Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Mars Revelation

Mars revelations come thick and fast.  Rather than just inflate the rank of this article on Computerworld , I've been doing a bit of thinking about it.

See, originally, febrile, fertile imaginations such as ER Burroughs populated the red planet (and a few of the others) with teeming thriving life.  Of course, they didn't have it as good as Earth, well, okay, as good as certain fertile parts of Earth - but there sure was such a solar system out there.  Venusian, Jovian, Martian - you name it... You can argue that once astronomy proved that Mars = Venus = Jupiter = "A planet' = Earth, then Burroughs and Verne and the space opera writers that followed merely extrapolated as far as "Those are planets, Earth is a planet, Earth has life - hmmm..." and took it from there.

Fast forward to as far as we can go on this particular tape, being that article above.  It's the culmination of what has now become a fairly large body of research data being analysed, and in pretty short order, we were informed that Mars had the right chemicals for life.   Except water.  And atmosphere.  And temperature....

But those groovy little 'bots we sent up there sent back a neat series of numbers, and now we're told that not only does Mars have water in the form of subsurface ice, it has snow as well.  Slowly, we're having to come to the realisation that Mars may well have had life. Bear in mind, the article also states that the presence of free water is probably almost as far back as the birth of our solar system.  And it has no answer to the temperature problem either.

But we do know of extremophile bacteria that live happily in permafrost, others that live in superheated steam vents, yet others that thrive only when shielded from oxygen, so we know that life will find a way no matter what conditions.

But the revelation for me came in the closing words of the article.  "scientists are hoping to activate a microphone to record sounds on Mars before power fails" - because we do all know that sound can only be transmitted in a medium, it could not be heard if there is no atmosphere.  So when will we see the first Martian on a robotic webcam?

Monday, 29 September 2008

Whattya Mean?

"I pickeded you a mulberryz
but I eated it" ???

Cyber Twin

Just been reading up on conversations my Cybertwin has been having - damned if it doesn't get some interesting conversations...

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Union "rights" - isn't that what Unions were for in the forst place?  to break bad laws?
I don't know about the Union ads on TV at the moment - asking Labor to make sure the Unions and workforce get back their empowerment to strike on social issues.  It's a sort of a vicious circle thing, isn't it?

I mean, Unions were originally formed to prevent unscrupulous employers from taking advantage of the workers.  Unions were the "power of the people" creating some equilibrium in the economy which grew up along with our Industrial and Technological Revolutions.  They were about changing the laws.  Now they seem to have sat back and let the government extract their testicles, gonads, and vas deferens, to the point where they have to run ad campaigns to try and get their right (to get rights back) back.

Come on Nutless Ones - all it takes is for everyone to take their nose out of the feed trough and all strike together. Every single last person in the workforce. A resounding slap in the face of the "government." (I parenthesise that word because it is to be hoped that every government worker will also be on strike.)

Why doesn't it happen?  Because a lot of people are not unhappy enough with their lot yet.  Unions started to gain power in an environment where a lot of people were working very hard and still not able to support themselves and their families, and thus rife for exploitation.  Banding together was the only way to negotiate.  But today, it's hardly that big of an issue.   We have enough.  Even though a government is adroitly removing over half of that from your pockets in various forms of taxes and fees, we have enough.

So "naivetics" (my simple view of politics) doesn't work.  And speaking of that, here's another thing that puzzles my naivetic senses:

The financial crisis.  Caused?  By the collapse of a few key lending institutions.  Why did they collapse?  Because the people they were lending to, stopped paying.  Why did they stop paying?  They didn't have enough.  Now everyone in the USA is going to share a portion of the burden that the "not enoughs" have dropped.  It makes Unions irrelevant in a way.

And it avoids the real issue, which is that a few people at the tops of those pyramids became, and still are, very very rich.  When in fact they didn't do such a great job, actually.  Had they been more vigilant in their oversight, they would have picked that their field agents were making poor risk choices, and acted to stop them.  But all they chose to see was lots of customers, ergo lots of income.  Right?  As they always say, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, and watching a table load up with food without wondering who was gonna pay for all that was just sloppy management.

Aren't there criminal laws that can be applied in this case?  See, the fact that they're not being applied makes me think maybe the government was looking away too, and still are.  Maybe they can handball this hot potato until the luckless new guy gets in.   Maybe they too were watching the table load up with food.

The facts that my naivetics can see are that in the USA, people's rights have been curtailed and denied for decades, their individuality has been repressed, and by means of  schools, advertising, and enforcement, they have been brainwashed to a great degree to become a pliant mass.

It actually seems not to have worked, because now those chickens are coming home to roost with a vengeance.  The USA is considered an annoying voice but no longer a superpower nor even relevant to many, and it has now collapsed financially, making it less of an economic force too.

To top it off, the USA now plans to use that economic disaster to welsh out of carbon emissions responsibilities.  That means that at some stage, some real new world power is going to have to step in and tell them to shut their machinery down, or have it shut down percussively.  NOTE: See below for update, a scant day later.

And the only difference between the USA and Australia is that they have a few decades' head start on us...  C'mon Aussies - always always keep the bastards honest!  We have a chance to not follow the USA into that nasty place reserved for the fallen school prefect.  Let's not muck it up - tell the government that we expect follow-through and action on the issues such as petrol prices, carbon emissions, sustainable energy, and environmental issues.

Maybe then we'll have a voice as a people again, and with any luck that voice won't be speaking a foreign language.

:UPDATE: Companies may not know that we're a few decades behind the USA - seems they too want carbon emissions relief *now,* same as their reflections overseas.  Told you it wouldn't take long...  This is where Rudd needs to use some of those gonads he extricated from the Unions, and put his foot down... 

What precisely is a "corn dog?"

I never knew, until I saw this .  Now I know.

I'm onto the 2nd Edition of The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook and this time around I've been looking for royalty-free (and free to download) images that address the book's subject matter, and so far it's all good.  That image has given me a chance to sit and grin, and I might call it a day.  The whole page is here  if you're into healthy food for a Shih-Tzu.

The 2nd Ed will have a bit more explanation and hopefully some extra recipes too.  Also, I'm hoping to have 2nd Ed set to some medium-sized book format so it can also be printed by the online on-demand printers such as Amazon or Lulu or similar.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

This site is its own Re:ward

http://www.urbanrevision.com/ - and also a site I'll be following from now on, see if it has worthwhile hints and tips on it.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Acerbities - beware, leave a bad taste

Thoughts tonight, in random order:

(While listening to very gay evening show announcer commenting on gross foods, when he was shuddering with campy shudderiness about rollmops, a herring fillet wrapped around a few pieces of pickle, and then pickled itself.)  What, he won't put fish in his mouth?

(Watching a TV show where they had a smashed mobile phone but managed to recover "the last message on it") So the message came from a throwaway disposable mobile phone - you still have its number.  And from cell tower records you can tell which numbers it called or sent texts to.  And therefore, you have the number of the mobile phone currently in forensics.  And therefore, you can examine records to see which phone numbers it, in turn, rang or texted.  This is not rocket science yet a supposedly cutting edge forensics team were stumped by it.

(Seeing people performing senseless acts of violence on other people, either in school shootings, one-punch manslaughters, bashings over a measly handful of money from ATMs, and a bashing to get a car from one person.)  If you think there's always a bit of good deep down in everyone, then obviously you have met wayy too few people yet.  Aleister Crowley had a philosophy of life which we these days translate as "Do as ye will shall be the full extent of the Law" - but in fact in Crowley's time it was "an ye harm none, do as ye will shall be the whole extent of the Law."  We've lost that respect for one another somehow.

(Hearing about McCain ditch his campaign to do something about the USA economy brings several sad thoughts in a short train:)  How is McCain going to fix an economy he didn't even acknowledge was b0rked until a few days ago?  Does he have enough money personally to fix this?  Is he going to go to Bill Gates, Larry Ellinson, Larry Page, and Sergei Brin and call in favours we don't know about?  How will he cope as a President when Medvedev is on the Hotline, Iraq, Pakistan, and North Korea want to launch nuclear missiles, and the tea lady asks him how he wants his coffee?  And why suspend your campaign because of this?  You have a running mate.  While you're multitasked and can't give it your all, she can take up the slac....  Oh...  Yeah, she has kids to drop off at hockey and an NRA meeting she's speaking at...

(China Land of Hasty Shoddy Nonpoisonous pick any two are working on developing a space drive based on microwave ejection) And it will not have lead based paint, nor will the plastic bits make our workers hallucinate if they chew them, the microwave klystrons (or magnetrons, have it your way) will not have that shoddy insulation on them nor will they break down and pass 23,000 volts back into the spaceframe of the ship, and we'll build it between disasters like earthquakes, typhoons, and Olympics...

Then too we have climate change gurus arguing with climate won't change gurus while the climate changes, petrol prices and rents making one small sector very happy at the expense of a much larger sector, rental rage, road rage, and idiots on the road.

This has just been a week for it.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Natural Selection In Action...

Isn't Nature wonderful - cos no-one wants depressed kids - right?  (Well, Nature gets a hand from drug companies in this case - but the end result is the same... )

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

O Damn!

Are they sure they couldn't have picked a slightly less hackable name ?

Really, though - what possesses people to pick names without first thinking about the ramifications?  O damn.  We seem to have come across as a bunch of Dicks, turned the firm into a bit of an antifirm ... Oh well...

Take Inches Off!

... your manhood, I guess.  I dunno - I'd much prefer to be receiving two dozen emails a day for this than for the opposition...  Something about giving the ego a big boost, I spose.  

BTW I can have the product delivered to you in a brown paper package (as if THAT wasn't giveaway enough) emblazoned with the words "viagra!  cialis! sock it to her!" if you feel the least bit embarassed.  All for the low low price of double whatever...   

I can't help thinking though that they missed an important marketing angle by not including a "sensual gel" version of their product.  You know, "for when she just isn't in the mood..."

Law - Ur Doin It Rong...


Monday, 22 September 2008

So You Can Hear The Smoke, Of Course...

Some days the voices just pile up.  Today's been such a day, as soon as I read this article the voices started ringing bells and sounding sirens...

See, all this time I've believed (along with probably the majority of people) that our sense of smell goes to sleep when we do.  There's supposedly a whole body of respected research out there that says so.

It's why we're urged to install smoke detectors, so we get woken by the sound because we won;t smell the smoke.  And yet - now that I come to think of it, I've never actually seen or heard a single citation of any kind to support that claim...

If I wasn't drugged by The State with anti-suspicion drugs in my water and food, I'd suspect a conspiracy to sell a lot of smoke detectors...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Happy Anniversary To My Private Parts!

Wow.  I realised I've completely passed over an anniversary I should have had framed and hung on my wall.  You see, three years and a few weeks ago, I joined the growing list of men who get told the grave news that they're developing prostate cancer.  For most men, there are few choices at that point.  You either have the prostate scraped to reduce size if it's a benign hyperplasy, or have it surgically removed if it's not so benign, or you undergo a round of pretty horrible chemotherapy that will make you very miserable and ill for a while.

Once you've undergone your procedure, you're not really off the hook yet, either.  In all the above cases, chances are extremely good that you will have been rendered impotent by the procedures, or urinarily incontinent, or - if you're one of the luckless ones - both.  On top of that, there's always the chance that the procedure didn't get all the cancerous cells, which means you can at best expect a recurrence of the prostate cancer, and at worst, a metastasing and spreading to all other parts of your body.

There's no question of it, prostate cancer has rapidly become one of the major killers of men in modern times.

When I got my results, and did some research, I didn't like ANY of those outcomes.  Besides, at only 48 years of age, I was NOT looking forward to having a good chance at impotence.  I also discovered, quite by accident, that the average age of men diagnosed with prostate cancer was getting lower, so, like me, many other guys must be in the same situation.

A chance remark by my urologist got me started on developing The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook diet.  He mentioned pomegranate juice, tomato paste, and red wine.  And suggested that I "pulse" with selenium supplement.  As he'd made no mention of dosages etc, I did some research for myself.  What I found, I applied to myself, and after seven months of using only my diet discoveries, I went back for a re-test.

The results amazed both my urologist and my GP, because in that seven months (and using ONLY my diet, no other treatment whatsoever) I reduced my PSA levels back to what a healthy 30 year old might be expected to have, and rather than put me through the pain and trauma of another biopsy, both my urologist and my GP concluded that with a PSA level that low, there was no chance that there were any abnormal cells in my prostate any more.

It was that simple.

Eat the right things, AT THE RIGHT TIMES AND IN THE RIGHT COMBINATIONS, and prostate cancer, atherosclerotic plaques, and several other forms of urinary and genital inflammation and cancer can be  beaten in less than a year.

Last year I posted this article because I was so relieved that my PSA levels were staying low.  This year I've had another PSA done and it has remained low.  My doctor has begun handing out the URL to my website.  Because, there are now several treatments for prostate cancer available - but they are still harsh medications and will have harsh side effects, no matter what they claim.  And my doctor knows that the worst thing that can happen to you on my diet is indigestion.  Maybe.  If you're very very unlucky.

The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook diet is based on eating the right foods, prepared the right way, and at the right times, to maximise the benefit your body can extract from them.  It includes one supplement in tablet form, being Selenium with Vitamin E, but this is only taken at certain times.  Everything else is just good healthy foods and recipes, and my research results which dictated how and when to use particular foods more.

If you have, or know someone with, prostate cancer, urinary or genital cancers, atherosclerosis (plaques in the arteries which cause heart attacks,) then The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook is the way to go.  It's simple, healthy, and from every bit of feedback I've had, seems to be effective both by itself or in combination with conventional treatments.

Also if you just generally want to avoid these woes, buy the book, because it's also a good way to prevent these things happening in the first place.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Future Aren't This Guy

... or at least *shudder* one would hope not.  Lesse - "Cxxxxx is now following you on Twitter"

Go do the standard vetting procedure - is this another person hoping to show me how successful they are at network marketing? (Cos, like, I close those windows without reading any further, ergo, they are shit at network marketing...)

Nope, passes that one.

Closer look at the bio:

Name Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx
Location xxxx, XXXXX
Web http://xxxxxx
Bio Micro-blogger, football fanatic, tech geek and hip hop/spoken word creative genuis.

Hmm, a genius eh?  Living the high dot com life maybe?  Read down his measly 10 updates, hardly an amazing output for a "hip hop/spoken word creative genuis."  And there's the give-away, this sure is some entrepreneur, folks:

"The 360 prices have dropped again. It's incredibly tempting to pick up a premium/elite and maybe a small HDTV for my room."

Ah so he either sharehouses or lives with his Mum.  Still, maybe I'm selling him short, I go on to his website.

"Students and tangerines share many similarites. For one, they both tend to be out of favour amongst teachers - although admittedly for different reasons. Teachers tend to favour apples to both tangerines and students, though taking an apple for teacher will always put you above the tangerine. And remember! An apple a day keeps the Doctor away!"

And to top it off, his blogsite's name is dangerously close to "christuranob.wordpress.com..." Meh 'scuse me if I don't avail myself of the chance to add this miracle of verbal erudition...

What's the difference between a singer and a blogger?

People don't like ads in a song...  So maybe there's something in all those muso jokes...  How can you tell if your lead singer's at the door?  They're pissed, can't find the key, don't know when to come in, and haven't figured out how to put AdSense in the lyrics.

Friday, 19 September 2008

It's Called The Human Condition

Hmm - Sometimes, when you look at religion, and then look at pretty much anything else, there are just too many similarities to pass off as coincidence.  Our brains must have some huge faith circuits built into them...

"When will God perform His next miracle?" - "He doesn't work like that anymore."

"When will AdSense make me rich?" - "It doesn't work like that anymore."

"When will someone come up with a treatment for emphysema?" - "It doesn't work like that - more chance they'll find a cure for Parkinson's, for that LRRK2 gene."

See, I've just read that Sergei Brin, one of the billionnaire founders of The Google Empire, has started a blog where he states that his genes carry a mutation known as G2019S which apparently makes him more prone to develop Parkinson's.

I'm distressed for him, of course - knowing one is at more risk than average for something is distressing and disquieting.  But come on Sergei - you're only "substantially more predisposed to" your illness.  Me, on the other hand, I'm 100% certain I have emphysema and it will kill me well before my time.  

You, with several billion dollars at your disposal, you can fund a dozen networked labs with the latest technology to work on a solution to your problem.  Would you plough similar funds into labs to fund a cure for dying of slow suffocation?  "Ah, no - I don't work like that these days..."

Parkinson's and emphysema (and every other major debilitating illnesses) all do one thing the same - they effectively shrink your available horizon, proscribe doing certain things, prevent certain things.  The nastiest of them, they proscribe life itself at some point  There are millions of people in a similar situation.  So yeah Sergei - I'll of course pray to all the relevant bodies - whatever gods are approrpiate, Google, Microsoft, Technology - that they find a way to nail Parkinson's for you once and for all.  But I'll be praying harder for a lottery win so I can enjoy my remaining years and help find a way to get new lungs that isn't so risky.  AdSense just isn't going to do it for me... %)

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Casein Glue?

Geez I hope they aren't using any dairy products in Shenzhou 7, 8, 9, and 10...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Bigger The Cloud, The Better.

I've resigned myself and gone with it.  I'm whipped.  Look, I wasn't always like this - in the early '90s, I was as outraged by Microsoft's surely tightening stranglehold on the computers of the day.  In the mid '90s, I mounted my own little war on Microsoft by getting rid of IE (it was a crap browser, anyway) and installing Netscape.  Late '90s - trying to get MS Office replaced with - well, something else...

The point is, I was just doing what the hippies twenty years earlier had been doing - I was rebelling against "establishment."  I saw the zeroes piling up after the significant digits in Bill Gates' fortune, and I rebelled.  Yet in a very direct and major way, MS levelled the ground and provided a starting platform for a lot of VERY clever people to make software that changed the world.  And provided a good incentive to Linux developers to make better software.  And encouraged a few other software companies to produce some innovative applications.

And then Google displaced Altavista, and I was pissed all over again.  Also, things like those wiki things and CMS's started appearing.  Why would I want to keep my information anyplace but my own PC?  Of course, being a system administrator at several medium organisations soon allayed my fears about using a server on the LAN.  Keeping them on a server out there in teh intarnets, that was still worrisome.

But Google made something of themselves, and next thing I was using Gmail and Google Apps, and Notebook, and Calendar.  I was annoyed that Google had my documents on their servers, but I accepted that we don't have any privacy anyway (sorry all you privacy campaigners, but come on!) and that if someone wanted my data it was as safe on a server out in the cloud as it was on my Internet-connected PC at my desk.

I put my notes on wikis, my more often used documents on a very good Internet file server, and let Google keep my email archive.  Then Gears, and suddenly, all that could happen offline as well as online.  My whipped status was definitely developing nicely.

Then two weeks ago, Chrome.  I've given up, resigned myself, and become one of the sheep of the wave of the future.  Google will own all our asses in another two years anyway, I may as well.

In a weird kind of way, it makes sense though.  There are two ways to prevent loss of privacy, the obvious one which is to get off grid, off computers, hide all the paperwork in a trunk buried out in the Nullarbor and go find a cave in Mt Meharry to live in.  The second, less obvious way, occurred to me while I was a system admin at an ISP.  I often got asked if I did spend my day reading email, and my answer was always "yes.  but my own email, I get enough to do with responding to my own email, why would I want to increase my workload by reading someone else's?"  So the second way is to make sure there are a LOT of people using the services online, to hide in plain sight among a steganographic mountain of similar data.

Google may be skirting the edges of Being Evil but by being so popular they're also Being Good.  I feel pretty safe putting my documents on their servers, having my email archived there, and of course stuff like this blog and my Picasa and Flickr pages are there to be publicly available.  Clouds are good, with my data spread out among multiple machines and networks, and buried in terabytes of similar data fragments, I can feel pretty relaxed.  Google's got my back... %)

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Funny How This Title Seems To Say Nothing Much At All

Over at over at Gizmodo is an article which basically says the blockquote is the death of good blogging:

10: The blockquote sandwich
Lede, blockquote, analysis, quip.
The form is simple, and done well, it makes for a perfect post. As a formula, however, it's poison.
First, introduce what you're going to quote. Then quote it. Then say what you think of it. Got nothing to add? Drop the analysis altogether, or replace the quip with a question for your readers.

The article goes on to say that it's even worse form to just rewrite someone else's post and then sit back and pat oneself on the back as having written original content.

My little insight with that is, that makes pretty much every piece of commentary on articles, an act of plagiarism.  Would my readership prefer it if I just sort of mentioned a particular piece of news or whatever that I've dug up, but then went on to discuss something entirely different?

Let's call it the Blogopathic Blogging Style - that would satisfy my metaquoted source above.  You'd benefit because you'd essentially get two blog articles for the price of one - you'd get the blockquote and link, then my own section which will deal with something totally unrelated, and if I work things right I could even make the title of the post a mini article on a third and totally unrelated matter...

Of course, whatever I've written, I must have heard or read somewhere, so I must be, by their terms, "rewriting" the article or experience.  Unless I become totally narcissistic and only ever write about things I've personally lived and experienced.  I can just see it now "The TEdALOG Blog of Logs I've Flushed" - and then I realise that this isn't a new idea either, judging from some of the shit I've read.  But yeah - it would satisfy the "no rewrites of someone else's material" requirement.

Let's face it - unless I have a journalist's credentials to get me into places, and the equipment to record those places and my thoughts on the places, all my blogging is going to have come from stuff I've read or heard someplace else, and becomes a form of metablogging.  It's the "insight" part of the structure quoted above that makes blog articles worth reading, the meat of blogging.  Fine, I've read the journalist's finely crafted story, but now what do other people around the world think about it?

Well, I've taken the "Strunk & White of Blogging" mantle on, and I think that my new blogopathic style could conceivably take off, and fix both Gizmodo's groanings and BoingBoing's bitches.  Not that I'd be comfortable using it, but I can but give it a try.  But I also think that I personally wouldn't be comfortable using the style that the above two blogs seem to think are desireable, i.e. let's just forget about attributions and quotes because my article doesn't need no steenking explanatory leenks.

Because I prefer to know what I've plagiarised...

Watch Out - There's A Bigger Fish In The Pool!

I bet this was awkward for Mr Nelson...  Our pollies all have leadership issues fever and there's this sense of shark feeding frenzy out in Pollyannaland.  But are any of them looking over their shoulder at this yet?

Monday, 15 September 2008

Giggle Of The Day

Found over at 5ives and which made me choke on coffee:

Five rejected names for a single-serving meal product

April 4th, 2008
  1. Quiet Evenings
  2. Me & the Kitties
  3. Lonesome Bites
  4. Monomunches
  5. Singles…for Life!

Catch 22 VR-style...

Uh yeah.   I was gonna phone them about that...

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Need An Edge? Speak To Me!

I often wonder about the most inscrutable of things.  Like, what is a "lucky bastard?"  Do they have to have unwed parents? And is that really lucky?

I mean - why is it that some guy gets on the New Inventors and gains an angel investor from it, with his absolutely crap Left Handed Stapler, when other people spend a fortune (and half their lives) developing the Totally Clean Renewable Energy System That You Can Buy For Five Hundred Bucks and never even gets one investor?

Here's the case that started me thinking. I've had literally hundreds of these kinds of ideas, and every so often one has come along that I felt just HAD to get developed.  I've then tried to interest investors to help develop it, and not once have I had more than a polite decline.

Stuff that had had me trying everything to get developed, came to nothing. Then, generally, someone else did it instead:

E-book readers.  I realised in 1996 that we'd soon be getting most content delivered via teh intartubes, and PDA devices were just becoming useable enough to make it possible. I thought "how hard could it be to get a device with rechargeable batteries, that could connect to the PC (umm, yeah, wayyyy before WiFi or Bluetooth) and download my books, documents, news articles, and other stuff?"  - the company I contacted, who DID do laptops and portable tablet style machines, said they couldn't see it being more useful than one of their existing machines.  Which turned out to be vaporware, just by the way - they never really produced a machine as far as I recall.

Music players.  Ditto.  I realised around that same time that if places could take the steps of - pressing to vinyl or CD, making album art, and shipping the physical product, - out of the supply chain, then they could deliver direct to the customer via dem tubes.  I was thinking of a home stereo component more than a piece of software like iTunes, but all the right concepts were there, including sending samples based on existing listening habits.   Chastened by the e-book reader debacle, I never followed up on this one.  One word.  Argh.

Charging any device via a single contactless (inductive) charging surface.  Would have required battery manufacturers to make batteries with a coil and voltage regulator built in, the pad would supply just an induced electric field.  Later I realised that if you had all that antenna already there, you could place a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor on the same pad and keep them all powered by inductive power too, and also send the signals using low power transmissions via a scheme like Bluetooth.  (Which wasn't around back when I had this idea.)  But I notice a few ideas for inductive charging have surfaced but been slow to be taken up, and only now are manufacturers trying hard to get rid of the wire tangles, and maybe standardise power supplies/chargers to a single voltage with each battery having it's own individual regulator built in...

Solar power.  A way to get a few hours more charging time out of existing or new solar panel installations.  I still haven't seen anything else that is as easy to retrofit to existing installations as my concept, nor which would makes as important a difference to new solar electric generation equipment.

Water condensation from airborne humidity.  As soon as I put this idea on paper, I saw that someone had come up with a far more elegantly engineered and beautiful approach, so I gave it a miss.

Water recovery from ground water and grey water sources using solar energy: I still haven't seen any projects like my concept.

Location based phone services:  I wanted to develop this in 2005 - 2006, just that my partners and I fell in a heap because we were all time poor.  Now, it's all about GPS, GIS, and using them to deliver services locally.  Missed the boat on that one...

Solar powered, self-contained, wireless access point that works like a mesh networked repeater:  Seen Merakis?  They came along about two years later.  Sorry to my colleague whom I'll just call RC and who wrote this off as too hard to implement.  

Using electric/solar electric assistance for front wheel drive small cars:  Then came Prius...

That's just the "off the top of my head" list - there are a hundred that I didn't think would be important, and which are just rusting on the scrap heap.  Of the ten or fifteen ideas I've had that I thought were killer apps, about half have since proven out, just that it was someone else who developed the idea in parallel and managed to attract the right investor/developer/partner.

So here's my challenge, repeated again:  If you have a company that wants to develop a new idea, concept, device, or application - email me.  You can easily get my email out of my profile, or leave me a comment.  If you're anywhere I can get to reasonably easily, I'll come and see what you're doing, get involved with your processes for a while, and then see if I can't come up with your killer World Cam style idea that you can develop.  I'm semi retired and on a disability pension so I can spend a fair bit of time considering your sphere of business, and in return you'll treat me honorably and not just steal my idea without cutting me in on part of the action.  Can't get fairer than that...

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Cookie Monster Attack "Hacks" Your Bank's Legitimate Website

New alert, new malware that will steal your banking details, only this time, it can do it when you're logging into the legitimate secure website. Read to the bottom of the article for a quick test of whether your bank is vulnerable to this attack.  Make them aware if they're not - the best way for them to fix it is to ensure that all cookies are sent via https as well, apparently, and the problem then ceases to exist. 

If left unpatched, this vulnerability will let the bad person open whatever account page you just left, and carry on the session as though they were you.  Do do do do do let the bank know if they are vulnerable.  Threaten to change banks, cajole them, offer them an underpants clad minister if you have to... 

Who's That Girl?

Little known fact about Sarah Palin:

Okay, okay - that particular meme has been Twittered to death already. But I'm seeing a very alarming side of that "pit bull with lipstick" as she styled herself. I'm reading about a pro-lifer. So pro life that she carried her child that she knew would have Downs Syndrome to term and is now "looking after" that child. Sorry - someone who uses the technology to discover that an embryo will grow up in a confusing world it will never be equipped to deal with but doesn't do anything to prevent it, is a form of self-martyrdom I don't want to see in someone whose job may one day be to push a big red button. Plus - look what happened to Martha Stewart...

Oh and speaking of that big red button - this is a woman who clearly has no idea that one should maintain a separation between State and Church, she advised her parish that American soldiers are on a mission from God. Yep, she has God's ear, and she knows that for sure. What she doesn't know is that these brushfires are spreading America's defense forces very thinly, and what she doesn't seem to be aware of at all is that the big Russian bear just a few kilometres away from the border of her electorate is licking his chops.

Meanwhile, Sarah is going to be taking her mentally defective child to hockey practice, adjusting the doilies on the mantelpiece, and signing Vice Presidential memos. She admitted she has no idea what being a VP entails, but she's happy to become one and fake it.

Plus, I see that slightly horrifying character that she has, sort of a Stepford VP-in-the-wings, and I think "Surely Americans can't watch her without feeling the hair prickling on the backs of their necks?" Between her and McCain, the USA would be somewhat worse off than they have been under GWB. I think that the time when the States were a world power are long gone, and that they are slowly coming across as a bunch of bucolic hicks with First Cousin Syndrome.

And BarakO? A man who slipped up and admitted "my Muslim faith" on air? Who's never had to think about pushing a big red button in his life, having never done a stroke of military service that I can find? Who was talking about Sarah Palin earmarking funds (porkbarreling) when in fact he's done the same thing for the University of Chicago where his wife worked?

McCain? He is old school, he has been imprisoned in war and no doubt carries deep psychological scars from that, which will make him react the wrong way in a crisis. And he's OLD. He stands a good chance of being the first American president to die during his installation.

Leaving a Mom In Glasses to run that defense department to further God's work. OMG can't you just see it? "Now send some troops in to that disgusting Asian country and make them stop eating dogs. God loves doggies, but he hates nasty foreigners. What? What will they eat? Oh let 'em eat cake!"

Yeah right. America is now officially fucked whichever way it turns.

Update:  Barak and John face off over a remark. And I'm stuffed if I can tell whether he was calling Sarah Palin a pig, or if someone's just calling a pig Sarah Palin...

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The K-Rudd Pension Plan

I reckon that K-Rudd has a master plan regarding pensioners.

I think his plan is that if he keeps us on the starvation line for another nine months, then by the time the budget rolls around, there'll be less of us old bastards to pay due to dying off, so he'll save money. I was all in favour of this guy but he's just proving to be a bit of a pain all around. Maybe WA is an omen for him, if he doesn't smarten his shit up.

No I'm not a politician's asshole, I'm the first to admit it. But I also know that several million pensioners (and the people who are currently having to assist those pensioners, i.e. their family, friends, etc) are a sizeable chunk of the vote to piss off. And no matter how much he tries to starve us out, there will be more and more of us in relation to the whole population. Beware, K-Rudd! You're digging a hole you won't easily be climbing out of here!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Taking the shine off the Chrome. (And the Big 8...)

Just a thought, but maybe if people stopped being rabidly pro or anti Chrome/IE8/FF/whaddevva, and had a bit of a think about it, more constructive things would get done.

All this "IE8 does it and was the first" is great, but the fact is that Chrome was released within a few days of IE8 - surely not long enough for Google's nasty, Microsoft-plagiarising software engineers to build exact copies of all those functions? These features were no doubt on the top of many developers' lists of things to do, and the fact that Microsoft came out with IE8 a week before Chrome doesn't mean that Google stole all the ideas.

Also many claims of "hyping the features up" by bloggers and tech sites is a bit misleading - I've read half a dozen articles on Chrome (I'm not that much into reading gigabytes of data when a few thousand words will do) and of those, half acknowledge that IE8, FF, and Chrome all have very similar feature sets. It's hardly surprising, really. It's the direction they're all heading in, and they all have equally smart people working for them.

Here are a few REAL Chrome bugs though -

  • Import your favourites from IE or bookmarks from FF, and see where all your folders go to. Mine vanished in the import, and several hundred bookmarks along with them.
  • Or go to Facebook with Chrome and try and poke someone, the endless succession of reloading the same window will drive you to distraction. This is most likely because FB still don't have a user agent signature in place for Chrome and are sending out code without the pop-over dialogs - but wait, there's more: Also, try clicking on a message in your inbox and then the delete button. Great heaps of nothing happens...
  • Oh and that's not to say that IE8 is any better - in Gmail, try dropping down the list of tags for an email and scroll down the list using the scroll wheel or the scroll bar - the browser has a basic bug of not putting focus on the righ part of a list element, and keeps zipping right back to the first item in the list, you have to use the arrow keys to move the highlight.
  • IE8 also explodes pretty much when it re-uses certain of your toolbars and BHOs from IE7 - I had the worst time getting it to open and stay un-locked-up long enough to disable all the add-ons and then start re-enabling them one at a time until I got a relatively stable browser.
  • One last thing - the impression that tab isolation was present in IE8 before it was in Chrome. But I've found that opening a new tab in IE8 still freezes the other tabs, whereas in Chrome that effect is much less noticeable. There's a difference between *claiming* tab isolation and *achieving* tab isolation.

So what I've found is that between IE8 and Chrome, I'm using FF most at the moment, at least until the other two sort some of their beta bugs out.

And on that subject, the bugs. Guess which browser lets me submit bugs the easiest? Chrome wins, hands down. So while I've been a regular IE user up to IE7 (even when the rabid controversy-fuelled bloggers were dissing it as the biggest POS ever) and a Firefox convert for the nice plug-ins, there definitely now IS a new player in the field for me. And I will give them all the benefit of doubt and promise not to hype or diss unless there's a good reason.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Can't find my way to support

That last post reminded me of another thing, how service affects bottom line...

About eight - ten weeks ago, Garmin opened operations in Australia under their own aegis. They'd been using another company as their presence here before that. I won't say who, but I will say I got my GME TX3220 UHF CB from them... %)

The day that Garmin went live, I phoned about a product they had, which would let me use my own GPS module with Garmin software and maps, on my laptop. After being on hold for ages (surely they couldn't have such a huge demand for support on their first day? Surely their product isn't that inscrutable?) I got through to a gentleman who had no idea what I wanted, and when I mentioned I'd downloaded their free software as an evaluation, he told me that he didn't have that software available to him, and he promised me faithfully he'd get back to me on both matters.

Four week later, I rang again and asked if anyone had made progress with the software bug I'd encountered, or with the commercial software I was quite prepared to buy. This gentleman swappee email addresses with me and promised he'd get back to me when he found out what had happened.

He didn't respond to an email I sent a few days later, so I let it rest. But another three weeks later (and almost EIGHT WEEKS since I'd originally contacted Garmin) I phoned again. I was, undertsandably, not pleased.

Turns out, the software I was after was not due for release in Australia yet. But no-one could be fucked to follow up and tell me, apparently.

And the "free software" as claimed on their website, is a free add-on, you have to have bought another piece of software first. Just that they neglected to mention that, nor could they be fucked to follow up with that, either.

Oh yeah - and I now have a really GREAT Uniden GPS for my vehicles, it's wayyy cheaper than this other product, works without needing their tech support to ignore me for eight weeks, and I totally love it! Pick one up for under $200 at any of several chain store outlets, wayyyyyy better than the G word.

Gas. (The bottled kind.)

I'm home, and I'm pissed off.  I just spent almost three hours and did around 30km of travelling for a very simple thing, thanks to a clueless supplier and greedy dealers.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Yike! This is only spring!

Today.  I watched the thermometer inside the motorhome climb to 26.8C (which is 80F to metric-challenged people) and, intrigued, I put a thermometer outside, in the shade.  28.5C. (83F.)  That was around 13:30 - 14:00 today, will be interesting to see what the weather bureau will say on the news.

It's the first week of spring, and I figure this summer is going to be a bit warm...  Luckily Trish and I joined forces and got two low-HP air conditioners, the old box type, for a very good price (thank you Retravision) and I've worked out a simple through-the-window bracket for use in the bus which will let me put the A/C in when I need it and store it in the boot when it isn't needed.

Meanwhile, (of course, *sigh*) I've chosen today, the hottest day this spring, to have an oven casserole of pork and veges.  Luckily the breeze is in and the afternoon has been beautifully cool and pleasant.  Ah - you have to love days like this!