I am a late starter in computer programming, at least for my generation. I didn’t have an interest in computing until the mid 80s. A good choice, in hindsight, because this is about when the first decent home computers begun to emerge.
In, other words, I’ve been most of my past quarter of a century, and a little more, cranking out source code in a variety of programming languages. Some were cool, some were annoying, some where crap. Some where mainstream, some were soon forgotten, some where invented by myself (and some of those thankfully remain unknown to the world).
Anyway, the point is that I spend all those many years typing code in a fixed width font such as Courier:
if (something happens) then
// ey! it worked!
try something else
(Well, OK, maybe my typical code looks somewhat different, but I think you get the drift.)
As it turns out, I am currently exploring a programming environment whose principal visual novelty is to use a variable-width font by default:
if (something happens) then
// ey! it worked!
try something else
How weird is that!?
Seriously. This is quite a step for a guy like me.
This week, I’ve been mostly eating decent food again. The long Easter weekend and house visitors both motivate:
Lamb kebabs with Tzatziki and pita bread. The breads didn’t rise quite as nicely as Paul Hollywood’s, but I shouldn’t have experimented both with Pita bread and an unknown flour at the same time. I blame the Kamut flour, of course.
Pizza and Pudim Flan for the boys (them), but it turned out that these children are accustomed to bland food and can’t cope with a moderately spicy sausage. Oh well. They were hungry so did a good job eating, and they did manage to eat the puddings.
Tarte Flambe. Lamb chops in a herb crust, served with Skordalia, a Greek potato mash, a fresh cheese filo cigar, artichokes and Swiss chard, concluded with an apple Tarte Tatin. I aimed to impress my visitors on this occasion, but never made or even sampled Skordalia before. It seemed like a nice thing to try out when I saw it on the television, but I didn’t like it. Too heavy, too oily.
Sicilian-style (heavily fennel-infused) meat balls with Spaghetti Pomodoro. This simple dish worked out well, I think.
Salt and pepper squid, served with Guacamole, Sauce Sirene and griddled sourdough bread. Our visitors were out for the night, so we temporarily lifted the an on fish and seafood for the night.
I never thought I’d be so glad to see it raining, but I am quite happy with the present not-a-downpour not-a-drizzle all-penetrating soggy traditional English rain. I think it indicates the arrival of a warm front form the west, which is most welcome here. Any warmth, indeed.
I have also been watching the minimum overnight temperatures. These seem to hold above freezing now, even only by a small margin. I hope this will be enough for the garden to spring into action, and I am sure it will be enough for the boys to consider a move to the great outdoors.
All I need now is a break from the rain so that I can prepare their summer palace.
[UPDATE:] The rain stopped and the boys have now moved into their summer palace. It doesn’t quite feel like summer yet, but everyone is pretty excited – most of all those furry friends.
- No Rain, Please (dcrblogs.com)
- Rain (dimplekaul.wordpress.com)
When is the last time you watched a 12-year old using Scratch?
I had my first (and so far last) opportunity just a few days ago. In conversation, it turned out that one of our visitors, a 12 year old boy growing up in a household with very limited technology awareness was familiar with Scratch, the MIT’s programming tool for kids: http://scratch.mit.edu/. So, I took the boys upstairs, and gave them access to a mouse, keyboard, and a Raspberry Pi running Scratch.
It was for them to take the front row and time for me to step back, occasionally leaning over their shoulders for a better look.
This programming tool is obviously easy to understand and comes with a very flat learning curve, and is made to stimulate. Can you make it eat the monster? or when they hit the tree, they’ll die or other creative ideas were shouted out by the younger of the boys, while the eldest solved practically every task thrown at him in this manner. He didn’t always know how to do it, but looking around and browsing the available programming building blocks, we’d soon find a way.
After a very short time, he had a cat and wing-flapping bats chasing each other, scoring at certain events and exhausting their lives at others, messages were sent and received, sound was coming from the speakers, environmental factors changed, and he even sketched together his own character. Rough and primitive as it was, the total was just very impressive and awe-inspiring.
I had heard of Scratch before, but seeing it in action used by children is something different altogether.
Life on Earth is pure heaven, it has emerged. Following a prolonged multinational game of Mine is Bigger Than Yours around the Korean peninsular, human and most vertebrate life on earth were wiped out earlier this week. Mankind’s presently exists in heaven and hell, according to each individual’s believe system and guilt complex, and in accordance with individual’s experiences and expectations.
It’s all the same, a spokesman for The Pearly Gates told us. What did you expect, wings, sit-on clouds and harps?
Representatives of Amazon Cloud Services were unavailable for a comment.
OK, it’s been a while. I’m pretty sure that posting will be on and off over the next couple of months, but I shall make an effort due to in-house demand at the W7 headquarters. So, let me pick out some of the nicer meals since the time of the last report in the middle of March:
Sirloin steak, fried in rosemary olive oil, served with chipped potatoes, caramelized onions, garlic and herb butter and lambs lettuce. A little Crème Brulee to round off the evening. Ah, so simple, so delicious.
Filet of Venison, served with potato mash and a ragout of leaks. Red meat again, I know, but I can’t resist a venison filet when I can get it. It’s so lean, tasty, tender – just perfect.
Salt and pepper squid with Sauce Sirene and a poached egg. Seared fillet of Sea Bream, served with a roasted fennel paste, fettuccine and clams. Iles Flottantes. This dish ranks very high on my list right now (except that these particular clams weren’t very nice). However, nothing beats this:
A lunch-time Steak Tartare with griddled sourdough bread and a bowl of fresh salad. A meal fit for anyone’s any carnivore’s special day for sure.
My most favourite day of the week must by Friday, when le weekend is just round the corner and a first round of decent cooking is normally on the agenda. Except today, though. I admit, Maundy Thursday is even better. It’s the best!
Enjoy le long Easter Weekend, everyone!
It’s still chilly, but the sun is shining for a change. What a difference it makes!
Scientific results published in the Lancet medical journey suggest that after receiving extensive training in government-sanctioned violence and murder, and after being deployed to do so, after getting accustomed to problem-solving with violence and after getting used to an exceptionally high emotional threshold for shock and horror, retired armed forces are more likely than the rest of the population to commit violent offences.
You don’t say.
I’d think it naive to expect any different, and almost have sympathy with those committing violent offences as a result of alcoholism. At least they might be trying to forget.
Yeah. You can tell how the first day in the office is going to work out:
Interview with human resources, sign for access cards and company car. Sign dress code policy, code of conduct, travel expenses policy and the sexual harassment policy.
Move into the new office but have nothing to do, as the laptop and network password won’t be ready before noon.
Peter from next door introduces himself, then Michael and everybody else from the same floor. People refer to the warm welcome email, which you cannot yet receive. It’s quite a blur, you’ll get a headache and can’t remember most names in the end. Maria from facilities finally brings the work uniform, but the shoes are the wrong size. Apparently, there’ll be a second uniform later in the day.
More papers to sign, more faces to greet, and still no password.
Ha ha. I wonder what Francis’ first day really is like. Probably not quite the same as a normal person’s first day.
This week, I’ve been mostly eating a small slice of bread in the first half of the week, on account of an upset stomach, a general sense of weakness and a mild fever. Norovirus or not, I’m OK again. So, only a few meals from the second half of this week, but all the heart-warming welcome-home sort:
A pretty complicated and elaborate roasted chicken soup (depicted here, from an earlier occasion).
Pancakes, filled with spicy mince meat, and enjoyed with plenty of green salad.
A dish of quick paella.
The BBC News page has standard categories: Business, Politics, Health, Education – none suitable to report on the papal election, its progress and outcome. There are also categories for Technology, Science and Environment, Sport, equally unsuitable. Will they report under Entertainment and Arts or Magazine, I wonder?
Maybe it’ll be under Also in the News.
I remember it very well. Back many years ago, even before we moved to the UK, we spent our summer holidays in Ireland. Apart from this being an exceptionally cold and rainy Irish summer, I remember this one incident in particular: Great, we thought, we’d fix ourselves a delicious yet inexpensive meal! We had discovered Black Pudding in the local butchers. Brilliant, we thought at first, that’ll be a spicy, possibly wind-dried sausage made from pigs’ blood and fat – yummy!
We grew up to hearty fare like that, but I recall our astonishment when we sampled it. We truly and honestly thought it utterly inedible. We truly and honestly thought we might have purchased a produce designed to feed dogs. We truly and honestly thought this might not be fit for human consumption.
Nowadays, black pudding is on the food fashion rise again in the great upsurge of Modern British Cuisine (for want of a better label), and I enjoy myself with the occasional slice of baked British Black Pudding. Served alongside a seared breast of duck, together with a poached pear, makes for a delicious meal, or simply fry it up with an egg and a slice of bread.
It’s different from the produce I grew up with, and that’s good. It’s a different country after all. Most importantly, it’s a lot different from what we bought back in ‘em days in Ireland.