Said farewell to an old friend today: the 14″ Sony KVM1400U TV that my parents bought for me when I left home in June 1993. (I well remember double-checking with the man in the shop that it had a SCART input, as I was desperate to get a better picture from my Commodore Amiga 500+ than the RF input I’d been using up to then gave me… and eschewing the slightly more expensive variant that had teletext, as that seemed like something I’d never use.)

Sony kv m1400

It’s been used almost daily since then and was still working perfectly, and I hate replacing stuff that does. But if nothing else, it had been dropped so many times that the case was in several bits and I couldn’t really guarantee it was still electrically safe. So off to the great recycling plant in the sky (well, Argos) it went. Somehow I doubt that the 19″ LED TV we bought to replace it, for almost exactly the same price in numerical terms, will last another couple of decades.

(We aren’t a completely CRT-free household yet, though—we have a larger and equally well-used Sony warhorse in the dining room that’s probably still got a year or two left in it!)

A decade at Sun

Well, 9.66 years at Sun, and 0.33 at Oracle… it was the Tuesday after the August 2000 bank holiday when I first ventured into this office, from the B&B that Sun were putting me up in until I found an apartment. Back then, we were working on getting the forthcoming GNOME 1.4 to play nicely on Solaris 8…

Have to say it would be nice if I got to choose the traditional thank-you gift from any leftover Sun stock in one of the countries that hasn’t LEC’ed yet 🙂 But somehow I can’t see that happening…

Streetview gallery

Thanks to Google Streetview’s new 95% coverage of the UK, which went live yesterday, here’s a visual history of all the houses I ever lived in over there, until I moved to Ireland. Obviously I’m not telling you where they are, though 🙂


(Although the cars have been spotted out and about in Ireland, there’s no coverage here yet…)


Every day on my drive into work, I arrive at this junction near the office, and sit in the filter lane at the lights, needing to turn right.

The sequence of the lights varies depending on the time of day, but there’s generally a cycle where the straight-ahead filter is green, and the right-turn filter is red. (Sometimes, when the right-turn filter is red, the pedestrian light is also green, but only if a pedestrian pressed the button.)

At least once a week, when the straight-ahead filter is green, but the right-turn filter is red, some cretin (usually a lorry driver) will honk his horn at me if there’s a gap in the oncoming traffic, until the right-turn filter comes on and I move off. (Today it was a lorry driver and a Nissan Micra full of Dublin’s finest.)

If I’m particularly lucky, they’ll then follow me down that road to the lights at the Business Park, where I need to make a left turn. At those lights, there’s a similar sort of setup with a straight-ahead filter and a left-filter. But there’s no dedicated filter lane at this one, so the left lane is for both left-turning and straight ahead traffic. Of course, when the straight-ahead filter is green, and the left-turn filter is red, that gives them another chance to honk their horns, if they were too thick to realise that I was indicating to turn left and they probably ought to have moved out into the right lane as we approached the lights so they wouldn’t have to wait.

It does my head in. That is all.


…to everyone for their supportive comments, and to everyone who chipped in to the retiring offering at my mum‘s thanksgiving service. Turns out we raised £750 for the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow, which I know will be put to good use.

Meanwhile, I’m back to work tomorrow. I promise I’ll try to catch up as quickly as I can… probably just about in time to fall behind again over my Christmas break 🙂

End of another era…

As some of you may know, my mum, Janice, sadly died on November 13th. This is one of the last pictures of us together (along with my dad!), from Christmas Day 2007, which they spent with Julie and me here in Dublin.

Mum had been battling cancer since 2003, and although we knew it wasn’t curable, her regular chemotherapy cycles (at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, who were fantastic) seemed to be keeping things more or less in check. So to lose her just a couple of hours after being admitted to hospital suffering from what seemed to be non-critical abdominal pain came as quite a shock to us all. At the same time, we’re all relieved that she slipped away quickly and relatively painlessly—one of her only fears in life was that her health might decline to the point where she could do little more but lie around in agony, a fate that osteoporosis had inflicted upon her own mother some years earlier. (Her other fear was somewhat less morbid—a lifelong phobia of birds!)

Although she had been comparatively poorly for the past few weeks, Mum’s consultant expected her next cycle of chemo to clear up the main cause of her discomfort, and she remained pretty active right up to the end. Just after I last visited her and Dad back home in Scotland last month, they were off to Gran Canaria for a holiday (ironically, her 96-year-old aunt died equally-suddenly while they were away, and the first thing they had to do when they came home was arrange her funeral). And when I last spoke to Mum the weekend before she died, she had me looking up some hotel in Edinburgh on the internet for a wedding she thought she might be invited to next year!

Positive though she was, though, Mum was nothing if not ultra-organised, and she was well-prepared for the inevitable. She left us copies of directions to the cemetery to send to people who might want to come, and sheet music for the hymns she wanted sung at her funeral in case we didn’t have the right books… but best of all—and this was Mum in a nutshell—she left Dad a notebook listing all the household chores that he ought to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, annual, bi-annual and occasional basis after she was gone, right down to specifying the correct washing machine cycles for the bedclothes, and the appropriate shades of paint to use on the outside of the house!

On Thursday, we laid Mum to rest in Dunblane cemetery, near her parents and several other generations of her family, and on Saturday we had a thanksgiving service at Hillhouse Parish Church in Hamilton, where she’d been a member for the past 40 years. The turnout at both was pretty humbling.

Of course we’ll all miss Mum very much, none more so than my dad, to whom she would have been married for 47 years last Tuesday. But I certainly don’t feel sad when I think about her, so don’t feel sad for me either. Just keep your fingers crossed that she hasn’t hidden one of those household chore books away for me somewhere as well 🙂