Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who I Am and What I'm Doing

I decided that the first thing I should do is some clarification. I don't have an "audience" yet, and as such cannot make any assumptions about the average reader. (Other than they may be imaginary.) As such, I should ensure that certain facts are put out their and maybe certain definitions are made.

My current job title is Software Developer, and that is along the lines of my preferred vocation. For a living, and for fun, I write code or programs. At it's most basic a program is a list of instructions for the computer. However, computers don't understand English, and writing in what a computer understands is very difficult and error prone. So, how it's done today is a programmer writes a file in an English like syntax, and then that file is processed into something that a type of computer can understand.

Now, most PC's use one of two brands of CPU's that speak very similar languages, even more so now that Apple has moved the Macs to Intel processors. However, other computer devices, like smart phones, use different processors that speak different languages. The languages I am referring to here are how the processor commands are encoded. Like the Western European languages, the alphabet is the same, but the words are different. The same string of 1's and 0's on one processor may mean something completely different on another, or nothing at all.

So, basically, you need several things to create a program. First, you need a developer (that would be me in this case). You need a target platform (I target Windows machines at work, and I am trying my hand at HP Palm WebOS at home). You need a compiler (in the case of WebOS, you can use javascript that is interpreted at runtime). And you need some way to write the code (this is one of the sticky ones when it comes to trying to do it on ChromeOS).

In my next post I will describe the search for an internet based text editor.

And please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about the software development process or what I am trying to do or what any of these might mean.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Now I May Have A Focus

Ever have something happen to you that you did not expect? Something that as it was happening, or you were realizing it was happening, left you just gaping and repeating, "No way!". I know, me neither.

Actually, it has happened to me several times, a wife and two kids.

Another time that was close happened just this last month.

Google, you know them, in there continued plans to take over the world has designed an operating system based on their Chrome web browser called, oddly enough, Chrome OS.

Now the thing about Chrome OS is that it is designed around the idea that you do everything on the internet. This means that the computers that run Chrome OS don't need to have a powerful processor, or much storage. Most of it is done on the web, but you also need to be connected to the internet to do much of anything.

Now, why would I care about Chrome OS? I mean other than being a computer geek? Well, isn't that enough? OK, it is, but not really enough for a blog post like this.

The idea behind an operating system is to run a computer. In this case the focus is laptops, and there are plans to release Chrome OS notebooks later this year. Not even this explains the interest.

Well, Google is doing beta testing of their OS and have created a notebook for that testing. This notebook that they are using for the beta testing, they are giving away for free. Just go to the Chrome OS page and apply for the pilot program. There is only a limited number of them, and I don't know if they have any left.

Now, I applied for this program and have been given one. The notebook is call a Cr-48 (referencing an unstable isotope of Chromium). Back when the box arrived my wife indicated that it had arrived and my daughter thought it was a Christmas present that we had ordered for my wife that morning. I got home and started to open the box and saw the box art that I had glimpsed on some of the articles about the Cr-48. I was like, "No way!", and "My wife is going to kill me." I was afraid that she would not believe that I had not spent money on it, she did however.

After a small glitch initially, both my wife and I have enjoyed playing around on it. In fact I wrote this blog entry on it.

However, when I applied for it, I said that I was a developer and I wanted to try developing mobile applications on it. So, I am kinda trying to figure out how to write code on this thing.

I have found a solution that will work, I think.

My intention is to try and blog about my experiences.

My first one will probably be on choosing a text editor.