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Fri, 31 Dec 2004
Bring in the new year mtb style - 22:26
Anyway I am about to head over to Majura Pines to meet up with whoever else chooses to be there this year in order to see in the new year riding the mountain bike. Last year no one was overly keen on the champagne so today I grabbed a bottle of coopers pale ale to share around in plastic cups while out there listening to fire works and riding single track. This is obviously my last diary entry for the year too. Fun was had, and I am sure fun will be had next year too.
Thu, 30 Dec 2004
Pleasant long ride today - 22:45
Near the end of the ride I got a call and was told my car would not be ready as early as expected, the mechanic said the engine needs to be removed, and an axle or something, and something in the gear box needed fixing as well as the clutch. The unfortunate thing is Jane will still need to return the rental car on Monday and then somehow get back to Sydney, I will then also have to collect my car from Macksville (and get up there in he first place), oh well shit happens.
I just did some grocery shopping in Dickson by bike a few minutes ago, not too bad, though I still don't like locking any of my bikes up anywhere they could be stolen, I also bought just a little bit more than I can fit in my backpack so carried one bag with bread and fruit home too. I should probably do more shopping by bike anyway, it may force me to be more careful about not buying too much or impulse buying as I have to carry it all home in one backpack.
Anyway as usual, the Friday morning mtb ride tomorrow so I should head for bed.
Wed, 29 Dec 2004
Rise and fall of societies - 22:40
I am about half way through the Future Eaters and so far it is a good read, I suspect these books by Diamond are also if my sister and Gladwell are an indication. I suppose I should add more links the the post above, for now though bed beckons once more.
Tue, 28 Dec 2004
Back in Canberra - 22:14
My mother pointed out the car was covered by NRMA's premium cover, this entitled me to a rental car that would enable me to continue with whatever car usage plans I had until my own car worked again. As Jane's new years holiday plans place her up around Port Macquarie she will be able to take a detour and drop the rental car we were given off up there and get my car back once the work has been completed.
As for the rental car, I have just drive in back down to Canberra from Macksville today, 8 hours in the car. The car is a Ford Falcon Sedan automatic. A very different car to my Toyota Corolla 4wd Station Wagon. The good features are, new car (~ 9000 KM, compared to the ~ 295,000 of my car) and cruise control. I admit the cruise control was a joy for long highway stretches, I could set it and not have to worry about speeding accidentally or driving inconsistently and thus concentrate more on the traffic and conditions surrounding me. So the car was pleasant to drive, I must say however it enforces my wonder as to why anyone would buy a sedan. The damn things can't fit any gear, when there are perfectly good station wagons available the purchase of a sedan baffles me. I suppose this does bring out my reasoning for owning a car though, to me a car is simply a tool, a mechanism by which I can transport my bicycles (mtb and road) and occasionally skis or some other outdoor equipment.
Speaking of bikes, I have done hardly any riding (I had one of my mountain bikes up north with me, but did not do any big rides) in the last 4 days, something I intend to rectify in the next few days, time now for bed to further this plan for more riding.
Fri, 24 Dec 2004
Speakers announced - 13:34
Thu, 23 Dec 2004
Over designing standards - 22:55
Both these are relevant, both to standards design and simply to programming. Do not do premature design or try to design for features you imagine you may one day want to use. Extreme Programming though of course simply another selection of tools in the programmers toolbox (and not the second coming as some people seem to think) does have some good points. One of which is the avoidance of premature design or coding for "future" features. The ACAP standards yesterday struck me as over engineered for a few basic things to attach to IMAP, using my example of the need for an address book that is accessible with your email. If an email client was to implement an address book functionality in ACAP, it would still need to decide on the format of the address book data in ACAP, and other clients would need to implement this and agree on this also.
Anyway back to the subject of conferences, Rory was covering the XML conference in an amusing manner, and at one point for example paid quite a lot of attention to the shoes worn by a speaker. The shoes a speaker wears are obviously important and must be blogged or covered in some way at conferences. For linux.conf.au we will obviously need to ensure there is online coverage of what shoes speakers are wearing. Mikal will I am sure be keen to self nominate for this task of telling the world about the speakers shoes, even uploading some photographs of their shoes maybe. Lets hope the speakers understand and do not become too freaked out by this behaviour.
Wed, 22 Dec 2004
Why are you not a fish hatchery worker? - 21:29
It was a day like any other in 1987.
deserves to be read, I just have to remember to go read more of the stuff this guy has written now.
ACAP for data access appears difficult - 20:50
About two years ago when a vulnerability in the default implementation of ASN.1 was discovered, almost every appliance or library using it was found to be vulnerable. Although many important protocols (SSL, LDAP, SNMP, etc) use ASN.1 no one had bothered reimplementing it due to the huge size and complexity of the standard. The ACAP people say their protocol is supposed to fill "niche somewhere between a full-blown directory service, a file system, and specialised single-service protocol support".
I still think it is too complex, if you think about basic rss and how much it has taken off, there is no real formal protocol or XML dtd, or anything, rss is simple to implement on both client and server end and it tends to work using standard libraries and tools. I did a CPAN search for ACAP, there was nothing remotely usable available in CPAN to speak ACAP, nor was there a Debian library (apt-cache search acap) or something to make it easier. If you have an IMAP client already however, there are a bunch of vCard libraries in CPAN and Debian, the same applies for the other stuff (email with vCard mime attachments) in Bill's suggestion for an address book in IMAP.
The other thing is I have never seen any mention of ACAP support in a feature list for an email client. (though I have not looked explicitly for this)
RSS bandwidth usage - 19:10
Anyway Mikal wondered why the rss standard could not simply add a field suggesting blog update frequency to rss feeds. Ignoring for a moment that rss is a bit of a mess and not really standardised (with rfcs and other such stuff), this suggestion requires clients to implement it properly, and would require all the feed formats (rss 0.9, rss 1, rss 2, atom, etc) to have this sort of functionality. I generally do not trust clients to implement standards properly, and these are not even real standards.
I mentioned to Mikal a recent post I had seen somewhere like BoingBoing about how someone had implemented a nice way to cut off people gobbling too much bandwidth at the server side. A bit of a google search found the entry I recalled seeing. This keeps track of UserAgent/ip, and takes note of feeders that abuse the system (constantly re fetching data they already have, etc), to do this one would need to keep track of this data in some manner which is non trivial and can use memory or disk. Also of course people behind a corporate proxy or firewall and those on roaming proxy's such as AOL subscribers may have problems with this implementation. The implementation discussed only throttles the feeders that abuse (consume more bandwidth than they should) so people using better clients will not be hit.
I have to say I do not particularly like either of the above implementation suggestions, Mikal's suggestion due to the need for compliant implementations and the fact I don't think predicting your update frequency is worth the effort. The server side enforced limiting due to added load and complexity on the server side and due to the limitations of the method. There really is no way to solve this that I can think of that is likely to catch on. What really needs to happen is rsync in the http protocol (rproxy) needs to be adopted in http servers and http clients.
Address book storage in an IMAP folder - 17:52
Bill's suggestion though simple and not some sort of IMAP extension or anything, to me appears elegant and useful. Store address books in a folder in your IMAP mail storage area. I thought, that sounds neat, use some common format such as vcard attachments to emails. So the folder, could be called anything and store an email per vcard file. The email client could be told to use the IMAP folder named "whatever" to get its address book information. Now all we need is someone to write a thunderbird extension and a squirrelmail extension to do this and we will be set.
I did look around google a bit and glance through the IMAP rfcs and could not see that anyone had done anything similar yet, of course I may have missed it. David Gibson has talked about plans to make a better mail retrieval protocol than IMAP from time to time, to get around problems such as the need for tools like offlineimap (and may I note, how cool is it that this is hosted on gopher). David may have thought of some way to add useful information to his protocol, however nothing is implemented yet so who knows.
Tue, 21 Dec 2004
From around 1996 until April 2002 my email signature was the same few lines of text
Look Up In The Sky Is it a bird? No Is it a plane No Is it a small blue banana? YesWhich was deliberately obscure and strange, anyway I finally got around to changing my signature in April 2002 to the following Ani Difranco quote.
You are subtle as a window pane standing in my view but I will wait for it to rain so that I can see you Anticipate - AniWhich is as you can see the opening of the song Anticipate, I love the quote, and I like the double meaning of the song title by saying "Anticipate Ani".
Not long after Sam (Reinhardt) returned to work in January 2003 after time off following the birth of Maxine (notice the Righteous Baby t-shirt <g>), Sam suggested she was bored with my signature and that I should change it. Obviously not realising my previous tendency to keep an email signature for many years. Anyway I gave it some thought at the time and decided one thing I could do is go through all of Ani's lyrics from all her albums and select at least one quote from each song or poem. Using this I could have random signatures generated from the selection of quotes.
The idea behind this was to show how good Ani's lyrics are due to the fact there is some good quotable snippet from every one of her numerous songs. Anyway I extracted the quotes (in a format that is pretty trivial to parse) and since then have not used them in my signature. I guess for now Sam will just have to put up with the fact my signature doesn't change much.
I did however I think prove the point of the exercise. Though there are a few songs I did not collect quotes from, generally due to them being too short, I did collect quotes from almost all of the approximately 180 songs released by Ani since 1990.
Gladwell impact, though I still wonder about marketing. - 12:32
Cool/Intelligent people attract Cool/Intelligent people - 11:27
He is quite correct, this is one of the things that makes linux.conf.au such a fun and interesting conference to attend. A whole bunch of cool intelligent people rock up to speak at the conference and delegates attend because they can sit around and chat with these people (and hear them speak too, but to some extent that is secondary).
Mikal is not over analysing. - 10:52
I agree with Mikal that the lyrics in songs are important and can be a form of poetry, heck this is something I constantly point out with Ani Difranco lyrics, they are a form of poetry and worth reading in their own right. I guess I was not so much commenting on Brick, or Mikal's interpretation so much on how some fans may take analysis well beyond what artists ever saw in their own music.
Fri, 17 Dec 2004
Registrations - 21:43
When I phrased that differently recently, saying "all the call people coming to lca", Jeremy joked, they already know the organisers will be there, so they know who the cool people will be <g>.
Thu, 16 Dec 2004
P2P sharing extreme ironing in tight lycra. - 17:41
Anyone out there who has not seen extreme ironing should check it out. I saw the link on Metafilter recently, which reminded me of the activity. I first heard about it a while ago when Jim Trail (mtb friend and ex Triple J presenter) put it on his sports page at Triple J (that is the earliest occurrence I can easily find of the extreme ironing photo in the Way Back Machine copies of the page, if interested you can look for more)
Speaking of mountain biking (yeah so I don't want to make a separate diary entry in the mtb category for this), Michael Ellerman from ozlabs wrote a while back on how he thinks it is a pity so many cyclists wear lycra. Michael wonders if many people are put of cycling due to their perception that one needs to wear lycra to ride a bike. Personally I wear cycling clothing for pretty much any ride longer than my commute to work (2KM), I do this because I find it much more comfortable to ride in than other clothing, and it means my other clothing will not be sweaty and disgusting. However many people also find tight lycra off putting, this is why clothing companies such as GroundEffect and N-ZO exist and sell so much of their loose/baggy clothing. More comfortable to ride in than cotton shorts and t-shirt and you don't look like a cyclist. Unfortunately clothing to make cycling comfortable is still all pretty expensive.
Wed, 15 Dec 2004
Card games new to me. - 11:28
Spoons I believe I played last in 1993 sometime while at a YHA in Ireland. (a rather cool remote mountain lodge in Tipperary AFAIR), the way we played it was not entirely similar to the rules I linked to, it was however similar enough to see he basic premise. This is not so much a card game as it is a game of spoon watching. It can be entertaining, especially once you decide Rusty should be seated a few metres away so his numerous fake grabs for spoons are a little louder or more onerous or something.
The other game, Warlords and Scumbags was also rather entertaining, the way we played is pretty much as described in those rules. Once again Rusty was good at this game, the rest of us just had some fun. Oh and yeah I was going to mention that Lucy should update her blog just to increase the peer pressure Chris and others have been applying, however looking at the page I notice she already updated it.
Looking at Hugh's blog I notice he is talking about riding (and possibly buying) a greenspeed recumbent trike to make his commute to work more comfortable. Hugh wondered if the proximity to the ground with respect to less visibility from car windows would be a problem. Though it is a good idea to put a tall orange flag on the back of a trike such as this, an interesting thing to note is that often recumbents are more visible to traffic than traditional bikes due to being unusual.
Tue, 14 Dec 2004
Mon, 13 Dec 2004
Recumbent couch. - 11:47
Fri, 10 Dec 2004
Smart people working, may play dumb for telemarketers, probably will not wear redneck head coverings, and may see strange squirrel behaviour - 15:24
On receiving a phone call from a telemarketer this guy played dumb, definitely a good performance. It reminds me of something I have been told my father once did. When Mormons knocked on the door, he let them in, listened to them for about an hour, then said, Right my turn, and started explaining English literature ideals or something to them in great detail. The guy I link to above is someone named Paul Davidson, he has a book Consumer Joe: Harassing Corporate America that appears to be pretty cool, he wrote letters to American companies with weird or nonsensical requests and suggestions, and reprints 100 of the letters and the responses he received. Sounds amusing, I wonder if I should get a copy for my cousin Jackson. (Jackson once wrote to the Australian Prime Minister suggesting they get cop cars to be disguised as taxis just to see the sort of response he would get from the Prime Minister's office.)
I mentioned to Dave and Alex this morning that I saw this Common Redneck Head Coverings poster online yesterday. Apparently the US DoJ released some posters on "Common Muslim American Head Coverings" and "Common Sikh American Head Coverings" (source). So someone realised a red neck warning poster may be needed to give to shop keepers in South Asian Rural Areas.
One of the guys I ride with, Dave Morgan (Morgs) has a flatmate, Cath, who I swear must overdose on red cordial on a daily basis. Listening to her speak in an excited manner can be a mind altering experience at times. Anyway I saw this entry in a blog with the author discussing their interpretation of the thought patterns of a squirrel outside their office.
You can't see me! I'm brown and I'm flat. And so is this branch. I'll blend right into the branch and she won't even know I'm here. Never mind my two beady little eyes that she can feel staring at her or my huge orange bushy tail that I couldn't stop wiggling to save my life!!
If I did not know better I would swear Cath said that about squirrel thought patterns.
Thu, 09 Dec 2004
More cool print jobs, and talking about emus with Americans. - 11:59
Michael suggests one way to distinguish Australian's from Americans is to ask them to pronounce "emu". Is it just me or do the majority of conversations with Americans not present ample opportunity to talk about Emus? Of course it may be fun to work Emu's into every conversation with an American, after all what more fascinating topic is there but that of flightless Australian avian fauna. <g>
Wed, 08 Dec 2004
Tue, 07 Dec 2004
What other encylcopaedia is this up on pop culture. - 12:13
Chris, Rusty, and Martin got into the discussion (Martin links to some other perspectives on the WikiPedia discussions). Thinking about the "Can WikiPedia be trusted?" question is to some extent pointless in my opinion, it is just another information source, all sources should be checked and taken with some amount of salt when you use them (what you use them for will also allow you to choose how much you want to rely on any one or any collection of sources).
I do however think WikiPedia is fantastic! It evolves fast, corrections often appear with in minutes, sure it may have inaccuracies but there is also a lot of cool stuff there. WikiPedia already has a large entry on the 2004 US Presidential Elections heck it even has the 2004 Australian Federal Election which generated a lot less global media and public attention. That however is all quite boring and dry, WikiPedia also contains modern pop culture references, and I have to say, would any other encyclopaedia have an entry about the Underpants Gnomes.
Mon, 06 Dec 2004
I took the photos with Russ Baker's Cannon EOS 300 camera as I had left my Canon Powershot A60 at home, I must say, the EOS 300 is a damn fine camera, I was not able to sneak away with it without Russ noticing, alas.
Fri, 03 Dec 2004
Drive your bed or bathroom. - 17:49
Is it just me or does anyone else now want to drive a couch or bed to Sydney or some where. I wonder what sort of bicycle mounting mechanisms could be attached.
Speaker acks - 11:01
Thu, 02 Dec 2004
BCG does reviews. - 17:55
People wondering about the BCG thing may be enlightened somewhat by looking at one of Martin's old business cards, possibly not as much fun as Rusty's Kernel Hocker (instead of Hacker) cards at ltc, as BCG was deliberate rather than an accident.
Must remember to comment on this - 17:43
Preparing for an lca meeting tonight, and I have to fix a puncture on my mtb. A pinch flat gained, during the lunch time mtb ride, while trying to ride up a set of steps I have not previously ascended. I guess I need to practice, and remember these points.
Wed, 01 Dec 2004
Any point to these entries or some form of addiction? - 14:26
Full tour coverage! or how will I ever survive July? - 14:10
I shudder to think how I will live through July next year, I tend to watch maybe 1 hour of tv a fortnight most of the year. The exception is during July when, since 1992 (second year of Indurain's reign), I have avidly watched the Tour highlights package every day and in the past few years also watched the 2 or 3 live stages aired by SBS.
New mtb computer, new road rear light - 14:01
Anyway the computer has the option to set the odometer distance to whatever it was previously set to (say before a battery change or replacing a bike computer), I admit it is temping to reset it to 10,377 KM as my broken computer had hit, however it kind of feels like cheating, I feel I need to put in the hard yards and get the computer past 10,000 again the proper way, which is probably what I will do.