Charles Petzold

The Funs of August

August 15, 2006
Roscoe, NY

I was greatly relieved to read Tim Sneath's discussion of WPF progress. I signed off on my WPF book based on the June CTP, and I couldn't detect any API changes in the July CTP, and now we're assured that RTM won't have any API changes. Since my book is basically an API book rather than a tools book, this means that Microsoft Press and I didn't screw up big time by wrapping up the book when we did.

The only program in the book that doesn't quite work right (and never has) is this one, which demonstrates bitmap conversion in XAML using a chain of CroppedBitmap, FormattedConvertedBitmap, and TransformedBitmap elements. If you just launch this XAML file with the July CTP, you'll get an error. And, if you load it into XamlPad or XamlCruncher, you'll also get an error. However, if you then select the Reparse command from either of the two programs, it runs OK. And that's why I decided to let it go.

Of course, a big part of my incentive to get the book finished early is that August deadlines are very unpleasant, as I indicated in my very first blog entry nearly a year ago. I prefer my Augusts to be more relaxed. I'm certainly not claiming to be entitled to four weeks vacation like a German factory worker, but a little slowdown one month a year seems to aid mental health. I still work during August, but if I decide to work only a few hours a day, or to declare a non-work day, I try not to feel guilty about it.

During August, Deirdre and I like to go swimming in Waneta Lake, and later this week we'll hit the Delaware County Fair, and in two weeks we'll be visiting Deirdre's aunt in Provincetown, MA, and I've been catching up on my reading, as you may have noticed from recent blog entries.

Yesterday, however, was a real back-breaker. We took possession of two cords of wood, and Bob Wood (not his real name) threw in a little extra as a result of improving his measuring system after last year's delivery. (A "cord" is a pile of firewood of dimensions 8 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet, or 128 cubic feet, but obviously it's not an exact measurement.) First we had to help unload Bob Wood's truck and throw the wood in a big pile:

And then we had to transfer the wood into the basement of the house. (Some people keep their firewood stored outdoors, but it really needs a tarp to keep it reasonably dry.) We built a clever structure for some of the wood (the vertical boards are attached to the ceiling and kept immobile on the floor by being attached to 2-by-4s lying underneath the wood) but the rest we just piled the best we could.

The freeform piles are held up mostly by wishful thinking.

As in the past couple of years, we'll probably be spending December in Roscoe, and perhaps a second winter month as well. As the cost of heating oil continues to rise, a wood-burning stove is definitely more economical in a country home, and unlike oil, wood is a renewable resource. (It literally grows on trees.)

Now pardon me while I retire to the porch for a guilt-free afternoon with a CD of Schubert lieder and a Peter De Vries novel.