Tales and thoughts from the founder of NormSoft (maker of Pocket Tunes), working and living in St. Croix, USVI

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Spam on my phone

Okay, this is great.  I just got a spam by SMS on my phone.  Might have to turn that feature off... *sigh*


Monday, February 23, 2004

Something New For Me...

So this is something I haven't done before.  I've been talking to a few independent artists to try to find ways to use Pocket Tunes's success to promote their music.  I met with Lori McKenna this weekend, and I spoke with Geoff Byrd last night.  Both amazing artists, and I'm trying to think of things I can do to get them more fans.

As a business person, I obviously want to be successful by selling Pocket Tunes.  But as a music lover, I feel I should take the opportunity to give something back and promote great music like this.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Blogger API changed

Apparently the blogger API changed, so I had to update Newsgator to point to the new URL: http://www.blogger.com/api  Hope that doesn't happen too often...


Friday, February 20, 2004

Music I'm listening to: Yiriyaro (Percussion Storm) by Baaba Maal. Cool stuff :)
Can't do that

Apparently there are quite a few things you can't do from within a sampled sound callback on PalmOS 5, I mean Garnet. As you may be aware, the callback runs in a separate thread of execution from the rest of the application. Therefore one of the things you need to be careful of is synchronization with your main thread. There are no synchronization constructs available to 68k apps or PNOlets, so you've got to implement your own. (Open up your favorite operating system book and look up spin locks. With audio callbacks, you can modify spin locks in such a way as to avoid pegging the CPU. I'll leave this as an exercise.) The other option is to avoid doing things that require synchronization between the threads, which is probably a good idea anyway.

Besides the threading problems, there are also problems with certain OS functions that appear not to be thread safe. We've run into the following functions that seem to have problems:

  • DmDeleteDatabase - calling this from the audio callback on some devices causes resource-management functions (e.g. DmGetResource) to later fail in catastrophic ways.
  • PrefGetPreference - calling this from the audio callback at precisely the wrong time (i.e. when another thread is accessing the system preferences DB) causes a Fatal alert because the system preferences DB can't be opened.
  • FileClose - just found this today. Calling this from the audio callback corrupts something and leads to hard-to-track-down crashes sometime later (possibly after leaving your app and coming back, which is kind of scary!)

Powered Up Award Winners

I've been remiss in posting here due, in part, to going to the PalmSource 2004 developer conference last week.

Pocket Tunes was given a "Powered Up" award from PalmSource! I got to give a quick 2-minute demo in front of about 1,000 people at the keynote address.

It was my first time at a PalmSource conference. It was quite a lot of fun; I highly recommend it for all developer types. I made quite a few contacts and friends and received a boost of energy for Palm development. :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Tapwave DRM

Tapwave has an interesting DRM scheme for licensing software on their devices.  It looks like they thought it out pretty well so that applications can be reasonably sure they haven't been tampered with and are registered to the current device.  Too bad our software has to run on other devices as well; otherwise we could take full advantage of it.

I wonder how long until someone cracks it...


Monday, February 02, 2004

I Smell Spring

Well, maybe I'm just being overly optimistic, but it was a balmy 40 degrees F today.  So I went for a bike ride.  Yes, I was bundled up and it was chilly, but it was still fun to get out there!  I got a few strange looks, but that made it more interesting.

Next week I'll be out in California for PalmSource.  I'm planning to do a bit of mountain biking with some friends while I'm there.  I'm looking forward to the warm weather...