Week 60 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 3rd May 2009

This is the second day of this particular project which shows a scene from primitive times - a Predator (red - in tooth and claw), a Rabbit (pink - slightly undercooked), some Food (green - organic, of course), a Man (blue - a primitive Tory businessman) and Home (brown but cosy).

The computer program sets them all down at random onto the plains of the Serenghetti and the scene unfolds - the predator catches the rabbit and then goes after the man who is meanwhile grabbing the food and legging it for home! Will he make it? Well, in this particular example, he does.

Obviously, if the Predator was really smart, he would just wait behind the man's hut for him to come home (while reading a newspaper) but fortunately he is not that smart. If he were, then Predators would be taking their kids to the zoo to see us.

The idea is for all this to evolve into a general purpose problem solver. Some chance but I live in hope.

Monday 4th May 2009

Well, today is a bank holiday and I guess the crew of HMS Westminster (F237) wake up and think "Let's go for a burnup and do some really hard cornering". So they do.

A bit later, I decide that I will do the same (nearly lost it once - do they really go backwards when that happens?). I get back at 1.45pm thinking the border will be quiet but there is a queue literally a mile long (right back to Aqua) and it takes me 45 minutes to get through.

Tuesday 5th May 2009

Ever since we came to Gibraltar a year ago, they (ie the Government) have been renewing the south end of Main Street in a very laid back manner. Now suddenly, the pace has quickened and it looks like it may even be finished this year.

I spend all day and evening programming.

Wednesday 6th May 2009

In the morning it is somewhat cold and windy but that doesn't stop the seagulls from showing off.

Talking of show offs, the bunch of crooks and shysters lining their pockets at Westminster are still at it. The problem is that they have realised that their childhood dreams were just that, dreams, and now there is nothing left for them to do except look after themselves. A sorry spectacle.

Thursday 7th May 2009

This is the Department of Heritage & Culture at the south end of Main Street - a case of the cobbler's children being the least well shod.

Friday 8th May 2009

Very occasionally when you take a general shot of a street you find that one person in particular stands out for one reason or another.

Saturday 9th May 2009

Wet and windy so I stay in all day working on my project, which has moved on somewhat. Programming is intensely absorbing and I am not sure why I do it - nobody is paying me or ever likely to either. I guess it is the occasional moments of intense satisfaction - "I love it when a plan comes together", to quote Colonel Hannibal Smith from The A Team.

Today, what has come together is a typed up plan of action which encapsulates dozens of pages of scribbled notes which I then feed into the Tesco shredder (the notes that is - not the plan - that isn't due in the shredder until tomorrow). The shredder is satisfyingly noisy and excellent value for less than twenty quid from Tesco.

Less satisfactory is my extensive use of OOPs which I normally avoid because it slows down the running speed and that matters in anything to do with Artificial Intelligence. Also, I always find that with OOps I get the very complication that OOPs is supposed to avoid. Maybe its me. Here are a couple of lines of code.

Chicken.Entity.RunTo Food.Entity, True
Chicken.Entity.RunTo Lion.Entity, False

As you would guess, the first line sends the Chicken scurrying off for a bite to eat and the second line sends it running away from the Lion. Clumsy looking, isn't it? What's with the Entity stuff? Well, that is to do with re-using code - it means that the Man (he's called Dave) is just an animal with added routines - he has feelings.

Here is how we create a Man called Dave:

Dim Dave As New Man
Dave.Emotions.Anger = 32

See, he's a New Man, that's why he has feelings. The reference to "Dim" has nothing to do with his mental state but is short for Dimension. Don't ask.


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