Last weekend Conny and I spent with Pete and Wendy, Jasper and Ula camping in Bundjalung National Park, 2 hours south of here. We camped in the Black Rocks area (open camping areas, state-owned and non-commercial, hassle-free and not too pricey). At this time of the year it's also pretty much empty of people.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 28.07.2010 23:34 | filed in interests/au | ]

I've got that on a tshirt (with a photo of the Rodney King beating) and I swear, I could wear this tshirt almost every day to work - it rarely isn't spot-on.

The newest bit right now: somebody higher up in the food chain decreed that the whole level 5 (where the IT school offices are) must be renovated, presto. Not at the end of the semester, or during the slightly longer christmas break, no: now, three quarters into the semester. Duration: just until the beginning of next semester (but don't hold your breath, plans in this place never work out).

And we get no temporary offices at all.

We are allowed to do our research and lecture prep work from home.

And not all types of prep work are easily doable from home, plus the work firewall is setup fairly strictly and VPNs? Can't have that, would be too useful.

The lectures and labs are of course held in person, so we'll have the joy of wandering around campus between the scheduled sessions, just like hobos.

So over the last few weeks, with all the fun and excitement of packing up our office contents and preparing our workarounds for all the damn mess this thing causes us, some semi-subversive posters have popped up all over around our offices (wasn't me, honest).

And here they are, for your amusement.

 unhappy signs at work unhappy signs at work unhappy signs at work

The last one especially reinforces my opinion that this workplace almost beats the Australian International University - and that's pretty disgusting, given that the AIU is fictional. "More Better Education", indeed.

[ published on Wed 21.07.2010 13:42 | filed in brainfarts | ]

Jake Kaufman is evil. And a Bastard. A Tricky Bastard...

"IRC is a network full of chat rooms (or "channels") where a lot of scary internet people (or "perverts") hang out.
so i replaced eliza's tiny, boring script with a massive dumb blonde script that has like 3,800 responses on all sorts of topics, but mostly sex. jenny18 is very horny and she loves talking to horny guys. and everyone knows the best place to talk to horny guys is on dalnet irc sex channels."

And he took jenny18 there. jenny18 passed the sex Turing test with flying colors, but a lot of the dalnet denizens didn't pass anything...except pass for fools, that is.

"this goes to show that lots of challenge in AI is in speaking naturally, and on the internet most people speak like idiots, so you can sort of cheat around a lot of things."

Jake's article on speaking like an idiot is a lot of fun to read, too.

Update (Tue 20.07.2010 20:52):

All the good links broke. I've replaced them with the latest versions - but for the logs you need to manually add the filename to the url: the pages come with a broken <base>...

[ published on Wed 28.07.2004 02:30 | filed in interests/humour | ]

Today we have: one member of the Victorian parliament, this Kavanagh troll, publicly requesting that Cat Stevens^W^WMr. Islam should not be given a visa for visiting Oz - because "He has not said I do not support killing anybody for the expression of their beliefs".

Never mind that the Oz powers are happily ass-licking war mongers like G.W. Shrub who supports killing anybody for any silly reason, but the musician, oh he must be Exceedingly Evil. (Right. I don't like his sugary music much either.)

So, how about all the people who have not stated that they don't support dousing stupid politicians in petrol and lighting them? And what about those who haven't said they don't support our new weevil overlords? And what about those who haven't said they don't support skippy's misdeeds? And what about those who'd dream of a plague that takes out every single politician attempting to represent more than 50 people? (FSVO 50)


...picture az wandering off to code a tiny bit of perl for listing the infinite number of things which one has to say one doesn't support before being let into Kavanagh's Kave...

[ published on Fri 28.05.2010 22:11 | filed in interests/au | ]

Pretty cool expression. Where from? A book titled "Stiff".

Picture me wookiepedia-surfing: from Mythbusters to Dirty Jobs to Body Farms in about 20 minutes. The article on Body Farms links to a two-page excerpt from "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" by Mary Roach. A very interesting read indeed.

Parting gem, for the squeamish:

"If you lower your head to within a foot or two of an infested corpse (and this I truly don't recommend) you can hear them feeding. Arpad pinpoints the sound: 'Rice Krispies.'"

[ published on Mon 10.05.2010 23:52 | filed in interests | ]

Another very nice example of why simple things are cool.

[ published on Mon 10.05.2010 21:11 | filed in interests | ]

Last week I bought an ancient Stihl FS36 whipper-snipper to replace the bloody dead one. Four weeks after the cut my finger joint still hurts and won't straighten fully. The Stihl was in so-so shape, wouldn't start easily, but at $56...

So, me being me, the first thing (literally) that I did was take it apart. Completely, down to removing the piston ring from the piston.

 stihl in pieces stihl in pieces

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 10.05.2010 20:45 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

I've been asked whether my R/C four wheel steering controller can share a channel with some other function; until now it couldn't.

This has changed today: you can now configure it to listen for quick "flip-flops" of your mode switch for cyclic mode (before it only recognized high-to-low transitions). That way you can run something else on the same channel (with a splitter cable) as long as that something else doesn't have a big problem with such "short blips".

Source code and manual have been updated:

[ published on Fri 30.04.2010 01:09 | filed in mystuff | ]

For the non-natives: the proper word is "mechaniker", and this spoonerized version Stems from "machen" = to make or create and "hinig" = broken. Unfortunately the mangled version is appropriate much more often than not.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 28.04.2010 15:12 | filed in interests/au | ]

I finally decided to get rid of Blosxom as the formatting engine for this website: there were some nice ideas but the plug-in system never matured properly, the internals were rather ugly and overall it was way too cranky to make it DWIM.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 28.04.2010 02:11 | filed in about/site | ]

...when I will have paid off my house loan. This week I've reached a milestone towards that goal: the outstanding amount is finally in the five-digit AU$ range.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 21.04.2010 14:24 | filed in interests/au | ]

says I, after reading their recent announcement that they now archive all the billions of twitter µ-blobs of drivel. Apparently the yanks' excuses for 'culture' and 'significance' now also include the observation of gnat farts and what John and Jane Doe had for lunch.

[ published on Fri 16.04.2010 18:55 | filed in interests/anti | ]

Today, after reading up on couchdb I decided to take a break from vapour-ware and high-flying ideas and Do Something Practical, like finally take apart my whipper snipper to figure out why it doesn't start (different kinds of vapours are involved, this being a cheap two-stroke FPOS).

Enthusiastic tool application quickly demonstrated one big issue with any metal FPOS (remember, I said cheap): very rough edges. Slipping and sliding the back of your finger along such edges is highly counter-indicated.

 bloody sink

Well, there must have been a caterpillar lurking beneath the skin on my index finger, because this not-so-deep cut was dribbling red juice beyond what I'd have expected; and the motor oil, petrol and other assorted grease-suspended gunk on my hands didn't exactly make my journey to the bathroom any cleaner.

But the icing on the cake came later: I did, of course, finish the disassembly after wrapping up my finger - only to find out that the whipper snipper engine is beyond salvation. Just about zero compression, most rubber/plastic parts rotten. A new one will likely cost less than the replacement parts, never mind the time and effort for a potential repair.


[ published on Sat 10.04.2010 17:24 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Read on for some happily raving blather...
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 05.04.2010 19:20 | filed in interests | ]

The Citibank onscreen keyboard reappeared after an overhaul of their web site (as usual not making it any better, but Now With More Shiny Crap!). Anyway, it's 2010 and onscreen keyboards are still a damn stupid idea for password entry - and so my Citibank-Demouse Greasemonkey script got an update.

[ published on Sat 20.03.2010 14:10 | filed in interests/comp | ]

663 is the number of the EU Parliamentary Porkers that voted against the ACTA mess yesterday. 13 little piggies toed the Content Cartel's line.

663 is an overwhelmingly larger number than 13, and the optimist in me (yes, I have my weak moments) would like to think "Good! Looks like some of the pollies have grown a spine - at least temporarily. They might even be worth their feed".

Then the realist in me sees that the 663 piggies might be all equal, but the 13 pigs could very well be More Equal: Our Helpful Friends in the Content Cartel will certainly do their best to make sure of that. Bastards.

[ published on Thu 11.03.2010 19:02 | filed in interests/anti | ]

No electronics project of mine ever ends without me rerouting and resoldering at least two connections.

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 27.02.2010 14:34 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

...of having extremely few friends, no girlfriend (and no hope of finding one), absolutely zero social life and of having an apparently abrasive personality?
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 26.02.2010 01:38 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Of course I don't work (for|with) incompetents like these.

And 2 + 2 = 5, FSVO 5.

[ published on Wed 17.02.2010 11:29 | filed in interests/anti | ]

...first, I'd get a muzzle for the damn howler monkey neighbours' dog. Not because of the barking, but because of the dog being one of the root causes for the everlasting bloody aggravation: see, he's got some Doberman in the mix, and his owners are total assholes, so he's decent-sized, frisky and badly educated. That makes him pinch the damn kids when they yell and scream too much, eliciting more screaming and howling, which generates more pinching and screaming and tantrums...Oh Joy.

Next, I'd cut all the howler monkeys' vocal cords, and thus earn the everlasting gratitude from the other neighbours around - who are all fairly quiet denizens.

And finally, I'd shoot all the monkey neighbours for good measure - 'it's the only way to be sure'.

No, I'm not angry, not at all. Why do you think so?

From the bottom of my heart I wish the plague and a quick, quiet death on these neighbours.

[ published on Sun 14.02.2010 15:32 | filed in still-not-king | ]

The first day of the trimester at work, and I've got an 0800 lecture... for the one (inherited) subject I dislike teaching the most. Bah. And the projector in the room is squirrely. Aaaaaargh! And the room is generallylousy. Double-bah. And my brain is fogged up enough so that I'm quite sure I'm making more of a hash of the subject material than necessary. Sorry dear students! My best efforts at 0800 today weren't really quite good enough.

What a lovely way to begin the week!

[ published on Mon 18.01.2010 19:08 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Yesterday Eric Rohmer died. A pity, I liked his films a lot (especially the contes des quatre saisons and the comedies et proverbes sets).

However, György Palfi is Not Dead - and I heartily endorse his film Hukkle to anybody who likes subtle films. It's really, really nice. His second film, Taxidermia, is pretty cool as well but quite a bit further into the odd realms of the universe.

[ published on Tue 12.01.2010 15:49 | filed in interests | ]

Samizdata makes my day.

[ published on Tue 05.01.2010 22:57 | filed in interests/humour | ]

If you are using spamassassin without sa-update you will not like to hear that as of 5 days ago spamassassin has pretty much declared open season on all your mails:

Due to an incredibly gross and dirty bit of rule all properly dated mails get an extra 3.6 added to their score. kablam!

Botch/Fix: edit /usr/share/spamassassin/, and change the regexp for FH_DATE_PAST_20XX to something that doesn't fire in the near future (like 20[2-9][0-9]). Don't forget to sa-compile if you use compiled spamassassin rules.

[ published on Tue 05.01.2010 22:06 | filed in interests/comp | ]

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