Other online diaries:
Wed, 30 Mar 2005
Mindless linux.conf.au 2005 flickr fun - 18:30
Sourced from here.
Added some feed formats - 16:58
Tue, 29 Mar 2005
Sold Out - 23:09
linux.conf.au 2005 sold out earlier today, we have a limit of 500 delegates imposed upon us by the largest theatre in the complex we are using for the conference. We had an alternative plan available to allow for more people we could have implemented 8-10 weeks ago, however registration numbers at the time suggested we should not, thus we stuck with our original limit of 500 delegates.
It is a good feeling to reach this point, though once more I am sure there is still a fairly large amount of work in front of us, all of you coming to the conference, are going to have a great time, if you missed out, book and pay early next year for Dunedin, New Zealand in January 2006.
Do we really have to use it for good causes? - 12:47
The title of this entry is of course in reference to using your google juice for good or evil.
Mon, 28 Mar 2005
<Schwern> Are we using perl to generate a shell script?
Anyway with perl and TMTOWTDI the answer is yes you can do this faster. Michael, the simplest way is simply using opendir and readdir, if you look at the documentation in "perldoc -f readdir" you can probably see an example. Using native perl is always going to be faster than launching a separate shell (which you probably realise, explaining why you wondered if there is some faster way).
Of course looking at the things you have been asking today I wonder if the perl module File::Find may help you out with doing some of the stuff you need.
Sat, 26 Mar 2005
It boggles the mind how infinitely unlikely this is. It's like if you found someone pirating CDs, and it turns out he actually had a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder and sailed around the Caribbean saying "arrrrrr!" and plundering booty.
One TV show I enjoyed a great deal about 8 years ago was The Pretender, it was with glee that I saw this Pez dispenser mp3 player on BoingBoing the other day, it would be the perfect item for Jarod who had quite a fascination with Pez.
This is kind of neat, some uni students who were trying to think up a gimmick for a party decided to hold a party in a gravity defying room, other random interest stuff I saw recently, from BoingBoing this flickr gallery of transparent seeming laptop screens, or this comment on the FedEx Logo, I admit until this point I had never even noticed the invisible arrow in the logo either. I suspect the logo kind of works on a semi subliminal level with many people, a traditional going forward image.
Some new technology that enables network traffic to use the human body as the physical layer for networking is pretty neat, I guess avian carriers really are 20th century technology now. The fact that some companies are already testing devices with this technology is pretty cool, I wonder if they will work out ways to enable different body parts to transmit different data somehow?
Many cities around the world have bicycle couriers, alas in Canberra there are none, partly due to the small size but also due to the way the city is laid out (large geographically separate major town centres with the planning and design of the city pushing toward the fucked up car centric retardedness of Las Angeles (of all the cities I have visited around the world Las Angeles is the one I despise the most)), thus I am unlikely to leave my job and become a bicycle courier. On the other hand Toronto does have bicycle couriers, and this guy did exactly that. Got sick of the office life working as a programmer and went to work as a Bicycle Courier. The write up there is interesting reading, he does seem to love his new job, it is good to see people who enjoy their work.
Thu, 24 Mar 2005
Fixed Frames - 18:32
Three weeks ago I rang up Wayne Kotzur to speak about getting these frames fixed. Wayne is one of the better frame builders in Australia, although he has not been building many frames recently, he has been doing repairs. Wayne said he was pretty sure he could fix the Lemond quickly and that he would have a look at the KHS and see what he could do.
Yesterday morning I got a call from Wayne saying the two frames were fixed and awaiting pickup. In less than three weeks Wayne had picked up both frames, fixed them both, and dropped them off. The cost, AUD $42 for the Lemond fix, AUD $150 for the labour on the KHS and AUD $98 for the new tubes he had to buy to fix it. Adding GST to that the cost for the KHS repair was AUD $280. This is amazingly cheap, I was expecting between $300 and $400.
I am, as I have said in the past, a fan of steel as a bicycle frame material and these two frames have both been great bikes to ride. As I am happy with the ride characteristics of the KHS (geometry and feel etc) I was keen on keeping this frame. Also the cheapest steel (of reasonable quality) mtb frames available in Australia are the On-One geared frames from the British company On-One, these cost ~ AUD $750.
The Lemond fix was small enough that Wayne applied some primer and some violet paint on top and I can use it with no more painting. The KHS on the other hand needs a new paint job, I am tempted to get it powder coated and will have some fun choosing the colour.
I will take some photos tomorrow of both frames and the areas fixed and upload them for anyone interested to see.
Tue, 22 Mar 2005
The Annual Spicy Fruit Bun Festival - 18:05
Some bakeries sell a fruit bun year round, however the few I have tried simply do not taste any good due to the lack of spices. The nearest reliable taste I have found is the Tip Top Retreats Raisin Toast which is what I eat the rest of the year (either as raisin toast at home, or at work as an afternoon snack around 6pm with butter)
The bit I do not understand is why there is no spicy fruit bun sold by any of the bread companies, or by bakeries the rest of the year. I can not imagine consumers would not buy the buns during the rest of the year when they buy so many around Easter.
More Earthsea books - 17:54
I already have the first 4 books in the Earth Sea Trilogy, the last 2 definitely look like they would be worth getting hold of.
Playing noughts in crosses in hippie clown pants - 10:06
Both Bruce Schneier and Metafilter have featured this recently, If your current evil evil overlord plans revolve around world destruction rather than domination you may want to check out this page detailing various methods that may be used to destroy the earth and the possibility any of them will succeed. It appears destroying the earth is more difficult than Hollywood thinks.
BoingBoing had a link to some latte art on flickr (and links to older BB stories about latte art). Definitely cool, though it disappears after your first sip or two. This reminds me of the Guinness head art I have seen, such as 4 leaf cloves, or leprechauns carved into the head of a pint of Guinness. I strongly suspect the occurrence of these art forms is inversely proportional to how good the cafe or pub serving it is (the seeming pretentious quality of the art form just strikes me as something cafes with really good coffee or Irish bars that rock would not be doing)
I keep saying Fafblog is brilliant, yet more evidence of this with their suggestion there has been too much free speech, they also point out yet another place the US government should crack down on once they have silenced bloggers. The Verblogs that happen through out the US on a daily basis are such an obvious security threat. Then of course there is this post, after all, everyone owns a "Big Book of Monkeys an Elephants", an entertaining idea, this reminds me of the British comedian Paul Merton who in Paul Merton the Series (made in ~ 1991) asked the question, what is it with shoe repair and key cutting? Why are two seemingly disparate services so often provided by one vendor. Or even the rather cool baseball caps mentioned in the Dawning fanfic (this a link to Dawning 2, Debby's entire Dawning collection no longer appears to be online) with some of the following humorous combinations on them: "Smith's Feed Store and Discount Cray Computers", "Acme Milking Machines and Reconditioned Atlas Rocket Boosters", "Mom's Famous Apple Pies and Worldwide Diplomatic Initiatives to Go".
The other day Neil Gaiman mentioned a game he plays with his daughter Maddy when they go out for lunch.
Took Maddy to Sakura for lunch, and we played our usual variant of naughts and crosses (AKA tic tac toe) on the inside of the chopsticks wrapper, where we each have to draw something rather than doing Os and Xs. (In the past we've played such epic variants as bunnies vs monsters and fish vs body parts. Today it was mouths vs noses and boys vs girls.)
I thought this sounded cool, my contribution to the art form is below, though I played against myself in The Gimp so it may not count.
Once or Twice I have mentioned that Andrew gave me a really cool T-Shirt, I have yet to model it online however, I have seen photos of Scoble wearing one of these, and various other people. One of Heather Armstrong's legion fans gave her one of these t-shirts the other day so I will leave the model duties up to her. Thanks for the shirt Andrew, very cool
I think it was the Apostropher that had this link, a blog that comments on the wedding entries in the New York Times had something about a somewhat new age seeming wedding the other day. Nothing really that interesting about it (though somewhat frightening possibly) except for some of the quotes in the critique and some in the comments. Such beauties as: "It's like a vegetarian having their dinner plans printed in Beef Magazine", "who wears the hippie clown pants in this family" and "gay vegan robots". It is worth keeping this link around simply for the quotes, and you know the piss taking of weddings advertised in the NYT is probably always good for a laugh.
We all know the Shrub administration is B0rked, the whole thing with schools in the US teaching Christian Creationism rather than the more scientifically founded theory of evolution, well it is no surprise they get away with that sort of crap. I liked the suggestion that, as they claim they teach it as an alternate theory to the scientifically founded theory of evolution, they should in fact teach other alternate theories too.
Lastly, though Alli has probably become bored and stopped reading by this point I feel the need to comment on the Crunchy Mud Alli found herself traversing in Finland. Crunchy mud is indeed cool, we get it fairly often here in Canberra in winter too. Mountain biking in Majura Pines or up in Kowen early in the morning after one of those -7 degree sort of nights I often hear the crackle of mud crunching under my tyres as I ride over what were once squishy but now solid tyre tracks. It is good to see that, despite the cold, Alli and Rusty appear to have had a great time in Finland.
Mon, 21 Mar 2005
This weekend's riding - 20:45
Sunday: Richard (DeathMarch) rang me up early last week asking if I was keen in a epic sort of ride on the weekend, specifically a lap of Googong dam. We chose Sunday and put the word out, Richard and I rode from home (both of us live inner north) to meet the others out there by 10am. Leaving home at 8:10am we got to the dam fore shores car park at 09:30. Oops a little faster than we may have expected, oh well good chance to lie down in the sun for a while and wait for the others to show. Pete Hanson, John Brown, Jaymz Davies and Jaymz's friend Bryce rocked up to join in the fun. We crossed at Gelignite Crossing rather than venturing the further 4 KM out and 4 KM back for Flynn's crossing. The lap of Googong is 40 KM with the odd hill thrown in. The ride out is 30 KM. By the time I got home I had 100 KM clocked up on the mountain bike.
Monday: This being Canberra Day and thus a long weekend in Canberra meant the Bilbys standard public holiday Monday 5 Peaks ride was on. I had volunteered to look after the bunch and do the ride. The 5 peaks were Mt Pleasant, Mt Ainslie, Red Hill, Mt Stromlo and Black Mountain, ridden in that order. The only climbs among those that really require any effort are Ainslie and Black, though even those two are reasonably short climbs. We started a 8am and were finished sitting around at Dobinsons in Civic drinking coffee and chatting by around 11:40am. Approximately 70KM, fun was had. I really do have to get Gary Rolfe out on a ride up Mt Majura sometime as the road up the back of that would be a good addition to the ride, however Gary will not approve it for the Bilbys bunches until he has ridden it himself.
It has been raining fairly heavily for the past few hours so I do not know if I will be able to head out for the 65 KM Cotter/Uriarra ride before work tomorrow yet.
Sun, 20 Mar 2005
Are you inspired with your tub'o'lard? - 22:37
I have however just seen evidence of something even more gastronomically extreme, the Apostropher has an entry mentioning a bar in Georgia that serves two rather inspired dishes: "Hamdog: a hot dog wrapped in a beef patty that's deep fried, covered with chili, cheese and onions, and served on a hoagie bun topped with a fried egg and two fistfuls of fries." and "Luther Burger: a bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut bun.". Personally I wonder if anyone actually eats these dishes and lives for more than another 10 minutes.
The Apostropher does on the whole appear to regularly be quiet amusing (or terrifying depending how you view some of the stories they link). As seen by reading about a Japanese Parent Pining for the Fjords or maybe this Legally blind guy who got a gun licence or a US citizen going for a stroll through Canada in winter. I am beginning to think I had better subscribe to this rss feed.
Never underestimate the bandwidth - 19:40
One of my house mates is running ICQ or similar and it appears to happily use all available bandwidth all the time. This means the latency to Internet sucks for ssh and other interactive stuff. Web browsing even is slowed, and it uses a lot more than half the available bandwidth if I start a large download.
I need to use some form of bandwidth management or queueing on my NAT box, probably something akin to the traffic conditioner mentioned in section 15.8 of the Linux Advanced Routing and Traffic Control HOWTO (which is a little bit out of date now but most of it probably still applies).
I have thought about setting this sort of thing up for a while, so ssh has low latency, however my NAT machine is running an old 2.4 kernel and I do not have the appropriate modules compiled in, the last time I tried a newer kernel out it only got half way through the boot up process. It is time to try another new kernel, this time a 2.6 kernel I reckon, however it will take forever to download 33MB of kernel bzip2 with the current issues on the network. This got me to thinking, it would be faster for me to ride into work, ftp the latest kernel image onto usb memory stick or similar and ride home than it would be for me to download one through the degraded bandwidth into the house.
I would hope I have avoided under estimating the bandwidth of a usb memory stick in a pocket while riding a bike to and from work :)
Fri, 18 Mar 2005
2005 Polaris Challenge report and photos - 18:49
At this present time I have not proof read the report, I spell checked it, but that does not fix everything, so I may fix things up, also Marea has not yet read it so she may have some stuff to add or fix when she does.
Tue, 15 Mar 2005
Are technorati tags doomed to go the way of html meta tags? - 23:09
As he points out, google no longer gives Meta tags any ranking due to spammers, and once google (or any other search engine) starts giving any note to technorati tags spammers will use them. Well it happened, if you search for some topic Mikal has blogged about the top few links almost always point to the technorati category he put the diary entry in. I am sure this is happening to many others, thus spammers are interested.
It looks like technorati tags may well (as many have predicted) be doomed.
Write like no nobody's watching - 22:35
Mikal once more mentioned some of the reasoning behind why he started blogging. It is good to see he knows his reasoning and is still happy with this. It appears many people seem to want to do it for strange reasons that almost seem doomed to failure.
Looking at various somewhat prolific bloggers suggest some reasons or methods on how to blog (2005 Bloggie winning entry), why some blogs succeed and some don't and how blogging may help your career (found on Anil Dash) (some of which Mikal and his co-workers appear to have been discussing recently also).
An interesting point, at least to note if a Blog is popular, the people who write them tend to enjoy or love writing. This is upheld in a lot of the above. Blog if you want to and want to write, and want to have something to say. Other reasons will probably not satisfy you. Mikal fits in here as he blogs because he wants to to satisfy his reason for doing so.
As an obvious example, Heather Armstrong won 4 of the 2005 Bloggies, she updates Dooce daily, and puts effort into writing it, she also appears to enjoy writing it. Like free software with Release early, release often as a mantra. Write like nobody's watching, write early, write often, etc. Or at least satisfy your own reasons for blogging.
There are less efficient message passing algorithms - 21:10
I guess this does depend on your definition of message passing and how the carrier is implemented, etc. It does however seem possible that Mikal has not yet read rfc 1217 (especially when using shuttle launch vehicles) which is likely to be a slower carrier for message passing algorithms than rfc 1149. (unless the avian carriers are dead I guess, which may indicate a need for rfc 2549)
1. What is it with the permalinks in Mikal's diary anyway, they show up on his html output, but my rss feed in liferea does not get a permalink I can copy with right click. Strange.
Mon, 14 Mar 2005
Wed, 09 Mar 2005
What t-shirts? - 20:51
Looking around the room there are not many other interesting shirts, Christine is wearing an ANU t-shirt (as a phd student at Stromlo it makes some sense), Dave is wearing an MTB-O Team Finland cycle jersey, Allan is wearing a Canberra Half Ironman 2003 competitors t-shirt, I am wearing my Don't Fear The Penguins t-shirt (given to me by a friend in the US back in 1997 when they saw them on Rob Malda's private web page, there appears to be nothing on the web about these t-shirts anymore, Rob stopped selling them I suppose). Everyone else is doing a better job of not pandering to the capitalist tenancies of blatant advertising on their clothing.
Tue, 08 Mar 2005
Thinking along the same lines - 18:53
linux.conf.au is run as a project of Linux Australia, it is however run by a team of people selected each year in a new location. Due to this the Linux Australia committee are not on the ground seeing the day to day conference business, and the linux.conf.au crew for any given year do not see the Linux Australia day to day stuff or concerns often.
Both groups of people want the same thing, a kick arse Linux conference each year, however due to the lack of face to face time and the fact that the groups have separate day to day concerns misunderstandings often happen. The good (or bad, depending how you view it) is that when such communication breakdowns or problems occur, after taking the time, or if there is face to face time, to understand what each group of people is actually talking about or saying, it usually seems we were all thinking almost identical things, but somehow the mechanism by which we communicated this did not convey this well.
We can probably all sit around over a beer sometime after the conference is over and laugh at it, and on the whole things happen the way we expect them to.
Mon, 07 Mar 2005
Minions are one in a million - 21:15
This all got me to thinking about that line out of The Whitlams song Up against the wall from the Eternal Nightcap album: "She was one in a million, so there's five more just in New South Wales". And it makes you wonder how common are Minions really?
Looking at ABS and using the suggestion from The Whitlams, I found that NSW has a population of ~ 6.7 million currently. Looking up the whitepages I found there are 6 Minions in NSW (8 show up because there are two in ACT). Interestingly none of the Minions show up in NSW in Metropolitan areas. Thus we already can derive some information about minions, if the Cornish example above, and this is an indication. Minions shy away from living in cities in preference for the country. Anyway, in NSW minions are approximately one in a million.
It is interesting however to note that ACT has 2 Minions with a population of ~ 400,000, this means we have more Minions per capita than NSW. I wonder there is any interest in working out Minion density for all the Australian states? Possibly not, unless of course, like Mikal, you have need of some with which to effect your next plan for world domination, whatever it may be.
No longer getting pickled sex toys. - 15:25
Missing the point. - 11:42
As an example of an album or an artist taking a while to mesh with me, lets use Ani Difranco. When I first started listening to Ani it was due to hearing some of the Little Plastic Castle album played on Triple J back in 1997 or so. I thought at the time that it sounded kind of neat, so bought the album, at first I did not listen to the album much. A few months later I put it back on and started playing it a fair bit more, not long after that I was hooked, something about the whimsy in some lyrics,the poetry in others, the amazing guitar work, the subject matter, whatever. This started my love of Ani Difranco music and lyrics, from then on I was hooked, however it definitely didn't happen immediately.
It still takes a month or two to get hooked on most new Ani albums (though I am, a year later, still not much of a fan of listening to Educated Guess), of course once in a while a song hooks me immediately, such as the new version of the song Not a Pretty Girl that was released on the live double album So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter, that song had me hooked almost from the first note, Ani, in my opinion nailed that song this time round. (before this I liked it enough on the Not A Pretty Girl album, but it was just another reasonably good Ani Difranco song).
I am sure I am no different to many people in how my music taste is caught, or how it evolves over time, enough talking about Ani for now though. I have mentioned Jodi Martin once or twice, I have her live album "Twenty One Stairs".
Now I am not a muso, so unlike BCG I am unable to comment on musical elements with any real knowledge of what I am talking about. (speaking of BCG, I remember one of the cool things about having him as a lecturer in a First Year Computer science subject was he would have Counting Crows, or Van Morrison or other good music pumping through the theatre before the lectures started while we all arrived) I will simply say what I think filtered through my listening capabilities.
After about two weeks, I have to say I like Jodi's music. It is not a simple guitar and singer folk music, there are elements of Reggae and of Blues in the sound she produces and the music. On the whole I think this album will continue to grow on me for a while yet. However one song suddenly hit me, knocking me over and leaving me most pleased to have purchased the album. Track 3 on the album, "Missing The Point" is pretty amazing, opening with solid beats from an Organ or similar, Jodi starts singing and this sounds like some sort of church choir, deep and rhythmic music similar to what you may remember hearing in movies such as Sister Act. The choir feel stays there throughout the song, largely due to the Organ and the rhythm to the lyrics at times. Jodi does however vary her voice and use of lyric delivery bit such that it stays interesting and forceful throughout. I was sitting in my office one night listening to the album about a week after getting it, and this track really did make me stop and listen. Magic stuff.
Update: thinking about it, I am often amused that the Ani album that hooked me was Little Plastic Castle, this is the album was the point at which, if you speak to many of the die hard fans from the early 90s, Ani Jumped the Shark, for so many early fans complained she no longer sounded the same and that they did not like the way her music was evolving. I just don't see the problem, sure it sounds different, but it is still incredible from a lyrics, guitar or simply listening perspective. Ahh well some people will not put up with change easily.
Thu, 03 Mar 2005
Fruit food - 11:13
Last week on kottke there was a link to an article, "A Vernacular Web", that sort of reminisces about how the web used to be in the 90s. Entertaining to read through and remember what our websites used to be like (I will not link to any of my old geocities pages, even if there is a small chance they still exist, but yes I did create some seeming monstrosities).
I know I should let this one be, but I just love how much fun can be had with the English language sometimes. Michael Davies finished a book review in his diary with the following statement. "On a scale of 1 to 5, this book is a must read.", this of course has me wondering where exactly on Michael's scale, using the numeric units 1 to 5, does the point "a must read" fall?
Tue, 01 Mar 2005
How many programmers can you fit in a telephone booth? - 19:06
Today Mikal commented "It's impossible to work in a cubicle." suggesting that offices really do help a programmer with their work. I should admit one of the reasons I really like working at a University is they give you an office, Michael has an office here also, as a PhD student, however he does not have one at work as a senior software engineer.
Anyway this all ties in in an interesting manner also to something Lars Wirzenius wrote about recently. Having just read an IBM paper from 1978, "IBM's Santa Teresa Laboratory -- Architectural design for program development" (google can display an html version if you wish), Lars commented on how much it sucks that employers do not seem to think about the environment for programmers as much today as they did then.
I admit it does seem to lack sense for software companies, that base their business on producing good software (well one would hope they do that, though many do not appear to make that a primary goal) would forgo this sort of office plan so often. Michael Davies and Michael Still (both of whom I know personally and respect) both seem to agree with the ideas presented in the IBM paper or by Joel, I wonder how many others agree?