Monday, June 30, 2014

June cycling

The headline numbers are 9957.5 and an estimated 480 (as the new odo factory reset itself after rain on Friday, basing on 16 commutes and a couple of side-jaunts during the month on the new bike) for a total of 454 miles for the month and 1960 year to date.

As a stretch goal, 4000 for the year seems more achievable than it did earlier in the year.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Cycling provision fail

Southport is generally well furnished for cyclists -- but there are exceptions:

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The only reason for the gutter would be for a short-cut for bikes -- but there's that sharp-bend sign in the way!

Cycle provision fail


Sufficiently awful that I stopped and posed the bike to show the corner of the sign just above where the stem meets the handlebars!

May Cycling

Recording the numbers gets complicated now, as I have a new commuter bike for getting to work (with the old one relegated to shopping use) -- so 9838.7/144.98; or 313 miles around the local area (including a spin out to Sandy on the early Bank Holiday). Then add 68 miles around Southport and a couple more unmetered, for 383 miles for the month, and 1506 miles year to date.

The Bank Holiday run

The tower at Sandy

The tower at Sandy

The ford at Sutton

The ford at Sutton

The Southport cycling

From Crosby looking to Bootle

From Crosby looking to Bootle

Turning point

Turning point

And to show how technology has moved on in the 15 years since I last bought a bike, the new one has an aluminium frame (so is lighter even with a chunkier frame) and hydraulic disk brakes -- and has cut about 5min off the commute each way.

Just need to remember to look at the chain on the old bike around the 11,000 mark.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Some numbers

This is for my benefit more than the world's...

The car dash was showing 10000 on the odo and 10:00 on the clock this morning as I drove to collect my bike from being serviced.

And the large circuit (partly off-road) of the village is 1.67 miles.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Film -- The Wind Rises

Miyazaki's latest farewell to his directorial role is a love letter to early aviation, the sort of thing that has appeared in many of his other films -- Porco Rosso, Laputa or even Howl's Moving Castle -- now given free rein in the story of the designer of the Zero fighter, admittedly one that elides the war years entirely. It manages to both retain the usual Ghibli quirkiness, while yet being a sober and mature work. Simply the best movie I've seen in years.

It also co-opted his most notorious protégé, Hideaki Anno, as both key animator (getting to draw the Zeros), and in the speaking role of the lead character, in a part which involved a small amount both French (the poem of the title) and German (sung) at times. Hence the little shout-out to Anno's major work in the telling of how the casting must have gone.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

April cycling

With the odo at 9670.8 after finishing the 30 days challenge -- albeit some days just a mile or so around the village, or a rather perfunctory up and down the road in the rain on Easter Sunday -- that makes 365 miles for the month (compared with last year's 250-odd including lingering snow), a pace of about 12 miles a day on average; and 1123 year-to-date, meaning 3500 for the year should be doable but 4000 quite a stretch.

And talking of stretch -- I missed the window between "replace the chain" and "replace the back block as well", with all the other things going on, and it won't be until next weekend that I have a window to put the bike into be serviced. And with that likely count of miles, reckoning on services every 4 months rather than every 6 going forward.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quick Cycling Break

Since I didn't get to do a Norfolk break on my bike last year, I did a quick jaunt just before Easter, getting the last of the really good weather before it went downhill for the holiday weekend.

And in much better weather than when I was there five years ago, I decided to head south to Castle Acre and exorcise the bad memories -- and not end up at the Gin Trap for lunch both days.

Cattle at Houghton

Great Massingham

The very nice pub (the Dabbling Duck) I stopped at for refreshment is just past the red car -- if I'd known it was there I wouldn't have needed any picnic supplies. The bar snack menu showed quite clearly that their chef knows the way to a man's heart -- it starts with delicacies such as chips triple fried in beef dripping with curry sauce, and crumpets with bone-marrow and Marmite butter, before getting really serious about the fat and carbs. It made the large pork pie, Scotch egg and Babybel cheese I'd packed look like a virtuous choice!

Castle Acre Priory

As it happened, the weather being so warm I didn't need sleeves, after spending four hours in the saddle, I realised over supper that I had caught the sun, and was going slightly pink, not having had quite enough shirtsleeves weather to pick up a tan incrementally.

Thursday was going to be the Gin Trap lunch day, and a variation on the usual up the coast from Sandringham -- the dry weather meant that the Peddars Way was light off-roading, as was the unmade track near West Newton.

The Peddars Way

The Peddars Way

The work going on at Ringstead Mill a couple of years ago was now done.

Ringstead Mill

Ringstead Mill

The day having been cloudy and cool, I hadn't needed to bare my arms; and soon after I left the Gin Trap, it started raining, though only staying a sprinkle, not like on previous occasions, curtailing the amble back to base.

So, nothing too strenuous, 36.5 and 36.9 miles respectively, for the first real long rides of the year.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Fun with destructuring pattern matching -- a well kept secret of F#

Despite having been using F# as my go-to language for any personal project for 5+ years now, there are still simple things about the language that -- not being pointed out in the texts -- had passed me by until now. Prompted by a number of questions on the MSDN F# forum about porting some category theory implementation in ML to F#, I tried the exercise myself over a few evenings.

To my surprise, almost everything just ported over with mechanical syntax changes -- with the notable exception that F# doesn't have an infix keyword to mark a function as behaving like an operator. This included repeated idioms involving pattern matching in function arguments

type Cat<'o,'m>  = Cat of ('m->'o)*('m->'o)*('o->'m)*('m*'m->'m)
  let source(Cat(s,_,_,_))   = s

even though you can't do multiple overloads of the same function name with different patterns, Erlang style (those would have to be different cases in a function expression); you can even have your destructuring and eat it too as in

let K (Cat(_,_,id',_) as A) (a) = ...

where you have names for a component of the first argument and the first argument as a whole brought into scope. This generalises to being able to provide names for components of a tuple argument

type Functor<'o,'m,'o1,'m1>  =   
       Ffunctor of Cat<'o, 'm> *('o->'o1)*('m->'m1)*Cat<'o1, 'm1>

  let apply_Fun_CoCone(Ffunctor(_,fo,fm,_) as F, c) = ...

you just have to parenthesise appropriately to distinguish taking the last element or the tuple as a whole.

There is one caveat -- if you want to do pure destructuring to assign names to components and write

let Cat(_,_,id,comp) = ...

this gets parsed as defining a function Cat on a tuple that returns a constant; unlike in SML you have to provide a dummy name for the whole expression

let Cat(_,_,id,comp) as cat' = ...

to get the destructuring assignment to id and comp that you wanted in the first place.

April foolery

Normally at this time of year, after the clocks have gone forwards, I think to myself that there's light in the evenings, but it's still too cold to do anything with it. This week it's been mild enough that I've sat out at the picnic table twice in the evening to eat my supper, as well as doing the necessary weeding.

Monday, March 31, 2014


A busy month, but with dry enough weather for a lot of cycling; and after cleaning contacts and making a few infinitesimal adjustments to the sensor magnet, odo readings once again, to a total of 361.2 miles for the month, and 758 miles year to date, compared with last year's 604.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Madness

March opened with our next-door neighbour getting a new fence around his front garden. Unfortunately, the old phone line ran just under the soil along the boundary, so was exactly where a hole got dug for one of the fence posts.

So farewell to the last of the GPO junction boxes in the close...

...and hello to a new BT one, plus a 25% increase in our download speed! (Though perhaps that was ADSL2 kicking in at the same time). It did take more than a week, though.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Wet weather

While there was hardly enough rain in March to disrupt my steady schedule of cycling, there was just enough to put the Cam into spate and flood the usual spots along the water meadows.

so I got to take some pictures on a bright morning on the way to work, but otherwise rejoiced thing the fact that we're in a semi-desert in the part of the world.

Friday, February 28, 2014

February cycling -- 8944.6 + 53

Well, between other commitments at the weekend, rain, wind and a cold, there was an 8-day gap in cycling spanning the second week of the month; then increasingly temperamental contacts on the odo dropped 53 miles -- stopped registering at the return from a supermarket run and one way to work, registered for the next couple of commutes, then failed entirely for two full round trips. So an unsurprisingly low increment in this shortest of months -- 184 total (131 + 53) and 397 for the year, which still keeps me ahead of last year.

It would have been more but the two good days this week I was at a corporate off-site, which I'm still recovering from; and now after a spring-like start to the week, it's wet and wintry again.

I shall have to get a new odo and give up the idea of running the current one around the clock.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A 1,001 software development nights

If you have ever read some of the translated Arabian Nights, you will be familiar with the way that a character will head off on a quest, find someone who knows how to help him complete the quest, if he will just run an errand for them... And so Scheherazade secured her position by greatly delaying unwinding the recursion thus engendered.

I'm finding some of my side-project coding is being like that at the moment. The failure of one apparently innocuous change to do what I wanted led me to think "I could use a tool to help here!" And then "But to do that, it would be useful in the long run to have a tool that helps build programs including that sort of tool."

And then I find that some of the libraries I was relying on as support don't quite do what I want, so "I could use a tool to help here! But to do that, ..."

So now I have a handful of new side projects just to help unblock me on but one of my already over-long list of same.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Anime — 2013 in review

When something that used to have a regular slot in the day happens less often, there comes a tipping point where it almost never does. It was like that with TV before we gave that up; and it happened with anime last year.

The year opened with us picking up three series -- Chihayafuru 2, Vividred Operation (previously reviewed) and The Unlimited (good to see familiar faces, but the story was a bit meh) from the winter quarter in addition to carry-overs, including the previous summer's Uta Koi (generally harmless mix of humour and retellings of the lives of the poets), and going back to pick up the previous autumn's Girls and Panzer (a fun piece of sports fluff involving the lady-like art of sensha-dō).

But as spring arrived and none of the series appealed, it was time to eke out what we had (including barrelling through the entire run of Encouragement of Climb taken as one 40 minute session) -- and hence the crash.

Of summer's shows I tried the first episodes of about half a dozen series, but the few that didn't end with a feeling of "glad that's over" didn't leave me eager for the next episode, and the only one that went any further than that was Gatchaman Crowds, which is the other series we're carrying forward to this year along with Chihayafuru 2 (and House of Five Leaves, where the DVDs never got unpacked all year -- should have just charged through it when we started).

At some point I might get around to looking at some of the autumn titles (the ones that sound dire but got good word of mouth and the one that looked plausible and got no word of mouth) -- but I did watch a lot more anime in the closing weeks of last year than the whole rest of it, rewatching Akagi (having seen that was on the Crunchyroll repertoire), Saki (in readiness for the current season's continuation that I haven't started yet) and Sora no Woto.