Friday, September 30, 2005

Y'all hate dem gosh darn pesky bugs too?

The intelligence of the average USian continues to drop in my opinion. The deaths from Hurricane Katrina have only seemed to make the problem worse.

The article in the link below is good evidence of that.
Lovebugs, the bane of every car owner's existence, are swarming the region and seem worse than years past.

They sneak into your house and die. They leave a crust on your windshield that resists the toughest washer fluids.

Hey Paul (the author), a little bit of research can go a long way to making you seem less of an idiot...
The generation of lovebugs annoying the region now showed up about the time Hurricane Katrina's winds died down.

But Howell said he didn't know of any connection. They're fragile, so they probably weren't blown up from the Coast, he said.

A quick Google and I found this:
Lovebug larvae breed in moist habitats high in organic matter such as bar ditches and swampy areas. They are harmless as immatures and actually help nature by decomposing dead plant tissues. Mass adult emergence occurs during specific periods of the year as dictated by environmental conditions (prolonged period soil saturation from rains) conducive to their development.

Hmmm, don't hurricanes bring lots of rain? And didn't Katrina bring lots and lots of rain?

Rank: Stupid, +10
Wherever they're from, the bugs have become a part of the post-Katrina landscape, and they seem fearless.

A camouflage clad soldier swatted them away while guarding a relief center in Petal this week. The bugs seemed oblivious to the machine gun he was balancing on the ground with his free hand.

Fearless? You really think that some insect would know what a gun is? Fucking stupid USians...

Hattiesburg American - Lovebugs bedevil residents

It has amazing regenerative powers!

Is it a bird?
Is it a plane?
No, it's just a mouse.

Some clever people in white coats have stumbled onto something pretty damn cool. The ability for mammals to regenerate any part of their body that has been injured. Researchers were intially looking into genetic autoimmune diseases using mice but stumbled onto autoregeneration.
Heber-Katz discovered the strain in 1998 accidentally while working with mice altered genetically for studying autoimmune diseases.

She had pierced holes in the ears of the genetically altered mice to distinguish them from a control group, but they healed quickly with no scarring.

The incredible wound-healing they observed abruptly shifted the focus of Heber-Katz's lab's research from autoimmune disease to regenerative medicine. The researchers began hunting for the specific genes that gave the mice their special powers. They are focusing on three specific genes at the moment, but she suspects that many more likely contribute to the regenerative abilities.
This research wasn't for the faint of heart, some of the tests they have performed on the mice sound a bit gruesome.
Researchers systematically amputated digits and damaged various organs of the mice, including the heart, liver and brain, most of which grew back.
And...
She and her colleagues wanted to find out what other parts of this strain of mice would grow back, so they snipped off the tip of a tail, severed a spinal cord, poked an eye and cauterized various internal organs.
Narrowing down the genes responsible for this regeneration could well be difficult. Then they have to work out how to apply the genes to humans. It could solve many medical issues and save manylives but there could be a dark side. How would this regeneration affect the recovery from cancer? If someone being treated with chemo or radio-therapy has the regeneration genes, won't the tumours regenerate after the treatment finishes?

This is just one of the problems that are exposed if the research leads to human regeneration. There will be a myriad of social and economic issues to deal with, nevermind the overpopulation if this manages to extend peoples lives.

Wired News: Mighty Mice Regrow Organs

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

These researchers mustn't get out much...

This is an odd article... I ended up here after reading about the two Japanese researchers who have got the first film of a Giant Squid in it's natural habitat.

Not much is known about the Giant Squid, even less about it's sexual practices but this passage should enlighten you all...
The researchers state: "The giant squid, Architeuthis, is not only a cultural and media icon, but also a scientific enigma. Although it is among the largest living invertebrates ... most of our knowledge of its biology and ecology is still fragmented. So each time a giant squid is washed ashore or gets brought up in a fishing net, it provides a gold mine of information. A recent spate of strandings along the Spanish Atlantic coast has shed new light on their unique sexual behaviour in the ocean depths."

The report goes on: "Although mating has never been observed in giant squid, it is thought that what happens is that the male injects his sperm packages into the female's arms. The process is likely to be a fairly violent affair as the female is probably not that keen on being injected. This is a problem for the amorous male as females are normally a third bigger than they are.

"But males get round their inferior size by being endowed with a particularly long penis, which means they can inject the female without having to get too close to her chomping beak. The male's sexual organ is actually a bit like a high-pressure fire hose and is normally nearly as long as his body - excluding legs and head.

"But having such a big penis does have one drawback: it seems that co-ordinating eight legs, two feeding tentacles and a huge penis, whilst fending off an irate female, is a bit too much to ask, and one of the two males stranded on the Spanish coast had accidentally injected himself with sperm packages in the legs and body. And this does not seem to have been an isolated incident since two of the eight males that had stranded in the north-east Atlantic before had also accidentally inseminated themselves.

"It is also possible that the sperm packages had come from other males that they had 'bumped' into, in the dark depths of the ocean. However, the sperm packages ended up in the squid - it is just another part of the mysterious lives of these creatures of the deep sea."

I think there is something in that for all of us...

There is also these little gems of trivia:
GIANT squid are not the only members of the natural world to display unusual sexual behaviour. In Australia, the male Yellow-footed Antechinus - a mouse-like marsupial - goes through such a frenzy of mating that they die of sexual stress. The female praying mantis often eats her partner during or after sex, while homosexual behaviour is also known in geese, ostriches, cichlid fish, rats and monkeys.

Also don't foget that our wonderful state emblem, the black swan, is also known for it's homosexual behaviour. The whole animal homosexuality thing, not that there is anything wrong with that, makes all the puritanical folk seem silly saying homosexuality can be 'trained' out of someone. It seems obvious that it may be genetic.

Weird Sex: Giant Squid Do It Deeper

I think we all know how this will turn out...

I don't think Phillip Ruddock understands the finer points of international diplomacy. Simply saying 'We don't want to talk to you' is effectively throwing the lives of these 9 people away.

Removing any help the Australian government may supply will force the Indoesian courts to simply use the evidence they have, that these 9 people had substantial amounts of heroin strapped to their bodies and seemingly had the intent of taking it out of the country. That firing squad will be cleaning their rifles right about now.

No wonder the Indonesians take great pride in fucking over Australians...

Drop Bali 9 death penalty: Ruddock - smh.com.au

Apple iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0

If only Dell would release Windows Mobile 5.0 for the Axim X30s...

schrankmonster blog - Apple iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0

This is going too far...

In a worrying move, the US FCC has released a policy document with some seriously worrying detail.
FBI to get veto power over PC software?

The Federal Communications Commission thinks you have the right to use software on your computer only if the FBI approves.

No, really. In an obscure "policy" document released around 9 p.m. ET last Friday, the FCC announced this remarkable decision.

According to the three-page document, to preserve the openness that characterizes today's Internet, "consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement." Read the last seven words again.

As was confirmed by an FCC spokesman application like Skype and PGPfone because there is no way for law enforcement to set up a 'wiretap' on those telephony products.

Going by what Little Johnny and his Conga Line have been up to lately, I suppose it won't be long until these rules come into effect here as a way to fight the 'war on terror'.

FBI to get veto power over PC software? | CNET News.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Blind Forwarding...

Blind Forwarding

The act of forwarding on any email you get without checking the accuracy of the [dis]information you are spreading.

Don't you just love getting emails from everyone and their sister about things proclaiming to be true, but turn out to be a hoax. I have received the following email many times, each time the details are subtlely different:
  • sometimes a nightclub or pub is named, sometimes not
  • generally 5 men are involved, sometimes less
  • the final pleas change wording each time

Here is the email:
A woman, at Rain nightclub (Halifax) last Saturday night Sept.10/05) was taken by 5 men, who according to hospital and police reports, gang raped her before dumping her. Unable to remember the events of the evening, tests later confirmed the repeat rapes and along with traces of Rohypnol in her blood, was Progesterex, which is essentially a small sterilization pill.

The drug is now being used by rapists at parties to rape AND sterilize their victims. Progesterex is available to vets to sterilize large animals.

Rumour has it that Progesterex is being used together with Rohypnol, the date rape drug.

As with Rohypnol, all they have to do is drop into the girl's drink. The girl can't remember a thing the next morning, of all that had taken place the night before.

Progesterex, which dissolves in drinks just as easily,is such that the victim doesn't conceive from the rape and the rapist needn't worry about having a paternity test identifying him months later.

The drug's effects ARE NOT TEMPORARY......

They are P*E*R*M*A*N*E*N*T

Progesterex was designed to sterilize horses. Any female who takes it WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO CONCEIVE.

The weasels can get this drug from anyone who is in the vet school or any university. It's that easy, and Progesterex is about to break out big everywhere. Believe it or not, there are even sites on the Internet telling people how to use it.

Please COPY (NOT FORWARD) this to everyone you know, especially girls.

Be careful when you're out and don't leave your drink unattended.

Please make the effort to PASS this on to all your know.

Guys, please inform all your female friends and relatives.

Don't you just love the emphasis on the permanence? It makes it all the more important, doesn't it?
P*E*R*M*A*N*E*N*T

Here are some sites documenting the hoax:

The most expensive animated film ever...

I dunno if it will be the most expensive ever, but going by the list of people doing voice work for the new Charlotte's Web movie, due out next year, you can bet the producers are hoping that the 'star power' will put bums on seats.

Some of the big names include:
  • Dakota Fanning
  • Julia Roberts
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Steve Buscemi
  • Kathy Bates
  • John Cleese
  • Robert Redford
  • Jennifer Garner

What!?! What!?! What!?!

Now imagine the headline being said by the South Park Mayor...

Why oh why do the big screen adaptations of comic/cartoon/game characters always use the vapid types. Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux? Come on, put someone into the role that matches the darkness that is Aeon Flux.

New Aeon Flux Poster Revealed - Coming Soon!

They're big, aggressive beasts - and that's just the drivers

So this doesn't change the already established stereotypes of the fat arsehole and his vain missus in the public's eye:
The apparent victory of the giant four-wheel-drive in the urban jungle has prompted much road outrage, but now a profile of city off-roader owners confirms many prejudices, revealing them as aggressive, obese people who dislike gays and Aborigines.

And that's just the men.

The Australia Institute study found women who own luxury 4WDs were markedly different from the 40-to-50-year-old blokes: They're younger, wealthier and, while they worry about weight (their own), they couldn't care less about conspicuous consumption.

They're big, aggressive beasts - and that's just the drivers - National

Denial...

Don't you just love it when people who are trying to distance themselves from a messy situation relating to discrimination use the line 'I have friends who are [homosexuals/blacks/jews/disabled/etc]' as their defence?

Adam Curry (from The Daily Source Code podcast) has been talking about a bit of a racist mess regarding the legitimacy of having a white supremacist podcast listed in the community directory. An unwitting person (Podcast411) has been dragged into the mess because the makers of the racist podcast cut and pasted his RSS feed XML file and cobbled up their own without replacing all of the details.

Rob from Podcast411 sent Adam a comment on how he wasn't involved with the racist podcast. He clarified the situation by saying he wasn't involved with them, how the mistake happened and then trotted out the familiar line that some of his friends are from Israel, he loves Israel and doesn't hate anyone from Israel.

Don't people realise that they sound like they are whining for forgiveness when they use this defence? Just state you aren't involved with the offensive person/object/blah and that you don't support their opinions, that's it. Extending it any further than that makes it seem you were involved at some point and you're now trying to distance yourself from your previous associates.

Call of Duty 2

The demo for Call of Duty 2 has been released. Yay!

The demo is 656MB. Boo!

I know I have ADSL now, but what happened to the days of a demo being a quick download to see what it is like, then you go hunting for it on Warez sites?

Call of Duty 2 Demo Now Out

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Review of Apple's latest offerings...

iPod Nano and Rokr, BIG Disappointments:

This guy doesn't hold back, he lays the boot fairly hard but there is an explanation...
The newest Apple products have been the fodder of exciting rumors all over the internet. For the past few months, I have eaten up the hype as visions of new iPods danced in my head: cellular iPods and video iPods and iPods with cupholders and airbags! Now with the newest batch of Apple hardware coming out, I can decidedly tell you how they live up to all the fireworks and fanfare.

To be honest, I have had a love/hate relationship with Apple for many years now, and I find that I end up focusing on Apple's missteps and errors instead of things they have gotten right. I was enthusiastically looking forward to the Apple "special event" held in San Francisco this past September 7th. I was ready to put the grudge behind me, bury the hatchet if you will.

For months, we have been hearing about new products Apple would unveil. One is a cell phone from Apple and Motorola that includes an mp3 player. There are already mp3 playing cell phones on the market, but none that would be as potentially slick as a Motorola and Apple combination. Just think about the possibilities! Motorola, on the cutting edge of cell phone design with their sweet "Razr" phones (and soon to be released Slvr V8), paired with Apple, master of easy music software and interface technology.

For something to think that any Motorola phone is 'sweet' and/or 'cutting edge', they have to be on some form of drugs, and I want what he is having. If you have ever used a Moto phone, you will know exactly where I am coming from. If you own, or have owned, a Nokia phone you know how phone interfaces are supposed to work. Everything is laid out logically and the key lock is a simple key combo, not a PIN code. Nokia produces a nice intuitive interface. Every Motorola I have used requires a period of learning to find all your setting/mailboxes/contacts list. Even between Motorola products the interface is inconsistent.

So take what this guy says with a grain of salt. He is just bitter he didn't buy into Apple in the mid-90s when they were a dodgy company about to drop off the face of the planet. Before MS stepped in with some serious cash and returned Steve Jobs to run the joint.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Need a drink? Or some more tunes?

The smart little white coated fellows at Toshiba have developed a new battery. No, it isn't one that uses some special rare earth material to give outstounding power supply. It is a refillable methanol powered battery. The power comes from a catalytic reaction using the methanol and water. There are 2 models of batteries, a 100 mW version that last for 35 hours on 3.5 mL of methanol and a 300 mW version that lasts for 60 hours on 10 mL of methanol. Due to arrive in the marketplace sometime in 2007.

I suppose there has to be concerns over the safety of these batteries. Airlines won't even allow you to take a fork on board a plane, how are they going to let you take a flammable liquid aboard?

Hey Tosh, got a new battery? - vnunet.com

Somebody push me! Posted by Picasa

Remember to belt up, ok? Posted by Picasa

This is the reason...

...why we should view increased police powers with suspicion.

A London underground station was evacuated and part of a main east-west line closed in a security alert on Thursday, three weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 people on the transport network, police said. (Reuters)

This Reuters story was written while the police were detaining me in Southwark tube station and the bomb squad was checking my rucksack. When they were through, the two explosive specialists walked out of the tube station smiling and commenting: "Nice laptop." The officers offered apologies on behalf of the Metropolitan police. Then they arrested me.

The article goes through the events that this fellow experienced from when he entered the tube station to when he was released with the charges being dropped.

Suspicious behaviour on the tube

Thursday, September 22, 2005

SItting on a goldmine...

Or maybe not...
A tiny red chalk sketch, carried to Australia in a handbag and hung in a Perth house for generations, is being studied as a possible work of 15th-century Italian Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci.

Hypothetical time, would you sell the picture if it was a Da Vinci? Or would you do a deal with various art galleries to pay you a fee to display the picture for a few weeks a year?

Decoding Perth family's sketch - smh.com.au

If you live in New York too long...

it seems you get a little desensitised to what's going on outside your front door. I received this note from a friend of mine this morning who lives on the border of Little Italy and Chinatown in a moderate to dodgy part of the Lower East Side

"two people were shot in front of that club next door to us last night. one of them apparently died out in the street. very sad. can't say i'm surprised though. setting up a 'west coast gangsta' club right in the middle of east coast ganster land is not a smart idea."

Were two people shot in the middle of the night at my front door (for all intents and purposes) I doubt I'd have been so blase...

Wow.

A trailer for Gran Turismo 5 has been released. GT5 will be one of the launch games for the brand spanking new PS3, due out March next year.

Quicktime and Windows Media format files can be downloaded here. Oh, they are in HD so the downloads are quite large (WMV is 50 meg).

Parts of the trailer definitely look similar to previous GT video sequences that were produced from in-game special renders, but they look absolutely amazing. I do hope they can get this quality to the final game...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why are the Google founders offloading shares?

GOOG: Insider Transactions for GOOGLE - Yahoo! Finance

In the past 6 months there have been 8,289,620 shares sold by Google insiders with no shares purchased. The share price has climbed from just under US$200 in March up to US$305. Even if you take an average of $250 per share, that adds up to a massive total of US$2,072,405,000 (US$2 Billion). That is a lot of money.

I wonder why this hasn't been reported anywhere before?

Eric Schmidt, the company Chairman, has sold more than 100,000 shares since August alone. And there is an entry for the Schmidt Family Trust selling 253,290 shares at a value of US$71,755,252. And an entity called 'SCHMIDT INVESTMENT LP' has sold 75,000 shares at a value of US$19,158,750, and a sale of 10,671 shares at a value of US$3,015,517. Over US$90 M in shares sold by just the Chairman of Google. What does he know that we don't?

The 28 Hour Day *Fruitloop Alert*

Someone or a group of people have come up with the most ass backwards idea I have ever heard 'The 28 Hour Day'.
Did you ever feel like there just weren't enough hours in the day? Have you ever stayed up late because you weren't tired enough to go to bed? Have you ever felt like you didn't get enough sleep and it was, too soon, time to get up? Have you ever wished for more free time to pursue different activities and goals?

If you can relate to these feelings, you will be interested in the 28 Hour Day. Under the 28 Hour Day system, the current week would remain at exactly 168 hours. (24x7=168) However, this 168 hour period would be divided into six 28-hour days rather than 7 24-hour days.

Sounds rather crazy doesn't it?

Google helps infants too...

From Google's own blog comes this:
Howard and Melissa of Boca Raton, Florida, were the happy new parents of twins, a boy and a girl named Andrew and Carly. Though they were preemies born in mid-July, both babies were safely home two weeks later. "Then suddenly," Howard wrote to us, "Andrew had to be admitted to the ER. We thought it was for something little - but the doctors discovered something major." The doctors observed that his hemoglobin levels had dropped substantially - from 14 to 7 - since he was born. (Carly was not tested.)

"Since hemoglobin is what takes oxygen to the brain," continues Howard, "the doctors wanted to do an emergency blood transfusion - and time was of the essence." But to the dismay of the parents, the doctors said the cord blood they had conscientiously saved would not help: They would need to use a stranger's blood, since there was no time to process theirs.

"We were shaken and quite upset," Howard recalls. "Armed with only a cell phone - and a very low battery - I was able to Google [hemoglobin "premature infant"] and found a medical journal article claiming that it's perfectly normal for preemies to have their hemoglobin levels drop to 7 between the first and third months of life, and apparently this is especially true with twins." He showed the mobile screen citing this fact to the neonatalogists, who went off to research the issue for a couple of hours. They returned, says Howard, "and sheepishly admitted that our son was indeed fine - no treatment was necessary."

Howard concludes, "Google literally saved our newborn son from having to endure an extremely dangerous, and totally unnecessary, blood transfusion."

Religious beliefs aside, blood transfusions are a common procedure and aren't that dangerous. I think the more concerning thing going on here is the neonatologists not knowing their shit. I know doctors have a lot of information to remember and regurgitate at the appropriate time, they should know stuff like this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A bit about Kevin Mitnick...

If you work in the computing arena and you don't know about Kevin Mitnick, you obviously haven't looked into the history of modern computing all that much. Kevin was a hacker, in the traditional sense, that pissed off the wrong person and paid for it with more than 5 years of his life.

The linked article was meant to be the first chapter in Kevin's book, but the publisher removed it for whatever reason...

Kevin Mitnick's Forbidden Chapter

You know you're a redneck when...

You read something to the following quote (emphasis mine):
I’m going to install my new iPod Nano into my truck so it isn’t distracting while I drive.


Kevin Hellhake � iPod Nano Project

It's a banana Jim, but not as we know it...

The humble banana is under threat. It is under threat from a fungal disease that wiped out a previous type of banana in the 1960s.

Can This Fruit Be Saved? - Popular Science

Monday, September 19, 2005

Stupid White Cunt - Pt. 2

Although Frank Sartor said what is true, he seems to have gotten himself in trouble.

See previous related article here.

Is this legit?

Some guy in Canada has developed a compact device to be fitted in the engine bay of cars, trucks and trains that will save fuel and reduce pollution. He claims anywhere between 10 to 40 per cent fuel savings and up to 100 per cent reduction in pollutants.

The device is essentially a compact electrolysis machine that produces hydrogen to feed into the inlet manifold of a combustion engine. Simple concept, as hydrogen burns very clean and aids in the efficiency of burning other fuels.

The problem is producing enough hydrogen that you need to get the claimed benefits from the hydrogen rich intake charge. In all the times I have seen electrolysis in action, it takes a hell of a lot of energy and a fair amount of time just to fill even a test tube with enough hydrigen to go 'POP'. This guy has either found a way to break the first law of electrolysis 'the amount of seperated elements is proportional to the current applied' or he has found a way to generate massive amounts of current in a compact box without it melting.

The other thing that concerns me is that he is not interested in just selling his product for a profit, he wants a percentage of the fuel savings that company gain from installing the devices. And also on top of that possibly gaining the carbon credits that are used in the Kyoto Protocol. When you start playing in that arena, it certainly doesn't seem like he is searching for a way to improve the environment or just run a successful business, he wants to take over the world.

The feeling of doubt isn't improved when you read the following:
What's more, even after the hour-long drive from Montreal, the tailpipe was not hot. In fact, we could wrap our hand around it without getting burned. Williams claims this proves that hot polluting emissions are not coming out of the tailpipe.

All that proves is that the surrounding air is cold. Your exhaust gets hot because there is fuel getting burnt and the hot gasses exit through the exhaust, adding hydrogen will make it burn better, not colder.

Article here.

I don't know...


I saw this photo and thought 'Is it the Emmy's or a school ball?'

Big Astronaut...

I found this quite amusing. The Malaysian Government is sending up an astronaut to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. That isn't the funny bit, the way they are selecting that astronaut is.

They are going to use a Big Brother style competition to select the astronaut once they have whittled the 11,000 applicants down to a handful.
Malaysia's science minister plans to make the country's space programme a truly interactive experience.

Members of the public will be able to choose the country's first astronaut from a shortlist and vote by text message, said Jamaluddin Jarjis.

Malaysia is due to take part in a Russian-led mission in 2007.

Having seen the enthusiasm with which people vote in TV talent competitions, the government is to apply the principle to the space programme.

Once its 11,000 would-be astronauts have been whittled down to a handful, their details and updates on their progress will be posted on the internet.

Then, the public will be able to make their choice by telephone text message and Malaysia's space bosses will factor the votes into their final decision.

If the contest proves popular and the government charges for the votes, it may even be able to cover the cost of its space programme.

Channel 10 must make some serious money from the voting in Aus Idol and Big Brother and that is just voting for some no-name (generally) talentless hacks and bogans in a cage. Malaysia's population is slightly larger than Australia, tie that in with the national pride of having their first astronaut, and you have a massive cash cow.

WRC Death...

There was a fatal accident in the Rally of GB yesterday. From the reports I have read, the general consensus is that Markko Martin's Peugeot 307 slammed into a tree killing co-driver Michael Park.

WRC.com has the details:
Michael Park, co-driver to works Peugeot driver Markko Martin, has died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident on the final leg of this weekend's Wales Rally GB. The rally has been stopped following the incident on SS15 - the 27-kilometre Margam Park stage, which was the final test of this morning's loop.

"It is with deep regret that the organisers of Wales Rally GB confirm that Michael Park was fatally injured following an accident on SS15," an official statement said. "The next of kin has been informed. The driver of car eight, Markko Martin, is uninjured.

Mobile lust bust

"An Athens mobile phone dealer has been arrested for allegedly selling thousands of amateur sex videos he had downloaded from phones brought in for repairs.

His arrest followed a sting operation on Monday in which the suspect, only identified as a 44-year-old Greek, allegedly transferred 183 pornographic videos to the phones of undercover electronic crime squad officers for a total fee of €15 ($24), police said.

The footage had all been recorded by the dealer's clients for private use on their phones and stored in the devices, Associated Press reports."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Is there anything Wikipedia doesn't know?

Lego Surprise

I don't think I've ever been so suprised by anything computer software related.

I loved lego as a child and I still think its cool. I can't wait to play with lego again with my children (when I actually have children, that is).

I think its a highly creative toy and seeing what you can come up with is fun.

It's bloody expensive now, though, but this "Lego Factory" service is sure to inspire plenty of nostalgic adults to spend more money on lego.

EDIT: I forgot to mention what was the surprising bit. Enterprising hackers have hacked the software making it easier for people to choose bricks from sets based on the cost of those packages ("palettes") or something. And the surprising is Lego are actually quite happy about that and encourage others to come up with ideas to make their software more fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Petrol-headius Maximus

I found this in my email today...

I wonder if it will replace Targa West or whatever that non-event was called?
NEWS FLASH DUTTON RALLY COMING TO PERTH IN 2006

Attention all Drivers!!

Expressions of interest are now being sought from potential competitors for the Perth round of the National Dutton Rally 2006. This is a very exciting event based around numerous driving challenges all on tarmac roads including sprints, hill climbs, auto tests and circuit. Eastern states crews have already nominated for the West Australian round!

With three days of competition with over 20 challenges (non-navigational), both driver and co driver have the option of driving the same car. There will be separate competitions for both drivers and teams and all you need is a road registered car, helmet, competition licence and a fire extinguisher.

Check out what the Dutton Rally is all about by logging onto the official website at www.Duttonrally.com. Competitors information night to be held shortly.

If you would like to register your interest as a potential competitor or if you require further information give Steve Cherry a call on 0417 969 546.

Steve Cherry
Managing Director
Mobile: 0417 969 546

Hey James, when are you getting that MX-5 or RX-8? I call shotgun now.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I really want to know what went on here...

Scott Parking, the USian peace activist, that was removed from Australia because he is supposed to be a threat to our national security has been handed a bill for his stay in gaol and his deportation back to the US.

There has to be more going on behind the scenes in ASIO and the federal government than we have been told. This guy was very vocal in his opposition to the war in Iraq and against Halliburton, the US company that holds most of the military supply and reconstruction contracts in Iraq.

Did the US have a quiet word to ASIO about this guy in an attempt to shut him up?

Or were ASIO more concerned that he might give some loony the motivation to bomb something?

I think we should be told the complete story.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Paris Hilton hacker gets 11 months in jail

11 months for hacking a sluts mobile phone? That doesn't seem fair. Anyhow, Paris would have eventually given all her phone numbers out anyway.
BOSTON - A Massachusetts teenager who reportedly hacked into Paris Hilton’s cell phone account has been sentenced to 11 months in a juvenile facility.

Celebrity phone numbers stored in Hilton’s cell phone were posted online when her account was hacked earlier this year. A Washington Post report on Wednesday identified Hilton as a victim of the 17-year-old Massachusetts boy.

The boy is a juvenile under federal law. Prosecutors would not name him or confirm Hilton as a victim, citing federal law that keeps such information under seal in juvenile cases.

Seems all a bit over the top until you read the article a bit further down, cleverly seperated by an ad of course.
The teenager was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Boston. He pleaded guilty before Judge Rya W. Zobel to nine counts of juvenile delinquency, prosecutors said.

The charges included hacking into Internet and telephone service providers, theft of personal information and posting it on the Web, and making bomb threats to high schools in Florida and Massachusetts, all over a 15-month period.

Now the 11 month sentence seems a bit light on.

Amazing what headlines can do to a story.

Why are French boulevards lined with trees?

So the invading troops can walk in the shade.

Wired News: In France, Push Comes to SUV

French eco-vigilantes have started an incredibly subversive campaign to highlight the need to limit pollution. What are they doing you may ask? Letting down 4WD/SUV tyres. Really tough.

Vigilante:
  • One who takes the law enforcement into one's own hands.
  • Self-appointed doer of justice.
  • Member of a vigilance committee
  • In modern terms, vigilantes are militias or police which attempt law enforcement, in the usual phrase, "by taking the law into their own hands". Vigilantes often operate in secret.
I think the only way these people can be described as vigilante's is that they are in a committee... damn soft-cock French.

PARIS -- A band of eco-vigilantes is taking a firm but gentle stand against fast-growing SUV sales in France and Europe, deflating the tires on gas guzzlers in a protest against conspicuous waste.

Members of a group called Les Dégonflés say they recently let the air out of tires on about half a dozen SUVs parked in the upscale VI arrondissement using bicycle pumps -- a technique that they say causes no lasting damage -- and plastered windshields with leaflets proclaiming that "nearly everyone needs an oxygen mask." A spokesman for the group said they hope to recruit new foot soldiers to the cause by demonstrating their technique in an internet broadcast next month.

6 SUVs?!? Why the hell is Wired reporting on this shit. if it was 6,000 SUVs, I would call that a real movement. But only 6, that is more like a couple of drunk guys thought it would be a lark to let down some tyres. Damn piss poor effort guys. No wonder the French always get their arse whipped in times of war.

"We have to stigmatize SUVs by initiating a debate that will allow scientists and experts to publicly (declare) their hazards," said the spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We don't want SUVs to be seen as a sign of wealth, but something that is associated with an imbecile."

How is this going to stigmatize SUVs? Isn't it more likely to initiate a series of beatings on hippy looking people hanging around SUVs?

UPDATE: Wouldn't this tool make the job much easier? Just remove the valve core, let the tyre deflate (rapidly), then replace the core. No lasting damage.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google has MS playing catch up...

What is Max?

Microsoft® Codename Max is not like any other product. That's because it's not a product—it's your opportunity to try an exciting new user experience from Microsoft. Today Max lets you make lists of your photos and turn them into beautiful slide shows to share with your family and friends. Tomorrow...who knows

Isn't that just the fluffiest sales pitch you have ever read?

If you can't really work out what MS has launched, basically it is their version of Picasa...

Oh, and it uses the basis of Longhorn's graphics subset to do all the tricky graphic stuff.

Step into the present...


Yay! I now have broadband at home... Posted by Picasa


Finally, after hassling everybody's favourite telecommunications company for the last 20 months, I have ADSL going at home.

Three cheers for me...

Now, I wonder when Rockingham is going to be DSLAMmed...

Navel Contemplation

This bloke has a good rant about the one sided nature of the media's coverage of blacks re Katrina.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I'm not too fashion conscious...

But I do know that when you turn up to a fairly public event, you don't go dressed as a Kwinana, Rockingham or Armadale stereotypical resident.

The only thing Michelle Williams is missing here is a tomato sauce stain down her front from the Mrs Mac's sausage roll she consumed in a craving-fueled haze earlier...

I bet Heath is so proud of his knocked-up, washed-up Dawson's Creek starlet.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Windows Vista in seven different flavours...

Microsoft has released details of the proposed versions of Windows Vista:
  • Windows Vista Starter Edition: Aimed at beginner computer users in emerging markets who can only afford a low cost PC. As with the XP version, Windows Vista Starter Edition is a subset of Home Edition, and will ship in a 32-bit version only (no 64-bit x64 version). Starter Edition will allow only three applications (and/or three windows) to run simultaneously, will provide Internet connectivity but not incoming network communications, and will not provide for logon passwords or Fast User Switching (FUS). Windows Vista Starter Edition is analogous to XP Starter Edition. This version will only be sold in emerging markets.
  • Windows Vista Home Basic Edition: A simple version of Windows Vista that is aimed at single PC homes. Windows Vista Home Basic is the baseline version of Windows Vista, and the version that all other product editions will build from. It will include features such as Windows Firewall, Windows Security Center, secure wireless networking, parental controls, anti-spam/anti-virus/anti-spyware functionality, network map, Windows Search, the Aero user interface, Movie Maker, Photo Library, Windows Media Player, Outlook Express with RSS support, P2P Messenger, and more. Windows Vista Home Basic Edition is roughly analogous to Windows XP Home Edition. This version is aimed at general consumers, Windows 9x/XP Starter Edition upgraders, and price sensitive/first-time buyers.
  • Windows Vista Home Premium Edition: Whole home entertainment and personal productivity throughout the home and on the go. As a true superset of Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition will include everything from Home Basic, as well as Media Center and Media Center Extender functionality (including Cable Card support), DVD video authoring and HDTV support, DVD ripping support (yes, you read that right), Tablet PC functionality, Mobility Center and other mobility and presentation features, auxiliary display support, P2P ad-hoc meeting capabilities, Wi-Fi auto-config and roaming, unified parental controls that work over multiple PCs, backup to network functionality, Internet File Sharing, Offline Folders, PC-to-PC sync, Sync Manager, and support for Quattro Home Server. Windows Vista Premium Edition is similar to XP Media Center Edition, except that it adds numerous other features and functionality, including Tablet PC support. My guess is that this will be the volume consumer offering in the Windows Vista timeframe (today, XP Pro is the dominant seller). This version is aimed at PC enthusiasts, multiple-PC homes, homes with kids, and notebook users.
  • Windows Vista Professional Edition: A powerful, reliable and secure OS for businesses of all sizes. Windows Vista Pro Edition will include domain join and management functionality, compatibility with non-Microsoft networking protocols (Netware, SNMP, etc.), Remote Desktop, IIS Web server, and Encrypted File System (EFS). Additionally, Pro Standard will include Tablet PC functionality. Windows Vista Pro is roughly analogous to XP Pro today. This version is aimed at business decision makers and IT managers and generalists.
  • Windows Vista Small Business Edition: Designed for small businesses without IT staff. Small Business Edition is a superset of Vista Pro Standard Edition, and includes the following unique features: Backup and Shadow Copy support, Castle and server-join networking, and PC fax and scanning utility. Additionally, Microsoft is looking at including a number of other features, many of which might be cut: These include Small Business Edition guided tour, pre-paid access to the Windows Live! Small Business or Microsoft Office Live! subscription services, Multi-PC Health (a managed version of Microsoft One Care Live), and membership in the Microsoft Small Business Club online service. Microsoft will offer a Step-Up program for Small Business Edition that will allow customers to upgrade to Windows Vista Enterprise Edition (see below) or Windows Vista Ultimate Edition (see below) at a reduced cost. This SKU is new to Windows Vista; there is no XP Small Business Edition. This version is aimed at small business owners and managers.
  • Windows Vista Enterprise Edition: Optimized for the enterprise, this version will be a true superset of Windows Vista Pro Edition. It will also include unique features such as Virtual PC, the multi-language user interface (MUI), and the Secure Startup/full volume encryption security technologies ("Cornerstone"). There is no analogous XP version for this product. This version is aimed at business decision makers, IT managers and decision makers, and information workers/general business users.
  • Windows Vista Ultimate Edition: The best operating system ever offered for a personal PC, optimized for the individual. Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is a superset of both Vista Home Premium and Vista Pro Edition, so it includes all of the features of both of those product versions, plus adds Game Performance Tweaker with integrated gaming experiences, a Podcast creation utility (under consideration, may be cut from product), and online "Club" services (exclusive access to music, movies, services and preferred customer care) and other offerings (also under consideration, may be cut from product). Microsoft is still investigating how to position its most impressive Windows release yet, and is looking into offering Ultimate Edition owners such services as extended A1 subscriptions, free music downloads, free movie downloads, Online Spotlight and entertainment software, preferred product support, and custom themes. There is nothing like Vista Ultimate Edition today. This version is aimed at high-end PC users and technology influencers, gamers, digital media enthusiasts, and students.

The marketing department were allowed in on the packaging process weren't they?

House Update #3 - We have been slabbed...



We have been slabbed... Posted by Picasa


It all begins NOW!!!

Well the slab is down and our thoughts about the size of the house hasn't changed. It is big. Very big.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Remember the old Sony Walkman?



It has been a while since Sony used the Walkman trademark in any big way, but at the end of this year the Walkman returns.


It features an organic EL display that makes the readout appear fairly seamless with the rest of the player. On the software side it’s got a bunch of bells and whistles to help automagically DJ for you: ‘My Favorite Shuffle’ will randomly play the 100 most listened to songs, ‘Time Machine Shuffle’ picks a year at random and plays all the songs from that timeframe, and other functions are available to search and play songs by a number of parameters such as rating, genre, artist, recently transferred, etc. The 20GB version will be available in violet and silver, with the 6GB coming in pink and blue, and all with matching headphones. As far as codec support goes, don’t expect anything revolutionary — just MP3 and of course, ever-lovin’ ATRAC3plus.

ATRAC3plus is a major drawback, partly because only Sony uses the format and mainly because it sucks.

NOLA flood outrage....

Alright.... I've been to New Orleans, I've lived in America, I know what the people are like... Why should I be surprised by reports like this?

http://www.emsnetwork.org/artman/publish/article_18337.shtml

But I am... The worlds greatest democracy (whatever) isn't able to help it's people to start with even though they had a week's notice of the storm, the best (arguably) meteos in the world predicting it's path, numerous experts predicting this disaster scenario for LA/Miss for years. Ok so they were unprepared for the outcome and the looting etc. The head of FEMA remarked he was "surprised by the lawlessness"... really? What happened in the blackouts in NYC in 1979? No power, meant not food / water for thousands of people and they panicked - did we learn nothing from history?

That's beside the point though once the disaster occured those in authority were apparently deliberately unwilling to help. I believe negligence is the word that will be used in the myriad lawsuits to be filed in relation to this.

I am almost unable to articulate my anger and frustration with those in charge. I cannot imagine going through the Lord of the Flies scenario being played out there. The stories I've read of the uplifting services being provided by regular people in such a dire situation should lessen the feelings of distaste that I have for the unhelpful ones... they don't... They instead highlight what 'regular' people are capable of... I won't bombard you with links, but I've seen reports of kitchen staff breaking into commercial kitchens to feed the hungry, people 'stealing' boats to rescue neighbours etc. These are the people that were capable of rendering assistance when the 'professionals' were not. How can the amateurs achieve more with less than the professionals?

Imagine what will come of this on a social scale... In a few weeks when the death toll is known and the poor black majority of New Orleans is over represented in the morgues someone will hopefully speak out about this. Someone with a lot of political clout among the blacks of the region... This speech will probably be quite vitriolic and potentially incite some anger among the listeners because of it's content. If I were to make such a speech I'd be making comments about the blacks being unwanted and the whites being happy for them to be killed etc. Now normally it'd take a bit of effort to mobilise a large angry mob. Unfortunately for those in charge there will be large refugee like communities of blacks scattered across the country... Should they elect to show their displeasure with unlawful acts the effects could be at the least greater chaos. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to incite race riots across the south, nor (more) draconian police controls on groups of blacks... but the 'administrations' might like to consider what to do with a bunch of very angry displaced people once they start looking for scapegoats.

When cartoonists lay the boot in...

Is Bush in trouble?









All hail the gods of Marzocchi...

Marzocchi have released their 2006 range of MTB forks and rear shocks.

Full model range poster (1.3 MB PDF)
MY06 features: 3 things that will make your ride even sweeter (3.9 MB PDF)

The Monster T forks are huge... wherever you need 200mm of travel, I don't want to go there...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quotable quote...

Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics, even if you win you are still retarded.

I think there is something in that for all of us...

I know Mark will get a kick out of this

Go to http://www.disbealig.com/, then go to the Tranzlata page.

You too can then speak like Ali G...

Examples include:
  • 'How are you going?' becomes 'Is yous wicked goin?'
  • 'My girlfriend is pretty nice' becomes 'My bitch is fit wicked'
  • 'Do you enjoy being gay?' becomes 'Do yous dig bein a batty boy?'

Apple is at it again...

Apple's coders and engineers have been working hard lately. And they have generally been keeping their mouth shut too. Steve Jobs launched a few new products yesterday at an event in San Francisco.

The products are:
  • iTunes 5 - It hasn't been long since iTunes 4.5 was rolled out the door but they have managed to make a fair few updates to the new version.
    • New Look
      Streamlined design makes iTunes even easier to use.
    • Search Bar
      Find stuff fast and refine your search with the handy new Search Bar.
    • Smart Shuffle
      Adjust random playback to hear what you want.
    • Sync from Outlook
      iTunes now supports iPod syncing for Outlook and Outlook Express on Windows PCs.
    • Playlist Folders
      Organize all your playlists into folders.
    • Parental Controls
      Limit kids’ access to the iTunes Music Store and sharing features.
    • Album Reviews
      Browse over 1,000 album reviews.
  • iPod nano - From the press guff:
    Take everything you love about iPod and shrink it. Now shrink it again. With 2GB (500 songs) and 4GB (1,000 songs) models starting at $199, the pencil-thin iPod nano packs the entire iPod experience into an impossibly small design. So small, it will take your music places you never dreamed of.

  • iTunes Mobile - In an exclusive deal with Motorola, they have basically stuck an iPod shuffle into a mobile phone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

House Update #2 - Nearly a slab...



Not long now... Posted by Picasa


We are finally getting some progress. This photo was taken on Monday afternoon (5th Sept), the slab was going to be laid but the weather turned quite bad so the concrete crew bailed. With the weather improving towards the end of this week, we hope the slab will be laid before the weekend.

One thing we have realised is that this house is huge (30.4 squares). Because we only worked off a plan and modified that, we have never seen a house like it. In some ways it has helped as each house sold doesn't have to cover the cost of a display house.

Do advertisers think the public is stupid?

That was a rhetorical question, if you couldn't pick it...

Hyundai is making big claims about having free registration and stamp duty for a really special sale. Sounds all good, until you realise that the ACCC has changed the rules for car sales whereby the full onroad price of the car has to be advertised.

Hyundai aren't quite there yet with them not showing the famous $2000 car wash, cough, dealer delivery fee.

Goodbye Gilligan

So this is the tale of our castaways, they're here for a long, long time.
They'll have to make the best of things, it's an uphill climb.
The first mate and his skipper too, will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable, in the tropic island nest.
No phones, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury.
Like Robinson Crusoe, it's primitive as can be.
So join us here each week my friend, you're sure to get a smile.
From seven stranded Castaways, here on Gilligan's Isle...

Telstra in the news again...

Telstra has been the centre of attention again this week. Last month, Telstra executives held a meeting with John Howard where he was told that Telstra is borrowing from its cash reserves to pay shareholder dividends and that a good portion of Telstra's line capacity has faults.
The document showed Telstra had borrowed $550 million from its reserves so it could pay healthy dividends to shareholders in 2005 and a further $2.2 billion to cover next year's payouts.

It also revealed Telstra had failed to make necessary investments in its network and needs up to $3 billion to fix its problems including flaws in more than 14 per cent of its lines.

The problem isn't with the actual information revealed, it is that the information was only revealed to the majority shareholder, that being the Federal Government. If some information is revealed to one shareholder, it should be released to all shareholders I thought.

John Howard's comments on the situation give me mirth:
Mr Howard said the matter highlighted the difficult situation the Government was in, being Telstra's majority shareholder and its regulator.

"Doesn't it again highlight the point I'm making, that we have this ridiculous conflict of interest?" he said.

"I mean here you all are saying: 'Oh, you should have made that information available because you're the Government.'

"Yes, we are the Government, but we're also the shareholder and it's just an absurd conflict of interest and it's in the public interest that that conflict of interest be ended - but in a way that is not unfair to the Australian taxpayer."

Umm, John, could I have a word? If you had never started down the path of privatising Telstra, this rather large conflict of interest would never have happened. The government could have run Telstra as it saw fit and wouldn't have to tell ASIC anything.