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Wicca Plus v2.1 in the Works

Posted 2014.01.09 21.50 in iphone

Work has begun on an update to Wicca Plus.

While I would prefer not to pre-announce new features / additions incase unforseen circumstances mean some things have to be dropped or delayed, there are a couple things which will definitely be included in the next release:

  • Southern Hemisphere Support – the sabbats section has been rewritten and a new option added to the Settings screen, allowing the app to correctly display the sabbats and lunar phases for everyone in the Southern hemisphere.
  • More Accurate Lunar Data – the Full and New Moon times were originally calculated using some math based on the average lunation period. This was only accurate to within plus or minus several hours, as the Moon’s orbit is not quite circular. I’ve now incorporated lunar data from a NASA website, which is accurate to less than 3 minutes from now till the end of the year 2100.
  • A New Font – this is purely cosmetic, but the Papyrus font is somewhat stale and old. I’ve found a new font which I rather like; hopefully this won’t draw more complaints than Papyrus did.
  • Change The Title – a new option has been added to the Settings screen, enabling users to change the title of the book. I have always called my book Liber Umbrarum et Lux but you can name your book as you see fit. This affects the Main / Contents page, and the Front Cover screen (in the Prefixes section.)
  • Minor bug fixes, performance improvements, and as always, corrections to spelling mistakes that slipped through the content editing.

New entries and some other new features are also in the works.

There’s no ETA for when this update will be out. Originally I had a tentative target date of Imbolc, but we got hit hard just after Yule by an ice storm and that has set things back by a week or more.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Posted 2014.01.06 14.21 in Pointless Blather

I’m still digging out of the damage and set-backs caused by the ice storm a fortnight ago. It’s slow going and stressful, and some of it is depressing.

Still, I’ve been trying to work through it, trying to keep a stiff upper lip as they say. Keep calm and carry on, and all that.

More frustrations and setbacks keep piling up though. Like the universe can’t resist kicking me while I’m down.

And I think, it seems like when my stress level reaches a certain point, it overflows and gets converted into depression.

You try and roll with the punches, try and perservere, but finally it’s too much and you realize there’s no point, whatever you accomplish will just get knocked down, so you just collapse inwards.

I was hoping 2014 would be a good year, but it’s already shaping up to be just like the rest of them.

What a let-down.

I Apologize For Badmouthing The Ice Storm

Posted 2014.01.03 20.05 in Pointless Blather

I’m sorry for dissing the ice storm.

So the morning of December 22nd, I woke up to find two big branches had come down, one on the house and the other on the shed / back yard.

Turns out, that was just the warm-up act.

That night, the freezing rain came non-stop from before dark, and carried on well into mid-day on Sunday December 23rd. I couldn’t get any sleep, from the nonstop cacaphony of frozen lumber raining down on the house.

On the 22nd, there was one big branch in the backyard. By the morning of the 23rd, all the big branches are in the backyard:

Backyard Carnage

Between 2:00 and 3:00 am, several huge branches came down right ontop of my bedroom. They sort of piled up on the roof for a while, before sliding / falling off the side of the house.

Buried Under Branches

Around 4:00am there were some huge blue electrical arcs that lit up the neighborhood. I was counting myself lucky that I still had power.

When the sun came up, I had a look outside and could see two neighbors across the road had lost power. One of them had their power line down, laying right across the road:

Power Line on the Road

At this point, I was sort of hoping that the worst was passed and that I’d managed to avoid any serious trouble. That’s when I heard a tremendous crash, and my own power went out. Right while I was writing up this entry, in fact…

I have UPS/battery backup power supplies on everything, but they’re only good for 10 or 20 minutes. Enough time for me to go round to all the servers etc. and perform orderly shutdowns.

Then I went outside to survey the damage.

What a Mess

Yep, sure enough, my home’s power line was down. Wrapped around the neighbor’s car, by the looks of it. Worse still, the ‘mast’ thing on my roof took a direct hit. A 2″ steel tube had been folded over like a plastic drinking straw, the cables snapped.

It was the worst case scenario. The neighborhood had power, so we were low priority. And since the majority of the power-line damage was to the house itself, the power company would do nothing until the ‘mast’ had been replaced and everything was up to current electrical code standards.

Folded Over

I stayed a day, but by Monday the temperature indoors was hovering around 50°F and dropping. Finally, I packed up the cats and headed to my sister’s house; she had graciously offered to take us in for the duration.

I came back on the 25th of December to check on things. No good news. The indoor temperature was down to 37°F and everything in my aquariums had died – snails, fish, froggies, all dead. It was very, very sad. In fact the whole house felt dead.

On December 28th, electrical contracters sent by my insurance company had arrived and were working at rebuilding the powerline mast…

Repairs

At long last, on Sunday December 29th, the power was finally reconnected and I could return home.

The ordeal is far from over, though. I still have a lot of branches on my roof, and the backyard is positively full of branches. I had to throw out all the food in my fridge and freezer. I have to file a claim with the insurance company. I have a lot of clean-up to do. And I am worried that my freezer has died; since the power came back on it doesn’t freeze any more. Not to mention all the stress of having my entire business shut-down and off-line for a full week.

It was certainly a Yule to remember, and an x-mas to forget. I’ve decided not to replace the snails / fish / frogs. I miss them, but it’s time to move on. It’s also been a wake-up call about emergency preparedness… once upon a time I was very prepared. Now I am not. I think that needs to be addressed.

Overall though, the cats and I survived our experience as ‘refugees’, and while it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t the end of the world.

Solstice

Posted 2013.12.21 17.00 in Spiritual

It’s the Solstice today.

Merry Midsummer to everyone in the southern hemisphere.

Joyous Yule to everyone in the northern hemisphere.

Ice Storms Suck.

Posted 2013.12.21 9.36 in Pointless Blather

In between my 2nd and 3rd coffees of the morning, and my eyes are finally de-blearified enough to perceive the world around me, and I think to myself, Huh, I don’t remember being able to see tree branches out this window before.

So I poke my head out the back door to look in the back yard.

From Here to the Shed

Yeah. No. That wasn’t there before.

So I put on some shoes and go outside to get a closer look.

Dammit!

Pow! Right in the Roof

I don’t remember hearing any bangs or thuds last night so maybe it just sort of only gently settled on the roof.

While I was snapping pictures, more tree-bits came crashing down in the next yard, so I concluded my investigation and retreated back to the safety indoors.

And there’s another whole day of this ice storm shenanigans coming, according to Environment Canada.

Chippy the Squirrel

Posted 2013.11.29 9.55 in Pointless Blather

Chippy

He’s had his fill of the leftover pasta, and now he’s nibbling on… some blue plastic? I have no idea what that is.

All the stale bread and uneaten pasta and limp vegetables tend to go out into the backyard. It’s got to the point now where just opening the backdoor frequently attracts 3 or 4 squirrels into the yard.

This one is chilling out on a shelving unit that’s temporarily stored on the back porch – here, he can enjoy his pasta (or plastic) in the shade, out of the elements.

I just can’t tell…

Is he cute?

Or is he plotting?

Plotting

Overlord! Updated

Posted 2013.11.27 21.47 in iphone

Overlord! is a calendar replacement app designed for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

It exists to fill a gap that I felt was left when Apple updated their own Calendar app a couple months ago, when they released iOS 7.

Specifically, they removed their calendar’s List View, and they crippled their Month View somewhat. Those were the two views I used exclusively. I was unhappy (and figured others might feel the same way.)

Consequently, I dug up Overlord! – originally an app for the Newton Messagepad 2000. I took the basic concept from that old Newton app, and built and expanded on it.

This update corrects a bug that affected multi-day events, and improves how multi-day events are handled and displayed.

For more information, please have a look at the Overlord! Calendar Replacement app page.

Overlord! is available in the App Store.