State of Play 2018/wk50


Last week of phase 2 heart rehab. Last session thursday (13/12/2018), at the start of next year will start on phase 3 maintenance. So today repeated the 6 minute test, as did at the start of the programme. Showed improvement. Past few sessions also increased time on treadmill from 5 minutes to 15 minutes at 5km/h: noticed that most other exercises seem to be easier after doing this longer session on treadmill original typical 5 minutes.

Add INR test on Monday, with no change to Warfarin dosage the INR value had decreased compared to previous, so dosage level was kept.

Information session introduced to the following video: Let’s Make our Day Harder. Which on returning home and rewatching discovered the following additional videos:

  1. 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?
  2. I Ate One Meal a Day For a Month, See What Happened to Me
  3. The TRUTH about Blood Pressure and Cholesterol.
  4. What Will Happen to Your Body If You Walk Every Day
  5. What’s a normal blood pressure?
  6. WHY Exercise is so Underrated (Brain Power & Movement Link)

Since the rehab incident the other week requiring the ambulance, the nurses have been checking my blood pressure at the start and end of each exercise session. I have also been checking my blood pressure on a regular basis at home. The first session after the ambulance event, the nurse checked my blood pressure approximately every 10 minutes, it was typically showing a trend of decreasing. The typical expectation is that it increases during exercise. The next session my blood pressure spiked after a the first few minutes of exercise then started to drop again. All other sessions only checked blood pressure at start and end of session: either shows a drop of no change. Also been walking further to the gym in the first place, so that does increase my starting blood pressure: the gym session doesn’t seem to increase any further. Higher blood pressure recorded at the doctors office: but walk to doctors is uphill, walk to gym is downhill.

Anyway the general gist is that I seem to have low blood pressure and the stock standard medication for heart problems is to assume high blood pressure and prescribe medication to lower. So the concern is that my blood pressure is being made too low.

Blood Pressure UK is the main useful reference I found so far. the blood pressure chart page gives useful guidelines for high, low and ideal. The other week I also encountered the following article: Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, and: This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Exercise.

The basic gist is that adding more exercise to your day won’t help if you don’t reduce the amount of time which you are stationary. In other words restricting sitting and sleeping to 23.5 hours, whilst interesting take on the 30 minutes a day exercise, it won’t work if the 23.5 hours are not disrupted. Which the recommendation seems to be to split the inactivity to 20 minute intervals.

Billable Work


Non-Billable Work

I got side tracked from writing: Building a Structural (Engineering) Design eWorkbook. Having covered different file reading techniques, I thought I would revisit my Chrome and Blogger Tools workbook. The original version of this used brute force techniques to rip strings apart and extract the required information from an html bookmark file. It also used VBA file i/o capabilities. The problem with VBA i/o facilities is that they do not read unicode or UTF-8 file formats, and so special characters in web  page titles are lost. In first instance I didn’t care, on the other hand I have a lot of bookmarks with useless titles: so whilst I cannot read Japanese and Chinese characters I would at least know I’d found a foreign movie and could add some English description (admittedly would be better to add extra information when I find, but that seldom happens. Finding one activity sorting another). These are typically movies or TV series I have seen on SBS, and trying to track down (One Hong Kong TV series I used to watch when got home late from evening lectures on business statistics, I cannot remember the TV series title, and I missed the last episode. So far been unable to find . SBS used to have some good TV series and movies.).

Anycase I changed the code to use VBScript filesystem objects and textstreams, this didn’t work turned out the file format is UTF-8. The way to read such files using similar to the ADODB.connection I discussed previously. Whilst this worked I decided if I needed to add an extra library I may as well add the MSHTML library instead.

So I rewrote the bookmark import subroutine to use MSHTML. Using this library getting all the bookmarks is relatively easy, getting the bookmark folders turned out to be problematic.

In the original subroutine I used a stack and added every H3 title to the stack as it was encountered, when the program encountered an end of list tag (DL), it popped the title from the stack. So at any point in time the stack contained the full path to the current bookmark folder. This was then written to the MS Excel spreadsheet as keywords separated by path delimiters, though could replace slash with semicolons.

Using MSHTML there are no closing tags to reference, so identifying the end of lists turned into a problem. I tried to avoid recursion of the document tree, and used a stack, but that inverted the listing of bookmarks and is the wrong order for keeping track of the folders. I changed to using a queue, that wasn’t any better. So I discarded such approaches and went with recursion, but still stuck with problem of identifying the end of list.

I ultimately got it to work by checking that nextsibling is nothing and that the previous sibling was the list tag (DL), when having found a paragraph tag (P), and so can then pop the folder title from the stack.

Part of the problem was identifying differences between the data tags I could see in the html file and those tags contained in the MSHTML data tree, I therefore modified some  treeview code I had written for XML files and viewed the MSHTML tree structure. There seemed to be missing paragraph nodes (P) and extra text nodes (#text). The fact that the whole document is presented as a tree of nodes poses a problem, as a list node for example can contain more elements than just the list items (DT). So for example length properties do not the count the relevant elements would like to count and track.

Any way it took longer than expected, but now appears to work as expected, so when tidied up some of the experimental chaff I will upload the modified version.

WordPress Editor

First post written using the new wordpress editor. Its cumbersome, untidy and annoying. The fixed toolbar at the top requires the need to change vertical scroll bars to get to the very top of the article as the article scroll bar disappears under the toolbar. Actually the whole administration interface of wordpress is annoying with respect to vertical scrolling, always has been, and just been made worst.

Whilst a floating toolbar for formatting may be useful, it mostly just blocks out content whilst on screen. A fixed toolbar doesn’t do that. Still I can probably tolerate and get used to it. If not visible the natural tendency is to look at the top menu bar, where formatting used to be, then have to look down to observer the appearance of floating toolbar.

However now have inconsistency in location of commands. A floating toolbar, a static top toolbar with a 3 dot pop down menu,  and a wide sidebar. The command which once is located amongst this collection. For example switching to the code editor is on the 3 dot pop down.

Where as previously had two tabs, one with visual view and one with code view. Swapping was a simple click. Now have to click and scroll and click: or learn shortcut key:  Ctrl-Shift-Alt-M (doesn’t seem short).

The blocks idea is interesting concept, however how it gets implemented in the editor is another matter. The new editor is basically displaying garbage graphics which get in the way of plain ordinary writing. Whilst code view is now littered with html comments which seems to be the way the blocks have been implemented. For plain ordinary text that now implies a lot of additional garbage being stored in the wordpress database not required by html to format and display text.

Just discovered I can shift the wordpress formatting menu to the top toolbar.

The blocks could become annoying, seems will have to add more styles to my styles file. Now have extra vertical space, as horizontal lines are separate blocks, and lists are separate blocks.

Upgrade vs Different Product

As I have mentioned before he software industry doesn’t seem to know the difference between and upgrade and a different product.

As I just described above I have modified my Chrome and Blogger tools workbook. The original version is dependent on MSXML and its uses VBA i/o facilities. The new version now additionally depends on MSHTML and internet explorer controls.

Now whilst I’ve simplified my code to get data from an HTML file, and improved the robustness of identifying the correct data (eg. no identifying a URL which is not part of an HREF), it is still essentially a different tool a different product. Automatically “updating” such would break the functionality previously had on a computer, and that is because it needs to be setup again making sure that MS Excel VBA/VBE contains appropriate references to the required libraries. It is not updating, not upgrading it is breaking.

An upgrade, or update should not require any further effort on the end-users part, they should be able to continue work as usual, and they should not encounter any difficulties.

Thus MS Windows 10 is not an upgrade of Windows XP or any of the garbage between. It is a different product. Software that runs on XP doesn’t run on Windows 10: even the installer unlikely to run. Office 365 not an upgrade to Office 2003 or any of the garbage in between. It is a different product. To call them upgrades and updates is misleading.

You have to use the latest update or you will be at risk: garbage. If a virus is an unwanted disruption to how your computer operates and how you use your computer then automatic updates are the primary virus causing hindrance.

If a product that you purchased and which was functioning perfectly out of the box, barring a few tweaks to customisation settings, becomes a defective piece of junk due to so called updates, then it is not acceptable.

Now a change from MS Windows XP to MS Windows 10, is different than an update to MS Window 7 that breaks the graphics display to internet explorer and otherwise messes up the GUI to the entire operating system.

The change from XP to Win 10 is largely avoidable if don’t have to get new hardware, and have appropriate license. However have this marketing brigade which recruits a multitude of bloggers to push out garbage about security risks and how your computer is a risk to others.

Similar rubbish is being pushed about being in the cloud. How the cloud is more secure than your laptop, how always have access to data. Garbage. If data in on my laptop, then where I take it I have access to my data as long as I have a power supply. If I travel about 50 km south, I cease to have access to the mobile phone network and cease to have access to the internet. My laptop provides more reliable access to my data than the cloud, and the data is backed up on portable media. the backup of office data is off site, back up of personal data isn’t. So that maybe a problem.

Why have software in the cloud? Because the software is always up to date, you are always running the latest version of the software. So whether want to or not stuck with the latest stupid and untested idea in software development interrupting your work flow. But hey you’ve got the newest, and if it’s new then its progress.

Not so! If its new then a good chance it’s a major step backward. Take TV, switching of the analogue signal and having digital only is not progress: it is putting all your eggs in one basket with an half baked idea. Significant progress had been made with transmission and reception relative to the analogue signals, now we have stepped backward to poor reception, much poorer reception. With analogue chances are got snowy picture and reasonable sound, with digital get nothing. But probably doesn’t matter because digital TV likely to be displaced by the internet. But what then about the news rely on social networks?

Some of the changes need to be better managed. Changes isn’t always better and isn’t always progress, it’s just different. Some change needs to be prevented, other changes need to be undone.

In the main however the primary requirement is to protect diversity and ensure alternatives.

Thus Win 10 is an alternative to Win XP not an improvement. Office 365 is an alternative to Office 2003 not an improvement. The new wordpress editor is an alternative to the old editor, not an improvement.

With out quantifiable properties a change can only be identified qualitatively as an improvement using subjective judgement. Different subjects will reach different views. I would contend that most changes in the software world have not been improvements, user interfaces do not offer better user experience rather the complete opposite: the experts seem to have become experts by studying something completely irrelevant to the task at hand and with zero reference to history and past experience and its influence on future preferences.


  1. [19/12/2018] : orignal