Tomorrow I'm going camping for a few days. The weather forecast is pretty average but it'll be fun nevertheless. I'm going to join up with some friends at Bundjalung National Park (in the Black Rock area - camping right behind the dunes and the beach) and I'm loaded for bear, gear-wise.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 23.12.2010 23:18 | filed in interests/au | ]

...just single-minded focus on the one thing that matters: not stuffing up that landing.

 enten im anflug az toplanding at montes az approach az toplanding jessica toplanding
[ published on Fri 10.12.2010 15:04 | filed in interests/flying | ]

would you please send me a kill switch for my give-a-shitter? I need that to survive work without going mad and committing mega-idioticide... Oh, and a set of human-rated gills, please, too: to survive the cruddy weather this "summer.

[ published on Tue 07.12.2010 19:37 | filed in still-not-king | ]

that's what Xeni at boingboing says, and I totally agree: blocking is futile, information wants to be free and all that.

The mirror list at seems well-updated.

My recommendation: also check out the Tor Hidden Services for wikileaks/cablegate (only a few so far, but that'll surely change - in this case Tor is great because it also protects/hides the mirror operator).

The ones I know of right now:

[ published on Sat 04.12.2010 17:31 | filed in interests/anti | ]

A few months ago Rob gave me his gumstick camera when he upgraded, and since then I've been thinking about recording some flights. These cameras are dirt-cheap (a few dollars on ebäh) and not bad spec-wise, this one records 640x480@30fps onto a microsd card. Lots of variants and they all look like this.

Last weekend I finally tried it out, velcro/rubber-banded to my helmet's chin guard, and the results are quite ok. Primarily I did it for Conny, but others might want to see how paragliding looks like from my perspective (but of course there's lots more interesting pilot videos out there!).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 01.12.2010 13:21 | filed in interests/flying | ]

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 30.11.2010 22:53 | filed in still-not-king | ]

yesterday evening i did my usual 26km cycling round just before sundown and at pizzey park i came across two kids with two dogs, one leashed and one not (the dogs, of course). and just as expected the unleashed oversized rat (something terrier-like) had to decide that i'm an Evil Menace Who Must Be Hunted Down.

so the damn thing raced me down the track, barking and growling continuously and jumped around my bike, always very close to being run over. stupid bugger - if i had hit it, it surely would have sustained more damage than me.

eventually one of the two kids cycled after us and hauled the megalomaniac critter away.

[ published on Thu 25.11.2010 13:05 | filed in interests/anti | ]

Can you think of something more ridiculous than this? Imagine: a cyclist riding up to a traffic light, not getting out of his clipless pedals in time and falling over like a drunk chicken.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 20.11.2010 20:42 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This Sunday Conny is going to run her first marathon, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her. Go Girl, GO!

Am I proud of her? No - because pride doesn't apply here, at least the way I see the concept of 'pride'.

  • First, I haven't got anything to be proud of here: it's all her achievement and not mine. I've done my half 16 years ago to cause her existence in the first place, but she is her own person and does her things (or not).
  • Second, running isn't something I could have shown her as a lovable exercise - I don't like it at all myself, and I'm a very inept runner and much prefer a bicycle (which I consequentially do a lot more of and more readily and happily - the last two months I've been doing a 25km round almost every day).
  • Third, she's doing something that I can't do. So I'm a tad envious of her ;-)

But I'm really very happy for her, and I find it great that she likes running and does well at it.

So, Conny: Good Luck! I hope you have a good time and enjoy your marathon - which I'm sure you will, especially once it's over :-)

[ published on Sat 20.11.2010 14:28 | filed in interests | ]

Today I saw the following photo (funny: on a russian blog)

 cora lee griffin, photographed by lewis hine

and found it really captivating, more so than the classic photo of Sharbat Gula (the 'Afghan Girl' on the NGS magazine cover).

And digging a little deeper, there's quite a lot of story here: the photographer, Lewis Hine did some remarkable work on child labour in the USA before WW1 - only to be shunned later on, and to die in poverty.

Eventually I found larger versions of this photo at the Library of Congress together with the original caption:

One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C. She was 51 inches high. Had been in mill 1 year. Some at night. Runs 4 sides, 48 cents a day. When asked how old, she hesitated, then said "I don't remember." Then confidentially, "I'm not old enough to work, but I do just the same." Out of 50 employees, ten children about her size. (Dec 1908)

Most of these photos and their subjects would be forgotten today if it weren't for Joe Manning who dug up lots of history on many of these kids' later life - amongst others, the story of Cora Lee Griffin.

[ published on Tue 16.11.2010 20:59 | filed in interests | ]

i hate having neighbours close by, or sharing a wall. more specifically, i hate my neighbours except for A+M+M, but the others more than make up for those good people.

i hate the goddamn noisy brats - there's a difference between 'happy kids' and 'loud tantrum-throwing fucks', and i don't mind the former at all.

the rest, they can all die as far as i'm concerned, and soon, please.

[ published on Sun 07.11.2010 21:14 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This is very cool: the World Sunlight Map combines current cloud cover, night and daylight sat images into one beautiful composite.

I use the rectangular projection version as my desktop background and as a handy tool for roughly checking the time in europe (parents, siblings) or north america (kid).

[ published on Sat 16.10.2010 15:46 | filed in interests | ]
[ published on Sat 09.10.2010 20:15 | filed in interests | ]

Today I learned that the survival kit carried in the Mercury space capsule contained, amongst useful things, also "1 Bar Soap".

I don't know about you, but I would have traded that soap for more of "1 Container of Matches" or desalination gear for more than "8 pints".

Maybe McD-D were expecting their craft to crash-land somewhere tropical, so they packed that soap to ensure the astronauts wouldn't repel the admiring female lovelies.

I love well-written manuals, and the Mercury familiarisation manual is a pretty nice example with great diagrams and drawings. Pity that there's nothing comparable for Vostok and Soyuz (and even if it weren't classified it would be in Russian, which I don't understand more than a few words of...)

[ published on Thu 23.09.2010 01:41 | filed in interests/humour | ]

Some say Vegemite belongs to the "acquired tastes" (polite for "hideous"), but I'm not so sure - maybe growing up with Maggi sauce predisposes one towards yeasty/salty stuff?

Anyway, I like Vegemite despite being not a native of this place. And some of the mity clones I like, too. For example ProMite is quite ok.

But I will certainly not buy "Brekkiemite" ever again: we all know that Vegemite is made from yeast waste, but this other goop tastes like said yeast scraps were ran through a dog first and then liberally cut with axle grease.

[ published on Mon 20.09.2010 11:59 | filed in brainfarts | ]

I've just completed testing the next generation of my kuvert tool: Version 2.0.0 is out here and has just been uploaded to debian Sid. It's full of Nice New Things that make kuvert more useful, the most notable ones being:

  • inbound SMTP support
    You can tell kuvert to listen on localhost on a port of your choice for inbound messages. (This absolutely requires ESMTP authentication as pointed out in the manpage.) Benefit: any garden-variety mail user agent can send via SMTP, which means it can interoperate with kuvert. You don't have to bother with the submission wrapper anymore (but it is still available of course).
  • outbound SMTP support
    Kuvert now can speak SMTP to any server of your choice. No more need for a local MTA installation (unless you prefer one, in which case kuvert will work like before).
  • support for gpg-agent

There are also quite a few other goodies, but I haven't cooked up a good changes document yet; You'll have to read the manpage.

Update (Fri 17.09.2010 14:31):

Kuvert version 2.0.4 has been released. New feature: kuvert now supports SMTP Authentiction for submitting your outbound emails to an MTA (No TLS/SSL yet). Sources here, binaries at the Debian mirror of your choice.

[ published on Sun 29.06.2008 23:32 | filed in mystuff/kuvert | ]
 full schematics for the dcx-8000k

As I wrote earlier and long ago, the beauty of good 70s audio gear is that just about everything is done using discrete components only - which makes these beasts eminently repairable (if you have the service manual as I obviously do).

My Sanyo had developed a very bad left channel (not just crackling but bangs that threatened my speakers) and I figured it was a problem with the main amplifier, likely close to the power transistors.

The relevant NEC 2SB541/2SD388 transistors have of course become unobtainium long ago, but reading up on these in various transistor substitution documents I found that Motorola MJ21195/21196 are workable replacements (with somewhat better ratings). It cost me just $11 for two transistor pairs, $4 for new insulating/heat-conducting rubber pads and about half an hour including the offset/bias adjustment to revive the DCX. As far as I can tell the problem was the rotting, super-thin insulating material between the transistors and the heatsink, but I replaced the transistors nevertheless.

Good as gold again, and it may yet outlast me.

[ published on Mon 13.09.2010 15:36 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

A few more photos of Conny's recent vacation over here, plus some vid clips of two happy kids :-)

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 01.09.2010 11:07 | filed in interests | ]

One of the banks I deal with uses one-time transaction numbers which they send in bulk by paper mail every now and then. (Pity that the local banks aren't as enlightened...)

The notion of "TransAction Numbers" I like, carrying the paper slip I don't - because paper encrypts so very badly and I'm lugging my Palm with me all the time anyway.

gocr takes care of the OCR, and generally works fine but BSTS...if comparing two sheets of meaningless numbers wasn't so ridiculously, mind-numbingly, dull. Can't have that.

So I had to look for a cheap, quick and dirty solution for that not-quite-problem, and after ten minutes I had it: espeak.

It's a fairly simple speech synthesizer, which unfortunately insists on pronouncing numbers as numbers, not individual digits, but a trivial half-line of perl data massaging took care of that.

Sure, espeak sounds like a post-lobotomy HAL 9000 with a hangover, but hey, it makes sanity-checking of the OCR results a lot faster and easier.

(Enlightened) Laziness is a virtue :-)

[ published on Mon 30.08.2010 00:24 | filed in interests/comp | ]

Conny has left the building. Still in transit: yesterday BNE-AKL, a few hours in Auckland, then AKL-LAX and many boring hours to be whiled away in Los Angeles. Now she's close to boarding her last flight, LAX-PHL, and should arrive back home in Philadelphia tomorrow morning local time.


And it's pretty empty in this here house, without her around.

[ published on Wed 18.08.2010 12:58 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This human universe is a mess, what with the authoritarian assholes always lusting after (& usually getting) control, and I for one am quite sick of it.

Therefore Tor appeals to me, a lot: no logs. decent crypto. grass-roots. hard to subvert completely. Good.

So in an attack of unwarranted altruism I'm doing my tiny bit to improve this bloody place. (mind you, with limited bandwidth and not as an exit router just yet, cause I want to monitor that experiment a bit longer before I extend the service)

Update (Sun 08.08.2010 15:46):

Just like owl - who knows how to spell its name: "wol" - doesn't know much. More specifically it knows nothing about whom it is relaying Tor traffic for. Since today, wol also serves as an exit relay for a small number of well-known services.

[ published on Thu 21.01.2010 14:33 | filed in interests/crypto | ]

I don't get it why people pick an Arduino for their electronics projects: they're expensive, fat gadgets in all senses of the word fat: bootloader, IDE, board size, dev environment complexity...

A $5 PIC can do the same things and exposes you properly to what you're doing - preferrably in assembler, not C. Sure, large projects are better coded in C - later on, after you've mastered the low level; until then there's nothing better than assembler for learning how a computer works.

[ published on Fri 06.08.2010 21:58 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]
 me in 1972 later that year around 97/98 me, myself and i in 2010 november 2013, still not king of style with my niece johanna in 2019
  • born sometime in 1972

  • Austrian by chance, now living in Australia by choice

  • classic hacker in appearance and habit

  • graduate of the Technical University of Vienna (with the degree of "Dipl.-Ing. Tech. Math." which is somewhere between a "masters" degree in computer science and/or mathematics and a full PhD) and more recently of Bond Uni (with a PhD).

  • unix/linux sysadmin, security consultant, developer etc.
    This is clearly not my full resume; if you need one please ask.

  • and lots of other things no one cares about to know...but if you do, have a look in the interests section.

Update (Fri 06.08.2010 15:23):

I suppose it was time for a new photo, and Conny delivered a nice one :-)

[ published on Sat 29.10.2016 10:38 | filed in about/me | ]

Here are some shots of the progress of the Wheely King towards a decent-strength bumper:

 wk bumper wk bumper wk bumper

This 2008 version in metal didn't last a day (or more precisely the epoxy resin didn't hold it together long).

 wk new shocks locks wk new shocks locks

Shapelock is a pretty cool stuff: malleable from 60°C upwards and pretty strong when cooled down. This metal-plus-plastic bumper survived a good two years and quite a few rammings caused by a certain Kid Who Loves Full Throttle ;-) - but eventually the metal supports succumbed to said kid (the shapelock parts were still fine).

 wk status july 2010 wk status july 2010 wk status july 2010 wk status july 2010

And this is the latest version: a bumper make from shapelock only, no more batteries high up but shortened packs low and on the side of the frame, a fully locked rear diff, a grease-and-blutack-LSD in front, and decent tires on beadlocks. Looks dud but it works pretty well now :-)

[ published on Wed 04.08.2010 16:53 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

Concrete apparently doesn't cut it anymore, We Must Have More Sandstone.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 02.08.2010 16:37 | filed in interests/au | ] buy yourself a cheap used Ixus 70 (to replace an good but aging and clunky Ixus 400), and the first thing you do is...(drumroll)
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sat 31.07.2010 23:09 | filed in brainfarts | ]

Today's xkcd is pretty good - depressingly good, in fact.

[ published on Fri 30.07.2010 16:36 | filed in interests/humour | ]

...of three weeks ago when I last had an opportunity to do so (sigh). Bringing my Personal Photographer (Conny) with me got me a few pics of myself having fun. The site was Beechmont.

 az setting up az setting up az angedirndlt az angedirndlt

Being the over-imaginative chickenshit that I am, I usually let some other guinea pig take off first. Seems to work, I haven't had any accidents in nine years of (way too little) flying.

 az prepping az setup beechmont az setup beechmont az prepping at beechmont az launching beechmont az launching beechmont az launching beechmont

Alas, the Personal Photographer immediately forgot my glider colours once I was in the air, concentrated on her book and hence took only pics of Todd and Kevin, but none of me - except one, with Kevin up high and me working my way back up (just after launch).

She also missed my landing, but that wasn't a great loss: southerly winds means northerly approach over the power lines and my slightly rough fly-against-the-wall landing didn't really have to be recorded.

 az kevin beechmont az landed conny lord helmchen
[ published on Fri 30.07.2010 13:55 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Tokyo's oldest living man was actually more like the oldest undiscovered modern-age mummy: dead for about 30 years.

Now this couldn't happen to me: first this climate is too humid for meat staying fresh long (and my ceiling fans wouldn't suffice for making me into biltong), and furthermore my money would run out, my house would go back to the bank (but that's only for a few more years) and so the vultures would find me. Sky burial by bank clerk, anyone?

Sort-of bad: there aren't many other scenarios for me being discovered.

[ published on Fri 30.07.2010 12:57 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This is a blatant commercial plug but I don't feel bad about it.

After ages with Voodoofone I've moved over to different gang named ThinkMobile (while keeping my number: porting works fine in this country). They resell both Tel$tra and Voodoofone, but with very decent customer support and both better features and price (for low-volume users like me) IMHO.

ThinkMobile is fishing for new customers and is happy to give both newbie and referrer $24 credit each. So, if you want to do me some good why not join up, quote MATES and my name and we both benefit a little?

[ published on Thu 29.07.2010 18:50 | filed in interests/au | ]

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