sjh - mountain biking linux geek spice - mtb / linux / canberra / cycling / etc

Steven Hanley hackergotchi picture Steven
Hanley

About

email: sjh@svana.org

web: http://svana.org/sjh

Other online diaries:

Aaron Broughton,
Alison Russell,
Allan Bontjer,
Andrew Pollock,
Anthony Towns,
Chris Yeoh,
Jeremy Kerr,
Martijn van Oosterhout,
Michael Carden,
Michael Davies,
Michael Still,
Rusty Russell,
Tim Potter,
Tony Breeds,

Links:

Linux Weekly News,
XKCD,
Userfriendly,
Questionable Content,
Planet Linux Australia,
Bilbys,
CORC,

Canberra Weather: forecast, radar.

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planet sjh
(online feed aggrgator for all the diaries I read regularly)

January
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
         
           

2005
Months
Jan

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Archive by month:

Mon, 31 Jan 2005

Grammar testing of multi lingual swearing at stupid laws - 12:28
I have been trying to track down a snippet from one of my Ani albums. It is not part of a song lyric so can not be easily searched for. At one point Ani was talking about the clear channel banned songs list. Ani was amazed at the stupidity of placing some of the songs on the list. I have been listening through a few of the live albums for the past hour and have yet to find the snippet (update). I have to say this sort of thing, where Clear Channel owns something like 90% of the radio stations in the US makes me so glad we have Triple J in Australia. (speaking of which, the hottest 100 last week, how cool was it that Missy Higgins got 3 songs in the top 50, 2 of which were top 10) About a month ago I saw this entry on BoingBoing about clear channel held a contest in a few US cities where the winners received Breast Enlargement Surgery, yet more proof of how messed up the US is.

For some reason this Fafblog link (tongue in cheek of course) suggesting the US government should lie to us has been sitting around in my to blog about file for a few weeks. Hell funny, but then fafblog normally is.

While I am throwing links up to get them out of the to blog about file, about 15 days back BoingBoing mentioned a site called Human Clock. From the description

Humanclock.com shows a photograph of the current time, with the photo changing every minute of the day (all 1,440 occurring minutes on Earth!) Thus you end up with a rotating picture clock sorta deal.
This is pretty neat, a new photo every minute with the time somewhere in the photo, anyway how bad can a site be if it talks about the sport of Unicycle Jousting, I personally still want to see people playing Unicycle Hockey, Andrew Rowe (mtb friend) was on the Australian Unicycle hockey team a few years ago.

If you feel the need to learn to swear in many languages, this page (from Metafilter) may be for you. Of course it does not quite work as swearing is a culturally trained thing and only works to a large extent, due to the local culturally trained responses. In the Stephen Fry book Paperweight there is a chapter "Saying Fuck" in which he points out that one of the strange things about swear words is how society is trained to react, finishing up with the line "It is a coitus of a worry, in fact it scares the living faecel solids out of me".

Heeeeeee, When spinning rims are outlawed, only outlaws will have spinning rims. (from Metafilter)

I have not tried the grammar test mentioned, however Jane may like it, on the other hand, like many of the commentators, she may find it a bit easy.

Yet another use for beer, this is some hot shit, and I love some of these bad reviews from Defective Yeti, in particular:

"No better than whatever you might pick up while wearing a blindfold at Blockbuster, even if you happen to reach into a trash can."
Update: The snippet I was looking for is on the So Much Shouting So Much Laughter double album, on Stray Cats. At the end of track 9, Napoleon. Here is the transcription.
so driving in LA once, and listening to the radio, fucking generica radio, all the radio stations now are owned by one guy I think, did you hear about that list of songs that are banned. cause you have to play them before you can stop playing them, it is a list of songs that clear channel has banned, walk like and egyptian, new york new york, this list is unbelievable, it completely exemplifies the utter stupidity that is governing everything corporate and/or politiical at this point, I mean people with absolutely no sense of metaphor made up this list.

[/various] link

Thu, 27 Jan 2005

Speakers and Early bird - 22:55
The early bird registration for linux.conf.au 2005 is closing in a few days (Jan 31 is the last day). If you have registered already but have yet to pay, unless you pay before Feb 1st you will be re invoiced for the full attendance fee. Sure even at full price lca is still one of the cheapest technical conferences to attend anywhere, and that is completely ignoring the fact that it is incredibly cool (a heck of a lot of fun), however why let the early bird rate slip past you if you can pay before the end of January.

Have a look at the speakers we have presenting at the conference this year. I dare you to survive more than the first day without having your brain melt out your ears and form puddles of brain all around the conference venue. Anyway as I say in mtb circles, fun will be had. Be there!

[/lca] link

Wed, 26 Jan 2005

Mime as a public deterrent - 22:30
Once again I feel the need to throw some random links up (quick way to make a diary entry). What would you do if a Mime started imitating you when doing the wrong thing, of course I don't think we can get a Mime to follow Howard or Shrub (unfortunately Molly Ivins wrote that before he got into his current role) around all day.

I wonder if you could mistakenly be asked if you would like dahl with that... (outsourcing to India)

With this flash thing you can waste time finding out how tall some famous people (from boingboing) are. Another site has details about an annual railway mooning day (metafilter), also on Metafilter was this new take on a computer keyboard, I can not quite see Mikal giving up his Natural keyboards for these however. I was interested to see how this artwork was instantly recognisable as Groening, I guess Simpsons is stamped into our brains, well mine at least.

Often I think Canberra is way ahead of the rest of Australia and often the world in the smoke free attitude that prevails here. (government mandated to some extent), it is wonderful walking into Bars and such with no cigarette smoke around, I wish Cafe's could eradicate it outdoors also. So I discovered from Kottke a link about the country of Bhutan banning smoking in public and the sale of tobacco products. That sounded cool, however I found out Ireland has already banned smoking in public, I do not know if that applies to pubs and such, if it does moving to Ireland is a good plan.

[/various] link

Tue, 25 Jan 2005

It's dead Jim - 16:04

Close up of the broken hubfull size

The top half of the wheelfull size
I am a mountain bike rider at heart. I find the activity far more fun/challenging/enjoyable than road riding. I do however ride a road bike a bit. I bought my first road bike at around August 2002, more than 10 years after becoming addicted to the sport of cycling and mountain biking more specifically. I spend most of my disposable income on replacing broken mtb parts and cycling events and gear in general.

From the above you an imagine I am quite happy that although I own a road bike, they tend not to break often, road bikes can do many thousands of KM, and only wear out tyres. This is a good thing, however from time to time things on the road bike break. This is one of those times.

On Saturday morning, Sue, Crash, DeathMarch, Allan, Marea, myself and a bunch of others headed from Bright over to Myrtleford (a pleasant flat 30 KM along the Rail Trail) for a breakfast of bakery goodness. At this point all was fine with my bike.

About half way back to Bright after breakfast I heard a crack noise and my front wheel jammed in the fork. At first I simply thought I had run over a branch and a stick had lodged between my front tyre and fork crown. Upon stopping this proved to be an incorrect assumption. The front hub had cracked and three spokes came loose.

I am not particularly upset, the front wheel came with the bike when I bought it second hand, in the last two and a half years I have probably put close to 20,000 KM into this bike. The guy who owned it before me bought it some time around 1996 and I suspect put far more KM in than I do (he is a lot fitter and faster, which often means more road riding).

Anyway the wheel is dead, and I have to spend money on my road bike. I am currently most tempted by a Campagnolo Centaur 32 hole front hub, double butted dt spokes, a reasonably light rim, maybe ritchey or velocity or similar (as previously mentioned I don't really like Mavic) all laced up with a three cross pattern (strong, reliable, etc). The hub costs about AUD $200, the rim probably AUD $100. Bike stuff costs a lot, oh well.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 24 Jan 2005

Some stuff for today - 22:21
I will post some stuff about my alpine classic tomorrow, I just thought I would quickly throw some links I saw out here (yeah yeah to ensure I get a post today, blog addicted diary whore that I am).

I found a lot of these on boingboing or metafilter, some on kottke and the following about newspaper index on Killian. Newspaper Index is a site that indexes online newspapers all over the world, looking at Australia I could have sworn there were more, so it may not be close to complete, but it is interesting/useful.

From an article about Kryptos I found a link to this page about Unsolved Ciphers, I did not realise how many there were, kind of cool that even with computers and such today we can not crack everything. Here is some insight into police work. A way around some recent TiVo stupidity (which alas will not affect us here in .au as we still can not buy TiVo's retail).

Yet another make your own mp3 player site, this may be the one I emailed Crash months ago who knows, now google can find it if I try to recall where the page with the home brew mp3 player is.

[/various] link

Fri, 21 Jan 2005

My first Alpine Classic - 09:46
I am about to drive down to Victoria in order to take part in my first Audax Alpine Classic. Basically a 200 KM road ride with a few climbs in the Victorian Alps. Staring at bright we head out to Falls creek over Towonga Gap, turn around, ride back over Towonga Gap, down to Bright and then Ride up to Mt Buffalo and return.

I am heading down there with Mikey, Allan, Richard, Cath, (all of whom have done this event before) also along will be Marea, Susan Kleven, and various other people I know. The ride will probably be reasonably tough work, but that part of Australia is gorgeous, and we all tend to line up for these challenges anyway. Hopefully fun will be had.

In other news, Sam and Ben gave birth to their second child last night. A baby girl, Nikita was born at 12:57am January 21st 2005. Congratulations to all, and it is good to see Maxine is a proud and happy elder sibling already.

[/mtb/events] link

Thu, 20 Jan 2005

Ahnoo Deekus - 21:34
Have I mentioned how much Mikal scares me from time to time? If not, I should. Michael Still is a strange and scary individual from time to time. Apart from things like fixing the gaping problems with current DNS servers by implementing a DNS server in shell, the really scary thing (well for today at least, I am sure we will learn new frightening things about Mikal tomorrow) is that he pronounces all Acronyms. Rather than pronouncing the individual letters of most acronyms like any fish hatchery employee would, Mikal pronounces the acronym how he sees fit.

ADSL became Adsil, SDK became Sehdek, etc. Obviously according to Mikal he studies at and I work at "Ahnoo Deekus" (ANU DCS), and we are working towards putting on a fantastic Elkae (LCA) in April.

On another note, I have not tried the program out yet, however Metafilter had a link to MoonEdit, a Multi Platform (linux and windows) collaborative text editor. It works over the Internet with slow links an such using multi player game style predictive movement algorithms. Every user has their own cursor and text highlighted in a specific colour. Emacs can do some of this, however I suspect this would be a lot easier to use and understand (separate cursors, colour, etc).

[/various] link

Wed, 19 Jan 2005

Michael, David, Michael, David, Michael, etc. - 22:04
I have noticed there are a huge number of people named David, and named Michael in the mtb community around Australia. I guess I notice as I hang out with them all a lot, if I looked at the wider community I may see a similar trend. Anyway I think I just found out why. Some data from the US Social Security department, Most popular given names 1960 to 1997 (linked from). The information is from the US, so maybe Australia is different, google can probably answer that.

It does, almost, I eventually found this page in Victoria linking to a search engine that returns the information I am interested in. In Victoria, 1960-1969 the top 3 are David, Peter, Michael. 1970-1979 top three are David, Michael, Andrew. Thus it appears the trend holds. Alas it also completely debunks some Monty Python Sketch, well for Victoria at least, who knows maybe Bruce is hiding out in New South Wales.

[/various] link

Floppy monkey things - 16:38

The Ximian frisbee on my desk full size

and in flight full size
I attended the 2002 Guadec conference in Seville, Spain. Brilliant conference. Anyway on the last day Miguel, Nat and some other people threw Ximian frisbees into the audience. I was lucky enough to catch one (pictured to the left).

This frisbee is made from a shiny material with the graphics printed upon it, bunched up a bit with a material tube containing ball bearings surrounding the material. Known commonly as a travel frisbee due to how well they compact (and maybe due to how well they show up on airport scanners with the steel ball bearings <g>) this is a very cool bit of Schwag. Kathmandu make a travel frisbee, however it is made from a more solid material and thus feels different, it also does not have Monkey logos.

I know a few people (that is where he works now, however better pages are here and here) who would kill for my Ximian frisbee. (Michael because it is cool Ximian schwag with monkeys, Jason because it is a cool frisbee that tempts you to play with it all the time and does not feel sucky like the Kathmandu one)

Of course now days, Ximian was purchased by Novell, you probably can not get new Ximian schwag for love or money today. So unless Jeff or someone has secret contacts and can source such stuff I doubt Michael or Jason can get one of these. It would however possibly be cool to get new frisbees made with the ball bearings and equal floppiness.

[/comp/schwag] link

Tue, 18 Jan 2005

Real scientific warning about Brumbys ready made statue - 15:16
Andrew may have decided to write more stuff about what he does day to day from a technical perspective. This is to a large extent what Mikal has been doing for years, keeping an online diary thing so he has a resource of what he has done in the past and how he did it that can be searched via google. That other people can read it is to some extent a side effect. I have to admit I am google searching my own diary fairly often now days to find stuff I remember linking to or writing about.

I just ate some Brumbys (bakery chain in .au) ready made bread roll things for lunch. They are not yet on the website so I can not link to them directly. I got a coupon thing in the mail yesterday that advertised these. Basically a bread roll with a filling, the fillings are Bruschetta, Cheese and Tomato, Banana and Custard, Honey and Peanut Butter. I sampled the "Bruschetta" and the "Banana and Custard" rolls, quite tasty, and reasonably cheap at AUD $3.50 for two. Obviously the advertising worked on me, and others. I would not have bothered going via Lyneham on the way to work to get some lunch unless I had seen these in the coupon ad. The woman who served me at the bakery asked if I knew why so many people had all of a sudden heard about these ready made rolls today, obviously lots of people had asked for them, I suspect largely due to the coupon ad.

As for the other stuff, Anil has a link today to a page of product warning labels that contain scientific truth. I found it amusing, kind of like the are people really this stupid labels, but different. Metafilter had a link today to this Stand by your statue blog, kind of cool, I am sure I have seen Nick doing this from time to time.

[/various] link

Mon, 17 Jan 2005

To The Pain! - 11:13
I am a fan of the movie "The Princess Bride", humour, adventure, action, etc it has it all. Anyway I was thinking about the bit near the end where Westley is confronting Prince Humperdinck. Humperdinck proposes a fight to the death and Westley counters with proposing a fight "To the pain".

Now a few of my other mtb friends are fans of this movie also, I was thinking the next custom Jersey we get should be a Princess Bride themed jersey with that quote on it. We all seem to be keenest on events that are hard and painful. A jersey with a Princess Bride theme, such as a scene from the sword fight or similar and the quote "To the pain!" on it would be hell cool. There are a number of cool amusing things from the movie we could incorporate on the jersey to keep the in jokes on the jersey up.

[/mtb/gear] link

Fri, 14 Jan 2005

Leonardo living in a treehouse with many titles - 13:57
Seen on we make money not art today was this "Suspended spherical home". Another cool thing out of Vancouver in Canadia. They will be for sale, or rent soon, they look cool, are low impact and would even be fairly well hidden once aloft.

Danah mentioned this list of titles on a United booking form.

Mr, Ms, Mrs, Miss, Dr, 1sgt, 1stLt, 2ndLt, Adm, Baron, Baroness, Bishop, BrigGen, Brother, Cantor, Capt, Cardinal, Cmdr, Cmst, Col, Count, Countess, Cpl, Cpo, Dean, Duchess, Duke, Elder, Ens, Father, FleetAdm, General, Governor, Gysgt, Hon, Imam, Judge, Lady, Lcpl, Lord, Lt, LtCmdr, LtCol, LtGen, LtJg, Ma, Major, MajorGen, Mcpo, Mgysgt, Minister, Monsignor, MostRev, Mother, Msgt, Mstr, Pastor, PettyOff, Pfc, Po1, Po2, Po3, President, Prince, Prof, Pvt, Rabbi, RearAdm, Rev, RightRev, Scpo, Senator, Sfc, Sgt, Sgtmaj, Sir, Sister, Smn, Smn1, Smst, Sp4, Sp5, Sp6, Sr, Sra, Srta, Ssgt, Swami, TechSgt, VeryRev, ViceAdm

Damn thats a lot, I know one Commodore (from the Navy) however Cmdr apparently stands for Commander, thus he is not even represented here, the list may be overkill to some extent, I wonder if Lucy's official title is in there somewhere, it may mean airlines wont confuse her with a government minister (see the "Christmas Party Career talk" item on December 12th)

On Metafilter there was mention of an article about the discovery of a hidden laboratory that was used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and various other scientific work he carried out. Neat.

[/various] link

Thu, 13 Jan 2005

T-Shirt comments and laptop Pizza. - 22:27
Mikal told me I should write about this while we ate pizza tonight. The other week I saw a link on Metafilter about (reading the comments is suggested) a laptop bag/box made from a pizza box. Apparently the link hit slashdot also, however I missed that as I have not actively read slashdot since sometime in 1998.

Also almost amazingly I have yet to write something in my diary about a rather cool t-shirt Andrew gave me last week. Today I had 5 people comment on it when they saw me wearing it, maybe I should photograph it and write something, it is almost to be expected that I would considering the t-shirt.

[/various] link

Fun morning on the bike - 09:58
The last few weeks not many people have seemed interested in the Thursday morning mtb ride, so this morning I hopped on the road bike and headed out to ride with the southside bunch. Leaving home just before 5:30am, I picked up Bruce (the guy who did all the run legs in my triple tri team the last two years, he bought himself a new road bike recently and is keen to do a bit more riding), we rode out to Woden along Adelaide Ave, going at a reasonable pace so Bruce sat behind me all the way. Arrived a bit early (5:52am), sat around chatting with Morgs for a bit and we all got rolling. Thursday morning in the Canberra Southside bunch is a recovery/easy pace ride so it was pleasant rolling through Curtin, across Scrivner, through O'Connor, up Ginnenderra drive into the AIS, back down Belconnen way and over to Limestone Ave, at this point Morgs and I split away and headed toward Dickson for the Flat Coffee ride, did another few KM with them before breakfast, also a nice easy pace. 60KM racked up on the road bike before breakfast, now a lunch time mtb ride to look forward to in the heat. Wheeee bikes are fun! :)

[/mtb] link

Wed, 12 Jan 2005

Author resources - 22:41
I am not, nor particularly want to be, an author, however there is a chance Jane does, or other people, so I think I should put this here. Neil Gaiman posted to his diary today "Everything you wanted to know about literary agents...". Mostly containing an email response from an editor he knows who could answer this well. The editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden has some sound advice, and provides a lot of interesting links on the subject or related stuff to things authors should research, or things authors should avoid.

[/various] link

Cute but overpriced - 14:59
So in the keynote at Macworld one of the items announced was a cheaper Mac with no screen, keyboard, mouse, etc. Just the box. Sure I can see this can be cool for people who want a Mac but have the other stuff already. Personally I just am not interested (I suppose to some extent because I am not stuck in the world of windows). The new computer, MacMini is a good size, about that of a cd drive by the looks of things. Definitely cheaper for the grunt available than the briQ (though not quite as rackable), however as this is not aimed at the rackable or smaller, market for servers, I would be far more likely to go for an x86-64 box and run Linux on it.

I saw a suggestion yesterday (prediction 3) that if Steve Jobs wants to spend some of the money in the bank to entice more people to Apple, he could with this new machine subsidise it by US $100 per unit, the person suggesting that thought the price may end up being around US $350 per unit, now after the announcement we see they cost US $499 per unit. Sure it is still cheap, but unless you have a hungering for MacOSX it is not cheap for the grunt. I am happy to run Linux, the price for a reasonably grunty MacMini in Australia (80 GB disk, 1 GB memory, 1.4 GHz G4) is over AUD $1400, for that in Australia (from eyo as an example) you could purchase a Shuttle Form factor 939 kit (SN95G5) ($440), Athlon 64 3200+ ($313.50), 1 GB Ram (2 512 Apacer chips) ($264) (2 means with the 939 you get much faster memory access), Radeon 9250L 128 MB AGP ($69.50), 200 GB Maxtor IDE HD ($193.60), Pioneer Dual layer capable DVD (all formats) writer (cdr etc also) ($132). AUD $1412.40. Same price, Linux would run a hell of a lot faster on this and it is still a small footprint sitting on your desktop.

I admit there are people out there who use MacOSX, and there are crazies out there who use windows, oh well IMO their loss. I also admit I am suckered a bit by the idea of a cd drive sized desktop to run Linux on, and I always thought the Apple Cube was cute, though overpriced. I also like running Linux on non x86 architecture (sparc, ultra sparc, m68k, powerpc sitting in my house, though turned off now days as I don't actually use the systems any more).

Update: Seen on Kottke just now, a flickr image with instructions on how to convert your iPod to and iPod Shuffle in three easy steps. Cute/Amusing, I agree with Mikal though, the price of the new device is pretty good for its capacity and size.

[/comp/hardware] link

Tue, 11 Jan 2005

Mtb's are slower, not by much though. - 20:41
Back home working on some of the stuff, the ride was good, hard work, fun climb, etc. As for the time, on the bike computer it said 1h12m for a 36.7 KM ride, average speed was 30.5 KMh. This is interesting, I did the same ride (work, summit Stromlo, back to work) on the morning of December 6th last year (Monday), when I did it that day I was on the road bike and it took me 1h8m for the same route. The fact that there is only a 4 minute time gap is interesting. This is not a controlled environment and I may be at a different fitness level than a month ago, but I do tend to be pretty consistent year round, it is good to see a slicked up mtb is still fast. I definitely noticed it on the climb though, where on the road bike I stayed above 20KMh all the way up the climb and was hitting 24 or so on some of the upper sections, on the mtb I was climbing between 17 and 19 KMh and only hitting 20 on the upper sections.

Update: I just remembered, I tend to be a bit faster in the afternoons/evenings than in the mornings, no idea why, but it may have contributed to the low time gap.

[/mtb] link

Need to ride - 18:27
As brilliant as fafblog is I need to stop reading for a bit. I have not ridden much since Friday. This morning I slept through my 5:15am alarm (very rare for me to do this) and thus missed the Cotter/Uriarra loop, I awoke at 5:55am, decided to wait a bit and head out for the flat coffee ride some of the AIS staffers do. Due to this and the rain yesterday I wouldn't mind a ride. I have my hardtail at work with slicks, so my plan for the evening is, hop on speedy mtb, ride out to the summit of Mt Stromlo from the ANU Acton campus, ride back, grab my stuff from the office, go home. At home I need to change tyres on the road bike back to 23c tyres. Tweak the back wheel a bit as the build last week was a rush job. Send out the latest bunch of action items for the lca crew to work on, make and eat some dinner, it would be helpful to buy some fruit and other stuff at the supermarket, though I don't think I will have time tonight. If I finish stuff before bed time I could I am sure amuse my self some more reading faf.

[/mtb] link

Faffing about potatos wont be old in 5 minutes. - 15:34
Yesterday on BoingBoing there was a link to some diary entry comparing Alberto Gonzales to a Baked Potato. Alberto Gonzales is the new US presidential nomination for the US Supreme Court, that however is not as important as the fact that this comparison is funny stuff. I read more entries and found this weblog Fafblog often pokes fun at the US administration, and whether you enjoy the slightly political bent or not it is constantly very funny and clever. For example, in the vein of Time's man of the year they nominated Fafblog's man of the year. Definitely on par with, and seemingly consistently more entertaining than Rory.

As for the 5 minutes thing, yesterday Kottke mentioned Dooogle, a search engine that only returns results about Doogie Howser M.D.. The concept of the search engine is amusing for about 5 minutes, after that I think it may get old. At least Whereis Anton changes and does not age as easily. Of course thinking about 80s children's shows got me thinking about shows other than Doogie Howser, such as how much I enjoyed Out of This World (teenage girl who's father is an alien, she can stop time by touching her fingers together), how much I like the theme song from that show, Bing Crosby's Swinging on a Star, and how much I would like to see the show again, though I probably would not enjoy it as much today, oh well (at least it apparently never jumped the shark). It is good to know some friends such as Mel and Lana can sing that theme song from the show word perfectly today.

[/amusing] link

Mon, 10 Jan 2005

Who knows what is happening in the world today, we may all be too busy to find out - 20:25
On Crawford Killian's diary there was a link to an article discussing whether journalism can stay alive as the number of current news aware people dwindle. Newspaper editors in the US got together and started talking about the figures published regarding these dwindling numbers. "in 1964, 81 percent of Americans read a daily newspaper, while today that figure hovers around 54 percent." The other figures presented by this are to some extent even more alarming for purveyors of news media. Even TV Newscasts have seen ratings plummet in the last 20 years.

Interesting article, it had me wondering about some of the further reasons it may have missed. I myself an a culprit of not following current news media assiduously. In the case of newspapers I quite enjoy reading them, however I do not have the time to dedicate to this activity and thus don't. For TV news I hardly watch TV and definitely have never found the TV newscasts that interesting to watch. Part of this is the TV newscasts exaggerate the middle ground more than print media, and print media already cater to a lower denominator to some extent. I would not be surprised if this trend is evident throughout the rest of the developed world.

By this what I mean is I do not make an effort to watch the TV coverage as it does not interest me, and in subjects I do not take an active interest in already (ie cycling, computers and computer science) I do not have the level of interest necessary to find out what is happening (using valuable time). For those subjects I have an active interest in, no broad spread journalism (print or broadcast) is going to be in depth or focused enough that it will hold my interest when I already know the subject so well.

My behaviour, and that of others who have forgone the reading of newspapers and even following news could as the article suggests be in part due to the push for commercial productivity in modern society. In the modern time poor world many enjoyable past times may fall by the way side. This could indeed be a really bad thing. An essay I read a few weeks ago talks about the virtue of idleness. As people are pushed to be more productive and the time to sit around doing nothing focussed and pondering whatever the heck they want disappears society will become less productive not more.

This is because the time to sit around pondering whatever allows your brain to process and mull over previous input information, kind of like composting, something good comes of this, we learn by experience and being able to incorporate our experience and knowledge into a greater whole is worthwhile. If we are all kept busy all the time we do not have time to think up new stuff.

On the point of society becoming less productive if people do not have time to think and be smart it is worthwhile having a look at some of Paul Graham's essays on hackers and smart people and productivity. For example his essay Great Hackers, where he links variation in productivity, and the smarter people being far more productive to wealth and success. This is very true, however if you look at the smarter people they spend a lot of time doing things not at all related to being smart or their work or whatever, they spend time relaxing and doing fun things, or sitting around enjoying their leisure, this gives their brains the time to be smart.

So following the news is decreasing, to some extent because people are time poor, and given a choice of what to spend time doing they will often choose other activities rather than following the news. The cjr article does point out some other interesting suggestions about problems in the news coverage industry, such as that some research indicates that the light readers or youths that appear to be ignoring news in their droves are interested in the following topics "health/fitness, investigative reports on important issues, the environment, natural disasters/accidents, and education", and yet many news programs or papers are covering celebrity news or similar fluff due to marketing or perception of public interest reasons.

Anyway no real conclusion on this stuff, just throwing the links out there with some of my own rambling thoughts, what more can you expect from a diary entry. (oh and yeah I started writing this while sitting in a meeting about mtb stuff last night, but did not finish it until Tuesday afternoon)

[/various] link

Enthusiastic kids - 17:44
Saturday I got a lift to Sydney with Jaymz, dropped off at my Sister's place in order to pick up my car. I hung around for lunch and played Trivial pursuit with Jane and some of her friends, hopped in my car around 7pm, thus did not get home until after 10pm. Sunday I did not go out riding as I had a bunch of stuff to get done (lca, house stuff, corc, etc). Two days off the bike, I thought I would head out for an hour or so after lunch today. It rained after I finished the work I was doing until around 2pm, thus no rides since Friday morning. I am right now somewhat keen to get out and do some exercise.

Mikal saw a performance of The Tempest (found with the google search "tempest site:gutenberg.org"), performed by 11 year old children with only one week to learn their lines. According to Mikal it was fantastic, and although he had bit of difficulty seeing kids he has babysat as characters in the play he really enjoyed it and thought it may be worth seeing it done by professionals.

I would not be too sure, it is a good play to read, one of the more interesting/entertaining non comical Shakespeare plays. I have seen it performed by Bell, read the play, seen movies that have been loosely based around it etc. However I would posit that the performance by 11 year old kids may be one of the best ways to see this play. Two years ago a theatre group with many teens or younger in their troupe performed some Shakespeare plays at the Gorman House arts centre. Sitting around on the grass in the courtyard seeing a selection of little people (teenagers and such) perform Shakespeare with their enjoyment and enthusiasm shining through was fantastic. I saw this with my non cycling friends I often go to the theatre with and they shared my view that the enthusiasm and fun the performers had or were having being so obvious was a good thing. One of my friends (Prue) was even tempted to join a theatre group and get into this herself.

On the other hand professional actors such as the bell troupe, though they are probably having fun (otherwise they probably would not be actors) learn to act to the extent that thy hide the enthusiasm and fun. Sure the performance is more polished and all that, but I think the kids have some spark that makes up for that.

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Fri, 07 Jan 2005

Large MMC Card and Card Reader. - 12:39
As mentioned I ordered a large MMC card (512 MB) for my palm pilot. (from Exeltek who appear to be one of the cheapest sources of flash cards and similar in Australia most of the time) The card arrived today, along with a new 9 function usb card reader.

I purchased a usb card reader from Exeltek about a year an a half ago (Transcend brand) and it has never worked properly in Linux (2.4 and 2.6, though I have yet to try 2.6.9 or higher which have a new usb-storage implementation finally). When I purchased that one it was about AUD $70 AFAIR, now the new one I just received was AUD $25. I am pleased to say it works flawlessly, I have tested it with my new MMC card, with the 1 GB CF card from my MP3 player and the 128 MB CF card in my camera. This is all good.

As for the MMC card, I can now use backup to flash software on my palm pilot, and store books and documents and such to read away from a network connection which could be cool. Maybe I should give my old not linux friendly card reader to Brad or Mikal to assist with their scheme to take over the world with more usb gadgets than most usb gadget factories.

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Thu, 06 Jan 2005

preshrunk operating system metaphors and yellow snow - 22:30
I saw this a few days ago on metafilter or boingboing, an online diary concentrating on cool t-shirts. Preshrunk daily adds one or more links to sites that sell or give away cool t-shirts or similar. Though it has only been going a little while it is very cool so far, I especially love the Jesus Helps Me Trick People, Chewie is my Co-Pilot, Bacon is a Vegetable from one site and I was amused by the Republicans for Voldermort, Please Do Not Eat This T-Shirt and I live in Beer at another site. Many other cool T-Shirts have been linked to also. I however have far too many T-Shirts to go around buying more as it is, I wish someone had a site like this for cool cycling jerseys, though that would mean manufacturers would have to make cool cycling jerseys and not many do.

One of the best essays on the subject of Linux and open source I have ever read is In The Beginning There Was The Command Line by Neal Stephenson, annoyingly on the cryptonomicon site it is not available to read as plain html. Anyway recently with Neal's blessing some guy has put up an annotated version which brings it up to date a bit more and is in html.

All skiers and other snow lovers hear often the do not eat yellow snow instruction, for good reason, for those who want to see some on the computer you can go and make some yellow snow here.

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Neverwhere - 11:15
I finished reading the Neil Gaiman book Neverwhere last night. I loved the book, of course I should not be surprised by this as most of the stuff Neil writes is brilliant. The book was written after the screenplay for a mini series that aired on BBC in the 90's, DVD's of this series are available and I would love to watch it if anyone has them.

The story was based on the idea of a different almost medieval sort of underground society in London, where people in the western society living above ground don't see or know anything about the other society. The story set interesting and entertaining characters in some familiar places and some unfamiliar places and an adventure unfolded when a man from London above got caught up in London Below. I am hooked (I already own some of the Sandman collected editions) I should go buy myself a copy of American Gods now I suppose, oh and a new copy of Good Omens (by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) as Maxine managed to remove (never to be seen again) the first 50 or so pages making it a little harder to reread.

Who am I kidding, like Michael I suffer from Book Addiction, and am lucky to walk out of good book shops with any money remaining.

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Wed, 05 Jan 2005

No palm backup bad - 16:38
Fuck. I opened my palm (Tungsten E) to add two entries to the calendar so I remember they are on and found it had run out of batteries. The fun bit of course is I have not been making a backup of my palm for the last two months or maybe longer (I can not find where I was storing the backups the last time I did them regularly from a quick look around). In the world of cheap huge flash storage I think one really neat feature would be a snapshot backup onto flash storage in the device.

I suppose if I put a large MMC card in my tungsten there is probably some way to program something that could copy the contents of memory to the card when asked and restore all the databases from that copy on request if you do lose power. I can understand why the main memory in the palm is not flash storage due to the limited write lifetime, I am annoyed that there is no way to back stuff up (or restore it) without plugging the palm into a computer and syncing it. Snapshots of the entire internal memory by date or something would not even use much space on some of the huge cards available these days.

Now I get the fun of tracking down all the contact details and dates and other things I had loaded if I am unable to find my last backups. Even with the latest backups there will be a lot of missing stuff.

Update: I was googling for this sort of thing and found it, CardBackup or SaveBackup. I am buying a copy of one of them and a large mmc card for my palm now.

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One great song left, but oh so depressing - 15:02
For a change from listening to Ani, Dave Matthews Band, Missy Higgins, Counting Crows, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Melissa Ferrick, Joni Mitchell and Leonardo's Bride all of which tend to be on my standard play list at work and home. I put some of my Pearl Jam albums (Vitalogy, Ten, Vs) on to play at home last night while rebuilding my road bike back wheel. I recall enjoying Pearl Jam a lot back around 1995, now however almost none of their music really excites me that much.

From listening to these albums again a lot of it, to me sounds too similar and I do not discern the lyrics well. The only song I really still love is Betterman from the Vitalogy album, I find this kind of freaky/scary due to the subject matter of the song. On a Pearl Jam performance that was televised about 8 years ago (MTV Unplugged or something, I remember Eddie did a Pro Choice (abortion) protest thing in the performance, which, when you consider how messed up the right wing religious anti abortion stuff in the US is is a good thing to encourage your fans with I reckon) before playing Betterman Eddie said "this is for the bastard who married my mama".

Listening to the lyrics of Betterman you can see how it is about abusive relationships and how some women are unable to get out of them. So although I adore the song and how it sounds, it is sort of depressing when you think about the subject matter. Admittedly I also sort of still like the songs Daughter and Rearviewmirror, both off the Vs album, these songs are about child abuse or child learning difficulties according to many interpretations, so yet more depressing subject matter. At least Rearviewmirror is possibly about escaping from those situations/difficulties.

Of course maybe I should just continue listening to the music and stop thinking so much about the meaning, almost the over analysis of which I accused some fans of engaging a while back. However all I really wanted to say was the only Pearl Jam song I still love is Betterman.

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Tue, 04 Jan 2005

USB interfaces to cool people - 14:56
Mikal made a bunch of New Year's Resolutions, according to Mikal "Apparently all the cool people are making new year's resolutions". I have not actually seen any other New Year's Resolutions online in the last few days, so I wonder who Mikal is referring to as "Cool", he did not link to any such diary entries as supporting evidence. Of course in Mikal's world, maybe it was Andrew, Matthew, and Catherine making the New Year's Resolutions, as they do not have online diary's (though Andrew and Matthew have both had email addresses from the day of their births) Mikal was unable to link to their resolutions.

Speaking of Mikal's family, this diary entry at Dooce had me thinking of Mikal...

little-leaguers, set to take after their very athletic and thick-necked fathers. I can pretty much guarantee that any child of mine will take one look at a baseball and immediately ask where its USB port is.

As Andrew and Matthew grow up I am sure they will expect every single device in the house to have at least one USB interface. Fortunately Catherine is well aware of geekery and accepting of this eventual reality.

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Mon, 03 Jan 2005

Yet another cracked rim - 18:17
Today we headed out for another longish road ride, 208 KM at an average of 28.9 KMh. The route was Home, Cotter Road, Uriarra Road, Mountain Creek Road, Through to Yass, then to Jerrowa, Dalton and Gunning for some lunch, back home via Gundaroo and the federal highway (avoiding Sutton). The ride was a lot of fun however my back wheel went out of true, upon looking at it I discovered another crack surrounding a spoke eyelet.

The rim is a Mavic MA3, I have had this same problem far too often with Mavic rims in the past, the Mavic Open Pro rim on the road bike before this cracked in a similar manner. On the mountain bike I have often cracked Mavic 517s. I have never cracked a non Mavic rim on the mountain bike, I should probably seriously consider a non Mavic rim on my road bike now, however the cheapest way to get the wheel going again is to buy another MA3 and lace it up with the existing hub and spokes, changing to another rim would most likely require spokes of a different length.

While out on the ride Mum rang and invited me to Dinner, though I am a bit worn out I am going out anyway, due to the road bike back wheel problem I will need to ride one of the mountain bikes out there now. Another 22 KM out and back to Gunghalin on top of the rest of the riding for today, oh well I am sure it is doing me good.

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Sat, 01 Jan 2005

Mt Clear and surrounds. - 23:10
I am amused by the filename for this diary entry, 2005-01-01_01, such a repetition, I suppose the whole small minds thing applies once more <g>.

Last night Russ, Jaymz and I rocked up for the Majrua Pines NYE night ride. We had a good time, though I did not get back from the ride until after 1:30am, and then got to sleep around 2:30am. This did not bode well as I was to wake up around 7:30am in order to get out to the NYD ride we had planned from Mt Clear campground down to the Naas/Boboyan intersection via Horse Gully hut and the Naas fireroad.

The ride was a lot of fun today, at an easy pace, through some gorgeous bushland. I took a bunch of photos and have already uploaded them. Next year Marea is keen to do the ride to the summit of Mt Clear and continue along the ridge line from there before descending to Naas again, sounds like something to look forward to. (for a bit of history, Marea, Stephen and I did a ride in the Mt Clear region on NYD 2004 also)

On the good news front, my car was not quite as broken as the Mechanic originally thought so he was able to get it fixed in time and Jane now has it and I will not have to get all the way up to Macksville to pick it up after all. I get to sleep in a bit tomorrow, no early start or too late night so hopefully I will not be quite so tired tomorrow.

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