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No blog entries this week?

I have been busy implementing the script interpreter for my WinTTX software, so have not had time for much else. It adds up to ~140K of code and, amazingly, it has all come together nicely and is largely compatible with the version in the RISC OS !Teletext.

Don't hold your breath for much happening next week either. I now have to write the CHM help file!


Wi inkorekt spelin shud be rong

First, reed this:
Teletext article

This kums az part ov thee probleme wair peepul just kant fayl aneemoor an it iz not seen az beeing politikalee korekt to saee aneewon iz just plane rong.

How about we go back to proper English, like it is supposed to be written, eh? There's this bloody awful "softly-softly" mentality affecting the educational system that seems to think it is so traumatic to a child to say they have failed, that they are wrong. And the article above, with all due respect for Mr. Smith, demonstrates the very insanity of this.
Let me put it to you like this. I went to a 'special' school for kids with learning problems. As you might have noticed elsewhere on my site, I am "dylexic with numbers". Wanna see me fail? Ask me to add up a shopping list and see how long it takes. Wanna see me fail totally? Ask me to perform long division. I still don't get that.
But, you know what? I'm okay with it. I have a sense of humour. I can write. I get most of my spellings correct (and those that aren't are wrong, not variants!). I have a nice disposition. I can program. I can talk for ages with like minded people about all that is wrong in zombie flicks and how to make the perfect movie. I can speak a tiny couple of phrases of Japanese, Spanish, Italian, and I'm now almost understandable in French. ☺

I'm total crap at maths. In fact, I'd say I'm something of a failure when it comes to maths. I'd love to understand how to turn coordinates into a 3D image on my screen. I've downloaded lots of programming guides, but I'm afraid they all lose me when they start on about matrices. But I'm okay. I know I'm missing out on something beautiful that would appeal to my logical mind, but there's plenty of other stuff I can fill my head with instead, like Jennifer Love Hewitt. ☺

I guess my outlook is perhaps a bit more brusque thanks to half a childhood sat in the back of the class labelled the retarded distruptive one. Well, you might have seen from the pictures on my b.log that I wear glasses. Didn't back in junior school, so of course I couldn't see the board. And it's so much easier to call me backward than to accept that I really didn't have any interest in those "Elflight & Candlelight" easy-reader books having just worked my way through "The Day Of The Triffids" and was settling nicely into "Chocky" (yes, a JW fan!). So I'm good at reading and crap at maths. Fair enough, very few people are good at everything. Would I like to be worse at reading and better at maths? No, I like reading. I like learning stuff. I plan when I get broadband to bookmark all sorts of media sites (you know: CNN, Sky, BBC, SlashDot...) to speed-read what's going on in the world. I find the televised news has really gone downhill, with graphics and slogans aimed at the mentality of a small child.

Which brings us back to children. Why is it so hard for people to say "you are wrong"? How far is this nonsense going to go? Will people, in a decade, be able to pass their French GCSE by simply replacing some English words with French ones, but keeping English pronounciation and intonation - because God forbid anybody say "that's wrong"?

And yes, I know that "pronounciation" should be "pronunciation", however I am boringly obstinate on this point because we "pronounce" things so why the illogical change? Whatever, it's still wrong..!


Want to save money on petrol? Lose weight!

Reported in the newspaper - the University of North Carolina (USA) performed a study between 1984 and 2004 which suggests that for each dollar the price of petrol goes up, you can offset the cost by losing between 1.8 and 2 kilograms (apparently for an 'average' motorist, but we know that Americans are statistically large, so what constitutes average?).

I guess this means if you're going to go on a road trip with friends, pick thin people who don't pack a lot. You'll save money.

The newspaper and I both came to the same final conclusion. Does this result justify a twenty year study?



Newspaper articleI have long said that the French end up in interesting road crashes due to a seemingly obsessive need to be 'first', or at least ahead of the car in front.
This, when coupled with a propensity of following the rule of "right of way" often regardless of "give way" markers saying otherwise, can make driving... well... interesting.
Sometimes it all goes wrong, as the picture on the right shows. While the article says that there is no known explanation, one thing is for certain - somebody was in the wrong place.

On the other hand, credit where credit is due. The Frenchies are usually quite good at using their indicators, and moreso they don't follow the idiotic British 'protocol' of having a slow lane, medium lane, and fast lane on motorways - they stay to the outer lane unless overtaking. That's the correct way to use the motorways.

The article is from the newspaper Ouest-France, issue #19422 dated 2008/07/23, on page 6.


L'accent frenchie fait des ravages en Écosse

Une gare d'Edimbourg, en Écosse, a employé un Français, Vincent Houplain, pour annoncer ses trains avec un accent « romantique » qui fait des ravages auprès de la clientèle féminine. « C'est sexy », lance l'une d'elles. Elles sont nombreuses à vouloir « mettre un visage sur cette voix ». Mauvaise nouvelle pour les voyageuses, le Français est délà marié... à une Écossaise.
From the newspaper Ouest-France, issue #19402 dated 2008/06/30, on the final page.

Now a translation:

The French accent breaks hearts in Scotland
The Edinburgh train station, in Scotland, a French employee called Vincent Houplain announces the trains with a "romantic" accent which is breaking hearts with the female passengers. "It's sexy", says one of them. There are many who wish to see the face that belongs to this voice. Bad news for the female passengers, the Frenchie is married... to a Scottish girl.


Are you a RetroGeek?

The month of July was the 2008 retrochallenge (as reported in Archive magazine 21:8 p5). Basically put, it is when fans of obsolete systems dust off their old systems and push them as far as they can, basically for the fun of it.

I did not participate, however I have recently done three retrogeeky things. The first, last Autumn, was to resurrect and patch up my old FileStore. This is described here. The second, on this blog on 2008/07/26, Windows 2.0. The third? I have installed and use FreezeSMS on my PC so that I can play those old Sega Master System games that I recall from my childhood.

Enduro Racer

Ghost House



It's funny how addictive these games could be. The graphics are rudimentary in comparison to modern games, but for an 8 bit processor running a few megahertz it was good. All it requires is some imagination.

Anyway, I mention this as I am interested to know what you have been doing, in a retrogeek sort of way. When's the last time you dusted off that old Atari, Amiga, or random games console? Have you recently wired a CF card to a BBC micro? Get in touch, share your retrogeekery!


Today's word...

Today's word is esoteric (eh-zoh-teh-rik); which means abstruse, difficult to understand, hidden, mysterious, obscure. If you were to look at the source code of the I²C driver that WinTTX uses to talk to the decoder via the parallel port... you'll find it quite esoteric.
Another example of esoteric is the rubbish that these days is called "the Ts and Cs" - basically the many paragraphs of small print: from 'conditions of prize draw', to the disclaimer stating that the free car you will receive upon joining is really a 5" replica, to the lengthy 'licence conditions' that accompany software. Shall I even mention the fifty-odd page A4-sized 'book' the Banque Postale gave me upon opening my account? Everything is described in complicated detail and I understand little of it. I have a suspicion that if I was fluent in French, I probably wouldn't be that much more enlightened...
You do not own this, there may be more than one winner, the judge's decision is final, serving suggestion...

As a bonus, the antonym, the opposite, is exoteric; which is something clear, easy to understand, literal, and open.


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