2013 — 16 February: Saturday

I can't say the dawn chorus1 is terribly impressive — though we did see a pair of red kites on our walk yesterday — and we stopped off at a new local micro-brewery for a mini-tour...

Alfred's Brewery

Love the font!

Saxon Bronze

Time to brew my next cuppa. I intend to be at the head of the (food) shopping hordes this morning having felt too lazy / tired to bother yesterday afternoon.

I generally don't...

... opt for processed food (with the marked exception of occasional curries) as I prefer to rely on my home-brewed crockpots for a hot evening meal, a salad for lunch, and a high-fibre cereal for breakfast. Obviously, there are 'treats' along the way — who could live without the occasional chocolate digestive biscuit interleaved with plenty of fresh fruit? Of course, the UK enjoys the undoubted benefits of a Food Standards Agency:

...a top job at the FSA has marked out its incumbents not as tireless fighters for higher quality, safer food, but as prime candidates for well-paid jobs in the food industry... Ill-equipped by temperament or inclination to upset corporate interests, the FSA has gently cajoled the food industry into curbing its worst excesses by getting companies to sign up to voluntary agreements and promising-sounding pledges... New to the job, the agency's current boss, Catherine Brown, has been more candid than her predecessors when she admitted that she would not eat a Findus lasagne. This may be why in recent days the FSA has chosen to field its more bullish director of operations, Andrew Rhodes.

Joanna Blythman in Grauniad

"Bullish" or "equine"?

Pussyfooting around

Can it really be 17 years ago? Good grief!

I've now parlayed a short newsletter into an article for the in-house Lab rag, an external (non-IBM) magazine over in California, and an electronic mailout to about 3,000 eager software subscribers. Wonder if they'll give me any HARP (Hursley Author Recognition Programme) points for it? An unusual week: on Monday, one of our maintenance chaps dislodged a feral cat from above my desk (in a false ceiling) and the cat (in jumping down through an adjacent roof tile, and scooting round the office several times at high speed), in turn, eventually turned out to have dislodged a water pipe that went on, by Tuesday morning, to drench my laser printer. During the consequent plumbing operation, there was no heat at all for all the upper floors of the House (ie all the top managers). It's already being referred to as the Java Cat.

Date: 25 February 1996 from a snailmail to dear Mama

The magazine put me on their front page, which is more than the in-house rag did:

Strap line

Needless to say, not a HARP point to be had. ("IBM Hursley Park" is, after all, an anagram of "risk humbler pay".) Whatever happened to Java, I wonder? Did it ever catch on?

I must be a terrible...

... nuisance to my friends at one (two, actually) of my credit card suppliers. This month's statement confidently asserts "This is the last paper statement you'll receive". Oh no it isn't, Petal. I have just logged on and clicked on the magic "Resume Paper Statements" button. It's just a game we play. Quite a long-running one, actually. I wonder which one they'll try to change next?

Having asked my networking guru...

... about extra USB3 ports, he popped over this afternoon to supply an extra pair connected to an unused USB3 connector on the motherboard and fed out to a slot on the back panel. This will tide me over temporarily until my just-ordered front-panel set of same arrives. On a separate issue, he'd been puzzled by the relatively low data transfer rates I'd mentioned I was seeing with my two new 3TB SATA III hard drives and he was able to diagnose and fix that, too.2 My motherboard actually has eight SATA ports, including a pair of high-speed ones on a separate controller specially designed for use with BIOS-mediated RAID, and there's nothing to stop you using just one of this pair as an extra SATA III port. So I did.

However (to our joint surprise) the rapid little 10,000 rpm Velociraptor drive I use to hold the Windows system itself is actually only SATA II not SATA III, so there wasn't anything much we could do about that. Except move about 99% of the system paging file off it and on to the SATA III backup drive. So, several re-boots later, the net result of all this is stonkingly rapid data transfers — up from around 190 MB/second to about double that rate between these two new drives. Most gratifying. It makes file backups so rapid I may even do them more often :-)

Time to do something about an evening meal. I shall then carefully inspect the patch of raw skin on my heel to assess the state of the healing process. [Pause] Alas, still raw and weeping. I shall keep it exposed to air for a while.



1  Who wants to sing at this time of day?
2  I'd connected my main data drive to a slower SATA II port whereas I'd lucked out and actually fitted the backup drive to one of the faster SATA III ports without even realising. See what can happen when you don't bother to read the motherboard manual but merely file it away for a year? That'll learn me.