Sharp 45″ LCD TV

Sharp has a new LCD Monitor and related TVs (3 or 4 different models). I was quite concerned about the stated contrast ratios like 600:1 and 800:1 when I’ve heard of other TVs with ratios of 10,000:1.

I used to live in a bedroom community near Toronto and I went to the Best Buy there yesterday to look at the TV and for other reasons. They did not have the TV, but I again noted that several Plasma makers are still trying to peddle TVs that have truly horrendous contrast ratios, reminding me of the bad old days of 256-colour .jpg files in the 80’s.

Homeshow is “closing for ever”, reminding me of the good old days of the early 80’s when the furniture store that the Brick bought called “Stuarts” used to go out of business every other week. The Homeshow locations are being rebranded to “Brick Super-stores” in case you didn’t notice, and I went there looking for what exactly was 50% off, and predictably, not one LCD TV was on sale. Pretty much only used ashtrays and broken lamps were given the big discounts. I wonder if that’s really much of a joke…? hm, ok its a joke

Anyway, so about my former haunts. Over the years, salespeople in Pickering and Ajax have said the most incredible things to me. Like when I asked about a fairly nice non-luxury car in Pickering once, “Sir… This is only Pickering!”. Or I said to one employee, “Actually, is that a lot of money (for that thing)?”, and she said, “Well it is for us little people.”. I guess it didn’t help that I went to the Flea Market as well as the Amish furniture store in Pickering yesterday (nice place by the way) but the hick-town isms were rife. I never really cared when I lived there, except for the laughs and some time losses on undoing people’s pre-conceptions. Nice people live there, however after all of these years there are still many reasons to shop in Markham (near where I work) instead of Ajax-Pickering for all of those cool techo-nerd-toys.

Open Powerplant is now up on SourceForge.net

PowerPlant
PowerPlant is a mature C++ framework for the Mac that has been around since the early 1990’s.
I found out today on the #macdev IRC channel
that an
open-source version
is available on
SourceForge.net.
For Windows guys – this is like Microsoft making Microsoft Foundation classes open source.
Well, maybe not quite, since now there is Cocoa, but it’s pretty damned close.

You can read
the Metrowerks page on PowerPlant,
although I expect that to go away at some point.
Here are some quotes from their blurbs:

Modern application frameworks provide the initial benefit of containing robust code that
perform the common functions in a Mac OS application. Using a framework decreases
the risk of introducing errors into the application, specifically in the areas of creating and
managing the user interface, interacting with the event loop, and in any of the other areas
supported by the framework. Because many other developers have also used the
framework, those parts of your application have already been subjected to rigorous
testing before you write your first line of custom code.

[…]

PowerPlant provides a complete framework for Mac OS application development. The
first few levels of required event processing are managed totally by the application
classes, and the appearance and first level of processing for all user interface elements are
implemented fully by the associated classes.

PowerPlant also provides a visual tool for designing the User Interface, Constructor. Use
Constructor to design and layout the menus windows for your application, including the
placement and appearance of controls, edit fields, and any other interface elements
contained within the windows, then incorporate them into your program with just a few
lines of code. The simplicity of this process, especially when compared to building the
user interface programmatically, encourages the developer to experiment with variations
of the user interface until an optimum design is found.

As to that last bit, yes, the source code for the UI-building tool Constructor is included with the source.
So finally people can fix bugs that annoy them.

Now, really, this is not quite the bombshell it would have been even a year ago.
At this point, almost nobody uses PowerPlant any more, except for legacy apps that haven’t been converted over to Xcode yet.
This release should allow those people to bring PowerPlant up to date if they want, making it build on Intel among other things.
Also, anyone who doesn’t want to develop in Objective C has no other alternative for an OO framework.

So who knows, this may revive interest in PowerPlant.
Maybe someone will port it to Windows, as was done by the Starry Night guys.

Network Beacon and NoTTL – a bit more akward, but they work

So Zerospan didn’t end up actually working on my G5.
It worked just fine on my PowerBook though.
Oh well, maybe next version.

Network Beacon
My source for what to try was
this MacOSXHints article,
which reommended
Network Beacon
(formerly Rendezvous Beacon), combined with a little hlpe on the server end via
NoTTL.
The page was very helpful because it was not at all clear how to use Network Beacon to access shared iTunes.

Now, NoTTL requires using
Unsanity’s Application Enhancer,
which some avoid.
I’ll let you know if I see any instabilities in iTunes because of it (it only affects apps you “attach” it to).

Zerospan – Bounjour tunelling

As you may recall, I am unable to do Bounjour networking to my PowerBook over the wireless router, because (a) the router won’t put my powerbook on the same subnet as the rest of the house, and (b) Bounjour only works on the local subnet.

Enter Zerospan, an app allowing for the tunelling of Bonjour protocol across subnets. Yay!

More info here.