• Warning: May Cause Earthquakes

    It seems like things that cause earthquakes are the ultimate in evil or hyperbole. But now we’ve achieved that end: human technology can cause earthquakes. Hurray!

  • How Apple could fix Mac OS X

    Mac OS X 10.7 – the OS that no one is talking about – should be the next major release of the venerable Mac OS X (since 1989!) So, what will it look like? Seems like nobody knows. All of the focus has been iPhone and iPad for so long that it seems like everyone has forgotten about the old desktop/laptop computers.

  • Another job opening :-) iPhone developer – learn on the job

    My iPhone custom software development business is expanding yet again and we need more part-time programmers. The last round I hired two people, now we need more. Our recent apps include Unitron’s uHear to test your hearing, OurKids, the Kik chat app, and others.

    You must:

    • know C, C++, pointers, object and object-relational patterns already
    • be ready to learn the iPhone SDK fast (we'll help)

    I’ve personally been programming on the Cocoa SDK since 1998 back when it was called OpenStep, so if you can pick things up, we can get you up to speed in a few weeks.

    Demonstrate your qualifications by answering 2 out of these 3 tricky questions:

    [Question 1] (C Pointers) Here is some slightly odd C code, but it will produce an (int) result, provided that you make some small changes in order to make it compile. What is the result going to be, and why?

    int * a = 1990;
    int result = &5[a];

    [Question 2] (Database design) Create an entity-relationship diagram for a small subset of the Facebook database. In particular, include in your diagram:

    • User
    • Photo (including who is tagged in the photo)
    • Wall Post

    Focus on the relationships/associations between these three objects, and only include one or two of the most important static fields (like a person’s name). Make sure to indicate the cardinality of a relationship e.g. one-to-one/one-to-many/etc.

    To get an idea of what I’m looking for see:

    Here’s a tool you can use to draw it online: Gliffy. Then just send me a screenshot. Or feel free to use ASCII art or draw on a piece of paper and photograph/scan, as long as it’s very clear.

    [Question 3] (C++ Objects) The C++ program below has just 2 compile time errors, 1 runtime error, and there is 1 single line missing. Send us a fixed version that compiles and runs correctly. The errors will test your knowledge of object use and management in C++, and the missing line will test you on abstract/virtual inheritance.

    SEND TO: Include your answer(s) and some source code that you have written, whether it’s open source, for assignments, for fun, or whatever.

    REMUNERATION: Competitive.


    (PS Please keep the answers to yourself)

    //// File: futurama.cpp ////
    #include <iostream>
    class Drinker {
    public: Drinker(); void drink( int potency ); int _numberOfDrinksSoFar;
    private: virtual int cantDrinkAnyMoreThan() = 0;
    }; Drinker::Drinker() { _numberOfDrinksSoFar = 0; }
    class Robot : public Drinker { int cantDrinkAnyMoreThan() { return INT_MAX; } };
    class Human : public Drinker {
    void Drinker::drink( int potency ) {
      _numberOfDrinksSoFar += potency;
      if( _numberOfDrinksSoFar > cantDrinkAnyMoreThan() ) { std::cout << "I'm all done." << endl; }
    int main (int argc, char * const argv[]) {
      int beer = 5, coffee = 3;
      Human fry;
      Robot * bender;
      for( int i=0; i<6283; i++ ) { bender.drink(beer); }
      for( int i=0; i<100; i++ ) { fry.drink(coffee); }
      std::cout << "Bender: " << bender->_numberOfDrinksSoFar << "  Fry: " << fry._numberOfDrinksSoFar << std::endl;
      return 0;
  • Maybe Nokia just can't make good software?

    Nokia looks to be in serious trouble. They’ve delayed Symbian^3, which was supposed to be the sort or basic catch-up version of their main smartphone OS. Symbian^4 is supposed to be the move ahead again version and who knows when they’ll release it. Meanwhile, Maemo or whatever they’re calling it these days is more like vaporware even though theoretically it’s out on a couple of devices.

  • Review of Resonance by Daniel Stepp (mac os x/windows)

    Once upon a time while tripping across the ‘net I stumbled upon a piece of software called Resonance. The web site is cryptic:

  • Bug Points

    An incomplete list.

  • Real or Fake?

    It’s getting harder to tell. Be sure to watch it in fullscreen:

  • 14 Errors in anti-Light Rail thinking

    I’m part of a group called Hamilton Light Rail which has been pushing for the development of a european-style light rail (aka Tram) in Hamilton. Recently the Hamilton newspaper The Spectator published an anti-LRT rant by a businessman who owns, among other things, a car wash. His opinion piece is so full of factual errors that I couldn’t resist making a list. I actually found 14 factual errors (that is errors that require no argument, simply a correction of information from easy to access sources). So, without further adieu (sic) here it is:

  • Reise Zum Mars film

    Mucho thanks to The Cartoonist for discovering this lovely Steampunk film “Reise Zum Mars” (journey to mars, in german). Made by german film student Sebastian Binder, along with Fabien Grodde and Alexander Schumann, it’s a short film based on a draft screenplay by Walter Dexel, an early 20th Century Constructivist. But don’t worry, it’s just music and action, so there’s no need to know any german to watch it. And what’s more, the lyrics to the song are in english anyway.

  • Mobile phones access agricultural market price information in developing nations

    The most critical piece of information for any farmer is what to grow. What grains are going for good prices at the market. What is overproduced and what is underproduced. What is in demand. Farmers must know this information in order to make a living, hopefully a profit.