Jonathan Fischer

Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac

I came across a Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac for $39.99, and given that it reviews well and is just over half the cost of an Apple Magic Trackpad, I figured I’d give it a shot.

I don’t like it. I haven’t used a Magic Trackpad much, but I’ve used the trackpads in MacBooks for years now, and the Logitech one comes nowhere near it.

  • Clicks are really mushy. Most of the time I can’t feel the click happening at all.
  • Multi-touch gestures don’t fire reliably.
  • In Safari, trying to two-finger scroll back or forth through history locks up the touchpad for every tab in that window. Also, the tab that I tried to scroll on will get stuck completely: can’t navigate away from the page, and it ends up looking like it’s midway through the scroll.

All that was after installing the latest version of Logitech Preference Manager, so drivers should have been squared away nicely.

I gave up on it after half an hour; it’s going back to the store.

Brent Simmons on Syncing

I’m mostly putting this up here to make it easy for me to find later.

Brent Simmons has been writing a great bunch of articles on syncing between a client app and a web service as he adds syncing to Vesper. I’m tackling something similar at the moment, and the insights in there have been a huge help.

(I’m leaving out the Core Data ones, because I’m interested more in the communication between the server and app, not how the app’s storing things.)

Bonus: objc.io put out an issue on syncing too!

Am I Shooting Myself in the Foot?

I love Objective-C. It’s my go-to, favorite language for most things nowadays, with Python coming second. Heck, I started writing a web server in it a couple weeks ago because it sounds fun.

Objective-C is the reason I moved to Mac OS X: I picked up a copy of Big Nerd Ranch’s Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X on a whim and got hooked on the language, then spent too much time trying to make GNUstep work for me before I finally bought a Mac mini in 2005. (I passed it on to my younger brother years ago. Got a call from him earlier today asking if there were any way to get the newest iTunes on it. Nearly 9 years old and still going!)

So the iOS boom was awesome: I could justifiably write games in my favorite language! I’ve defaulted to iOS/Objective-C for a few years now.

It’s not all roses: I’m precluding support for non-Apple platforms. I’m trying to decide whether that matters to me.

I’d love to do games full-time, but I don’t. (I’d love to do Objective-C full time too, but I don’t do that either. I’m mostly writing Java and the occasional C++ at present.) I get at best 5 or 6 hours a week to work on games, mostly at lunchtime. Game development is strictly a hobby, something I do for myself, for fun.

And that should be the answer: if I’m doing this for myself, for fun, why not do it the way I’ll have the most fun with it? So while I feel kind of bad saying no when my mom asks about an Android port of Cute Rocket, it’s just not in the cards.

Oregon Trail

Today is my first-born’s first day of kindergarten. I’m not terribly nervous for her or anything: she did pre-school, and she’ll be fine as long as she eats her breakfast before school (she gets tired and cranky pretty fast if she doesn’t). Listening to the brief orientation this morning, two thoughts kept going through my head.

First, I feel kind of bad for her. School means a fixed schedule, an end to the freedom she’s had her whole life. I don’t like having someplace I have to be at the same time every day, 5 days a week, and she’s not happy about the idea either. Hopefully she’ll come to enjoy school, because man, that schedule is a drag.

Education is incredibly important, maybe the most important thing in the world. I just don’t like the rigidity of it, but I don’t know of a better way to approach it.

Anyway, the second thought is: she’s never going to play on an Apple //e. She’s not going to play Oregon Trail, or Number Munchers, or likely any of the games I played as a kid. It’s a weird thought, but I can’t shake it.

Playing games was a huge part of my childhood, second only to reading. I met the kid who ended up being the best man at my wedding re-enacting Mega Man 2 on the playground. I still listen to Final Fantasy 6’s soundtrack. (I love NoiseES and OCRemix’s recent album Balance and Ruin.)

I started learning how to use a computer so that I could play Monkey Island, or DooM with a mouse. I upgraded the RAM in my computer (4 MB to 8 MB!) so that I could play King’s Quest 7. One of my fondest childhood memories is playing The Colonel’s Bequest with a friend in his father’s office on a lazy Saturday.

Without games, I wouldn’t be the person I am, and one of the first games I can remember playing is Oregon Trail on an Apple //e in my third grade classroom. My first experience programming was on an Apple //e a few years later in the 7th grade computer lab. (I quickly moved from 20 GOTO 10 to making simple text games.) A couple years later I had… acquired a copy of Turbo C++ and was teaching myself out of a book about POOP.

She’ll play other stuff, she already does on my phone and iPad. I just get this weird feeling knowing she’ll not have the same experience that I did.

Actually, I think I’ve found the point: she’s getting old enough that I’m starting to wonder how she’ll find her passion in life. I found mine on a rainy day in Mrs. King’s third grade class at Landau Elementary School. Where will she find hers?

Gosh, maybe I am a bit nervous for her.