“When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight”

Well here I am looking forward to setting up satellite internet. I surveyed the rooftop – good view of the sat. So placed my order and hey, the stuff arrived.

Or so I thought…

well only 2 of the three packages made it. I’m sitting here looking at a beautiful new dish complete with transceiver block and a cool-looking modem but … the bracket to mount the dish is on a tour of Europe organised by Fedex.

The tracking page reads like the travels of the garden gnome from the film ‘Amelie’. London, Paris, Madrid, back to Paris, Cologne, a couple of days in Cologne for some shopping. No news at all about today. Is Thursday a day off in the Fedex-world? No wonder it took them four years to find Tom Hanks 😉 Will my mounting bracket be washed up on some desert island?

Software development addict

There’s a special thrill about computers that only we nerds feel. We are the sorcerer’s apprentices who peek into the Spell Book while the master’s away. Our experiments run wild sometimes flooding the basement.

But here’s beauty of it – in our contained little world of keyboard and screen what’s the worst that can happen?

       “oh, well …”

As you hone your spells and perfect them, their enchantment takes hold of you. You can’t stop tweaking, adjusting and improving. There’s always a better way and there seems to be no limit.

It’s all about how we understand are world. Teaching something as stupid as computer to do things makes you question everything you take for granted. Common sense. What is common sense? As you probe deeper into a process you find out more and more. What are the rules that govern it? Can they be expressed clearly enough for the dumb machine to execute? What are we really thinking about when we decide if a job is done or not?

Mickey Mouse didn’t get his loop exit condition right before the master returned to his wet lair and pressed Control-Alt-Delete. But perhaps if Disney had let him, Mickey would have debugged the spell and tried again. Once you start you can’t stop.

A creative space…


Greek island ferry trips in the winter. Four and a half hours of un-distracted time on the deck in economy class. Low rumbling engines, wind lashing the after-deck and rolling rolling on the swell. The buzz of a political discussion in Greek from a neighbouring group of islanders – a language I understand well but as a foreigner doesn’t penetrate my psyche. So I tune out leaving only the friendly sound of humanity.


Time without the pressure to accomplish anything. A parenthesis in the modern world. If I do nothing that’s fine. Mildly bored, relaxed the mind wanders open to any thought that might break the monotony.

Idly playing with software and ideas, inspiration strikes! A old dead-end opens into a wide avenue. Away from this wild and rolling seascape how dull the mind becomes in the constant din of everyday life. But in the sweet boredom of life at sea, like Ishmael in Moby Dick the mind rambling the landscape of consciousness peers over into the unconscious making out strange shapes in the mist.

Schematic design revisited

Back in September as I began thinking about connectCAD 2015  I was fairly sure that we had schematic design wrapped up and it was time to move on. So I began a quick review of user comments to tie up any loose ends.

Well it’s amazing where following a loose end can take you!

The new connectCAD is all about schematic design. From seemingly simple changes to the look of connector panel devices all the way through to new cable numbering systems, it’s a major lift of the entire application.

Let’s see what’s inside.

Ho hum! Even more smart objects – all the fundamental components like devices, sockets and circuits. That makes them even easier to use and edit – just select it and edit the properties that appear in the Object Info Palette. Select several and you can edit them all at once. Quite a move…

And you can still configure connectCAD to way you want it to look and work, add your own parameter fields and make your own socket and device graphics.  Smart objects for everything let’s show you use graphics for inputs, outputs and bi-directional ports giving you an instant visual picture of signal flow. Cool !!!

No more searching for tool setting. Central settings management gives you a clear picture of your drawing setup and let you make your adjustments in one place. Much better !

A whole new concept in cable numbering and panel labeling! A new framework that let’s you set things up the way you want them, simply and effectively. That’s the stuff !!!

But my favourite is Connect Next… it’s almost like it reads your mind and does the next connection you were about to think of. And we’re not done yet – there’s even more intelligent guesswork that will go into this command.

Well all that was fun. It took up most of the winter so far but its out now.