August 2nd, 2011

Port Meadow

I am pleased to say that Lake Port Meadow is at last empty, obviously the leak from the Thames or whatever has been plugged. It will be interesting to see what happens over the winter. There was a fine sunset, but Port Meadow sunsets do not really photograph on phone cameras. One thing I don't understand... I have always assumed that the reason the car park ticket machines make one type in the registration number is to make sure that one doesn't hand the ticket on to someone else. Since the Port Meadow car park down Walton Well Road is free but requires you get a free ticket to make sure you don't stay there more than four hours, I don't see why they now have a machine that make you type in your registration number.

Meanwhile, the other side of town

The lake on Starboard Meadow, by the entrance to Oxford Zoo, is larger than ever. I am pleased to say that the gondolas are back in business for the first time since the unfortunate incident where H WINOLJ took a large sound system on a gondola and played the Ride of the Valkyries at full volume, upsetting the lake's world famous capybara colony during the breeding season.

Weasel Technology Notes

1. My phone now thinks it is in South Oxfordshire. I imagine whatever algorithm it uses to update itself decided to do that when I was at work, but decided it was in 'district' rather than 'town' or 'nearby but not actually contiguous parish' mode.
(Later) Hah - I have just sync'ed 'weather' and it changed to 'St. Helen Without' and then quickly to 'Abingdon'. I deduce that when it says St. Helen Without it is based on the location of the cell tower and when it says Abingdon it is based on the location of our (or someone's) wifi. Certainly 'maps' sometimes shows a big circle, so I deduce the cell tower is in 'St. Helen Without'. We certainly didn't have this wifi router when the Men In Black came round so I don't know how it knows the more exact location. There seem to be 3rd party apps which might tell me something useful, but they require the phone to have been rooted.

2. The old 'Windows API dates and times aren't handled properly in Bulgarian' bug has shown up again at work. I will obviously have to find some suitably low-level location in our code to fix it. In general there has been a mild outbreak of 'things which essentially have worked for many users for years suddenly not working for someone somewhere in the world' syndrome. This is in accord with Weasel's Law that no piece of functionality, however simple, will work on all Windows PCs. I first came across this with a VB3 program that was about 5 lines of code, some scary number of years ago, which didn't work for someone in Belgium.

3. I find the 'pull down to refresh' gesture thing in Twitter on the phone incredibly annoying. What is wrong with 'refresh' buttons? I know, I am an old fart.

4. There are some videos on YouTube of the Japanese operating system which would have succeeded but for [tin-foil hat theory], B-Tron. It looks very Windows 3, but then I guess it was from about that time. We will, of course, never know the real story. Lots of embedded devices have the embedded version of Tron, allegedly. (Do not read the YouTube comments, if that doesn't go without saying).