No Python

While I have been busy writing Python code, I have not had time to get any well documented for posting here or even on StackOverflow. There is so much going on that I forget the neater bits in the pursuit of various tasks.

However, I have acquired a new Cosmonaut stylus for writing on my tablet. It feels nice in my hand, with a pleasant heft to it.

最新計算機 / Newest Calculator

It turned out that my TI-89 cannot be used in linear circuit analysis II, because it is a graphing calculator. I bought a new calculator mainly because I was sick of working with complex numbers (i.e., a+bi) on a standard calculator. A calculator that can handle complex and magnitude/phase math was needed.

A friend bought a TI-36x Pro but I plumped for Casio's fs-115MS, in part because it was in stock at a nearby store and I didn't want to wait. Once I had it at home I worked through the tiny accompanying manual, which shows it does a broad range of things, though I wish it could do matrices.

I have had some frustrations with it, but mainly because it takes time to adjust. One is that I must choose the complex number output setting in advance, as either a + bi or polar form. Storing values is awkward because it took a while to realize that I must store with the Ans key sometimes; otherwise the calculator will perform, again and unwanted, the last operation then store that value, thus storing something you don't want.

All things considered, it is a nice calculator. However, I do wish classes would allow other things. Life would be easier if I could use MathStudio on my iPod on a test.

Junked over Ads

Over time I have gotten heartily sick of ads. As a student, I have no money to waste on the products; most would have no appeal even were I earning a good income. Ads were a good reason why I scrapped cable TV, although its high cost for 220 channels of tripe that was a worthless distraction from my studies played a greater role.

Today I deleted a second or third iOS app because of the obnoxious ads. They are annoying when the play in a small part of the screen, as with The Weather Channel's app, for which I would pay to end the ads. But apps that require a user to sit through a stupid TV ad before the app can be used are too much.

The ads that increasingly are required to watch things on YouTube have had the effect of my immediately quitting a YouTube video that opens with an ad. The constant ad assault seems to be an American thing: I do not recall ever being forced to sit through even a second of an ad when viewing YouTube content in Japan.

Courses & iCircuit

Last week I had two tests: multivariate calculus (A) and physics (ungraded). I also registered for the summer term: CHEM111, a precursor to the required CHEM105 monster; ENGR297, which is more MATLAB; and DESN103, intro to AutoCAD, which isn't required but I want to learn to use.

This term's physics course mainly addresses electricity. While I have worked with MultiSIM and PSPICE, I have been making more use of iCircuit, which does similar things on the Mac. In particular, I appreciate its constant animation of current and voltage flow, which are indicated with animation and color indicating direction and magnitude. Very nice!

I now have the iOS version of iCircuit as well. My iPod's tiny screen is rather limiting, but the program still does many things.

MathStudio Files

One of the best programs I have bought for my iPod is MathStudio, which is well worth its $19.99 price. The list of operations is extensive and accessible. The plots, especially the animated 3D ones, are superb (and quite useful). It exchanges files through iTunes nicely and offers other file-related functions.

MathStudio gets a regular workout for my Multivariate Calculus course. The files I create in MathStudio will be uploaded here, just in case someone else wants to make use of them.

HanDBase: DB Popup to Tie Fields

After I bought my iPod, I hoped to find an iOS version of a Palm OS database I used. However, no iOS version existed at the time, so I bought two database programs: iData, which I had used for years on my Macs and with my Palm handhelds, and HanDBase, which has been around for a long time. HanDBase offers many different field types, so I tend to use it more, as in the case below.

Currently a student, I work irregularly as a tutor. I use HanDBase to keep track of who, for whom, where, and whatnot. When tax time comes around, I need to know my mileage in traveling to and from tutoring sessions. My dilemma was how to tie an easily recalled text field, like "Home<->Ivy Tech NMC" to the less-easily-recalled mileage. Thanks to the HanDBase forum, I was directed to a quite useful DB Popup tutorial.

What I did was create a second database, "Tutor_Distance," with four fields and enough records to contain all the locations where I might tutor. I filled the database with destinations and distances confirmed with Google Maps. Here are the second database's fields:

  1. Depart: text field with, for me, mnemonically friendly items
  2. From-To: float field of distances, which I've set to just one decimal
  3. Return: text field for where I leave from
  4. To-From: float field, just like the one above

In my main database file, I set the "Departure" and "Miles To" fields to DB Popups; I did the same with the "Return" and "Miles From" fields. For each DB Popup field, I chose the second database then the corresponding field, for which various settings exist; for example, how many characters from the linked field can be brought in. Then I specified two groups, which are identified in the DB Popup field: 1, for the two fields for going to; 2, the two for coming back.

I have some displays ("Views" in HanDBase parlance) to tweak, but now things are working quite well. If I need a new location, I just add it to the second database, "Tutor_Distance," and it instantly becomes an option for the main database.

The following screenshots might help illustrate what I did and how.

When I choose my "Departure" or "Return" fields in the main database, this is the window I get showing options from the database linked in the DB Popup field property. I set the linked database's text fields to display at 50% each, since I no longer need to see the actual distances.

20121219-134902.jpg

This is what a DB Popup field property looks like:

20121219-135420.jpg

20121219-135430.jpg

Reset iPod touch to Regain Car Audio System Functionality

I have an iPod touch, which has been an outstanding gadget. My Honda Fit, in its upper glove compartment, has a USB jack that ends in an Apple iPod/iPhone tip. When the iPod is connected, I can play its music (or NHK Japanese-language podcasts) through the Fit's sound system.

This works wonderfully until it doesn't. Connecting the iPod results in a delay, an "Incompatible Version" message, an "Unsupported Version" message, or something else. After a period of time that usually grows longer every day, from seconds to minutes, the device that had stolidly refused to connect will suddenly appear, its music files and playlists accessible at last.

When this happens, the thing to do is perform a hard reset of the iPod.

Getting Xcode to use Simulator

Having some time before classes resume on August 20th, I borrowed a book from the library about programming for Apple's iOS. I already had Apple's IDE Xcode, although I had to update it to v4.4.1. That done, I downloaded a HelloWorld sample, which wouldn't build. I kept getting the following error message:

Code Sign error: The identity 'iPhone Developer' doesn't match any valid, non-expired certificate/private key pair in your keychains

Much frustration and time wasting resulted from trying to find a simple answer to this problem. Apparently only those who pony up $99 annually to join Apple's iOS Developer Program get a certificate/private key pair, but I just wanted to mess with Xcode and the iOS Simulator. After looking at too many things for too long to no success, I finally what I needed from Apple: how to make Xcode choose the Simulator as the runtime environment.

In short, in the upper left of the Xcode window is the word Scheme. Above that is a graphic box with the name of the file you're currently working on. Click on that box and choose either the iPad or iPhone Simulator; otherwise, you'll have the iOS Device, which requires that $99 membership (else you get the aforementioned build error).

Now I can make some real progress through Apple's and others' tutorials for programming for iOS. However, I know I will not make much progress over the course of just 10 days.