Sunday, 05 November 2006
How much story can you pack into six words? Apparently Hemingway wrote "For sale, baby shoes. Never used." Aaaawww, so sad. But for true pathos, how about the sad laments of cast-off programming languages? Who says "They’ll come crawling back. You’ll see!" or "I was it once! What happened?" Let me try my own for C++ right now:
Unmanaged APIs everywhere. It Just Works.
What do you think?
Saturday, 04 November 2006
Every Tuesday in November, at noon Eastern, you can tune in and learn about Windows Live while it's still in beta. Search, Virtual Earth, Gadgets, and Messenger Bots are the four topics. This is a presentation of MSDN Canada.
Sign up and watch!
Friday, 03 November 2006
I've been using Windows since the beginning. And I use the system icon in the upper left quite a lot, mostly to close things, and especially when the window is off the screen a bit so the X isn't available. In Vista, it looks like that icon/button is gone, but it isn't. Just click where it should be:
Double-click to close the window, or do any of the things you would otherwise do on that menu. Isn't that cool?
Thursday, 02 November 2006
Lots of C++ content in this talk with Soma on Channel 9. I spoke to Charles about this interview and he told me he really didn't know where it was going to go when it started, and it didn't need any editing, which is unusual for a VP. Soma also blogged it.
Wednesday, 01 November 2006
Spotted in the speaker room in South Africa:
Those feet belong to Karen Young, MVP Regional Manager for EMEA:
Alas, the shoes aren't swag. Karen had them done at a street stall in China that was painting roses and anime characters onto shoes. They're one of a kind!
Saturday, 28 October 2006
[backdated with dasBlog]
We didn't have a church ceremony for my father. Instead we gathered at the sailing club. A family friend acted as MC and each of us (the five children and my dad's wife) spoke, read a poem, or played some music. A table nearby was piled with newspaper clippings about his inventions, his trip around the world, and so on, as well as the sextant he used on his trips, his pipes, and so on.
Afterwards we got onto the boat, which is 26 feet long. A gale was forecast for that night, but it was afternoon and we were only 15 minutes from home. We had something to do and we went out and did it. His hat was still floating on the waves when a pulley that holds the tender (small dinghy) up out of the water broke. There followed several exciting minutes while the only two qualified sailors (my brother, who sailed the Atlantic with him 20 years ago, and my sister, who is eight months pregnant) wrestled it out of the remaining pulley, got it tied behind us, and got all the water out of it. When this was all settled we realized we had gone quite a long way and decided to take down the small sail we'd been using and motor back home.
The motor started fine and the prop turned, but it didn't make the boat move. This is the point where Dad would have opened things up and fixed them, had done so even just a few days after abdominal surgery, but none of us could. We tried a few things and then called the Coast Guard.
The ocean is big and even when you're on a cell phone telling them what island you think you are going past, it can take a long time to find you. It was getting darker and windier by the minute. We got a sail up (my brother wore the safety harness he'd worn in the North Atlantic) and actually got into a cove and at anchor by the time they found us. They said we'd lose the boat if we left her there that night, and decided to tow us to a marina. That all went without incident. Afterwards, standing around in our funeral clothes outside someone else's wedding reception, we acknowledged that maybe we hadn't been super smart in what we'd done, but that we'd been fine till the engine broke. That's when the Coast Guard guy said "Boats can be tricky that way." I thought he was going to patronize us, point out they take you onto the ocean or some such, but he went on "they don't like losing their owners." Told us a few tales of boats that sank the day they were sold and the like.
Later, my brother realized the pulley that broke just as we finished our private remembrance was the last thing my father had fixed on that boat. And I realized that when "bloody hell" (my Dad's favourite oath) started, and competence and capability (things my father valued highly, along with brute force) kicked in, the crying stopped. The five of us kids pulled together and rescued ourselves, now that we don't have Dad to rescue us any more. We're going to be OK.
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
[backdated with dasBlog]
OK, I know you really come here for C++ stuff and the occasional picture of autumn leaves, but there are some things I want you to do. First of all, if you're the donating type, and you want to make a donation in my Dad's memory, please don't give it to those "cancer is a word, not a sentence" people. Nothing they did helped him. (Research is fine, just all that cheer-up-it's-not-so-bad stuff bothers me.) He died two days short of the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis, which is actually pretty good for esophageal cancer. The heroes in our minds are the VON. Back in August, had my dad stayed one more day in the hospital I believe he would have died there. Going home gave him many more months and gave us all more time with him and more time to come to grips with what was happening. The VON were what made that possible. Sometimes they came every day, sometimes every other, sometimes two and three times a day. They dealt with his abcess, his draining tube, his pain, his weakness, with all the things that would have otherwise had him in the hospital. They were always polite and respectful and supportive. They didn't bustle around like hospital nurses, bossing everyone and controlling their territory. You can donate to your local VON if you have one, or to the ones who helped Dad at VON of Greater Halifax, 7001 Mumford Road, Tower 1, Suite 300, Halifax NS, Canada B3L 4N9.
Second, if you ever have trouble swallowing, have a terrible acid stomach for which you regularly take antacids, or have a family member who died very quickly of "a growth in the throat" or something similar, go and ask your doctor to test you for Barrett's esophagus. That's about the only hope for prevention of this, the fastest-growing cancer in North America.
Third, no matter how old you are, it wouldn't hurt to talk to your family about your end of life wishes. Whether it's dying at home, what songs to play at the ceremony, or burial-vs-cremation, the decisions are so much easier when you actually know what the person would have wanted.
Monday, 23 October 2006
[back-dated with dasBlog]
While I was in Africa my father's condition worsened and then he slipped away. He died at home, in the bed he'd been using for several months, without pain, knowing he was dying and that it was time to go. He had taken care of the things he needed to take care of: explaining his latest project to his former graduate students so that they can prove his theory and rewrite some text books, explaining the trickier aspects of the boat motor to my sister, giving some instructions to his lawyer. He was content to go at the end.
His obituary was in the Globe. It could easily have been twice as long.
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