Back when stuffit didn't suck...

23.44.07 - Mark

There's used to be a reason Mac software developers used to always archive their programs with stuffit. Back before OS X came to town with it's cool unix underpinnings, stuffit and .sit archives were the only effective game in town for bundling up Macintosh files. Back then you couldn't find a mac that didn't have some version of stuffit, and any power user usually had a few copies and a dozen aliases for it on their hard drive. It used to be a friendly reliable application that somehow, as soon as OS X came into town, turned into an absolute monster of a program.

The makers started nagging users for the software, begging them to download and pay for the latest version. They started introducing new archive formats into an already crowed (and long established) field. You can't even download it unless you give them permission to spam you with shitty software notices.

I don't remember the last time I didn't have to fight with stuff it to expand a file, let alone the last time I desired to make a stuffit archive.

Betweens zips and gzip, and tarballs in OS X's unix roots there's no need for sits anymore. Any remainging advantages sit files had could easily be passed off to an installer package or a very competent disk image file. yet, for some bizarre reason, people still release macintosh files as Sit archives, and every time I need those files, I end up fighting with stuff it to work.

Please, developers, give up on stuffit and stick to the standards. Apple's DMG, the cross platform ZIP, or the unix-y tar.gz etc. It's a real hassle when I have to install / run truly horrible software to install you software, and I'm getting to the point where the stuff it files aren't worth it

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Comics Code

00.56.11 - Mark

I like my comics, and with a not so great comics page in the local paper on top of my general avoidance of newspapers in general the web has kind of come to my rescue here. Thanks to some great RSS feeds like the ones listed (or created by) Tapestry Comics and other similar services like Comic Alert.com and Interglacial's RSS feeds Unfortunately to read all my comics I might need to open up one to two dozen tabs in whatever browser I'm using. Now add in the fact I haven't been checking all of my feeds daily.

So I'm working on a personal page generator that pulls up the images and none of the extra code around it. Some places this is trivial, because they use a standard Year/Month/Day scheme. ucomics (Universal Press Syndicate's Comic Site) is one of them, and most webcomics also follow that scheme (or at least something similar). Some webcomics use a sequential counter, which presents a slight challenge, but nothing impossible.

Unfortunately, a few of my favorite comics rest at United Media's comic site, Comics.com, which, likely because of others like me, doesn't use a regular numbering scheme for the comics (the URLs are a different matter) I think that's doable, but I'll need to learn about scraping webpages (which wouldn't be the worse thing). I'm much more frustrated with King Features, who have the strictest regulations for their comics, making you pay to access their site (DailyINK.com) or require the people publishing them to really lock up the pages displaying them (javascript and blocking offsite referrals.)

Anyways, I guess I need to figure out the numbering system or learn how to page scrape. I suppose the plus side is these self motivated programming projects are teaching me a lot more about programming and development that some of my classes have. Plus, its fun. Fun is good.

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