I know what you mean…..

(Fred among the weeds)

Something funny is happening to my computer today. I think it might need that debugger that Apple were announcing. Funny thing is ….. my cat, Fred, is unwell too….. not too sure what’s wrong, just not himself. It’s funny how when you live with a pet for a while you get to know their personality. Their behaviour. Almost what they’re thinking…..

(Fred knitting)

For example when I get up in the morning, he gets my attention from outside by making rubbing sounds on the window with his paws. As soon as I open the door he leans up against my leg and I rub his head. We walk together to the larder where he meows his wish for me to get his food out. When he’s sure I have the food he runs over to his bowl and waits there for me to catch up. He likes to start with dried food and then follows that with a little packet of fish in gravy. He’s a fish-eating vegetarian… doesn’t like meat.

(Fred considering his next move)

After breakfast he goes for a little lie down on the sofa and for the rest of the day he only comes near me when he wants more food. He doesn’t like being picked up and rarely sits on my knee. When he wants to go outside he walks over to the back door (if he wants to go out the back) or the hall door (if he wants to go out the front). If I haven’t noticed, he walks over to me, gives me the look and then looks at the chosen door. I find it impossible not to jump up and do what he wants.

(Fred checking his mail)

It’s easy to read a cat. Like reading a human, really. Someone gives us the look and we know straight away what it means.

But…. do we?

Maybe not, maybe humans are a bit more complicated than cats (not always as cute but definitely more complicated). Next time a significant other gives you the look, ask them, “Does that look mean….?”. They could surprise you, it might mean something really interesting…… like, “Please open the front door”. That’s what Fred’s look means.

Sorry about the cat photos, Mairead.

Debugger is not a rude word!

(Old door handle at Sheena’s house)

Last Friday night Denis and I sat on the sofa together and watched a session from the Apple Developers Conference. I was not sitting there because I wanted to watch grown men applaud software – it was Denis’ turn to choose a movie…..

(Avoca in Ashford serves Robins too)

But, you know, after a while it started to get interesting. This particular session was about a new debugger. Yes, that’s a real word (isn’t it great, it sounds rude, but it’s completely legal!). A debugger is a software program that helps programmers to de-bug (take out bugs, errors, faults from) the software they are writing. So if you’ve written a piece of software and it’s not doing what you thought it would be doing you use a debugger.  It steps through the lines of code you’ve written and shows you what’s happening, every step of the way. So you can see which line of code caused the problem. Apple have gone to great lengths to add lots of helpful bits to their debugging software, to provide more useful information and to make it even easier to use. And lots of people (well…men) at the conference were very pleased.

(Look! A heart-shaped stone!)

That got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be really helpful if we had a personal debugger. It could be attached to our phones or even better it could fit in our ear….. Then when something we’re not expecting happens, the debugger could replay the scene step by step and we would see what’s gone wrong, and change it.


So for example: You’re chatting with significant other (could be partner, mother, friend, sibling) and suddenly (or slowly) you realise you are really irritated and you have even begun to say some potentially damaging stuff. What’s more, you’re saying it out loud! The “other” either storms off / says some of their own stuff / starts to sob / looks stunned – take your pick.

(Little kitten legs…. cute)

Wouldn’t it be great at this moment to be able to click the debugger in your ear and find the moment where it all went wrong? Then change that line of code so it wouldn’t go wrong again? We have loads of code in our heads, written by others or written by us for a good reason, at the time, but the time is different now. We are much more intelligent than any computer, so we can debug our own code just by noticing it.

Debug yourself, Mairead.