Posts

Showing posts from 2016

It's that time again (code signing certificates)

Image
As I said in a previous, post code signing annoys me these years like as networks did many years ago. I've just had to renew my Comodo code signing certificate, and as usual K-Software (a Comodo reseller) made it as painless as possible. 

The process has not changed, but the graphical interface of Firefox has. So for my own future self and for others in my position now here's how it is done.

Once you have ordered the certificate from K-Software, and they have worked their magic in the case of any hiccups with Comodo, your'll get an email from Comodo, something like this:


Click on the link in the email and  the next thing you'll see is a web page on the Comodo site which asks you to enter your collection code. If all has worked well the collection code will appear in the web page automatically:


Click on the Collect Certificate button and the next screen you see should be like this:





The phrase about backing up the private key is a bit misleading if you intend to use the certi…

Xamarin: Finally compiled a C# program and ran it on an emulator

Image
After about 20 hours of downloading Xamarin and Android SDKs (see here) I finally got VS2015 (apparently) able to compile C# code into an Android program. Remember that the native language of Android is Java, so Xamarin cleverly converts from C# to Java. Anyway the download and install carried on apparently without errors and with a condesceding message from the programmer in the dialog box:

"Don't worry we've got this. Why not do some tutorials while you wait?"
I hate it when programmers talk to the public in that "I'm friendly but I know better than you" tone. Or even like this. Or this

Despite my cynicism the download and install completed without error. So I could start the tutorial (again).

I followed the tutorial. There were a few mis-steps, but I noticed immediately that I felt at home, I knew my way around VS2015, while Android Studio was a new beast. As I saw the fragments of C# my annoyance at the huge Xamarin download began to float away.

I got …

How does Xamarin compare to Android Studio? (Something went wrong.)

Image
Well, for a start, I found the Xamarin versions and options and downloads totally confusing. After a lot of work and a lot of hours uselessly downloading I've understood (maybe I'm wrong) that
Xamarin Studio only really exists for the Mac (free).You can use Visual Studio (preferably 2015) with a Xamarin add on to create Xamarin programs.What is called Xamarin Studio for Windows is really "Mono", an open source program. It is hard to find out if it is still maintained and usable.
As I say I may be wrong and it took me a long time to garner even this little information.

I'm interested in Xamarin for two reasons
I know C# so I don't have to learn Java, which I would have do with Android Studio.I know the VS2015 IDE, so I would not have to get used to the Android Studio way of doing things.But what, I hear you say, about targetting Apple products, which is supposed to be the great advantage of using Xamarin? Here are the reasons I don't care about portability:

Mr.…

Running the Android Studio emulator

Image
Ha! I'm beginning to grok this thing (a Robert Heinlein would have said).

When you click on the green run button in Android Studio...




...you need to have run the emulator at least once in that session to get it to appear in the list of available devices. Otherwise you just get a blank list. So if you intend to run your program in the emulator click on AVD manager:



On my machine the Tools menu is only built up over the first minute that Studio is run. So initially it only contains Tasks & Contexts and Save File as Template, which is disconcerting. You just have to be patient till al the menu items are loaded.

Then hopefully you'll see a list of virtual devices which you have previously set up. Once the emulator is running you can get your app running by pushing the main green button in Android Studio...



It did run but I got a scary message that I was trying to use 1500MB in a 512MB emulation.
Ah. What now? Mr google and stackoverflow came to the rescue by telling me to edit the v…

Why I tried Android Studio first, and how I got on.

Image
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a 3 neuron brain, and I require clarity and simplicity to get anywhere in my thought processes.

Android and Android Studio seemed to me a good choice because everything was already set up. I just had to write the program, let Studio create the APK, and count the groats from the Android app store, or play shop or game supermarket or whatever it is called.




I was also attracted by the tutorials, there seemed to be a good place, developer.android.com, where I could follow step by step lessons in creating apps. It seemed to me that there was a one stop shop for writing, debugging, delivering and monetizing mobile apps. It was that in the end which decided me.

Xamarin lost because of the huge download, and JavaScript + HTML + Cordova lost because the tutorials I found seemed less appetising. Depending on how Android Studio goes I may come back to either or both of these.

So I downloaded and installed Android Studio, it took several hours, but seemed t…

Can I learn to program mobile devices?

Image
Not sure how long this will last, but I'm doing these entries because
I've heard that the best way to learn is to trying to teach what you are trying to learn. That seems to be have been true when I wrote my book "Candelas Lumens and Lux".I've learned so much from other blog posts maybe I should join the contributing community.Publicly committing to something makes it more likely that the thing will get done.I was faffing around wondering which platform to use for a few ideas I have for mobile apps. I've already done one WEB app, which has had rather limited success (Ok, zero sales). It is a web site which allows you to create European Energy Labels. I did it because I know about the labels, and I wanted to learn C#/WEB apps and I hoped I'd be able to sell the service...


Despite the commercial failure of EuEnergyLabels.com I did learn about WEB apps and I did learn C# (which must rate as one of the very best computer languages ever invented). 

(I think I fa…

If the self is an illusion...

If the self is an illusion (as some Buddhists and some pyschologists and some scientists say), then...er...who or what ...er... is "illuded"?

The definition of illusion is "a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses." So something/one percieves or interprets.

I've no doubt  "selves" change and die, but at the moment, now, who or what is having the illusion that the self exists?

(And for all those who say the self is an illusion I'd ask them to go and do some painful dental work without an anasthetic, and find out who or what feels the pain.)

But my main question remains who or what is illuded?

You are going to be dust sooner than you think, so...

Image
I was born before smartphones phones had been invented, (before even mobile phones were around come to that). I won't bore you with my objections to their use. Not objections to the objects themselves, but their use. Anyway. I'll try to stop being a boring old fart.
But.
But.
I was at restaurant with some friends by an Italian lake one evening.  The view was, well...

And the Moon was out. I walked ten meters to the shore to look. I took a photo.

I said "There's a lovely crescent Moon." (A bit blurred in the photo, wonderful in reality.)
Someone else took a photo on their phone. They showed it to a third person seated at the restaurant table (outside, not in the restaurant). This person said: "But Owen, it's a full Moon! Not a crescent Moon!" 
"It is a crescent Moon... have a look," I replied. They didn't.
The smartphone camera made the Moon look full, on the screen. That is not what I am objecting too. Smartphone cameras are amazing b…

At Ease.

I listened to a tribute on Pierre Bourdieu. On the BBC Thinking Allowed podcast. According to the podcast, one of his ideas was that the French system of egalitè to some extent does not work because working class people do not feel at ease with middle/upper class people, even though the working class people are as intelligent as the others. That ill at ease is a barrier which few can overcome, (though Bourdieu did).
Which reminded me of two meetings I had in the same week some time ago and how I felt ill at ease in one of them (in an art gallery) and totally at ease in another (in a technical design office).
Two art professionals (not artists) had finished organising the details of my exhibition and so passed onto a more interesting subject. They tested each other out about the living and relatively famous artists they knew and could count as friends. It was a gentle battle of name dropping. I remember feeling uncomfortable and wandering away to look at the art in the gallery. I left th…

"Science is Limited" said Dorothy Cross.

Image
I nearly fell out of my bed as I listened to a podcast of this idiot as she described her latest artwork. Bath tubs with gold at the scum line being watched by a shark's eye which the viewer of the exhibition cannot see but must be told exists. Sorry, she may not be an idiot,
maybe she's just in bad faith, or maybe just deluded.
And then she said "Science is limited."
It's a bit of a cliché but what has science (and technology) ever given us? Everything this imposter has ever used. The building she exhibits in. The cell phone she uses. The lighting in the gallery. The bed where she sleeps. Her credit card. Asprin. Surgery. Brain surgery. Ideas beyond her paltry imagination certainly. Relativity. Knowledge of genes. Super-computers. Shrek. Images from a space beyond imagination, beyond even an artist's imagination. Presumably also the embalming used on the shark's eye. 
Maybe she's not be a detail person. Let the mere technicians do that.
Anyway let…

Like Jewels

Image
It had been raining all night and when I got up in the morning the plants on the balcony had drops of rain on them like jewels hanging down.
First I saw them then the phrase "like jewels" jumped into my mind. Which was a pity because "like jewels" is almost a clichè and took away from the sight the actual beauty of it. Almost as if once described with a poetic clichè … what?
I've said in an other blog post that saying that a cloud looks like a dog with a ball or a laughing head destroys and distracts from the real beauty of the cloud.
And so does the phrase "like jewels" when talking of drops of water, backlit, hanging from the green leaves. After that five second slip I managed to get back to the joy of the vision, without thinking of anything else.

The photo does not convey the reality of what I saw, maybe 5% of it. Real life dynamic human binocular vision is still better than photos.

"There's a bishop at the door." Is that a Euphemism?

Image
You'll have to listen to "Fags Mags and Bags" to find out...


...it takes some time to get into the series, but is well worth the effort.

Neural Fusion

Image
"Hells bells!" I thought to myself. "It's Valentine's Day!"
And though it is very commercial, you can't ignore it. Not if you're married to an Italian. Not if you don't want to wake up dead on the 15th. So, just in time, I went to the florists and bought seven red roses. I was lucky, there were no other customers, plenty of roses left.
(Seven. That's right isn't it? I mean. Twelve seems such an unromantic number. 12 inches to the foot. And twenty-four! That is even more unromantic. Twenty four hours in a day – boring. But seven is a magic lucky number.)
As I handed the florist the money I thought: "It seems only yesterday that I was doing this very same thing, and yet it was a year ago."
And when my wife came in that night she was very pleased to see the vase with the seven roses in the center of the table.



"They're lovely! But why?"
It struck me then that it was March the 14th, not February the 14th. My March and …

Before they started making things, did primitive humans...

I wonder, before they started making things, did primitive humans have an idea of a Maker with a capital M?

Violence. Boring. Tension. Boring.

Image
On Saturday morning I reviewed "The Glorious Heresies", a novel by Lisa McInerney, on Amazon. Saturday night I went to see "The Revenant". Both struck me as having the same structure. Violence and boredom, tension and boredom. After 50 pages of "The Glorious Heresies" I got the feeling that the rest of the book would be the same. Portraits of the violence and desperation of the poor in Cork, Ireland. Page after page would be the same.
I stopped reading because of the tedium of it.

After the first 30 minutes of "The Revenant" I began to think that the rest of the film would be more of the same. I was right. Violence, tension, boredom, wishing the film would end. As I sat there I wondered if it was so hard to make an artwork of some kind which is not so... so... violent. It seems to me that it mocks the real stuff happening to real people.
Another thing the book and the film had in common was that they were both very well made. No denying that.
So i…

I hate code-signing like I hated networks in the 1980s.

Image
Warning: This blog is a mix of technical help to those in the same situation as myself, as well as a gripe/snarl/outpouring/angry rant about of the idiocy of this. Ends with an expletive not deleted.
In the 1980s getting a network to go between 2 or more computers was, to me, a chaotic enterprise. The knowledge you needed was baroque and ever changing. So as soon as you understood it the technology would change and you'd have to learn new stuff to do the same thing all over again. So I left networks to the masochists who liked them.

Now there's another subject about which I have the same feelings. Code signing. I have to do it once every three years or so and I forget how it works each time, or it changes how it works each time. So I hate the subject.
But I thought: If I blog about it I'll have to be clear, precise and informative in the blog. I'll have to really understand it.

So here goes...

Code signing means adding some bytes to a program so that if it is altered by a…