SerenityOS

For the last few months, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the SerenityOS project and it’s awe-inspiring rate of progress. For every day that goes by, new features and bug-fixes get merged in, and development screencasts from the creator Andreas Kling are an almost daily occurence. The operating system itself follows a design philosophy that has all-but-disappeared from computing in the last 15 years or so – a philosophy that I, along with every other fan of this project, want so badly to reappear in the modern computing landscape. See below for a screenshot as of November 2019 —

Screenshot of SerenityOS as of November 2019

It could be nostalgia, real productivity value, or both that drives my want for a return this kind of desktop computing metaphor. No animations, superfluous UI trinkets, padding or dark patterns. I’d describe it as a snapshot of the personal computing metaphor where the utility value for software developers was at it’s highest; right before a seemingly general pivot from what I’d call ‘focus-on-productivity’ computing to ‘focus-on-consumption’ computing. What we left behind in the early 2000s was, in my opinion, the perfection of the desktop metaphor for computing professionals.

In a spot of boredom last night, I attempted to get SerenityOS running in a virtual machine on my Surface Book 2. This proved harder than I’d had expected, so I’ll quickly outline the steps I took to get the development build working – in case anyone else can derive some value from my learnings.

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Insider Dev Tour ‘review’

On Friday I attended Microsoft’s ‘Insider Dev Tour’ in Melbourne, one of about 44 similar events being held around the world throughout the month of June. Microsoft advertised the event as being ‘for developers interested in building Microsoft 365 experiences (…) today, using the latest dev technologies, as well as for those who want a peek into the future,’ and it was completely free to attend. Hosted at the offices of Xello, a Melbourne-based IT consultancy company, the event was all day, running from the hours of 8 to 5, and had food and coffee provided.

I was fairly excited when I heard about the event, having being recently drawn in to the Windows desktop development ecosystem through my involvement in the Open Live Writer project. I wasn’t going in with any particular agenda on things I would’ve liked to learn, but rather I was just curious as to how the whole day would play out and if I’d pick up any nifty skills. I’ve never been to any kind of developer conference before, so really this would’ve been a first for me.

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An afternoon wasted and an exercise in partition frustration

…or “What to do if you lose Mac OS after resizing your Windows Bootcamp partition”

TLDR; Scroll to the bottom of the post where I outline the steps I took to make my Mac partition bootable again without any data loss.

I was meant to spend this afternoon completing an assignment for my course due Thursday. Instead, I nearly lost all of my programming projects dating back to when I began to take programming seriously at age twelve. This is your typical “always have and check backups story”; something I thought I was immune to – until now, at least.

It began when I decided I needed to expand my Mac’s Windows 10 Bootcamp partition. I thought this would be an easy task; I’d shrink my APFS partition from Mac OS, as Disk Utility would be the beast utility to accomplish that task, and then expand my Windows partition from Windows, as I don’t trust Mac OS to expand NTFS. Shrinking the APFS partition went swimmingly, it took about 15 minutes and apart from Disk Utility freezing, seemed to complete without a hitch.

The next step was to expand my Bootcamp NTFS partition to fill the unallocated space on the SSD. I decided to undertake this task in Windows, rather than booting a Linux live USB. The first tool I tried was the built-in Windows Disk Management, however it quickly became apparent that it cannot resize a currently mounted partition, like the Windows C: drive. So off to the internet I went, in search of a partitioning tool that could somehow accomplish this task. I landed on EaseUS Partition Master, it was a program I had heard of before and it seemed to be fairly reputable. It advertised itself as a safe way to manage partitions. This turned out, in my case, to be false.

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