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.

A sad tale of digital decay (with a happy ending)

In the distant past, I used to use CVS for my home projects, before moving to SVN, and latterly to Mercurial (because it seemed that git would never play nice on Windows -- so, not long before Github for Windows came out, then). For various reasons, I thought I'd sweep the cobwebs off one of the old projects that still lived in the CVS repo backup.

I also had a copy of the WinCVS installer from way back when, so I expected just to run it up, check things out and be done.

It turned out that that was when the fun began. I started with looking for a CVS/Mercurial bridge, but they all seemed to be Unix based and included dire warnings about CVSNT being problematic. And it's not as if I really needed the old check-in history. So back to the long-hand way.

WinCVS installed OK, but the CVSNT sub-installer just hung. Try the latest (coming up to its 7th birthday) release. No joy there either, just the same hang. Discover that CVSNT itself is now being charged for -- there surely is indeed one born every minute! Try Tortoise CVS -- which completes its install of the included CVSNT, but (as I find after much googling for the error message

cvs server: Couldn't open default trigger library: No such file or directory

later) has failed to install the default_trigger.dll file.

Start looking for the CVS file format and how it handles binaries, because there are image files in the repo module as well as just code; and discover that it's the same as RCS format.

Inspiration finally dawns. The problems cited by cvs2svn with CVSNT in migrations is CVSNT in its role as a command line client, and not with the repo it talks to! Fire up cygwin and check everything out smoothly, after three hours beating around the bush.

The moral of the story : it's not enough to keep the back-ups -- you have to be able to usefully read them as well! Even if it's just some hobby code, rather than NASA downlink telemetry from the 1960s.

Garden rubbish

The weather has continued mild over the past 4 weeks, and now we have the crocuses and snowdrops out amongst the marigolds, and one slow-motion blooming rose in the more sheltered and sunny part of the garden.

We finished the last of the apple crop yesterday, and pulled half the leeks last weekend; and the crop of salad leaves that were mostly eaten by caterpillars last August have actually pulled themselves together enough in the winterised bed in the greenhouse that I've been able to get garnishes for Karen's lunch.

And with the garden next door no longer a wilderness, that's been a cue to start tidying up dead wood (and all too live ivy) in our own back hedge -- I've already got enough debris to fill the green bin until going on Easter. It looks like that'll be this year's garden project by the time it's done.

Saturday, February 01, 2014


Despite the wettest January since whenever, the main reasons I had at any point not to cycle to work in the continuing mild weather were either meetings mid-afternoon with no suitable window to get home before dark, or when the bolt securing my saddle snapped for the second time in six weeks, which latter robbed me of about 30 miles. So, 213 miles in all, rather than the almost 250 it could have been -- still 35 miles ahead of last year.

Meanwhile the garden is merging late autumn -- marigolds, and a rose slowly opening -- with spring as the snowdrops are out and the other bulbs are poking through. And with both the mild weather and our neighbour having cleared the spinney which had grown up in his back garden over the last ~30 years, no deer has been coming to nibble on them.