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)

February
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2005
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Sun, 27 Feb 2005

Maps of Sparrow Hill - 11:07
On Friday I uploaded some maps of the Sparrow Hill single track network from Russ Baker. Unlike the older maps of Majura or the sadly burnt Stromlo and Greenhills, these have contour data, this makes them a bit harder to read if you are used to the old maps, but in the end they will be more useful. I uploaded a low resolution map for viewing, printing and general reference, for those who really want the huge view a hi resolution map.

[/mtb] link

New STI Levers for my road bike - 10:37

Two new 105 sti levers and bits (full size)

Broken right hand sti lever (full size)

Functional Left hand Ultegra lever (full size)

Odd socks^Wlevers (full size)
For the past two years I have had difficulty with the shifting on the right hand sti lever on my road bike. This is the lever that moves the back derailleur up and down the 9 sprocket cluster. The problem has been that the inside lever used for downshifts has not worked independently, I have had to hold the outside lever still with my fingers while I downshift with the inside lever.

Shimano STI levers often fail in this manner, usually it is the back shift lever that goes, probably due to much heavier use than the other lever (and I suspect, more complexity in the lever). However STI levers cost a lot, a pair Ultegra STI levers as I had on the bike retail for ~ AUD $500 for a pair, or if imported around US $200 for the pair. This is somewhat steep, especially if you consider a Campagnolo Centaur groupset (with all but hubs) can be purchased for AUD $900, which is effectively equivalent to Shimano Ultegra, full Ultegra can be purchased for around AUD $1100.

With the high price of replacing levers, because I was still able to shift gears I simply got used to the change and continued using them. Last Wednesday the right hand lever finally stopped working and a few minutes later popped apart with springs and nuts and little bits of lever going everywhere over the road. I was finally forced to buy some new levers. I am thinking of getting a Centaur groupset on my Lemond frame when I get it back, so I decided not to spend the money on Ultegra, I got Shimano 105 sti levers, this is the next groupset down the range from Shimano. The pair of levers still cost AUD $430 which is kind of ridiculous.

I only bothered putting one lever on the bike for now, the Ultegra lever on the left hand side still works fine. I noticed when using the 105 lever they really, noticeably feel cheaper than the Ultegra levers, the click feels a bit plasticy or wishy washy, not such a positive feel, I also notice the lever has a lot of plastic in the assembly, most places where the Ultegra lever is made from aluminum this is plastic. Now it is time to ride the road bike, and look forward to two minute noodles and toast for meals for the next fortnight <g>.

[/mtb/gear] link

Sat, 26 Feb 2005

Crazy hats in the monkey sphere. - 20:27
Once again time to throw some links up here and get them out of my to blog file. Being a free software fan as I am, the use of unencumbered data formats or source data is always a good thing in my world view. This free fonts blog I saw a link to on Metafilter is a cool resource.

The 2005 Independent Food Festival Awards site is deadly. A collection or blog links to the best (With cool and quirky names too) submitted food items from food blogs around the world. I found the link via kottke, and I have to say some of the food sounds delicious, such as the Best use of a Tortilla, mmmm fresh Tortilla.

Again from kottke, an article for photographers pointing out that a better camera does not make you a better photographer. Basically saying fetishising your camera equipment is pointless and wastes valuable time that could be spent taking photos and thus becoming a better photographer. This argument is quite accurate, and really needs to be employed often in cycling circles. A better bike does not make you a better rider. Getting out and riding a lot makes you a better rider, as does increased fitness, which comes largely from more riding.

In the vein of those modified movie titles, are these new romance novel titles. (source BoingBoing).

I saw mention of a Crazy Hat Day, at some school (not at the Melbourne Cup), damn some of them are cool, I almost wish my school used to have that, what with my attempt to out hat Jim's 2003 Polaris hat last year. (I later learned he was simply wearing a beanie high on his head, not anything as cool as a felt Lapp lander hat). I wonder if we should instigate a crazy hat day at work.

For the heck of it, an article talking about the Monkeysphere (it sounds cool) and if you really feel the need to waste some time, reading through the 0xDEADBEEF archives (I link to the Metafilter mention of the list as there are good links into it and comments) should do it for you, both of these came from Metafilter.

[/various] link

Fri, 25 Feb 2005

Our experience with Dell Thermal Event error - 22:18
Late last week some of the Dell Optiplex gx270 desktops in the department started spontaneously shutting down. Upon restart we saw the error "Previous shutdown due to thermal event.".

This suggests something like fan failure allowing the case to become too hot, so last Friday I looked closer and noticed the power supply fan in one of the systems was indeed dead. We replaced the power supply and the machine appeared to work, at least initially. Ringing Dell we requested they rectify this problem with a few replacement power supplies (4 machines had failed at this point).

On Monday we discovered the machine with the replacement power supply dead again, and it would not stay up for more than 5 minutes after booting due to over heating for some reason. All this time I had been googling around a fair bit trying to find if anyone had any real suggestions about what could cause this (happening to more than one machine in so short a time was unlikely to be a simple hardware failure, too much of a coincidence).

Google showed some Dell support pages which were no real help, if you see the error "Previous shutdown due to thermal event." check that both fans are operating. Well yeah, they were not, but replacing them did not permanently fix it, and we had already been through that. A few comments in various user forums suggested some sort of mother board problem, however were not more specific and only said in some instances Dell had replaced the boards and the problem had gone away.

Dell phone support said they would send a few power supplies, and new CPU's with new fan units, this was their suggestion to us, so they had lined up a tech to come over (a day or two later than our support contract stipulated they should have fixed the problem by).

The tech rocked up with one replacement power supply and fortunately a replacement motherboard (just in case), even though we had reported 4 failures at this point. As soon as we described what was happening to the tech he said "Oh the capacitors on the board near the CPU have failed, they will be leaking or bloated". Apparently this has been happening with a large number of these Dell machines and other similar models. A worrying thing to find out when we remember we have approximately 120 Dell Optiplex gx270's in the department.

We had not even thought to look at the capacitors or anything, fan failure and overheating did not suggest to us that this could be the problem, of course that google searches and Dell tech support also did not suggest this as a possible cause is why I am writing this now (in the hopes, that if it happens to someone else, they can read this account of what a possible cause for the error "Previous shutdown due to thermal event." in Dell desktop machines and other similar hardware.

I suppose, possibly, it should have occurred to us to look at the capacitors, we have had large scale capacitor failure in the past as many nodes of our 192 CPU Bunyip Beowulf Cluster. The capacitors in many boards blew up, leaving large black holes around where they were mounted on the mother board. (Bob has some photos, I can not find them just now after a quick search though)

The failures in the cluster were after prolonged periods of running nothing but sse2 instructions (by prolonged I mean a few days or even weeks at a time), that sort of constant current load was not initially factored into the boards by the manufacturer (Epox). Fortunately in that case Epox replaced all the mother boards with boards that could handle the high current for sustained periods.

In the case of these Dell desktops, most of them have not been working too heavily, sure many run intensive integer stuff for one of our researches (a computer farm) in out of hours time, and they are all turned on 24/7, but this is not particularly high usage. It has been suggested by some other people on campus that

Dell is only the latest in a long line of affected electronics manufactures. MSI (used by Protech), Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS have been affected over the past 2 years. Motherboards, video cards, TV tuners, apparently even some stand alone DVD players and other home electronics - anything these capacitors have been used in - have been playing up as well.

References: 1, 2, 3.

Since the Dell tech mentioned it had been happening a lot, we have started opening up a large number of the computers in the department and found many capacitors bloated or leaking, just waiting to fail. If you have a Optiplex gx270 maybe you want to have a look at the mother board, the large capacitors near the CPU are the main culprit.

[/comp/hardware] link

Thu, 24 Feb 2005

Tetris to bore you with - 23:46
On Metafilter this morning was a link to Tetris1d, this made me laugh, a lot.

Boingboing had a link to a new flashified version of a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy text based adventure game, written by Douglas Adams himself, originally released in 1984. I have not looked at it yet, however it promises to be good, if you are a fan of Adams work, are a fan of text based adventure games, or like wasting away the day playing flash games.

On a comp/software note, I received an email from Lars Lindner (the Liferea author) in regards to my diary entry two weeks ago, in which I noticed a disk access every 5 seconds seemingly from Liferea. Anyway Lars pointed out how I could configure this off, I did so and it worked, I have now updated the earlier post. Don't you love free software, though I had the option to learn how to fix this (hop on the mailing list and ask, read the source, etc) I did not pursue this yet. Then today I get this email from the author pointing to additional ways to configure the software and it fixes my gripe.

In reality I should remember to check gconf for stuff that is gnome related, I have had issues in the past with various other gnome software, and people like BCG have pointed out gconf keys for configuring the apps, I guess I just forgot (I do not run a gnome environment, just some of the cool applications).

[/various] link

Wed, 23 Feb 2005

Weird Pros - 11:25
As many people by now know, Hunter S Thompson died this week, I really did not know much about him, though I have seen his representations in modern pop culture from time to time. Anyway I just thought I would mention, this is a hell cool quote.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."-HST

And now updating this entry, so as to avoid excessive posts, another amusing quote, this time in reference to Eleanor Gould, who also died recently, damn maybe I should get the Jim Carroll Band playing.

She could find a solecism in a Stop sign.

[/amusing] link

Tue, 22 Feb 2005

Damn noisy machines - 22:09
One of the controlling nodes for the large Beowulf cluster here (the machine bunyip.anu.edu.au) just started making a racket (the power supply fan failing) as it is across the other side of the TSG area here I can hear it. I should wait for Bob before doing anything like shutting it down and replacing bits, so I think maybe it is time to go home, not everything I was trying to get done is finished, but hey it is after 10pm.

On a side note, I got the Jodi Martin album Twenty One Stairs today (as kind of recommended by BCG and the order placement mentioned here), I had to put a cheque in the mail and send off for it, and as it appears the retailer linked from the Jodi Martin website is out of stock of her studio album "Water and Wood", I am trying the postal request and delivery method for that album also. Once I have listened to Twenty One Stairs some more I will probably talk about it more in the correct category (this post is yet more evidence of why I want multiple category post capability in blosxom).

Oh and yeah I notice Hugh mentioned buying and using some white lightning lube on his recumbent. I agree the wax based lubes are good as you have a nice not messy drive train, however the thing I notice is they do not last very long before reapplication is necessary. I use dry lubes on my mtb usually, and have to relube once every 40 to 100 KM most of the time (so often more than once a day, and in endurance races usually once per lap or every two laps), on the road bike I tend to use wet lube (tri-flow being the standard) as it lasts a lot longer between reapplication, and the lack of dust to gunk it up means the drive train can stay cleaner. Of course for Hugh, YMMV.

[/comp/hardware] link

Eben and the GPL as discussed by Groklaw - 17:09
Eben Moglen is a speaker at linux.conf.au 2005, delivering a keynote address. Eben is the original Author of the GNU General Public Licence and is the General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation. Thus he has a lot of experience in the licencing of free software, the theories behind the licences and also in legal issues surrounding software licenced under the GPL.

I mention all this because today I saw on Groklaw a really good article "How Not to Kill the Golden Goose" talking about why the GPL is and has been necessary and why it has allowed Linux to ignore commercial interests rather than pander to them.

The article and the comments contain some good imagery or metaphors and views. Such as pointing out how Linux is more comfortable for users than proprietary software

Proprietary software lets me use their software, but only the way they want it used. Like staying at a friend or relatives house. They want certain things in the kitchen done a certain way, and this spice goes on the right and that one next to it, and those glasses can't go in the dish washer, and this pot has to be shined with this product, blah blah. At home, I make those decisions, and if I want to stand the little bottle of basil on its head in the spice rack or throw it in the freezer or mix it with the pepper, there is nothing but common sense to stop me. Do you understand?

Or later when discussing how businesses seem so short sighted, they see this huge cash cow and wish to subvert it to their current way of doing things, even though in the long term that will kill it off.

silly. Business sees one golden egg, Linux, and all it sees is gold, this minute, and if it needs to grab it, killing the goose to get it, so what? I know it's hard to change one's way of thinking, but this is a time when you simply must. Why? Because if you shut down the way Linux was developed in some misguided attempt to bottle it, or remove the license that made it so powerful, you will destroy it. And that's just counterproductive. Instead, you need to figure out not how Linux and the GPL need to change for you, but how you need to change for it.

This is a current concern in the way businesses, end even, unfortunately, governments around the world tend to operate. Governments often do not fund education anywhere near as much as far less important services, if you remember that the more educated your populace the more productive your entire country will be, and thus more prosperous in the world, it does make one wonder about the lack of funding to education around the world. Or in Australia some obvious recent examples, the Australian government selling off Telstra, or in Canberra, the DFAT building, which was sold to private enterprise. Both these actions bring in a large immediate cash swell but in the long term (20 years or more) will cost the government (The Australian People) more. This is the same sort of mindset that seems to behind (though possibly unconsciously) a business wishing to privatise and subvert Linux, a technology that they could never afford to develop or extend into the future.

PJ writes some great stuff here, I should mention a year ago when we were discussing who the invited speakers for linux.conf.au 2005 should be, PJ was on the short list. However no one we knew had seen her speak and we could not find out easily if she would be able to deliver a great keynote. In the end we decided to invite Eben Moglen, who will bring a relevant and important perspective to the Australian and international Linux development community members attending linux.conf.au 2005, especially in light of the FTA issue in Australia and the Legal issues surrounding Linux currently.

[/lca] link

Photos from the Cotter/Uriarra loop road ride this morning. - 14:08
So I had been wondering about taking photos more often, and I was wondering what photos taken while riding from within a road bunch might look like. I combined the two and have uploaded the results from the 65KM Cotter/Uriarra loop road ride this morning. 32 of the photos were IMO reasonable to put up, the rest I took were too blurry, dark, looking at nothing, etc. Anyway it is a great ride, with hills, not much traffic, away from the city and we were blessed with a great morning for it today.

[/mtb] link

Mon, 21 Feb 2005

Pickling, p123 and doing stupid things faster with more energy - 16:46
So I was looking around for a good She-Ra t-shirt, not for any specific reason, apart from noticing 80's Tees don't have a good one. I found one one some site but did not like it much, however on that site I saw a brilliant coffee mug.

This is the perfect mug for the likes of Matt Barr, Dave@ or Dave "Morgs" Morgan, their feats of silliness on mountain bikes are really quite alarming at times. Matt doesn't drink coffee though, shame on him for messing up the latest plan for world domination.

On planet Gnome this morning I saw some blog meme thing mentioned by John Fleck.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123..
  3. Find the fifth sentence..
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions..
  5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you..

As suggested, we "bloggers" are all lemmings so here is mine

The book is ISBN: 0954452909

The option is turned off by default because it causes problems in domains that have wildcard MX records.

This morning I mentioned to Nick (owner) and Adam (barista) at the Purple Pickle that rather entertainingly, if you search google for "Purple Pickle" the first hit is for sex toy, my own website gets hits 3 and 4 currently. Nick and Adam and the other staff are in the cafe business, not the website creation business. However Nick wondered why their website was not the first hit.

Lets see now, first off, until this morning I did not even know the cafe had a website. Secondly it is a mostly static site and really does not provide enough of what a popular website would need if you were aiming to have a popular website. The basic premise of this is to provide information that is interesting to people who may come by your site but is still related to your product. I thought I had linked to some article about this a while back, but could not find it from a quick search.

For example a cafe may put some articles about what to look for in good coffee, or coffee making, or information about different coffee beans. The same sort of stuff could be put online about their other products. More than just pricing of a few items, mostly static on the site is needed. However I had to admit it would be difficult to maintain a good website for a business sin this manner, especially when, unlike Tilleys and some other cafe's the Purple Pickle does not have regular events that would bring traffic back often, thus a lot of effort really would be needed to make their website a good destination for people on the web. And really when you think about it, this is not a core business, they have not lost any sales due to people not realising they have a website, so it is not a problem really. And heck if this is anything to go by, my mentioning the cafe website may well get into google, which seems to be the thing that Nick expected would happen magically as soon as they had a web presence (of course it doesn't, but explaining that would take too much time and effort).

Of course another thought on their site, there is bugger all text content, which makes it far more difficult for search engines to do anything with. Whoever they had make the site for them did the create a static site thing well enough, but has made it harder for it to ever get noticed.

[/various] link

Not as sunny bit still fun - 13:34

Towards Civic (full size)

Corner before the steeper section (full size)

Onto the steeper section, from handlebar height (full size)

After claiming how much fun and how lovely the descent off black mountain is last week, I thought I would take some photos today when I did it again before work. Alas it was not quite such a wonderfully sunny and inspiring morning, I still had a nice cruise around before work though.

[/mtb] link

Sun, 20 Feb 2005

What influences bike buying decisions? - 23:10
I have been reading the latest copy of Ride Cycling Review and Australian Mountain Bike today and it got me to thinking about what things really tend to influence my bike purchasing decisions. All of which I am sure are largely subjective.

First off I am a fan of steel as a frame material, also I suspect I would like titanium, though I have never ridden extensively on a frame made from this so I do not know for sure. Things I look for in a frame are reliability, strength, good build, good for the intended use. My road bike is a Lemond steel framed ultegra equipped bike. My better mountain bike is a Rocky Mountain dual 3dlink based dual suspension bike. Though Lemond is not a long running marque of road cycling such as Colnago, Bianchi or Scapin the frame is good for what I use it for, as a diversion from mountain biking for fun and fitness. (Though as Richard has broken his 3 times and I have now broken mine once, I wonder if the strength and reliability criteria is really there with Lemond). I admit when I was looking to purchase my first ever road bike in 2002 I did not put much thought into it, my criteria was, steel frame, my size, ultegra or 105 level groupset.

On the other hand I put more thought into my last mtb purchase. After breaking my steel frame in a crash early last year and being relegated to my aluminium hardtail frame I decided I should buy a dual suspension bike. Rocky Mountain has been around for a long time (in mountain biking, road cycling on the other hand is a much older sport) and they have been using the 3dlink suspension design since around 1995. Due to the longevity of the brand and the people I know who have ridden them and liked them, I had a very high opinion of Rocky Mountain mountain bikes. When I rode it and discovered I liked the ride characteristics and feel a lot more than that of the Kona Kikapu models (I rode one of them for about 1.5 months in 2003) I was keen to buy the Rocky.

If I wanted another road bike I wonder how well placed my aversion to Aluminium and Carbon Fibre is. I do not think I would ride a Carbon bike from most brands, the only one I can think of that really appeals to me is the Bianchi (and geez that white carbon looks sexy, I was sitting behind someone riding one on Thursday morning last week), and to tell the truth I really have no idea why I would like to ride this bike. One of the bikes reviewed in the latest edition of ride is a Teschner aimed at the mass market a bit more than most of his bikes. This frame, made from aluminium with carbon rear end again should not interest me so much. However this time I think I can understand why it would interest me, it is hand built here in Australia, Teschner's bikes have a really good name locally and internationally, and it would at least be comfortable with carbon front and back to take away road buzz.

Of course this diary entry was brought to you by the theory of N+1, after all we all "need" more bikes <g>.

[/mtb/gear] link

Sat, 19 Feb 2005

Rebuilt the road bike back wheel properly this time - 23:40
Due to thunderstorms being forecast for this afternoon (they did not eventuate however) I headed out on the road bike with the Bilbys Saturday morning ride rather than head out for an all day mtb ride I had been planing earlier in the week. Early in the ride I paid for the lack of effort and time put into building my back wheel after the last rim replacement, I had a spoke break, and due to how bad the spoke keys in the Topeak multi tool I had were I was unable to fix the wheel enough to continue on the long ride. (I use Park Tool spoke keys at home, and I am starting to think, as I have the same gauge nipples on all my wheels (which is the black park tool spoke key size) maybe I should simply buy two more and carry one in each of my road and mtb tool kits) I turned around, rode home, fixed the wheel and road out to meet them coming the other way on the long loop. Anyway after this (yet another problem stemming from the bad wheel build) I finally loosened off the entire wheel, put in a new spoke, oiled the nipples and put the effort and time into making a straight, reasonably well tensioned wheel, this should now have less problems.

While riding back out to meet the bunch again I saw a rider in a Purple Pickle Peddlers jersey whom I did not immediately recognise. That is kind of strange as I do know every person who owns one. Anyway after thinking about it for a minute I realised it was Aaron's sister Danielle, out for a ride with their Father (I think), good that is cleared up and no one has been selling their Pickle jerseys on the black market or something.

[/mtb/gear] link

Indian music and Awesome random pants. - 23:12
At dinner tonight I mentioned to my sister some Bollywood music site I had seen. On BoingBoing in December there was mention of a site put online by someone that is aimed at getting you hooked on Bollywood music. The next day someone else made a rather impressive cd cover that could be used for this collection of music, this also got onto BoingBoing

Anyway I have yet to download and listen to the Bollywood music placed online by David Boyk, but it is apparently good.

I was reading Sarah's diary yesterday, which is hosted by blogspot, when I noticed an interesting feature of the blog software. Blogspot provides some buttons along the top, one of which is "Next Blog". What this does is randomly selects another blog hosted by blogspot and loads it. Kind of like using Google's I'm feeling lucky button when searching for all blogspot blogs. This is pretty cool, sure you hit upon some crap diarys, you also however will from time to time find something to entertain you. Such as this guy who in his profile lists his interests as "Pants" (and yes I am pretty sure this is not Jeff in disguise), and has some amusing posts. One of which reminded me of something Jez Spackman pointed out at the Purple Pickle one morning.

The main Barista at the Purple Pickle is a guy named Adam, he does not serve coffee to tables particularly often as he is too busy making it, however when he does he has a distinctive character trait. Unlike most wait staff who simply say "Here you go" or some variation when handing you your coffee, Adam will always say "Awesome" as he hands you your coffee once he has identified who it belongs to. Jez liked the behaviour, something different to liven up the day.

[/various] link

Fri, 18 Feb 2005

Bidon monopolies - 19:35
I have a rather crappy cycling bidon (drink bottle) at home. I own a lo of bidons, but the rest are all pretty good. I was wondering about crappy bidons and good bidons due to this crappy one.

In Australian cycling circles almost every bidon you either buy or get given at an event is made by one company, BoA (crappy website, but you can see what they make). All but two of the drink bottles I own at home are made by Bottles of Australia, including the crappy drink bottle.

The crappy drink bottle came from the 9th Australian Masters Games, which were held in Canberra in 2003, I was given the bottle more recently though. I found out fairly easily the difference in bottles is due to there being a budget bottle available from BoA made from crap plastic. Looking at the website the specs of their budget bottle are indeed quite distinct from those of the original bottle (no prices here, but I am sure schwag suppliers like PaddyWack can give you a quote if you care). This discovery does however lead my to the question of, why in hell did the 9AMG people decide to hand out crappy bottles, every cycling event I go to that does a bottle run gets good quality bottles.

Oh well no matter I have many many good quality bottles from other sources. (which is good as they do actually wear out, I go through about 1 bottle every 6 months, with three in high use on my three bikes, and some I keep in lower rotation use for times I need to use more than one bottle on a bike or at an event). Most of the bottles seem to wear out after about 2 years of somewhat continuous use. (the place they tend to wear out is splitting on the lid where the plastic that holds the lid on to the bottle comes apart and slowly splits the side of the lid).

Of course the entry title is a bit of a misnomer, there are other sports bidon makers in Australia, the two I own that are different are NSW State forests bottles, they have a screw cap lid (which is really strange to use when you are used to normal bidon lids) but on the whole work fine and are made with good quality plastic. I guess the linux.conf.au 2004 bottle was also made by someone other than BoA as it has a screw top lid, I can not check as I did not get one at the conference, of course I could probably get one from Mikal as he has the overflow stock of stuff from last year's conference in his garage currently. Also I see other crappy bottles around, such as a Sydney water bottle on a shelf at my sister's place that has a small circumference plastic bite valve on top instead of the traditional rubber surrounded larger bite valve.

Of course I am probably just being a bit of a gear snob again in using the good BoA bottles almost exclusively. Just what I get given a lot, and am used to I guess.

[/mtb/gear] link

Thu, 17 Feb 2005

Mikal's bra - 19:17
News just in, lca 2005 crew member Mikal has just promised he will be wearing a sports bra during linux.conf.au 2005 to show off his bustline.

[/lca] link

That house must have been doing at least 30 KMh. - 14:17
Another fun morning on the bike, once again, due to low mtb numbers on Thursday morning, I headed over to Woden at 5:30am this morning for the Southside bunch ride on the road bike. Followed by the Flat coffee ride with the AIS crew and a leisurely (I had been intending to go do another ride after coffee but that was called off, so more coffee time) coffee at the Purple Pickle.

So in the Southside bunch ride, as we pulled onto Adelaide Ave we were behind a truck with a house on it, for the duration of the time we were following it it punched a great big hole in the wind for us to draft and did a similar speed. Thus we (a bunch of ~ 40 cyclists) were drafting behind a house moving at 30 KMh. One of those moments that as Rove might say make you say "What the" when hearing about it.

[/mtb] link

Wed, 16 Feb 2005

Riding on the train pants off - 22:51
I seem to recall Chris bought one of these radioshark things, search, no I stand corrected, he talked about getting one but there is not yet a Linux driver. Anyway BoingBoing had a mention of one today which reminded me what a great thing it would be. The majority of radio tuners available for computers are FM only, generally hooked up with a TV tuner card too. Martijn tracked down rather expensive isa or pci card a few years ago that could do both AM and FM and some other stuff and bought one. He then of course was hit by the problem of trying to receive AM in the noisy (lots of radio wave activity) environment of a computer case.

The reason AM is so important in my opinion is the ability to tune into Radio National and record shows you like (Tivo style) on the computer. There is some other great content on a few other stations in Australia that is (at least in Canberra) only on the AM band too. An FM tuner just is not interesting, so sure Triple J is fantastic and we are lucky to have it, but you can stream it from the net already, and other similar music from other Internet radio stations.

The radioshark gets around the inside computer interference by being external, it is not particularly expensive, now all we need is a Linux driver, an AM and FM radio tivo would be seriously cool.

Other random stuff to include in this post, I found this rather interesting document as an unrelated link in a google search the other day, "HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux", this was initially put together at OLS in 2002 in a BoF, good reading and it has some important points about what to think about if you are serious about encouraging women to become interested in Linux and participate actively in the community. Of my friends, Kristy Bennett and Alison Russell would probably both have some rather good comments on this also as they have both dealt with the atmosphere for a number of years.

Now on a completely unrelated note, to go rather well with the annual MoonAmtrack (mentioned previously) day is this link I saw on kottke this morning, The Fourth Annual No Pants! Subway Ride which as we all know is the sort of event Jeff Waugh either started or will be starting in Sydney any day now.

[/various] link

Tue, 15 Feb 2005

That google juice thing - 14:42
So Andrew has been surprised by the way google juice affects stuff in the past. I must admit I just got a big surprise too. I have known for years I tend to have reasonably high google juice, but this one still surprised me. Last week I posted on my diary some stuff about Louise Werner, lead singer of the British group Sleeper. Today I noticed some google hits in my apache logs from searches for Louise Werner and Sleeper, curious I googled for "Sleeper Louise Werner" and simply "Louise Werner" I am now the top two google hits on that subject.

When I think about it I can see why, the band do not appear to have their own website (they split up anyway AFAIR) and there do not appear to be many fan sites online any more and as mentioned I seem to have some google juice, but it does kind of annoy me, I do not have much information about the band or the lead singer Louise Werner on my website anywhere and thus do not give them a fair treatment if someone is looking for information. Oh well I hope no one is offended by the lack of relevant information if they happen to come here from those searches.

[/comp/internet] link

Mon, 14 Feb 2005

What a wonderful descent - 18:51
I have whined about this a bit in the past, the ANU Student union food is far too expensive and pretty darn average. I needed something more to eat, and wandered over to get some hot chips, the price has gone up this year to AUD $4 for a bucket of chips, and they are not even good chips. If I instead hop on my bike and ride 3 minutes to O'Connor shops (which is close enough to home I could just get more food at home I guess) I can get hot chips from Flatheads Fish cafe at AUD $2.20 per serve, similar size serving, and fresh cooked and much tastier. This is yet another shining example of the ANU Union food being extremely over priced, it is a wonder students can buy anything there. In this instance I rode over to the shops.

Anyway on to cycling. I arrived at work around 8:30am this morning, dropped my bag and stuff and hopped back on the road bike for a climb of black mountain. Damn that is a nice descent, it is a shame it is over so quickly, but on a morning like this it is almost magical, descending the smooth road with the sun glinting off the lake to my right through the trees doing about 70kmh, ahh the joy of exercise and being outside. I finished off with a lap of the lake on the bike path just to spin out and get a more reasonable workout. Good to see the change of bike did not impact my climbing much, at a good (but not too hard) pace I still got to the summit in 12 minutes to the second according to my bike computer, which is a pretty standard time for me to climb black mountain.

[/mtb] link

Sun, 13 Feb 2005

All^WSome of what you probably never wanted to know about me. - 14:12
So a few weeks ago I added the About link to my diary on the left, however I had not actually written an about me page yet so it was a dead link waiting for the hordes of people to scream out in rage at being unable to find out more about me. Well that never happened, however I thought it best not to leave a dead link there even though no one was ever going to read it. So today I wrote some stuff and put it in the About page. Maybe I will even put a photo directly in the page (there is at least one linked there) sometime, but right now I am heading off to the cinema to see The Incredibles with Crash and his daughter Madeleine who, though I love Toy Story 1 and 2, at 5 is possibly an even bigger fan of the Pixar movies than I.

[/various] link

Sat, 12 Feb 2005

The replacement road bike - 21:05

Before (full size)

After (full size)
After Ben kindly leant me the replacement road bike, I stripped the frame down, and transferred all the bits from my bike to the new frame and forks. I had to buy a new bottom bracket as my cranks sat out a lot further on this bike than the cranks Ben had on there. I also had to buy the cable guides to go on the downtube shifter knobs as I have STI shifters. A new seatpost, the frame needs a 26.8mm seatpost, I had a 27.2mm post on my road bike, the post Ben had in there was sitting well beyond maximum safe extenstion (about 2 cm of post were in the frame) where Ben had it sitting.

The photos to the left are the before and after shots. I had a quick ride on the bike today, it really does feel very nice. The weight is about the same as my bike was (not much heavier), the frame size is almost perfect for me, the rake on the forks is a bit different so changes the handling slightly but it will not take long to get used to. I have to continue using Ben's front brake and front derailleur for now also as my own do not fit the frame or forks correctly, but it all works well and I am going to have some fun riding this until I can get my frame up and running again, who knows maybe I should just negotiate a price for the bike with Ben and buy it, having extra bikes and bike frames and such is a good thing.

[/mtb/gear] link

Better photos of the break in my road frame - 20:57

full size

full size

full size
After taking the rather blurry photos the other day I found a copy of my camera Manual online at the Canon website and worked out how to do macro photos with my camera. (it really is pretty damn easy) so I took some more photos of my frame (now with all the parts stripped off the frame) to show off the break in the chainstay.

[/mtb/gear] link

The Phantom was married on my birthday. - 20:35
The other day I was rereading Frew #634 Phantom, the wedding issue, when I noticed the date on the wedding invitations. November 24th, how cool is that, The Phantom was married to Diana on my birthday. This is I am entirely sure a small things please small minds occasion but what the hey <g>.

[/leisure] link

Fri, 11 Feb 2005

Strange behaviour from liferea - 22:47
I have been using the liferea aggregator for a while now to read news feeds on my laptop. Tonight I noticed my laptop hard disk was doing a disk access every 5 seconds. As I did not have much software open I found this a surprise. In the end I tracked it down to liferea.

Wondering what was causing it I straced the program

[22:35:10] 101 oneiros sjh ~>ps auxw | grep liferea
sjh 26098 0.1 1.9 49256 12416 pts/6 Sl 22:21 0:02 /usr/bin/liferea-bin
..
[22:35:19] 102 oneiros sjh ~>strace -tt -p 26098 -o /tmp/sout
Process 26098 attached - interrupt to quit
Process 26098 detached
[22:35:59] 103 oneiros sjh ~>egrep -v 'ioctl|gettimeofday|poll' /tmp/sout | less

Which gets rid of the stuff it is doing a lot of and leaves me with the remaining system calls and the time at which they happened. Looking at this there is something obvious happening every 5 seconds that would indeed cause a disk access.

22:36:04.928666 mknod("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", S_IFIFO|0600) = -1 EEXIST (File exists)
22:36:04.928740 open("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", O_RDONLY|O_NONBLOCK) = 13
22:36:04.928783 read(13, "", 256)       = 0
22:36:04.928812 close(13)               = 0
...
22:36:09.928930 mknod("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", S_IFIFO|0600) = -1 EEXIST (File exists)
22:36:09.928992 open("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", O_RDONLY|O_NONBLOCK) = 13
22:36:09.929036 read(13, "", 256)       = 0
22:36:09.929065 close(13)               = 0
...
22:36:14.929187 mknod("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", S_IFIFO|0600) = -1 EEXIST (File exists)
22:36:14.929253 open("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", O_RDONLY|O_NONBLOCK) = 13
22:36:14.929296 read(13, "", 256)       = 0
22:36:14.929324 close(13)               = 0
...
22:36:19.929446 mknod("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", S_IFIFO|0600) = -1 EEXIST (File exists)
22:36:19.929502 open("/home/sjh/.liferea/new_subscription", O_RDONLY|O_NONBLOCK) = 13
22:36:19.929544 read(13, "", 256)       = 0
22:36:19.929572 close(13)               = 0

It is a named pipe, which could change the behaviour of disk activity but still, under normal circumstances the following would apply.

Because it closes the file every time the disk does a sync. I had a look through the config options for liferea and can not find one to tell it to stop doing that, of course I have the option to look at the source and find out why all this is happening, but for now I think I will just stay annoyed at it. Unless anyone knows how to stop this behaviour?

Update: As mentioned the Liferea emailed me and told me how to disable these updates and it has stopped the disc accesses.

There is a gconf option to disable the checking of this pipe.

If you want to do so set the boolean gconf key /apps/liferea/disable-subscription-pipe

I started up gconf-editor and hey presto there are more configuration options there, and this one worked. Thanks Lars.

[/comp/software] link

Unable to access svana.org - 21:49
So around 2:30pm this afternoon something broke on the link between Comindico and Apex (where svana.org is hosted) Apex have their downlinks through transact and when I spoke to them on the phone around 4:30pm they said they still had not heard back from Transact as to what was causing the problem. Now, after 9pm something is still broken. From ANU I get the following traceroute output.

[21:54:04] 1 diver sjh ~>traceroute svana.org
traceroute to svana.org (203.20.62.76), 30 hops max, 38 byte packets
 1  sneakya (150.203.160.1)  0.371 ms  0.305 ms  0.226 ms
 2  hanhub.anu.edu.au (150.203.164.1)  0.548 ms  0.436 ms  0.450 ms
 3  huxhubrb.anu.edu.au (150.203.202.1)  0.557 ms  0.438 ms  0.456 ms
 4  carnohubb.carno.net.au (203.22.212.65)  0.557 ms  0.443 ms  0.454 ms
 5  ATM1-0-1.cn1.optus.net.au (202.139.39.245)  1.307 ms  1.303 ms  1.077 ms
 6  GigEth12-0-0.mn1.optus.net.au (202.139.188.131)  16.171 ms  14.794 ms  15.102 ms
 7  ComindicoInternational.mn1.optus.net.au (202.139.138.198)  15.485 ms  17.360 ms  15.313 ms
 8  ge6-2.cor02-dryb-mel.comindico.com.au (203.194.56.60)  28.724 ms  29.073 ms  28.620 ms
     MPLS Label=354 CoS=3 TTL=1 S=0
 9  pos2-0.cor01-kent-syd.comindico.com.au (203.194.1.209)  29.312 ms  28.825 ms  28.473 ms
     MPLS Label=350 CoS=3 TTL=1 S=0
10  pos9-0-0.cor01-nort-cbr.comindico.com.au (203.194.1.90)  28.359 ms  28.577 ms  28.593 ms
     MPLS Label=442 CoS=3 TTL=1 S=0
11  ge1-0.wsr01-nort-cbr.comindico.com.au (203.194.57.54)  28.346 ms  28.592 ms  28.327 ms
12  * * *

From pretty much everywhere else I get the same endpoint stopping traffic, ge1-0.wsr01-nort-cbr.comindico.com.au, which at a guess is the comindico north Canberra gateway or something.

I have written in the past about how annoying it is to be disconnected from my email when svana.org is inaccessible. So far with the downtime of around 7 hours it really is starting to get ridiculous. Yes I openly admit to being an Internet addict <g>, and I want my email. That this takes the Bilbys website and a whole bunch of other sites offline on calyx along is just more annoying.

[/comp/internet] link

Thu, 10 Feb 2005

At 9:09am learn how to use a knife to open a can of whupass. - 21:05
After opening CSIT N101 at work for the Programmers SIG I came home to do some more work on getting the replacement road bike up and running. I still need one or two bits I think. I don't really have much else to say, I spent more time today at work with Bob tying up some of the last few loose ends on the new Student Lab image for all the computers there. (120 Debian boxes) so I might as well throw some links up. Oh yeah another new house mate moved some stuff in today, she is still waiting for some more of her furniture so will move in for good next week, just one more of the three new house mates still to move in.

Metafilter had a link to a blog by some french guy, 09h09, in which he takes a photo of himself every day at 09:09am no matter what he is doing or where he is. He has been doing this daily since October 2002, that is a hell of a lot of dedication. I kind of like it too, the guy makes me think of Peter Wingfield a bit. It has me thinking, something some people (such as Heather Armstrong) do is make the effort to put a photo on their diary once a day. Martin Pool will often upload photos also, being an avid photographer and all that. Maybe I should upload more here, of course Alli, Andrew and others would simply argue I would just be feeding my diary addiction more.

Last Thursday Metafilter had a link to this site about Knife Skills for Chefs. I enjoy cooking, and my family and friends tell me I am reasonably good at it, however one place I would love to improve is in knife handling. Professional chefs can cut up vegetables in a fraction of the time the general public can. I guess it makes sense, I have skills in computing, cycling, skiing, etc that I spend a lot of time to maintain. As the site suggests, practising cutting vegetables helps a lot, and this site helps explain how to cut all manner of different vegetables most effectively so you get it right as you practice. That site is useful and links to some other stuff such as knife care.

Oh and for Heidi and Mike, I think maybe they should buy each other one of these T-Shirts next time they hand out a can of whupass.

[/various] link

Wed, 09 Feb 2005

More Neal Stephenson - 21:44
To go with the rather good Stephenson interview on Slashdot a while back, BoingBoing just had a link to another pretty good Stephenson interview, this time talking a fair bit about how the public may perceive "The Baroque Cycle", and some other stuff too.

Thinking about it I really should try to borrow copies of that series and read them sometime.

In other unrelated stuff on the Interweb thingy, Kottke had a link to an amusing poem, I Ate iPod Shuffle, in loving memory of the cautionary note that was for a time at the bottom of the Apple iPod Shuffle page "2. Do not eat iPod shuffle.".

[/leisure/books] link

Another Broken Lemond Zurich road frame. - 10:14

full size

full size

full size
This morning on the way to the start of the Wednesday morning road ride I do I heard a new clicking noise from the bike, I did not stop to check it out and decided to continue riding. Somewhere not long after passing Scrivner Dam however the whole back of the bike started swaying and the click came back with a vengeance.

We stopped to have a look and found the frame broken. Damn. So I have broken another bike frame. Richard Bontjer has an identical model Lemond Zurich road bike and his has broken three times in the past 10 years, so I suppose it does happen. Apparently the Lemonds from that era broke where they were welded often. We do not know if it was a quality issue or what, it is annoying though.

Fortunately Ben Crabb has leant me his old road bike, which has a rather nice steel frame (painted red so it will go fast too :) until I can get my frame back on the road. This means I will still be able to do road rides easily with big enough gears (mountain bike gearing is too small and you end up spinning out the biggest gears pretty quickly riding one on the road)

The break as can be seen in the photos to the left is on the chainstay on the drive side right where the dropouts are welded to the frame. I apologise for the blurriness of the photos, I can not find my camera instruction book just now and do not know how to put it into Macro mode for photos.

[/mtb/gear] link

Tue, 08 Feb 2005

Women in rock and Paul Graham - 22:39
This is cool, on Kottke this morning was a link to an article discussing the problem of there no longer being many female rock bands or lead singers, compared for example with the mid 90s and talking about some of the reasons. The cool thing is the article is either written by or from an interview with Louise Werner of the Brit pop sort of band Sleeper from the 90s. I am quite a fan of Sleeper, I have the albums "The It Girl" and "Smart" by the group, also back in 1999 I uploaded a bit of a Louise Werner fan page. As for the article, I tend (as Jane has noticed often) to listen to and like a lot of female lead singer based groups (I love Leonardo's Bride music for example) and it is kind of a shame if there are not as many women in all genres of music.

Hugh brought to my attention today another really good Paul Graham essay. This one targeted at the youth but applicable to anyone, another good read.

[/various] link

Mon, 07 Feb 2005

More warnings - 22:28
In honour of those strange warning labels, because I found them so hilarious the first time I ever saw a list of them I feel the need to share this link. Found on a Singletrackworld forum, another list of warning labels that make you wonder about the human race. Most amusing.

In other news, BCG put a few more reviews up. He was at The Waifs concert at the Canberra Theatre on Friday night. Good to hear he loved their music, Dave and Julie were there too and said it was pretty cool. Of course they played Tilleys on Thursday night which is an even better venue to see them, but it also sold out in half a second or something. Dave and Julie said the concert was good, of course Dave has been seeing The Waifs perform fairly regularly since their first ever appearance at the National Folk Festival a number of years back. Anyway Martin liked The Waifs performance (I don't blame him, I love The Waifs music), and also their support act Jodi Martin, who he had seen previously. I had a look around her site a listen to some music, good stuff so I ordered her two albums.

[/amusing] link

Sun, 06 Feb 2005

A naming scheme would make it easier... - 22:51
So most places that have a lot of unix computers have a naming scheme for them. This is because the name of a computer with unix installed is an important part of the computer, and the naming scheme makes things easier. For example at work we used penguin types and similar stuff until they ran out (crested, adelie, canopus, aptenodytes, emperor, king, royal, megadyptes, etc), the place I used to work in Sydney had a naming scheme based on alcoholic beverages (my desktop was Guinness, some other machines were gin, rum, cointreau) or the debian project which has a naming scheme of sorts too.

The reason this makes ones life simpler is because you do not have to spend much time choosing a name when you get new hardware, I have never had a naming scheme for hardware I use at home or whatever, thus I often spend a while thinking up new names. Every time I have gotten some computer running in the last few years I spent at least an hour trying to decide on something to call it. My desktop at home now days is called russo, due to my adoration of the actress Rene Russo, my old laptop (Apple G3 Pismo Powerbook) that now belongs to Mikey was named "shiva", though not because of the Indian god as you may expect, instead it was due to the DC character Lady Shiva. The name shiva was easy as I had set that aside as a name for my laptop for a year or two prior to purchasing one, the desktop name russo was a change from something I used for years previously that I decided should change.

Other machine names have never been as easy or straight forward. svana.org has the name calyx, which took Martijn about half a day of looking for interesting words in dictionaries and encyclopaedia's and much discussion to choose. Some other machines I have are "groki", "sarzi", "innuendo" all of which have similarly long and drawn out tales attached. The laptop on which I am typing this took me a few hours of thought to name also, I eventually chose "oneiros" which is another name for The Sandman created by Neil Gaiman. It took me a while to even decide what sort of name to look for too.

Compared to the above drawn out process, naming schemes are fantastic, pick a scheme, create a large list of possible names, hey presto new hardware requires picking the next name in the list.

On an unrelated note, I saw a link to this site "Where The Hell Is Matt" today, an American guy who was working in Brisbane, packed up and went travelling for a while and this is his travel diary. Not so unusual or interesting I suppose, except he has a very cool, inspiring sort of video on his site. See the dancing link, he does this cute little dance everywhere he visits and tapes it. (the music will probably be familiar to some Australian's as it was used in SBS advertising for a while). I admit the guy is a pretty good writer too looking through some of his posts, entertaining, inspiring, fun. Makes you want to travel. Oh and yes the Kiwi's are in a conspiracy to use the number 6 in sentences as often as they can I am sure.

[/comp] link

Sat, 05 Feb 2005

Locking your bike to twinkies may be humorous - 22:57
This morning kottke had a link to this diary entry about locking your bike in NYC, some good points there, though on the whole a bit short. Other random links I could throw out today may be something about the Potted Meat Museum for those of you who really want to find the spam, or the Wikipedia Style manual if you want to write better (heck I should read and learn it myself).

The twinkies thing kind of has a story behind it, in 1996 or so I created a website, on this website I attempted to be humorous, with the help of my sister I created some content. From time to time I added to the content over the years though the last real update was in 2000 sometime. The website still exists "Flammable Object, Do Not Ignite - Maximum Daily Allowance of Sanity". I should admit I still find some of the stuff quite funny, though I have no idea if anyone else does. The newer items are "How to create your own website" which makes me sound like a beer obsessed woman chasing pyromaniac with an unhealthy Ani and Harlan Ellison obsession. Although the latter two may be accurate the first three are not (well I hope not), anyway reading that page, I was stunned at how poor and unpolished it all seems, though the amusing bits in there made me think of the brilliant Fafblog, I am not in their league, and I remember that page took a week or so to write at the time, hard work.

The other recent addition was the "Essential Items for Parties", this did not make me cringe as much reading it, however the turn of phrase I used was not as entertaining to my eyes today. Anyway I remember trying to be funny was hard work, and I still have no idea if it appealed to anyone elses sense of humour. On the quite likely chance it did not appeal to other people, I had a links page, on the links page there are now a lot of expired links. Fortunately one thing, something my sister found, is still there. "The Twinkies Project", T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. stands for Tests With Inorganic Noxious Kakes In Extreme Situations. Real humour, somewhat early Internet humour too, because we all want to blow up a cake from time to time.

Speaking of cool t-shirts, as we weren't, I have been watching a recent Ani dvd, Trust, on rotation at home for the past few hours (where watching means in the same room as it is being displayed). Something I noticed at one point in the dvd was a woman wearing an incredibly cool t-shirt in bright (azalea) pink with "This Is What a FEMINIST Looks Like" written on it. Google found the t-shirt for me here. If only I did not already have so many t-shirts I could buy one and wear it proudly. Pink is hell cool and Jane always calls me a raging feminist. Of course this is the reasoning behind why Preshrunk is so good but so annoying at the same time. There are so many cool t-shirts there but I already have many many t-shirts. For example, this site found on preshrunk, 80s Tees has so many cool t-shirts and other stuff. A Pink The Flash T-Shirt, A Pink Supergirl Cap (I don't wear caps), Pretty much any of the Monty Python Shirts, and so it continues. Really, What Would Ninjas Do? (unfortunately I probably have too many coffee mugs too).

[/various] link

Fri, 04 Feb 2005

The wayback machine and the font of all knowledge - 23:16
There is a lot of assumed knowledge among user groups and communities. Whether it be in jokes or simply something you expect someone else to know if they do are a member of some specific group. Among avid web users irrelevant of their personal specialities there are a few sites I would expect many people know about today. The most obvious of these today is Google, two others I expect most heavy web users would know about these days are Wikipedia and the Internet Archive.

I suppose due to the fact I count these as assumed knowledge by heavy web users today I was somewhat surprised to hear my sister Jane only found out about the Internet Archive in the last week and until I mentioned had still not actually consciously heard of Wikipedia (I have written about it here previously so she probably saw mention of it without taking in the information).

The Internet Archive is basically what it says, the web is changing daily, sites that once existed either change or disappear. Since 1996 the people running the Internet Archive have been archiving data from the web. Disk space is getting progressively cheaper so why the heck not, on the site itself you can access entire snapshots of sites or whatever from any time since the archive started. I have previously linked to the archive from a diary entry, referring to it by the colloquial name "The Wayback Machine" (they use this themselves, the term originally comes from Rocky and Bullwinkle) when I wanted to reference a website Jim Trail used to maintain for Triple J that is no longer online at ABC. This like google is yet another fantastic use of gobs of disk space on cheap x86 computers running linux. Reading the Wayback Machine FAQ is a good plan to learn more about it.

Wikipedia on the other hand is an online massive collaborative encyclopaedia. Wikipedia itself provides a good definition of what a Wiki is. This is lightly moderated and relies on the accuracy of the data added to it. Like any other source of data it should not be relied upon entirely, simply use it as yet another source of data on some given topic. I have commented on Wikipedia in the past (search google for "site:svana.org wikipedia" if you want, I can not be bothered linking to all the entries here). Others I know well (Martin Pool, Rusty Russell, Chris Yeoh for example) have all commented on the reliability issue in the past. As have other people such as Danah Boyd and Cory at BoingBoing to name two. WikiPedia has many advantages of traditional encyclopaedia's, one of which that quickly becomes obvious is on pop culture and recent events. I can almost guarantee Dr Who, Star Trek, The Simpsons and other cult tv phenomena do not get anywhere near this much coverage in any traditional encyclopaedia. Nor will there be coverage of events the day after they happen, or even as they are happening as there often is on WikiPedia. WikiPedia is not alone either, another good example of a massive collaborative online encyclopaedia is Everything 2.

There you go Jane, and anyone else who had not heard of these two rather cool sites, go have some fun.

[/comp/internet] link

Thu, 03 Feb 2005

Funky banners - 22:13
Jenny Cox kindly created a few interesting or unusual banners we could use on the lca web site. In the same way google change their banner image from time to time we thought it would be cool to have something like that for lca.

Some of them may be specific to one day but we wanted to show them all as they are pretty cool, so we simply put them up on random rotation. Each banner links to a short description of what the image is about also. Even more reason for you to go check out the conference website and sit there hitting reload, or reading a few different pages.

[/lca] link

Wed, 02 Feb 2005

More on plugins - 18:54
Have I mentioned before that Mikal is evil? Ahh good I have. A few days back Mikal wrote his first blosxom plugin to implement technorati tags. Useful though it may be, it is not exactly what I am interested in. So it got me to thinking.

In the same way Tony has been known to put off completing easy action items as they are that easy... I have yet to write the story tag lookup thing the way I want it as it is easy. The technorati tags thing got me thinking of a harder class of problem though.

I notice Movable Type and some other diary software stuff allows entries to be placed in multiple categories. Blosxom gives you the concept of categories by letting you place files in a directory, the directory becomes the category. Blosxom does not easily support placing posts in more than one category.

If I wanted a post to show up in /mtb/gear and /comp/hardware or something (say a gps receiver I use when cycling) I have to choose one. It would be neat if I did not have to choose, but everything else still worked correctly.

Using symlinks or some top level database for the entries subroutine and other stuff may allow you to get some of the functionality, however other plugins are unlikely to work when a fundamental assumption is changed. This is because the posts are placed in a category, the category is not simply an attribute of the post. On my diary on the left I have the categorytree, calendar and flatarchives plugins displaying information. If the entries subroutine returned an entry for every file it found, yet some were symlinks and thus one entry only the calendar and flatarchives plugins would have incorrect counts. However if the entries routine only returns an entry for every real file and ignores extra entries that are only symlinks or a copy of an existing post in a different category the categorytree plugin will fail.

I am thinking of various ways to play with this such that I can keep the simplicity of blosxom (text files in directory structure) but allow multiple categories for a post. As I said Mikal is evil for distracting me once more. Maybe he wont be so evil once he returns from yet another trip to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle next week.

[/comp/blosxom] link

Tue, 01 Feb 2005

The only reason to reboot is a hardware upgrade. - 12:51
Mikal mentioned he only reboots computers when he has to, Mikal linked to a post by Scoble where Scoble says he doesn't find bugs in certain software or systems because he reboots his palm computer every day. Scoble said he learnt this was the best way to do things when working with System 7 Macs back in the 90s and he still does it with computers he works on today.

I would imagine Mikal and I are not the only people who find this behaviour incredible. There is no good reason to reboot a computer in my world view unless you have to do a hardware upgrade (such as replacing the entire computer). Okay admittedly you still need to reboot to upgrade the kernel (if an important kernel security fix must be applied), however that may change (though it is not a kernel developer priority currently). With hot plugging there are instances where you do not even have to shut down a computer to add new hardware or upgrade hardware.

As an example my previous desktop at work had an uptime of around 730 days, from doing an software image install until it was replaced with the new faster hardware we purchased for the next round of deployments. On that machine I currently have an uptime of 363 days. I use this computer every day at work for a whole variety of things, it does not sit in a corner gathering dust. If you need to reboot to avoid bugs, I would suggest using a less buggy operating system.

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Ani going for another Grammy? - 12:14

Front coverfull size

Backfull size

Sleeve offfull size

Lyric book/insidefull size
Ani's album Evolve won a grammy when it was released for "Best Recording Package". Basically for having a really cool jewel case and song book. It was of course not an actual Jewel case but something different.

The new album that was released 2 weeks ago, Knuckledown arrived in the mail early last week. I wonder if the rbr people are trying for another Grammy, well probably not trying, but who knows they may win it. I really like the new album case. The scribbles around the hand that move away when you slide the cardboard out, the different sort of song book inside, the look. All good.

As for the album, so far I like it alright, however I know from experience it usually takes at least a month of extensive listening to any new Ani album for it grow on me.

[/leisure/music] link


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