Category Archives: General

Still making adjustments to this web site

Yesterday, a WordPress plug in ran “amok” and used up all available system memory, causing this and all of my other web sites to become “unavailable” between about 2130 UTC and 0000 UTC. You would have  seen a “503 Service Unavailable” error when accessing any of the web sites.

I had to remove plug ins one by one from each of my web sites until finding the errant plug in. Then I disabled WordPress until the process was suspended and then restarted WordPress.

At the recommendation of my ISP, I installed a WordPress Cache plug-in which temporarily stores accessed pages as HTML static web pages, which load very fast – versus being generated by the WordPress software and database each time the page is loaded. This, however, coupled with another small change, broke https security giving a “page is not secure” error, and display formatting errors in Firefox. I believe I have that fixed today.

NOTE:  You can access this web site as https://appinventor.pevest.com or https://coldstreams.com/appinventor

If you access via appinventor.pevest.com , I have configured the web server to change the URL over to https://coldstreams.com/appinventor

For some reason, the appinventor.pevest.com/URL form is not working to correctly redirect to the sub URL part of the path.  Since I did not see what is causing this problem, the simplest fix for now was to point to the coldstreams.com/appinventor folder, which is where the web site’s WordPress installation exists.

appinventor.pevest.com now running on new server

Update December 26, 2019: The DNS has been updated (or is still in process of being updated) so that appinventor.pevest.com now directs to the new server – yay!

On December 18, 2019, my Internet web hosting provider that runs the appinventor.pevest.com web site announced they are shutting down in February 2020!

Over the past week I have been working to move all of the files, software and databases to a new web host. The good news is that most of the transfer has been completed!

This post you are reading right now is on the new web host, however, the final appearance of this page and some items still need to be updated.

Continue reading appinventor.pevest.com now running on new server

Source code downlinks fixed

Two readers alerted me to problems downloading the source code on the Downloads page on this web site, and the source code for my book on App Inventor graphics and animation.

A software update on the server appears to have changed how some default file directories were appended to filenames.

The problem appears to now be fixed. Thank you very much for letting me know of this problem.

Ed

Visit the primary web site at learn2c.org

This web site – appinventor.pevest.com – is no longer the primary web site for our App Inventor tutorials. However, this web site will remain here indefinitely as many people link to it, including search engines and my own e-books 🙂

The new, short and easy to remember URL is Learn2C.org as in “Learn 2 Code”

Unfortunately, for reasons I will not get into, it is not possible to integrate the two web sites together. So appinventor.pevest.com will remain “as is”, and Learn2C.org will become the primary focus point.

I am looking into having Learn2C automatically cross post to the appinventor.pevest.com web site but that has not yet implemented. But I’d like to do that for those that already follow the appinventor.pevest.com web site.

My apologies for not doing a lot of updates during 2018. I have already written some new code examples (Bluetooth LE anyone?) and am working on more in that area. These tutorials will appear once I have completed the entire series of example programs. There are also other items in the works that I cannot talk about yet.


Most popular programming languages?

There are many surveys of programming language popularity. Many of the popular surveys have problems with the survey methodology such that they likely produce erroneous estimates of programming language popularity. For example, one survey looks at how many times each programming language is looked up on Internet search systems.

The chart, below, comes from GitHub and bases popularity on the number of “pull requests” that are made to the GitHub software repository. Using this method, JavaScript is the most popular programming language, followed by Python, Java, Ruby and PHP.

Python has become a standard for use by non-computer science students. Whether your college studies be in mechanical engineering or geology, there is a good chance you will learn Python for data analysis projects.

Java is now an old programming language, but still used especially for Android programming. It’s popularity for desktop applications is starting to diminish.

Ruby become popular about ten years ago. Ruby is based on a concept of “frameworks” that provide pre-made program skeletons which you adapt to make your own application. Ruby is very popular for quickly creating web-based applications.

PHP pre-dates Ruby – PHP is a script language that runs on the server side of a web application. PHP is very easy to learn and couples easily with MySQL databases, making the combination a great solution for web-based, database-backed applications.

Finally we get to the “C” derived languages including C, C++ and Microsoft’s cousin C# (a very powerful language with great development tools.). C dates back to about 1970 or so.

C++ was developed in the 1980s and added object oriented programming to C and has since expanded in many ways. C and C++ are commonly “compiled” into machine instructions for each CPU and are used for high performance applications, including operating systems, video games and media applications.

C# has features resembling Java and C++ – but in a more modern design. In some ways, C# is where some wish C++ had gone

Capture

appinventor.pevest.com has moved to learn2c.org

In the spring of 2017, this web site – appinventor.pevest.com – was moved to https://learn2c.org (or an alternate address https://appinventorplus.wordpress.com/)

The move was made for technical and practical reasons. Visit https://learn2c.org for updates made through out 2017 and into 2018.


However, things have changed since then and as of the spring of 2018, this web site may return to here. If that happens, the plan is for the new learn2c.org address to point here as well.

Why return?

Many of the technical issues that caused to migrate a year ago have gone away or been solved.

The learn2c.org web site is hosted at WordPress.com and it appears Google down ranks WordPress web sites in search results. This old appinventor.pevest.com site – even without having been updated in a year, continues to receive many times more visits as a result of searches than does the WordPress.com hosted web site!

Finally, WordPress raised their hosting price last year.

 

Is your Android battery life too short? Some ideas that might fix it

Periodically, my  Nexus 5 phone’s battery life is terrible. On good days, if I don’t use my phone, the battery discharge rate is slow – many hours later, the battery meter says there’s still over 90% of the battery charge remaining. But when it is bad, my unused phone can have its battery drain in 8 hours.

I have found two things to improve improve the battery life on my Google Android Nexus 5.

  • One is to clear the system cache partition – this cache setting is not accessible from Settings.
  • The other is to replace the Android launcher with Nova Launcher, available for free in the Google Play store.

How to Clear the System Cache Partition

To clear the system cache you need to enter a hidden Android start up menu, usually by starting your phone while pressing the power and volume control keys simultaneously. For specific instructions, see this explanation for the Nexus 5 (it might work on your phone too – this does work on my Nexus 5). Another list from a mobile phone service describes how to do this for other phones (I have not tested any of those).

Every few months, the battery life has gotten really bad. But after clearing the system cache partition, the phone returns to normal performance. I hope this works for you.

I noticed this might be related to my installing lots of apps on the phone, over and over again. Some days I’ll install my test app 10 or 20 or 30 or more times. After a few weeks of doing this every day, battery life problems develop. I clear the system cache partition and the phone is fine again.

You can learn more about the Android system partitions by reading this article.

Security: http versus https and access to the appinventor.pevest.com web site

As you may know, http is the old way to access a web site. https is the newer secure method that encrypts data sent to and from the web site.

Last year, Google announced it would rank search results such that web sites accessed via https rank higher than those using http.

This web page has been using http – which is okay since there is nothing secret or controversial about the content here.

However, on 7 March 2017, Firefox will launch an update that will issue a security warning when visiting web sites using http.

Consequently, we need to switch our web sites from http to https which involves paying a fee to buy an SSL security certificate and re-configuring software and servers.

I have successfully converted my coldstreams.com web site to https as a test for the conversion. So far everything looks good.

I will eventually convert the appinventor.pevest.com web site to use https also. I do not have a date for that – it could be next week or the end of the month.  When I do the conversion, their might be a temporary period where you receive a security warning about accessing the web site, depending on how I do that update.