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.

Subscribe: rss, rss2.0, atom

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

July
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
       

2005
Months
Jul

Categories:

Archive by month:

Fri, 29 Jul 2005

A sentence, that stops me like a brick wall - 15:44
With the Ani random quotes in my email signatures I am often stopped by the brilliance of a quote on outgoing email, I definitely make the effort to read them when I send email because they are so good. Today I was stopped by how much I love this quote:

i want somebody who can hold my interest, hold it and never let it go
someone who can flatten me with a kiss, that hits like a fist
or a sentence, that stops me like a brick wall
   Asking Too Much - Not A Pretty Girl - Ani

Whoever/whatever Ani may have specifically been singing about here I can not help but think how true it is, friends who can make you think, those who do indeed say things that stop you like a brick wall are important and valuable. I love the imagery Ani uses at times like this.

Still on the subject of music, I have a compact flash based mp3 player which I listen to while riding some times. Most of the music on it is Ani, Missy Higgins, Jodi Martin, Dave Matthews Band, so on the whole folky/cruisy. As much as I love all this music it does not exactly get the blood pumping for high paced riding or anything like that. Often in mtb videos and such there is music that definitely would get you psyched for going faster.

I was listening to a Bare Naked Ladies album (Stunt) and a Mighty Mighty Bosstones album (Let's Face It) the other day at home and though both groups sound very different, both albums have a great feel for cycling especially if you are out for a hammer session, maybe I should load these up on the mp3 player and give them a go.

[/leisure/music] link

Slow news day? - 13:43
That newspaper photo thing I mentioned yesterday, well this sort of freaks me out, there is a 1/4 page sized photo of me in todays paper to go with the article. (scan of the article, I did not want to retype it)

The title of the article is a bit interesting, "Rare species 'at risk' from bikes in nature reserves" however headlines often are deliberately inflamatory. Fortunately on the whole it appears the content of the article came through alright, they quoted me in a way that comes out positive about the whole thing.

I bought a copy of the paper today as I am sure Mum will want this, and she is overseas still so it is not being delivered to her place currently.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 28 Jul 2005

ACT Mountain Bike areas hit the news - 19:04
Today the ACT Government Chief Minister's department made a media release, Mountain Bike Riders Reminded to Stay Off Designated Walking Tracks. Largely as an information exercise, trying to get some newspaper coverage and other coverage in the hopes of informing the wider mountain biking community about the Environment ACT regulations. Many mountain biker's do not know or pay much attention to this.

The main thrust in reality is a focus on some highly contentious tracks near Majura Pines. Many walkers groups and community groups worry about the mountain bikers riding on two tracks in the area. There are in other parts of Canberra multi use tracks with proper signage that appear to stand up to lots of use and all users are happy. I do however agree with the idea of closing the tracks near Majura to all users for regeneration as they were originally placed in a bad location for any users.

On the whole the best future course of action is for Environment ACT to recognise mountain bikers will not be going away or disappearing, irrelevant of the status of tracks around the city. If they work with the the mountain bike community in a similar manner to the Wellington City Council in NZ and allow the creation of sustainable IMBA standard tracks that allow all users to traverse them safely with no degradation would allow all users to attain a happier use status with all the other users.

Anyway a journalist from the Canberra Times rang me this morning for the CORC response to the release. We had received a heads up about the release early in the week and I hopefully responded sensibly pointing out we (CORC) do on the whole support the point of the release and are trying to push further cooperation with land use planning for allowing mountain bikers to fit in well with other users in the future.

The journalist said they would like to get a photo to go with the article, and asked if they could photograph me for it, I agreed to meet a photographer at Majura Pines at 2pm for a photo. The photographer eventually rocked up 40 minutes late, we got the photos and I headed back to work. I wonder if the article will appear tomorrow or in the next few days in the paper, giving me a few more media ho seconds of fame or something...

[/mtb] link

Wed, 27 Jul 2005

Pleathe don't wear a pith helmet with a lithp. - 21:21
I do not actually own a Pith helmet myself, sure I have Swedish Lapplander hats coming out my ears and a variety of other hats from your standard beanies to mirrored eastern looking hats. However my hat collection lacks a Pith helmet, I wonder if that is a bad thing. My cousin Jackson has a Pith helmet, and a safari suit he can wear with it, I wonder if you can still wield a machete and hack through jungle if not properly attired.

The lack of wild exotic jungles in and around Canberra will probably mean I will not find out for a while, I could at least buy a Pith helmet to mount on my bicycle helmets when we go exploring new mountain bike locations, who knows being made of cork it may even provide added protection. (I was most distressed to learn there is no WikiPedia entry on Pith Helmets, alas I do not know enough real information about them to do more than a Stub I suspect)

[/various] link

Tue, 26 Jul 2005

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 15:19
I am glad to say Leon got in on the act and blogged some exotic (well if you do not live in WA that could be the case) non standard (Soy) West Australian Milk Cartons, everyone else is yet to join the fray however.

As I have not been in a supermarket for a bit I was unable to photograph large numbers of milk cartons in a common habitat (are they imprisoned with in the fridges? do they ever try to escape? I had better put on my Pith Helmet and head out on a milk carton safari and learn the answer to these questions sometime soon) so today will simply share the results of some research (typing some random string about milk cartons into google) to further the plight of milk cartons everywhere.

It appears some USAanians know how to have fun with Milk Cartons. There are all manner of things happening, from Milk Carton Regatta's in Hawaii (check out that Dragon Boat), a Milk Carton Boat website for making the things and racing them in Minneapolis to blokes simply out for a paddle in their Milk Carton Canoe.

Of course there may be downsides, such as what do you say when cows milk starts leaking out of your pig, or how do you justify claims that children find milk in a plastic bottle sexier than milk in a carton, what is the world coming to when milk cartons lose their obvious sex appeal, the horror.

[/various] link

Broken/Ugly bits on Mikal's site. - 13:46
Well Mikal asked so I may as well respond. Not so much broken but damn wrong looking. Mikal still has broken/messed up css (screenshot). And those new tag things he is doing, putting an image next to the tag text, it looks oh so wrong, especially in an environment like ploa where it stands out all ugly and wrong compared to the rest of the things there. If you must link to two indexing/tag services can you not work out some way to do it without using images. Oh also the tag images render badly in the GTKHTML component (probably not as css compliant as gecko) I use by default with liferea.

Speaking of problems with bloggy web pages, one of the reasons I no longer use planet to read aggregates myself any more happened on ploa again yesterday. Michael Ellerman posted something which included text with tags not properly closed. When this is collected with lots of other posts all the posts below it in the page have a smaller text size. It would be a good idea if planet parsed the posts it includes to see if there are some of the common opening tags with no closing tag, such as bold, italic, font size, etc. No idea how much more that would complicate the planet code to include html parsing capability.

Of course one extremely hacky way to make that look cleaner that comes to mind is for planet to enclose each entry in a table cell, most browsers appear to close font and bold and italic state when table cells end. There may be a way to deuglyfy this stuff in css, after all the rest of Michael Ellerman's blog page is not affected in the same way as ploa.

[/comp/blosxom] link

Mon, 25 Jul 2005

Monday night inner tube blogging. - 22:19

Fixed tubes (full size)
I guess one of the things that can get on your nerves from time time is fixing inner tubes. Sure you can get 5 tubes (road or mtb) for AUD $20 from Kerry so it almost seems not worth the time to fix them. However unless they are trashed beyond repair I feel wasteful if I do not reuse inner tubes to death.

The photo is of 5 of them, post repair I fixed them up on Friday, left them in my office over the weekend and they were all still inflated them. Good to go. Now if only I can get rid of this cold and get back out on the bike I will be much happier.

I suppose I would be much happier also if I did not have three mtb tyres in the shed with huge holes from sidewall failures or sticks lancing through the tread that has made them useless while there is still a lot of tread left on the tyre, ahh well time to buy more tyres I guess, at least the tubes were easily recovered, and I can try sewing up the tyres with sidewall failures and see how they hold up too.

[/mtb] link

Faster exif - 21:57
So I notice Michael is trying to use ImageMagick to extract exif tags and he finds it kind of slow. Strange that, using perl and yet forking processes to learn stuff turns out to be slow. So I had a look through apt-cache search exif perl output and found the libimage-exif-perl library, not native perl, there is c code there to make it go faster, based on the exiftags utility. This is likely however to be a lot faster than forking a process and relying on the implementation in ImageMagick being fast.

I installed the library, had a look around for a photo I was unlikely to have modified at all (and thus would still have all its tags) and found my 2004 Triple Tri photos. Using the following snippet of perl code.

time perl -e 'use Image::EXIF; use Data::Dumper; my $exif = new Image::EXIF \
("img_0869.jpg"); my $all_info = $exif->get_all_info(); print $exif->error ? \
$exif->errstr : Dumper($all_info);'

I get the following output.

$VAR1 = {
          'unknown' => {
                         'Min Focal Length' => 'num 24, val 0x00AD',
                         'Focal Units/mm' => 'num 25, val 0x0020',
                         'Manufacturer Notes' => '942',
                         'Canon Tag1 Unknown' => 'num 06, val 0x0000',
                         'Interoperability IFD Pointer' => '1540',
                         'Comment' => '614',
                         'Canon Tag4 Unknown' => 'num 01, val 0x0000',
                         'Canon Unknown' => '1448',
                         'Flash Activity' => 'num 28, val 0x0000',
                         'Max Focal Length' => 'num 23, val 0x0207',
                         'Autofocus Point' => 'num 14, val 0x0000',
                         'Canon Tag4 Offset' => '1224',
                         'Supported FlashPix Version' => '808464688',
                         'Flash Details' => 'num 29, val 0x0000',
                         'Unknown' => '1600',
                         'Canon Tag1 Offset' => '1116'
                       },
          'other' => {
                       'Vertical Resolution' => '180 dpi',
                       'Canon Tag1 Length' => '92',
                       'White Balance' => 'Auto',
                       'Exif Version' => '2.20',
                       'Resolution Unit' => 'i',
                       'Focal Plane Res Unit' => 'i',
                       'Image Digitized' => '2004:11:20 17:58:35',
                       'Canon Tag4 Length' => '68',
                       'Shutter Speed' => '1/807 sec',
                       'Focal Plane Vert Resolution' => '7741 dpi',
                       'Image Generated' => '2004:11:20 17:58:35',
                       'Bytes of JPEG Data' => '5141',
                       'Metering Mode' => 'Pattern',
                       'Chrominance Comp Positioning' => 'Centered',
                       'Compression Scheme' => 'JPEG Compression (Thumbnail)',
                       'Horizontal Resolution' => '180 dpi',
                       'Image Type' => 'IMG:PowerShot A60 JPEG',
                       'Digital Zoom Ratio' => '1',
                       'Offset to JPEG SOI' => '2036',
                       'Image Compression Mode' => '3',
                       'Digital Zoom' => 'None',
                       'Sequence Number' => '0',
                       'Focal Plane Horiz Resolution' => '7766 dpi',
                       'Flash Bias' => '0 EV',
                       'Base Zoom Resolution' => '1600',
                       'Meaning of Each Comp' => 'Unknown',
                       'Self-Timer Length' => '0 sec',
                       'Zoomed Resolution' => '1600',
                       'File Source' => 'Digital Still Camera',
                       'Owner Name' => '',
                       'Exif IFD Pointer' => '196'
                     },
          'camera' => {
                        'Firmware Version' => 'Firmware Version 1.00',
                        'Camera Model' => 'Canon PowerShot A60',
                        'Equipment Make' => 'Canon',
                        'Lens Size' => '5.41 - 16.22 mm',
                        'Maximum Lens Aperture' => 'f/2.8',
                        'Sensing Method' => 'One-Chip Color Area'
                      },
          'image' => {
                       'Vertical Resolution' => '180 dpi',
                       'White Balance' => 'Auto',
                       'Contrast' => 'Normal',
                       'Rendering' => 'Normal',
                       'Compression Setting' => 'Fine',
                       'Image Height' => '1200',
                       'Image Orientation' => 'Top, Left-Hand',
                       'Color Space Information' => 'sRGB',
                       'Macro Mode' => 'Normal',
                       'Focus Mode' => 'Single',
                       'Exposure Mode' => 'Easy Shooting',
                       'Exposure Time' => '1/800 sec',
                       'F-Number' => 'f/2.8',
                       'ISO Speed Rating' => 'Auto',
                       'Image Width' => '1600',
                       'Scene Capture Type' => 'Standard',
                       'Image Size' => 'Large',
                       'Drive Mode' => 'Single',
                       'Lens Aperture' => 'f/2.8',
                       'Sharpness' => 'Normal',
                       'Metering Mode' => 'Evaluative',
                       'Horizontal Resolution' => '180 dpi',
                       'Shooting Mode' => 'Full Auto',
                       'Image Number' => '108-0869',
                       'Saturation' => 'Normal',
                       'Flash' => 'No Flash, Auto',
                       'Image Created' => '2004:11:20 17:58:35',
                       'Focus Type' => 'Auto',
                       'Flash Mode' => 'Red-Eye Reduction (Auto)',
                       'Focal Length' => '5.41 mm',
                       'Exposure Bias' => '0 EV',
                       'Subject Distance' => '2.720 m'
                     }
        };

real    0m0.068s
user    0m0.034s
sys     0m0.002s

All this, including the time to load the libraries (Data::Dumper and Image::EXIF), the perl interpreter, the image file from disk. Executing on my 1.4 GHz laptop. Admittedly that was the second time I ran the code snippet, though I used a different image filename, so the libraries and interpreter were likely already hot in memory, it may blow out to all of 0.1 of a second if it has to do all that.

Use native perl and available libraries to make things fast, it makes a lot of sense. It seems I often think of the perl bridge building quote in this sort of situation. Of course it kind of sucks if you are trying to write a book about using ImageMagick and find you have to use other tools because it is not as fast as you want or something.

I notice Brad (the guy who started livejournal) often gets heavily into making perl go fast, worth reading sometimes just to make you think about what he is doing.

[/comp/software] link

Thu, 21 Jul 2005

It was so cold the Froze Hose. - 13:24
After returning home from my mtb ride through Majura this morning I was discussing how it was a tad chilly outside this morning between 5:45am and 8:30am with one of my house mates. She piped up that it looked cold and that the other morning it had been so cold outside the Froze Hose. I know I should not make fun of it but it had us both laughing at the accidental word flipping and I felt the need to share it with the world.

Anyway it was indeed cold, this is some of the weather I really love riding a mountain bike in through winter. The ground (especially with the recent moisture from the rain) has lots of gravelly sections where you hear the ground crunching beneath your tyres. I remarked fondly of this sort of thing in response to Alli hearing it beneath her feet while walking in Finland. The sound of the crunchy ground below your tyres really is a cool thing, just one more thing that keeps the fun level up there when riding through winter in the -3 or lower temperatures each morning.

With the recent rain there is a bit of water still around the place at Majura, this has made the ground fairly tacky which really is a joy to ride, you can corner well and have a lot of fun riding around, so much fun I think the Friday morning ride will head back over to Majura tomorrow.

[/mtb] link

Wed, 20 Jul 2005

Andrew it too leet to use a small browser window - 15:04
Actually Mikal I believe people have noticed problems with the css in Andrew's diary in the past.

Below is an email discussion I had with someone last week.

On Wed, Jul 13, 2005 at 09:43:05PM +1000, Some Person wrote:
> Does Andrew Pollock's blog break for you? I can't read it because the
> calendar breaks out of the left column and overwrites the right
> column. I can't see all of the left column (it stops half way through
> your name) and it doesn't scroll because it floats in an absolute
> position.
>
> I've tried firefox, my default browser and it's horrible. It's very
> slightly better in Konqueror and I admit I haven't tried lynx.
>
> Okay, I'm on a 15" CRT at home and I haven't used it on the 19 or the
> 30 inch LCD at work... but still...

On my monitor at work (1280x1024) it looks fine as the calendar is within
the floating left side margin area.

However on my laptop the calendar does indeed float over the text of posts
and make it harder to read, also the bottom of the floating bar is cut off a
bit. My laptop is 1024x768 though I have the browser windows a little
thinner than 1024.

> Do you see it cleanly?

See above

I pointed this out to Andrew about three months ago, he did not seem to care
much either way.

I admit I tend to read most of it in feeds anyway, I generally only load the
website up when I am referring to a post he made in one of my own.

> Anyway, good to see the guys blogging their trip to USAnia. I wish them well.

Indeed, though they still have not blogged a photo of an exotic US milk
carton, bastards...

        See You
            Steve

Of course what Andrew really needs right now is a bunch of idiot geeks applying pressure for him to waste time he probably does not have spare in order to fix something like this.

And yes Mikal you can not really comment with out a black kettle situation arising, after all your entries tend to spread out over/under your google ads and other such annoying things.

[/comp/blosxom] link

Tue, 19 Jul 2005

Microcosm's all over Australia - 21:02
Leon should not be particularly surprised to find many varied and different never seen elsewhere flora around Perth. Tim Flannery points out in his book The Future Eaters and in other forum that Australia has a rather incredible makeup with respect to the number and diversity of species. A whole bunch of factors contribute to this, and I recall reading in The Future Eaters that parts of South West WA were renowned for areas of scrub land where there are unique flora that only exist in areas of a few square KM and no where else in the world.

[/various] link

Neil Gaiman Live - 20:21
Tonight I attended the Neil Gaiman lecture in MCCT1 at ANU. I found out about it from his Journal as part of his current world tour (this being the Australian Leg) promoting Mirrormask and Anansi Boys.

I took along some of my Sandman books and my copy of Neverwhere for the signing, however in the end decided not to wait around (there were around 400 people in he theatre for the event and most of them subsequently lined up for the signing). Right now I am a few hundred metres away back in my office as there is a bit left to get finished at work just now.

As for the lecture, Neil is a fantastic sort of guy I reckon. One of my favourite writers, and this being the first time I have seen him speak I am happy to say he comes across well in real life. He opened by playing the Mirrormask trailer and then some other Mirrormask items. The movie looks like it will be a good watch. Apparently Sony has not committed to a release in Australia, if you want to see it here you may want to write a letter to Sony. Of course when it is release it may be enough to simply buy the DVD from Amazon or similar. Some of the questions the audience members asked were also pretty good, I at least not not feel too embarrassed by my co inhabitants here in Canberra.

Rock on Neil.

[/leisure/books] link

Tuesday afternoon Milk Carton blogging - 14:32

Magnetic cow (full size)
This may not look much like a milk carton to the untrained eye. (or for that mater to the trained eye) I suppose anyone suggesting that this is not in fact a milk carton may have some semblance of accuracy on their side. Okay I admit this is a photo of a soft toy cow with magnetic feet.

However it is a cow, think about, the cow is the raison d'etre for the milk carton, without cows there might now even be milk cartons. Oh sure I hear you speak of Goats milk, soy milk and coconut milk and all manner of strange alternatives. However with out the ingrained connection with cows milk that exists in our society we may in fact have ended up with some alternative packaging. (forgetting for a moment that blame for the Tetra Pak (along with Safety Match, Ball Bearing and Dynamite (reference)) can be placed on the heads of the Swedes)

The cow with the magnetic feet pictured was acquired in the Udder Cow Cafe in Comboyne before the 2005 Polaris Challenge in March. Really what better item is there to brighten your office if you are unable to keep a milk carton handy, but a cow with magnetic feet.

[/various/milkcarton] link

Mon, 18 Jul 2005

No milk carton blogging, what a waste of a trip to Americania - 17:51
Andrew and Mikal are both back from their trip to Americania. I ask you what was the point, as far as I can tell neither of them did any Exotic Milk Carton Blogging while there. Though Mikal it appears is too busy writing image web publishing code for a chapter of his book or something, using the images from his trip to put them online for the big bad Internet to see.

Though all around the world there are people feeling let down by this turn of events, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The annual OzLabs migration to Ottawa each winter has happened, there are a whole bunch of geeks with digital cameras over there right now that could get with the program and blog their Milk Cartons. Chris, Hugh, etc, you know you want to.

[/various] link

Fri, 15 Jul 2005

Lack of easily available flavours and efficiency - 22:57
Being you common all garden average Linux geek I have all the design capabilities of a brick. This well explains the look and feel of my diary and other sites I put online. Sometimes functional, never pretty. Thus I was quite disappointed when I went hunting a few times for pretty blosxom flavours with css and all the other stuff ready to go looking swish. There really do not appear to be many places to get hold of a wide variety of pre packaged blosxom flavours to look good. There are a fairly large number of flavours to add functionality, such as rss2 and other things, but that is quite different.

Thus when I was setting up WordPress on Calyx for Aaron this afternoon I was really quite impressed at the huge number of different WordPress Themes that are available. For Aaron I chose Ocadia but there really are a lot out there.

The other thing I suspect I will notice with this setup is it will be more efficient than blosxom. Mikal has run into issues trying to run blosxom dynamically, I could well have similar problems as the number of posts here increases. Blosxom is good for the small size and plugin architecture, however it does not run in a particularly effective manner, especially when you have huge numbers of posts, which it looks at in some manner every time it runs.

So long as Aaron does not get hit with loads of comment spam or similar the WordPress setup there will likely not use much resources on the server, partly due to the database back end of course, however I suspect using the php (effectively like using mod_perl with out need to open many files on disk due to the db) will help a lot also.

I keep thinking sing the new Inotify patches RML and others have been getting into the kernel is mighty tempting to make a blosxom style engine more efficient, though that would negate the simplicity and portability somewhat.

[/comp/blosxom] link

Thu, 14 Jul 2005

Boring stages - 22:40
The tour stages on tv live right now is supposedly a mountain stage. Liars, look at the stage profile, there is not even a single Cat 1 climb, nothing harder than a Cat 2 climb. Geez the sprinters are on the front of the peloton with their teams chasing down a break away, obviously the sprinters have a chance of winning the stage today.

Any stage sprinters can win is going to be boring to watch live I reckon. So sure there are a few Australians who sprint well, who cares, I don't. Just because Australians may do well is not a good enough reason to make a stage worth watching unless you have excessive amounts of spare time.

This was a problem with the live coverage last year, 3 of the 5 stages they showed live were sprint stages, SBS probably thinking the Australians doing well in the stage would encourage an audience. How much more wrong can they be, real Mountain Stages are where its at. Fortunately with the live coverage of the entire Tour this year we can tape and watch the mountain stages and the time trial stages and simply watch the highlights package for the rest of the stages.

[/mtb] link

Doing battle with the arch rival of the day - 21:52
As I had missed out on a ride this morning (for some reason my phone's clock was an hour out, thus my alarm woke me an hour late) I felt the need for a bit of a ride this afternoon. My enemy of choice for the day was Mt Stromlo (satellite image) (wikipedia). This is a climb I enjoy doing, it suits me quite well, and I am able to compare times with past efforts.

Today, starting from work and arriving back to work, riding the road bike, was 1 hour 10 minutes, distance 36.14 KM, average 30.9 KMh with a 59.4 KMh max. So 2 minutes slower than last December, and 2 minutes faster than on the mtb in January for the same ride. However I really did not feel too fast, mirrored by my performance climbing Stromlo on Sunday just past.

On Sunday I was unable to hold my speed above 20 KMh for the entire ascent, dropping to 18 or 19 KMh quite often. Today was worse, I was unable to get my speed over 18 KMh for the first half of the ascent. I kept the top half at 20 but not much over that. The total time for the climb was still around 12 minutes, which is an interesting thing, all three of the larger oft ridden road climbs in Canberra (Black Mountain, Mt Ainslie and Mt Stromlo) take me approximately 12 minutes at a hard pace even though they are all very different styles of climbs.

I think this lack of uphill speed helps show my form is indeed a fair bit lower than it was back over summer, which I guess mirrors most of my friends in that our form is better in Summer due to increased hours riding.

[/mtb] link

Tue, 12 Jul 2005

The thin white line - 22:53
While my mother is over seas (Europe and the US) for 6 weeks I have to go out and water plants and check mail and such a bit. She lives in Gunghalin, an 11 KM ride from my place. So I hopped on my road bike at 20:40 tonight to head out there. All was fine until I was almost there and my light battery ran out of juice.

I should not have been surprised, it was one of my oldest batteries (a vistalite 2.2 Amp hour stick from early 2002) and I had already used it for about one hour this morning on the 5 w bar light. When the sticks are new they tend to last about 2.5 hours on one stick on a 5 w lamp. Ahh well tough luck to me, I should have swapped sticks before heading out or put another stick in the other battery holder next to the bidon.

Anyway this reduced my ride home to having only a single led key ring flasher mounted on the handle bars for forward lighting. Though some roadies appear to believe that is sufficient front lighting I don't. I hopped onto the bike paths for the entire ride home. At times on the ride home I was most thankful for the white line painted down the middle of the bike path, that line was pretty much the only visible hint as to where the bike path was.

The issues surrounding bike path location, whether bike lanes on the edge of roads or located elsewhere came to mind again during the ride home. On the whole I far prefer to use bike paths when I can rather than roads. The roads where there are bike lanes along the edge may raise the awareness of car drivers somewhat, however in my opinion they are not safe. Cycling anywhere in the vicinity of cars is not safe, however when one is in a hurry the road's usually follow the most direct route between two points. What I was reminded of on the ride home is roads will usually follow a much less undulating route also. If you are in a hurry hills slow you down.

[/mtb] link

linux.conf.au 2006 Call For Presentations is open - 22:48
Partay! The CFP for lca2006 is now open. After reading that announcement email go and submit a really cool abstract.

[/lca] link

Environmental Controls in the Car - 18:16
I sort of know Stuart's pain, in Summer (yes in Canberra, I admit I am soft when it comes to warm weather) I have been known to think rather seriously about going for a drive somewhere for an hour or two simply so I can bask in the air conditioning available in my car. So far my dislike of using the car has overcome the urge every time, though I have stayed at work longer or chosen to do more work on a weekend a few times in summer to get into the air conditioning.

[/various] link

Join in the flight of the puerile cake shop humour and avoid the coffee bags - 17:37
There is a shopping centre in the Canberra suburb of Dickson, at those shops is a cake shop named, appropriately, Dickson Cakes. Apparently my father was known to find that amusing, it is good to see that the cake shop is still there to entertain us some 20 or so years later.

It appears Andrew and Michael have yet to join the latest Milk Carton blogging revolution. They do not really even have an excuse do they? On a plane for 14 hours, Andrew having not slept for 48 Hours, possibly staying in a hotel with crap Internet connectivity. Pish, they had lots of options. The first one that comes to mind is hijacking the plane, forcing it to redirect to Singapore (brilliant Internet connectivity in that airport) and taking a photograph of exotic Asian milk cartons in Singapore. I am sure there are other milk cartons they could have photographed along the way.

Speaking (sort of) of things to consume with milk, there was a promotional Robert Timms coffee bag delivered among the junk mail over the weekend, I bought it to work with me today and am sampling the product. (yeah I drink my coffee white, no sugar) My recommendation, avoid coffee bags. This is far too similar to instant, which is strange as I would think a single cup drip filter as I use often at work would do a similar job, who knows maybe it is the coffee.

Still speaking of things to consume with milk, while eating my vita brits this morning I was for some strange reason thinking up some epic tale of adventure, horror, woe and vita brits. The problem is I now can no longer remember any part of it, I was going to tell it to Jane and now my mind is blank as to this epic vita brits story, ahh well back to boring and mundane breakfasts with only a bowl a spoon and some vita brits rather than a sword, a fork lift, a mystical orb and a breakfast cereal. On the subject of vita brits, I sort of decided to switch to them from weetbix a few years ago for two main reasons, Sanitariaum add sugar to weetbix, vita brits dont, as a Diabetic (and possibly a bit of a health nut) I prefer an option with more complex and natural sort of carbs. The other big reason was Weet Bix is owned by Sanitarium a religious nutcase organisation, Vita Brits is owned by Uncle Tobys, still a company but not a bunch of raving lunatics at least.

On the subject of things you probably do not want to consume with milk, Fish. (unless you have some sort of fish milkshake fetish, which really would be worse than Raiders Lime (I guess we just have to hope that Cronulla never wins the premiership, Shark Milk, yay. (though, as I do not pay any attention to football of any sort, I really have no idea whether they have ever won or anything)))

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Mon, 11 Jul 2005

Don't whine about Debian, if you care, fix it. - 16:33
Again on p.d.n this morning I saw a post from David Nusinow, in semi rant mode suggesting anyone who whines about Debian should instead fix stuff. I wholeheartedly agree, if you want something fixed in Debian you can pretty much always get involved in some manner and get it fixed. Okay so sure it may take some effort to change such things as the entire release process or repository layout (ask AJ about the amount of work involved in that sort of thing I guess), however the point stands you can get involved and get stuff fixed.

Some of the comments to David's post suggest the NM holdups are the reason not many people stick around and help. I personally disagree with that, if you feel the need to be classified as a Debian developer to do useful work on Debian. I would look at that as some strange need for status or a dick swinging d.o email address for no apparent reason. At least from the perspective of doing useful work. If you want to create packages of software you use or need it is not particularly difficult to find a maintainer to look over them and officially upload them and all that. On the other hand if you want to do other things to help Debian there is a whole lot that can help with out need for maintainer status.

The biggest gripe a lot of people appear to have is how slow the release process is, there are ways to help with this, the biggest I would suggest is to attempt bug fixes and monitoring bugs.debian.org or better yet with the aim of assisting release readiness the release critical bugs page. If you see something you want to help on, or even if you are not sure, look though some bugs, see if you can duplicate them, work out a solution and provide a fix to the bug if you can. Anyone anywhere can help out with bugs or make an effort to fix things. Doing real helpful work if you care enough is oh so much better than sitting around on Debian Devel whining or arguing about stuff.

I am not really the best person to comment here as I am generally extremely happy with Debian, do not generally do much work toward bug fixes of random software (ie stuff I do not use), however I do not find there is much to complain about with Debian either.

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Chinese extreme sport: Pushing the man strollers, or start a milk meme - 13:21
I noticed on p.d.n this morning that Alexander Schmehl appeared to think it a little strange that the first photo he took in Helsinki was of a milk carton. I personally do not see it as such a bad thing, heck he could get a meme going.


DCS Milk (full size)

So I took a photo of the department milk sitting on the stove top in the tearoom at work to help him along on his path to world domination via his new blog meme. I do not however get points for milk in an exotic location. Maybe someone else could, like the world travelling gnomes, maybe photos of milk cartons from the top of Mont Blanc, or while scuba diving in the Barrier Reef, or given the month get some photos of riders in the Tour with milk cartons. Mikal and Andrew should at least get the travelling milk carton photo thing going while they are in the US this week, heck Mikal even has a new camera he intends to stalk^W take lots of photos with.

A Metafilter post mentioning the recent successful skateboard jump over the Great Wall of China had an interesting item of information. I have not bothered researching to learn if this is accurate, however it appears China has a Minister for Extreme Sports. Neat, I am sure they have all the regular boring Ministers for Defence and Employment and whatever else, but in amongst them is a Minister for Extreme Sports, not just the Minister for Sport. I have no idea how effective it would be but would it be cool to have someone with dreadlocks skateboarding through the new parliament house to a cabinet meeting with Howard and his cronies. A minister who takes the weekend off to go snowboarding throughout winter and all manner of other fun things. So sure I am sort of applying a stereotype here with the dreads and the board riding, and yeah I know Ministers often do not have actual experience participating in the practices their department covers, but what the hey.

Hopefully the Minister for Extreme Sport will not be needed to preside over Lori's latest idea. Noticing that Pasi (like most blokes) did not enjoy shopping, and found it tiring and mind numbing (compared to say 3 ice hockey games a week or long mountain bike rides or whatever, which do not tire the guys out much at all) and yet feeling there is a need for some input from her boyfriend during shopping expeditions occasionally Lori thought up the idea of a Man Stroller.

One of the most important aspects of this idea of course (and the reason it should not need to be presided over by an extreme sports minister) is that the woman is in control of the stroller, the stroller is not motorised or controlled by the guy. The obvious reasoning is to avoid the stroller becoming another dick swinging contest, a V8 powered stroller that can do 0 to 60 in 5 seconds is not a useful addition to the shopping malls of the world. As Lori suggests, the guy can stay entertained by the dvds and beer and glance up for the occasional reassurance about clothes not making their partner look fat and all that. I do not know if it would work for me, I do not go in for TV much, or beer, however a laptop and a wireless connection, so umm okay if that were available it may just work....

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Fri, 08 Jul 2005

Just when you were getting ready to ignore the place... - 15:08
When I saw mention late Wednesday night of the location of the 2012 Olympics being announced, my thoughts were running along the lines of, well that gives me just another reason to ignore London for some time in 2012. I was living in Sydney during the Olympics in 2000, I did not go to any events, heck for one week during the Olympics I was in Perisher, skiing.

I have to once more admit, I only watch sports that I do myself, or am keen to do. Cycling (all disciplines), most winter Olympics disciplines (especially skiing, both XC and DH), Adventure races (even with the pathetic races and coverage that does get aired anywhere currently). In the Summer Olympics I may watch the road race or mtb on tv (though getting tickets to attend the mtb live was difficult in Sydney as that event sold out first). Thus when the announcement was made my reaction pretty much mirrored that of Giblets on fafblog, "Now Giblets gets to ignore the Olympics in England!".

Of course just as I was gearing up and getting ready to ignore London some more 7 years from now, some shit happened. Though it is a little annoying that there really is no way to ignore this currently. Sure it is a tragedy and all that, however I fear the media is herding us all too far into the US culture of fear.

This morning I was talking about this with an mtb friend who is a clinical psychologist, he mentioned, when he and his wife were living in Canada back around 1994 they were visited by an American friend, who when some minor mildly terrorist related incident occurred, she sat glued to the 24/7 tv coverage on the US TV stations for the duration of her stay in a state of mild panic, while the coverage itself was mostly pointless. Items like interviewers talking to other interviewers with no new information or anything of importance going on, constantly pushing their message of fear further into the psyche of the viewing public.

This has not changed much, it has probably worsened since 1994, and it is spreading far beyond the US. Last night all 5 free to air stations spent a lot of time covering the same stuff, heck two of the channels were simply broadcasting the CNN coverage. Even with no new information they continually reiterated what they knew and tried to present other angles on the information we all by now knew.

We can be thankful for the Internet, if you do not want to you are able to avoid having excessive amounts of crap forced upon you, this is quite probably more evidence of the future of entertainment, being able to chose what you want to interact with and not having it pushed at you. You can find out a lot of information about the situation in London online, or you can ignore it.

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Wed, 06 Jul 2005

Creepy crawlies at NLA - 11:44
I suspect at least someone was listening to Mikal (or put some more thought into the problem) over at the National Library archive. A quick glance through logs for svana.org starting in September 2000, the first occurrence of "http://pandora.nla.gov.au/crawl.html" in the logs is June 16 2005.

Since that first hit I have had 1715 hits from the crawler, downloading everything from ride photos, race reports, results, diary entries and many other things sitting around in the various subdirectories linked on svana.org. Someone may have noticed the owner of svana.org resides in Australia, it is far more effective than crawling any of my domains ending in .au as I don't use them currently.

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Tue, 05 Jul 2005

Helooooo Clayton, or them shrooooom and chicken rolls on the path to world domination - 21:21
We all know how common mushroom and chicken sausages are, in reality they are coming out our ears, like when magicians pull a coin out the ear of some unsuspecting audience member. However in this case and on so many other occasions in the modern world the object being removed from ones ear is a mushroom and chicken sausage. Due to this frequency I was completely unsurprised last Friday to find the campus bakery had mushroom and chicken sausage rolls for sale, they have to use all the extras somewhere, otherwise all those poor magicians would be out of a job.

If you manage to escape the mushroom and chicken sausage avalanches you may fancy some fish, or at least to go fishing, if of course you do not enjoy fishing you may hope to catch a cat fish the size of a grizzly bear which means you only need to go fishing, say about once a decade. Big fish are no longer as active or popular as they were in the late 90s but who knows there may be frozen fish milkshake on which to suck before you ever thought to maintain a diary.

Peter Harvey^W^W Rodana Mykynzy^W^W Steven Hanley, Canberra

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Mon, 04 Jul 2005

The beetle town and pgo - 20:15
Mikal seems to be wondering what is up with Sydney and the Mini S Cooper, he probably has not noticed that Canberra appears to be the VW Beetle capital of the world, Stewart, Pia and Bob's daughter Gemima all appear to have noticed that every second car in Canberra is a Bug.

Andrew likes the new p.l.o.a theme, suggesting it is the best he has seen. I would like to point out it is almost identical to the p.g.o theme put in place about two months ago that, at the time, got a lot of positive comments. I suspect MRD created this with suggestions/hints from that theme anyway. I have noticed one problem with the new theme, my previous post, viewing it on my 1024x768 laptop screen, with the image and tables has been made even thinner, as the text does not flow across the table columns, the text being so thin means it goes a lot further down the page, sort of like writing for Suck I guess.

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Lilac Camouflage - 13:52

One hell cool helmet (full size)
No I have not broken another helmet, however I saw this one and had to have it. A cheap helmet that fits me well, and whats more it is sort of like Lilac Camo. Helmets hardly get much better. I am happy to say the fit really is good, I wore it riding yesterday for a few hours and the helmet does not rock forward and back at all and sits on my head nicely. I sort of miss the adjustable peak of the Giro E2, but hey I can wear the E2 any time I want still so it is not that bad.

And as for my predilection for different colours and stuff for my bikes this helmet is brilliant. I think it works much better than various other efforts in pink camo too. Isn't this great, the next time I go riding through a field of slightly off colour flamingos, absolutely no one will be able to see me from above.

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