Archive for the ‘Coding’ Category

The “Create” Button on Apple’s Developer Certificate Utility Doesn’t Work

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

The first time that you use Apple’s Developer Certificate Utility to request an OS X signing certificate, you may find that the “Create” button doesn’t do anything, or is disabled. This happens even if you follow the instructions at the top of the screen to install the two required intermediate certificates (click image to enlarge):

Mac Developer Certificate Utility Problem

This happened to me using Safari on Mountain Lion. I solved the problem by relaunching Apple’s web app. I quit Safari, went back to the Developer site, etc. It’s an annoying problem because Apple does not instruct us to re-launch the app, nor does it give an error message. I also could not turn up any solutions by googling. But once you re-launch, everything will work fine.

BlubberPatrol for Android Released

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

I wrote a “practice app” to learn Android development. It’s called BlubberPatrol and it’s for tracking & charting your weight. It turned out to be quite a nice little app, and is free in the Google Play store. Read more on the BlubberPatrol home page.

I chose this app because I thought it would be easy. If I were writing a desktop version in Realbasic, it would have been a walk in the park. But I wrote it in Java with the Android SDK and the Eclipse IDE, and it was like walking over hot coals by comparison. It probably took me 100 times longer than I had expected. If I do another Android app, I will look at using something like Basic4android. Once you are spoiled by a Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool like Realbasic, it’s hard to go back to “real” programming.

Now I have to learn about Google Play store marketing. It’s a very crowded place. Getting an app into Google Play or the App Store is like putting a needle into a haystack – you might not ever find it again yourself! Actually, I think I might just skip to the Samsung store – I hear developers are getting a lot more downloads there.

And yes, ensuring that your app will run on the thousands of different Android phones and tablets out there is a major pain. I probably spent way more time testing on the Android emulator than I did coding. It’s a horror scene, and will take your eyes.

How to Update the Android GUI From a Timer

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

If you found this post via a Google search, chances are that your Android app just crashed after you added an innocent-looking timer. You probably got this error:

android.view.ViewRootImpl$CalledFromWrongThreadException: Only the original thread that created a view hierarchy can touch its views.

You may have also found people saying that you can’t use a timer to update the GUI. Seems odd, right? Why would Google make a timer and then not let you use it for hardly anything?

Well, those people are wrong. While you can’t update the GUI directly from your timer, you can do so with a few little tweaks.

The error above happens because Android doesn’t want other threads, such as your timer, messing with its GUI. So, what you need to do is politely ask Android to make the update for you. To do that, you need to add a handler and a runnable. Android will monitor the handler for a signal from your timer. When it gets the signal, it will run the code in the runnable. It sounds complicated, but it amounts to only a few lines of code.

First, move the code that updates the GUI out of your timer and into a runnable. A runnable is a mechanism where one thread can tell another thread to run a block of code. In this example, there is one line of code which sets the TextView tv to the value of the global variable i:

final Runnable myRunnable = new Runnable() {
   public void run() {

Creating a handler is very simple:

final Handler myHandler = new Handler();

And in the timer, we pass the runnable to the handler:

private void UpdateGUI() {
   //tv.setText(String.valueOf(i)); //This causes a runtime error.;

As an example, I took the Android “Hello World” app, and modified it into a counter that updates once per second:

public class HelloActivity extends Activity {
   int i=0;
   TextView tv;
   final Handler myHandler = new Handler();

   public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

      tv=(TextView) findViewById(;

      Timer myTimer = new Timer();
      myTimer.schedule(new TimerTask() {
         public void run() {UpdateGUI();}
      }, 0, 1000);


   private void UpdateGUI() {

   final Runnable myRunnable = new Runnable() {
      public void run() {

Cloud Schmoud

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison mocks “cloud computing” and rightly so:

In my control panel for, there is a link for cloud computing. When I clicked on it, it took me to a set-up screen for virtual machines. OK, I suppose you can call a virtual machine a cloud if you want, but virtual machines are nothing new. I saw my first VM over 20 years ago. It ran Windows on the Macintosh – very, very slowly.

How to Get Comments onto Pages in WordPress’s Default Theme

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

As you may have noticed, if you use WordPress’s default theme, “Kubrick”, the comments form does not show up on pages even when you have the option switched-on for a page. I regard this as a theme bug. I fixed it by adding the PHP call to WordPress’s comments function to the bottom of the page.php file.

I did this with WordPress v2.3.3, and have no idea if it will work with other versions. Be careful when editing theme files. Make sure to download a copy of the file first with your FTP program so that you can upload it again if something goes wrong. If you blow up your blog, it’s not my fault.


  1. Go to your admin panel
  2. Click Presentation
  3. Click Theme Editor
  4. Make sure that “WordPress Default” is selected
  5. Click the “Page Template” link
  6. Make sure that you are editing “page.php”
  7. Find this line near the bottom: <?php endwhile; endif; ?>
  8. Right below it, enter this: <?php comments_template(); ?>
  9. That tells WordPress to add the comments form.
  10. This is code, so each and every character must be typed exactly.

I don’t have a lot of comments on this site, so this hasn’t been battle tested. Let me know how it works for you.