Friday, February 29, 2008


One of the teeth that fell apart a bit last summer while eating brie fell completely to bits on some toffee on Wednesday.

I now have a temporary crown enthusiastically cemented to the stump.

So, even if the other crown candidate isn't quite ready in a couple of weeks, at least something can get done.

Links for 29-Feb

Layering MMC 3.0 Snap-ins over PowerShell

DLRScript -- Using a DLR language in your <script> tags for Silverlight

The highly extensible CSS interface

Building a DLR language

TDD linkfest part 1 and part 2.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Links for 27-Feb

MMC 3.0 snap-in cookbook

Extension methods gotcha -- or, C# is not C++, redux

Masterpiece Engineering -- the view from 1969 

RUSH -- a replacement for bash and ssh which uses Ruby syntax.

Did the Earth move for you?

Having just gotten back into bed from a bathroom visit, just before 01:00 this morning, I was not best pleased when I felt the bed rattle a little just like it always does when one of Karen's legs goes into spasm -- and glad when it ceased, even though I'd just about gotten around to starting to sit up to help adjust her position.

Then a few hours later the radio alarm comes on talking about a 5.3 Richter earthquake in Market Rasen.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Links for 25-Feb

A first look at Silverlight 2.0 -- the release formerly known as 1.1 goes beta soon

Singleton v2.0 -- still a global variable, but managed a bit more smoothly

F# add-in for SharpDevelop 3 

F# 101 part 1, Part 2

Cobra -- .Net based static-typed scripting language

Signs of spring

The day dawned with clear-ish skies, and it was appreciably daylight when the alarm went off. Before that, birdsong had roused me from the depths of sleep.

Also 23999 miles, parked at work.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

House & Garden

The kittens are growing noticeably, day by day, and have integrated into the household. Jemima will share her igloo-basket with Yoko, now, rather than flee in terror from this home invasion, and they will all play musical dishes happily at meal times.

Modus vivendi

Reaching an accomodation

Yoko is also getting a bit podgy -- Kamina had a bit of a runny tummy, and though he soon got over that, he is still smaller than his sister.

Both will use me as a warm place to sleep if I go for a nap, with Yoko even crawling into by dressing gown sleeve while I'm wearing it; while Kamina will just demand that I pick him up and fuss him.

In the garden, the snowdrops are just about finished, but the irises and croci are out, while the forsythia is just starting to burst its buds; and in town today, the early daffs on Parker's Piece were out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Embedding PowerShell in IronPython and vice versa -- “two great tastes that taste great together”

PowerShell and Python may both be scripting languages, but their strengths are in different areas. One place where PowerShell excels is in getting prettily formatted text output out of your windows system calls, and making a lot of standard queries without having to go to all the hassle that diving into the System.Management namespace often involves (writing your own WQL queries and the like).

So, why not embed the one script inside the other?

In the example, we get a single pretty-printed list of all the processes. If we hadn't added the Out-String, we would have a collection of System.Diagnostics.Process objects that we could work with as .Net objects in their own right. And objects can be passed in via runspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("variableName", theObject) and picked up as $variableName in the PowerShell script.

As IronPython can be embedded in .Net, it can of course be embedded in PowerShell, like this (for 1.x)

The 2.0 code is similar in spirit, but different in detail:

H/t CodeProject

Links for 21-Feb

IDisposable, finalization, and concurrency

8 Weeks of PowerShell

.Net Parallel programming -- a bundle of links

5 Attributes of Highly Effective Programmers

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Links for 20-Feb

Why I like Scala's Lexically Scoped Open Classes -- Alas, C# extension methods are more like Ruby's

There ain't no such thing as the fastest code -- good reading list (some on-line!)

.Net/C++ bridge -- calling into managed code from native

The Turkey Test -- a little l10n smoke test (not quite so thorough when you're coming from en_GB, though)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


In the freezing fog this morning, I was not surprised that the ESP system flickered into life a couple of times on the way in, especially when it happened in places I'd expect to ice up. But the last mile or so to work, the ride became very lumpy if I tried to go much above 30, and when I parked…

Rear passenger-side tyre flat.

At least the Mercedes garage could fit me in, so it was just a case to trying to get through to National Breakdown (who were having a computer systems malfunction) and waiting for the two to turn up.

A nuisance, but if it's no more than every other year, it's more than made up for by the rest of the generally economic running that I get out of the Smart.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Anime — Princess Tutu

“Once upon a time, a man died. His work was creating stories to tell other people. In defiance of his death, in his last story was a brave and beautiful Prince, who was supposed to defeat a monster Raven.

“However, now there would never be a conclusion to their endless fight.

“‘I hate this!’ screamed the monster Raven.

“‘I hate this!’ screamed the brave Prince.

“The monster Raven flew out of the story, and the Prince ran after it. And then the Prince took out his own heart. Using a forbidden power, he sealed away the monster Raven. At the same time, ‘Dark!’, came a muttering from somewhere from a man who should have been dead.”


Princess Tutu is about ballet, and fairy-tales, Princes, storytelling, and the girl in the class who is the ugly duckling.

Which means this is a descent into a metafictional maelstrom, as well as being a sort of Utena-lite, without the sexuality (except in the guise of the marriage-obsessed Neko-sensei). And that it can draw upon the wealth of classical music for its sound-track.

Hell yeah! I'm watching an anime for little girls! -- It's that good!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Links for 11-Feb

PowerTab -- PowerShell tab completion

C# extension methods -- why they are conceptually a good thing 

The Insurgency of Quality -- Interaction Design keynote speech

Ruby Cheat-sheet

Truly transparent text -- the mechanism is more generally applicable

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Years of the Quiet Sun

Bright and sunny today, with early frost soon melting in the sun. Almost spring-like in fact, and enough that I was out in the garden until 5pm, without a jacket, just a T-shirt, starting to clear up the debris of last season, until I had almost filled the green bin. And as the weather forecast for tomorrow is much the same, I shall have to mow the lawn.

I'm glad for the Gulf Stream and the current state of La Niña, which is managing to keep Western Europe free from the current hemispheric freeze


How long will that last, though? On top of a current global cooling trend over the last decade (source data here), not only do we have suggestions that this La Niña looks like the start of the previous cooling around 1950 (PDF), but also that the current solar weather prospects are not looking healthy, either.

Well, I knew my old age was going to be cold -- if it wasn't the recently bandied about prospect of a meltwater induced suppression of the North Atlantic Convergence, then it was going to be the end of the current extended interglacial as promised when I was a kid. I just hadn't thought it might simply be another Maunder or Dalton minimum.

I see one silver lining, though. Work has been done on orbital solar mirrors, building off Soviet-era proposals to open up Siberia. Commercial space travel is on the cusp of reality. I see a natural fit there. And the lull in solar magnetic activity and associated particle storms will open up space for longer term inhabitation for some decades.

And by then, Bussard fusion (long video here) should be old technology, and we could be on track for the future as it was in the 1960s.

Post title is a slight reference to Wilson Tucker's time-travel story, Year of the Quiet Sun.

Apartheid is Social Cohesion

At least according to the Arch-Druid of Canterbury. It's a slogan to go along with "Ignorance is Strength" and "Slavery is Freedom" that Orwell might have used if he were writing 1984 today. I thought we were done with Welsh windbags when Kinnock got promoted upstairs to the Imperial Government in Brussels…

At times like this, I feel I want to quit the human race and join a more intelligent species.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Links for 5-Feb

Higher order Programming is easy -- C# edition 

WCF 3.5 tools -- WcfSvcHost and WcfTestClient come in the box

WCF 3.5 Custom authentication 

Codebehind is just code -- plumbing JavaScript and Silverlight

Ruby.Net is dead -- Long live IronRuby (here's a QuickStart, and Logo as DSL in IronRuby).  I've blogged my own experiences of Ruby.Net not being quite ready for prime-time elsewhere,


The New Labour (IngSoc is so last century…) govt has brought in such wonderful pieces of legislation as to make internal party elections subject to the criminal law, and giving the police powers to conduct surveillance under their own cognisance (the odious RIP Act 2000).

And now they're surprised when those same laws are used against their own MPs.

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch, if you ask me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm a lumberjack...

Last autumn (late Sept, early Oct), I started to take down the elder tree back of the garage -- we'd some years back taken down one of the two main trunks because it was full of rot, but the other one had now started to succumb.

By the start of November, I had it down to a stump about 3' high, and took all but a 4' long piece of trunk that was too heavy to shift to the village bonfire.

Early Dec, one of my colleagues came over with a two-man saw and we got most of the way through the stump just above ground level; and from there I just started gnawing away with a smaller gardening saw, until just before the start of the holidays, when I got the stump to start shifting, and from there it was a case of putting a pry-bar in and then wedges (generated by cutting through the higher sections of trunk).

The holiday involved a daily session of sawing the stump, first top to bottom, then each half across, with interludes of sawing the long trunk across, until prybar and wedges could finish the job -- heave the gap open, the wedge falls in, reset the pry-bar and haul again, dropping the wedge further, maybe sawing a bit at the section still holding (since you can never cut on an exact plane), repeating until the last bits tore.

Finally bisecting each half -- and that is now done, leaving me with 8 more readily portable logs about 1' cube in size.

Now next door's big old apple tree has canker and needs to come down...