Monday, May 28, 2007
Can't Catch a Break
I bought a Nintendo Wii a little while ago and I like the sports game that came with it. I was most interested in the bowling game, but that's turned out to be harder to master than I thought. Here's a frustrating game I played - I got a spare in every frame, including a tricky split in the 6th, and not one solitary strike. Even the last bonus throw in the 10th resulted in a nine!
Have you ever heard that joke by Steven Wright about buying a humidifier and a de-humidifier, putting them in the same room and let them fight it out? I saw this principle in action at an office a couple of days ago while I was running errands. The a/c was set rather low in this office building and the staff in the lobby had no control over it. So they fought back with a small heater down by their feet. A few years ago I'd have laughed it off, but the energy usage is nothing to laugh at. I hope they get their a/c sorted out, but its more than likely they'll just keep things as they are. As long as the power bill stays where it is and there's enough profit to handle it without blinking, they'll leave the settings alone.
I spent a week in Jackson, Mississippi for work, where we installed some new software I've written. It's a billing system, which again demonstrates a principle I've noticed. Most software in businesses is built to move data from one place to another; simple as that. I wonder if anyone has, or will, come up with a computer language specifically designed to make such a task easier. I love writing in Delphi, an object-oriented extension of Pascal, but you do have to re-invent the wheel somewhat with each project, building objects and structures which do much the same task as the last project you wrote.
I'm reading a very interesting book at the moment, called Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life. It's a summary of the science which informs our speculation about life, so that when we go to places such as Mars and Europa we'll be able to make intelligent guesses about what sort of life we'd find there. Recommended if you like reading about science and history.