April 2007 Archives
I recently upgraded to Windows Vista. One of the bad points I noted was that it crashed during shutdown. At the time I put the blame on ATI's video drivers for my Radeon 9800 Pro. It seems my instincts were correct. It did however take a few driver releases for them to fix the problem. I installed the new 7.4 drivers last night and the shutdown crash has completely disappeared. Hooray!!!
I saw half of this documentary the other night. It featured two journalists, both women, attempting an experiment to see if they could reach size zero (this is the US size zero, which is approximately the same as UK size four). They were both fairly slim to start with. One of the women managed this without many problems (though her performance at work was reportedly terrible during the experiment). The other woman didn't cope so well and became borderline bulimic. Both of them lost a stone in weight over five weeks, and then put it back on when their eating returned to normal. The doctors interviewed throughout said that being that size is unhealthy, puts massive strain on your internal organs, and can even stop your periods if your body thinks it's not getting the nutrition it needs. One statistic that was claimed was that 84% of woman surveyed say they would be happier if they were lighter. I find this absolutely shocking. Although the country is reportedly in the midst of an obesity epidemic, I don't think anyone would think that anywhere near 84% of women were overweight. It's probably nearer the inverse (16%). If the vast majority of women predicate (part of) their happiness on being below a certain weight, then what kind of world do we live in? How has nearly half of the population of the country been brainwashed to think in this way? Let's put it another way. I weigh roughly fourteen stone, which is about two stone overweight for my height (but not obese by any means). I try to keep active and eat less, but generally am not too bothered about this. I'm healthy and live a reasonably happy life. Why is this so different for women?
I watched an episode of this new Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse sketch show last night on BBC2 (might have been BBC3, I can't remember), and was impressed. It's good to see a character based sketch show (in this case mostly poking fun at the class and race divides still rampant in Britain). Makes a nice change from the endless repeated catchphrases and shock value of Little Britain and Catherine Tate. Hopefully, Harry and Paul will repeat the successful formula of The Fast Show by actually evolving the characters during the series rather than endlessly repeating the same thing.
I've been using Perforce in work as a source control system for over a year now. It's the best of its kind I've ever used (I'm experienced with SourceSafe and Alienbrain also), though comes with the impression that it costs megabucks. I've been looking for something good to use for my home projects as simply backing up older versions of files isn't good enough (can't see history, etc). I used to use a dodgy old copy of Visual SourceSafe 6.0, but in the spirit of making all the software on my machine legal I decided not to install it again after my recent upgrade to Vista. Also, it's not very good. Imagine my surprise when looking for a freeware source control system (expecting to probably go for something like CVS with a freeware GUI) when I discovered that Perforce is in fact free for personal use. Up to two users per server can be created without having to pay for a license. Woohoo! I downloaded the latest version, installed it, and within minutes had imported my hobby projects. The only problem is that the two merge tools it comes with are (in ascending order) terrible and mediocre. I'm used to using the excellent Araxis Merge for that purpose, though that isn't free (after 30 days). Can anyone suggest a suitable alternative for home use?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was on Channel 4 last night. It's a great film, but I'm not going to review it. The film (rightly for the story it is telling) ignores a lot of practical issues in deleting the memory of a relationship, but it does leave me thinking... What would it take to actually delete a relationship from someone's memory and not have them figure it out afterwards? I'm going to assume for the point of this discussion that the technology exists to selectively delete memories, and no amount of hypnosis, surgery or other therapy could restore them. What else would need to happen to effectively delete the relationship? In the film, family and friends were given cards saying "Don't mention this relationship to the person", and a well meaning friend told Joel why Clementine couldn't remember him. With the best intentions, this method isn't likely to succeed (just as it didn't on film), so for the purposes of our thought experiment the memories of all your friends and family would also need to be modified, along with their friends and families to whom your relationship was mentioned. Then comes the practical stuff. What if the couple lived together and you found yourself either homeless or paying mortgage/rent you can't afford on your wage? Joint bank accounts would have to be deleted, along with anything else set up in joint names. Any writing or photographs showing you both would need to be destroyed, etc. I imagine junk mail in the name of your ex would be OK though as it would be simply ignored or returned to sender. The magnitude of changes that would need to be made just becomes greater and greater the longer the relationship had gone on. I imagine deleting a single one night stand wouldn't cause too many problems, but deleting a long term close relationship would be a lot harder. If you'd been married for years you could end up modifying the memory of thousands of people. This leads us to another thought. What state would you be in after the operation? Would your personality revert to it's state before you met your ex, or would you have all the psychological changes it would have caused (but without the concrete memories to back them up?). My instincts tell me this would lead to great depression. Human memory is fairly fuzzy, so how would your mind fill in the time gaps? I doubt many people can remember what they have had for dinner every day for a month, but there would be a lot of significant events you would have to cover for. Anyway, this has been a pretty rambling post, but it's an interesting thought. Incidentally, this is my 50th blog post!
We've just got back from a cycle ride with the next door neighbours. We signed up to do a 50 mile charity cycle ride in June, so we need to do some training. We mentioned this to our neighbours and they said "Yeah, we know somewhere good for cycling", so off we went to Ash Range for a 13 mile cycle ride, mostly off road, up (and thankfully down) some impressive hills. My body is now aching all over, but we had great fun. Had a bit of lunch when I got back and my first packet of crisps since mid February. Oohyis!!! Walker's Cheese and Onion Big Eat crisps for the win!!!
I successfully avoided crisps and chocolate for the entire of Lent, only weakening when a lovely piece of carrot cake was offered to me. I've still not eaten any crisps yet, though I did have a Creme Egg and some Cadbury's Buttons yesterday. The result was a bit... 'meh'. I dunno what's changed, but the chocolate just didn't taste anywhere near as nice as it used to. Oh dear.