Other online diaries:
Tue, 29 Jul 2008
Fri, 25 Jul 2008
Cold typing solution - 15:56
However one thing I discovered this morning, when it is really cold and you have a laptop with aluminium palm rests such as my dell xps m1330, metal can be mighty cold to rest ones palms on when typing. It made typing a little bit uncomfortable. When I mentioned this dilemma to an academic at work he made a rather interesting suggestion. I should simply run some CPU and disk intensive job on the laptop for 20 minutes before I sit down to use the machine, by that point there should be enough heat around the keyboard to use it more comfortably. What a thinker.
Thu, 24 Jul 2008
Wines from Plonk! - 17:32
It occurred to me that Mum and her partner drink wine with food and like to try out a variety of different wines. After getting some wine recommendations from Jane I set about finding somewhere to buy some nice wines from knowledgeable staff. I had Plonk at the Fyshwick Markets suggested and they sounded good as they focus on smaller labels and more variety than you may find from a large bottle shop chain.
I grabbed my car from home at lunch today and drove over to have a look, I walked away with what I think will be a reasonably nice gift of 8 bottles of wine from them, 6 whites and two reds. The wines I got are.
The Tohu comes from Marlborough region of New Zealand, apparently this is quite an award winning wine. Three of the wines as you can see are very much local and the others are all Australian. I liked the guys I talked to in the shop and we even talked about the possibility of them supporting some mountain bike stuff with CORC.
Mon, 21 Jul 2008
My weekend in food - 13:47
I suppose I could say it all started on Friday evening before catching the flight down when I made some pizzas topped with organic tomato paste, onions, pumpkin, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, capsicum, sun-dried tomatoes and kingland soy cheese. Yummmm, ate too much and then got a lift to the airport, the plane was running late which was fortunate because dinner took a bit longer than expected.
Saturday morning Soulfood Cafe was the venue for breakfast, Jane (sister) was in Melbourne for a few weeks for PhD conferences and research, also a mtb friend moved to Melbourne recently and is living a block or two away from Soul food in Fitzroy so they were at breakfast to catch up. Had a yummy chocolate cup cake, a blueberry muffin, a big veggie breakfast and a fruit salad, oh and a great soy mocha.
Lunch was had at Vegie Bar with a slightly laksa like broth that contained some very good sesame dumplings, some good Roti with Dhal and then a spectacular stuffed vegan mushroom. Dinner that night was at Lentil As Anything in St Kilda, getting there late there was not a lot left, however what was there was fantastic. A really yummy spicy pumpkin soup followed by a curry platter (a beetroot curry that worked well due to the sweet beetroot and savoury curry, a Moroccan hot pot curry and a pea and potato curry of some sort. Both the dishes were served with good Roti once again. At the end of this day I was somewhat full of food and almost rolling around the streets I think.
Sunday morning was breakfast at InVita Cafe at the Queen Vic markets, they had fresh out of the oven hot vegan blueberry muffins that were to die for which I followed with scrambled tofu on pumpkin bread. Lunch was at Silly Yaks cafe in Northcote where I was able to tuck into a Mexican bean burrito with salad and a good bruschetta (the bread had an obvious potato taste but was actually fairly good I thought). This was followed a few metres down the road at Coco Loco, an organic, fair trade chocolate bar. They had vegan Chocolate Mousse that was fantastic, rich, creamy, held its fluff and worked really well (something I really want to work out how to make, maybe using agar and soft tofu in a blender will help... who knows), vegan waffles in deep rich dark chocolate and they had something they call Kashew Mylk, somewhat obviously a milk made using Cashews. So I had a rich dark chocolate and orange hot chocolate with the Kashew Mylk. All very satisfying.
At one point on Saturday evening I had wanted a snack and Lord of the Fries seemed appropriate. So I had a cone of fries with French Canadian sauce (using vegan cheese) and damn that was good (though definitely waistline expanding) this on Sunday afternoon heading toward the airport I wanted to try out their Vegan nuggets, alas they were out of stock, however I had more fries with the same sauce and a yummy vegan hamburger. Then ran for the airport thinking the plane would be leaving before I got there. Upon arrival at the airport they rushed the checking and then the plane was delayed for 2 hours. Oh well I had a fun, if somewhat waist expanding Melbourne weekend.
Fri, 18 Jul 2008
Obscurity, P=NP etc, Hash Visualisation - 16:00
It is interesting to see some companies such as Kryptonite eventually reacted, others seem intent on denying public information, or trying to shut down people who know about it. In computing it is a well known fact (although still ignored by too many people/companies) that security through obscurity will not work, public design and analysis by experts in the field however does work and should be used for things that need to be secure. Although one aspect that comes to mind here is that in the case of locks you may not want to make them impossible as other attack vectors are then used. As the article mentions crooks seem to prefer using a hammer (or maybe explosives) over opening the locks through lock exploits. There were some discussions about this in the car that were I think linked to by Schneier a few years back.
Next was an interesting wikipedia page linked to by kottke, a list of unsolved problems from a number of different field, those listed in Computing are familiar, however looking through the collected information on those in other fields is pretty fascinating. Mmmmmm wikipedia goodness.
Catching up on some LWN reading and I see the mention of a new OpenSSH version approaching, in the list of new features is "Experimental SSH fingerprint visualisation" with a paper (pdf) linked. So I download and had a read of the paper, largely to see what sort of images they generate. It is good to see some work on what is one of the biggest security weaknesses out there, the humans using secure systems.
Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Waiting for workmen and trying to offend - 13:26
Last night for example he was talking about the young priests pinup calendar (makes me wonder more about the WYD stuff when they have such a calendar) and Paul commented it is not so unusual to have pinups, after all Jesus was the first pinup in the church. Oh and more offence against WYD, I liked the expansion of WYD SYD I saw recently, Would You Do Some Young Dude.
On the waiting for workman thing, I know everyone experiences it and has to deal with it, however I was at home for a while today as I had a call from a company coming to look at the heating to learn why it is playing up. I was told sometime between 11am and 1pm, which is kind of annoying when you have to leave work for that period, and many people would need a day off for that sort of gap, and it is no where near as bad as some of the telstra things when they give you a half day period. I got home at 11am, did vacuuming for a while, some other cleaning, lay down and read the newspaper, etc. There are a pile of things to do at work and I was not doing them, though I guess I should have taken a laptop home with me to do some work while waiting. So partly my fault (I thought of that when I got home at 11am, ahh well).
Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Causing scenes - 13:50
From the title you may have guessed I am talking about Improv Everywhere. The group started in New York, the idea is they think up some harmless but strange stunt to pull in public and then go an do it en masse. The idea is that if you saw one or maybe two people doing this it would not be unusual, however to see 100 people or more doing something strange all at once, with all of them claiming to have no knowledge of the others. That becomes a form of mass performance art.
The recent stunt with twins on a train (hmm they could make a snakes on a plane rip off t-shirt for this stunt) is a fantastic example of being able to think of something unique to brighten the days of many people who stumble upon it, also doing something so unusual as rounding up all those twins to pull it off successfully. Many of their other missions are clever and fascinating to see how they turned out in public. One I thought stood out as well performed and interesting though not on such a grand scale was The Moebius, looping through the same 5 minute performance in public at a Starbucks and seeing how people there notice it as it happens over and over again. I thought my cousin Nick would appreciate this one a lot (though he is likely to enjoy the whole concept anyway).
It is good to note other chapters have popped up around the world (including one in Sydney (I wonder if Nick already participates). Anyway some fascinating things to see that this group has done.
Wed, 09 Jul 2008
Caffeine and glycogen storage, maybe the roadies have it right - 17:32
The professor in charge of the study at RMIT is John Hawley, a google search turned up the article in question. It is quite a common practice among cyclists to head to a coffee shop after a ride, though most of us do not consume 6 cups of coffee and a loaf of bread, we do consume some food and coffee at these gatherings fairly often.
Good to see we can even claim the post ride coffee is part of our important training schedule and recovery plan.
Tue, 08 Jul 2008
How to capture one image from a v4l2 device - 17:22
"gst-launch-0.10 v4l2src ! video/x-raw-yuv,width=640,height=480 ! ffmpegcolorspace ! pngenc ! filesink location=foo.png"
As one command captures the image at that resolution into a file foo.png. This is on my laptop, however I tested this with the QuickCam 9000 on my desktop with a resolution of 1600x1200 and it worked, the focus meant it took a while but it popped out a good image. Gstreamer really is cool, I still remember seeing Federico talk about GMF (Gnome Media Framework, which is what became GStreamer) at CALU in 1999 and being excited by it.
Mon, 07 Jul 2008
Science Fiction Hands - 17:14
Of note if Mikal has a day or two spare to spend looking for cool books in Sydney the ultimate second hand book store is the institution known as Goulds in Newtown. I say you newed a day or two as nothing seems to be sorted well, however there are many treasures to be stumbled upon all over the two stores.
As for v4l2 software I also note there are no easy ways to capture images from v4l2 webcams, I can easily capture a video stream with a few applications and than splice it, though trying to do that in headless mode is not as easy. I have a quickcam pro 9000 on my desk to play with and this laptop has a built in uvc based camera, I was contemplating writing an image grabber to use v4l2, however have no real need for the images yet so had not done so.
Cooking breakages - 13:40
While I was trying to press some ingredients down into a blender I cracked the handle of one wooden spoon. So I got another wooden spoon out of the drawer and then while pushing the same ingredients down I pushed a little too far and the blender tore a chunk from the middle of the spoon. Oops too wooden spoons sacrificed in the name of the dinner party. All the food was incredibly yummy, the 12 people at the dinner all had a great evening and all I really need to do now is go and buy myself more wooden spoons. Maybe I had better buy a few spares. Oh and no one there was allergic to wooden spoons, so all was fine.
Fri, 04 Jul 2008
Looking for some ingredients - 14:18
I have also rung a few Asian grocery shops, one of them said they had Cassava so I could head out there, however I have not found Plantains yet. I guess I should check out the Fyshwick Markets tomorrow to see if I have any luck there.
Wed, 02 Jul 2008
The Shadow of the Wind - 18:10
I like this book a lot, I do not notice any clumsiness in language or similar that can sometimes appear in translated works. The story is rather interesting, Daniel and all the people surrounding him constantly have new facets open up concerning their characters. I also think it shows some interesting aspects of Barcelona, though I have not been there so do not know how accurate the depictions are. The book with in a book aspects in the story are also interesting, and I like the concept of the cemetery of forgotten books. Definitely a good read, and though I may be tempted I had better not spoil any of the story for anyone who may read it.