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Thursday February 23 2006

I was in town,

so I'm not sure precisely when dear old Autoroute finally completed optimization of my dream excursion - all 65 or so stops of it. I do know that when I left the house the beast had churned away for around seven hours already and had only touched the half way mark. Possibly it put on a sprint in my absence. I was out for six hours, and on my return the process was complete, so I suppose that there must have been a bit of a gee-up at some point. I shall not, in future, so willingly devote 98% of my puter's cycles for more than half a day to such a task. I mean, there are other things I need it for.

On the plus side, the distance - rough - for the trip was reduced from 12,000 miles to 8,000 or so. Mind you, I'd paid scant attention to the order in which I added my points of interest in the first place. I could have optimized the whole trip myself in half an hour. But there you go.

I spent a happy hour watching Modern Art Oxford's programme of short art films this morning. Hail, in particular, the man David Blandy. I will seek out his other works. I didn't even mind getting wet and cold getting there.

It's well time I did some work though, before cultural exchanges begin to seem like a job...


Posted at 7:27 pm by Jim Woods

Burning the midnight oil here

while I start the first stage of planning a large project. The project in question is a tour of rather a lot of places in Europe which I would like to visit for all sorts of arcane reasons. Without, at this stage, going into an excess of detail. This tour is to be carried out by car. Possibly diesel car, if funding permits. I've yet to decide whether car or van makes more sense actually, since it's easy to crash out - in the somnolent sense only, I hope - in a van. I like to keep my options open, and on lesser expeditions of this type have often chosen to camp or sleep in my vehicle simply because it was more convenient or pleasant at the time. Also, it saves money. The trip I'm trying to put together will span two or three months and will cover around fifteen thousand miles, so money will be an important part of the planning.

But for now I'm sitting here all excited firing stop points at Autoroute Europe, and seeing what comes up in terms of distance and route. Defining the whole business with an initial 65 stops chosen simply to outline the route roughly for cost and distance, I have just told Autoroute to optimize those stops. This means work out the shortest or most efficient way of covering all the stops, and in fact in the last hour or so hardly any progress has been made. Clearly either the progress bar is as inaccurate and non-proportional as we know and expect in these things, or it really is going to take until breakfast time to come up with a best route. Well, or the program has crashed. I don't think so though.

Nothing to do but wait...


Posted at 3:34 am by Jim Woods

Tuesday February 21 2006

Exploration of the living room smell demon continues,

and informed opinion (which will be Tukey then) has it that the reek is probably that of damp plaster. I continue to dig towards Australia in the affected corner of my house/garden. I am actually doing some work on the house. I can scarcely believe it myself...

Other than this, I plod along waiting for warmer weather and delving deep into trying to understand the family affairs to concoct some decent forward plans. Some writing is going on, albeit of a fairly unstructured nature, so that's all good. The state Scirocco, flushed with pride at its MOT, has now settled into mildly mis-jetted reliability. The TiVo is behaving pretty well. And I do have a life beyond agonizing over maintenance issues, although it may not seem so from what I write here. Now, who wants to buy various sets of speakers which require various replacement drivers? Go on - I promise to spend the money in Holland.


Posted at 7:57 pm by Jim Woods

Monday February 20 2006

New European health card, EHIC, applied for online.

One less thing to do. Smell in living room is accompanied by rather dodgy looking plaster in the corner behind my home entertainment shrine. This is due to one, or both, of the following I reckon. First, the buildup of crud and old leaves and so on in that corner of my yard may have resulted in this penetrating damp. I will continue to excavate and clean up to try and remedy this. Secondly, it's possible that a large nearby tree has not been properly separated from my foundations by a root barrier, as I was informed by my surveyor when I bought the place seven or eight years ago. If the tree is having at my gaff it's f bad news really, as the tree is not on my property and cannot therefore be directly disciplined. It belongs to the Jehovah's Witnesses who have their local HQ next door, and although they are affable enough they do not have a good track record of swift response to my complaints when the lighting they provide to my only access fails or the tree in question starts savaging my roof; it periodically does that. Anyway, it seems that I have yet more maintenance / fire-fighting to do. Nuisance.

Have reconfigured my computer so that the faster of my two drives is now the boot drive, and this has resulted in a pleasing increase in speed. Beyond this, I have nothing exciting to report. Breath still held for finer weather...


Posted at 2:17 am by Jim Woods

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