One of life’s truths

March 31, 2006

David at 37signals has hit on one of life’s truths:

The best ideas arise when you’re squeezed between the constraints of time, reality, and a desire to be happy writing beautiful code.

This is of course not just true for programmers, I imagine it would be true for all creative pursuits. How you choose to interpret and emphasize this idea will dictate how productive and beautiful your output will be.

For my part, I tend to focus way too much on ‘a desire to be happy writing beautiful code’ and this slows me down because I then lose touch with ‘the constraints of time, [and] reality’ to the detriment of my deadlines.

As always, there is room for improvement in all of us. Thanks, David, for illuminating the way for me.

pH is high … will this be a problem?

March 25, 2006

Well two and a half months have passed and the freshwater fish tank is still going strong. As this tank was purchased to help me learn how to keep fish, I’m slowly adding to my store of knowledge and gear and learning as I go.

The last problem I had was cooling. Opening the flap to allow for more evaporation certainly helped (judging by the water loss) but the temperatures remained in the high range over 300 K. Now we’re moving into Autumn I’m not so concerned so this will wait for next Summer.

The latest addition is a simple pH testing kit. Since the tank is due for a water change (or at least a top-up) I figured now is a good time to start my testing regime.

Why have I not tested before this? Good question. I guess I need to talk about the beginning of my aquarium, but that as they say is another story.

Anyway I tested my tank and the incoming (treated tap) water and both were registering easily north of 7, in fact perhaps as high as 7.4! This basic kit requires dropping two drops of Bromothymol Blue into a small vial and visually testing against a colour card.

Now I have to decide if that is a normal pH for my tank or if I should work on lowering the pH a little. For the moment I’m going to leave it, but test as well to see what the range will be (as pH tends to change with the time of day…)

Well I’ll be an Uncle

March 17, 2006

About an hour ago I got the news that my sister had delivered her first child and my first niece (on my side of the family at least.) Both are doing well.

Life is just good, really.

The doctor even gets his weekend away, which I’m told he was looking forward to very much.

Tagging continued … in iPhoto!

March 10, 2006

So Melvin Rivera from All Forces wrote a tutorial on using keywords in iPhoto. [thanks MacSlash]

This is a good thing šŸ™‚ I have been working on keywords for my iPhoto library for maybe a year now. Maybe less. It is hard work, but I am motivated by two factors :

Firstly I have done this kind of work before (tagging my music library in iTunes) and now the results are excellent there. I now use the ‘Smart Playlist‘ features heavily … over 50 of them at last count. There are playlists like “All tracks added in the 4th Quarter of 2005” or “All songs (not podcasts) with any of the words ‘beer, wine, drink, bourbon, scotch, whiskey, gin’ in the titles” This makes it easy for me to isolate the sort of music I feel like listening to at any time.