Archive Page 2

Bulk upload data when using app-engine-patch

I’ve been interested in learning more about both Django and Google’s App Engine, so I’ve been playing with app-engine-patch, a project that simplifies using Django on App Engine. I like it so far; it seems pretty simply, and it’s really easy to just extract the sample project and start modifying it.

Many of the personal projects I’ve been working on have needed some kind of ‘preset’ data. E.g. makes of cars, categories of food, etc. Data that won’t change frequently, but should most likely live in a database. It probably *could* just permantly live in a database, but since I’d rather not do that since I haven’t yet committed to a schema (or really even framework!). I’d prefer to keep the data in a simple external file like a spreadsheet if possible.

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Successfully modded my Wii

There’s something incredibly appealing about giving hardware extra features just by loading some code. Now my Wii joins my Xbox and PSP in being opened up to the homebrew community.

There are tons of guides on Wii modding online. After reading through most of the current ones and comparing/contrasting them, I settled on a relatively straightforward guide at afterdawn. The process was relatively straightforward; the only stumbling block I ran into was when I received a cryptic error while trying to install the homebrew channel. Turns out I was using a bad/incompatible SD card, using a different card worked fine.

My biggest unexpected surprise came from the Homebrew Browser. This ingenious app acts just like the Shopping channel, but hosts free homebrew games and utilities. You simply click the app you want, and it automatically downloads and ‘installs’ to your SD card. It’s amazing that the homebrew scene can put together a more cohesive experience than some commercial platforms.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a way to run commercial games off of an external USB hard drive. I’m not interested in piracy, but my Wii quite frequenty has problems reading game discs. I already spent $60 to get it ‘repaired’ by Nintendo, but the problems started again a month or so later.

Looking forward to whatever else the homebrew scene has in store…

Building Windows Mobile 6 apps using QT

Note: This article is a bit old, and applies to Windows Mobile 6, *not* Windows Phone 7

Because I use multiple platforms on a daily basis, I’m a big fan of cross-platform software. I’d been previous considering writing my personal apps in python/wxPython for this purpose, but with the recent announcement of QT going LGPL, I thought I’d try out QT and see if I could compile a program to use on my Fuze running WM 6.1 Professional.

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Didiom Review – Stream music from desktop to phone

I’m constantly looking for new media/phone software to play with, and just came across Didiom, a free pair of programs that lets you stream all your home pc music onto your phone over your data connection.

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Nothing beats the classics

I’ve been playing around with some various games on my Fuze, and even spent quite a few hours getting Quake 3 and Warcraft 2 to work. Quake 3 is pretty laggy, and using the Fuze’s d-pad for movement isn’t the greatest. Warcraft 2 actually plays decently well (and even has the memorable music!) but it’s not really well suited to the 5 minute gaming breaks that are common with phones.

So far, I’ve found myself playing Uno and Lemmings the most. Uno is especially polished and well-executed for being freeware. I highly recommend them to anyone with a windows mobile phone!

Fuze screen color ‘banding’ hardware defect

Within a day after using my new Fuze, I noticed that there were some strange color issues with the screen. It can’t display gradients very well. Instead of a smooth transition, the colors form distinct ‘bands’, like viewing a computer screen in 256 bit color mode. Also, the colors would ‘bleed’ out from their proper area, sometimes even causing a flickering effect on static images.

I compared my phone to a coworkers and found his didn’t have these issues, so I called AT&T support to get a replacement. I only mentioned that I had a ‘screen problem’ to the support tech, and she asked if the colors were bleeding. Seems like this is a common issue…

I received a replacement phone within a couple days. I used a digital camera to take a picture of both the new and old phones to actually document the difference. The issue is most noticeable when viewing photographs with a light shining on a wall (gradients aplenty!)

Defective

Defective

Working

Working

New phone

I just got a new phone, the AT&T Fuze (aka the HTC Touch Pro / Raphael). I wanted a shiny new smartphone to replace my Sprint Fusic.

It was incredibly hard to choose between all the new smartphones out there. In short, the iPhone is too locked down / limited by Apple, TMobile’s G1 doesn’t have 3G support in Ann Arbor, and I didn’t really like the look of any Symbian devices.

See the rest of my thoughts on the ‘Projects’ page

Welcome!

Hello there! I’m Jeffrey Parker and this is my personal blog/website. This will probably focus on software development, tech/gadgets, and life in Ann Arbor MI, but there’s no telling else I might write about.

I originally tried Drupal and Tikiwiki as website frontends, but wordpress seems to be a much better fit for my needs. We’ll see how it goes…