Sunday, February 27, 2005


Last night, Jemima turned her nose up at her meatblob, and stalked off out. I told her that if she didn't like what was on offer, she would have to catch her own.

Red smears on the garden path this morning suggests that she did that thing.


Today, it's been bright, with the occasional snow flurry - very different from the grey and sleety weather we had been promised; and while going out to top up screenwasher-bottles and tyre pressures on the cars, I saw a number of actual hexagonally symmetric snowflakes for the very first time. The first that caught my eye was a perfect little star shape maybe 5mm across, but looking at the rest of the dusting of snow, there were more.

Usually snow comes as big fluffy flakes, or dusty crystals, or even coarser ones, more like the fancy sugar granules for coffee, such as accumulated on my windscreen one afternoon this week.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Crying Wolf

We've had some snow this week; a couple of mornings I had to brush some off the cars first thing. Then, according to all the weather forecasts last night was supposed to be bad with accumulating snow, and today worse.

And we had no snow before bedtime last night, just a tiny dusting on car roofs this morning, and flurries that were more sleet than snow until they stopped during the day.

The Met Office still seems to be overreacting after Oct '87, which is a bad thing - I can hardly trust their bad forecasts now.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Winter wonderland

Saturday, in bright sunshine, I was almost tempted to try cycling into town, but noticed enough movement of trees to play it safe. And that was a wise move - the wind was raw and unpleasant even for walking.

Sunday, there was ice on the pond, except where covered. The winds was still raw, and with snow showers, we decided not to bother with the jazz concert in town we'd got tickets for on spec.

This morning snow, but no ice on the pond (only a slight thickening of slush) and it felt much milder, with less wind. Snow showers still, but the snow is melting - but will probably make it an early night on general principals.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Nature notes

Friday late afternoon, refilling the bird-feeder in the back garden, there was movement of something diving deep in the pond; a first sign of awakening frogs.

And now we get the real winter, with snow showers today, and likely to be fun travelling to and from work tomorrow. Maybe I'll be able to get out of my regular Tuesday pm meeting on account of the weather.

Books - The one minute Manager and The 59-second Employee

The former — simple (simplistic) behaviourism - ensure that people know what to do, give warm fuzzies when the do right, and express displeasure when the don't.

The latter — recognise one-size-fits-all managers and play the game back at them.

Friday, February 18, 2005


Passed 6000 miles between Leyton Buzzard and Woburn on the way back from a business meeting that proved once again that more than the Atlantic separates the US from Europe. But at least a chance to meet face to face people I'd only phoned or e-mailed before.

And, of course, since it was a meeting involving a live demo of pre-pre-release code, real live bugs too — a doozy involving an English browser on a German operating system, that made everything go pear-shaped.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Play - Pedro, the Great Pretender

From the Spanish Golden Age season at the RSC, now playing in London, rather than Stratford, a rarely performed play by Cervantes.

Translated from verse into verse, in stylish fashion, a semi-autobiographical tale, interwoven with a plot involving gypsies, and the gypsy girl with the intent to rise above her station; plus general gibes at the clergy and the over-pious and over -credulous laity as one might expect from the period.

Interestingly different to English Jacobean plays that are of the same period.

And thence to dine at Simpsons in the Strand, no-nonsense best of British food (steak and kidney pie, jugged hair, aged beef off the bone, and of course the famous treacle sponge and custard). Don't think I'll be hungry till lunch tomorrow.

Also noting - there were the earliest daffs - or daff-alikes - in the crescent between Euston Road and Russell Square.

[Later]And I wasn't.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Senior moments

… or “Kids these days”

Chatting in one of the threads on the AnimeNation Evangelion forum, about the sensory abilities of the Mass Production units — or “harpies”, as they are colloquially referred to — I mentioned that in the light of their apparent lack of eyes or ears, but questing muzzles, that “Perhaps, like the Pinball Wizard, they play by sense of smell.”

I was gob-smacked when I was subsequently asked to explain the reference. Apparently an appreciation for the classics hasn't reached the 20-somethings yet. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Spring is sprung (sort of)

The recent mild weather means that I've had to get out with the hoe and suppress the worst of the new growth of weeds. And the windy weather has led to needing to re-pot the bay tree. No sign of frogs in the pond yet; but the deceptive mildness of the weather has fooled me - it was at the end of Feb last that I first saw frogs.


Film Diva

Finally managed to find this on DVD. It is just as cool and classy as I remembered — and with a very young Dominique Pinon (City of Lost Children, A Very Long Engagement) as the shiv wielding, crop-headed thug.

Book The Innovator's Dilemma

Actually somewhat mis-titled - the sort of innovations at the heart of the dilemma are those that serve emerging market segments first, and only later serve the pre-existing market segments well, rather than innovations that meet existing market needs.

This is coupled with the fact that it is easier to improve products at a rate faster than markets can absorb; and that there is only a limited amount of space for "top carnivores" in any ecosystem. In many respects it is the classic (if not borne out by more recent palaeontological data) “mammals pwn3d the dinosaurs” type of scenario.

Friday, February 11, 2005

About bloody time too...

Charles and Camilla, that is.

And well past time that someone reminded the tabloid tendency that the whole reason that Charles is lined up to be head of the CoE is because Henry VIII wanted the freedom to marry as he felt fit.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

For my own future reference

Having stubbed my left big toe hard just before going to Paris in October, then run over it with the wheelchair a couple of times while there, it was just a matter of time until the inevitable happened. The nail and I finally parted company last night.

At least 3 months of nursing the semi-detached flappy nail means that there is already about 4-5mm of new adhering nail, but plenty of exposed nail bed still to regrow.

This is going to make walking, driving and exercising a real pain for months to come. Sandals are the answer around the office, and a prosthetic nail (plastic over foam over elastoplast) makes some trainers tenable for driving; but it's not really sandals weather, not are they great for cycling; and big trainers don't really do for workouts.

Friday, February 04, 2005

vector<char>, push_back(0) and XP SP2

Just spent some time debugging an intermittent exception that only seemed to happen on Windows XP, service pack 2. I had a vector<char>, and called push_back(0), expecting the implicit conversion to char& to suffice when terminating data that was going to become a string.

Replacing it with push_back('\0') worked.