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Journal Journal: Rant: Android namespaces and ids 3

I hate Java, i hate Android development, but i repeat myself. And that's exactly what i hate about them.

In Android, objects have their own namespaces, under R. There's R.class, R.mipmap, R.layout, R.color, R.integer, and many more. So, the namespace of the layout (where you usually add objects) is under R.layout, the image on a button can be under R.mipmap. Nice.

However, if you want to refer to an object, you need its id. The way to add an id is to add the android:id attribute to the layout, or via the object's setId() method. In either case, the id is kept under R.id. This makes for a common line of code Button button = (Button) findViewById(R.id.id_of_button);

The reason is, in order to get a reference to the button, you have to find it first, and that is done via the button's id. Of course, since everything is stuffed under R.id, it must be cast to the appropriate type. (Ultimately, it's just an int.) This makes sense, as long as you are braindead.

First of all, there ought to be a way to directly reference an object by its container, if not an array of all similar objects. At the very least, this would provide a sensible naming scheme, for the object or container would be the parent. By shoving everything into R.id, people add the object type to the object name. A certifiable scheme by the Department of Redundancy Department. Furthermore, if i'm adding an id, i shouldn't need a method to find it, i should be able to refer to R.id.id_of_button directly. Instead, R.id.id_of_button is just a pointer, and findViewById() turns that pointer into a value. Really?! What morons come up with this stuff? Instead of the name being a reference to the object, it is a reference to a reference to the object.

But a reference to a reference isn't convoluted enough. We're going to put them all in the same namespace, so you have to add the type to the name, and even after that, cast it to make sure you have the right type.

It hurts when i see tables Customer.CustomerId. Even if the name is to avoid naming the table in each reference, at most you saved a period, and in many cases, you have to put it back in anyway, if only for clarity (so you know that it's from a table of the same name, and not just an attribute in another table) or when there are more than one column of the same name (much as they try to avoid it). Why do they do this? The solution creates the problem.

I'm beginning to think you have to be braindead before coding for Android.

User Journal

Journal Journal: And the loser is 12

Cruz.

Son, if you can't keep Marco Rubio, of all people, more than 5 points away in Iowa, of all places, you do not have what it takes. Go home.

Alright folks, now that the writing is on the wall, let's place our bets on Trump's demise. I'm thinking he's in until at least Super Tuesday. Maybe the better question is, how much more damage is he going to do before that?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Stupid Code: Using if() to set a value 4

Here's the latest example of something i have seen way too often:

if(getListView().getCount()==checkedItemCount) chk.setChecked(true); else chk.setChecked(false);

What's the point of obfuscating your code with an if()? This isn't conditional. You want to set it to the same boolean value as the evaluated expression. Obviously, the clearest way to write this (without changing names) is:

chk.setChecked(getListView().getCount() == checkedItemCount);

I often wonder why people define variables for one-time use. The answer is (at least, sometimes) that it allows for easy testing or expansion. I still think that's kind of stupid (because it's an easy fix later, and not worth the cost (of non-simple code) in redundancy) but i understand the mindset. Better said, it's a valid view that i just happen not to agree with.

And now, a digression: I worked for one company where my team lead did not like me. I was hired based on a phone interview with the supervisor (and team?) and just showed up for work one day. The team lead was smiling and happy until he saw me. His face dropped and he moped around getting me through HR or whatever. I have been the subject of prejudice before, but it was usually more subtle. To his credit(?) i don't even think he noticed he hated me. For assignments, i was to report to a pseudo-team lead.

One day we needed to process files. A COBOL guy (a pretty nice guy) wanted an elaborate system with queues and whatever to do this or that. It was insane. But, he's a COBOL programmer, so that was expected. I told them to use perl, because processing text files was a perl thing, and it would work perfectly in our case. For some reason--which still escapes me--they actually listened to my suggestion, and the decision was made to hire a perl programmer to write the script. (It is a large company known for bureaucracy and laziness, to anyone who has ever worked there.)

Well, no one knew how to interview the guy, so i was to ask questions. I wrote a list with many questions and expected answers, some answers being specific, some with the general feel, so everyone would know what i was asking and what i was looking for and not be bored during the interview. When the interview was over they told me they hired someone. The team lead, armed with a list, no longer saw any reason to include me. Oh well, we're going to get someone good, right? (Can you tell where this is going?)

I may have started coding the script before he got there. I don't remember. In any case, the script was small. It took me a while as i did not actually know perl (well). This was not something i hid from anyone.

He was hired and was to report to me. A really nice guy who moved to the area for the job. He talked of his past mainframe coding and i liked him. Though, after a bit of time, it became obvious he was having issues. Another team member and i started to coach him on the logic and the like, reviewing his code and giving advice. But he just kept failing. We broke it down to be super simple, until we simply suggested he wrap a block of code in an if() statement. He couldn't even do that. We had to do the awful thing of recommending he be let go. I felt horrible. If only. Or is that, only if().

The relevance of the story ends here. Nonetheless, it lived on. I got the code working myself, and it did the job. But, the aforementioned coworker (maybe he was asked) rewrote it in VB6. He reported to the team lead.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Update: Google cardboard, closer to new car

As mentioned in one of my last exciting posts, i purchased a Google Cardboard. I bought it and was wowed last night. It was easy to put together, easy to get running, and the forehead part had a piece of tape (ostensibly, to protect against sweat stains). The strap worked well, and the Nerf dart shaft made a comfortable nose piece.

I downloaded apps to try, and some are worth it, some are not. The firefly game was a nice way to appreciate VR. The plants looked cartoonishly awesome and i got "into it" . A couple roller coasters started to make me feel like on was on one, but were not able to carry it home. Also, i had to stand up and move around to be in the right place. Not so happy with that when my eyes are covered. Cardboard Camera and Street View were amazing. They're just nice shots and really show its 3D capabilities. Youtube is eh. The 3-D makes it look as if you're looking at a screen at some depth. Whoop-de-do.

I know how i'll be wasting time now, i just wish i could use it in the tub. I'm afraid it will get destroys from the water or vapor.

In other news, the trusted mechanic nixed the car he had in mind to sell me, because after running it for about 10 minutes, he didn't like the way it sounded. Instead, he's planning on selling me a '94 Dodge Dakota for $700. It's current owner (who is buying(?) a different truck from him) reportedly drives it every day about 40 or 50 miles. Perfect for me. I just hope it comes with the shot gun accessory. I'll have to go get the straw and hat myself. It'll be ready after he fixed the truck to sell the truck guy, and, i hope, checks it out.

A maintenance guy at the apartments wants to buy my car for $200. (The mechanic mentioned $100, because scrap metal is down.) After i listed all the issues, he still wants it. I'm going to demand he looks at the bottom of the car first though. i don't want any surprises. Though, he hasn't driven a stick in a while, and his wife needs to learn how. But she's excited over having heat in the car. Even if it would fail, he could likely make most or all the money back at the junkyard, and he considers this a favor. But, i'm going to have to go to the Secretary of State now once things start to move.

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Journal Journal: and you're gonna like it, too

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User Journal

Journal Journal: Verbiage: Seeing more often a weird sentence formulation

I seem to be seeing more often a weird sentence formulation. A book talks of passing to a function a variable, an article mentions "signed into law a bill," and plenty lately of others. While normal to be found this formulation in other languages, it sounds in English rather awkward.

User Journal

Journal Journal: de-militarize the police 8

One good idea from the Dem debate tonight, from Bernie, was to de-militarize the police. I don't recall there being much in the way of specifics, beyond something about them not looking like an occupying force. But it got me thinking, thusly:

1) Make it illegal for the federal government to sell military gear to non-military entities, and make it illegal for civilian police forces purchase surplus military gear. (Whatever private individuals are allowed to buy would be unaltered.)

2) Remove SWAT teams from police forces and transfer them to each state's National Guard. Police would request SWAT assistance from them, with the idea that deployments would require more justification.

3) Remove military gear from non-military federal government agencies such as the DEA, ATF, and whichever others have them. I would include in this the overstocking of bullets; massive stockpiling of ammunition is quasi-military to me.

In short, no military-style operations on US soil. I don't care if it's under the guise of the WOT or the War on Drugs or any other war. All law enforcement business should be conducted as civilians dealing with (fellow) civilians.

An explicit, strict "Separation of Military and Police" doctrine. A separation between the two needs to become one of our national values. Maybe such a consciousness would change mindsets in police forces and cut down on brutality and lethality.

p.s. I think it was in a George Will column around Christmas where it was said that more monetary value was stolen by law enforcement in the country in 2015 than by criminals. So asset forfeiture laws are also obviously corrupting influences on police/policing forces and deserve to be looked at.

p.p.s. From the I-Told-You-So Dept.: "The Democratic [sic] Party in the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed. We finally have a path to universal healthcare." -- Hillary Clinton tonight

p.p.p.s. Currently playing in my head these days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOrXKiSy8ZY

User Journal

Journal Journal: Liberal Media update 16

Sadly, still not all that liberal:

Donald Trump is by far the most newsworthy storyline of Campaign 2016, alone accounting for almost a third of all coverage (327 mins or 32%), more than the entire Democratic contest combined.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Chronicle: Bluetooth, Kindle Fire, updates, and more. 3

Continuing from the last exciting edition of what is Chacham buying today, I decided to try out the Plantronics Explorer 50 for $23.19 on ebay. Weird that it's cheaper from the UK. Anyway, i was thinking of purchasing the 3 for the 10% discount, but that's too big a gamble for a product i have not tried. If i like it, i may buy another 1 or 2. Or, purchase 3 and see if i can sell one on Amazon. Things are so much more expensive there for some reason.

I also purchased the Kindle Fire for my mother, though, i don't plan to give it to her before Sunday. I installed Google Play, and set it up and the Amazon account on a gmail address i setup for her but she doesn't use. That way, games can be installed only for free (no cc entered) and identity permission will lead to an unused address, so i can load word games with reckless abandon.

Aside from word games, i set it up to check her yahoo email, and loaded Overdrive and Zineo for Libraries, both of which are supported by our local library. Interestingly, the latter is listing in the Android store, but won't install on the Fire. The comments say it, and i tried it. Had to use Google Play for that one. No idea if she'll use it, but, it's a nice option.

I decided to get a Google Cardboard. For some reason, it never excited me, no idea why. But with some of the latest news i decided to look. According to a Youtube video and comments, V2 is better than V1 because it holds bigger phones, the button when from magnetic to conductive, the nose wall has been eliminated, the lenses are better, the lenses are held in place without obstruction, and there is an oil coating to protect the cardboard from sweat stains. Based on price, reviews, and sheer laziness, i chose the QPAU version. It comes with a head strap, and although comments say it is uncomfortable, one commenter said you can use foam from a Nerf dart for an easy fix. Have i mentioned that i love Amazon reviews?

In other news of my crazy purchasing spree, my citron seeds have been coming along, though a lot just died after a little growth. There seems to be 15+ good ones though. Then there's the 6 tomato plants i received as seed in pots. One was a dud, one died an early death, but the other four have been growing. One of them has a certain fungus in it. It grew and died, in one day i think, and i saw it again this morning. It brings back fears, so i probably just going to toss it. The other 3 though, probably need to be replanted.

The citrons went from bag to tray to 4-inch pot The tomato plants had their own biodegradable pot, but i places them in 4-inch pots. The 5 that started to grow got more dirt too. In any case, they need to be upgraded before i give them away, and these 6-inch pots seem like they will do that job nicely.

A friend asked me about replacing the head on their Kenmore Power-Mate 116.2216182. Heads are found on ebay and elsewhere, but what fits? Google searching ultimately brought me to a Central Vacuum Questions & Feedback who responded within a day. Wow.

In other news, my 3rd car's glorious life is coming to an end. It hasn't died, but its becoming undriveable. Two tires are pretty bald, the other two are a little better, the brakes take a lot longer to stop the car, the hood is held down by bungee cords (those breaks had something to do with it), the trunk won't open (a friend helped it close by disconnecting the wires, incorrectly assuming i had the key), the muffler is not doing its job, and the bottom of the car is rusting away. At one point, i had the car taken to get (some of) its wheels replaced and the worker refused, saying i shouldn't be driving the car. Apparently, the something holding the front axle in place seems to be on its way out. There's also a piece of wood holding the drivers seat in place because of a small hole existing where it would have otherwise been screwed in. "But it drives great." It's a Honda '98 Civic: it's a great car, but it's rusting away.

Anyway, the snow is not a safe place for that car to be. Considering i bought it for $1200 (and that with the middleman's markup) ~2 years ago, it has served me well. Fixing it would likely cost more than the car did, and even then, it may not last. So, i plan to look at another $1200 car tomorrow, from a trusted mechanic. I'm looking for something short-term right now, less than a year. My first car was a stick, the 2nd was an automatic, 3rd was a stick, and 4th looks like it'll be an automatic. :( I hereby call it ISTMS, Inverse Star Trek Movie Syndrome.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Let the whinging commence 54

"13 Hours"--the movie and the politics

It is also an attempt to tell a true story--that of the Benghazi attacks and the valiant and successful efforts by the contractors to save the lives of Americans under attack. [Director] Bay relied on the accounts of several of the contractors as presented in their book. These contractors also worked as consultants and the film. As such, from what I understand, they insisted on a faithful recreation of the core events, as they saw them.

I've got a feeling that, while the movie focuses on the narrow, local "what" and omits all the pesky "why" questions, it's going to pull enough other voices back into the public discussion to make things highly uncomfortable for Her Majesty.
Will Her Majesty's health suddenly get fragile? Will she decide to spend more quality time with the grandkid? Real hard tellin'.

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