• ghoti spells fish

    Just in case you weren’t sure what “ghoti” is here’s one of many entries you can find on the subject.
    Ghoti – wikipedia’s entry

    I’ve also heard that ghoti is the Hindu word for marbles. This rather confused some of my Indian colleagues who had not read So long and thanks for all the fish, by Douglas Adams.

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    July 27, 2021
  • Didn’t Matter Anyway

    I’d like to share with you the lyrics of a song
    I have learnt to love in the past few years
    and which aptly describes my feelings as I contemplate my impending retirement.

    Didn’t matter anyway
    words and music by Richard Sinclair



    It didn’t matter anyway
    We’ll meet again some other day
    Till then keep well
    You’ll be in my dreams
    Goodnight, goodbye, bye for now…

    The time has come to leave you
    Please don’t feel alone
    For now that we’ve met
    There’ll be a way to reach you and say
    ‘Never mind…’

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    July 27, 2021
  • How many bugs in blank lines

    Did you know that a blank line can cause syntax errors?

    The number of blank lines that I have been responsible for maintaining is an estimate based on
    summary figures for projects I have worked on since the mid 90’s

    In 4 projects, written in C, the total lines of code and total blank lines are:

    Project,Total lines,Blank lines,Comments
    A,391343,40415
    B,735210,72433
    C,306296,41813
    D,1638651,271658

    An example of a blank line causing a syntax error is:

    void main( void )
    {
    #define blankmac
    int a = 1

    ;
    blankmac
    }

    So you can imagine how many potential bugs there are in these projects given that on average there’s one every 1,000 lines!

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    July 27, 2021
  • Avoid saying I didn’t think you’d find it

    I also learnt that when a tester complains about a problem you were already aware of the list of
    acceptable responses does not include “I didn’t think you’d find it”

    Many years later, after I’d avoided the customer care course, the following events took place

    1. I found a bug in some code, only a couple of days before we released it
    2. Discussed it with development manager
    3. We agreed that it was a very unlikely situation
    4. So we released the code unchanged… our testing was 95% complete
    5. System test found it on day one of testing
    6. They reported the problem
    7. I looked at their error log
    8. It was exactly the same as mine
    9. So I said “Yes, we know about the problem”
    10. I explained the situation under which it occurred
    11. Tester asked “So you released code with a known problem?”
    12. And I replied “Well, I didn’t think you’d find it”
    13. Oops

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    July 27, 2021
  • What did you expect

    I now understand there is more than one way to ask “Well, what did you expect?”.

    In the early 90’s we were developing the Technical Infrastructure being used by
    a number of projects for utility companies. We provided C APIs.

    At one customer the IBM contact called to report that when their program
    called our functions passing a NULL pointer for a particular parameter the program crashed.

    I replied “Well, what did you EXPECT?”
    Had I replied “What DID you expect”,
    ie. How would you like the program to behave when you pass the wrong parameters
    then Jo Strain might not have suggested I go on a Customer Care course.

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    July 27, 2021
  • I can use a model 29 card punch

    I used to be able to multi-punch semi-colons using a model 29 card punch.

    They could only do BCD – not EBCDIC

    For those of you who have only worked on Windows or -ix systems there are other types of character representation systems than ASCII or Unicode.

    IBM mainframes use(d) EBCDIC – Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code –
    which is an 8 digit code, whereas BCD was only 7.

    The IBM model 29 card punch had a smaller keyboard than the model 129 so if you wanted to type an EBCDIC character, such as a semi-colon then you had to multi-punch the holes into the card.

    Whenever I wanted to use the card punch at college the only one available was the old style.
    So I learnt to live with it.

    [Read more…]



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    July 27, 2021
  • I’ve never used a coding pad

    Not even at university, where I used to write my programs on a quarter of a piece of green lined paper. In pencil; in case I had to rub the code out or change indentation.
    There was no way I could write big enough letters to fill in the empty blocks on a coding pad.

    When I first started permanently, there was about one terminal to three programmers but I could type fast enough that I didn’t need to send my code away to be punched in by the data input staff.

    [Read more…]



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    September 28, 2009
  • All code used to be CAPS

    Nowadays nearly all code is written in mixed case.
    But in the late 70’s and early 80’s we used dumb screens (3270’s) and the ISPF editor would be configured to automatically capitalise just about everything you typed.
    So PL/1 programs were written in CAPS.

    When we started using Script/DCF (which became GML (leading to HTML then XML)) to develop the system documentation then we typed in mixed case.

    I wanted to extract the comments from my code in order to:
    a) produce the detailed design
    b) provide input for the Data Dictionary
    so I wrote a program that was affectionately called ptery.
    Note: This was well before we knew about Doxygen.
    BUT THE DOCUMENTATION WAS NOT PRETTY
    AS IT WAS IN CAPITALS.
    SO I STARTED DEVELOPING MY CODE IN Mixed Case.

    This was against the programming standards at the time. So the compromise we eventually agreed (Dave Jelley, Steve Smith, Adrian Prince, etc) was that I’d write the code in CAPITALS and the comments in mixed case.

    We now make things all capitals (CAPS) if they are global constants, defines or macros.

    As an aside, I have never learnt to type with the Caps Lock on.I simply press the shift key with my left ring finger, and make do with 5 or 6 other fingers from both hands to press the keys.

    [Read more…]



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    September 28, 2009
  • 80 into 800 won’t go

    I recently tried to back up the contents of an 80 GB hard drive to a single 800 MB CD

    My first work PC was a 3270-PC. It had a 10 megabyte hard disk drive which took me
    nearly a year to fill up.

    My first home computer was a PS/2 Model 80.
    It ran at 25Mhz, with 4MB main memory in order to suppport OS/2 Extended Edition
    and a 100 MB hard disk drive.
    At half price it still cost over 4 gran, 20 years ago.

    Recently, I purchased a second portable USB hard drive since I was worried my
    first one (80 GB) was behaving strangely. As my disk space was limited
    I thought it would be a good idea to backup to CD the contents of the drive
    before moving files about.

    Without thinking I just tried to drag the contents of the drive to the CD writer
    and then kept wondering why it stopped copying files at just over 2.75 GB
    having written nothing to the CD.
    Then I did the maths

    I should have stopped and taken a rest there and then.
    Realising that saving to CD was not going to be possible I hunted for
    spare disk space on another drive.

    Well to cut a long story short, one drive looks very much like any other in Windows
    (D:, E:, etc), so what actually happened was that I deleted ALL copies of some directories
    from ALL of the drives.
    And I didn’t have a CD backup!

    Before I do anything else I’m going to backup everything to my brand new 1TB Seagate external drive

    [Read more…]



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    September 28, 2009
  • My desk name plate is 24 years old

    My desk name plate celebrated its 21st birthday three years ago.

    In June 1985 I attended a course entitled PSL/PSA.
    The Instructor was Rolf Moerman, the course manager was Jon Tappy.
    I can’t remember anything about the course except
    a) I have a photo of the class and can recognise 5 in the picture (including me)
    b) I still have my name plate, was made by John Banks of the MCS Development Centre.

    It was plotted on the back of an “OUT – do not leave any correspondence or material” sign
    and I have kept it on my desk ever since.

    [Read more…]



    Published:

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    September 28, 2009

Categories

Tide times from tidetimes.co.uk

Tide Times & Heights for Northney on
Sunday, 17 October 2021

Tide times from tidetimes.org.uk

Tide Times & Heights for Northney on
17th October 2021
02:53 Low Tide ( 1.18m )
10:51 High Tide ( 4.33m )
15:20 Low Tide ( 1.2m )
23:10 High Tide ( 4.23m )