rich development environment these days.