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For a deep, meaningful moment, watch this dialogue
(needs a video player) or for something which plays with your
perception, check out this picture. Try moving your eyes around - are
those circles rotating???
As the swelling goes down he's reminding me more and more of McGyver's boss. Same grumpy look too. He's awake and lucid surprisingly frequently for a newborn. Can go an easy hour of interaction too between feeds. A lot longer than Clara was as a newborn.
Went to visit the unusual passive house below today (lengthy article about it linked) which was a four hour round trip drive. An engineering triumph no doubt, floor to ceiling sliding windows almost entirely throughout and a non-cube and therefore hard to prevent air leaks layout, yet requires I think the architect said measured at just 8kWh/m2/year which is far below the upcoming EU Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) mandatory maximum of 45kWh/m2/year from 2021 onwards. The view was really amazing with all that glass and such an amazing location, but I find much worry with the surely enormous cost of the build. My budget would max out at €250k assuming the banks are kind to me, and forget about anything like a house like the below for such small change.
I also, personally speaking, found the air a bit stuffy with so many people in the house. Passive houses are nearly airtight so too many people breathing can be hard to dissipate so much CO2, plus Megan noticed how hot it becomes so quickly in a single room when the sun lands where it rapidly become unbearable. You are supposed to manually crack open two windows to create a cooling through draft and indeed they have insect preventing meshes built into the windows exactly for that, but I have to say I found that whole manual approach to emergency ventilating a room a bit underwhelming if understandable if you're trying to minimise energy consumption and get the occupants proactively involved in that.
Personally speaking I'd use the passive house energy savings to treble or quadruple the ventilation flow. Lots of ducting pumping air in from the ground and out from the ceiling as a sort of American style central air, albeit with much larger ducts and far slower fans so it's unnoticeable. Ideally it could adjust itself automatically to individual room load so if fifty people all bundle into a single room, the ducts in that room go full belt. No idea if this is possible, but that's what I'd want personally - similarly to those energy saving lightbulbs, rather than sit in poor quality light saving energy I'd use the energy saving to increase the illumination significantly for the same cost as incandescents. What I want is the same for my house, and that it auto adapts to balance the whole house without me doing anything. And for a realistic budget.
Don't get me wrong, the 2021 NZEB efficiency limit would still be met. Much the same as the difference between LED bulbs and CFL bulbs, LED are considerably more efficient than CFLs but the cost benefit is far lower because in absolute terms 40% of pennies is still pennies. Similarly, a certified passive house might be several times more efficient than a 2021 NZEB house but if you're spending less than a grand a year for your entire NZEB home then dropping that to a few hundred euro per year isn't actually that much in the bigger picture. Better instead in my mind to spend that few hundred euro on a far improved fresh air supply. It's worth it.
Thursday 10th November 2016: 1.15pm. Right now the car auction is running in Scotland for our potential new car. I'm not bidding personally, rather an agent I contracted is doing so for me. Despite that it's no loss if we don't get it at our bid price (there are plenty more Ford Foci on auction every day), I am feeling a little nervous for some odd reason.
Wednesday 9th November 2016: 8.30am. So Trump has won. Just like with Brexit, the Western ruling elite better start waking up and putting realistic numbers of bankers from the 2009 crash in handcuffs and into prison for twenty years and recovering the money they systemically stole from retail users. The top 1% also need to start thinking about paying 2-5% of their total wealth over every year and bringing in 70% income tax rates to severely narrow the inequality gap between rich and poor. Else expect the populace to carry on getting even angrier, and far worse elected.
The sad part is that Trump + the Republicans won't implement any of that of course, in fact they'll slash taxes for the rich and collapse the world trade flows which keep essentials cheap for poor families, thus greatly increasing inequality. The chances are good there will be a bond run on US Treasuries within two years or so, same as has already begun on Sterling, so interest rates will need to rise to head off inflation, thus collapsing the economy and the housing market again and giving us another 2009 economic collapse. That will set the stage for far, far worse to get into power than Trump.
All I can say is yay. Well done world ruling class. You are doing such a great job recently. You deserve everything that happens to you when the axe falls. So pull the finger out already, and start acting to save yourselves. Those guilty of the 2009 crash need to be actually punished and visibly so. Income inequality needs to be dealt with. Get on with it
Readers may remember me musing about what newer car to get about four months ago at https://plus.google.com/+nialldouglas/posts/BYnxb6buUDr where due to living in Ireland I had some very odd selection criteria: 2008 or later to get the CO2 based motor tax, diesel because that's unusually cheap in Ireland, closer to €500 than a grand a year to insure, total budget €7k, and to avoid like the plague all early model DPF diesels which have expensive teething bugs both in the DPF and in their ECUs. Well now is the time for purchase, and for a few weeks now I've been watching out for that Executive trim non-DPF CDTI Accord which was sold in Britain until June 2008, giving me a six month window.
However, now that I am hunting actively, two new factors have emerged. The first is that I had thought all cars at UK auctions come with mechanical worthiness reports, and they do up to eight years old only. That means four months ago the Accords I wanted had a mechanical test report, and now they don't, and I find very substantial risk in buying over the internet an eight year old high mileage diesel as about one quarter of them will have something substantially mechanically wrong with them.
The second new factor is the amazing depreciation of Ford cars. I can buy a top of the range Mondeo or Focus for a lot less than a 2008 Accord, which makes sense as well, just compare the three with your eyes. But I can even pick up a 2011 end of its model generation pristine Focus (by which time all the DPF and ECU bugs had been ironed out) with 70k on the clock and perfect service history for only a grand more than a 2008 Accord with 100k on the clock, and that makes me pause.
On the one hand, an Accord is a far nicer car than the Mondeo and especially the Focus. Nicer to look at, nicer to drive, nicer to be inside. And you can pay €50 or so to have a mechanical inspection done at the auction house on your behalf before you decide to bid. On the other hand, the Focus has ten years of low insurance costs versus seven for the Accord (in Ireland insurers raise premiums very significantly once the car reaches fifteen, we're looking at over a grand next year for our existing sixteen year old car), has half the insurance loading and half the annual motor tax, gets 18% more miles per gallon (that's real MPG not fake MPG), gets maximum NCAPs for crash safety which the Accord definitely does not, is less than half the cost to repair especially as Irish scrap yards are full of the very popular Foci, and finally is much easier to navigate around tiny Irish country roads.
Sometimes I go with my heart than my head, but when spending seven grand and knowing that my income is utterly unstable with zero guarantees I'll earn anything at all in 2017 I have to follow my head. The Focus, sadly, it will be, albeit at the top possible trim level (thank you Ford depreciation!).
Last post someone suggested the Mazda 3 which has the same diesel engine as the Focus (actually a huge number of cars from Suzuki to Volvo share that 1.6L diesel, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_DLD_engine#DLD-416). It's actually the same base car as the Focus mk. 2, just different finish, and the auction market in those is very limited compared to Fords. Some have suggested the VW Golf and its VAG equivalents in Skoda etc, however the 2009-2013 diesel Golf platform is well known to be severely unreliable (see http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/volkswagen/golf-vi-2009/). Any other suggestions? Bring on the comments!
Sunday 6th November 2016: 2.03am. Just watched the new documentary from Adam Curtis "HyperNormalisation" which has proven to be a highly depressing study of the last thirty years of changes in world power dynamics leading to the current mass disenfranchisement with the status quo, thus leading to all sorts of acting out by the herd such as suicide bombings, hiding away in Facebook, electing Reagan and handing ever increasing real power to unaccountable automated surveillance and databases, the most obvious of which recently was the financial collapse which far worse clearly coming soon. As with all his documentaries, they tell a reasonably compelling if drastically simplified story joining up many disparate facts, and this one was one of the better though not the best of his work. It is however very contemporary, it also fits the story of Donald Trump into its three hours where he comes off as quite the visionary by the end. Anyway you should find a full copy easily on YouTube, as with all Curtis documentaries the BBC are not trying hard to suppress pirated distribution.
Friday 28th October 2016: 11.05am. Been awaiting the MacBook Pro announcement last night for a long time seeing as my six year old ex-corporate self-refurbished Dell laptop is getting a little long in the tooth. Here's the rough price breakdown in Euros, all ex VAT as it'll be my business buying them, all systems have 16Gb of RAM and a 512Gb SSD:
Late 2016 MBP 13 with touch bar 3.1Ghz i5 CPU: €2162 Late 2016 MBP 13 without touch bar 2.4Ghz i7 CPU: €2105
For comparison the latest Dell XPS 13 which is probably a superior machine all round apart from the lack MacOS:
Dell XPS 13 2.7Ghz i7 CPU: €1463 (one third cheaper)
That late 2013 MBP is still a Haswell CPU and so has great battery life unlike the earlier MBPs. It has a slower SSD though, the early 2015 model brought in the fast PCIe SSD. You'd be hard pressed to notice much difference between slower and faster SSDs in daily use, though it would be handy for testing AFIO.
Contrast all the above to my current ex-corporate Dell E6310 bought when three years old for €230, originally cost €2300 when new. Needed new battery, charger, SSD so ended up costing €500, but the point is that Windows laptops lose about 80-90% of their value in three years whereas the MacBook Pro loses only 50%. So, adjusting for resale after three years, this is the cost for three years of use if depreciation rates remain the same:
€1170 Dell XPS 13 2.7Ghz i7 CPU €1081 Late 2016 MBP 13 with touch bar 3.1Ghz i5 CPU €1052 Late 2016 MBP 13 without touch bar 2.4Ghz i7 CPU €850 Early 2015 MBP 13 3.1Ghz i7 CPU €665 Mid 2014 MBP 13 3.0Ghz i7 CPU €495 Late 2013 MBP 13 2.6Ghz i5 CPU
This doesn't account for the fact the battery is only good for a few thousand cycles, and older MacBook's are much more likely to have old batteries costing at least €150 to have replaced. So this fact, along with the slower storage, needs to be borne in mind.
So the question now becomes "am I willing to pay €300 net money for the latest MacBook Pro instead of the late 2013 model + battery replacement?" given its marginally better specs?
It's not an easy choice. It's a lot of money for not much difference really.
Wednesday 5th October 2016: 5.44pm. Google has just announced its Pixel and Pixel XL phones to replace the Nexus series. Looks like they didn't learn from the way overpriced Nexus 6 fiasco where they couldn't shift any units until they lopped €250 off the price: €869 for the Pixel 128Gb and a whole €1009 for the Pixel XL 128Gb! Pardon the expletive, but they can fuck right off with that sort of pricing when a brand new 2015 Nexus 6P 64Gb is going for €450 and is barely lower specced to the Pixel XL, certainly in no way you'll ever notice. Sigh. Looks like the affordable Nexus line is over for us all, I guess we'll all have to move to some AOSP enthusiast firmware on two generation out of date Pixel phones off eBay in order to keep receiving timely updates on phones with a reasonable battery life left in them. It was nice while the Nexus line lasted in fairness. RIP Nexus.
Just finished cutting the grass for the last time this year on what is probably one of the last warm sunny days of 2016. Quite pleasant sitting in the sun, a little chilly in the breeze, but the sun still has a bit of power to it. Glad to be on my three month break from programming, looking forward to starting the final part of my maths course when I finish raking up the grass. Might go get a beer actually help me study.
@ACCUConf @CppCon My CppCon 2016 workshop video is available! Not one of my better talks unfortunately. Firstly I droned on far too long at the beginning talking about why AFIO, how AFIO fits in with C++ 17/20 standardisation efforts, conversations with Bjarne and Gabi etc about Boost and C++ Modules etc - I ended up overshooting the pre-workshop time budget by about ten minutes. I then had prepared a workshop for a totally different audience than the one I had, I had been assuming only filesystem geeks would turn up, in fact most attendees were there out of curiosity and didn't know anything about the filesystem at all. I ended up running majorly out of time, and had to chop out a large chunk of the actual workshop as CppCon gives very little latitude for overruns compared to other conferences. In the end I'm going to chalk this down to you win some and lose some.
The ACCU 2017 talk I have in mind for Bristol in April which I mentioned in the video is provisionally called "Mongrel Monads, dirty, dirty, dirty". I'm hoping to repeat dominating all the other tracks with that talk as I did with my talk at ACCU 2016. We shall see if it gets in first!
Tuesday 27th September 2016: 2.48am. Just sat up till 4am watching the Clinton vs Trump debate (jetlag). Kinda found it fairly even to be honest, she was hugely undermined by smirking and looking smug when she was otherwise winning. He was, well, not at his best. I will say it was the best presidential debate I've seen since Bill Clinton's era, it had actual real differences in policy instead of the two candidates being barely distinguishable, and the candidates argued passionately instead of clearly going through the motions. So, great debate, great show, but no clear winner for all the wrong reasons in my opinion. It was worth staying up to watch it, might just record the next one.
Edit: Actually another thing annoyed me, Clinton kept holding back on finishing points she scored. She should have sent them home. I know it's because she's trying not to be petty and look above the fray, but I just found it irritating and fake. Any normal person would have driven those points home.
Monday 26th September 2016: 11.40pm. Just put myself on the scales after six months of not wanting to know, but noticing I only still fit into two and increasingly one of my pairs of trousers. Weighed in at 86.4 kg (13 stone 8 pounds) which is my heaviest ever. Sigh. Anyway, now I'm off the clock on outside of work conference prep until Christmas, I should lose one stone (14 pounds) before Christmas if past trends remain holding true, so I should drop to 80kg which is still fairly overweight (65-75kg is where I really ought to be, that awaits 2018!). I'll be going off alcohol until Christmas and breaking out the exercise bike between now and then just to make sure.
Thursday 22nd September 2016: 5.05pm. Getting ready for the last practice run of my #CppCon workshop which I'll be giving in a few hours time. This time I really do expect to be the smallest in this track and not get surprised by the attendance like at the @ACCUConf, but I expect the questions to be much harder because I presupplied my slides, so those who attend will likely be quite hardcore enthusiasts.
Here in Bellevue (Seattle) for #CppCon 2016 same hotel with a slightly nicer view than last year. Feeling unusually ropey the day after long distance travel than is usual for me, I have decided to try the gym and see if that enables a nap which might sort me out.