Archive for December, 2006

The Quiz

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

The end of year quiz is once again with us, courtesy of King William's College on the Isle of Man.

Off you go.

Xmas 2006 stats

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

# of remote family members spoken to: 11
# of video games received: 2.5
# of books received: 3
# of hours spent opening Mini-Elbeno's gifts: 4
# of minor injuries caused by toy defence systems packaging: 1
# of marzipan fruits received (eaten): 15 (0)
# of pictures (movies) taken: 71 (4)
# of partygoers turned away because they were at the wrong house: 2

Merry Xmas

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Egg Ornament

After trying many ornament shots, this is the best. Not bad for a compact under such low lighting conditions. Of course I really need an SLR, proper tripod and remote shutter…

Highlights from the Xmas Playlist

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

I make no apologies for taste. But at least it doesn't include Slade.

  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Diana Krall
  • O Tannenbaum – Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bjorn Again
  • (It Must Have Been 'Ol) Santa Claus – Harry Connick Jr.

And of course: Chiron Beta Prime

What are your top tunes this Yule?

2006: the good stuff

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Good stuff that is specific to me:


  • Of course, the best thing is mini-Elbeno. We started the year getting ready for his arrival, and since he's been here our lives have been changed forever in a wonderful way. And we have also been keeping in closer contact with the rest of the family since he came along, which is good.
  • In Spring, my promotion was made official. I'm working with great people, doing more talking and writing about code and spending more time coding the really interesting stuff. Of course, the flip side of being a lead engineer is that the buck stops here.

Good stuff that anyone can enjoy:

  • Nintendo. The Wii is fantastic (Wii Sports, really just a bunch of originally-proof-of-concept mini-games, is winning awards left and right) and it's changing the way people play. The DS is also awesome and this year Nintendo reminded us that video games are about having fun!
  • The Long Tail. The power of blogging (see Time's Person of the Year) and convergence culture. The long tail is affecting my industry with the design impact of small boundary-pushing games like Flow, Narbacular Drop and Brain Age.
  • Free Software. I feel like it's really starting to make a difference to people other than server administrators. Firefox continues to grow market share and looks to be still outpacing IE7. Ubuntu is the first flavour of Linux that really does “just work” for me. And apps like Democracy are coming good in the right place at the right time.

I'm sure there is more good stuff I'm not thinking of right now…

Happy solstice

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

It will occur at 4.22pm PST this afternoon. Waes hael!

The tree's up

Monday, December 18th, 2006

This year I did the whole job while Mrs. Elbeno tended to mini-Elbeno. It's looking good this year, in the dining room rather than the living room where little hands run amok. We have finally retired some of the original cheapo filler ornaments we bought when we first got the tree. This year we toyed with the idea of buying a new artificial, ready-lit tree, but they are quite expensive and they are mostly white lights only – I like coloured lights. And it's not that hard to string lights, just time-consuming. This year we have 700 lights on the tree which gives me some left over to decorate my cube at work.

Two ornaments have made their debut this year: the obligatory “Baby's First Christmas” (thanks Grandad & GJ) and the pickle!

Ben and Em show up!

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

And my Mii Parade has 5 miis in it now! My new bowling high score is 279. I missed the strike on frame 10!

Google patent search

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I see Google has a new patent search feature. This is one of the more useless Google features to those of us in the software industry. The first rule of software patents is “never read software patents”. The broad nature of many software patents makes it almost certain that my code infringes multiple patents out there (patents that one could argue should never have been granted, but the USPTO isn't really in the business of preventing patents). But I am a programmer, not a lawyer. I am not able to ascertain with any degree of legal certainty whether the code I am working on infringes a given patent. However, if I read a patent and subsequently get successfully sued for infringement by the patent holder, it's automatic triple damages for my knowing about it. I can only harm myself and the company I work for by reading patents.

Geminid meteor shower? No thanks

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

It's supposed to be the best meteor shower of the year, but I live in about the worst light-polluted area of the planet, and I'm not about to drive out to the desert in the middle of the night. I've been disappointed before when I tried to watch meteor showers.