Friday, December 30, 2005

Damn this sickness crap...

Well, it is nearly confirmed as to why I have been feeling quite shit for a while now. It seems that I have contracted the Epstein-Barr virus, the virus that causes Glandular Fever.

I have the extremely sore throat, aches and pains, headaches and lethargy and can expect to have it for a couple of more weeks at least. Then comes the time when just the lethargy will continue on for six weeks or more and possibly flare up in the future. Oh yay.

Friday, December 23, 2005

House Update #13 - Let's get plastered...

Just a mini-update today as I haven't got any new pictures yet.

We went for a look out at the house yesterday and nearly all our walls are plastered. Damn it looks good. Chatting to the head plaster guy, he reckons they will be finished today. The change in the house from bare walls to the float to the plaster is just amazing. Combine that with the ceilings and the space just seems to get larger. I called the site supervisor about getting some people in to do final measurements and he says that the should be at lock-up by late next week.

In other news, we have organised our floor tiles from a place in Mandurah at a damn good price, $48.50/m2 fully laid. They are 450 mm x 450 mm porcelain tiles that should look great all through the house. Also we put down the deposit on the carpets on Monday. This weekend it is time for blind hunting. We saw some awesome looking Jamaican blinds (Roman blinds but with exposed wooden ribs) in a house last weekend that we want to look into and see if they come into our budget.

Photos coming soon...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I reckon he was running from the police...

Quite an interesting find has been made in the middle of NSW, about 10 km north of nowhere.
HUNDREDS of human footprints dating back to about 20,000BC - the oldest in Australia and the largest collection of its kind in the world - have been discovered in Mungo National Park in western NSW.

They were left by children, adolescents and adults at the height of the last ice age as they ran and walked across a moist clay area near the Willandra Lakes.

Some people appear to have been hunting, with one very tall man sprinting at about 20kmh.

The first footprint was spotted by Mary Pappin Junior, of the Mutthi Mutthi people, two years ago and more than 450 more have been uncovered by a team led by Steve Webb of Bond University.


Revealed: the runners of 20,000BC - smh.com.au

Pity this won't shut the damn freaks up...

Let's see how long until the 'intelligent design' (or 'creationism in a lab coat') community starts crying foul on this one.
THE ruling by a US Federal Court judge in Pennsylvania that the theory of intelligent design was not science but religion and therefore could not be taught in high school science classes is a serious blow to its advocates, but it is unlikely to end the controversy that has dominated the so-called culture wars in America.

After a six-week hearing in which the leading proponents of intelligent design and some of the country's best known evolutionary biologists debated whether intelligent design was just creationism dressed up as science, Judge John Jones, a Republican appointed by President George Bush, delivered the supporters of evolution a comprehensive victory.

In a 135-page written judgement, Judge Jones accepted that Darwin's theory of evolution was imperfect. "However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom," he said.


Evolution wins the battle over school science - smh.com.au

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Interesting times ahead for McLaren...

In a very strange turn of events, recently crowned F1 World Champion, Fernando Alonso, has signed to drive for McLaren in 2007.
WORLD champion Fernando Alonso will quit Renault once he has defended his Formula One title next season after accepting a "too good to miss" offer to drive for McLaren from 2007.

It is a very strange move for Fernando to sign onto another team a season in advance. Will this hurt his prospects of defending his title? I don't think we will find out until a few races into next year.

McLaren signs Alonso for 2007 - Fox Sports

I think this move has a lot to do with an announcement made by McLaren last week in regards to naming rights sponsorship in 2007.
VODAFONE, which quit recently as Manchester United's shirt sponsor, will join the McLaren Formula One team from 2007.

The move is a blow for Ferrari but a powerful vote of confidence in F1's future.

With F1 divided and carmakers still threatening a "rival: series from 2008, the Mercedes-powered team and mobile phone giant announced a long-term deal overnight that could be one of the sport's biggest yet.

No financial details were given but team boss Ron Dennis said the agreement is for 10 years with a break clause after five years.

Vodafone's existing contract with Ferrari, not as a title sponsor, is worth an estimated $40 million a year to the former champion.

"We have similar levels of investment but many more rights and flexibility to build our brand for the future," said Vodafone's chief marketing officer Peter Bamford.

Fernando is in very high demand by the media at present and Vodafone want a face to put to their campaign. Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello are getting on a bit and don't appeal to the SMS generation as much as Alonso does.

Vodafone to sponsor McLaren - Fox Sports

What this means for Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya is unknown at present, but Kimi has been linked with a post-Schumacher Ferrari seat. With Schumacher talking about retirement after his pretty horrible year in F1 this year, 2007 could be a good year for Kimi to move to Ferrari after all the new engine, aerodynamic and tyre rules bedded down by then. Kimi could walk into a winning team.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

5 million gamer nerds can't be wrong...

Or can they?

It seems that World of Warcraft has just hit another milestone. It has surpassed 5 million customers worldwide. It doesn't say if that is the currently active players or just the number of unique people who have registered on the server. Whether they stuck around and played or just gave up is a mystery.

From the press release:
IRVINE, California - December 19, 2005 - Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft®, its massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has surpassed five million customers worldwide. The subscription-based MMORPG launched approximately one year ago in North America, Australia, and New Zealand and has since released in multiple countries throughout Europe and Asia. This latest milestone comes on the heels of Blizzard Entertainment®'s recent announcement of a World of Warcraft expansion, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade™, which will push the boundaries of the game and offer even more content and features for players.

"World of Warcraft's growth continues to exceed all our expectations," said Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We want to reiterate our thanks to the millions of players worldwide and to all the retailers who have enthusiastically supported the game over the past year. Our commitment to continue growing World of Warcraft is stronger than ever, with development on future content patches and on our 2006 expansion, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, well underway. We look forward to offering even more content for current customers in the months ahead and welcoming new players into the world this holiday season."

Even if there are only 2 million people active and paying the minimum monthly fee, that is still a staggering US$26 million in revenue per month. I think their development costs are well and truly covered...

Blizzard Entertainment - Press Release

Monday, December 19, 2005

Was it a memo or a report?

Typical of the coalition government, instead of dealing with the issue of whether Costello mislead parliament, they decide to quibble over the definition.

The latest effort is about whether the Treasury gave a report or memo to Costello about the costs of the workplace reforms.
TREASURER Peter Costello has denied allegations that he misled Parliament over a Treasury analysis that showed sweeping workplace changes would put pressure on low income earners.

Mr Costello also questioned the accuracy of the Treasury documents, which show the workplace changes passed by Parliament in early December will deliver smaller wage rises for low income earners and cut productivity in the short term.

The Treasurer denied the existence of analysis on the subject when asked about it in Parliament in November.

Today, Mr Costello said he had been relying on a statement from the Treasury that it had not prepared a report on the effects of the Government's workplace reforms.

He said the Treasury analysis, obtained by The Australian newspaper under Freedom of Information laws, was a minute from Treasury that makes the case for workplace reform.

In an excellent piece of confusing politics Costello blurted out the following:
A report was carried in The Australian on November 5, 2005, which said that there had been specially commissioned advice from the Treasury and ... not me, but Treasury put out a statement saying that there hadn't been specially commissioned advice from the Treasury in relation to that."

Mr Costello said the question he answered in Parliament in November was about the existence of specially commissioned research on economic modelling, not a Treasury minute. He denied he was splitting hairs about the analysis.

"What's been released today is a minute, which is not specially commissioned research or modelling, but a minute which gathers together all of the economic case in relation to the importance of labour market deregulation," he said.

The Treasury still put the information out there that the touted benefits of the workplace reforms are questionable and marginal at best. Whether or not it was a commissioned report by the Treasurer or not doesn't matter.

No wonder the general public is sick and tired of politics and don't put any effort in voting...

Treasury advice just a 'memo' - NEWS.com.au

Friday, December 16, 2005

Beazley's blubber is starving his brain of oxygen...

Well after the announcement of the bigger-than-expected budget surplus all the talk has been about tax cuts. Costello has toned down his approach to tax cuts in favour of spending on defence and health. At last some sense.

But Mr Beazley has now come out and tried to put his foot in his mouth, I suspect he has actually put his fat hand in his mouth cos I doubt he could get his foot that high.
AUSTRALIANS deserved a bigger tax cut now, rather than closer to the next election, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said today.

A mid-year economic review has revealed the forecast for this year's surplus has swelled to $11.5 billion – up $2.6 billion on the May Budget's prediction. Treasurer Peter Costello hinted that more tax cuts could be on the way after the bigger-than-expected surplus.

But Mr Beazley said those tax cuts needed to come quickly, adding he would give Australians better tax relief if Labor was elected to government.

"My message to (Prime Minister) John Howard and to Peter Costello is this is not your money, this is the taxpayer's money," he told Macquarie Radio.

It may be taxpayer's money but if things aren't being funded to an adeqwuate level, then there should be no tax cuts.

Better tax cut now: Beazley - NEWS.com.au

Infantile Terrorists (literally)

Has the whole anti-terrorism push gone too far?
There's no getting off that no-fly list

Sarah Zapolsky was checking in for a flight to Italy when she discovered that her 9-month-old son's name was on the United States' "no fly" list of suspected terrorists.

"We pointed down to the stroller, and he sat there and gurgled," Zapolsky said, recalling the July incident at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. "The desk agent started laughing...She couldn't print us out a boarding pass because he's on the no-fly list."

This seems to be happening quite regularly that people are finding themselves on the no-fly list for no reason. They have access to all the birth and death records, you would think they could link up that data to their own to produce an age specific no-fly list. Not just a name based one.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 28,000 people have applied to the TSA redress office to get on the "cleared list," which takes note of individuals whose names are similar to those on the terrorism watch list, but even getting on that list does not guarantee an end to hassles related to the no-fly list.

The TSA does not reveal how many or which names are actually on the list, and complaints do not get names removed, since those names are also those of suspected terrorists. The best that innocent travelers can hope for is a letter from the TSA that it says should facilitate travel but is no panacea.

If 28,000 people have applied to have their names removed from the no-fly list just because their names are similar to a suspected terrorist, how many people do they have on the list of suspected terrorists?

I wonder how hard it would be to put someone onto the no-fly list, can you just drop the FBI a few anonymous tips about someone?

There's no getting off that no-fly list - News.com

Thursday, December 15, 2005

There aren't enough terrorists wanting to destroy the US...

...so Bush is gonna create some more...
US President George W. Bush has called Iran "a real threat", repeated his charge from 2002 that it was part of an "axis of evil", and urged Tehran to prove it does not seek nuclear weapons.

Washington accuses Tehran of using a civilian nuclear program to hide a quest for atomic weapons, and has charged that Iran is a destabilising force in Iraq.

Isn't the US also a destabilising force in Iraq? But, of course, what the US does is never wrong is it...

If Iran ever gets nuclear weapons, it might actually encourage Israel to pull their head in a bit. I suppose that is the main reason behind the US's opposition to Iran getting nukes, to keep their little friends in Israel all safe.

Iran a real threat, says Bush - NEWS.com.au

Hey Peter!

Why don't you spend it where it might be needed rather than give a tax cut?
TREASURER Peter Costello has hinted that more tax cuts could be on their way after unveiling a bigger-than-expected budget surplus.

The mid-year economic review released today revealed the forecast for this year's surplus has swelled to $11.5 billion - up $2.6 billion on the May budget's prediction.

I dunno, you could possibly spend some of it on funding frivolous things likes Medicare, universities or a myriad other things that you have stripped funding from over the last 10 years...

Costello hints at more tax cuts - NEWS.com.au

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wanted: Campers. Must supply own computer and bodyguard.


Unreal Tournament 2007 will have approximately 40 unique levels covering a diverse set of environments, along with 45 fully playable characters. The game will also include seven major game types in total, 18 vehicles and 14 handheld weapons.

Monday, December 12, 2005

PM hasn't got his answers ready yet...

I think Janet might need to buy John a dictionary for Christmas...
Prime Minister John Howard today refused to call Australians racist following the mob violence in Sydney.

But he said attacking people on their basis of their race was totally unacceptable.

"Mob violence is always sickening," Mr Howard told reporters.

"Attacking people on the basis of their race, their appearance, their ethnicity, is totally unacceptable and should be repudiated by all Australians irrespective of their own background and their politics," he said.

"I believe yesterday's behaviour was completely unacceptable but I'm not going to put a general tag (of) racism on the Australian community.

"I think it's a term that is flung around sometimes carelessly and I'm simply not going to do so."

Ummm, I thought attacking someone on the grounds of their appearance or ethinicity is racism?
racism

n 1: the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races
2: discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race

And of course he would deny the following...
Mr Howard also dismissed any suggestion his government's warnings about home-grown terrorists had fuelled the rampage.

"It is impossible to know how individuals react but everything this government's said about home-grown terrorism has been totally justified," Mr Howard told reporters in Sydney.

"It is a potential threat. To suggest that one should remain silent ... knowing what I know because that might antagonise someone else is a complete failure of leadership."

Tell us John, what DO you know?

PM refuses to use racist tag - smh.com.au

Don't poke the hornets nest...

I'm sure the bogans beating up this poor middle eastern fellow are proud they got their faces shown all across the country, possibly the world, because I think their might be some people wanting some revenge. The added image of them using beer bottles to enact the beating really does wonderful things for the image of the aussie bloke doesn't it?
The violence followed a week of simmering tension after an attack the previous Sunday on two lifesavers. Appeals by text message for "Aussies" to descend on the beach to reclaim it drew a crowd estimated at 5000 people, but a carnival atmosphere in the morning gave way to an ugly mood as a hard core of about 200 turned violent. Thousands chanted them on.

The trouble began with scuffles about midday. As the crowd moved along the beach and foreshore area, a man on the back of a utility began to shout "No more Lebs" - a chant picked up by the group around him. Others in the crowd yelled "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie … Oi, Oi, Oi". Members of the mob set upon their prey with fists, feet, flags and beer bottles. Two paramedics were injured as they tried to get victims out of the North Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club, where they had fled to escape the rioters. One of the women had fled into the clubhouse for safety after her headscarf was ripped off.

The crowd broke the windows of the ambulance and kicked its doors as the officers attempted to get the group out. Police, who used capsicum spray and batons in their battle to quell the rioters, were also pelted with beer bottles, and in some cases their cars were swamped and stomped on as they tried to move from one violent flare-up to the next. They sometimes appeared powerless to keep up with the moving mob.

About 7.30pm a young man of Lebanese appearance, arms held out imploringly, sprinted south on a footpath towards the protective shield of the police stationed at Cronulla Beach, hotly pursued by a drunken mob numbering hundreds. He outran the mob and was saved by police, who placed him in the back of a police van, which was then surrounded by the mob.

As the van drove away, one young Caucasian girl laughed and said to a male companion: "That was sick. I've never seen a dumb Leb run so fast. How good was that?"

The riots in Sydney yesterday were completely disgusting. You have a large group of white bogan Australians beating the living shit out of anybody of middle eastern appearance. In one incident, 2 guys on a train were set upon by over 20 bogans before the police stepped in and broke it up.

I wonder if these bogans realise what they were doing? If you have ever dealt with any middle eastern cultures, you will know they are quite peaceful until they feel you are attacking or demeaning towards them. They then like to respond in kind to those attacks.
A 23-year-old man was in St George Hospital in a serious condition after a fight in Woolooware about 10.25pm. A radio report said he had a knife embedded in his back. Police said the man was with friends when he had an altercation outside a golf club with a "group of males of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance".

The middle eastern folk were a bit smarter about how they returned fire too... They did it at night away from the media. And don't think that this is finished, this will continue for a while now...

Now we can just wait for the inevitable passing of blame from person to person. I don't think any one person is to blame for the current feeling of resentment towards middle eastern folk, I think it is a product of the government and the media all using the threat of terrorism to drive their own agendas.

UPDATE: I found this on a forum chatting about the riots yesterday.
The events at Cronulla were a great start and they have totally shaken the Australian ZOG at its very core. ZOG will now do all it can to put a lid on the rage and anger and this is the most dangerous aspect of the situation as there will be arrests of patriots and a further suppression of civil liberties of whites while the apologists for the muslim scum will step up their activity. It is unfortunate but until the underlying root cause is eliminated the symptoms will continue to get worse. The filthy JEW is the cancer at the root of the problem and I think that these events will be a good opportunity to educate many of the protestors about the poison that is the kike and his genocidal and tyrannical ZOG state apparatus which seeks to create a turd world melting pot out of every white country. The yoke of this criminal tyranny must be thrown of if Australia is to survive as a civilised white European outpost in a sea of sub humanity.

I bet this guy is a nice productive member of the community.

Richard Pryor (1940 - 2005)

GROUNDBREAKING comedian Richard Pryor, whose profanely personal insights into race relations and modern life made him one of Hollywood's biggest stars, died of a heart attack yesterday aged 65.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Busted!

An idea I considered trying back in uni has been tried and eventually failed through greed.
Boulder - Jonathan Baldino might be off the "nice" list.

Police say Baldino used homemade bar codes to buy electronic gadgets at prices far below any legitimate discount. The 19-year-old is facing three counts of being naughty - one of them a Class 5 felony.

Baldino was detained by Target security Wednesday after he purchased a $150 iPod with a bar-code label of $4.99.

Now that was damn silly wasn't it... As if someone wouldn't notice an iPod walking out the door for $5...
Baldino, a freshman electrical-engineering student at the University of Colorado, told police that he made phony bar codes from real bar codes taken from inexpensive merchandise, then glued those bar codes on to big-ticket items at Target, according to the police report.

After meeting a few electrical-engineering undergraduates at uni, I can confirm that they aren't as bright as they appear. The air of nerdiness surrounding electrical-engineering is severely tempered with copious amounts of alcohol and flux fumes.

This might have worked out if he had done 3 things:
  • Choosing items that relate to the targeted item. Example, find an iPod accessory like an iPod case to replace the iPod barcode with, when it rings up on the register iPod will display throwing off initial suspicions. With the intelligence and attention levels of most checkout staff in short supply, he would have walked out quite easily. You may end up spending a bit more but in the end you are still getting something really cheap.
  • Change the location of your deeds. Don't just go to one store to get all your purchases. Get the barcode from one store, purchase in another.
  • Once you have your gear either launder it quickly or reduce the amount of evidence attached to it. This idiot was caught with the fake barcode still on a printer box he purchased that they didnt know he had faked.

The moral of the story is that being a criminal takes more brains than being honest...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The collection plate...

If any of you has worked in a small department or small company before you have probably experienced the departing person collection plate. You know the one, the leaving card does the rounds and everyone chucks in five bucks to send the person on their merry way to a new job (probably with more money too).

In most places where I have worked the collection plate hasn't circulated too often as the workforce has been quite stable, but lately at work the collection plate has done the rounds about 5 or 6 times in the last 3 months. I deal with it cos it is the way things are...

But yesterday marked a change in the way things are... Someone was having a birthday and the collection plate was circulated for them. Isn't this getting a little out of hand? When you have around up to thirty people circulating through the office, if the collection plate comes out for all of them it starts to be a bit costly.

It is all well and good to say to not put money into the pot but there seems to be a certain expectation that if other people put some in, then all should.

Is there some unofficial guidelines to the office collection plate someone knows about somewhere?

This may sound a little bah humbug, especially this close to christmas, but I had to have my little rant.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

NEWSFLASH: AOL users dumber than initially thought

Well, it isn't really a newsflash... It really shouldn't surprise most folk that have been around the internet for an extended amount of time.

The latest proof that AOL users are stupid comes in the form of an IM worm that chats to the recipient. A little bit of social engineering always helps a virus/worm go further, but social engineering AOL users is pure gold.
A new worm that targets users of America Online's AOL Instant Messenger is believed to be the first that actually chats with the intended victim to dupe the target into activating a malicious payload, IM security vendor IMlogic warned Tuesday.

According to IMlogic, the worm, dubbed IM.Myspace04.AIM, has arrived in instant messages that state: "lol thats cool" and included a URL to a malicious file "clarissa17.pif." When unsuspecting users have responded, perhaps asking if the attachment contained a virus, the worm has replied: "lol no its not its a virus", IMlogic said.

The malicious file disables security software, installs a backdoor and tweaks system files, the company said. Then it starts sending itself to contacts on the victim's buddy list.

But the worm is programmed so that the infected user cannot see the messages that are being sent out by the worm, according to IMlogic.

How simple is the conversation that it strikes up?

'lol thats cool' and 'lol no its not its a virus', stupid AOL users... Even the second message tells you it is a virus, but the stupid yokels/hicks/trailer trash that use AOL probably don't understand English well enough to comprehend what it is saying. Grade 5 was the hardest 10 years of their lives, then they got married to their cousin.

New IM worm chats with intended victims - CNET news.com

WilliamsF1 find a new sponsor...

WilliamsF1 have announced that they have signed a 'partnership deal' with Philips shavers - a move that will see Philips become the 'Male Shaving Partner' for the Grove based squad.

The deal, it is hoped, will 'offer Philips marketing opportunities specifically designed to drive sales and position Philips shavers as the premier male shaver brand to the F1 audience'.

Since they won't be really supplying any technical value to the team, unlike the HP/Compaq deal, this is presumed to be a cash only deal with Philips leveraging the 'partnership' with a new product...
The partnership is supported by specific designed Philips and WilliamsF1 shavers, which are scheduled for release in 2006.

Who really wants a shaver that gets the image that it is inconsistent, prone to failures and requires a whole pit crew to recharge and clean the thing?

Williams link up with Philips for close shave! - Crash.net

Hoo-fucking-ray!

As if there wasn't enough ads in movie theatres now, some idiots want to put even more ads in...
Moviegoers should get used to those ads shown as they settle into their seats.

Ad forecasters at ZenithOptimedia said on Monday that spending on in-theater ads, usually shown before the trailers, rose by 18% this year to $400 million and likely will go up by about 15% each year through 2008.

Driving growth is digital projection that makes it easy to change ads or target ads to different audiences, says Tim Jones, CEO of ZenithOptimedia's U.S. operations. "That's directly attributable to the medium becoming more digital. It gives advertisers more options and affordability from a production standpoint."

Excuse me, but if they are going to go hard on thrying to get more advertisers into theatres, why can't they bring the prices of tickets and, more importantly, popcorn down a bit. It is all about acceptable trade-offs, I'll sit through more ads if the popcorn comes for free.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's the end of the world as we know it...

WorldNetDaily is reporting that Thai and Indonesian doctors fear that the avian may have made the mutation to enable human to human transmission.
Officials in at least two nations now suspect the avian flu bug has mutated into a virus that is being transmitted from human to human – a development world health authorities have estimated could result in the deaths of tens of millions.

Thai health officials have expressed concern that the country's two latest confirmed victims may be the beginning of the much feared human-to-human transmission.

Dr. Charoen Chuchottaworn, an avian-flu expert at the Public Health Ministry, said doctors reviewing the cases were alerted by the very mild symptoms present in both patients, neither of whom had had any recent contact with birds or poultry.

The doctors are unsure as to how either of the infected contracted the disease and have raised the possibility that the virus has traded its pathogenicity for ease of transmission.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the disease is spreading so rapidly, particularly in the capital of Jakarta, some health officials strongly suspect the long-dreaded mutation has already occurred.

"There are just too many people who have it," said one doctor. "In many cases, it is difficult to establish any contact with birds."

And they point to a rosy future if the mutation has occured...
With one small genetic adjustment in Influenza A, or H5N1, millions of people could die, warns World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific Shigeru Omi. Omi has called for health ministers and representatives to launch an all-out war on the deadly strain.

If the virus acquires sufficient human genes, allowing transmission from one person to another, an estimated 2 million to 7.4 million people around the world could die, the WHO estimates.

Some health officials make even more dire predictions. They point to the great flu pandemic of 1918-1919, which killed far more people worldwide than died in World War I – an estimated 40 to 50 million people.

And I feel fine...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy 'Van Tuong Nguyen' Day

Well today is the day. With no chance of reprieve in sight, Van Tuong Nguyen will almost definitely hang today.

If the crowing and bleating is this bad when one person goes to their death, just imagine how bad it will be when the 'Bali 9' go before the firing squad...

I am all excited with anticipation... NOT

UPDATE: 7:40 am, well it appears to have happened and going by the media coverage Van Nguyen is now a martyr. He can someone who could have been responsible for helping to ruin the lives of hundreds of people be a martyr?

The jokes have started too...
If you think the funnelwebs are deadly in Sydney, you should see the trapdoors in Singapore...

An SMS reportedly sent by Van:
"hi mum it's van... won't make it home for xmas, just hanging out in Singapore"


UPDATE: 8:00 am

I found this letter in the Straits Times. Yes, I know they are essentially a government mouthpiece but the points made are quite valid.
Nguyen pushed drugs despite twin's addiction

AS AN American who has accepted my country's use of the death penalty to punish murderers, I hope to offer a relatively objective view of the controversy over Singapore's execution of Australian heroin trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van.

I find the mandatory death sentence for the non-violent crime of drug trafficking to be incredibly harsh. I therefore would expect Australia to plead for clemency, and I support its efforts in doing so. Yet, I do not think that disputing the death penalty should devolve into attacks on Singapore.

Some Australian clemency sentiments have morphed into unfair and witless attacks on Singapore: Official calls for trade bans; threats of long-term resentment; a union's talk of refusing to service Singapore Airlines planes at Australian airports; and even the insulting characterisation of Singapore as a 'rogue Chinese port city'.

These attacks on Singapore lack the perspective of Nguyen's culpability and forget that Singapore did not instigate the present controversy - rather, Singapore is reacting to a crime with good-faith application of its long-established laws.

Have some Australians forgotten that Nguyen carried out an activity whose only possible outcome would be to harm the people of Australia? The country is his adopted homeland, it is the place that welcomed and supported his family fleeing Vietnam.

What makes his crime even more egregious is that he knew, first-hand, the harm that heroin can inflict on a family because his twin brother Khoa was an addict - yet he sought out the trafficking job, knowing full well that he would facilitate the pain of drugs he experienced upon other families.

Compare Nguyen's intended harm to Australia with Singapore's law enforcement: Looking at it with emotional detachment, Singapore's mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, if anything, helps Australia.

By deterring traffickers from going through Singapore, a major transit point between heroin-growing regions and Australia, drug suppliers would have a much more difficult time distributing their poisons.

Singapore did not start the controversy, Nguyen did. Singapore has had its death penalty on the books for the past few decades. The country is enforcing the death penalty on Nguyen just as it had for hundreds of other criminals. This is nothing new.

Yet only now are some Australians attacking Singapore at a fever pitch-when the law is being enforced against an Australian.

Warren K. Woo
California, USA


UPDATE: 2:40 pm
Queensland Parliament's silent tribute

Queensland parliament observed a minute's silence for hanged convicted drug smuggler Nguyen Tuong Van despite comments that it was an `insult' to diggers.

Premier Peter Beattie moved a motion to mark the death of the 25-year-old Melbourne man, who went to the gallows in Singapore's Changi Prison early today, as a `gesture of sympathy' for his family.

Bloody hell.

Geez, if you are gonna hold a minute's silence for Van Nguyen, why didn't you hold a minute silence for when David Birnie died in gaol? Mr Birnie and his wife only killed 4 women, the 400g of heroin could have ended or at least ruined hundreds of times more lives than that.

How about if Saddam Hussein gets the death penalty, will people plead for clemency or hold a minute silence for his death?

DirectX 10... and so it ends!

Is Microsoft shooting itself in the foot or just pissing off gamers?

Changes for DirectX 10 have been announced and it may annoy some people.
There are troubled times ahead. Through one bold move, Microsoft has decided that it will not support, the already too old DirectX 9, not to mention DirectX 8 or any of the previous versions. But... it appears to be some logic hidden somewhere.

The new DirectX will not be named Windows Graphic Foundation (WGF) as it was planned and will remain at the old name, as in DirectX 10. It will be released with their brand new operating system Vista. This new API will be composed of new and faster dynamic link libraries (DLLs) and will run much faster (so they say).

Microsoft has decided that backward compatibly with DirectX 9,8,7 isn't really necessary as there will probably will be even less compatible with Vista.

If that sounds all to horrible, there is a small consolation...
Even so, dear Microsoft hasn't totally forgotten us. Some sort of compatibility will be available through a software layer (probably some emulation) which will have its price in system resources, as it will run much slower. The good news is that DirectX 10 will relieve some of the burden on the CPU.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

ACS president wants IT pros like plumbers

I found this article on Australian Reseller News and it piqued my interest.

From the article:
Unlike builders, plumbers, electricians and other trades people, IT professionals can practice freely without any regulation or accreditation, a situation that, according to Australian Computer Society president-elect Philip Argy, is in need of change.

"Most people appreciate that if you're going to get building work done, you will choose a licensed builder," Argy said, adding that trades people like electricians and plumbers have a base level of certification behind them, but IT professionals do not.

Argy said that what's important is not the licensing per se, but the process that gives people a comfort level.

The ACS has long championed the idea of a 'licence', or similar certification program for IT professionals so that employers have a standard to refer to when recruiting.

I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Even though plumbers, builders, used car dealers are all licenced operators, you still get dodgy ones. And even when people do get some sort of professional certification like an MCSE, they aren't much better than someone who hasn't paid Microsoft a bundle of cash. But on the positive side it will help the customer decide who they employ or which company they outsource their work to.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm doing my bit...

Would it be possible to reduce the impact of the greenhouse effect by painting roofs of buildings white to reflect sunlight in the same way the polar icecaps do? Does a paint exist that would mimic the reflective properties of snow?

Painting roofs white would reflect more sunlight and it might also compensate for global warming. The Global Rural Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP), undertaken by the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, shows that roughly 3 per cent of the Earth's land surface is covered with buildings.

The Earth has an albedo of 0.29, meaning that it reflects 29 per cent of the sunlight that falls upon it. With an albedo of 0.1, towns absorb more sunlight than the global average. Painting all roofs white could nudge the Earth's albedo from 0.29 towards 0.30. According to a very simple "zero-dimensional" model of the Earth, this would lead to a drop in global temperature of up to 1 °C, almost exactly cancelling out the global warming that has taken place since the start of the industrial revolution. A zero-dimensional model, however, excludes the atmosphere and, crucially, the role of clouds. It would be interesting to see if more sophisticated models predict a similar magnitude of cooling.

Hey, all that looking into the thermal efficiency of types and colours of roofing may be a good thing, not just for me, but for the planet. I found a chart somewhere that compared the heat transmission of different roofing types, here is a quick summary:
  • Zincalume - 5% heat transmission
  • Colourbond (Off-white) - 10% heat transmission
  • Colourbond (Other colours) - 19%+ heat transmission
  • Clay/concrete tiles (Any colour) - 25%+ heat transmission


I'm doing my bit...

New Scientist Back Page - Snow laughing matter

Of all things XBox 360


(Click to enlarge)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Say NO to stupidity...


The 2nd of December is White Ribbon Day or, to use its full and official title, 'The International Day of Stupidity for Van Tuong Nguyen'. By wearing a white ribbon, everyone can demonstrate their support for the abolition of stupidity in todays society.

Now before you get all righteous on my ass, listen to me for a second. This guy obviously wasn't in his right mind when he made a decision to transport drugs out of Singapore for his brother. He decided to play his chances with a regime well known for their disciplined handling of drug traffickers and he lost. All the crowing in the world won't save his butt now.

There is a small chance Singapore government may relent, very very small chance of that though, but I doubt it as they do not want to lose face. They have made a decision and they will stick to it.

In the end Van Nguyen will pay the price for his brothers drug activities. The Nguyen's must be so proud of their sole remaining twin.

In celebration of this momentous day you are all invited to do a line...

Rove to get a revamp...

From this article:
AILING variety show Rove Live is to undergo a major revamp in a bid to bolster its flagging ratings.

The show, hosted by triple Gold Logie winner Rove McManus, has struggled to attract substantial audience figures this year, often falling as low as 650,000 viewers nationally in its 9.30pm Tuesday time slot.

How are they going to revamp Rove Live!?
Ten insiders say the show will be "more unpredictable, have edgier segments, have more energy and spontaneity" next year.

So we can look forward to more Rove listener games/pranks, even shorter interviews, louder, brighter, etc.

Hey, it might rate better... for a few weeks then it will all became stale again.

Suggestion...

Everyone nows about the main 2 additional plates used by drivers on our roads, 'L' and 'P'.

I had an odd brainstorm the other day whilst driving. Unsurprisingly it was spurred by one or more of the following stereotypes. Again unsurprisingly, I encountered them in the Spearwood to Hamilton Hill area along Rockingham Road.

Suggestions for new additiuonal plates:
  • 'E' plate - For elderly drivers. Even though you can tell elderly drivers from the hat on the rear parcel shelf, there is still a large section of the elderly community who do not play bowls so we need to advertise the location of these drivers to us all. Advertising the elderly nature of the driver will prepare you for sudden unannounced turns, lane changes and braking. As soon as you reach 65 the plate is issued. The obvious overlap with the Extraordinary plate used for reinstated drivers can be solved by issuing them with a 'D' (drunk) plate. Biege E on blue background.

  • 'S' plate - For habitual speeders. For those drivers among us that always speed no matter wherever they are. 60 zone? They'll do 75. 80 zone? They'll do 100. Usually related to the habitual tailgater, these plates will prepare you for the tailgating and general impatientness of these drivers on the road. As soon as you loose more than 6 points in a 6 month period, you are issued with the plate. Red S on dayglo orange background for added visibility.

  • 'Y' plate - For the hip young female drivers. Ever seen a young female applying make up or doing their hair while driving? Did you notice their actions just after you were nearly side swiped or cut off by said young female? These plates will help you prepare for just those occasions so you can protect yourself from their crap driving. Mitsubishi Lancer coupe's will be fitted with the 'Y' plate as standard. Black Y, background colours will change season to season.

Any more people want to suggest?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Education standards...

Check this email out I received today:
Interesting post on Aus-DotNet

My kids had a maths sheet sent home for homework (primary grade 3) and one of the questions was: fill in the missing number.

4 / ? = 0

This apparently is a Dept of Education homework sheet.

After approaching the teacher, who believed that the answer was zero, and principal who referred the response that this was totally incorrect to higher powers, this was the response I got:

Dear XXXXXX,

the answer to your question is as follows:

The children need to know the associative law:

2 x 0 = 0
2 divided by 0 = 0

They need to know the relationship between multiplication and division as we learn our times tables. The aim of this problem is also to understanding how division and multiplication work.

They also need to know that zero is a place holder.

How scary is that?

I would say the majority of parents wouldn't even know that '4 / 0 = 0' is wrong. I am utterly appalled by this.

House Update #11 - A house needs a roof...

Flickr Photo


Woohoo, we have a roof.

As I have never built a house before and going by what friends and family (who have built before) are saying, this house is going up fast. Our across the road neighbours have been stuck at the same spot for the last 6-7 weeks with nothing happening. Pit falls of going with a builder who has way too much work on I guess.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Forums, blogs, etc...

"The internet has become a place where people with zero confidence and no spine can posture a bit by sticking their chest out and babbling like a gorilla."

Steve Pender
www.karatekast.com

I know this subject is quite close to Tom's heart and we have all seen it.

Is it affecting the internet in a bad way or has it come to be an accepted thing? Why should the abuse and pure hate that is dished out on forums, blogs, etc. be accepted just because there is a semblance of anonymity? If, as an offender, you meet the person you dish the shit to on a forum in real life, would you stand by the statements you make?

Will slander and libel laws catch up with the internet? Or is the global aspect be too much for the law to handle?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Too much time...

Everyone knows about the people with no life who inhabit the 'net, I never knew the scope of their problem... until now...

I did a search on Wikipedia for LV-426 (ask Mark) and found a truly amazing article. An extract of it is included for your enjoyment:
LV-426, also known as Acheron, is the name of the fictitious moon (frequently but erroneously referred to as a planet) where the Alien was first encountered by humans in the movie Alien (1979) of the Alien Series. It bears a strong resemblence to Saturn's moon, Titan.

LV-426 is a moon in orbit around a gas giant in the Zeta II Reticuli system, which lies beyond the "Outer Rim." LV-426 has .86 Earth gravity and is geologically active, judging from its surface composition (igneous rock, "lava base") and steam vents on its surface. Prior to terraforming, the atmosphere consisted mostly of nitrogen, crystalised carbon dioxide, and methane, and its temperature was well below the Celsius line. The source materials differ widely on the diameter of this world: figures of 1,200 m, 1,200 km and 12,201 km are given in different sources. Out of these, 12,201 km (from the Aliens Colonial Marines Technical Manual) is the only one that is possible given the surface gravity.

Most of the details in the passage above are not supplied in any of the Alien movies, and a check into the "Aliens Colonial Marines Technical Manual" tells me it is a piece of reasonable fan-fiction. What drives these people to invest so much time and effort, and possibly money, into a wholly fictional reality extending it with their own ideas?

Aliens isn't the end of this madness either, go have a look at a few Star Wars and Star Trek related entries on Wikipedia.

I think Wikipedia need to start looking into these articles a bit closer. The way they read seem to represent the fictional reality as a real one. Especially the entry for Alderaan, so much history and backstory that was written by fans has made its way into the article. If the Wikipedia Foundation wish to be a real player in the encyclopedia business they need to start making sure their content is factual and when it is not, clearly label it as so.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Airbrushing as an art...



Take a look at the picture... How much airbrushing was done there? If it wasn't airbrushed I would have to say that Ms Aniston has got a damn weird looking body. If that picture was supposed to convey any sort of sexual attractiveness, I think it missed its mark.

Look who's woman of the year - People - Entertainment - smh.com.au

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Are Sony complete cunts?

Sorry about the language above but a patent that Sony holds could mean the end to lending your DVDs to family, friends and the entire rental industry.

It recently came to light that Sony Computer Entertainment received a U.S. patent exactly one year before on a one-system-one-disc technology that renders movie or game discs useless on more than one playback unit. If implemented, the technology would prevent affected discs from being rented or resold.

The patent describes a process by which every media disc is shipped with a unique registration key. The first time the media disc is inserted into a player, that key is read and the disc is registered by the player, then the original key on the disc is rendered unreadable. Any attempt to play a registered disc in another player will fail.

Are consumers going to take this? Will this be the DRM device that will piss people off enough to start doing something about it?

Video Business Online - 11/14/2005 - Sony patents anti-rental tech - CA6283697

Perfect gift...

I think I have now seen it all...

Samsung have a released a new mobile specifically targetted at the modern woman.

What makes it so special you might ask?

Well it has a Pink Schedule built in to the phone, along with a Calorie Counter and a Body Mass Index calculator.

Just for the Ladies- Pink Schedule, Calories Calculator, Bio Rhythm, Fatness Indicator


What is Calories Calculator?

Calculate the amount of calories burnt for doing daily work like cooking, shopping as well as sports activities like jogging, aerobics and dancing, and manage your fitness every day.

What is Fatness Calculator?

Based on standard Body Mass Index (BMI) tables, the Fatness calculator provides a quick and easy check on whether you are within the healthy weight range for your frame. Simply key in your weight and height and the calculator will display the result and its evaluation (thin, slight thin, normal, slight fat or fat).

What is Pink Schedule?

Using this feature, you can enter information on your menstrual cycle and determine the

1. Date of next ovulation
2. Probability of becoming pregnant on the current date
3. Period during which it is possible to become pregnant
4. Date of your next period


It might just be the perfect gift for the weight, child and calorie obsessed woman in your life...

SAMSUNG's Digital World - GSM | SGH-A400

Cow-punching and horse wine...

I think it must have taken a while for Ali G to get to Kazakhstan if they are pissed off about Borat only now. Didn't Borat make his first appearance 3-4 years ago?

KAZAKHSTAN'S Foreign Ministry threatened legal action overnight against a British comedian who wins laughs by portraying the central Asian state as a country populated by drunks who enjoy cow-punching as a sport.

Sacha Baron Cohen, who portrays a spoof Kazakh television presenter Borat in his Da Ali G Show, has won fame ridiculing Kazakhstan, the world's ninth largest country yet still little known to many in the West, on British, Australian and US channels.

Cohen appears to have drawn official Kazakh ire after he hosted the annual MTV Europe Music Awards show in Lisbon earlier this month as Borat, who arrived in an Air Kazakh propeller plane controlled by a one-eyed pilot clutching a vodka bottle.

"We do not rule out that Mr Cohen is serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way," Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Yerzhan Ashykbayev said.

"We reserve the right to any legal action to prevent new pranks of the kind." He declined to elaborate.

Ali G threatened - NEWS.com.au

That sounds like a terrorist threat to me :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

How sad is this?

Someone has to be really serious about their ice cream...
Click to enlarge

This idea came from one of our fans! He wrote us about how he lives in mental turmoil after buying Ben Jerry's. He was so afraid that his roommates would eat his pint...he couldn't concentrate at work! He suggested we sell our pints in stainless steel, bulletproof containers with a little padlock. While we couldn't actually do THAT, we came up with the Euphori-Lock!

$5.50


http://store.benjerry.com/pintlock.html

Rally Australia 2005 Photos

A selection of photos from the weekend:


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House Update #10 - Raise the roof!

Flickr Photo


Flickr Photo

Flickr Photo

Well, things are still moving at a pretty good pace on our house. Last week all the roof timber went up, eaves went in and fascias installed (as you can see). This week the sparkies will move in to wire up the place before the Colourbond roofing goes on.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Goodbye Keith

I attended the funeral of my step-grandfather, Keith, yesterday afternoon and it reaffirmed my belief that organised religion is a load of bollocks.

No disrespect to Keith here, he was a great man who lived a pretty full 88 years. Keith was part of my life for more than 25 years, I am 29 now, so I have a great many memories of him. I just take issue with the religion he chose to follow, Catholicism.

I haven't been to a proper church service in at least 12 years, the only times I go into a church these days is for weddings and funerals, with the occasional baptism. The services are just as I remembered them, more importance is given to the procedure and symbolism than to following God's word. Most, if not all, people reading this blog will know I don't give a toss about God, but isn't the point of following a religion to follow God's word and live the way he/she/it proscribes rather than imitating the actions of his supposed son.

In the middle of mourning the huge video screen in the church showing the words of the hymns and psalms gave me some mirth. It was quite funny to see a church full of people (mostly 60-plus year olds) singing along like at a karaoke bar staring at this giant screen.

And the geek in me noticed another thing, the slides being shown on the giant karaoke screen had the quality of a Powerpoint 1.0 presentation. Great big Roman font, crappy clip art images (I was looking for some of the 'LOL Jesus' pictures) and the left margin being quite fluid. It was great work. You would think that an organisation as rich and vast as the Catholic Church might be able to hire some graphic design/marketroids to give them some better presentations.

I will end this entry with a question to you all... Do you think it is hypocritical or disingenuous for people who are not religious in any way to partake in Holy Communion just because they attend a service?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Back in 5.... days...

Just a quick note to let you all there most likely won't be any updates to the blog as Donna, Calvin and I are taking off to Hamilton Island for 5 days. We are going to one of Donna's closest friends' wedding. Should be fun.

I will be logging the journey photographically like I always do and you can be assured you will see some photos. No slideshows tho. I'll let you view them in your own time without boring commentary.

Logging off now...

House Update #9 - All in all, it was all just bricks in the wall...


All the bricks are done, roof ready to go on... Posted by Picasa


This will eventually be our kitchen... Posted by Picasa


Imagine, a lovely 2 metre wide image projected onto this wall... Posted by Picasa

All the brickwork is done. The brickies flew through it. A total of 13 working days to put up all the bricks in a 300 sq. m. house. Well done.

All the roof trusses have been delivered. All they are waiting for is 3 steel I-beams to go over the familt/dining area to support the roof and it will all be go.

Tranquility... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Sensitive to fate, not denial, but hey, who's on trial?


A picture tells a thousand words. I don't think I need to add anything to this... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The girl with the weight of the world in her hands



A friend's wife was complaining to her husband about her car and she asked for something for her birthday that goes from 0 - 100 in under 4 seconds.

I guess he's dead now...

I wanna get ripped off...

Finally, Apple's iTunes Music Store has been launched in Australia. Took them long enough.

The odd thing is the pricing of songs. In the US, single songs are priced at US$0.99 each, which works out to about AU$1.30. Now Apple in their infinite wisdom have priced Australian purchased songs at AU$1.69.

Does Apple think Australian's don't know what USians pay for their tunes? Or is it proof that Australian record company's overcharge us for the music they sell?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

House Update #8 - We be wildin' in the Bricks!


If looks like a house... Posted by Picasa

I took this shot on saturday before the weather turned to shit, not much more has happened in the last couple of days due to the weather.

I am torn between being pissed off at the rain for delaying our house and wanting it to stick around longer to keep the dust down at Rally Oz... Maybe it could only rain at night?

Bonus panorama pic:

Standing just outside where the home theatre will be Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

You wonda why they call U bitch

Way to go US troops. Even more reason for disillusioned young muslims to take up the cause and have some fun with RPGs, mortars or backpacks full of explosives.

And the really stupid thing is that these geniuses burnt the 2 militants in view of a camera. They knew they had a journo embedded with them. Morons.

Al Qaeda don't have to do a thing these days, the US seem to be hurting themselves in the most effective manner.

Probe into film of troops burning Taliban fighters - smh.com.au

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A time to be so small...

Media Stream Technologies is shipping a tiny x86-based platform for a range of space constrained embedded applications such as kiosks, mini PCs, and network appliances. The fanless eBox-3800sl and 3850ps feature a low-power Via Eden processor with support for Windows XP Embedded.




Media Stream lists the following key features and specifications for the eBox-3800:
- Processor -- Via Eden-N Nano, 800 MHz
- Memory -- 128 or 256 MB DDR RAM

Display:
- Integrated Via UniChrome 2D/3D Graphics with MPEG2 Accelerator
- 8 to 64 MB video RAM shared with system memory
- CRT and LCD outputs, 1280 x 1024 max. resolution with 32-bit color

Storage
- 1 EIDE UltraDMA 133 on 44-pin header

Expansion
- 1 X-PCI connector

I/O Ports:
- 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, built-in boot ROM, RXE boot, wake on LAN
- 2 USB 2.0, one on front
- PS/2 keyboard and mouse
- LPT and RS-232 (3850ps only)

Dimensions:
- 3800sl : 170 x 124 x 38 mm
- 3850ps : 170 x 124 x 58 mm

Power
- +5 VDC, 4.5 A max.

The 3850ps has enough space to accomodate a 2.5 inch hard disk drive.

Squinting faces at the sky...

Microsoft have been busy in their Redmond bunker doing some cool research. No, it isn't into any new versions of still born platform independent programming languages, it is into increasing productivity in the office, not Office(tm), environment.

One thing looked into was the use of multiple and large monitors. New York Times reported what they found:
For Mark and Czerwinski, these piecemeal efforts at coping pointed to ways that our high-tech tools could be engineered to be less distracting. When Czerwinski walked around the Microsoft campus, she noticed that many people had attached two or three monitors to their computers. They placed their applications on different screens - the e-mail far off on the right side, a Web browser on the left and their main work project right in the middle - so that each application was "glanceable." When the ding on their e-mail program went off, they could quickly peek over at their in-boxes to see what had arrived.

The workers swore that this arrangement made them feel calmer. But did more screen area actually help with cognition? To find out, Czerwinski's team conducted another experiment. The researchers took 15 volunteers, sat each one in front of a regular-size 15-inch monitor and had them complete a variety of tasks designed to challenge their powers of concentration - like a Web search, some cutting and pasting and memorizing a seven-digit phone number. Then the volunteers repeated these same tasks, this time using a computer with a massive 42-inch screen, as big as a plasma TV.

The results? On the bigger screen, people completed the tasks at least 10 percent more quickly - and some as much as 44 percent more quickly. They were also more likely to remember the seven-digit number, which showed that the multitasking was clearly less taxing on their brains. Some of the volunteers were so enthralled with the huge screen that they begged to take it home. In two decades of research, Czerwinski had never seen a single tweak to a computer system so significantly improve a user's productivity. The clearer your screen, she found, the calmer your mind.

Now I have the justification for the 30" Apple Cinema Display or at least a 20" Dell Widescreen LCD here at work. I currently work on a 15" laptop LCD screen @ 1024x768. At home I use remote desktop to connect to the laptop so I can use higher res and a nicer keyboard. I definitely need the bigger screen here at work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

House Update #7 - I just want to be in your panorama


Panorama from inside the activity room

As you can see, brickwork is progressing quite rapidly. The estimate from the site supervisor of two and a half to three weeks may not sound so silly.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Propaganda, you scare me to death

I can`t see many reds underneath my bed
But the fascists in the letter-box are messing up my head

Some nice lyrics that seems to fit the crap we keep getting from the government.

Even the government reckons that people will be worse off under the proposed IR reforms. When pressed the government released an example of where people won't be worse off under an AWA. The problem is, the example shows the problem with the reforms quite clearly.
The Government says that penalty rates, overtime, public holidays, lunch breaks and holiday and shift loadings are "protected by law". When pressed, it admits they can be bargained away but says that's no different to the existing situation.

That's false. One of the two key features of Howard's proposal is the abolition of the "no disadvantage" test introduced by Labor in 1993 as part of its enterprise bargaining revolution.

The "no disadvantage" test means that while there are indeed many conditions such as penalty rates and overtime an employee can bargain away, the employer must by law compensate them in some other way so that the employee's remuneration package is at least equal in value to the previous package.

That requirement will go under Howard's proposals. A perfect example of how this works was inadvertently given by the Government itself. Labor had raised in parliament the case of a Queensland employer who did a deal with his employees removing leave loadings, all allowances, penalties and public holidays in exchange for a minuscule increase of 16c in their hourly pay rate.

The Government triumphantly pointed out that that 16c per hour had been raised to $1.31 an hour by the Employment Advocate. But the only basis on which the Employment Advocate could make this decision was on the basis of the "no disadvantage" test, which under the new system will no longer exist. So under Howard's new system, the 16c would stand.

Why isn't the opposition and the other minor parties making more noise about these changes? For all we know they could be making some noise I suppose, it all depends on whether the editorial viewpoint of the media outlets allows them to report the concerns to us all.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

House Update #6 - I start my city with a brick...


Mmmm, bricky goodness Posted by Picasa


Building site from the street Posted by Picasa


Building site from our rear neighbours (no fences yet) Posted by Picasa


Our garage wall Posted by Picasa