Erik’s Brain

The reward of a thing well done...

Flash Player 11 Announcement

It’s embarrassing to me that Adobe, of all companies, would release such a poorly produced promo video. At this point it feels like they’re saying “what’s the point?”

MDS Activity and Flash Player Debugger

I noticed that the mds process had been a little too active on my 2009 MacBook Pro running 10.7.1. mds would be idle for a second, then be at 20-70% of CPU for a few seconds, then back down, then spike again. Endlessly. Long story short: I noticed if I wasn’t watching a baseball game on, the activity was fine. I traced the issue to Flash Player, and in particular the Flash Player Logs folder (~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/Logs). The flashlog.txt and policyfiles.txt files kept getting updated, triggering indexing, it seems. Excluding that folder, actually its parent folder, ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player, from the Spotlight index seemed to keep things under control. This probably isn’t a problem for many people. I run the debug version of the Flash Player, which causes the flashlog.txt to update when playing SWF files. I don’t know what the deal is with policyfiles.txt, though. It’s a plain text file that’s over 130MB! Gotta investigate that…

Related: policyfiles.txt Out of Control

Summer Morning

Summer Morning

The morning light was cutting through the leaves of the walnut tree outside the kitchen window. It felt a little bit like this.

Single glass Lensbaby + Aperture + Flare

Old San Francisco

This site has been going around the interwebs for a while and I finally took a look at it. As luck would have it, there was a dot on Irving Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenue, which is exactly where I used to live. I clicked the dot to load the picture.

225 Irving

After I got my bearings it hit me: the building on the far right is my old building, looking very much like it looks today. The 3rd floor apartment was mine. And here’s an interior shot of the window that faces due west.

Compressing Git Repository

I recently moved a decent sized project from Mercurial to Git, using the method Dan Benjamin outlined here. I noticed that the .hg repo was 88.3MB while the .git repo was 141.3MB. That’s quite an inflation. So I ran git gc to try to compress the repo. That didn’t change a thing. However, running git gc --aggressive got the .git repo down to 78.5MB. Nice! Assuming that the repo still works without any problems :) To my knowledge, the care and feeding that Git requires is one of the few drawbacks of Git compared to Mercurial. But I’m plowing forward with Git. I like how it handles branches better than Mercurial and branches are something I want to use more often. Also, everyone is using Git, and this is one area where it doesn’t really pay to be different. Just go with the flow and life will be a little bit easier.

Update: Sunday, April 1, 2012

I just ran it on the Git repo for Splitcaster, which I also ported over from Mercurial. The repo was 14.4MB and after running git gc --aggressive it was down to 8.5MB. Not nearly the same level of savings, but still nice. But, crap, I forgot to note the difference in the number of files in the repo before and after.

Related: Git Compression

Software and Process Patents

Because of software and process patents any company could be sued for almost anything. It is impossible to know what the next patent to be issued will be and whether or not your company will be at complete risk. It is impossible to go through the entire catalog of patents issued over the last 10, 15, 20 years and determine which will be used to initiate a suit against your company.

via Mark Cuban

It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to me if the methods I’m using to estimate split distances and finish times in Splitcaster is infringing on some patent someone filed fifteen years ago. But how would I know until I’m sued? This hasn’t even happened yet, but it very easily could, and that in itself pisses me off.

On the flip side, maybe I “invented” this on my own. Should I go through the process of patenting it so that I could then go through the process of suing people who steal my process, either on purpose or inadvertently? No. It’s a no win situation for small businesses and solo developers. The only winners in the software patent wars are the lawyers and the big businesses who can afford to pay them.


I had a little bit of fun with an old super-zoom digicam, iMovie, and the squirrels in the tree out front.