Jun. 14th, 2017

mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
I mentioned toward the end of last month that the drive belt snapped in our small electric lawnmower. Our large gasoline-fueled mower in Ohio had a mighty belt that wound around various things. This one has just a small belt with grooves on one side.

In Ohio I had many tools and space to work but here I have little of either. I am also not the most practical person but I can learn and experiment. For our incapacitated mower here I obtained a replacement drive belt and was then stymied because it appeared that to gain access to the pulleys I had to remove the mower blade which our adjustable wrenches weren't loosening.

Today I now have decent offset ring wrenches in hand. It took some effort but I did finally loosen the blade. (I believe that it is meant to be tightened to 25Nm. I find it weird that torque is in units of energy.) I gained access to the pulleys but a further challenge was in getting the replacement belt on: some sideways pushing while firmly holding the belt and turning the pulleys worked in the end.

I reassembled the mower and mowed the front lawn as a dark cloud passed overhead and did not rain on me. Afterward I checked the blade and I think it may have loosened slightly so I retightened it and will keep an eye on it.

I let the supplier of the non-OEM replacement drive belt know that it fit my mower fine and they have kindly replied with a discount code for me to use on a subsequent purchase.

In celebration I baked myself tortilla chips with fresh tomato and grated cheese on them and for dessert I have plain yogurt mixed with frozen berries.
mtbc: maze I (white-red)
When I was starting out in computing hardware and software was often a joy to behold. )

Coincident with the rise of Microsoft Windows I have seen software quality go down. Now it is entirely normal to run into bugs. It is also normal for software to frustrate me: it insists on doing something I don't want or I can't get it to do something it clearly ought to be able to. Mostly things went downhill … )

It isn't all bad. … there are some pleasing exceptions. )

It feels like most software developers now care about little more than getting things working well enough so that their employers can sell them comfortably. The developers wanting to use their mathematical gifts to create systems that are both solid and flexible are largely dwarfed or otherwise out-competed by the many who just want to deliver something that appears to work sufficiently well that everybody gets paid and management either do not appreciate or do not care about the difference.

Maybe the change is partly in the user community: they increasingly find poor quality acceptable. )

I don't have any answers, I think it's just how the world works. I would look at retreating to high-assurance systems but look at the Department of Defense's move away from Ada or Ericsson's from Erlang: I think the only refuges are in the past. I could be frustrated to know that modern computer systems are typically no longer built anywhere near as well as they could be but I instead find myself grateful to be able to recall a time when it was normal for them to be both useful and reliable.


mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
Mark T. B. Carroll

September 2017

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