Home » 2013 » March

Any interest in a module manager for Monkey?

Having done a module manager for BlitzMax called Maximus I’ve received one question several times: will you also make a module manager for Monkey?

My answer at the time was ‘no’. Simply because I didn’t use Monkey nor was I planning to. To be honest, I’m still not planning on using Monkey myself. But there are lots of people who do use Monkey and with the (my assumption) amount of available modules I think Monkey would benefit from a module manager.

Sure, Monkey has a module page which lists some modules, but that’s just a listing. When in time there are more and more modules being released for Monkey it’ll become more tedious and painful to manage all your (installed) Monkey modules.

So I’d like to know if Monkey users have any interest in a module manager which for users will allow them to easily install and update modules. For module authors it’ll be an easy way to publish a module to a central repository (like Maximus does).

That way everyone can benefit from a central repository hosting these modules.

Why am I asking if there’s any interest in this? I’ve got some ideas and I think it’ll make up for a nice summer project. I’m interested to hear peoples opinions on this which I can use to decide to start it all up.

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This is a cross post from a topic I started at the BlitzMax forum. Which has also been copied to the Monkey forum. I decided to put it on here as well.

Purple/pink screen with HDMI-out on ASUS1215B with AMD E-350 APU

Yesterday I decided to hook up my ASUS 1215B Eee PC to my LED TV through HDMI to watch some videos. I’ve used my netbook a lot for this task and thus far without any issues (aside from not being able to play 1080p video properly, even though the AMD E-350 APU shouldn’t have too much trouble with this…). But last night the screen had a purple/pink tint to it. I noticed this earlier this week as well but it didn’t seem to be as bad as it was this time.

To be sure it wasn’t my HDMI cable that was causing it I swapped it with another one, but it still gave me a purple picture. After some digging around I found the advice to download new video card drivers from the AMD website, instead of using those provided by ASUS. So after downloading these and installing them I was able to watch my videos in their normal colors.

Solution: download latest drivers from the AMD website.

The cancellation of Google Reader

Earlier this week Google announced the cancellation of Google Reader, probably the most used web based RSS reader. As of the 1st of July 2013 you won’t be able to use Google Reader anymore. According to Google Reader I’ve been using it since 15th of April 2011. Almost 2 full years now. I’ve been subscribed to 77 RSS/Atom feeds. Imagine having to check all those websites manually on a regular basis.

I began using Google Reader because manually checking out my most visited websites, around 6-7, was becoming too time consuming. Time that can be spent on more important things. I found Google Reader to be of great use to filter out the interesting articles and updates from all of the other noise that’s thrown in your face. We live in an age where we’re being fed so much information (really too much) that good tools are required to filter out the noise.

Google Reader provided that. And now Google is taking it away from us. From me. Sure, it’s their good right because it’s not as if it was a paid service (Earth to Google! I wouldn’t mind paying for it!).

With Google Reader disappearing some of my conveniences will disappear as well. If behind a PC I would log on to the Google Reader website and start consuming my feeds. If on the road, or on the coach, I fired up Reeder on iPad to stay up to date. All synchronized.

Though Reeder for iPad did announce that it won’t end with Google Reader ending I’ve yet to hear an announcement from them to find out which service(s) they are going to support next.

Also, with Google seemingly pulling the plug on RSS/Atom support (they already revoked their RSS subscribe plugin for Chrome) I wonder what’s next. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they cancel Feedburner next. My blog feed is actually being supplied by it, though I must confess I never check it to find out about usage statistics. Still, I expect I should update my RSS/Atom links soon.

To prevent Google from taking down Reader a petition has been started. I signed it, but I doubt it’ll have any effect. Even if they would decide to keep the service running the damage has already been done. People are massively migrating to other services and I think people once again realized that Google doesn’t hesitate to cancel one of their services as they don’t care much about their users.

Personally I don’t mind having to migrate to another service (hell, I’d even write my own if I have to) but for me my biggest inconvenience is no longer being able to consume my feeds on my iPad. I know Feedly is one of the services I can migrate to, but I don’t like the app. And yes, this post may be a rant on Google and it actually is. I’m pissed at Google even though I know I’ve no right to be.

Vim essentials: NERD tree

nerdtreeSo you started using Vim and were a bit disappointed with the lack of a proper tree-style directory explorer? Meet NERD tree (also on GitHub). With NERD tree you can navigate through your folders and files.

You can choose to always display the sidebar (put let NERDTreeShowBookmarks=1 in your .gvimrc) or use its toggle function NERDTreeToggle, which I’ve got mapped at \\ with map \\ :NERDTreeToggle. If you don’t like to have the tree on the left side you can change it from left to right with let g:NERDTreeWinPos = "right".

NERD tree has lots of shortcuts to improve and speed up navigation. You can always request an overview of these shortcuts with shift + ? when in the tree window. Some useful shortcuts are:

  • shift + i to list hidden files.
  • s to vsplit the current window and open the selected file.
  • i to split the current window and open the selected file.
  • t to open file in new tab.
  • m to modify the file/directory to rename, move, delete or create a file/directory.
  • shift + c to move into the selected directory.
  • u to move back one level in the directory tree.
  • x to close the opened directory tree in which you’re in.
  • return to open a directory or file.
  • j and k or the cursor keys to move up and down in the list.

There are a lot more shortcuts, all explained by opening the help with shift + ? and it might seem a bit much to memorize all these shortcuts but it’s not that bad really. Using just the return and cursor keys is enough to navigate and open files, but it really pays of to get to learn the other shortcuts.

Another neat thing of NERD tree is that it supports Bookmarks. To be able to store your bookmarks you need to specify a location where the bookmarks are stored. Generally you do this in your .gvimrc file.

" Store the bookmarks file
let NERDTreeBookmarksFile=expand("$HOME/.vim-NERDTreeBookmarks")
" Show the bookmarks table on startup
let NERDTreeShowBookmarks=1

To create a bookmark navigate your cursor to the directory you want to bookmark and use the command Bookmark <name> to create a named bookmark. You can later use this bookmark with NERDTreeFromBookmark <name>.

Favorite programming font on Windows: Consolas 10pt bold

For years I’ve used Courier New in my programming editors and terminal (PuTTY). But there’s a much better font available for that kind of stuff. For the last couple of years I’ve been using Consolas, which is shipped with Windows. I’ve configured my editors and PuTTY to use Consolas 10pt bold as I find it by far the best readable font to use for programming. This font is just the right size at 10pt and setting it to bold gives it a very smooth look.

Here’s how Consolas 10pt bold looks in GVim on Windows 8:

consolas

Recently I’ve given some other fonts a try as well because in the showed examples it appears they make a nice programming font. Not too long ago the Adobe Source Code Pro font was released and looking at the screenshot at that page it looks really nice. So I decided to download and install it. But trying it in GVim didn’t gave a satisfying result. It doesn’t look too bad, but it isn’t as compact as Consolas is:

source code pro

When using Linux (Ubuntu) I always use Droid Sans Mono. But for some reason it looks really bad on Windows:

droid sans mono

As you can see Droid Sans Mono is even bigger and just doesn’t look right. I wonder why this is though I suspect it has to do with the font rendering on Windows. I’ve found font rendering on Linux a lot better and for what I’ve seen on Mac OSX as well, though I’ve recently heard a Mac user saying he found the font rendering on Linux even better.

And OK, the fonts don’t look that bad but imagine having to look at it all day when programming. All these examples have been set at 10pt bold and the extra space taken by both Adobe Source Code Pro and Droid Sans Mono is just bad in my opinion.

So far I haven’t found anything better than Consolas when it comes to a programming font on Windows. I’m not looking for a replacement of it but I’m always willing to try something new or different. My main disappointment I think comes with how bad Windows renders these fonts, because I know Droid Sans Mono looks good on Linux. If there’s any programming font that renders really well on Windows I’d really like to hear about it.