Sunday, 31 May 2009

Scrappy V Leaves The Fold

Saturday, after a bit of inner struggle and some thinking, I finally sold Scrappy V, my little Vmoto scooter.  Well, the inner struggles happened a few weeks ago, with Saturday being the culmination.

Scrappy's gone to a nice owner, lovely person and I'm sure it will get a good life being someone else's shopping and get about town machine.  I know I had Scrappy for almost three years, and it served me well during that time, being my work transport, shopping transport, and getaway machine when I needed to get - well, away...

But since moving to "South Beyonderup" six months ago, I also know that I haven't been able to justify keeping that scooter. I was riding it only to keep the cobwebs off, and since I really am looking for other places in the country to live and maybe even permaculture farm, a little scooter with tiny wheels will maybe not be the best choice of transport.

Ciao to one of the most fun machines I've had the opportunity to own in a long time!

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

These Are NOT The Best...

Have you checked out Second Life? By now, you either have, or perhaps aren't at all interested.  Whatever.  I had a few months of enjoying SL, then operated a sim for another few months, but finally, Linden Labs' creeping greed and unwillingness to fix useability issues in favour of adding ever more and more buggy features led me to give it up as a bad joke.

And not just me - many long term sim owners are just abandoning their holdings and walking away.  So it's surprising to hear LL talking about the "stable economy" in SL.  Because, of course, the place is driven by a constant flow of Real Life money, going from residents to sim owners to LL.  And we all know about the famous "cratering" RL economy don't we?  Many sim owners abandoned SL because of this reason.  Many more will do so before this year is over, I'll bet.  So the talk of a stable economy in SL is bullshit, sorry.

I also have some news for Linden Labs - if they halved their prices it would still not be worth it in the foreseeable future.  With lovely clustering and multiprocessing systems such as Hadoop running on Ubuntu linux it surely can't be long before someone realises that a "sim" is a useful unit of virtual real estate but the limitations on it are purely artificial, and by running several server clouds each performing some specific part of the VR process they could have a faster and more reliable system than LL does, for 1/10th the price.

Such virtual sites will become more common, and will outpace Linden Labs' efforts, inevitably.  They will become as common as websites were ten years ago, and many enterprises (as mentioned in some other articles of mine recently) will be run using such sites as their core.  As is already proven in SL, many will actually perform services in that virtual environment, some will sell RL items and services using the virtual environment much as we use a website today to sell everything from books to handcrafts, coffee cups to cars.

Having positioned themselves, LL will end up like AOL, large, top-heavy, and a dinosaur in under five years, extinct in, what was it, eight?  They should have taken a leaf from Obama and Rudd, and put incentives in place, both fiscal and technical.  Then a few more people might believe that SL is at least as good as Australia and China at insulating the effects of the financial crisis...

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We Are The Best!

Before you all shrug off Rudd as a dudd, please take a moment to let this sink in.  Of all the countries in the world, Australia is the one least affected by the Recession.  ANY amount of future debt is fine, provided it cushions the here and now.  There's not much point having money in the piggy bank for a ravaged country, better to do as we have done and go for it, and let tomorrow take care of itself.  For all we know, tomorrow there may be a whole different economic system in play, anyway...

Yes the recession has hit hard here, with mining jobs falling to the economic scythe, tourism dollars drying up, and the real estate and rental market in a mess.  But we're still managing to keep more going around and around than many - no, most - other countries of the world.  And that's not some lucky fluke, it's because we've been steered largely in the right direction.

I was on the point of giving up on our PM, I really was.  but maybe we need to give him a shot, and maybe ask the contrary few like Mr Turnbull to put it back in their pants and let K-Rudd do his job.  Who knows, we may be pleasantly surprised...

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Spaghetti Cabling

Compare and contrast.  Discuss it if you like.  is there a reason FSM and IT seem to go hand in noodle?

I've worked on contract in one of these sort of server rooms.  The only reason I'm not scarred for life is that I was able to tell myself that I only had to work there six weeks...

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Monday, 25 May 2009

Shot At A Knife Fight...

Austrian police (?) say an Indian Guru has died following gunshot wounds.  During a knife fight.  WTF?

Well, that was the JJJ report, anyway.  Turns out they were not reporting the whole truth.  Reading a report by an ironically more correct source than JJJ indicates that there was apparently also at least one gun involved.

The way this radio station reported it, you'd have had to assume that there was just a knife fight and therefore the fatal gunshot would have had to come from Austrian Polizei, which would (when you think about it) provoke an international religious incident.

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Some Bank Is Concerned For The Security Of My Banking Details

And of course, I'm touched by their concern and immediately compliant to their authority.

Dear Bank - I am in receipt of your email dated this instant, requesting me to "update and verify" my information, no doubt including my PIN and account numbers I suppose, but since it's you that's asking I guess that's all right:

Dear xxxxxxxxx Bank member,

For your protection, we have limited access to your account until additional security measures can be completed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please update and verify your information by checking the link below:
*** if you can't open this secure link copy to your internet browser

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account. We apologize for any inconvenience.

xxxxxxxxx Bank Account Review Department
Copyright © xxxxxxxxx Bank of Australia 2009 ABN 48 123 123 124

Oh okay.  I understand that this is just a security measure intended to stop anyone stealing my information by sending me to some website with some un-bank-related name, like, oh, say, and of course I'll do whatever you say because after all, I don't even bank with you.  So I promise to supply you with the details of all my other bank accounts so that you can check them with the other banks...

Honestly - is there some unwritten rule out there that says every phishing email has to be written by phucking phuckwits who think everyone else is an idiot too?  Is there some law of nature that requires idiots to give clear and unambiguous warning that they are idiots who think you're an even bigger idiot?  Come on phishers - at least look like you're making an effort...

I can just imagine this particular silver tongued devil sitting back waiting to the billions to start pouring in from all those banking details.  "I don't get it, Clem.  I wrote it all purty with real lawyerese stuff in it, but it's almost like they're all sitting back laughin' at me!" and with that sits back with head in hands, shattered and disillusioned.

Psst! Boy!  I got a link here for you! guaranteed to point out what your problem is!

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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Having Just Seen Angels And Demons,

... the one thing that struck me was how many religious statues are holding sharp swords and spears...

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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Job Ads No-one Checked

When you're looking for a job, which ad would attract you more?

Job 1: Senior System Administrator, great renumeration, centrally located.
Job 1: Senior System Administrator, great remuneration, centrally located.

I know I'd rather have great income than a bunch of great numbers...

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Talking 'bout Every Other Generation

It's another article by the young technopuppies , you know the ones, they aren't out there creating anything new to do with the Internet or anything, they're just using it and complaining like the little bitches they are...  I'd love to ask if Gen Y'ners maybe don't fancy themselves a little bit too much, you poor precious li'l things...

See, you're the ones putting all your lives online there because as you say it's your Internet - and then putting the words into Aunty Jemima's (or whoever's) mouths that the oldies are concerned for your privacy.  While at the same time yourself whining like a bitch that *anyone* can just read your stuff online, like, y'know, Aunty Jemima and mum and even dad - bless his inappropriate li'l heart.

You're such a liberated li'l generation though, putting your lives and thoughts and pictures and memoirs and brainfarts and stuff there.  I like that, I have my stuff out there too, despite being a Boomer.  I get what it's about, I like that I don't have to repeat my story about The Big One That Got Away, and The Time That Dog Nearly Ate My Balls.  I love that I can send people to my bio pages or photobucket or the relevant blog article and they can find out as much about me as they want, without me having to laboriously repeat it all for them.

But you liberated li'l generation then get all effing precious precisely because everyone can read that online?  (Everyone, in this case, meaning, like, your parents and relatives God bless their inappropriate li'l hearts?)  Come on get a grip will yaz - and in the words of Ronnie Johns, how about a li'l bit of hardening the fuck up eh?

If we're to believe you and your mastery of high tech, you should have your parents on the ropes in this new medium.  If that's true, then how come you have to drag your asses to complainfests like that article and all sit there in a kumbaya circle telling yourselves how "OMG my parents have doomed my Facebook / Twitter / MySpace / etc OMG epic fail"?  Sounds to me like your parents have got you down for the count instead hey?

As the article also so kindly points out, the Boomers are a "demographic."  That means they are a section of the population who together possess particular traits skills habits needs and desires.  (Okay so they have a skill for interfering in your Facebook, a trait of being inappropriate, a habit misusing technology, a need for a shopping buggy, and a desire for that titanium Zimmer frame down at the local mobility aid store.)

That makes them, whether or not you personally approve, a section of the population.  A section of the population that will get online, and who will log into FacebookSpace and all the rest.

And I agree - I watch many of them struggling with what to use that "silly Twitter thing" for and how to get a video from their childrens' childhood on Facebook -apparently just so they can "embarass" you, - and them not thinking for one moment that once it's uploaded, it's online somewhere forever.  I watch them and want to beat them around the ears with relevant Clues or a Giant Cluebat.

But be fair to them, when they grew up there weren't even computers and gameboys, and many of them were brought up with the concept of "nerds" who developed complex pieces of flash high tech gear that needed a Doctorate Of Black Magic And Strange Thought Processes to operate and are thus clueless about whether or not they really can fax a VHS video to their cellphone so that their brother can burn it to DVD on his PC.

By the same token I've also seen a lot of Gen X and Gen Y bobbleheads who believe that the Secrets To The Intartubez are the magic incantations "LOLOLOL" and "OMGOMGOMG."  Brainless airheaded packets of 404 drifting from one social networking site to another wanting to hang with cool people.

To all those groups I say FOAD - but instead of worrying that they might read my profile or post a NSFW video on my wall, I'll deal with them as individual cases and not label them with tags until they earn them.

One old tag from BBS and newsgroup days seems appropriate for them though, being "LAMER..."

And for all the whiny kids who think that snivelling is all it takes to make lamers go away and give them back their Internet, maybe the old tag "echo cop" is kind of peripherally relevant...

Important for you to remember is that another generation is coming along, who will be just as offended when you show up with a n00b avatar at their favourite Real Life server and drop inappropriate penis bombs.   Learn to deal with your older generation, so that you can teach that skill to your kids...

Now get out there an' show me some Universal Peace And Love, man!  %)

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Post Anno

New post at TEdADYNE Systems. You all DO know that the rest of my blogs are to be found

<---- here in the sidebar (just scroll down a little bit) 

don't you? And that you can also subscribe to the feeds, HERE via Feedblitz, or HERE to get the Tumblr version of them?  Just sayin'...

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Monday, 11 May 2009

Volcans Get Social?

The Social Ramifications of Volcanism?  I thought they included cheating by developing unwinnable exam software, command of a starship for a few days, really bad planet bad hair day, really bad hair, and an attitude prob - . . .

Oh wait.  That's Vulcanism . . .  Sorry . . .

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

Love On The (Lunar) Rocks

Bonking. Among. Moon rocks...

I lead such a boring life in comparison.  Also, of course, I am not in jail, and could still get a job anywhere that trust is required...

Things which annoy me about the story, in no particular order:

  • They stole something that had cost literally billions of dollars and considerable risk to people.
  • NASA hadn't done anything more with the rocks, they were sitting there being dead weight.
  • The rocks they stole, they contaminated and rendered useless, so now these are the world's most expensive useless rocks.
  • Collectors might still end up getting those rocks, sealing them into another dead space where they will once again achieve absolutely nothing. Because they forced NASA's hand really - the rocks can now sit and waste resources, or they can generate an income for NASA.  Either way they will now be as useless to science as they were before the robbery.
That's the real crime here - all that material sitting in a sterile vault, doing precisely nothing for our knowledge. The interns are guilty of a crime too, but NASA in its buck-passing bureaucratic way has just made a shrine out of those rocks, no-one wants to use them for research because of the cost, but it's costing millions to keep them just doing nothing too.

A decision needs to be made that weighs the cost of maintaining that vault against the cost of using the rocks up to further scientific knowledge and progress.  To me it's pretty obvious - those samples were brought home to study.  Study them.  If we want more samples, let's go get them.  That way, we keep the space program alive and tuned-up, we have activity and things happening.  What we have now is stasis.

On the idea of stasis.  Just a thought, but suppose those rocks had had a trace of a virus or bacterium on them, then the interns would have had the first Space Flu...  And on that idea, we know that a few decades ago our sterilisation procedures can't have been as good as they are today, and we know that bacteria and viruses have been shown to be capable of surviving in space.  So if we went back for more moon rocks now, would they perhaps have a mutated strain of some organism on them that we put there decades ago?

When they put a moon base down and these organisms find some warmth and moisture (which they will, given that no airlock or decontamination procedure is repeatably perfect) then will we experience Lunar Flu when these future astronauts come back to Earth after a shift?  Also keep in mind that if interns could steal and smuggle rocks out of that facility, how easily some staffer on the moon could sneak one down to Earth...

Basically - the story has shown that no matter what it is, no matter how good/bad/disastrous a result something may occasion, someone, somewhere, will do it, for some reason that seems valid for them.  The human race is, indeed, screwed...

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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Corns Anyone?

I was idly looking at silly photoshopped gross foods produced by sick kids with poor senses of humour and social skills to match, (as one does,) and the thought suddenly came to me - whatever happened to the prevalence of corns?  When I was a kid, there was a turf war on between manufacturers competing for the mighty dollars of people suffering this apparently crippling affliction.  Everyone's auntie and uncle and the family dog seemed to have "damn corns" back then.

Nowadays - nothing.  Dr Scholls is not flogging odd shaped plasters with ominous looking holes in them, there aren't any weirdly shaped plastic pegs and bits in the front of sock drawers, and no-one hobbles any more...

Not that I miss the departure of tylomas, not one bit.  I was just wondering what has led to this mass change.  Are our shoe fittings really so much better these days?  The majority of people I know still buy their shoes at a shoe store, not get them custom made and/or fitted at a cobbler's.  So in theory, there should still be thousands of pairs of ill-fitted shoes causing corns and calluses.

Have we perhaps developed materials that don't cause pressure sores?  New cuts that somehow magically avoid pressing on sensitive toe joints?  I know that I wear cushion socks a lot more these days, as they make shoes fit so much better - is it perhaps the prevalence of these?  But a quick look in stores provides me with the best hypothesis:

Most shoes now are made with synthetics, cloth, soft plastics.  The cut and shape of the shoes is far different from the clumsy efforts a cobbler or leatherworks shoe factory was able to form.  Socks are available in a variety of materials, but I'm betting almost every material is less stiff and scratchy than the clumsier wollen and cotton socks of yesteryear.  And pretty much no one darns socks any more, preferring to buy new ones more often.

And that last one is a deal clincher, when combined with the three others.  Not only do shoes fit better and eliminate a lot of pressure spots, not only is the material much softer than dried animal skins, and not only are the socks softer and more durable and cushioning.  But also, hole in socks developed in - pressure spots... Places where the leather pressed the sock tight between shoe and foot, and then of course we compounded that pressure by adding a course of thick darning thread at those spots...

Aside from the problems that synthetic shoe and sock materials cause in the way of tinea and foot odour, and the wasted resources of throwing out a "perfectly good pair of socks" (as my mother would have said) when they develop holes, slow gradual advances in technology and manufacturing have all but eliminated the humble corn.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Old Fart's Recollection Of What Rain Was Like

Odderer and odderer.  It's one way of describing our weather here in the antipodes.  It's been brought into shapr focus with the Black Saturday bushfires which destroyed much forest, a lot of buildings, killed a terrifying number of people, and either killed or destroyed the habitats of uncountable and uncounted numbers of bush animals.  Black Saturday has now been laid firmly at the feet of global warming, being due to drier seasons, hotter seasons, each year a little drier and hotter than the last.

But it's only the tip of an iceberg.  (Which is probably rapidly melting...)  Australia has been in a steadily worsening drought for decades.  My family arrived in Australia in the mid 60's.  We spent time in the south west wheat belt, and I was around 8 years old at the time.  I remember (after coming from a place like Arabia it was especially noteworthy) that there was such a lot of rain, and so much that stayed green. Without irrigation...  It was a miracle indeed, to me.

We then moved northwards, to the cyclone-prone regions, and I remember years where the differences in the two extremes surprised and awed me.  SOOOOO much rain in the wet season, so dry and dusty in the dry!

Then I moved around a fair bit for a few years, certainly long enough to be able to see huge differences in weather patterns when I eventually moved back to those initial areas.  Things were drier, warmer.  In the wheatbelt, the zones of green had shrunk, perceptibly and inexorably.  I learned then that Australia was in the grip of a drought.  I saw it in the farmers who sold farms because yields couldn't be sustained, because their livelihoods were drying up.

In the late 80's I moved to the capital, a bit further south still.  I was impressed with how a few degrees of latitude could make so much difference to the greenness of the vegetation, the lush growths seemed amazing to me.  And gradually, over these next 20 years, I watched that verdant green also brown, the rainfalls become shorter and less in number.  Now, the green lushness is hundreds of kilometers south of here.

In a way, I guess that if Australia's weather had been studied, global warming would have been detected and predicted decades earlier.  If people had been able to foresee Black Saturday, perhaps some of the steps that are only just being belatedly taken now, would have been taken twenty years ago...

More importantly, if people would only look at the future now through the lens of knowledge we've built up, then it would already be a criminal offense to operate coal or other fossil-fuelled power stations or vehicles, there'd be severe punishments for polluting or wasting water, and the world economy would have been replaced entirely by some form of green points.

As it is, we are already too late with what we've so grandiosely planned, but are still not doing.  No matter what we now do, our children look to be due for a period of blissful agrarian living, if indeed they survive.  So long and thanks for all the fish, hey?

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Monday, 4 May 2009

Shhh - Can't Tell You!

I suppose you've heard of Kryptos, the ineffable sculpture/artwork that was commissioned for the CIA about two decades ago and still not decoded.  Aside from the irony, which I must admit causes me endless amusement whenever the subject of Kryptos comes up, there's also a really insane angle to so much secrecy.

On New Of The Weird a few weeks ago, these two reports offer testimony to there being such a thing as too much secrecy...
The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration recently postponed its crucial program to rejuvenate quarter-century-old Trident missile warheads because no one can remember how to make a key component of the weapons (codenamed "Fogbank"), according to a March 2 report of the Government Accountability Office. The GAO found that, despite concern over the bombs' safety and reliability, NNSA could not replicate the manufacturing process because all knowledgeable personnel have left the agency and no written records were kept. Said one commentator, "This is like James Bond destroying his instructions as soon as he's read them." [Sunday Herald (Glasgow), 3-7-09]
The GAO report came two months after the German Interior Ministry reported to Parliament that over a 10-year period, it had lost 332 secret files that were in fact so secret that no one in the Ministry could recall what was in them. [The Local (Berlin), 12-13-08]

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