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Monday, June 24, 2002

Wimbledon starts today, Bloggie. It's a red letter day for other reasons too.

The undersigned finally succeeded in writing his own first standalone, think-alone Cocoa app. It's a simple one, but the idea was to close all books and just make it happen by one's wits alone.

The wits were close to not helping enough, but after a night with three strong snorts and immeasurable despair it finally happened.

I decided to pick on His Dumbness himself, old Maury, the guy with the megabyte bloated SpamStopper, the app that takes an ordinary mailto URL and obfuscates it - by way of almost exactly 1MB of code along the way. The Windows version was created in an instant, and weighed in at 4.5KB; Tom Liston's Perl version was not even a kilobyte; but the Cocoa version cannot hope to be so compact. Its executable is 18,040 bytes on disk. Still, this is only one fiftieth the size of Maury's monstrosity.

The words of Brian Kernighan come to mind in this context. Brian was prepared to accept a 20% tradeoff for C instead of native assembler, as the rewards were worth it. 20% is a lot, Bloggie, and Brian is not an unkind man. But 20% added on to my S3 The SpamStopper Stopper for OS X would put the program at 21,648 bytes. Maury's version was an even megabyte - or 48.5 times as large. It's not even on the same playing field.

This is the essence of bloat, Bloggie - to quote the rock song, 'when logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead'.

Sunday, June 9, 2002

Four months, Bloggie! Four months!

Been reading the XOR review at the Bloatbusters. Richard Heathfield is one of the principal authors of 'C Unleashed', and he was there when this prodigy came in with a 315KB program that XORs two files together. Richard tried to make a more bloated program but failed. Oh well!

It was a great read!


Sunday, February 10, 2002

Sorry Bloggie,

Go easy on me. I've been busy!

And hey - I got a lean and mean skeleton for MacOS. Wanna see? It's seven lines of code. Links to about 9KB. Here it is.

// main.c

#include <Carbon/Carbon.h>

int main() {
    IBNibRef nibRef; WindowRef window;

    CreateNibReference(CFSTR("0"), &nibRef);
    SetMenuBarFromNib(nibRef, CFSTR("0"));
    CreateWindowFromNib(nibRef, CFSTR("1"), &window);

C ya.

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Hey Bloggie,

How's it hanging? :)

Today was an interesting day too. I finally got over to the Apple environment and started building applications there. I got one Cocoa and one Carbon application up. Both are only 13.5KB on disk. I also tested a Cocoa sample which combines a text editor with a lot of fancy toolbar work and common dialogs for colours and fonts - and it's only 22KB on disk, so I think our friend Mr BONEhead has just been boneheading around...

Apples do have a weird directory structure though. When you double click an application to run it, you're not really double clicking an application at all - you're double clicking a holding folder. And in this folder you'll (always) find another folder called Contents, and Contents - well Contents has nothing except a couple more folders - MacOS and Resources.

There's some way those Apples keep 'resources' out of the executables - or something. Seems things can be divided up at this (file system) level according to language and localisation plan. Like for example, Adobe Acrobat comes in about a zillion languages, including two dialects of Chinese (great to have on disk), and they have their own folders here, under Resources that is. Zhongwen China and Zhongwen Taiwan.

Whatever. Point is that these files are minimal at worst, and the overall bite of a program weighing in at 13.5KB is about 20KB on disk. It's not nirvana, but it's good enough - at least for starters.

Gotta go - we're having Chinese again tonight. Don't know if it's mainland or if it's Taiwan - don't think it much matters.

C ya.

Monday, February 4, 2002

Dear Diary,

This is where it all begins. This has been a very exciting day. A very eventful day.

It all started last night actually. Here I was, playing with my brand new (as yet) shiny (well...) tBook and Syd was nearby, with her brand new iBook, and she had a lot more software than I did, and so I went online to the Apple site and started looking for new k3wl apps that she wouldn't have, and I found this resource - somewhere - and there was a long list of ISV stuff for MacOS X, and in this list I found something called SpamKiller.

And of course I hate spam just as much as the next spam-hater, so I checked out the screen shot at the Apple URL, and as always, all that Aqua stuff looked really cool and really impossible on Wintel, but there was something else that caught my eye - and it bothered me too.

All SpamKiller did was obfuscate mailto tags. That's it. It's a pure format call. Piece of cake. One line of code (ok, actually three). But then that's it. Yet this cracker was going to be a 960KB download for only that...

Something was wrong - and of late I have been getting a feeling there are a lot of things wrong with Apple - and I figured that now, if ever, was a good time to find out.

So I wrote to this character, at BONEhead Software, or wherever, and coyly (and politely) asked if perhaps the '960KB' wasn't a typo, if he hadn't meant '9.6KB' instead.

The answer I got back was truly awesome. I saw this already just as Syd was walking out the door in the wee wee hours. Didn't drink my first cup of morning coffee until 1:54PM because of this jerk. And today it's all over our site - two links on the front page, and four more in rants, and I've produced another (somewhat trivial) application for the XPT to boot.

Here are the links.


And it really is like a kiddies pool in the Apple camp - it's like the past five years of intense bloat debate and heightened consumer awareness had never reached them.

So I think they need a splash, Dear Diary (or Bloggie or whatever your name is) and I think I know of any number of good people who are more than willing to oblige.

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