Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Yucatan

I paid a company ~$600 to restore a crashed hard drive of mine. It had all our honeymoon pictures and more on it. I'm a lot better about doing backups now... Anyway I need to start gettin' some value out of this rescued drive so here's a story with some pictures from the trip.

Kelly and I went to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico for our honeymoon. We have some great stories and pictures. But overall if you asked either of us we'd primarily say how it was really really humid there. Also. Small towns are boring after a few hours.

We started off in Cancun because it was easy to fly there. We stayed at some big hotel which was okay, but really we wanted to see Mayan ruins and other cool stuff. We exclusively rode on buses from city to city. It was cheap and avoided our enormous fear of driving in Mexico. Plus the delicious (super strong) smell of strawberries was a frequent feature. :) Anyway, we left Cancun for small cities and towns, like Merida. Eventually we finished up all of that and flew to Mexico City.

Mexico City was really fun. Tons of cool things to see. A 24-hour Churros & Chocalate place that h ad been there for like 70 years. It was amazing. A guy on the street was doing cool oil paintings on CDs. There were tons of people, things to see and great food. Anyway, I'll post more stories and pictures another time. Today's quick story is about Merida.

There wasn't a lot to see in Merida. We covered the touristy stuff (I think a cenote and maybe that was it) in a few hours. We were bored and looking for a bakery. Kelly and I like to scout out bakeries and barber shops or weird salons in foreign countries. I don't know why. Although baked goods are good. I mean... they have "Good" in the name, right? And I like to get my hair cut. We didn't find a great bakery, but man oh man we found a fantastic barber shop. See the pictures to the right... This time I didn't get a haircut, but I did ask the barber to give me shave. My barber-related Spanish is not-so-good.

I showed the barber I wanted him to get rid of my whole beard. He had a straight razor which was kind of scary. And I wondered how clean it was. Good times. More importantly... he gave me a mustache like I never had before. I didn't want a mustache but I thought I'd see how it came out. Pretty funny is the answer there. One advantage was that from that day on strangers ALWAYS thought we were from Europe instead of from the US. Cultural differences are weird. Guy with kind of weird beard = From US. Guy with kind of weird mustache = Clearly European.

Kelly liked it. Or at least she said she liked it. I have a conspiracy theory that she actually advises me to dress or shave in ways that make me look crazy so other women won't even look at me. Well, maybe they'd just look in horror. I made it three days before I had to get rid of it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vector Conflict: The Siege

Hey, my game developer friend, Oliver, just finished a really fun Flash game -- Vector Conflict: The Siege. For you old timers it's like Battlezone (1980), but an order of magnitude more fun and you don't have to drive a tank around. That's BattleZone to the left. I played Vector Conflict on "Medium" and it was fun, but very tense at times. The levels are really well designed. Once you master the tutorial you can play the endless mode and try to get a high score.

What makes the game fun is that there's a good mix of bad guys, and they're introduced gradually through the 10-level tutorial. Plus there are upgrades. Everyone loves upgrades, right? So you shoot a lot of bad guys, that come in waves, and each level is different... then you decide what to use your resources to upgrade or buy.

Anyway, it's fun and free. Check it out.

Also. See if you can buy another copy of my iPhone solitaire game. Maybe create a new iTunes account and buy it. Okay, thanks. Or tell your friends. Okay? Well, I'm worried it's going down in the Card Games rankings in the App Store. :( Gotta finish the free version...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eric Snider's Solitaire: Klondike -- Ready for sale!

I just checked Apple again to see if my iPhone solitaire game was approved. I check every 9 minutes. It's said "In Review" the last 1000 times I checked in the past 11 days. I've been dreading the email that would say "Sorry, Solitaire wasn't approved because we don't allow applications to include images of clouds." Or something nutty like that which would mean another round of fixes and submitting the game again.

But no! Some fantastic reviewers at Apple have approved Solitaire. It's not in the store, yet. But from what I know it should appear in the next hour or so.

I'm going to call everyone I know.


If you're stumbling onto this page because you bought Solitaire then please leave me a comment or question. I'm nice. I'll help you. If enough people ask for features or new games... I'll add them. Or make them. You'll see.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me with Solitaire.

Update: It took a few hours but then it appeared in the store. It had the wrong release date though (it was showing the date I submitted it). Is there an "App Store for Dummies" book yet? 'Cause there are a lot of crazy things about submitting apps to Apple... Anyway, I changed the release date as a friend advised and now it's in the new games listings.

Here's a link if you're looking for it: This link includes my iTunes affiliate info so I'll get 5% extra on sales that use that link. So... feel free to use it, give it out, print t-shirts, use it as your new nickname... :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Did you mean...?

I'm working on some iPhone programming and had a question about something. Google didn't turn up anything great so I just searched for help in the Apple Developer Forums. I searched for

opengl view tabbarcontroller

and the forum page offered this helpful advice:

Did you mean: openly view Tabasco

Monday, September 14, 2009

Making stuff with yeast

Yeast is weird, and cool. At least if you're baking with it. I made bagels from scratch yesterday and they come out really really good. I used our bread maker to do the mixing etc, but I boiled 'em and baked 'em. Anyway, here's the bread-machine bagel recipe. The bagels came out better looking than the picture. Kelly and the kids were napping when the bagels were done. I tried the most misshapen one. It was good. Really good. I figured I'd better try one of the bigger bagels. You know, to make sure it was done in the middle. It was done. I almost ate the other nine bagels immediately but I think the nappers started waking up and I wasn't sure how I was going to explain myself.

To continue SUPER FUN BAKING WITH YEAST WEEK I looked around for more recipes. What started this all was I saw an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown about cinnamon rolls. So that's what I'm making now. Well, we're in preparation to make them. All the ingredients need to be at room temperature. It's ridiculous. Also it requires lots of egg yolks. So we had to figure out what to do with all the egg whites. The answer: Chocolate meringue cookies. They're baking right now... We didn't put any chocolate chips in. But we're kind of heretics like that. We usually don't go for the super double chocolatey desserts. I'll go take some pictures so this won't be so boring.

Next up: Cinnamon Roll report.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Making Pizzas

I've been making pizzas with pre-made dough from Trader Joe's in the last couple months. A few came out amazing, but many came out just okay. It turns out our oven is crappy. It's this weird little European one that only goes up to 450 degrees and only has a burner on top. A combination to ensure our pizzas are never very crispy or cooked quickly.

Anyway, I was googlin' up some Alton Brown* stuff to scout out his cinnamon roll recipe. I stumbled onto some people griping about some pizza dough recipe of his and found a link to this Pizza-making page -- The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Making Your Own Pizza It looks good and I want to remember it. So now it's in my blog. You can use it too, if you want. Normally I'd just choose "Add Bookmark..." and save a link to the page in my web browser. I'm totally ineffective at saving bookmarks to good web sites though. Well... that's not true. I'm very effective at saving them. I've never in my entire life used a bookmarked site after bookmarking it though. The good news there is that when something goes wrong and I lose all my web browser settings I hardly notice the difference.

* Alton Brown has a show called "Good Eats" which is really good. At least for geeks. He's geeky, likes science and is weird and funny. He's also the host on the American version of Iron Chef.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I Hate Ad Hoc Distribution on the iPhone

Seriously. Ad Hoc Distribution? I hate it. I've wasted so much time with it. Apple has such tight control over distribution to iPhones and iPod Touches that you can't just download and install an application on your device. More importantly my testers can't install my game without having things just so. There are all these hoops to jump through to set up provisioning files etc. It's not super difficult, but there are lots of places to go wrong because there are so many steps. Half of my testers have run into problems because of iTunes, some mistake I made, or who knows why. I have too. From my end sometimes the solution is to ignore the errors that Xcode is reporting and just restart my iPhone. For users we've done a lot of trial and error. I'm sure there are some testers who just punted and gave up.

My artist, Andy, wasn't able to run Solitaire for a month and a half. Really. I made new builds. It worked for other people. It worked for new testers. No prob. I started just making screen capture movies for him so he could see what the game looks like. We were joking about how he should sell his iPhone on eBay. He could market it to people who need a phone but hate solitaire.

The reason I'm writing this post is that once again Google has saved the day. I found the iPhone Configuration Utility (wtf? I never heard of this thing before) and with it Andy was able to clean out the old version(s?) of Solitaire and install the new one. I don't know what iTunes is doing, but it's clearly f'd up. I hate iTunes. The interface is so bad. And it's non-standard in these horrible ways. Like you click the zoom button and expect the window will ZOOM. But instead the window changes into a tiny weird control panel. Also. the UI button to close, zoom and minimize all move. Beautifully, the buttons only differ in color. That's fantastic UI design for all of us who are red/green color-blind. The buttons have moved and the whole window looks different instead of zooming like 99.9% of all other apps would have done. WTF! Maybe I'll write about the horrible ways iTunes handles focus on lists. I swear to you it never does what I expect when I use the arrow keys to try to do something.

Okay. So iTunes, right? Once it has a problem installing an ad hoc app it just loses its mind. It's just crazy. It's like "Hey, how ya doin'? I'm iTunes. What? Yeah. I installed that app. Seriously. Super Serious. No probs. What? It crashes? No it doesn't. Don't lie. I'm iTunes. What? Yeah, I'll install that app. Okay. Done. No. Serious. Cereal. Super Cereal. Done. It's in there. Ha, no just kidding. I installed that old one again. Here. Try again. I swear I'll install it. jk."

Anyway, you struggling iPhone developers who've found my boring blog with Google... I wish good luck to all of you. If your users haven't given up yet have 'em download the iPhone Configuration Utility from Apple. Or I hear it's nice developing for Android.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Gmail is down?

Gmail is down so I'm reading my email with the webmail browser for my site. It's not-so-good. Also, apparently GMail filters out the spam that normally gets delivered to me but now I'm stuck reading it. Today's spam highlight:

Hey We have hijacked your baby but you must pay once to us $50 000. The details we will send later... We has attached photo of your fume

"We has attached photo of your fume?" WTF is that? I know whoever wrote this doesn't speak English as a first or second language. But still. "Fume?" Weird. If I translate it back and forth with an online translation site I get this:

We there are attached photo of your smokes.

This is pretty fantastic and makes more sense. Of course if you've hijacked* my baby I'm definitely going to want a smoke. It's almost ensured once I see that picture of my very own smokes. I bet this is a ploy from the cigarette companies to get me to smoke. I'm too scared to open the attachment so we'll never know. Stupid cigarette companies.

* Not "Kidnapped," but "Hijacked." What are they gonna do, like fly my baby somewhere? If my baby flew I wouldn't be wasting time on the internet. I'd be making millions from Eric's All-New Flying Baby Cirque Du Soleil. "Come for the flying baby, stay for the weird clowns"