Wow, it is hard to believe that nearly a month (well, actually the entire month of Feb) has past since I posted last. I used to be really good about posting, but we’ve been having some balance issues for the computer. We rock out an old (seriously? like 6 years old) Powerbook G4 laptop* and a larger iMac. The Shu has been getting a bit more photography work, which means that I only get to use the computer in spurts.
So, what have you been up to? Oh don’t worry – I haven’t gone luddite on you. Instead, I’ve been working on constructing a point of sale (POS is apparently their common name, which never ceases to make me laugh). Turns out, the systems can be really expensive. So, I had a grand idea that I could probably put something together for our small market that wouldn’t have us going through licensing fees or complex systems.
My search for a program lead me to Unicenta, which has been exactly what we want (that is, as far as I can tell without a massive customer load currently). The only ‘drawback’ is that you have to go into resource files and rewrite certain things to do what you need/want. I ran into a weird printing issue with our receipt printer, another with getting the cash register to open before the change window vanished, another with trying to get X, Y, Z to happen or not happen. Thankfully, there is a pretty helpful message board where I managed to find answers to everything I wanted.
That said, you still have to be creative and problem solve a bit. I was working on something and Shu said, “Um, I have no idea what you are doing. How do you know this?” And then, I remembered: I used to write little silly programs on a Commodore Plus/4 and I had some version of an old Tandy. I think they were old even when we got them, but I remember learning basic little codes that drew lines, flashed colors, wrote little messages to you, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, there is SO much with Unicenta/programming/computers that I simply am glad it just works for us. AND, things that I’m sure should take 2 minutes take me about an hour. But, there is something really satisfying about being able to do it at all. So, I’ve been enjoying the little technological knowledge growth in my life. I wouldn’t want to be a programmer or have this be my everyday, but it’s fun to stick a toe in the water. Plus, it seems that my tech skills only blossom in specific environments or incidents and are entirely unreliable.
(*) Which brings us to our little Powerbook G4, which I still love despite its power issues and apparently the fact that the world thinks it is too old to support or allow me to watch YouTube videos. I’ve read that Linux works great on the G4, but, despite all my efforts while reading message boards and such, I simply can’t get it to load onto the little fellow.
This is probably for the best since Linux (which my dad has recently become very excited about) eludes me. I like it, but I simply can’t get certain things to happen on it. Hopefully, that branch will blossom in the future.