2011 — 10 June: Friday

Since my son1 didn't arrive before midnight he'll have to put up with BBC Radio 3's "Late Junction". That'll learn 'im. I'm always grumpier when I'm tired. Or when bits of my house spring a leak :-(

Note to self (for the morning when my awake is wider): Check out RealPlayer (as offered by the WinSCP 4.3.3 upgrade you'll probably forget you've just installed) and HandBrake (which may [or may not] be the name of the video conversion package that Len recommended the other day and that you've so far failed to investigate.)

The younger people...

... seem to be stirring into some form of life. Just as well; it's 09:40 and they have a ferry to catch.

Nothing new under the sun... dept.

Hang on! Weren't we here before, over 20 years ago? I seem to recall the excruciatingly boring workshop sessions on the formal specification language "Z" had precisely this sort of goal in mind. Source and snippet:

According to Raghunath, one key to device-driver synthesis is having a sufficient set of specifications for both the device and the OS of the platform connected to the device. "The goal of this work," he says, "is eventually to have a tool chain that will work from formal specifications and automatically generate driver code that you can directly use."

Rik Myslewski in The Register

Mind you, my first 'exposure' to the concept of re-using code (that although not formally proven error-free, had at least been through a rigorous inspection process before being allowed into an algorithm library) was back in 1974. My, how things change, heh?

Taking my computing life...

... in my hands, I asked my son to explain what facility, exactly, he'd switched on that would have "no effect" on my external web site while improving life for the users of his other2 web sites. Here's an outline:


Noon being now...

... a thing of the past, I await my plumber's visit. The kids have departed and should now be boarding their Red Funnel ferry. They will swing by again on their way back home fairly late on Sunday evening. At least, I'm fairly sure they will — Peter3 will be taking the iMac with them — bye bye, giant iPod.

Time for another picture of Christa, dating from late 1978 or possibly early 1979.


I took this one evening in Old Windsor when our friend Yvonne had called round with her then-new daughter Fiona (to be followed, in later years, by Sorcha, Gail, and Euan). Yvonne had been my typesetter4 in ICL. Her hubby Hugh was my one-time squash partner and the chap I wrote rather a lot of code for (not to mention a variety of hi-fi articles and MoD data patent abstracts) over the years.

Who knows what evil...

... lurks, concealed, underneath my hallway carpet's damp patch (see yesterday's picture)? I do, now:

Damp patch

A tiny hole in part of the original domestic hot water pipework appeared at some point in the last ten months or so, and has been gently spraying the underside of my floorboards. The affected section has been sliced out and replaced. I will mop up and dry for 48 hours or so and Brian will return on Monday morning to relay the boards and the carpet before going on to perform the first annual service on my newish heating system.

I shall now nip over to say "Hi" to Roger & Eileen and blag a cuppa.


Now (at 19:34), having just emptied out five small bowls full of water from under my feet (as it were), I've set up my trusty (that is, used all-too-often before in the aftermath of similar incidents) electric fan heater. I intend to leave it running on a gentle low setting for the next day or so. I should then be able to assess the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the evaporative process. So now it's definitely time to think about my evening meal, methinks. I only turned my bedside light off at 03:00 or so this morning so I'm also starting to droop a bit. I prescribe a further application of early "House".



1  Surprise, surprise.
2  "Molehole.org" has been riding (for free) on the back of the other commercial web sites he hosts with the Texan data centre he uses. I doubt it has anything like the level of sophistication of these other sites. I tend not to ask. "Gift horse" and "mouth" spring to mind.
3  Who may, just possibly, have inherited a liking for tech toys from one of us.
4  She once left me at a loss for words. She'd flawlessly typeset a lengthy chunk of ICL 1900 Series Plan (assembler-level) code and brought it to me to proofread. She then asked if, had she changed a single letter in one of the instructions, it would have made any difference to the behaviour of the program. Her older colleague Joan had the habit of correcting any errors she found in COBOL code — a bit annoying when they'd been inserted for training purposes.