First: I’m an Uncle (again)! Nikhil Tiger Sacks was born March 31, 2004, and is doing well (as is his mom). Congratulations, and I can’t wait to meet him :).
I’m not quite sure where this post will take me. I’m mostly posting because I’ve had requests to update so the prior post is no longer so prominently displayed. What exactly I’ll be posting, I’m not entirely sure. Hence the post, “Explorations”.
It’s not that I have nothing to say. I have a LOT to say, about a great many things. Enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having, getting to spend time with my wife, adventures with UberCon, money woes (if I don’t get a job in the next month or two, we’ll have to move when our lease is up, and if it doesn’t pay very well, then we may have to move anyway), and looking forward to seeing my friends on my impending trip back east for school.
That’s just the things that are immediately pressing on my mind. There’s much more to say. The sad part is that I don’t really want to talk about any of it in any amount of depth.
So I’ll talk about something else. The potential Flash job that I was hoping for probably won’t happen, but at the very least it will make some more connections. I’m still working on an interview, but I’m really not holding my breath. The bright side of all that is it has caused me to dig out and dust off my copy of Flash MX, and I’ve been refreshing myself by going through the tutorials and just going through each step to see how it’s done. Things are pretty darn simple — Flash is a fairly straightforward program, when it comes to graphics and basic stuff. It gets more complex when you’re working on the programming side of things, but that too can be learned.
I’ve also been going through a book called Programming in Objective-C, by Stephen G. Kochan. It was recommended to me by my friend Chris, and it is by FAR the best book on Objective-C I’ve read to date. That’s not to say the other books out there suck, so much as they are geared towards a different audience. Other books focus on Cocoa, which is Apple’s collection of libraries and frameworks built on Obj-C. Further, they expect you to have some background in C programming, under the assumption that you are simply making the leap to Obj-C from there.
That means I get through the first chapter or two and get lost. I can parrot out what else is going on, but not WHY it works, or even add any flavor myself. Which SUCKS. It allows no ownership of the material, which is really a key to how I learn.
So this new book assumes no prior programming experience, and doesn’t deal with Cocoa at all. The first half of the book is completely portable to any platform that has an Obj-C compiler (in other words, all of them), and outputs to a terminal or console. The second half gets into basic, low level functionality of the Foundation framework which IS technically part of Cocoa, but also retains most of the same functionality in GnuSTEP and NextSTEP libraries. I’m not there yet, but I have been making progress, and it has been interesting and rewarding (ie, I actually understand what I’m doing and WHY I’m doing it). When I’m done, I hope to make a basic MUES (Multi-User Environment Server). For those who have programmed MUDs before, a MUES is a bit more generic: it is like an extended comm.c, that you then lay what you want the server to do on top of it (so realistically you could set it up to function as an IRC or chat server just as easily as you could set it up to be a MUD that you telnet to, because the networking mechanism itself is extensible).
Yes, it is a pretty large task, and yes, I’m aware that I’m probably getting ahead of myself. I’m still interested in using that as a goal out of all this. Apple has pretty good docummentation for their networking code, so I think that once I know how to read and implement what I see, it’s doable.
Oh, by the by, I finally hit 18 on FFXI. So now I have the ability to have a support job. The sad part is this: I’m having fun with the game, but I know for a fact that at some point I’m going to want to stop. I could have fun with other games, so is it really worth it to pay a monthly fee (not a large one, but a monthly fee nonetheless) investing time and energy in a character that I honestly expect to walk away from? I’m a sentimentalist at heart, and know that if I level up to even 30, let alone the 75 levels they have, regardless of whether I’m still playing, I won’t want to lose the character. Forget that. Far better to drop it NOW and maybe go back to it later when my life is stable than the other way around. We’ll see.