2016-04-25 Mon

Toronto’s Trees

Christopher Greaves Home_DSCN4032.JPG

I was wandering around Bloor and Christie on Saturday; picked up a copy of The Gleaner – a local community-based newspaper.

Annemarie Brissenden is spot-on when she writes “sometimes known as Tree-Coffins”.

Toronto City Council makes a lot of noise about how green Toronto is – The City Within A Park is one of its slogans – and yet the tree-planting teams seem to operate under instructions to minimize the chance of any tree’s survival, let alone growth.

The downtown core is studded with stunted trees, in many cases having no more than one square foot of open earth, the rest of the surrounding ground being smothered under concrete, or under plastic sheeting over which has been laid a metal grid to make it LOOK as if the grid provides moisture and ventilation.

The proof of the putting, to coin a phrase, is to cast an eye over Yonge Street, Bay Street or, so help me, University avenue and estimate the height of the trees.

Fifteen feet in most cases.

Christopher Greaves ../../Home/2016/Home_HPIM7902.JPG

Christopher Greaves ../../Home/2016/Home_HPIM7947.JPG

Now check out a regular street in Paris (above). Tree tops regularly reach the seventh floor of buildings.

Snow? Ice? Freezing?

Paris is north of Marseilles.

Toronto is the same latitude as Marseilles

And yes, while these two streets are broad, the sidewalks are not much wider than some in Toronto

Clear Thinking

Christopher Greaves Home_DSCN4033.JPG

Monday’s paper has another scare-story, rightly so. If I were still working, especially if I were young, I’d be a tad scared.

In 1967 when I began programming computers, the new world opened up ahead of me. I have loved programming computers ever since then; still do.

In January 1968 I began my formal training in assembly languages; these languages are basically the hardware languages of computers – load a value into an accumulator, add a value into the accumulator (or register), store the result from the accumulator back into memory, and so on.

In June 1970 I began working at ICL’s Software Development Centre where the director Dr. Bob Northcote issued the edict “No more programming in assembly language”, and that was that.

My career in assembly language programming lasted not even three years. From then on it was high-level languages such as COBOL and PL-1; structured languages which all too often bore no trace of the hardware architecture.

And it has been that way ever since.

My assembly-language job was taken over by primitive robots called “compilers” and more recently “interpreters”.

I continued to program, and the robots continued to advance.

For the past twenty years I have programmed in Visual Basic for Applications, whose GUI (graphic) forms and dialogue boxes take over much of the heavy-lifting of the user-interface.

I have “got out of” programming while I could still claim to be a programmer, but the day is surely coming when the assembly of a program will slide into bolting together a half dozen or so pre-fabricated parts.