Lots going on in the past week.
Last Sunday, I got a call at the beach from my neighbor informing me that a storm had knocked over my favorite tree in my front yard. It was a beautiful sugar maple and I will sorely miss it. It was very healthy. It was odd in that it made a clean break at the base. I contacted my nephew who has his own landscape business and he was able to clear the debris from neighbor's driveway. Amazingly, a few days later a team of county trucks and workers showed up and cleared all the remaining debris and the main trunk. Now all that remains is a hole that I will fill with a new tree.
Lots to catch up on since returning from the beach last Tuesday.
Since the weather has become warm, I've noticed that my upstairs PC gets rather warm despite the addition of an exhaust fan. I've had good luck with the Zalman CPU flower cooler products so I ordered another one plus a quiet Antec power supply to see if I can get the system a bit cooler and quieter. It seems that the AMD 2100 I have starts to get flaky if it reaches 65� c.
I wanted to do some slide scanning so I decided to hook up my Minolta Dimage Scan II USB. This was a refurb unit I bought about a year ago. It was DOA on arrival. I sent it to Minolta for repair. I had not used it much since it was returned. Again it is DOA. This was a purchase mistake. I literally threw it into the trash. I got on the web and ordered a Minolta Dimage Scan III USB from Buy.com. This unit is USB 2.0 so it should be noticeably quicker. I'm wedded to the Dimage line because I purchased the auxiliary APS mechanism ($80) and I would like to continue to use this accessory. This one better work!
I've been using Nero's Cover Designer lately. It has some odd quirks which I attribute to its Germanic origin but it works pretty well. One quirk is it can import CD layout data but only if the text file is a proprietary format ending in a CDC extension. This file is only created when using the Nero Burning Rom and launching the Cover Designer from there. Unfortunately, I wanted to read the CD contents from previously burned CDs. It was a slow process to read in the contents of the CD into the Burning Rom and then launch the Cover Designer. It also didn't work well if there were multiple discs. I embarked on a Google search to find a program that would write a properly formatted file in the Nero CDC format. Well, after many searches and reading other people's comments about the same problem I did not find anything that directly addressed the problem.
So, I decided that I should write a utility that would address this odd shortcoming. How hard could this be? Well, It's been about ten years since I did any programming so I am very rusty. Nonetheless, I had installed and kept current a copy of the free Delphi 6 IDE. I've always loved Pascal and the Borland environment.
After searching the Delphi news groups via Google, I started to grasp the fundamentals of what was needed. Thankfully, Delphi includes VCL component files that package all the functionality that is needed. Specifically, the TMediaPlayer component was the key to unlocking this project. After a slow start and cutting and pasting a lot of sample code, I was able to cobble together NeroCDC which may now be downloaded from my website. You can read more in my announcement. It is modestly robust and has all the functionality that I originally envisioned. It writes both to a file and copies to the clipboard. The resulting file seems to import flawlessly into Nero's Cover Designer. Mission accomplished!
This modest success at programming makes me think that maybe I can knock off the occasional utility now and then. Delphi definitely makes it very easy.