Hypercard – An Amazing Tool I Still Miss #hypercard25th

Way back in the early days of computing, the first computer I had at college was a Mac 128k. It was eventually upgraded to 512k, but I managed to sell it and get a Mac Plus (which I still have). The decision to get that Mac Plus was significantly influenced by my having seen Hypercard.

I worked for Cornell’s campus store computer department, and was a member of the campus Mac users group. I recall writing an article for the campus newsletter about how to use Hypercard on one floppy (for those of us who didn’t have 2 drives.) This required lots of disk swapping, but was still doable. I was a huge Hypercard fan, and learned lots of introductory programming and scripting concepts via Hypercard.
Hypercard

When I graduated college and applied for my first job, at BBDO, I sent them my resume on a Floppy Disk using a Hypercard stack that showed my experience, jobs, and even a page with a picture of Cornell where the bell tower sound would play if you clicked it. I got the job, and that same stack helped me when I applied to NYU’s ITP program. Though I do recall Red Burns taking me down several notches for inconsistent interface design, difficult navigation, and more, it did get me in.

At JP Morgan in 1992 or 93, there was a need to roll out some custom software for 360 peer review to every mac user-over 3000 around the world. I ended up developing a Hypercard stack that did the majority of the work (with some custom code from Microsoft to communicate with a mail server), and I did it in my “spare time” with my tech friends at the bank doing the testing. This ended up getting me an advancement and helping shape my future career.

My friend Christopher Allen mentioned that  this weekend is the 25th Anniversary of Hypercard, so I  wanted to put down this small reminiscence and thank Bill Atkinson and the team at Apple that made Hypercard such an amazing product.

Elsewhere: David Weinberger has a great take on Hypercard@25 (and h/t for the picture).

Arduino, Xbee and Sparkfun shield issue

This is much geekier than my usual stuff (not that I post here much anymore.) Unless you’re good with Arduino and XBee this will not be interesting – and possibly seem like gibberish.

We have two Arduino Uno boards. Our board seem to transmit and receive each other, and we’ve tested the xbees – they work fine in an “echo” test we found that transmits from one and sends a signal back to the other. (Unwired).

As you can see in this video, we load up the two sketches (listed below) which we’ve simplified to be – one sketch sends an “A” character – the other, upon receiving any character, lights an LED. Very simple.

But even though the receiving board seems to be getting a signal from the transmitting board once a second, it does not trigger the rest of the sketch’s loop to run. If we wire the boards together without the xbees, the sketch runs. We are stumped.

Any advice is welcome.

int ledPin = 13;

void setup()
{
Serial.begin(9600);
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
delay(100);
while(!Serial.available());
}
void loop()
{
digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
delay(100);
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
delay(100);
}

transmit
//this is a program to see if the Xbees work
int ledPin = 13;

void setup()
{
pinMode (ledPin, OUTPUT);
Serial.begin(9600);
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
}

void loop()

{
// delay(1000);
//digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
// delay(9000);
Serial.println(‘a’);
delay(1000);
//digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
//while(1);
}

My Droid Incredible Low on Disk Space – Not

I’ve had this issue 3 times now. The phone reports “Low on space: Phone storage space is getting low.” The first time I had to Hard Reset the phone – on the advice of both Verizon and the HTC call center (where I waited on hold for 30 minutes). Second time, I removed some apps, and the problem went away. But now, at time 3, I started letting my fingers search the net for the issue.

Here’s what Christopher Dawson at ZD had to say:

Is your Droid Incredible low on disk space? | ZDNet

Of course not. It has 8GB of internal storage and you’re geeky enough to have a Droid, so you certainly aren’t out of internal storage. If you’re like me, though, you’re still receiving an error message telling you that you are “Low on space: Phone storage space is getting low.” Here’s the problem, though: HTC has no idea that this issue exists, let alone that it’s essentially bricking Incredibles.

Android Central had a discussion on the low disk space issue that blames HTC mail, but I don’t use that, I use Gmail. Android Forums on HTC also note a problem but there aren’t that may posts on that site. The Incredible forum suggests getting a new unit.

The problem I’m having, and haven’t seen this yet for anyone else, is that my contacts database reports it’s 90MB. That would be a lot of friends. I’ve tried to ensure that my phone doesn’t connect Facebook and Twitter contacts with my address book, but apparently something is making the database huge. Maybe this is the cause of the memory issue, but who knows. The phone reports over 650MB of phone Memory free (Phone Memory, not Internal Phone Storage – that has 480MB free, just in case I’m confused about where stuff happens). I suspect that HTC Sense is trying to link everything and it is taking up a lot of “working memory.”

Verizon tech support level 1 didn’t know my issue – I think they basically got it, but knew enough to pass me to level 2. Person at level 2 support suggested that “If it were me, I’d get a new device.” So, that’s in the works now.

I’m calling on HTC to at least acknowledge the issue, and provide a fix.

UPDATE: Yesterday the problem got worse and worse, until the phone would crash when I tried to use the “phone” application. Yes, I could not use my phone as a phone. I rebooted by removing the battery, set it up as a diskdrive, copied all my photos off the phone, and hard reset it to factory settings, losing my apps and everything. Even thought the VZ people told me the android market would remember all my purchased and free apps, it really didn’t. It did let me reinstall my purchased game, but many of the other utilities I had downloaded I now have to find again, once the new unit arrives tomorrow.

My phone turned into a brick, I am convinced, because the contacts file was >100MB when the phone finally wouldn’t work as a phone, that some HTC Sense thing trying to merge all my contacts with Facebook and Twitter account info and bring in all pictures is what did this to it.

I am going to try to avoid all these ‘connect the accounts’ things when I reinstall the new phone.

2nd Update: Verizon sent me a phone that was already imprinted with someone else’s phone number (no info on the phone), and it could not be switched to my number. So they are again going to send me another phone, and they’re paying the expedited shipping. But, uhg, how frustrating. 
Update from ZD Net: Chris Dawson thinks he’s solved this issue. I’d concur that it is related to the HTC Sense apps.