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Diary, June 2002

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Sunday, June 2, 2002

Going swimming

This afternoon, Annabel stayed with one of her friends from church. Around four o'clock we went to catch her, but of course, she did not have much interest in going home with us. We had some tea with the parents, and then Andy was very much attracted by the little swimming pool, just standing besides us. He had a great time going into the pool, and after some twenty minutes wanted to go out as well.

Monday, June 3, 2002

The head, not the tail

Yesterday evening, I attended the sunday evening prayer meeting at my church. We were with twelve people. During these prayer meetings, we just do what we feel the Lord leads us to do. We usually start with worship. At some point during the meeting it was decided that the "old" should pray for the "young". After some discussion about what is "old" and "young", the age limit was set at 50. When it was my turn, someone quoted a part of Deut. 28:13 where it says: The Lord shall make you the head and not the tail, and you only shall be above, and you shall not be underneath. Now, that is definitely one of the wierdest verses that I have been given. But no word from the Lord should be taken lightly!! Of course, as with almost all promises found in the Bible, there is also a condition attached to it.

Thursday, June 6, 2002

Window frame

If I look up from my computer screen, I can see the street outside the building. Through one of the windows (the blinds of the other are usually closed), I can see two bus stops (through the trees). I notice that I often look up for a few second when there are people walking and biking on the roads that can be seen, or when the busses pass by, which happens every fifteen minutes or so.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil

When doing a google search on "premature optimalisation" and "root of all evil", I found just one single page, which contained part of an interesting discussion about how to deal with unexperienced software engineers. The above statement is a famous statement by D.E. Knuth.

Flee market

Coming Saturday, there will be flee market at the school Annabel is attending. This evening were were busy collecting some items we could donate. I went to my bookshelves, and found some (mainly Christian) books that I didn't think I would ever read again. But while doing this I also came across many PhD thesis and technical reports, which I had collected over the years. Looking at all these reports made me dazzle. So much research has be done, and it seems to have had so less effect on how we develop software. I am more and more coming to the conclusion that Computer Science is one of the hardest applied sciences.

Sunday, June 9, 2002

Winnie the Pooh

This morning, when we drove home from church, Li-Xia had opened the window near Andy a little, and he was visibly enjoying the wind blowing through his hair.

This afternoon, when we went to catch Annabel (who was playing with some friend again, like last Sunday), Li-Xia put Andy in the car, and while I put my bag in the back of the car, I saw him playing with a Winnie the Pooh doll Annabel once got with a Happy Meal, and presuming that his window was closed, I thought that there would be no danger of him trowing Winnie the Pooh out of the window. However, when we were about half way, Li-Xia remarked how quietly Andy was looking out of the window. When I watched him, I sudddenly noticed that his window was open, and I started to ask him where Winnie the Pooh was. Of course, he did not give an anwer. When we stopped at the first opportunity and searched the car, we did not find a Winnie the Pooh. I also started to doubt that it was the Winnie the Pooh he had been playing with. When we asked him, he did say something that seemed to indicate that he indeed dropped it out of the window, but with his limited speaking abilities you never can take things for granted with him.

When we drove home, I watched the opposite side of the road, but did not see anything yellow that resembled the form of a little Winnie the Pooh doll. Also when we searched at home, we could not find it. We did find the Tiger disguish that came with it.

Smallest website

Monday, June 10, 2002

Winnie the Pooh (Cont'd)

Today, I discovered that the kind of Winnie the Pooh doll Andy threw out of the window yesterday are for sale at Cornelia Bears. The whole set of four animals with the original boxes, cost € 35. Because I find that too much money, I asked them what a single Winnie the Pooh doll would cost.


Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Piercings and tattoos

In the Washington Post an article appeared with the title Despite Their Increasing Popularity, Tattoos and Piercings Are Linked to Bad Behavior. Not many people know that the Old Testament strongly speaks against body modifications such as piercings.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

A Pattern Language

My boss brought his copy of A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander which he got from the author on the OOPSLA'96 conference. It does not have the authors autograph. I did look through it. Some ideas are really interesting. The Intimacy Gradient pattern (number 127 in the book) made me remember a story that I worked on a very long time ago, in which a people appeared with a very strong developed concept of privacy. And as so often with ideas you get, it turns out that it already occurs in some culture in the world.

On the other hand, I also have to say that it contains a lot of ideology and is describing some kind op utopia for the world. It is far less about architecture than one would think on first sight. It is one of the few books widely known outside architecture. Especially, in recent Computer Science books, it is often quoted and refered to. One of the first books doing so was "Design Patterns" by Gamma e.t., which is often refered to as the "Gang of Four" [GoF] book.

Friday, June 14, 2002


This morning, I asked Andy what day of the week it was. He did not answer anything, but when I asked him whether it was Monday, he gave a difinite no. So, I continued with the other days, and when I came to Friday, he said "Vrijdag" (the Dutch word for Friday). So, he knows the days of the week now. They do practive it every day at the day center that he attends.


Today, there was some news about some Jupiter like exoplanet being found. In the media these kind of discoveries are always linked with the possibility of extra-terrestical life in our galaxy. However, it is clear that either highly developed extra-terrestical life is rather scarces or inter-planetary travel is very difficult. Otherwise, we would already have met with some extra-terrestical life form. Personally, I believe that inter-planetary travel is not really feasable, as the distances are simply too large to be bridged by any complex life form that has sufficient intelligence to even consider building a space craft.


Sunday, June 16, 2002


Annabel saw a neighbour girl break off one of the flowers that we seeded earlier this year in the front garden. She was very sad about it, and we went to complain. The girl denied she had broken it off saying that it fell of by itself. But her father did warn her, that he didn't want her to see breaking off flowers. What made Annabel particulary sad was that it was the only orange flower. She wanted me to take a picture of it. When I did not immediately do this, she started to scream, saying that I did not want to listen about it. Finally, I did take a picture with our web cam and spend some time, turning it into a nice little image with a transparent background.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Pattern 105: South facing outdoors

Just the title of this pattern suggest that the author has a strong Northern centered view of the world. On the South hemisphere, the sunny side is on the North. The title should have been: Sun facing outdoors.

The back garden of our house is on the shadow side and we like it very much, because it gives a shadow area close to the house. One time, when we were looking for houses, I considered one of the big disadvantages of the house the fact that the back garden was on the South. I do not feel very comfortable sitting in the sun. I rather sit in the shade on a warm sunny day, the only kinds of days I consider sitting outdoors. Sitting in the sun for long periods is a known risc factor for skin cancer. Furthermore it is known that too much sun ages the skin. There is not much you can do while sitting in the sun, then sunbathing. Did you ever try to read a book while sitting in the sun without dark sun glasses? It is impossible. Even having a converstation with some others is hard. I think most people like to sit in the shade, under a tree, for example, where they can see enjoy looking at the sunny areas.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Utrecht: De Slegte

I happend to follow a course organized by the company I work for, which was held in Utrecht. At the end of the day, I had some time left, and took the opportunity to go into the city and pay a short visit to the bookshop "De Slegte" I did not have much time to look around, but could not stop walking through this facinating bookshop. The last time I visited it, was on Thursday, October 12, 2000. I did not have much time to look around, but I did noticed that they still had the book about the Dutch "Monet", of which I saw the last copy being sold in Enschede earlier this year. I did take some pictures.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Pattern 144: Bathing room

This pattern very much suggests that bathing should be a regular (almost daily) social activity where several people stay for some time together in a bath. Personally, I do not feel any need for this. Especially, when you have young children, there is not much room for such activities. (He does not discus the design implications with respect to little children.) Also, I do not think there is a pressing need for taking a bath or shower on a daily basis. It is only in wealthy countries that people have this priveledge.

He suggests that the bath itself should be large enough for two or three people to be used at the same time. But that would require quite a large bath. Large bath use a lot of water that needs to be heated to a comfortable temperature, which uses a lot of resources in a cold climate.

I also do not understand that he does not suggest the possibility of having a separate toilet accessible from the public part of the house, which can be used by both visitors and members of the family, thus keeping the bathing room part of the private realm of the family. To me this seems to be a violation of the Intimacy gradient (127) pattern. I do not feel that a simple curtain is enough to provide intimacy. Also, I do not know many people who feel comfortable using a toilet when there are others around (using the bath). With respect to the positioning of the toilet there might also be a conflict with the Compost (178) pattern.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Waterlilies by Monet

Today, I heard that a painting from Claude Monet (Wilderstein number 1685) was sold for € 21.4 milion (13481650 GBP to be precise) I immediately decided to use a image of this painting as the background of the computer I use in my office.

(previous and follow-up)


This evening, I also finished reading the literary thriller Verlies written by the couple Nicci French and translated to Dutch by Molly van Gelder and Eelco Vijzelaar. I got this book for free when I bought the book .Net Framework Gids on June 15.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Pattern 74: Animals

At the end of this pattern, he mentions two difficulties that need to be overcome. The solution that he suggest does not cover all aspects of these difficulties, nor is any evaluation given of the cost compared to the suggested benefits. It would be rather expensive (bridges and tunnels for cars, bikes and people) to construct an aphalt-free system of movement for just animals. I am not a pet lover, and have never felt the need to have a pet.

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