Published by Kenneth on 09 Dec 2009

Trade Profiteer – version 1.1.308

New version: 1.1.308

A lot has been added in this new released version as we move yet another step closer to the next full release of the Trade Profiteer – the question to be answered is just how many steps are left. Anyway…

So let’s talk features, shall we?

Cargo planning

The major feature for this release is one that has been requested numerous times and is finally here: cargo planning. So what exactly is cargo planning? Well it’s exactly as it sounds: it gives you the ability to plan a purchase and see not only how much it will cost, but also how much space you’ll need, including the smallest ship upon which it’ll fit.

It’s pretty straightforward: either start from scratch by clicking Cargo->Plan a shipment, or select a route and click “Plan it”. If you go the latter route, you’ll be able to modify the list given, adjusting quantities and adding or removing commodities from the list until you get what you want. Don’t forget the rum!

Data manager

In order to facilitate cargo planning, obviously the mass and volume information for the commodities must be provided. These are visible through the Data Manager (Data->Data Manager). If you notice any mass or volume that doesn’t look right, and you can verify that with the YPPedia, let me know so a correction can be issued.

And of course to know what ship upon which your planned shipment will fit, the ship information is provided as well. In the Data Manager, this information is visible under a new tab.

Data updates

To bring all of this to you, a database update feature had to be devised as well. Your database file is not touched when you upgrade the Trade Profiteer or uninstall it. This is so your preferences and saved routes remain in tact. So to distribute data updates, such as those that facilitate the above features, an updates file will be distributed with each subsequent version of the Trade Profiteer. Each update is tagged with a particular version number so updates not applying to the version you have installed can be filtered out.

Java Access Bridge

I’ve written a help article on the main site detailing how to install the Java Access Bridge and what is required of you to be able to install it.

Article: “Installing the Java Access Bridge

I am doing my best to develop an installer that compatible with as many systems as possible. Please be patient and report any problems you have installing the bridge.

Fini

Well that’s about it in a nutshell. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Published by Kenneth on 11 Nov 2009

This Veteran’s Day

In recognition of the Honorable Service of the members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, Colony West Software Company does Commend and Thank each and every Officer and Enlisted member of each branch of the Armed Forces for their Service and Dedication to the Freedom and Defense of the United States of America and protection of the Rights of all Americans.

Further, in recognition of their Service to the United States, we do Commend and Thank all Veterans who served with Honor for their Dedication and Service, and extend Condolences, with our Thanks and Commendation, to the Families of those who perished while serving their country.

Kenneth Ballard
Proprietor

Published by Kenneth on 10 Nov 2009

Trade Profiteer – New unstable release

New version 1.1.209

This version fixes a number of issues with the current development line:

TP-1 – Search results from between oceans appearing

TP-2 – Verify data import can support a “no data” import

Further, it has an improved installer for the Java Access Bridge which should allow for an easier installation on some systems.

Published by Kenneth on 31 Oct 2009

Trade Profiteer – New stable release

New version: 1.0.1531

This release is an update to the stable release of the Trade Profiteer and answers a concern that was presented by Puzzle Pirates Forum user RedSeaWitch.

Published by Kenneth on 23 Oct 2009

Trade Profiteer – New development release

New version: 1.1.123 (alpha)

There is a new version of the Trade Profiteer available, and it’s a development release. Before you install it, there are a couple things you need to know.

First, it will install separate from the main stable release, allowing you to have both the stable and development releases installed on your system.

Second, after it is installed, there will be a shortcut in the Start Menu group called “Install Java Access Bridge”. Run it after it’s installed, this will install the Java Access Bridge which is used as the new communication system for importing the data.

Otherwise, everything else is like it was. I will have a bug tracker up soon so you can report bugs. Until then, send me any bugs you need to report.

Published by Kenneth on 16 Oct 2009

Trade Profiteer – Next development release

Ahoy all,

Let me give you an idea of what is going to be coming down the pike in the next couple days. I will be making an unstable release of the next version of the Trade Profiteer, which will include support for large fonts and Java 6. My target for release is Sunday at the latest (Central Daylight Time), and everything appears on target.

First, this release will be an alpha release. For those who don’t know, this means the release will be feature incomplete (won’t have everything targeted for the next stable release), and you may encounter some bugs and issues — I haven’t encountered anything that has crashed my computer, so that is a good sign.

Now I’ve gone to lengths to allow both the stable release (1.0.1331) and this upcoming unstable release (1.1.[something]) to be installed at the same time on your computer. Plus the version detection will only detect new development versions, and the stable versions will only be able to detect new stable versions, though I may expand this to detect both, or make it a configuration option. What do you think?

So keep an eye out in the next couple days for news of an unstable release, if you’re willing to test it. I’m also getting a different bug tracker up and running on my web site that should be less intimidating to the novice so you can report any bugs you do find.

Fair winds.

Note: This has also been posted to the Puzzle Pirates forums.

Published by Kenneth on 16 Sep 2009

Trade Profiteer – New script to create a desktop shortcut

The question I’ve been asked the most about the Trade Profiteer is in regard to setting up the desktop shortcut. Well, I’ve got an easy way to do this now. Simply download and run a quick little tool and it should be taken care of for you.

Download CreateShortcut

Fair winds.

Published by Kenneth on 15 Sep 2009

Latest Puzzle Pirates updates

I went up to the Puzzle Pirates forums tonight and noticed that there was a post saying the Bleach uploader is broken thanks to the latest Puzzle Pirates updates. So what happened, and is the Trade Profiteer affected?

First, the shoppe and ship interface is what changed. They combined several commerce functions into one tabbed interface. This means that the “Buy/Sell Commodities” interface on a ship or in a shoppe is no longer compatible with the Trade Profiteer.

This means that if you want to import the data, you will need to go to a commodity market to do so. I will see what I can do about getting it to work elsewhere. I don’t anticipate it taking much, but I likely won’t be able to really look into it until the weekend.

So until I’ve released an update to correct this minor annoyance (watch this blog for updates), you’re currently relegated to the commodity market buildings and forts for getting market information.

Published by Kenneth on 11 Sep 2009

Eight years later

September 11, 2001

I think most of us can say within reason that we can remember what we were doing that morning when the towers fell. The World Trade Towers, the tallest landmarks of the New York City skyline, bastions of the world financial and commercial architecture, gone. What took likely thousands of men years of blood, sweat, tears, and effort took only a small group of men, armed with two jumbo jet aircraft, less than a couple hours to bring to the ground.

I have not forgotten what I was doing that morning. I still recall seeing the second plane fly into the north tower, saying to my mother, “Mom, I just saw a plane fly into the building”, or something along those lines.

But they didn’t stop there. They escalated this to an act of war by attacking the Pentagon, the center of our military.

So many lives lost in such a short time.

I’m sure we all have stories similar to that, the horror on our faces and the terror in our eyes. Nothing could have prepared us for that fateful and frightful morning.

On behalf of Colony West Software Company, I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those lost that tragic morning. Though they were lost, they will not be forgotten.

Published by Kenneth on 09 Sep 2009

Windows 7 Sins – Creation vs. Evolution meets the software industry

Recently the Free Software Foundation created a website called “Windows 7 Sins” in which it details seven “sins” that Microsoft is allegedly committing. I’m going to respond to them because they detail clearly how narrow-minded the FSF has become (or has always been).

Note: Their new site makes heavy use of yellow coloring in images and text blocks. This may make the site difficult on your eyes and/or cause eye strain or headaches.

Before they even get to their first “sin”, they already state their obvious bias by stating that Windows 7 is proprietary software, the “same problem that Vista, XP, and all previous versions have had”. Is this really an issue?

The Free Software Foundation seems to think that computer owners care if their operating system is proprietary or open source. Here’s a news flash: they don’t. And much to the FSF’s frustrations, that won’t change any time soon. Do they think that we’ll just become a world of software engineers? I highly, highly doubt it.

Most who shop around for software also don’t care if what they select is open source, otherwise there would’ve been thousands of calls for me to open source digestIT 2004 (guess what, there hasn’t been a single one, and the software has been downloaded hundreds of thousands to over a million times over the course of approaching 6 years).

Jack Wallen at Tech Republic recently commented on this web site as well, in which he, predictably, stated that he agrees with the Free Software Foundation’s claims, though he did correctly state that the majority of users couldn’t care less (he says “could care less”) whether they can share, modify, or study what they’re using. Someone should send a memo to the FSF saying the same thing.

But let’s look at each of the 7 claims individually, something that most religious FSF proponents won’t.

1. Poisoning education

Okay this argument is similar to the creation versus evolution debacle. Students aren’t presented with any other options than Microsoft, apparently, and the FSF is screaming like the Discovery Institute was screaming prior to and even after the famous Kitzmiller v. Dover decision in 2005.

In this instance, the Free Software Foundation is complaining about how Microsoft seems to hold a monopoly over public education like the theory of evolution holds a monopoly over public school biology classrooms. Tough luck.

The point to make here is that open source has never been a major part of primary or secondary academia. Apple used to hold the torch there, but Microsoft in the early 90s managed to take the torch away by doing 2 things in primary and secondary schools: lowering computing costs and preparing students for more real-world applications.

The reason Microsoft still dominates education is because they’ve been the primary provider of computing to public education for almost 20 years. You’re not going to break that hold without one hell of a fight trying to convince those making the decisions in public schools that the change is worth it.

And to that I say, “Good luck”.

2. Invading privacy

Windows Genuine Advantage was problematic, I will agree. But to say that it “inspects the contents of users’ hard drives” is absurd without evidence backing it up. And the Free Software Foundation so far has presented none.

Windows Genuine Advantage is an anti-piracy tool. Microsoft does have a right under the law to enforce their copyrights, and while I disagree with WGA, it doesn’t scan a person’s hard drive. Instead it is very limited in how it determines whether the copy of Windows or Office you are running is legitimate – which is why it also originally produced a lot of problems.

Microsoft is not invading anyone’s privacy. If anything they are trying to enforce their copyright, not steal information about those using their software. I welcome evidence that Microsoft is, in fact, stealing personal or demographic information without the knowledge or consent of their customers and user base.

3. Monopoly behavior

What the FSF claims used to be true. The monopoly that Microsoft still enjoys is one of brand familiarity. Many are familiar with Microsoft, Office, and Windows, so they stick with it, even when presented with other options (like Macs, for example).

They also say that “even computers available with other operating systems…often had Windows on them first”. Generic statement with no evidence. Jack Wallen is right: the FSF is slipping here.

4. Lock-in

“Microsoft regularly attempts to force updates on its users, by removing support for older versions of Windows and Office, and by inflating hardware requirements.”

Hate to say this, but this isn’t Microsoft driving this. It’s consumers. Consumers are always wanting more features, and the bigger and badder, the better. And show me a company in their right mind who still actively supports software they put out years ago. I’m one of few – I still provide support for MD5 for Win32, which was released in 2002. And Microsoft is trying to sunset support for XP, which was first released in 2001.

Even Sun Microsystems removes support for older products (Java 5 goes EOL at the end of October), as do Linux vendors.

5. Abusing standards

I don’t buy the arguments they present. They say that Microsoft has also bribed officials – evidence please? Who was bribed? There is the suggestion that Microsoft bribed officials in Nigeria (not that it’s a difficult task), and from what I can see it is Linux vendors making the claim.

But on top of this, Microsoft is free to dictate what standards their software will or will not support. One thing we can honestly say is that certain standards Microsoft has little choice but to follow, such as the many standards that are in wide use on the Internet. But when it comes to data storage formats, open source vendors are just as bad as Microsoft.

Look at GnuCash. Sure it can import data in several different formats common in financial software, but as for export… your options are limited.

6. Enforcing DRM

The FSF calls it digital restrictions management instead of its real name, digital rights management. Here they are talking about access to media on the Internet. The FSF also incorrectly states that users have the “right” to record what they see online. Not always the case, and access agreements on web sites dictate what you can and cannot do while there.

But with Windows Media Player, Microsoft added support for DRM to ensure wide availability. If they didn’t support it, but say Apple’s QuickTime player did, Microsoft would lose out big time. It was a strategic move that Microsoft made to help maintain their market share if not take more of it.

7. Threatening user security

Yes Windows has security issues. Guess what? Linux ain’t immune. But part of the security issues with Windows is that Microsoft was catering to usability instead of security. A balance is needed, but Microsoft originally wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices needed for fear of user complaints – like on the order of what they received with UAC in Vista.

And Microsoft’s software became a big target for hackers purely because of market share. If you’re a hacker looking to steal personal information, you don’t cast your malware into a stream where few fish seem to be biting. Oh no, you cast your malware into the largest pond with the most fish, and that pond is Windows.

Concluding…

It is really becoming obvious that the Free Software Foundation is becoming nothing more than a bunch of whining babies. Microsoft got into academia early before Linux was even a thought in Linus Torvalds’ head, and the FSF is upset that they’re not getting their turn. I mean, Apple had their turn, Microsoft has had theirs for about 20 years, and now the FSF feels that it’s their turn but Microsoft isn’t relenting and bowing down like the FSF seems to think should happen.

The Free Software Foundation, hate to say it, is less about open source than most other open source vendors. The FSF is about one thing and one thing only: GNU. Not Linux, not anything else, only the GNU project. They feel it’s superior to Microsoft’s offerings, yet they haven’t been able to gain market share like RMS probably thought would magically happen, and they’re fuming about it.

So instead of actually trying to compete in the same arenas as Microsoft, they’re pulling the same punches that creationist organizations tried to pull with education: get a few people in there to try to form a “resistance” and see what happens. And when the majority shout back, scream persecution, demonize the majority, and hope that helps when you cannot compete on merit.

And hate to say this, but Jack Wallen has kind of become the Kent Hovind of the open source movement.

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