So here’s an idea that just came to me: web-based IDE. I must admit this idea isn’t terribly original, but to my knowledge it hasn’t been done yet. To elaborate:
A generic text-editor/IDE program, like UltraEdit or EditPlus, except instead of being a client-side program, it would be a web-based (probably using AJAX) application that a programmer could get to from any browser.
Mostly this idea came to me because I recently had my laptop taken from me by the support center to fix and re-image it, and I lost a lot of productivity setting up shop on the office’s back-up PC. Additionally, I was without my normal macros, settings, fonts, word files, and project files (I customize UltraEdit a lot).
Ideally, this application would store files on a server somewhere other than my local hard drive. I would have the option to sync-up with my local hard drive (or a development server that I have mapped for instance) automatically or manually. I could customize macros, word files, interfaces, etc and store those settings on the server as well. It would also be nice to have if you use a Windows PC at work and a Linux PC at home (or vice versa). Additionally, fixes and updates could be applied to every user all at once, instead of releasing lots of patches and upgrades.
This app would probably not be as appealing to non-web developers, since there’s always the possibility of not being able to use it without an Internet connection. The most important part of starting this app is ensuring easy and intuitive file management. All the customization bells and whistles (syntax highlighting, macros, etc) can come after that.
As for a business model, here’s the usual suspects: very small text ads, a “lite” free version and a “pro” pay version with full functionality, a storage limit for a free version and unlimited storage for a pro version, small monthly charges or a medium-priced one time charge, or some combination thereof. It could even be licensed to run on a company’s own web server (though I don’t think it would be a good idea for a company to dictate what IDE its developers use).
So, whadya think?
Here’s the full story of my (and my wife’s) awful (and hopefully not representative) tangle with Sprint. If you don’t feel like reading all this, at least scroll to the bottom to get a sense of scale, and consider that this is a relatively concise account of my tale:
- Went to a Sprint store with two old Sprint phones that we had used many years ago. Told them I want my old number switched over. They program the phones in about 15 minutes and tell me my new phone numbers. Explain again that I want my old numbers. Waited another 15 minutes. Got them activated on a 1-year contract with our old Cingular numbers finally. We did this because we wanted the shortest contract possible, and I didn’t want to pay a lot for new phones.
- Used the phones for a few days and realized that I made a mistake. I should’ve got new phones and signed a 2-year contract.
- Took the phones back to the Sprint store to hopefully get new ones with a 2-year contract. This day is what I consider Day 1. Sprint has a 14-day return policy, and we got there on the 13th day. The CSR told us that we should still be able to get in like we want, but that the store we were in really isn’t a Sprint store, it’s a Nextel store (even though there’s huge Sprint signs everywhere and barely any reference to Nextel). So she sent us to a Radio Shack up the road.
- Went to Radio Shack immediately that night and told Ken our story. Ken is the only CSR in this whole story with any degree of competence. If it wasn’t for him, I would probably have given up on Sprint completely. Anyway, Ken gets on the phone with Sprint and for about an hour fights to the death to get us two new phones on a 2-year contract. Sprint says they’ll have to mail us our phones. 3-5 business days. Fine by me.
- The phones arrives in the mail! Only 3 business days. Oh happy day! We don’t have a land line to call and get these phones activated, but Ken told us to come in to the store to get them activated. We bring the unactivated phones to Radio Shack. My phone is activated just fine and works lovely. My wife’s phone, however, doesn’t appear to have a working “6″ key, which prevents Ken from activating the phone. Here’s where it starts to get awful.
- Ken hops on the phone with Sprint again for about another hour. The goal here is to get a replacement phone sent out. One with a working “6″ key, preferrably. Sprint says it would be faster for us to go to a real Sprint store to get a replacement. Because again, Sprint signs everywhere apparently does not signal a Sprint store. Also, Ken’s Radio Shack doesn’t stock our particular phone model, and I guess it would be too hard for Sprint to allow Ken to give us a model he does have in stock.
- Allllright. Ken tells us the closest real Sprint store is actually at Eastland. We hop in the ol’ car and drive about 20 minutes to Eastland Mall on Friday night. We go into the mall and look on the map for the Sprint store. Hmm. Odd. It looks like it’s a kiosk. I go up to the kiosk and start to tell them my story. They tell me that this kiosk with Sprint signs and Sprint phones, manned by Sprint shirt-wearing CSR’s isn’t actually a Sprint store. The actual Sprint store is up the road a bit.
- Now I’m really starting to lose patience. We haven’t had full phone service in about a week, and now I’m wasting a Friday night going to every non-Sprint store in Columbus in search of a phone with a working “6″ key.
- Finally, I pull up to the official Sprint store on Hamilton road. I walk in with my busted phone that has never been activated and I walk up to the CSR. Her name is Shenaynay or LoQueesha or something, and she is more than happy to fulfill the sassy black woman bobble-headed stereotype that her awful name implies. I tell her my story so far and ask her to please exchange this non-working, unactivated phone for a working phone, just like Ken’s Sprint rep told us to do. She looks at me with a completely unsympatheic face and tells me that I have not purchased phone insurance and a replacement is not covered. I can get a working phone however for the low low price of $169.99. I reiterated that my phone has never worked, not once, and why would I buy insurance on a phone that is unactivated and has never worked? I can tell she cares deeply about my plight when she tells me that since I got the phone in the mail that I have to use the same channel to get a replacement. Now she is directly at odds with the Sprint CSR that Ken talked to. I’m so mad that I storm out in a huff.
- We arrive at a friends house about an hour later than we had planned on. My friend is particularly skilled at dealing with CSR’s, as I have witnessed many times over the years. (For instance, one time his appliances were delivered 2 minutes late and he convinced the CSR over the phone to send him 45 million dollars to make up for it.) I tell him my story and we decide that maybe he should call them up and pretend to be me. He calls, explains the whole story, and gets put on hold for about 30 minutes. The CSR finally says that they will mail out an envelope to return the old phone in and a replacement phone all in 3-5 business days. Yay!
Day 9 (Friday)
- Return envelope arrives on day 5, but no replacement phone. Before I stick the broken phone into the mail, I call Sprint to verify that the new phone is, in fact, on the way. According to the CSR, there was some SNAFU in the order, but it’s fixed now and it’ll be there on Monday (even though the post office is closed that day). Additionally, a $200 bill did arrive. I asked the CSR why I was being charged $200 for half a month of half of the $70 service I signed up for. He assured me that he adjusted my account so that I would not be charged for what I haven’t been able to use. We’ll see about that…
Day 15 (Tuesday)
- Nothing arrives in the mail. I call to Sprint to see what’s going on. I explain to yet another CSR what’s going on, why I have lost patience, and why I want a working phone TODAY. CSR puts me on hold to talk to her supervisor and fix the situation and allow me to go to the official Sprint store to get a phone today.
- After being on hold for 15-20 minutes, my call is redirected to a brand new CSR who assumes I’m a fresh new incoming call. I explain the whole story AGAIN to a new person, and she redirects me to supervisor. After being on hold for a good 10 minutes or so, the supervisor recommends going to the VERY FIRST Sprint store, which I explain to him (the Sprint rep) that it isn’t actually a Sprint store, despite the massive signage and product to the contrary. He tells me that my account balance is $180 something, so I tell him that my plan was $70 a month, why is it $180 now? I eventually whittle him down to $83.
- I take yet another trip to the official Sprint store. The CSR there gives me a story about why I can’t switch from broken phone to working phone directly. Instead I have to get a new number on a 3rd phone, call up Sprint customer service to switch the old number to 3rd phone, and then turn in the old phone. I said fine, but that I would call from here and I wasn’t leaving until I have two working phones. He goes backstage for 15 minutes or so, and has changed his mind. He decides we can do it easy way instead, and switch directly. He does his voodoo and tells me the phone won’t come on for a few hours because the voodoo is particularly slow today.
- I take the new phone home, it’s still not activated. No big deal, my wife decides to put in all her old numbers one by one anyway.
- We go to Wal-mart for some shopping. The activation happens, we finally have a working phone! But wait, it’s activated with MY phone number? I left my phone at home, so I can’t check to see what’s wrong.
- I get home and find out that MY phone has lost the ability to make calls.
- Yet another call to Sprint. The CSR walks through re-programming MY phone to get HER number. We’d then have two phone with the wrong phonebooks, but at least we’d have two working phones. Her programming doesn’t work. She puts me on hold for about 30 minutes.
- I’m redirected to a troubleshooting CSR. He walks me through (identical) programming, and it still doesn’t work. He tells me to take phone to Sprint store for a “flash reprogramming” or something. I am complaining like crazy at this point about all the time I have wasted so far. The CSR feels my pain and gives me a $10 credit.
- My wife takes the phones to RadioShack for Ken to reprogram. Ken takes the phones, does some voodoo, and presto! Two working phones with the correct numbers in less than 5 minutes.
So maybe it would have been easier if I had just gone directly to Ken in the first place, got new phones and signed a 2-year contract. I’m not going to go to Sprintsucks.com (or start Sprintsucks.com if it doesn’t already exist). I simply want to put this incredible story of blunder after blunder down to see if it sounds as incredible as the experience actually was.
How realistic is Gran Turismo? Well, most of us will never have access to the kinds of tracks that are in the game, and most of use will probably never own a car like the ones in the game. But the BBC’s TopGear host Jeremy Clarkson has access to both those things. Check out the video:
It appears that the whole security/surveillance political discussion that’s going down these days has become so politically charged that even a simple thing like cookies can spark a controversy.
That’s right. The NSA was in hot water because their public web site was using cookies. Well, hell’s bells! Next thing you know they’ll be using client-side scripting to populate drop down boxes! I can see the headlines now:
Is the NSA Web Site Using “Java Scripting” to Control YOUR Web Browser or your CHILDREN’S Web Browser?
Tune it at 11!
I just have one simple question to ask. Which is it?:
- Canada is the less violent version of the U.S. Less guns and less death.
- Canada is just as violent as the U.S.
If you take credit for having a nonviolent, peaceful utopia, you also have to take credit if suddenly your utopia isn’t so peaceful anymore. Just like if you blame a President for high oil prices (which is silly), you have to give him credit when those oil prices drop (which is just as silly). Of course, that’s one of the first rules of politics: take credit for good things, no matter if you were involved or not, and blame bad things on your political enemies, no matter if they were involved or not.
Trite cliche ahead:
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
I would not contend that the last two iterations of the King Kong franchise were meant to be racist metaphors. In fact, the Jeff Bridges version is probably more “progressive” than the Peter Jackson version. However, if you break down the symbolism of King Kong, it’s pretty clear that there’s definitely metaphors for slavery & racism. Aaron McGruder (or at least Uncle Ruckus of Boondocks) seems to agree:
My favorite game genre is the Sierra/Lucasarts style adventure game: Monkey Island, King’s Quest, etc. Unfortunately, this genre has all but dissappeared from game stores to make room for more FPS and RTS games. However, the genre is still alive and kicking in the independent developer and hobbyist scenes.
Fallen Angel Industries has just released Cedric and the Revolution. This is a Lucasarts style game that combines the best features of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, but with it’s very own unique set of characters, settings, and graphics. The overall quality of it is so good that it could easily be mistaken for a “lost” Lucasarts project.
If you are a fan of adventure games like I am, I definitely recommend getting this game.
My Christmas was the usual mix of disappointment, love, joy, and fun. Disappointing because no matter how much I hype myself up for my gifts or the gifts I give other, and no matter how much I enjoyed receiving, or they enjoyed receiving, there’s still a hollow feeling left inside afterwards. I think this is why it’s important to remember that Christmas isn’t just about gifts. Sure, it’s about friends and family and sharing good times with them, but it’s also about a child being born into the world–a child that normally would be humbly lost in the mists of time–that ended up being the single most important person to ever have lived. Not because he commanded sweeping invasions or world spanning empires. Not because he invented electricity, democracy, or the printing press. But because of the plain, but powerful way in which he spoke the (sometimes uncomfortably) obvious truth.