Niall’s virtual diary archives – October 2002

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12th October 2002

The project advances

29th October 2002

Sense of ending

Saturday 12th October 2002: 5.48pm. God, I must have worked sixty hours last week on the project. Yeah, it finally booting this time last week and since then it's been all about enabling bits of the technology. After all those months of designing and coding, it's actually working!

Thing with me about computer programming is that I always find the bit where I can't see immediate results from my work to be the hardest. I always knew that design stage would be the hardest and given most bits were rewritten at least twice (and some parts six times) it proved to be the case. I guess what has always appealed to me about computer programming is its practicality - you paint a picture of art, and the result is also a tool.

When it's a lump of source just sitting there it doesn't have that practical side to it, and it's the less to me for it. But when you can actually run it and see it pop up and jump through hoops for you, and more importantly every change can be instantly visualised, it attains a whole new dimension which makes it so much more fun. Effort no longer needs summoning, it simply appears. And then I find going to bed hard, and even more waking up and not working on it.

Which is precisely what I'll be doing this weekend. A friend's birthday party means I must go out and dance for a while, probably depleting various neurotransmitters in the process. I'm already itching to do the things I thought of when I was sleeping last night, but the best I can do is write them down and attend to them tomorrow if I'm capable. Besides, I need a break, it should be good for me.

Ok, time for note writing and then getting cleaned up and buying some food, then it's off out for the night. Hope you're all well, till later be happy!

Tuesday 29th October 2002: 1.02pm. I was in that local park yesterday on the way back from my last meeting with the dole people (now it's been cut off, there's not much point) and obviously I wandered in to have a smoke. It was really strange, because I think for the very first time I had the sense that my time here was coming to an end, and it was a sensation I had not felt in maybe two years and a bit.

I suppose there are plenty of physical cues - the fact the sun, despite shining as brilliantly as always, no longer carries the same warmth - and of course that the trees are shedding leaves. All these things point to imminent wintertime and its consequent imminent departure of myself to probably even colder pastures.

I'm still not sure where yet. Switzerland wants work visas for EU nationals until June 2003 and as far as I can see there is no point going about getting work at IBM which would be my only reason for going there until at the most three months before I intend to start work - which would be mid-November. Failing IBM, I need somewhere else burgeoning with contacts and logically the conclusion cannot be escaped that all roads lead to the UK once again. I'd prefer that Vita Nueva place in York over Cambridge (cheaper), then Cambridge and lastly at all costs to be avoided if possible London.

Still, one cannot help but feel a sense of resignation. I have really really enjoyed my time free of work, and more importantly it has been extremely productive. I have enjoyed working on this project more than any I can remember in the last five years and I would so very much like to see it continue, but alas fiscal reality makes that impossible. If only I had invested certain sums more wisely, I could have squeezed out another six months.

I have, in fact, even considered moving back home to Ireland where I could eke out an existence sufficient to keep writing this project, but I fear a mixture of allergies and memories would distract me. No, moving is expensive and wherever I go I need to be certain I'll stay.

I was thinking though I can still sniff around all places with likely good contacts before having to consider the UK. Whatever happens, I want to keep as clear from that place as possible for as long as possible unless commercial realities of whichever kind force me to it. Next few days, I'll have a hunt around and I'll draw up a list of suitable recipients for my employment, and then take it from there.

Meanwhile, I have more coding! I'm on the last stage before we get into the really exciting stuff, the setting of metadata. I'd imagine if nothing goes wrong that by the end of November I'll have basic data streams and objects working, thus paving the way for very basic data viewers by Christmas which will be enough I'd imagine. I may even get in some basic component support and a wee component bar to manage them!

Ok, time for my breakfast smoke, be happy!

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