Showing posts from May, 2007


Today I became a member of the Brittania Yacht Club. It is the oldest yacht club in Canada. This is where Aura will be moored for the summer.

The boat is "on the hard" at Nepean Sailing Club. I'll launch her there and sail her down to Brittania. The cradle she sits on will have to be dismantled and hauled over to the BYC yard by truck.

I like the Brittania club. It has a reputation for being a bit elitist, but I found them to be very friendly and helpful, interested in new members. Thanks to Mark Walton at BYC. If all goes well, I'll keep Aura at the BYC. It's close enough to reach by a pleasant bicycle ride along the canal and river-front pathways.

Gödel, Escher, Bach

In the book Gödel, Escher, Bach: a metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carrol, author Douglas Hofstadter refers to great works of logic, art and music as three aspects of a central essence, different expressions flowing from a common source.

It strikes me as interesting that lot of the great hackers are also fairly accomplished musicians, to one degree or another. Quite a few of the engineers I know and respect happen to be quite musically talented. It may not be mere coincidence, either.

Of course there are plenty of good programmers out there who never took up a musical instrument. However, I've begun to see the musician/hackers and the pure technicians differently.

The technician is the person who is fascinated with technology. They actually like complicated things, and figuring out what makes them work. They get a sense of accomplishment from having mastered a particularly difficult piece of software, much like solving a puzzle. They've probab…

Starting Up

I recently made a decision to leave the company where I have been employed for the last 6 years, Bridgewater Systems Corporation, and become a contractor (gasp!) working with a very small group of high-tech entrepreneurs to form a new start-up. Starting a new company can be rather risky, and the golden age of startups in the Ottawa Valley may have passed, but its the sort of opportunity you don't get every day. There are a lot of reasons why I decided to do this, and as I was reading Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham, I began to feel even more like this is the right decision.

Graham gives an example of a galley ship, powered by 1000 rowers. He says there are a couple of factors limiting the speed of the ship. One is that the individual rower isn't going to see any noticeable improvement from working harder. The other is that, on a boat of 1000 rowers, the average rower is likely to be... well, an average rower. If you took 10 rowers and put them in a dinghy, their perf…

Welcome Aboard

Last Thursday I went down to the Nepean Sailing Club to look at a boat. A fellow drove up and hollered through the passenger window "Do you want to buy a boat?" -- the owner of the Tanzer 22 I was about to see. The boat was high and dry in the yard and we spent about an hour poking around. Her name is "Aura" and she was built in 1979.

The bottom paint is blistered and peeling and theres a crumbly seam between the keel and the hull that needs to be faired up. The gel-coat is gouged along the gunwales and crazed around some of the fittings, but the teak has been all nicely refinished topside. There was a little water in the bilge and hints of rust from the keel bolts, but it looked treatable. The electrical system is a bit of a dogs breakfast, but there are only running lights and a radio to re-wire. There are four sails that look in good shape, including an older spinnaker, and a 9hp Mercury 4-stroke outboard motor.

All in all a nice boat, and Ottawa has o…