Archive for April, 2006

Scavenger hunt, hard version

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
  • Nobel prize
  • Fields medal
  • Turing award
  • Oscar
  • Pulitzer prize
  • Booker prize
  • Knighthood
  • Olympic gold medal
  • Citizenship of a foreign country

Blast from the past

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Yesterday's technology - tomorrow!

Computer industry: what we're building

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

Sometimes at work I like to take a step back at look at the big picture. I mean the really big picture, like the entire universe. What the software industry is ultimately trying to do (aside from making money) is to write every piece of software that will ever be needed - to automate every single repetitive (intellectual) task so as to free up human minds to do the things that they are better at (the things requiring creativity and imagination).

A very important part of this is writing tools that people can use to automate the repetitive and difficult parts of automating other repetitive parts, i.e. writing tools for programmers (which is what I do, sort of). We can never anticipate all possible repetitive tasks but we can make it as easy as possible to automate new tasks.

I think (and hope) that eventually we will get to the point where there are no "computer programmers" as such - writing programs will be very much easier than it is today, and won't require any specialized knowledge about programming (just knowledge about the task that you want to accomplish). Programming will be just one more thing that people do with computers like writing letters or playing music, and computers will be tools rather than objects of fascination for their own sake (much like the ones on Star Trek).

When we eventually accomplish this gargantuan task, I think it will be one of humankind's greatest achievements.

Photographs - Food (Part II)

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

Winter/Spring 2006

Italian Variation on the Strudel


Gennie makes Escargot for the first time for Andrew's birthday


Roasted pork braised with cider vinegar and stuffed with apples, raisins and walnuts

Shepherd's pie

Summer 2006

Cincinnati Chili

Sponge cake with jam

Moroccan lamb stew


A classic dish from the Liguria region of Italy - linguini with homemade pesto and chicken, a salad of tomatos and anchovies, and foccacia.

White nectarine galette

Beef and salad


Andrew's birthday dinner

Holes in Finland

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

I was playing about with Google Earth and looking at some imagery of Finland (as you do) and I noticed these weird circular shaped "holes" (for want of a better word) in the distribution of the Ă…land islands. For scale, they are each about 3km in diameter and about 16km apart.

It's really strange the way it looks like there's a huge lens over each of these points, distorting the surrounding islands into sort-of circular shapes.

I'm quite mystified about what could have caused these. I can't imagine what sort of volcanic activity could have had that effect (volcanos tend to create mountains, not lakes) so I'm guessing that they must be impact craters. But I can't find them on any lists of Finnish impact craters. Also, it seems highly unlikely for there to be two similarly-sized craters so close together (unless a single meteor broke into two before impact, or they are of very different ages and the local geography happens to be very good at preserving impact craters of this sort of size).

This isn't an April fool joke - see for yourself.