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Diary, August 2003


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Saturday, August 2, 2003

Xenos

As is our custom we went to the city. We parked our car at a free parking place outside the inner city and took the free shuttle to the city center. I went into Xenos with Andy, when Li-Xia wanted to look for show shoes for Annabel. Xenos is really a strange type of show. They already exist for more than twenty years, and they kinds of things they sell have remained the same, so the must be something attractive about it. What makes the shop so strange, is the strange combination of things they sell. They have quite a large section of cheap cups, bowls, glasses and such. Then the have a section of kitchen utensils. But they also sell all kinds of (mostly wooden) furniture and lamps. We found two types of eolian harps. One with aluminium pipes, and one, much bigger, with bamboe pipes. Both costed a little less than four Euro. But then they also sell all kinds of exotic foods. I usually only go in to buy some nice vanile sented tea. Today, my eyes were attracted to some of the foods. We ended up buying pasta ("Pasta di semola di Grano Duro") from Felicetti, some tomato sauce ("i Sughi Rustici Napoletana") from Cirio, and two packages of Mexican Wraps. Then I also bought a bunch of herb teas from Kniepp and from San Franciso Herb & Natural Food Co. "Cola Tea".

This evening, we fried some green beans and leek, and mixed it with the pasta and the tomato sauce we bought this afternoon. Annabel liked it very much, so, I think we will make it more often. Li-Xia felt we should have added some more green beans.

(Pictures)

Size of our country

When we came home, Annabel found a beach ball (a large inflatable ball) in our garden. She immediately ran over to the neighbours to ask them if it was theirs, but it was not. The other neighbours were not home. The ball was printed like a globe. When I asked Annabel if she knew where the Netherlands could be found on the globe, she could not find it. When I pointed at it, her immediate reply was: "So small". She was visibly disappointed that our country was just a little spot on the globe. I wonder if she also realized the size of our Earth.

Playing Go

Between seven and eight this evening, I played Go with Annabel. We have decided to play regularly again, since she played last Saturday. I won the first game that we played. She did not like this, so I decided to give her three stones advance, and to play less agressively. During this games, I often show her what are good moves and give her the possibility to win. Still she was complaining that she could not win from me, while she won all of the remaining games. What she means is that I do not allow her to kill large group of stones. When I mentioned that there was a Go club here in Enschede she reacted enthousiasticly. I know that there is one at the University (I suppose it is still there), and they run beginner courses. Still I am not sure if she could follow that. Yes, maybe the first evening, she could still beat some of the new players, but after some weeks that would be rather hard.

(follow-up)


Sunday, August 3, 2003

Cooling the house

I set my alarm at six o'clock. Luckily, I did not sleep through it. I went downstairs to open the back door and some windows. It was still 26 degrees Celsius inside. Outside it was about 17 degrees. For the coming weeks, a heat wave has been forcasted with temperatures above 30 degress. When it is over 27 degrees in home, I find it difficult to do anything useful in the house. It looks like my brain is not working well enough to concentrate on slightly complicated matters.

Painting by Monet

A few days ago, I had read that the Rijksmuseum Twenthe had a painting by Monet. This afternoon, around half past three, Annabel and I went to the museum. I had to pay € 4, while for Annabel the enterance was free. We immediately walked into the modern section of the museum, but we failed to discover the painting. We did look at the 100 years 100 chairs exebition. At the enterance we asked about the painting, and the man said that it was in room 18. We went over there to check the room again, but could not discover the painting. Finally, we had to conclude that the painting was temporarely not on display. He could give me some information about the painting. He also gave us a leaflet with a picture of the painting on it. At home I looked it up in the Catalogue Raisonné. The painting has number 788, and the catalog reported that it was currently in the possesion of the museum.

(follow-up)


Monday, August 4, 2003

LAGA

Today, Li-Xia, Annabel, Andy, and I take the train to Gronau to visit the LAGA garden festival. We took a lot of pictures. I also got a map for free.

Go

This evening, I thought about giving Annabel a puzzle to solve with respect to Go. I asked her to make a group with the largest possible area with just twelve stones. She came up with a rather stunning solution, which was not exactly correct. What I had in mind was a rectangle of five by six stones, creating an area of 30 places. She however, made a diagonal of nine stones, which she protected with three stones. The solution was not completely correct, because she had not thought about the connection on the edges, but by moving the two stones at the edges one in, a group was formed with the area of 31 places.

(follow-up)


Tuesday, August 5, 2003

The moon

This evening, I saw the moon from the Kitchen window. I immediately, got some camera lenses from upstairs. I also got a pillow, and connected the lens to our webcam, just like I did some weeks ago in an attempt to photograph some ants. I spend about half an hour focussing and trying to find the moon, and at the time, we finally saw the first craters on the moon, it was moving through some leaves of a tree outside. Because of the extremely short focus depth the leaves were not really visibile on the pictures, but appeared as darkned areas.

(follow-up)


Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Gay bishop

Some time ago the Roman Catholic church announced that it is against gay marriage. Almost at the same time president Bush said that he was against it as well. Yesterday, the Episcopal Church elected its first openly gay bishop: Will V. Gene Robinson. This man claims to be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. What surprises me most is that people seem to have more problems with him being gay, than the fact that he has been divorced from his wife and two kids. Based on the first letter to Timothy, Chapter 3, one could conclude that an overseer (bishop) cannot be divorced.


Thursday, August 7, 2003

Heat wave

In the afternoon, we went swimming. Around, half past six in the evening, the temperature sensor outside was showing 33.7 degrees Celsius. Inside it was 28.4 degrees. This is the third day with temperatures above 30 degrees, which is the qualification for a heat wave here in the Netherlands. There is a great chance that this summer wil be hotter than the summer of 1947, which so far was the hottest summer ever measured here with respect to the day and night average temperature.


Monday, August 11, 2003

First schoolday

I just heard that Andy did fine on his first day to school. Everything went okay. He did not cause any problems with eating and drinking. I have to confess that I did feel a little nervous about it. This is good news.

Back from holiday

I got up at six this morning, to open the backdoor and the windows, to let allow the house to cool a little. It was 20.2 degrees Celsius when I left from home around half past seven. I was the first one to arrive at the office and started with downloading the source files and performing a fresh build (which is still running while I am writing this). Today is also the first schoolday for Andy. I wonder how it will go and how tired he will be at the end of the day.


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Annabel beating me with Go

In the past weeks, Annabel has made some progress with respect to playing go. We now play without any gift, except that she may start with black. She usually wins now. But I have to say that often I let her win, by pointing at mistakes she is going to make and making suggestions. In rare cases, I just do some useless moves to allow her to secure a hole or a weak group. She is developping some sense for strategy, but as soon as I am getting a reasonable strong group, she start attacking it, hoping that it will break down. She has a hard time seeing that some attacks are useless, and that she should focus on more important moves. At the moment, I do not see a way out of this.

(follow-up)

SetFocus

CWnd::SetFocus is one of those MFC methods that can have unexpected side effects, including obscure run-time errors. A call to this method will produce a "set focus" event, usually followed by a "kill focus" event to the control/window that currently holds the focus. Some controls/windows respond to this by saving changes, which can lead to a myriad of windows being refreshed, possibly including the one that issued the SetFocus event, or worse that destroys the window on which the SetFocus method was called. Basically, this means one cannot make any assumptions with pointers being valid. The real problem is that often there is no way to discover if a pointer points to an object that has just been deleted, except if memory is only allocated once and marked deleted (by filling with 0xdd), which is okay during debugging, but not during normal execution.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Taking pictures of the full moon

I woke up in the middle of the night, because of the heat. Yesterday, was the seventh (and hopefully last) day with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, which is an all time record. When I looked outside, I saw the full moon and just a little to the left Mars, which is very close to earth (and soon will be closests in 60.000 years). I decided to go down an take some pictures like I did before. I managed to take four pictures from the moon with my 500 mm lens, and put them together in a single 829x825 image (237 Kb JPEG). I did miss a little part in the right top corner. (smaller version of the picture.)


Thursday, August 14, 2003

Drop of the temperature

The temperatures have dropped, but the drought continues. The weather forecast is not even reporting a chance for substantial amouths of rain for the coming ten days. This means that some areas in the West of the Netherlands will have to start using brackish water to keep the ground water level up to an acceptable level. Otherwise there is a chance that former peat areas will permanently drop or that foundations of buildings will start to rot. Both of these will lead to substantial damage. The brackish water will cause damage to plant and animal life.


Friday, August 15, 2003

Igo Win

This morning, I woke-up at 5:35 with terrible cramp in my right leg. I got out of bed because it would not make sense trying to fall asleep again. The outside temperature had dropped below 14 degrees, but downstairs it was still 26 degrees Celsius. When I left, just before eight, it was 15.3 degrees. Last night, I played Igo Win for a long time. According to this program, I am around 11 kyu. The program does not allow you take back stupid moves. I noticed that at the end I started to make many stupid moves. Rather frustrating, I would say.

I also came to the realization that one of the major success factors with respect to eXtreme Programming (XP) is customer acceptation. To me it seems that software engineers have less trouble adapting to it than customers. I get the impression that if your customer does not really trust you with respect to XP, he will seek ways to build in guarantees with respect to what functionality will be included in each release. And before you know it, you are writing specification and performing tests, and the whole set of best-practices that make XP work, will start to crumble down and collapse. Each best-pratices that is dropped will cripple the effectiveness of the others. And before you know you are just performing the old waterfall development methode again.

Flemish

Dutch is a language that is spoken in both the Netherlands and the Northern half of Belgium. In the Netherlands, the Dutch spoken in Belgium is often called Flemish. Although it is considered as one language, there are many small differences, especially with respect to the words used. The Flemish often avoid the use of foreign words, especially, French words, because French is the other language spoken in Belgium. For some examples, look at this unofficial dictionary.


Saturday, August 16, 2003

This afternoon, we moved our computer andy from downstairs to the bedroom of Annabel. We also moved the printer. I verified that the network cable that I use to connect them, when needed, can still be used.


Monday, August 18, 2003

Weather

When I left home, it was 17.9 degrees Celsius outside. Yesterday evening we had a little rain, just enough to make the pavement look wet, but not enough to compensate for the dryness of the past weeks. This was the first rain we had in weeks. Spain and Southern France have been hit by terrible raining, including hailstones destroying cars, small tornados, and flooding. The Rhein (the major river providing us with water) is at a historical low level. Some trees have been reported to start dropping their leaves.

Yesterday, I saw a boy in church with a black t-shirt with white letters saying:

Life is Short
Death is Sure
Sin is the Curse
Jesus is the Cure


Wednesday, August 20, 2003

U.S. not in control of Iraq

Yesterdays bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Bagdad killed Sergio Vieira de Mello and at least sixteen others. This definitely is one of the most brutal attacks in Iraq since the start of the war. One wonders who is behind it, and who thinks to benefit from creating chaos in Iraq. Maybe some groups in Iraq are seeing the U.N. as an extention of the U.S., nevertheless the fact that de Mello was on the side of the Iraqi people and trying hard to give them more power.

On Dutch television there was an interview of a Dutch student who returned to Iraq after having finished her studies to help to rebuild the country. She clearly stated that the United States are not in control of the country and that the effects of the curfew are small. She noted an increase in criminal activities also happening during curfew. She also noted that many people are hidding pictures of Saddam just in case he would return. There is much fear among the common Iraqies, that in the end the United States will withdraw and Saddam returns. Several Dutch experts reported that there is a downward spiral of violence.

Weather

This morning when I left from home it was 14.5 degrees. Temperatures have clearly dropped, but the first real rain is only expected during or after the weekend. Luckily the level of the Rhein has been going up due to some substantial rain in the Southern part of Germany.

Zaai

Zaai (Dutch for Boring) is a television series about two friends, Irma and Ingrid, who meet everyday on a fence along the route of postman Siemen. Siemen always has to work, but usually he does have some time to give some comments and to come up with something against the boredome of the two friends. (fan site.)


Thursday, August 21, 2003

SCO's Las Vegas Slide Show

Analysis of SCO's Las Vegas Slide Show by Bruce Perens. It more and more becomes obvious that the claims that SCO makes, will not stand in court. It almost looks like the lawyers of SCO do not understand copyright laws at all. But this does not seem to be known to the general public. I wonder how long it will take before their case will be ruled by a court decision.


Friday, August 22, 2003

Dark clouds

When I left the office this night (due to some private appointment in the morning, I decided to stay longer), I noticed some rather dark clouds drifting overhead. I was really looking at them, because it has been such a long time ago seeing dark clouds drifting over, and I was wondering whether I should expect some rain or not. Then when I came to the main road, I noticed a car with a blue blinking light. When it came closer, I saw it was from the fire brigade. It stopped and someone held some instrument outside. Suddenly, I realized that those dark clouds were smoke from a nearby fire. I decided to continue and a little further I met some people standing in the street who told me that there was a big fire at "Vredestein", a local tire producer. While I biked on, I also noticed an orange glow at the horizon flickering in a irregular pattern typical for a large fire producing a lot of smoke.

When I came closer to the harbour (an industrial area that is connected to the "Twente" canal), the sirenes sounded, probably to warn the people to close their windows. When I arrived at the harbour, I could see the flames in the distance. A little further there was a police bus with some civilians in it, stopping people going into the harbour area (not a road that would lead to the factory itself). These might have been employees from the factory itself that were being instructed by the police to stop the people. It was very busy at the junction with people who were attracted by the fire. They told the people to go home, so I just decided to continue.


Saturday, August 23, 2003

Dead group

This evening, Annabel and I were playing a game of Go, when suddenly she pointed to a group of stones of me, and stated the rethorical question: "That group of stones is dead, isn't it?". To my dismay, I had to admit that it indeed looked rather dead. When I made an attempt to see if I could make it alive, she killed it after a long fight.

She is really starting to develop some sense for groups being dead or alive, but what it more important is that it is useless to attack a group that looks rather dead. I think I am still stronger than her with respect to strategy, the problem however is that she is stronger tactically which allows her to do me substantial damage, enough to win many of the games that we play. I wonder what our playing levels are at the moment. Coming Wednesday, we plan to go to the Drienerlose Go Club.


Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Mars close to Earth

Tomorrow, Mars will be close to Earth. Closer than usual. But it is still 55758006 km (measured from the gravity centers of both planets). With the current media hype, I am afraid that some people might get the impression that Mars is almost going to hit Earth. A really interesting question is when Mars will be closest to a given position on Earth, and what the distance is from surface to surface. Even if you ignore that Mars is not exactly spherical, it is rather complicated, I would say. To find the place that will be the closests to Mars, is not that difficult, because it is simply the location where Mars is straight up in the sky when Mars is at it closest position. One can also easily calculate the distance from surface-to-surface at that location will be 55739108 km. For all other locations, one has to know detailed information about the trajectory of Mars and Earth.

Real looking Go game

This evening, Annabel and I played a real looking Go game. I am not going to tell who played which colour. (You might be able to figure it out from the board position.) It is obvious that white won the game, although black succeeded in killing a group in the top-left corner of the board at the start of the game.

(Actually, I wonder whether the game is really over because it is not clear
whether the white group at the top center may live, if black is to play next.)


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Humming-bird Hawk-moth

The Humming-bird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is a butter-fly that drinks nectar from flowers like a humming-bird. It has been reported frequently here in the Netherlands during the last month. I haven't seen one myself yet.

Drienerlose Go club

This evening, Annabel and I went to the University of Twente to join the playing evening of the Go club. We stayed for about an hour, because Annabel has to go to school again. We did play some games against others, but didn't win a single game.


Thursday, August 28, 2003

Summer is over

This morning it was 14.9 degrees Celsius when I went outside. We still haven't had any substantia rain so far. Earlier this week there was some flooding in a small village, which now seems to be caused by the dryness. A dike along a canal over the length of about 50 meters was pushed a side. The conclusion now is that the dike simply became too light due to dryness to stand the force of the water in the canal. The dike contains a lot of turf. There is some fear that more dikes could brake when we would get some substantial rain the coming week.


Friday, August 29, 2003

Rain!!

This morning, I had to bike through the rain to my office. I don't like to bike through the rain, but I should not complain, because it is only the first time in many weeks. I always carry a Vision Poncho from AGU with me. I prefer poncho's above rain suits because they are easier to put on and take off.

(follow-up)


This months interesting links


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