Marnie and Murray’s West Coast reception…

I had one of those rare events today when I actually interacted with people up close. My Niece Marnie and her new husband, Murray (well, reasonably new: they got married in February) had a reception out here on the West coast for those of us who couldn’t make the wedding out east.

 I’ve set up an album with a few pictures I took, but here’s one of the happy couple…apologies for the grain: the lighting wasn’t great when I took this

Continue reading Marnie and Murray’s West Coast reception…

Irritating people

Earlier today I was deep in thought trying to get a computer system to cooperate here at the home of the Fur Olympics. The doorbell rang, which always irritates me when I have a computer in pieces and its not behaving properly.

In that frame of mind, I opened the door. A white haired gentleman was there, and he immediately began to berate me. Apparently, he and his wife had been walking by our house, and the lawn clippings on our sidewalk offended his sensibilities. He also informed me that he “knew the man who owned this house before…”, as if this would somehow cause me to quiver in my boots.

Continue reading Irritating people

Its Spring!

I live in a part of Canada that defies most of the conventions regarding what it is to be Canadian. For example, I was mowing the lawn in November and again in February.

That said, there is still a distinct “difference” for me when it starts to feel like spring. Today was the day for me, even though technically its been warm and reasonably spring-like for weeks. I took a few photos outside the house to capture the moment: here is my favorite: Continue reading Its Spring!

Hackers are like painters…

I’m a hacker…not a security hacker, not a script kiddy, but an old school, widget-writing code developer. I write code, I don’t theorize about it.

But I’ve always felt guilty. My brief stint in University (I dropped out of Honours Comp. Sci after about six months) made me feel like real computing science was all about mathematics and set theory. Then I found this article by Paul Graham, which really hit a chord with me.

Basically, Paul’s suggestion is that Computing Science is, for many people, not a science. Instead, it is more akin to an art form. Coders like myself don’t write out some mathematical theory for a program, then transcribe it. Instead, we work with materials and theories to create. Some of what we do is sketching, some of it transcends mere sketching and becomes “beautiful”. But it is a far cry from a formal science for many (most?) programmers.

Just like a good artist or architect, good hackers don’t program randomly: we start with a theme or a context (the requirements for an application, a problem that needs to be solved), and create something “organically” that fulfills or perhaps transcends our original intent.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life feeling guilty, or sometimes angry, regarding the way I code versus the way I had been taught I was *supposed* to code. Paul’s article helped me see this in a different light. In fact, its encouraged me to dig a bit more into theory: not because I feel I have to, but because it might help me be a better coder.
Continue reading Hackers are like painters…

Okay, so I was fooled

You may recall my story about the amazing stock trader, Andrew Carlssin, who claimed to be from the future.

Well, I was fooled. I didn’t read the fine print regarding where that story came from. It originated on Weekly World News, and was reprinted all over the net. Apparently, the SEC and FBI were flooded by calls from news agencies to verify the story, so at least I wasn’t the only one who got sucked in. Continue reading Okay, so I was fooled

New car…

I’ve had the same car (a 1994 Intrepid) for nearly ten years. It served me well, but with over two hundred thousand kilometres on the odometer it was starting to show its age. A little breakdown earlier this month started me thinking, and then Irene began to talk about going car shopping.

Meet my new car…

Continue reading New car…