Thursday, August 23, 2007

That Syncing Feeling

Unfortunately things have bogged down. I could blame it on the kid's school starting, Mrs. Skyhound going back to work, various appointments, etc. But the real problem is that the new Sync feature is, well... out of sync.

The Sync feature allows the user to synchronize their data between two computers. The main point of this is so we can easily move our observing preparations onto our laptop to take into the field, and then easily move the results, such as log entries, back to our desktop. It's a sort of non-destructive backup/restore process, that seamlessly merges the data on one computer into the data on another without losing anything in the process.

Unfortunately, doing that is a huge pain in the ass. Actually, since we are talking about multiple databases here: observing lists, images, logs, notes, telescopes, locations, charts, observers, object notes, web links, etc., it's more like a huge pain in the ass times 50.

I originally did the groundwork for this code last fall. In the meantime, I dramatically underestimated how much of it had been completed back then. Not only that, but changes I have made since have to be folded in and it's been a bit like folding bowling balls into a soufflé. Worse yet, I discovered that I had cheated last fall and much of the code didn't really do what I wanted it to do.

** Sigh **

So while the beta test team is hopefully enjoying some time away from SkyTools I am working hard trying to get, well... back in sync.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Campground Commute

The Skyhound kids wanted to go camping again before school started, but the Mrs. and I were too busy for a long trip away from home. So we hit on the idea of camping in our own forest here in the Sacramento Mountains. After all, people come from a long way to camp here so why shouldn't we? So we pitched our tent at a local campground less than 0.8 miles away from home! I spent several days commuting to work from the camp site.

I've been hunkered down for the last few days trying to get the next test version ready. The backup and restore functions are finished and they successfully restored my own SkyTools 2 files, which was no small feat. In addition there have been a lot of minor fixes.

The hitch is that I have finally decided to dump the InstallShield installer. Those people are nothing but money grubbers anyhow. Their business model is designed to milk large corporations of significant sums of money. I am not a large cooperation with large sums of money. I wish I had never given them any of mine in the first place; their installer has been nothing but trouble from the start. What really ticks me off is the way they lured me in with what appeared to be a fully functional program, but hidden deep inside were intentional limitations meant to make me pony up more money for a more sophisticated version.

So the next task is to create a new install script using the NSIS installer. But I'm too burned out to start the process... I miss the tent! It kept me from working too much. Time for a break.