Transports of the Night
There are a hundred reasons to leave things alone when they work just fine. In the case of telephone number inquiries, 118,118 reasons, to be exact.
This much-advertised service started in 2003 when someone persuaded the government it was a good idea to bring competition into directory inquiry services. Where once we had a three-digit number to remember, at a reasonable cost per call, now there are a bazillion six-digit ones, each with a convoluted fee structure and, in personal experience, providing a dreadful service.
On Yer Bike
It’s pretty much the same with the privatized UK public transport, which closed down over Christmas, reducing us to a third-world country. The unions wanted to work, there were no major engineering projects that needed roads and rail closed, and the public obviously wanted some service, even a limited one. One union rep interviewed on the radio said that a lot of public transport workers couldn’t even get to work to resume service because they, too, relied on public transport. But the privatized road and rail companies refused to run buses and trains despite the billions of pounds of subsidy they get from tax payers. To cap it all, they raised their fares after Christmas to many times more than inflation.
Luckily, in the world of digital engineering, such close-downs are not a feature of the Christmas holiday. We discovered that Leopard had broken our favorite TV streaming application, CyTV. Worse still, the most recent message from its developer, Andreas Junghans, on CyTV’s forum was in July when he said he didn’t have time to continue developing CyTV.
Victor Mature No Attraction
This would have been a sad day, because we find the cross-platform application CyTV an excellent way of transporting live TV and EyeTV recordings around our palatial home, office, and grounds. Summer time especially, for F1 races beside the bar-bee, but more importantly, we’ve just got off our backsides long enough to attach a laptop to our TV’s HDMI port. Streaming video over an 802.11g network from the server to the laptop was nearly but not quite fast enough. Over the Christmas period, the TV companies in the UK excelled at providing exactly what we didn’t want to watch in the evening, running old movies, circa 1950, at any time of the day or night. Selecting our son’s Slingbox connected to cable TV showed the US was hit by a dearth of decent viewing. We had a choice of hundreds of channels from the UK and US, all showing total dross.
We needed CyTV to access all our recordings.
A quick e-mail to Andreas revealed the answer. He explained:
I’m currently in the process of rewriting the whole application. I hope to have a first version ready in early January. The new version is written completely in Objective-C and will be much simpler and more stable than the previous mix of Python, AppleScript, and Objective-C. It should also be much easier to extend and troubleshoot, and it will consume significantly less resources (especially CPU).
The source is already open for anyone to pick up. The only thing that’s not allowed is to commercialize it without releasing the source (GPL license). But I think most people would have a hard time working with the source because of the odd language/technology mix. However, the new version will have a very simple structure that any Mac developer can easily understand and extend.
So that’s alright then. Although, as this issue of ATPM goes to press, the new version has yet to materialize.
Also in This Series
- What Trick, What Device, What Starting-Hole… · May 2012
- Do Androids Dream? · April 2012
- Our Macs Are Under Attack · March 2012
- The Best and Worst Christmas Presents · February 2012
- The Best Use for a Kindle · January 2012
- It’s Got No Blinking Light · January 2012
- Box-Shifting Causes Migration · December 2011
- The Best Thing About the iPhone 4S and How to Cope in Clink · December 2011
- Death of a Salesman · November 2011
- Complete Archive