Thursday, November 4, 2010

Using the iPod Touch as a PDA

I've been sporting the stylish Palm z22 for several years now (originally purchased for $100), and its battery is beginning to fail. Would it be too much to ask for something similar at a similar price point? Apparently it is. There is only one company that still makes normal PDAs: HP with their iPaq 111 (3 times the cost!) and 211. So if I can't get a PDA, it seems Portable Media Devices (PMD) are the only alternative.

The iPod Touch almost meets the bill, but still lacks a way to properly scribble notes. Researching compatible styluses led to the BoxWave Mini stylus, which is adequate, but falls short of my 5 year old PDA's accuracy. I could settle with that, if only there was a decent case that would hold it for me. Again, I must be asking way too much because there are currently only two* (2) on the market, and they are ugly as sin.

Fine, I won't get the iPod Touch. So what's left? The Creative Zen seemed to be able to sync with MS Outlook...about 4 years ago.

If I can't get a PDA, or a PMD, I guess I could just get a stinkin' smartphone and just never activate it. Lo and behold that's not such a bad idea. The HTC Tilt and HTC Touch Diamond are both available unlocked on Newegg for not terrible prices. Plus they even have a camera that's 3x better than my cellphone's. Just wish I could try out those devices before committing $half-a-PS3 to it.

* Got my links messed up. There is one case that I really like, but it's only compatible with iPhone.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The fellows over at the newLISP fan club forums are a witty bunch. During yet another discussion in the long history of "how might all those parentheses be removed from Lisp" discussions, Elica solved this age old conundrum ever so gracefully.

There is one easy recursive solution, but I’m afraid you will not like it, although you may enjoy it. Here it goes:

To solve the problem with parentheses, we can replace them by square brackets. However, this will introduce a new problem - a problem with the square brackets. To solve it, we can replace brackets with parentheses, which will reraise the initial problem. Fortunately, we already know how to solve it.

So, everything is OK - the initial problem is reduced to a sequence of problems, each of which can be solved trivially.

Java and VNC on Windows

Sometime between JRE 1.6.0 update 3 and 1.6.0 update 15, something changed.

I use a VNC program heavily, and was surprised to see all Java Swing GUIs become almost useless because they would never refresh through VNC. Yet at the same time Netbeans still worked fine over VNC.

I sought high and low, but what kind of search string would you use for this issue?

As a work around at the time, I set the JAVA_HOME to an older JRE, and updated some of my Java program shortcuts to use "C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_3\bin\javaw.exe"

Today I finally found the issue and fix.


This problem might occur with any other kind of Remote Desktop program, or perhaps it is just those that use a special video driver.

Oh and Netbeans seems to run under the latest JDK installed instead of the latest JRE. Guess I should update that sometime.