Actually it's not just low on blood but stone-dead, but it'll come back -- eventually (like in the film Reanimator...).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 06.06.2008 09:55 | filed in brainfarts | ]
 ex-huntsman ex-huntsman

When Conny went to brush her teeth tonight before bedtime, I suddenly got a fairly urgent/distressed Request for Assistance: she stood mesmerized at the bathroom door, and a meter from her sat an (equally mesmerized) huntsman spider of less that minimal size (maybe 10x10cm with the legs). She strongly dislikes spiders.

And so do I. Usually, smaller specimens I don't bother; they eat bugs and thus are not exactly welcome but tolerated household members (if they stay hidden and out of the geckos' way). But this one was too large for my liking, so it got the bucket-on-top-and-then-poison-inside treatment (huntsmen are very fast). Sorry fella!

Conny asked for this note to any future spider visitors to be posted on the web (maybe spiders use google? dunno): Small and tiny spiders tolerated, large ones very unwelcome. May be dealt with harshly!

[ published on Mon 02.06.2008 00:18 | filed in still-not-king | ]
 halva devil

The object of contention is Halva, which I recently found at Coles (one of the big supermarkets here) and simply had to buy. Looks like Conny likes it :-)

[ published on Fri 30.05.2008 00:01 | filed in interests/humour | ]

...I would rate this Brand-New and Shiny Aluminium door sign.

 loo door

However, as I'm just one of those no-good overeducated academics with a profound distrust of manglement and the consequential cynical attitude, I have to make do with a heavy dose of Dilberts and some homemade jokes.

 my door

(The white felty things are the velcro where they took off our previous not-shiny-but-sufficient door signs. I'm not holding my breath waiting for this to be improved.)

Remember: Toilets are any company's most valuable asset.

[ published on Tue 27.05.2008 19:16 | filed in brainfarts | ]

(or, translated for the en-natives: we'd far rather blue bread than blue blood!) Here's our proof:
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 20.05.2008 21:42 | filed in brainfarts | ]

The complex I live in has been slightly beautified over the last year or so (think property values etc.), and finally, this week, the guys doing the work on the common areas got around to redoing the flower beds in front of my place.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 13.05.2008 23:43 | filed in interests/au | ] rule is: you don't throw away good computer books, period.

Most folks at my palace de ork are...odd, to put it nicely: today I strolled over to the "Dispose Me!" desk in the hallway which is often stacked with orphaned books (today: loads of Flash, Dreamweaver and other less interesting stuff) and there I picked up this Absolute Gem: the 1977 hardcover edition of Donald Alcock's Illustrating Basic. (I very much recommend checking out the PDF excerpt. 134 pages of hand-lettered and -drawn illustrated goodness.)

Picture this: the person who dumped it, has had it since 1978 and nevertheless decided to toss out this classic.

These are people who'd throw out a full Knuth to make space for "Vista for Dummies"!

On similar occasions in the past I did inherit/adopt/reverently provide a new home to: Tanenbaum's Structured Computer Organization, Sterling+Shapiro's The Art of Prolog, one of the compiler bibles, The TCL/TK book and sundry Lesser Goodies. But enough of that; their (unfelt?) pain, my gain.

One of the cool things about the Basic book is that it's well written, and actually had enough appeal for Conny to spontaneously start learning how to program today. She did her first few experimental programs (with bwbasic and emacs on my/her Debian laptop) just this evening and so far is pretty much thrilled by what one can do. Pretty cool, and I hope she gets something of lasting value out of it.

Go Conny! :-)

[ published on Tue 13.05.2008 23:21 | filed in interests/au | ]

Five-and-a-half months after buying it, I actually still like my Subaroo - except for the lousy excuse for a high beam (which is the nr. 2 complaint about the older Outbacks, trumped only by Hal).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 13.05.2008 21:47 | filed in brainfarts | ]

...if you like stereotypes, that is. Here goes:
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 13.05.2008 12:37 | filed in interests/au | ]

A few days ago the rearview mirror in my car parted company with the windscreen glass. Looks like it had been re-(super?)glued before.

So I read up on a number of (un)suggested glues:
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 08.05.2008 11:37 | filed in brainfarts | ]

I'm just about finishing Peter Watts' book "Blindsight", which is excellent but really, really really heavy stuff. Charlie Stross described that book aptly:

"Imagine a neurobiology-obsessed version of Greg Egan writing a first contact with aliens story from the point of view of a zombie posthuman crewman aboard a starship captained by a vampire, with not dying as the boobie prize."

I'd change that to read "...version of Greg Egan, but with McNihil's B&W mods, writing...", otherwise I fully concur.

It's a bit like Linda Nagata's excellent "Vast", but loads darker and with an Egan-like hard science disposition.

I'm also inclined to say nice things about Watts' Rifters books, which I just started - but likely more interesting to you out there is this factoid: Watts has published all his books under a Creative Commies licence online on his website (and in various convenient formats). Kudos to him, and I'll certainly consider buying his books when I see them in dead tree format.

[ published on Tue 06.05.2008 09:48 | filed in interests | ]

After chatting with friends who always bake their own bread (plus cakes and other market goods) I decided that having a breadmaker Would Be Nice, as I don't like white soggy sandwich bread.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sun 27.04.2008 22:48 | filed in interests/au | ]

As mentioned earlier and before I have a Wheely King rc toy. Me being me, that WK is nowhere near stock and I often delight in tinkering with it to make it work better or more fun or whatever.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 23.04.2008 15:11 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

Emacs and exmh go together very well, but of course there's spots where things rub across. Today I scratched such an itch successfully: I now have access to exmh's address database from emacs (and so can you).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 23.04.2008 01:29 | filed in interests/comp | ]

Yes, That Orkplace again. Names and other identifying bits removed to protect the terminally cluele^W^Winnocent.

This email gem arrived a few minutes ago:

The SMG Workshop agreed that academic staff should wear their scholarly gowns for key events, such as the Faculty Award Night and graduation ceremonies, as from the second semester of 2008. ... The reasoning behind this proposal supports the view it will help provide students with an overall sense of academic custom and professional admiration. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

Somebody sufficiently annoyed by this fool idea replied (to all, in all caps which I fixed as being bad for your eyes):

we already wear gowns to graduation. wearing gowns anywhere else, such as awards night, would only provide students with an overall sense of hilarity at our expense. no one will attend awards nights if this unutterably silly requirement is in effect. why is there such a persistent drive to return to the middle ages, when we are supposed to be the university of the 21st century? >thank you for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.
i'm afraid your anticipation of our cooperation is mistaken.

Time to get the popcorn out, sit back, relax, and watch the upcoming exchange of heavy ordnance. "Fire for effect, over!"

[ published on Fri 18.04.2008 14:38 | filed in interests/anti | ]

"Lucky" must be his middle name -- and "Clumsy" his first: a fellow in Frankfurt fell down an elevator shaft, and landed on a woman who had "been there, done that" 24hrs earlier. He stayed awake, she stayed unconscious; he was not hurt while she is in bad shape.

How exactly one manages to fall into an elevator shaft despite knowing the thing is being repaired, is a tad beyond me.

[ published on Thu 17.04.2008 19:55 | filed in interests/humour | ]

...but quite nice. I've got my own ideas about how to manage my collection of digital photos and so I wrote my own tiny, idiosyncratic but sufficient photo manager five years ago (says rcs; hmm, those years went quickly!).

Now that Conny has a shiny digital camera of her own (and a bit of associated trigger-happiness) she also needs something to organize her pics with. And while my photomanager is fine for me Old Fart, it's a little bit gnarly. So I looked at more user-friendly (but not idiot-friendly) solutions. And voila, the first apt-cache hit was already what I had been looking for.

Martin Herrmann has written "martin's picture viewer" aka mapivi, which is more than just a viewer (a feature which is fairly irrelevant to me). It's written in perl plus tcl (important to me), it's a photo manager (ditto) and it keeps pretty much all info where relevant: in the photo files themselves. The last is most important IMHO, because it frees me from sundry databases, proprietary overview formats and the like. mapivi uses EXIF and IPTC metadata to record pretty much anything you can think of in extra segments of your jpegs (and other image formats that allow such metadata storage).

The thing is a bit rough in places but works very well for a 0.x release, and the combo of Perl and Tk is really fun to work with.

I've immediately gone full steam ahead and coded the two plugins I need to emulate the few features my photomanager had over mapivi (complete with balloon popup help texts for Conny); also submitted one patch to the upstream author.

Gone is my photomanager, and welcome mapivi. Not Invented Here indeed :-)

[ published on Wed 16.04.2008 14:07 | filed in interests/comp | ]

Just read the announcement (and news item) which tells us peons that from now on, Ebay Oz is only allowying the inhouse-bank Paypal as payment mechanism, and also that Paypal may keep your cash for up to 21 days (IOW a big "screw you, sellers!" from the greedy bunch).

I'm not certain about how I take these badly disguised price hiking changes: as a buyer, fine, doesn't cost me anything and makes it easier to stuff around with a recalcitrant seller.

But as a non-commercial seller of leftovers every now and then, this set of changes sucks: the ebay/paypal combo is quite expensive. A commercial vendor will factor these in and eat them as side-costs do doing business, but on a $10 garage sale item the fees are not fun: 0.50 listing plus 5.25% of the final, 0.30 paypal plus 2.4% of the final for paypal again.

I just wish there was a reasonable alternative in Oz/the Asia-Pac region.

[ published on Sun 13.04.2008 13:31 | filed in brainfarts | ]

Just kidding.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 11.04.2008 16:12 | filed in brainfarts | ]

Not entirely unlike a Kaplan turbine, my mini-turbine is used in a high-flow, low-head(room) scenario. Only in reverse, sort-of. Confused? Perfect, mission accomplished :-)
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Fri 11.04.2008 13:18 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

Recently I experimented with having adsense advertisments on the chgc site, with the rationale being: it costs me money (to run that server) and time (to run the club web, membership stuff and mailinglists) and I don't get anything out of it except a Warm Fuzzy Feeling - which occasionally is very close to the Warm Fuzzy Feeling you get when some(body|thing) has peed on your pants.

Anyway, I thought why not try and see whether ads might work for paying towards the server cost. Hence, Enter Adsense, which claims to provide contextual ads.




A week later they hadn't managed to serve me one single ad (always only offering the community service ads - or none).

So, Exit Adsense: you suck.

[ published on Wed 09.04.2008 14:02 | filed in interests/anti | ]

A snippet from the classic Owed to a Spell Chequer:

I halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plane lee marques four my revue
Miss steaks aye ken knot sea

Reminds me a bit of what openoffice's spall choker did to one of conny's homework texts recently...

[ published on Sun 06.04.2008 13:06 | filed in interests/humour | ]

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Tue 01.04.2008 00:34 | filed in interests/tinkering | ]

No further comment.

[ published on Thu 20.03.2008 11:20 | filed in interests/anti | ]

What a perfect match, down to the brown garb. The only thing missing is the glowing index finger, but I'm sure we can rig something from a few LEDs...:-)

[ published on Sun 16.03.2008 20:54 | filed in brainfarts | ]

Yesterday started rainy and windy but got quite nice later on.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sun 16.03.2008 19:55 | filed in interests/flying | ]

(This title constitutes an obscure in-joke for Austrians. No alkbottles were harmed making this joke.)

In the news today: Australian Senator arrives at Parliament dressed as a beer bottle. My first thought: "When in Rome^WACT..."

ABC has the story complete with pics.

[ published on Thu 13.03.2008 21:47 | filed in interests/humour | ]

Last Saturday I finally managed to meet up with Ben and Mel (and Thomas) to visit one of the Byron Bay / Northern Rivers PG sites.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 13.03.2008 00:06 | filed in interests/flying | ]

Oi, get your minds out of the gutter!
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 12.03.2008 21:01 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Yesterday was lots of fun.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Thu 06.03.2008 13:39 | filed in still-not-king | ]

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