2012 — 27 July: Friday

As far as I could tell1 I'm currently supposed to be ringing a bell for three minutes. Not happening. Not going to happen. In other news, the sun has a fair amount of haze to burn off before it can start blistering me again. Good. [Pause] And, with Mother Hubbard's perpetual and irritating clamouring about the parlous state of her cupboard just reduced to a dull roar, I can kick back and make myself some breakfast to go with cuppa #1.

It's 09:24 and is sultry, but trying to rain. Very oppressive; not very impressive.

I keep BlackBeast...

... fully patched and updated. So I was happy to download and run version 3 of Secunia PSI this morning, and pleased with the "All clear" from its first scan. But I was a bit taken aback to realise I have 85 programs2 now installed when I've only pinned 20 of them to the Taskbar, and regularly use just a dozen.

No wonder I'm hungry. It's 13:47. Oops.

Upgrading the level...

... of XAMPP for Windows (my lazy way of getting Apache set up for use as a 'localhost' web server) has just gone very smoothly. I shall therefore repeat the process on the laptop PC upstairs in a few minutes. Cool... unlike the weather.


Having watched the first four episodes of the new Aaron Sorkin TV drama "The Newsroom" I'm prepared to define it as a piece of high-quality amusing semi-slapstick romantic drama pseudo-documentary... and I think it actually works very well. OK, agreed, it's not "The West Wing" — but then, very little is! And, in related news, "Grandview USA" is finally out on DVD after a shamefully long delay. It will go some way towards completing my Jamie Lee Curtis collection. Well spotted, Michael.

Shortly after I'd...

... retired from the IBM software lab, and largely on a foolish whim, I bought an iMac to see what all the fuss was about. And (since I have several long-term writing projects swirling in the back of my head) I bought for it the nicest piece of software I could find, namely "Scrivener", about which I said "[which] is one of those items that makes you believe software can be beautiful and useful at the same time". It seemed to approach the Techwriter Pro software that I used on my various RISC OS machines in the mid 1990s.

As you can imagine, Christa's death completely derailed my plans. And, by the time I'd forced myself (with lots of help from friends) back to some form of new normality, I'd also seen the light as far as Apple PCs are concerned,3 and handed the iMac to my son. Meanwhile, Scrivener was inching steadily towards a release on the Windows platform. So I've been keeping an eye out for it.


It's now safely downloaded, installed, registered, and activated. At £33, where's the risk? So, better make that 86 (or 83?) installed programs, I guess.

I collect the odd...

... bit of language, here and there. In 1986, for example, we had the ludicrous "Spycatcher" trial in Australia...

Lawyer: What is the difference between a misleading impression and a lie?
Armstrong: A lie is a straight untruth.
Lawyer: What is a misleading impression - a sort of bent untruth?
Armstrong: As one person said, it is perhaps being "economical with the truth".

And that peerless Tory Alan Clark pushed the phrase a little further in 1992 during the Matrix Churchill case...

Clark: Well it's our old friend "being economical", isn't it?
Lawyer: With the truth?
Clark: With the actualité.

Now, in 2012, the current "Private Eye" reports an exchange between Tory MP Michael Fallon and Paul Tucker (the deputy 'guvnor' of the Bank of England, no less), while picking warily through some of the rubble left by Barclays in the wake of warnings by American officials that "deliberate misreporting" of Libor was occurring...

Fallon: Didn't the penny drop that the phrase "deliberate misreporting" might
        imply some degree of dishonesty?
Tucker: I am not sure I addressed my mind to it.

Such a fine bunch of chaps we have running things. Aren't we lucky they have such fine minds, and such keen attention to detail?



1  From the gibberish on the radio.
2  Or only 82, according to the Windows Control Panel :-)
3  As was said of IBM kit back in the Dark Ages: "You can buy better, but you can't pay more".