Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Why software is so bad these days

I believe the problems leading to poor software is not in the C++ or Perl or Java, but in the "English", the language the original problem was specified in.

I just read this post on another blog, "coding horrors".
The question is Let's say, hypothetically speaking, you met someone who told you they had two children, and one of them is a girl. What are the odds that person has a boy and a girl?
Now in a conversation we would make the intuitive leap that the other is a boy, but it may be a man or woman. Looking at the parent would probably fill in the blanks.

There are some 500+ replies to that post. Most debating 50% or 66.6% as the correct answer, pulling in permutations and probabilities. All nice and mathematical. A few pedants in the crowd start being smart about XY XX chromosome and shared father stats'. If they want to get into that, it's going beyond the information we have. 50% chance for a child being a boy is an accepted fact, it may be more like 55% for a girl. Is this a global given value?

Since it's on a programming forum I'd like to think it's pointing out how people miss hear/interpret information. Everyone thinks it's a rephrasing of a standard problem, and are solving that.

You know what they say about assume, it makes an Ass out of U and Me.

Happy New Year all...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What to do with my Christmas money?

So between my parents and my in-laws I now have a bit of extra spending money. Thanks guys.

Anyway, the question is, what to do with it? I really want to get a camera lens, but which one?

The options include
  • zoom lens - 55-200ish for my DSLR.
  • perspective correction lens
  • 3-D lens
  • pinhole lens.
Now what can these do for me?

Well, until I switched to Nikon I had a telephoto zoom lens, it was a 75-200 for my regular SLR. It was what I used for more than half my photo's, picking out detail in architecture, getting closer to wildlife etc. I really don't think I can go much longer without adding one of these to my camera kit. I can just do a digital zoom when I offload the picture to the PC, that does for on-line displaying of photos, but a proper zoom would be an asset.

A perspective correction lens will reduce or eliminate converging verticals on photos of buildings. I take a lot of photos of buildings, so this should be an asset. I've never had one before, and I don't know if I have the patience to use one. You can also use perspective correction software after the fact too.

3-D lens. This is actually a pair of lenses that give a stereoscopic view of the world. When the photos are done, those of us with the right sort of vision can see some depth in these photos. It sounds like a fun deal. There again, my wife and a few other people I know cannot look at 3-D images without getting put off balance, and feeling queasy. Where is the fun in taking photos you cannot share?

Pinhole cameras are an interesting breed. They are meant to offer excellent depth of field, but due to the ridiculously small aperture they require careful use, and cannot really capture action scenes. I still think it would be fun to try one. Of course you can make your own pinhole. They never end up perfectly round, and the rough edge gives each pinhole camera a unique feel. I somehow think a laser cut pin hole takes some of the charm away from the image, but it will give a clearer image I believe.

These are just the camera related options. Other options include a new rocking chair (glider), or something towards the computer, or a new car stereo - the old one is having trouble ejecting discs now, and having a Bluetooth capable stereo for hands free cell usage sounds like a good idea.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Firstly, this old hanger is now the "Bladium" arena, the lighting is a combination of the overhead lights and the red score boards.

This next one is the old Pan Am Clipper hanger, the sun was setting behind the hanger, and there light, after being diffused through rear and front doors had a lovely golden color.

The third is the reflection of the windows on the side of the clipper building shining on the adjacent building, which is now the Alameda Naval Airstation museum offices.

This final picture was taken between door panels of the clipper hanger.