It’s late August and Arthur’s six months old, eating messy ‘solids’ and has had one lot of surgery on his lip. He’s doing well, putting on a quarter of a kilo last week. Let’s hope that rate of growth slows somewhat, eventually! He’s pictured on the right here with Lion, a genuine native Namibian, who chose to travel back to the UK with Arthur’s Grandpa Dave (Julie’s dad). On the left, below, he’s being bewildered by my brother Nathan on his cousin Florence’s play mat.
As I mentioned, Arthur has had one operation so far. This was to ‘pin’ the sides of his lips up to the middle part of his lip, and to start pulling that middle part back a little. It is preparatory surgery for his second operation, which has recently been retimed to mid October. The second operation will be more of a cosmetic one with the aim of connecting the lip muscles rather than just the skin. Once everything has calmed down, this should go some way towards looking like a ‘normal’ lip.
Further operations will be required to close the gap in his palate and possibly to pull back the gum and bone that sit behind the middle lip. The former should take place near his first birthday, as this will be necessary for speech development. The latter will probably happen just before school age, so I reckon he’ll be a bit goofy with his milk teeth until then!
All of this is being done on the NHS, whose South Thames Cleft Services have given us some excellent support. In other countries kids aren’t quite so lucky. You’ve probably seen the adverts for SmileTrain, a charity facilitating cleft repairs for those in countries without the facilities we get from the NHS.
Anyway, tonight sees him move out of our room and into his own bedroom, into the cot bed that could be his bed for the next four and a half years! Hopefully he’ll take to it well. We’ll see!
During Julie’s pregnancy he was diagnosed with a cleft lip and palate. Have a look at www.clapa.com, the Cleft Lip & Palate association, for some great material about the condition (for instance, “one in every 600-700 children in the UK is born with a cleft lip and / or palate”). In Arthur’s case the cleft is bilateral and so the middle part of his upper lip is not pulled into position by the rest of the lip. This is the protrusion under his nose (see the picture below and right). They’ll operate on this when he’s about 3 months old to pull it into position. See these photos for examples of the results.
As you can see, he has a feeding tube taped into position. He can’t form suction due to his cleft palate: There’s no way of creating an air tight seal with a bottle or breast. Usually the tube would go up through the nose, but the combination of cleft lip and palate mean that there’s no separation between nasal passage and the mouth.
The feeding tube is a little irritating for him, and not an ideal feeding mechanism for new parents with no medical background (though it’s not rocket science either). So we’re trying to teach him to use his automatic sucking reaction in combination with us squeezing a bottle of milk to simulate what would happen if his sucking were effective. It seems that getting him feeding more naturally like this is good for his development. And the transition seems to be going well so far!
But enough of the cleft. He’s a much loved little boy with blonde highlights in his hair, an inquisitive gaze (when he’s awake) and of a good weight (8lb 8oz / 3.85kg). He’s brought a lot of joy to Julie and I and to all the grand parents, for whom he’s the first grandchild (by a few months at least).
The main point of this post was to show a couple of photos for those who had been asking. However, as I hadn’t previously mentioned the cleft to everyone I wanted the photos to appear in the context of an explanation. I hope it has interested you a little.
I’m trying out an application to provide multiple desktops on my PC with a 3D cube effect for navigating between them. It’s called DeskSpace and was introduced to me by Ben Taylor. Have a look at it in action.
It provides six virtual desktops, one for each side of the cube. A short cut key (for me, Windows+Alt) zooms out to see the cube view whereupon the arrow keys or mouse wheel can be used to rotate the cube. Translucency helps you work out which way to rotate to access your applications. You can also ‘throw’ applications through the edge of one desktop to move them over to another, or quickly navigate to a particular application via a system tray icon.
It’s not a new application. It’s been around for a couple of years, in fact, and possibly as a result it seems quite stable. It works with XP and Vista (plus Vista x64).
Ben and I were talking through how it works. It seems to freeze each desktop into a bitmap image at the point you switch desktops, so updates to another desktop are not visible in the cube (unlike Vista’s card deck Windows-Alt feature). There is also occasional task bar application shuffling when shifting to a new desktop, indicating that it might be selectively hiding applications rather than maintaining multiple desktops in the fashion of multi-monitor desktop extensions.
Not sure how much of a memory hog it is – 4GB of memory sort out most issues – but it is reporting a working set of 150MB (not 150K as I previously stated!)
There’s a 30 day trial and then the per-person (yet multi-machine) licence is currently $24.95 US.
I’ve installed Google Latitude on my HTC Touch HD, which came packaged as a new version of Google Maps, and can now see myself labeled on the map. Hoorah. Now all I need are a view friends with it installed.
One issue I can see, though, is that it does not seem to be updating my location in the background, if the blue dot on the map is anything to go by. I have to make Google Maps the foreground application for it to re-determine my location. Maybe the Android version works better.
ReSharper is a fantastic add-in to Visual Studio, and the latest revision of it is now available for download as a beta. There’s a 30 day free trial period available, and I really would encourage any C#, VB.NET or ASP.NET programmers to try it out. I could try and convince you with talk of code-time compilation warnings, super intelligent statement completion, refactoring an order of magnitude more featureful than Visual Studio, but in the end the best argument for why you’ll want to buy this product is based on how much more productive you’ll be when you use it.
This next version has the usual batch of new refactorings, but the major story is its support for C#3 and LINQ, with specific refactoring for these.
Here’s the link to the download for the beta: Link to The Most Intelligent Add-In To Visual Studio
If they’re operating the same model as for previous releases then you may well be able to download successive revisions to the tool and restart your 30 day trial each time. With version 1 of the tool I was going for a full three months without paying a thing. I did subsequently purchase it (out of Avanade’s gadget allowance) and I think it has been worth every penny. I reckon you’ll think the same.