Tuesday, 9 January 2007

07-01-2005_07-31-2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

More time wasting games...
Just went to teagames, and this has to be the funnest game this week... Sorry skribe, you'll probably be wasting as much time on this one as on Sugar Crash... hehehehe I haven't managed to finish the second level yet - 'scuse me, got to go play do research...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 9:58 PM Ted
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Crap Camera Beatup
Touted on the news tonight, the fact that we look like getting zillions more cameras. Or this article, that puts it even moremelodramatically. Gosh Harry, there are cameras going up all over the city!
Uh, hello? One word - DUH!
I've been watching the civil libertarians windoing their little rubber bands up for their next big day in the limelight. In front of news cameras, natch. Watching them and saying "come on people! are you really that stupid, that you think a camera can take something else away from you? grow up already..."
Let's see: Knowing there are camerasall over the city centre, I might be encouraged to not throw litter down on the street, like the asshole on this afternoon's bus who walked in front of me blowing clouds of smoke, and then dropped the cigarette on the step of the bus as he got in, leaving that stink for everyone else to cope with. Well that wouldn't really infringe my liberties, unless you mean my liberty to be an arsehole and my God given right to leave my rubbish in the heart of the City instead of putting it in a bin.
What else? Oh yeah a building I know of has underbuilding parking, and their tenants' cars were getting broken into at the rate of two a week. They installed camera domes (dummy domes, no cameras) and the incidence of car break-ins dropped to two or three a year.... What a bleeding liberty! I should be allowed to choose if I want my car windows smashed and my stereo ripped off!
And don't start me on nudity. There's a double iniquity here, because you wouldn't flop your tackle out and chuck a piss on a plant in a public space like Forrest Chase anyway, you'd get arrested ad done for indecent exposure. You'd be half as likely to consider it if you spared a thought for all the cameras already clustered there, and if there were more cameras you'd probably be even less likely to do so.
Ooops- that leaves poor women who breastfeed their kids in public. Have I got a message for you, ladies - tough titties! I think siphoning the python is every bit as much a nautral bodily function as feeding a baby. But guess what ladies? I use a freaking toilet! Wow what a radical concept! If you want to flop a tit out in public you should be every bit as liable to be arrested for public indecency as me! Don't like it? Hey shops know it's bad for business if people get arrested for pissing on the merchandise so they provide toilets. Put a bit ofpressure on them and they'll provide baby/tit introduction rooms too!
Sorry for that sidetrack but it pisses me off.
So what other "liberties" that I actually care about do the cameras take away from me? Drunk in public? Number one, shit if I want to ever be that undignified in front of my friends let alone under a camera - I'll just keep my drinking to a sensible level. So that's not any kind of imposition, and in fact if it doesn happen one night that I do get rat arsed pissed then I'd rather there were cameras aplenty in case some asshole decides that a drunk is easy pickings.
Catch someone going about their business of selling drugs or fenced goods? Heaven forbid.
A camera down our street catching cars, possibly including the car that carried the burglar that broke in my door? I have no objection to that either. That the camera might show who my friends are? I am proud of my friends, they are salt of the earth people. Why should that bother me?
In fact, I think I want more cameras because then, if anything happens to me, there's more chance that at least one camera will have captured the event and not been tampered with... I want people with cameraphones, life recorders, I want cameras on the outside of my house, I want them everyfreakingwhere! You know why? Because that's one way we'll find justice. The people watching those cameras aren't interested in me walking the dog, thought they might be interested if I were dogging. But then again, if there's a lot of footage to study every day, is the risk that someone catches my putative tryst in the park on some surveillance video any worse than the chance that my neighbour steps on my back while out walking their dog?
So I say go for the cameras, choke the intelligence gathering sphere with them. Please make sure that you have a camera on the carpark where I park my car on a Friday night when I come to Northbridge for dinner, okay? That way there'll be a chance the car will still be there when I want to drive home again...
So piss off sensationalising TV stations, leave this alone. And don't even get me started on the article you plan to air about Google Earth... I'd say it's a fact of life these days, deal with it, don't try and panic people with it. Fark you'd think any of this was newer or more threatening than the Cold War or McCarthyism... It isn't, so just get used to it, hey?
Categories - ::/:: Edited on: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:35 AMposted at 12:26 AM Ted Comment made, yay!
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Sunday, July 24, 2005

What can I say?
Sorry I've been unwell and not up to much bloggery. But I found this game, a Monday timewaster if ever there was one... Am I forgiven.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 9:49 PM Ted
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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Cirque du Soleil
Have been, and aside from not figuring out the plot, I enjoyed it all tremendously. I have Clapper's Hands from applauding the acts, they were all so applauseworthy - but then again, they always are...
The story seems to start with Mum and Dad and their daughter, they are both too absorbed in their worlds to take notice of her, so she follows a fantasy path and ends up taking either the red pill or the red balloon, I can't work out which. No matter - red balloons figure all the way from scrotum-sized little pairs to meteorology balloon sized monsters. I
t was kind of sad really - the littlest ballons were carried in pairs by performers, leading me to the biological analogy above, they are then released, and later, they sink back downwards. I know I wasn't alone in my train of thought cos I distinctly heard someone a few rows back saying "Look! Their balls have dropped!" and then the laughter drowned out comments for a while.
Keep earplugs handy for the louder parts, by the way. One stunt during the opening, in fact, was just a bit too loud for comfort and left me with a ringing in my ears, I don't know if that was a slip of the volume control or if they do it every performance. If they did it deliberately, it was the only crap part of the performance. Hell, even if it was an accident it was the crappest bit...
We were supposed to have had tickets for the last performance, but after we bought our tickets they extended the season by another week or two so we missed out on any last-night hijinks that might have happened, but it was still a night worth remembering. And memories are all they let you take with you, it's no cameras or videos.
As I said, I loved it, and I would even to this day, drop everything and go on tour with them if I was given the chance to. What a life, for a year or two! A month in this city, two months in that one, and suddenly you've seen half a world and had two years worth of fun, and then the option of doign it all again on the next show, which is apparenntly named "Ka". And hey - they pay you, as well!
Some simple but eye opening statistics. Le Grand Chapiteau holds 2,500 bums on seats, and five days a week they do two shows per day, the other two days they do one show. Assuming that they get most seats filled most of the time, I've guessed that the average show must net 2,000 audience members, and the average ticket is about $90.
That means they get 24,000 people a week through, at around $215,000. They have a season of what, three weeks? And they've extended this one by another two weeks, so this has to be four to six weeks, I'll middle it and say five weeks, that's a million bucks they collected in Perth this season. Talk about a reason for running away to join the circus!
Categories - ::/:: posted at 11:53 PM Ted
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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Adultescents
I watched that article on the news show Thursday (and, come to think of it, Wednesday too I think) about a new class of humans making their way up the ranks, the so-called "adultescents" who are still home at 25, 30, 40... In my day anyone who was still at home at age 18 was a bit of a pansy and probably into weirdness, you know, that's just not natural is it Beryl?
These delightful little creatures seem to me to be life's little failures - in a time of more per capita wealth than at any time since the Roman Empire, they can't get their shit together enough to move into a place of their own, they eschew responsibility and prefer to abdicate that to someone else (their parents) and they are often still studying (another favourite pet peeve of mine, studying for the sake of studying) and thus contributing a net of zero towards the household.
They are home because they know if they went into a share house they would get their lazy asses kicked out inside the first week, they aren't smart enough or willing enough to be earning enough to rent solo, and they aren't emotionally mature enough to see that all they are doing is ruining life for their parental generation.
Yes, ruining it. Once the kids hit 20 is the time when parents heave a HUGE sigh of relief, and stop paying for the tampons and condoms and extra electricity and hot water and telephone (which the adultescents firmly believe is their birthright to use but never to pay for) and star saving for their old age and for the holiday they by now deserve, and perhaps they could even reskill at the empty nest point, sell up, use the profit from a good house deal to start a new business for themselves... Well they fucking can't if their precious little millstones won't unshackle themseves from their necks!
I am aware of this. Trish has two little millstones and they are by de facto also hanging from my neck now. I can vouch for thousand dollar phone bills (across three mobile phones and a house phone) because I've seen the bill myself. I can vouch for a doubled electricity bill because we had both millstones living with their father for a month, and the electric and gas bills both halved for that month. Our water usage for that six months dropped by a sixth.
And what will these little leeches become? Big leeches. They won't like one another because they'll remind each other of themselves too much...
So hereI am, a borberline Baby Boomer, that generation which will not get a pension worth shitting on when they finally let us retire, and why are we staying behind the wheel? So that the adultescents can have it soft and easy. Argh are we dumb asses or what?
I've already gone on strike here at the house. If they can't pay half of what I pay per week, they can work for it. If they won't do that, they can do their own dinner. If the kitchen is not clean after they finish, they can have their dinner cold or raw. And if they do absolutely nothing at all for the week, then the following week the only food available for them is baked bean and spaghetti, and bread. Soon get bored with that....
Oh - and I intend to sell the house inside a year, and buy a big camper bus, sorry kids only room for two people in this, we'll see you in a year or three. Because that's something I want to do, to just cruise from town to town like a gypsy or a tinker, doing work here and there, living off a few website projects I have got simmering away on the back burners, and so on. That plan does not include kids I have entirely nothing to do with and who have cost me about $50,000 each in the last six years and who have, in way of repayment, ruined the carpets in the house, broke several doors, scribbled all up the walls of one room, and refuse to do the most basic cleaning jobs. I know the worst of adultescents, and I won't do any more than I have to for them, before they get the world to themselves...
Just a quick note: I left home at 15 going for 16, to go to Papua New Guinea for a few years for a Traineeship. The next-eldest sister left at 16 and started a family not long afterwards. Sister after that left home not long after that, and took up a job she stillholds to this day. Last little sister has three kids now, and a house. None of us could imagine staying home with Dad unless he needed caring for or something. I wnet back at 35 years of age for a few months but I lived in my caravan in the yard and came in for TV and meals.
I can't conceive of being a burden to people whom I'd already burdened for sixteen years, I don't think my sisters or contemporaries could either. As they say in their little nymph cocoons "dat shit is whack..."
Categories - ::/:: posted at 11:41 PM Ted Comment made, yay!
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

And the blog traffic dip was:
... just as predicted:

Hmmm...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 11:13 PM Ted
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How to tell if your service is "servicing" you
Ummm people? Lemme give you a hint:
If your medical benefit service is spending several million a year on advertising, they aren't spending that money on a trust fund for your next major operation... They are A) making enough money to run that ad, in addition to B) making enough money to pay all their staff, plus C) enough money to keep the CEOs in a jetset lifestyle and D) keeping their shareholders and investors happy as well.
Do you know where their income comes from? Yeap, you. And 19,000,000 more of us.
And your bank? If they can afford to put ads on every bus, and pay the medical insurance for the guy getting slapped in the head every few minutes, they are making wayyyyyy too much money of you. Are you getting what you want from your bank? I think probably not.
And let's not forget the biggest service organisation of all. If they can afford John Howard....
The service industry is still an industry. It has to produce more than just a service for you, it has to produce income. We all understand this, but for some reason we all think that Medibank will use everyone else's money for our benefit when we need it. Can you see where this is leading, if EVERYONE in Medibank feels the same way?
You can't get out of something more than you put into it. And in the case of banks and health funds, you can't possibly get more than half back out,because of operational overheads. If 75% of people who contribute to a health fund were to never fall ill at all, the other 25% might be able to get back out an amount equal to what they contributed. But if any of that 25% needs more than that, or if more than 25% fall ill, all bets are off, and the HIF will have to screw someone...
Heinlein put it best - TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. The question you have to ask yourself is: What's this particular meal worth? For example, if the recent activities of John Howard have cooked up a feast you don't want, why aren't you doing something about it? Withdraw your support for the nation for one day - just one day - make it the same day for everyone - and maybe the menu will get changed.
I suggested this a while ago when John was first mooting his employment law changes, and I'm going to suggest it again - all of Australia needs to take a Big Day Off to show our disapproval of Mr Howard's shit. If there isn't immediate response, the Big Day Off should segue into a Big Week Off.
One last intriguing train of thoughts - politically, it is not in the Government's interest to have well-off citizens. Therefore, things like certain telecommunications companies' profiteering, inept CEOs collecting millions in payouts, organisations which take a lot of your money but give back very little - these things are in the Government's interest, and that is why they are proliferating. A rich citizen is a powerful citizen, and let's face it all the Government is, is a body of powerful citizens...
The only problem is that large corporations which skim so many millions of dollars off people are also in the process of becoming a body of powerful citizens, and the trade-off the Government has to weigh is whether they prefer ten million powerful citizens or ten thousand powerful CEOs to share the power pool with them. Looks like we lucked out...
Categories - ::/:: Edited on: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 11:11 PMposted at 11:08 PM Ted
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Anyone want a premier ticket to Cirque du Soleil?
It's on the 17th, it's a premium seat, Trish's son is stuck in Cyprus and can't use it, it costs $220, it's an A Reserve ticket... If no-one buys it, it will go to waste.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 10:07 PM Ted
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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Laugh, I nearly crapped myself!
Just a link to some unfinished business. Enjoy!

Picture brought to you for free, not related.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:55 PM Ted
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Why I Didn't Post About The London Bombings Before
I didn't post anything about the London bombings because everyone has an opinion about that already. There's just nothing to say when something this big happens, that hasn't already been said before. Many times. Just like the Spanish bombings, just like the Bali bombings, just like September 11, the opinions proliferated, and the different versions of the story multiplied as everyone who thought they had an important opinion to share, did just that.
My thought is that for the time of the event, and the few days afterwards, we should refrain from trying to cash in on the search engine frenzy. Come on bloggers, there are people out there desperately lookign for information - ANY scraps of information - about what happened to their friends relatives and loved ones. And what do they get? A whole slew of bloggers from around the other side of the world proclaiming "I think the people who did this are assholes and should be executed" and similar irrelevant crap.
Were the page impressions really that important to you? Here's what happened to my blog's traffic the last few days.

That's anathema to most bloggers, so they try to fill the aching void in their stats. And the people who need information not opinion - they miss out. That's why I've left it so long before I've used those words in a blog post, to give something back - in this case, 2/3 of my page hits for a few days. It's not like my life depended on getting hits.
I'll keep you posted on how the figures bounce back now that things are settling down again.
Categories - ::/:: Edited on: Saturday, July 09, 2005 10:42 AMposted at 10:40 AM Ted More Comments: (2)
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Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Chekhov Tale?
I watched my breath frosting as I waited for the bus, in the first wan glow of the early morning sun. Even with the drizzle, still frosting. Cold. The bus arrived and we huddled inside, trying to avoid the puddles and rivulets as we tried to keep warm. The unlucky ones stand, trying to keep their feet as the bus progresses by lurches and dives. The company posters exhort us to not do this, not do that. We huddle and feel miserable, waiting to be delivered to work.
The bus lurches and shudders and bangs along, not much maintenance goes into these bare cattle trucks of the transport world. After all, what choice do we have? It's either these buses or not much else, so why bother to impress? The driver too seems to be gripped with our apathy. She ploughs through potholes, jams on the brakes, and jumps on the accelerator, with the result that we are bounced and shaken ever more violently. I grit my teeth. At this pace it will only be 40 minutes before I'm off the bus and at the workplace.
Getting off the bus is just as much like unloading cattle, we shuffle lurch shuffle out and hurry off to our assignments. Arriving at work I find that it's just as cold as outside, and resign myself to a shivering day.
Sounds like one of those depressing stories from a Russian Communist author around the 40's or 50's doesn't it? Only it's not. That is a story of the last few days. Not the cold, but the decrepitude of the buses, has me angry.
Transperth is putting the price of bus fares up, and they still don't have a fleet of buses that actually work and have airconditioning and heating, nor do their contarctors have drivers that I'd actually consider a bus driver, and despite the increase in their fares, the general level of service is going downwards...
I've been on articulated buses where the hinge section cracks up and down by 2cm under braking and acceleration, meaning those hinge joints must be almost completely worn out. Most of the buses I get on don't have airconditioning in the summer nor heating in the winter. And even relatively minor imperfections in the road surface make those older buses buck and plunge and jar exactly like cattle trucks, meaning there isn't a lot of shock absorption left in the shockies.
They are charging us more and they can't even afford to replace the shockies? Come on, that's a safety issue, as they send those older buses at 100km/h down the freeway!
And driver training? Don't make me laugh, half the drivers don't know and don't care. I've been on buses where the drivers have missed their turns, pulled out in front of columns of traffic causing chaos, knocked cyclists half off their cycles, and driven off while pasengers were still half on half off the bus. I've watched my laptop bag get airborne and smash against the driver's bulkhead, and picked up a passenger who was still trying to sit down when the driver jumped off the accelerator and onto the brake, within 15 seconds of leaving a stop, because that driver had not seen traffic right in front of him.
And this, they want to charge me extra for? Garngetstuffed Transperth, and garngetstuffed the WA Government that is allowing this situation to develop!
Categories - ::/:: posted at 5:53 AM Ted
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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Carnarvon Tracking Station.
Saw this on Flickr and it reminded me of a few tales of space, real stuff not the nambypamby pap they print in Stainless Steel Rat novels. Oh, sorry young'uns, didn't mean to do all that dribblin'...
Carnarvon Tracking Station had a pretty distinguished history, as you can see from this article. I managed to get to the Tracking Station several times. When you go to that link, look about halfway down the page, at the big console with the trackball. I operated that trackball one night, lined up the antenna on a tracking shot! Yeah!
The place was mind-blowing to a teenager with a serious case of technology envy, I mean - hey, these guys played chess by TTY with people in Houston. They had enough fancy gear that on the night I was lining up the tracking shot, Houston could get on and correct the antenna for me by remote control.
Did it spin me out? You betcha. And some stories... Man, this stuff prepared me for believing just about anything!
To begin with, the strange story of IMP-D. IMP-D was a satellite which "failed to achieve lunar orbit" in the dry NASA language. What it did was go into a rogue elliptical orbit, and there was some unofficial rivalry among the tracking stations to see who could track it out the furthest. The orbit was wild, and it went a loooooong way out at times. But what spun me out wasn't the distances that some stations tracked this.
I mean, fair enough that this basketball sized satellite could be tracked several times the distance from Earth to the Moon. Carnarvon had the world's best deep space tracking radar, the dual-dish FPQ6 system, and they held the IMP-D record forever. But what was really spooky was what happened in the late 60's when Carnarvon were tracking the little bugger one night, and it stopped.
There was a lot of pointing and booing and discussion apparently (I don't know, by the time I got there, IMP-D had become local legend already) and the guys at Carnarvon weren't all that sure it HAD stopped. No-one really believed it, because once you stick something in orbit, it doesn't just - stop.
So when, 20-something hours later, the window opened up again, the guys at Carnarvon hurriedly aimed where IMP-D should have been. Nothing. Then someone had a bright idea and suggested they aim at the last known location, i.e. where IMP-D stopped. And there it was, and 24 hours later almost to the minute it resumed its orbit as though nothing had happened.
Look, I can't confirm that but I got the story from more than one person out there, most details agreeing. Now please bear in mind that at this time transistors had been invented, and integrated circuits (chips) were still only a few hundred transistors in size. And my feeling when I heard that story was that some alien craft technologist might just have held onto IMP-D, examined it, shuddered and wheezed the Alien equivalent of "oh god, transistors and ICs, how primitive!" and like a good researcher, put everything back the way they'd found it
Hey when you see stuff like that before your 15th birthday you star to believe that "it's out there..."
I also heard an unconfirmed report that the operations manager was asked by Houston if Carnarvon was ready to participate in the Apollo 11 mission in 24 hours, and apparently there was some doubt about the readiness of some systems at Carnarvon, so to stall for time this OM said something like "I think I can definitely say that we probably will be ready."
By the time the mission touched down, Carnarvon had a new OM, apparently possibly... This story was only told to me by one person so I must consider it unconfirmed, but hey - NASA sure weren't shy about fixing procedures back then, hey?
Oh and my mate's name was David Wrigglesworth and he worked at STADAN on site. And it would have been 1972 - 1974 somewhere that I visited the Station.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 11:24 PM Ted
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