About itllallendintears

An(other) English eccentric.

On Yer Bike

Like many the early pandemic period pushed me towards finding a way to stay fit(ter) at home. Our usual routine of walking every day is a good thing, but despite it’s benefits for mental health, it really only provides a floor for cardiovascular health. Given that there are essentially no hills around here, something else is required…

And so i bought an exercise / spinning bike. More specifically i bought a Schwinn IC8, which is now “updated” and called an 800IC. Over the last two years it has needed “service” several times to fix issues that seemed to caused by poor quality construction. Fingers crossed is now running smoothly. The local service provider was good about it, sending someone out during the warranty period (now ended) but it was a slow and frustrating process.

Several years later we’re both still semi-regularly using it… so that’s good! What tends to happen is that we’ll get into a routine, fall out of it, and taking a few weeks (or months depending on what is going on!) to get back in the saddle.

I’ve had a good few runs, where it was obvious that it was doing good things to my general level of health… during one of these periods a good friend (thanks again Sean!) bought me a heart monitor so i could better track my progress. I’d really like to lower my frenetic resting heart rate – in my head (and heart apparently) i’m a small, nervous, mammal.

The bike has a power meter, probably ridiculously inaccrurate, but hopefully consistent in its inaccuracy. One of my first requirements was to (privately) track some basic infomation about my rides… and, oh my, that’s a nightmare! Eventually i found an app called Kinetic, which would at least record the power meter, heart monitor, and send the data to the Health app on my phone.

After some more coaxing from Sean, it looks like i’ve finally got a stable (and in hindsight) and entirelly obvious setup: connect the heart monitor to the bike (bluetooth); connect the bike to Kinetic; cycle; end the ride and let Kinetic transfer the data to connected apps (currently Health and Strava).

Now i’d like to keep a routine through the winter and emerge from my cocoon in spring as a beautiful, big legged, healthy, butterfly… try not to dwell too long on that mental image!


It’s sometimes difficult to work out when to stop doing something. This “phase” of my photograph / snap goes back a ways, there are definitely examples before this one in 2010.

Often wish i’d been more focused. Yesterday we watched Smoke, which, amoungst other themes, is about an accidental photographer who ends up taking the same picture every day for 4000 days. Photography projects need something like that, an absurd dedication to something that makes little impact in isolation but has the power to overwhelm and become “art”.

My personal photographic journey has been far more scattered. Numerous themes, endless false starts, deadends, distractions. Don’t think i ever had the self-belief / courage to actually become a photographer.

Regrets? Far more than a few!

MacBook Pro 2021 Review

Back in 2018 work gave me a new MacBook Pro. One would struggle to say that it was “well received“. That said, it was just a work machine. Plugging in an external screen and keyboard made it sort of tolerable… not really, just moving the mouse is enough to spin up the fans.

Work is work, but my main home machine was a late 2013 MacBook Pro that had none of the issues of the 2018 model… except it was old and slooow. It also stopped being able to upgrade to the latest o/s versions. The writing was on the wall…

<several weeks later>

The new machine is fine. The screen is amazing, the speakers impressive. Performance is kind of unbelievable – tasks like compiling ffmpeg which used to peg all cores for minutes are over before you’ve even noticed.

The case feels flimsy / thin. The bottom panel is especially flexible, the screen housing is better, but overall the case is a step down in quality / ruggedness. I know i’m not supposed to be trying to abuse it, but it feels too fragile!

The keyboard is only “okay”. It’s still too loud in a kind of “clunky” way that doesn’t inspire confidence in its longevity. The lack of contrast between the keys and the bed makes it harder to use in lowlight. Yes, i could turn on backlighting… but, no. Oh, and the TouchID “key” looks and feels out of place – not that the one on the 2018 model is anyway good / better. At least i’m using it on this machine and enjoying not having to type my password as often.

Unlike the 2016 debacle the above issues are more qualms / quibbles. If i’d been able to walk into the store and see / feel before buying, on balance, i’d probably still have bought one.

In short: still in mourning, and not sure i should have started dating again so soon.


Today i remembered the time i had to learn to reverse a articulated truck as a teenager. This was likely before getting a conventional driving license. All of which set me off on a search to see it was possible to find the related patent that my father was granted… and it is!

It’s Patent US4784066A, which is handily available on Google with all the diagrams, one of which is below.

Don’t remember much about truck drivng beyond the unfeasibly numerous low gears, ridiculously long clutch, and how it was impossible to see anything at the back. It might be that someone else lined the thing up and my job was only to slowly reverse onto the railway tracks to couple with the boogie (technical talk!)

Out there somewhere is a short segment on the project that appeared on Tomorrow’s World. Periodically i go looking for an archive, but the BBC gave up adding things long ago… having written all that, it seems terribly familiar, and makes me worry that i’m repeating myself!

PaulStretch on Apple Silicon in 2022

It’s become something of a tradition – will the PaulStretch code still work n years later? The answer invariably is, yes!

Clone from github:

% git clone https://github.com/paulnasca/paulstretch_cpp.git
Cloning into 'paulstretch_cpp'…
remote: Enumerating objects: 166, done.
remote: Total 166 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 166
Receiving objects: 100% (166/166), 92.98 KiB | 2.58 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (101/101), done.

Look at previous notes and install dependencies:

% sudo port install fltk
% sudo port install audiofile
% sudo port install libmad
% sudo port install portaudio
% sudo port install fftw-3-single
% sudo port install mxml

Apply the following patch to XMLwrapper.cpp

% git diff XMLwrapper.cpp
diff --git a/XMLwrapper.cpp b/XMLwrapper.cpp
index 1efb66e..8fe17ad 100644
--- a/XMLwrapper.cpp
+++ b/XMLwrapper.cpp
@@ -29,7 +29,7 @@ int xml_k=0;
 char tabs[STACKSIZE+2];
 const char *XMLwrapper_whitespace_callback(mxml_node_t *node,int where){
-    const char *name=node->value.element.name;
+    const char *name=mxmlGetElement(node);
     if ((where==MXML_WS_BEFORE_OPEN)&&(!strcmp(name,"?xml"))) return(NULL);
     if ((where==MXML_WS_BEFORE_CLOSE)&&(!strcmp(name,"string"))) return(NULL);
@@ -407,10 +407,10 @@ void XMLwrapper::getparstr(const char *name,char *par,int maxstrlen){
     if (node==NULL) return;
-    if (node->child==NULL) return;
-    if (node->child->type!=MXML_OPAQUE) return;
+    if (mxmlGetFirstChild(node)==NULL) return;
+    if (mxmlGetType(mxmlGetFirstChild(node))!=MXML_OPAQUE) return;
-    snprintf(par,maxstrlen,"%s",node->child->value.element.name);
+    snprintf(par,maxstrlen,"%s",mxmlGetText(mxmlGetFirstChild(node), NULL));

Generate the UI:

% fluid -c GUI.fl
% fluid -c FreeEditUI.fl

And compile:

% g++ -ggdb -Wno-return-type GUI.cxx FreeEditUI.cxx *.cpp Input/*.cpp Output/*.cpp `fltk-config --cflags` \
 `fltk-config --ldflags`  -laudiofile -lfftw3f -lz -logg -lvorbis -lvorbisenc -lvorbisfile -lportaudio -lpthread -lmad -lmxml -o paulstretch
GUI.cxx:661:23: warning: object backing the pointer will be destroyed at the end of the full-expression [-Wdangling-gsl]
        const char *outstr=control.Render(control.get_input_filename(),outfilename,type,intype,
1 warning generated.

Ignore the warning and run the thing!

% ./paulstretch &