Increasing the Touchpad’s Volume

I just submitted my first homebrew webOS app to the PreCentral.net feed!

It isn’t actually an app, it’s an extremely simple script which just tweaks the boost so that the Touchpad can get louder. If you’re reading this on my actual site, you’ll notice a new “webOS” tab up top, that’s for supporting this, and what I hope will be many more apps in the future.

Now for the fun bit, I wanted to talk about my experience getting the script out there. The webOS Homebrew community is absolutely amazing for many reasons, but I just want to mention two:

  • They are consolidated. Unlike similar efforts on other platforms and projects, there’s very little community fragmentation here. The webOS homebrew community is entirely centered around webOS-Internals, with their awesome wiki being the number one knowledge repository outside HP’s own developer center. Their wiki, their git repositories, and their irc channels are open to anyone. They have systems in place for outsiders to immediately start making contributions, and while they are vetted and might be rejected, they always try to tell developers what needs to be fixed for inclusion.
  • They are approachable. While trying to figure out how to package this script for distribution through Preware (wOSI’s Homebrew App and Patch installer), I hit a few dead ends because of my lack of knowledge of the homebrew distribution system and how it differs from HP’s own, and what the limitations are for different methods. No problem, I just dropped into their IRC channel and every time, within a few minutes I had solid info on a better direction to look into.

Anyway, I’m in now–the badge next to my name on the PreCentral forum says “Homebrew Developer”. I’m pretty proud to have that badge, even if it’s for something so simple.

Settled! Somewhat…

Hello all! Things are finally settling down from the move, and while my work has of late been pretty crazy, I wanted to take a minute to post, so that I don’t end up falling off the writing horse again.

My webOS adventures are moving along–I got my hands on an unlocked Pre 2, which is a terriffic phone, to test some of my stuff on. I found that my favorite app idea, a WordPress App, has already been done fantastically well in Poster, and with a bunch of features I hadn’t planned on putting in mine, so I’m going to keep plugging away at my other ideas.

As I mentioned, my work life has been pretty nuts lately — I had done 58 hours this week before I stepped into the building this morning — so I’ve stepped out of my d&d group for the time being. It’s sad, my character in this particular game is a totally awesome assassin-mage, who, while I originally intended for him to be a quiet, stealthy poisoner, has turned into a rambunctious swashbuckling lover of all that is flashy. The other group members are a lot of fun to play with, too- the youngest is actually only 11, but she’s the strongest fighter in the group and was the only person to get my UMass CS binary tree shirt. Yeah. She’s about as cool as it gets. I could go on about the other players, and our DM, but let’s just instead say I’m really going to miss playing until things cool off at work.

Anyway, I left off work at a reasonable time today and saw Sucker Punch. I thought it was good, but Mikah didn’t. So we made another mistake. We rented The Last Airbender.

Now understand, I expected it to be bad; I expected it to break from the show in pretty dumb ways. But I never would have expected a movie featuring marial arts and elemental magic could ever be so exquisitely boring.

Apparently Shyamalan can’t event make a magical war interesting. It could have been just about any other director and this movie wouldn’t have been a freaking lullabye.

This is enough, I think, for now. Until next time, then!

Enterprise NX-01

Why I Didn’t Follow Enterprise

Warning: my reason could and probably should be construed as superficial.

I never watched UPN’s Enterprise (You know, the Star Trek prequel with Scott Bakula), despite being a long time and rabid Trek fan. I’ve watched almost all of The Original Series, definitely all of The Next Generation, and a good chunk of Voyager. The franchise has always seemed like it would be a great one to be like America’s response to Doctor Who, because in the same way as every Who fan knows exactly which Who is “their” Doctor, every Trekkie can respond quickly to “So, who’s your captain?”

You may have guessed; Mine is Jean-Luc Picard. But really, if you put the words “Star Trek” on the screen, get me ready to accept a wholly optimistic future, and have some strong figure who knows right from wrong in the captain’s chair, I’ll watch it. I know I’m not the only one.

So why didn’t I watch Enterprise? After all, I was already a Scott Bakula fan from Quantum Leap, and I’m a sucker for a pretty ship (and yes, the NX-01 is *very* pretty). It’s because they were ashamed of the franchise. I didn’t watch DS9 because I was never as interested in politics and that sort of thing as exploration and contrasting the human condition, but at least it was positioned as part of the grander whole. I didn’t watch Enterprise because for three seasons, they didn’t even put the “Star Trek” label in the title with it. They made the opening inspiring, but ultimately too “today”–rather than timeless instrumental themes we we expect from the series. They were ashamed of the show’s heritage.

Star Trek is an unabashedly optimistic view of the future. It’s a world where people have resolved almost all of their differences on Earth, fixed our political troubles, and decided between us that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding is worth more effort than any petty squabble. And then we met other species who hadn’t decided this, and learned we had much left to do in order to live amongst them. That’s what those instrumental themes mean to me. As an example, here’s the Deep Space 9 opening, and the opening for Voyager. I didn’t watch as much of Voyager as I could have, but the Voyager intro really stands out as one of the best in the series. Everyone remembers that retro-futuristic warble over The Original Series, and The Next Generation‘s intro is pretty much the standard by which all others are measured for me.

Contrast with this.

The visuals are excellent. But the music does *not* feel like trek. It feels like I’m ten years old and I’m going on a school trip and the teacher turned on the radio to some music she thought we’d like so we’d settle down and let her read her paper. Not good. I’m just not prepared after hearing that song to really be in the Star Trek future. I might be ready for an optimistic sing-along, but my suspension of disbelieve that the world actually *could* be that good ends as soon as you bring some element of what the world *is* into it. Guitars and raspy singing voices just entirely break me from that feeling.

Ultimately, that optimistic belief is what I come to Trek for. To never get me set up to believe it is to have me approach your show as a cynic, which is *really* going to hurt any show in Star Trek‘s universe.

Anyway, here’s an opening for Enterprise that would have kept me watching beyond the first two episodes.

Anyway, since I don’t know much about the actual show… was it good? worth picking up for after I’ve exhausted what I’m currently watching?