From Chrome and Firefox to Safari

I often switch back and forth between Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. I can’t make up my mind! Chrome seems fast, even noticeably so right after switching from Firefox. But then I get annoyed by some little “niggle” of Chrome and end up running back to Firefox. Later Firefox starts being more unstable and it’s back to Chrome.

Well now I’ve decided to give Safari a good try, since I never actually gave it a wholehearted try. I’m so used to automatically shunning Internet Explorer that I equally shunned Safari as soon as I got my MacBook Pro.

It’s awesome that Adblock Plus is a Safari extension too, and works just as well as the Firefox version. I probably wouldn’t even consider using Safari without it. I can’t stand ads! Also Lastpass of course works in Safari and it seems to work just as well as Firefox, too! Xmarks worked well too, syncing my few bookmarks (mainly just the bookmark bar).

Other than developer extensions, the only other extension in my Firefox is Flashblock, but I’m hoping I won’t need that in Safari. I’ll see for sure, but my hopes are that the Flash plugin works well in Safari, in contrast to the many times it has slowed or frozen Firefox and Chrome (or even crashed, pretty frequently).

Only time will tell if I stay with Safari!

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Game Development Stack Exchange

Wow, did I actually write all of this? And is it really 19 points higher than the second best answer? I hardly remember this time period, when the website was just starting with very few active members and I was obsessively answering questions and climbing towards the #1 spot on the site.

I did reach #1, and stayed there for quite some time (a month or two?), but by then I had lost interest. Or to phrase it better, other people started being active on the website and I felt like my job was being done for me. Where before I felt a responsibility to answer questions because they might not otherwise get answered, now other people smarter than me were posting great answers and I had little to add. So I pretty much left and focused on school work and other stuff.

Now I’m wondering if I should hop back on the site, at least to observe and read all the great game development knowledge that’s going around, and maybe answer a question here or there.

(by the way, I’m currently #3, my username is Ricket)

I’m nervous about my future as a game developer. It sounds like it can be a tough field to break into, and I’m a little worried that I will just end up as some other type of developer and just making games on the side. Is that such a bad thing? No, of course not. I’m not really worried if that’s where I end up. I just need to be ready for defeat when I apply to the various game companies around here. The likelihood of them hiring me is very low despite how skilled I may think I am.

And of course, as with any job, I need proof that I’m a good game programmer. I don’t have that proof yet (because I’m not a good game programmer yet).

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Artificial Sweetener Stories

I was told the story of how Splenda was discovered by my professor in swim conditioning class several semesters ago. But I had no idea that every artificial sweetener has something of an interesting discovery story connected to it! I grabbed these from Wikipedia, but each one has credible sources. For each of these success/luck stories, I wonder how many similar events have happened where more dangerous chemicals have been ingested by scientists and didn’t have such good results.

Saccharin was first produced in 1878 by Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist working on coal tar derivatives in Ira Remsen’s laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University. The sweet taste of saccharin was discovered when Fahlberg noticed a sweet taste on his hand one evening, and connected this with the compound which he had been working on that day.

Cyclamate was discovered in 1937 at the University of Illinois by graduate student Michael Sveda. Michael Sveda was working in the lab on the synthesis of anti-fever medication. He put his cigarette down on the lab bench, and, when he put it back in his mouth, he discovered the sweet taste of cyclamate.

Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet and Canderel) was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist working for G.D. Searle & Company. Schlatter had synthesized aspartame in the course of producing an antiulcer drug candidate. He accidentally discovered its sweet taste when he licked his finger, which had become contaminated with aspartame, to lift up a piece of paper.

Sucralose (Splenda) was discovered in 1989 by scientists from Tate & Lyle, working with researchers Leslie Hough and Shashikant Phadnis at Queen Elizabeth College (now part of King’s College London). While researching ways to use sucrose as a chemical intermediate in non-traditional areas, Phadnis was told to test a chlorinated sugar compound. Phadnis thought that Hough asked him to taste it, so he did. He found the compound to be exceptionally sweet.

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In Over My Head

*sigh*

I’ve been particularly demotivated lately, but I finally decided to start figuring out how to develop an app for Mac and pretty quickly realized I’m in way over my head here. Xcode is a completely alien development environment for me, the Mac development style involves the use of Objective-C and Cocoa and other things that are somewhat distant from the Windows-based technologies I have learned, and it’s been so long since I last learned a whole new paradigm that I’m having trouble getting started.

I suppose the best thing to do at this point is probably to get a book. So this goes on hold until I get to the library. The good news is the library does have a good number (~21) of books on the topics of Objective-C and Cocoa!

Monday and Wednesday I have a block of 1 hour 45 minutes between two afternoon math classes near the library in the afternoon. Hmm…

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Microsoft OneNote 2007 randomly creates shortcuts

I’m trying to grasp a very slippery issue lately. Several users have OneNote 2007 installed and are sharing a notebook over the network (via a shared network drive). One of them will open OneNote and sometimes (randomly) a shortcut to a tab will be created in the shared notebook. This occurs without the user even viewing that specific notebook and sometimes multiple shortcuts are created at once. Looking at the owners of the shortcuts, not everyone is affected by this bug. They are all running Windows 7 64-bit with an almost identical environment.

I found a few instances of it across the web but it seems to be a very scarce bug:

The best idea is probably to bump them to OneNote 2010 (and hope it doesn’t happen) but we are not yet ready to migrate users, so in the meantime I’ll need to try and find a solution.

I need to run Office Diagnostics on each of the computers. It might fix the problem automatically, if the moon is aligned just right.

I will update this page once I find a solution. If you are also having this issue, please comment, especially if you have something to add.

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Mac App Store

Hooray for the Mac App Store! It’s not as exciting as I thought it would be, though I’m glad it came out earlier than expected. I wish it recognized more of my existing apps, and many (most) of them were not already in the app store but I’m sure that will come in short time.

Overall, it’s not really useful to me at the moment but very neat. I hesitate to purchase any apps because I might be launched into a spending spree, but I did grab a couple free ones and the whole process is as smooth as should be expected.

I hope they add a section for dashboard widgets. I love playing with the dashboard but there are so many widgets that it’s hard to find the good ones!

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phpMyAdmin – Import Excel CSV into table

Importing a CSV file which was saved from Excel 2007/2010 into MySQL using phpMyAdmin is easy once you know how! Just carefully follow all of these steps:

1. Sanitize the CSV file: Open the CSV file in a text editor (preferably something better than notepad.exe, such as Notepad++). If the first row contains column names, delete it. If there are extra last rows at the bottom of the file, delete them (leave one completely blank line at the end). Do a search for “,,” (two commas in a row) and wherever you find that, add a value between those commas; the value should match the type of that column, so if it’s a numeric column, add a number (0 or -1), and so on. Do a search-and-replace for “” (two quotation marks) and replace all by ” (backslash quotation mark). Save!

2. Open phpMyAdmin: In phpMyAdmin, click the table, and then click the Import tab at the top of the page.

3. Import: Browse and open the (sanitized) csv file. Leave the charset as-is. Uncheck partial import unless you have a HUGE dataset (or slow server). The format should already have selected “CSV” after selecting ¬†your file, if not then select it (not using LOAD DATA). If you want to clear the whole table before importing, check “Replace table data with file”. Optionally check “Ignore duplicate rows” if you think you have duplicates in the CSV file. Now the important part, set the next four fields to these values:

  • Fields terminated by: ,
  • Fields enclosed by: “
  • Fields escaped by:
  • Lines terminated by: auto

Currently these match the defaults except for “Fields terminated by”, which defaults to a semicolon. The crucially important sanitization step prepared the CSV file to work with these values so make sure you did in fact follow my sanitize step above. Now for column names, put a comma separated list of your table’s column names which match the CSV columns. This is case sensitive, no spaces after the commas, no quotes around the table names. Like this: column1,other_column,column3.

Now click the Go button, and it should run successfully. I tested this method with values that contained combinations of single quotes, double quotes and commas, and the values all seemed to import correctly after following everything above. If you have problems with this method please email me via the button on my homepage, and if you found this to be helpful please consider commenting or reposting and linking back to here so that perhaps this can rise to the top of search results. Thanks!

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