Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamas superstar...

You just can't make the US and others happy. They are pissed off when citizens don't live in a democracy, now they get annoyed when a democratically elected group comes to power in a fair election.

RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) -- The future of the Middle East entered a new era of uncertainty Thursday, as the militant Palestinian opposition group Hamas snatched power from the ruling old guard and made skeptics of many key players in the peace process.

In conceding Fatah's defeat, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged Hamas to keep negotiations moving forward, but the U.S. seemed doubtful and Israel responded by demanding that the Palestinian Authority disarm the new ruling party "and the other terrorist organizations."

Let me get this straight, Israel are encouraging non-elected groups to disarm the elected government? That seems really progressive.

I suppose Israel are a little bit jittery because Hamas believes that Israel shouldn't exist. This conflict has been going on since Israel was created back in 1949 when the Arab world got a raw deal. This was then exacerbated by Israel taking even more land. But we can't say anything bad about the land and power hungry Jews, lest we be labelled anti-semetic. I'll just shut up now...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

House Update #16 - Lock n' Load

Finally, we are at lock up. Doors went on today and unbeknownst to us a whole heap of other stuff was dropped off today too. Stuff like the spa, bathtub, laundry trough and all the wood for the pantry, linen and wardrobe shelving.

Lookee at the pictures below...

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Why?

...are dirty surfaces always compared to a toilet seat?

...are large (sometimes falling) objects always compared to VW Beetles?

...are data capacities expressed in multiples of the US Library of Congress?

Let us play the blame game...

`Police killed my girl'

So says the mother of a 16 year old girl who was killed in a car crash on friday morning.

Nikkola Hayward was a passenger in a stolen car which became airborne and slammed into a tree in William St, Beckenham, soon after police stopped pursuing the vehicle.

Two other passengers in the car, aged 11 and 13, were injured and are in hospital.

Nikkola's mother, Joanne Hayward, 41, choked back tears yesterday as she spoke of her bubbly daughter who loved socialising and playing pranks on her siblings.

"We're sick and tired of young kids dying at the hands of police," Mrs Hayward said.

"Even though the kids did wrong - they were in a stolen car - they don't deserve to die. They're not hardened criminals. You can always replace a car, but you can't replace someone's life."

She said the police should have aborted the chase straight away.

"There's no excuse. It shows the arrogance of the police," she said. "They should have called off the chase and they could have got them a few hours later or the next day."

The drama started when police went to a Bentley house with a search warrant relating to a bag- snatch complaint.

Seven young Aborigines fled the house and left the scene in a stolen Holden sedan.

Supt Fred Zagami said police pursued the vehicle, but then aborted the chase "some time" before the accident happened.

Yesterday, a police spokesman said the officers were 800m behind the vehicle and were no longer in pursuit when it crashed. An internal investigation will be carried out.

"Police have got to do their job," Supt Zagami said. "Unfortunately, the sad result is that sometimes people do kill themselves because of their stupidity."

Four of the car's occupants were taken to hospital, including a 13-year-old boy with serious head injuries and a 19-year-old woman with head and spinal injuries.


The Police didn't kill her daughter, the guy driving the car did. Plus the girl had a hand in her own death by getting into the car anyway.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Konica Minolta Bombshell

While an agreement to jointly develop digital SLR's was made with Sony in July 2005, today Konica Minolta announced it is withdrawing from the camera and photo business. Sony will continue to develop cameras for the Dynax/Maxxum lens mount.

First Nikon analog, now all of Konica/Minolta. The photographic industry is feeling the effects of the digital revolution.

read more

Thursday, January 19, 2006

House Update #15 - People in houses with glass...

...should be getting a little excited. These updates may bore the pants off you guys but for myself and Donna every bit of work they do means we are one step closer to having our own house.

Here are some mobile phone camera shots from around the house this afternoon. If you look closely, you might just see 'Rogue Leader 1' working out how to open the windows by himself...



Who in their right mind...

...would write lyrics like this:
A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When the Stripper is Crying Lyrics

I was lonelier than Kunta Kinte at a Merle Haggard concert
That night I strolled on into Uncle Limpy's Hump Palace lookin' for love.
It had been a while.
In fact, three hundred and sixty-five had come and went
since that midnight run haulin' hog to Shakey Town on I-10.
I had picked up this hitchhiker that was sweatin' gallons
through a pair of Daisy Duke cut-offs and one of those Fruit Of The Loom tank-tops.
Well, that night I lost myself to ruby red lips,
milky white skin and baby blue eyes.
Name was Russell.

Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Well I find it's quite a thrill
When she grinds me against her will
Yes a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'


Well, faster than you can say, "shallow grave",
this pretty little thing come up to me and starts kneadin' my balls
like hard-boiled eggs in a tube sock.
Said her name was Bambi and I said, "Well that's a coincidence darlin',
'cause I was just thinkin' about skinnin' you like a deer."
Well she smiled, had about as much teeth as a Jack-O-Lantern,
and I went on to tell her how I would wear her face like a mask
as I do my little kooky dance.
And then she told me to shush.
I guess she could sense my desperation.
'Course, it's hard to hide a hard-on when you're dressed like Minnie Pearl.

Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Well I find it's quite a thrill
When she grinds me against her will
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'


So, Bambi's goin' on about how she can make all my fantasies come true.
So I says, "Even this one I have where Jesus Christ
is jackhammering Mickey Mouse in the doo-doo hole
with a lawn dart as Garth Brooks gives birth to something
resembling a cheddar cheese log with almonds on Santa Claus's tummy-tum?"
Well, ten beers, twenty minutes and thirty dollars later
I'm parkin' the beef bus in tuna town if you know what I mean.
Got to nail her back at her trailer.
Heh. That rhymes.
I have to admit it was even more of a turn-on
when I found out she was doin' me to buy baby formula.

Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Well I find it's quite a thrill
When she grinds me against her will
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'


Day or so had passed when I popped the clutch,
gave the tranny a spin and slid on into
The Stinky Pinky Gulp N' Guzzle Big Rig Snooze-A-Stop.
There I was browsin' through the latest issue of "Throb",
when I saw Bambi starin' at me from the back of a milk carton.
Well, my heart just dropped.
So, I decided to do what any good Christian would.
You can not imagine how difficult it is to hold a half gallon of moo juice
and polish the one-eyed gopher when your doin' seventy-five
in an eighteen-wheeler.
I never thought missing children could be so sexy.
Did I say that out loud?

Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'
Well I find it's quite a thrill
When she grinds me against her will
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is cryin'

Where did the inspiration for this song come from? Or shouldn't I ask that question...

No matter how disturbed it is, it is still amusing...

Are all big media outlets fucked in the head?

Earlier this month, gamer named Mitchell S. with the online screenname "Kuja105" who posts on a few online videogame forums (including GameFaqs.com and MetalGearSolid.org) committed suicide. On January 2 he posted a message in both forums detailing his intent to end his own life, citing overwhelming complications with school and finances.

A very brief period of initial disbelief was followed by a barrage of replies from fellow forum members pleading that he not take his life, trying to talk him out of it.

For days, no word was heard from Mitchell. Fearing the worst, members and administration from metalgearsolid.org began searching for contact information, spending hours on the phone trying to get in touch with him. Finally on January 4, Ryan K., an administrator at metalgearsolid.org, got him on the phone and spent hours desperately trying to talk him out of it.

Sadly, Mitchell soon ended his own life by consuming antifreeze and painkillers.

Later, members from the site contacted Mitchell's family to find out the grave news. They reported it to their online community, and posted a tribute to their passed friend on the front page of metalgearsolid.org.

This is where the story turns.

The story was picked up by AFP, an international newswire service and has been carried by Yahoo!, CNN, and more. The story reported by AFP is almost completely erroneous to a sad and morbid degree.

[Story continues here]

BTW here is the original post by Kuja to the GameFAQs forums...

What an idiot...

This guy may be good at coming up with ideas, his execution of the ideas leaves a fair bit to be desired.

This fellow, Stuart Calvey, has come up with a damn good idea, a digital postcard. From the article:
Calvey's Snap+Send Postcard, a disposable digital camera, is so light and inexpensive it can be sent in the mail. All it needs is a stamp. "You would buy it at a newsagent or photo developer, take a few shots and, once it's full, you stick a stamp on it, address it and put it in the postbox," Calvey says.

"Then grandma, or your girlfriend, gets it. They tear open the perforations, fold out a little kick stand on the back and sit it on a bench top. Then it's as simple as pressing a button and it will go through a slide show of images."

The palm-sized camera-cum-postcard, housed in a cardboard shell with a two-megapixel lens, a 10-centimetre screen, digital memory and an internal battery, would cost about $25.

There is no delete or zoom functionality but you can take it to a photo shop to print some of the photos. This is a great idea. It could even come preloaded with a series of photos from the place where you brought it from. For example, if you bought one in Singapore you would get pictures of the Merlion, Parliament House, Clarke Quay and Changi Prison to start you off.

The reason why this guy is an idiot is neatly summed up here:
Calvey has come up with many clever concepts during his four years at university, including a wrapper designed to take the messiness out of eating a kebab. The packaging, with tapered sides and tearaway sections, won the young inventor a Packaging Council of Australia award in 2003.

He could have sold the rights to the clean-face kebab wrapper and the Snap+Send Postcard to keen companies, but prefers to just share his ideas while he's a student.

"I'd rather use them to show potential employers my ideas."

What a noble guy... This guy could sell these ideas to give himself a small income to get him through university. He can still use them on his portfolio when going to potential employers even though he has sold his ideas. Now that he has put these ideas out there, he has lost any chance he had of profiting from his hard work. He may be clever but he is still stupid.

Stamp of approval for disposable camera - smh.com.au

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Concept car time...

Those Dodge designers have it pretty good of late. They get told to revitalise past 'hero' cars, so all they do is drag out the original, remove some chrome (optional), put some bigger wheels on and smooth out the panels.


A very good example of this is the new Dodge Challenger, based on the 1971 car of the same name. Compare the above photo with the 1971 version below...


Cars of the future on display in Detroit - CARSguide

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

House Update #14 - Breaking news, film at 11...

Here are the pictures I promised you guys a week ago. As you can see it is really looking like a house inside and out now. Hopefully we will be at lock up by the end of this week, then all the cabinets, tilers and other trades can come in and finish it off.






Click to enlarge (opens a new window)

test

Monday, January 16, 2006

Shark! Shark! Shark!

If any of you saw the news last night, you would have seen the report on the diver who got munched on by a White Pointer near City Beach. It was the lead story on the Perth TV News and it was made out to be this big danger to swimmers. It was only when you listened to the whole report they mentioned the fact the guy was diving 5.5km off City Beach. No danger at all.

The West (I know, I know) has a report:
A diver mauled and dragged by a shark about 5.5km off City Beach yesterday says he will invest in an electronic shark deterrent after the device worn by his diving buddy may have saved his life.

Sorrento electrician Bernie Williams said during his terrifying ordeal the 3.5m shark - believed to be a white pointer - started "chomping" on his arm and speargun before it "took me for a ride".

The experienced diver, who received a minor wound to his left elbow, said he was lucky to be alive.

Sure, the guy is very lucky, but I think Fisheries WA might be wanting to talk to him fairly soon...
"We were diving in 18m of water looking for crays when I got hit by a very big shark," Mr Williams said. "I never saw it coming. The first time it came at me I stabbed it on the nose with a speargun but it was just like hitting a lump of steel. It didn't slow it down in the slightest."

Why was this guy, who was looking for crays, carrying a speargun? According to Fisheries WA, it is illegal to fish for crayfish/lobsters with a speargun.
Diving for lobsters
Divers may only catch lobster by hand,or by using a held snare or blunt crook.Spears and similar devices that puncture or damage rock lobster are illegal.

Maybe this shark attack was really a warning by an angry Fisheries WA inspector without his spiffy yellow t-shirt...

Shark deterrent saves diver - The West Australian

This could get interesting...

I really do wonder sometimes that the people who supposedly lead us and run the world aren't just 10 year old children trapped in 40-60 year old bodies.

The latest hissyfit generator has been Iran and their goal to use nuclear power. The 'West' is claiming they want to produce nuclear weapoins and Iran denies this.

From this article:
IRAN seems headed for a showdown with the United Nations Security Council after its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defied the US President, George Bush, and European leaders, insisting Tehran would press ahead with its nuclear program despite the threat of economic sanctions.

Rounding on his critics, he said: "Ultimately, they need us more than we need them."

At a news conference that lasted more than two hours, a confident Mr Ahmadinejad put a question to Western governments: "So why do you strike a mighty pose? I advise you to understand the Iranian nation and revolution in a better way. A time might come that you would become regretful, and then there would be no benefits in regretting."

And:
"We don't need nuclear weapons," he said, noting that religious doctrine restrained Iran from unleashing its stocks of chemical weapons when Iraq gassed Iranian troops during the 1980s. "Nuclear weapons are pursued by those who want to solve everything by bullying everyone."

He challenged the US to open its own nuclear facilities to UN inspection. Reversing a warning levelled at Tehran last week, he advised the US and Europe "not to isolate yourself any more in the family of nations".

Grinning and joking, he condemned the policy of Western countries. "They themselves have vats full of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. But they think that if they have these weapons they can impose their will on other nations."

The Iranian president seems like he wants to push the US and others to the limit to see where they will break.

With the US embroiled in a crapfight in Iraq and the world oil price remaining quite high, I think the Iranian President has chosen his time very well. if Iran (the world's 2nd largest oil producer) has sanctions imposed on them by the UN Security Council, then the price of oil would be expected to go even higher putting major pressure on the global economy, the US in particular. I wonder if the Iranian President is trying to force the US to play their hand and potentially put themselves into a position which may tip them into a recession that no amount of war spending will fix.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Of General Motors' troubles of late

General Motors knows it has been in trouble for a while but this statement from Mr Okuda is interesting:
"I don't know its real internal situation, but I think General Motors is in quite a serious financial crisis,” said Okuda. "As far as I look at the situation as an outsider, its market share has declined and it has failed to produce quality cars. It attempted to sell its financial subsidiary, but the affiliate ended up unsold."

It gets even more interesting when you see that Mr Okuda is the chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation.

I think Mr Okuda sees a nice fat healthy bonus appearing in his bank account if he can crush GM a little more.

General Motors is in trouble, says Toyota chairman - Autoblog

Strange logo decisions...

Kodak has dumped their old logo and replaced it with a boring and very undistictive one.



The current trend for companies to reduce their logos to just plain text with a minimum of graphic content is all very boring. As someone who has dabbled in some logo and graphic design I really am perplexed as to why the big companies are dumping their old, very recognisable, logos with new logos that have no link to their past, and following on from that, no link to the brand recognition they have built up over the years.

That said, there has been some successful rebranding attempts in recent years. One of the more prominent that comes to mind is the BP revitalisation. They took the old shield design and replaced it with a nice green sun design as an attempt to brand them more as an green energy comapny rather than just an oil company. The new logo introduction was accompanied by a massive advertising campaign, so it didn't come cheap.


Logo 'updates' we're bound to see soon:
  • Apple loses the graphic apple to be replaced by the word 'Apple' in a quirky, but cool typeface
  • Nike loses the famous 'swoosh' to be replaced by a simple underline
  • Shell in a green bold typeface without the shell
  • BMW reinvent themselves without the 'propellor' design
  • Domino's Pizza without the domino

Thursday, January 12, 2006

25 reasons to switch to Linux

I found this list out on the interweb. It mainly applies to organisations, educational and government groups.

This should get rid of the cat...
(1) Because it is licensed under a free software license, Linux (as well as other free software) is available at no cost. It can be downloaded from the Internet for free, and it can be purchased in disk or box form at trivial cost. One copy can be used on as many computers as desired with no restrictions. This is in sharp contrast to Microsoft Windows, which can easily cost US$100 or more per computer.

When you are talking about 1,000+ licences of Windows this can begin to make some sense until you take into account the training required to take people away from what they find familiar. The social aspect of the Windows OS is quite pervasive and you could meet with some hesitation from Joe User. And usually, if a large organisation intends switching to Windows, Microsoft will offer some pretty good incentives like free training, updates and possibly even hardware to sweeten the deal.

(2) Because it is free software, Linux is also free in the sense that anybody is permitted to modify it, including its source code, in any way desired. If modified versions are not redistributed (i.e., given away or sold outside of an organization), they can be kept secret. This is also in sharp contrast to Microsoft Windows, for which modification of the software is generally not permitted. Source code is the original version of a program as it is written by a programmer using a programming language and before being converted by a compiler into a form such that its instructions can be understood directly by a computer's CPU (central processing unit); it is generally necessary to have the source code in order to be able to make changes to a program. This ability to freely experiment with and modify the source code, and to do so without disclosing the modifications to outsiders, has been a very important consideration for a number of large organizations.

Having coders on board with the necessary skills to modify an operating system is a costly proposition. OS coders don't come cheap. Does the custom functionality you intend to add really need to be added to the OS? Why can't you make smaller client apps that would be cheaper to produce (less testing, etc.) and easier to support?

(3) High quality support for Linux is available for free on the Internet, including in newsgroups and other forums. Some people claim that this support is at least as good as that provided for proprietary (i.e., commercial) operating systems for a fee. Linux support can also be purchased on a commercial basis if desired. Among the types of support that can be required for operating systems are help with customization, assistance in installing new programs, patches to cope with new security threats and patches to fix newly discovered bugs (i.e., defects). Fortunately, the need for the last two types is relatively infrequent for Linux.

As opposed to windows where installing new programs and customising the interface is a relatively trivial task and doesn't require any outside assistance. And with WindowsUpdate, the ease of patching a windows box is much much easier.

(4) There is little possibility that support for Linux will be discontinued at some future date due to planned obsolescence or for any other reason. This is because the source code will always be available to anyone who wants it, including individuals who provide support for free over the Internet and businesses which provide it for a fee. In contrast, with Microsoft Windows and other proprietary software for which the source code is usually kept secret, obtaining support becomes difficult (from both a technical and a legal point of view) if the developer decides to withdraw it (for example in order to try to force users to pay for upgrades to newer versions).

I have to say that I take exception to this one. It is very hard to discontinue support when there isn't much official support to begin with. Because Linux works as a community based project, kind of like those Tidy Street and Clean Up Australia Day campaigns, support will only be there when other people still care. Once the world moves on, you will be on your own.

(5) There is little or no fear of major obsolescence, planned or otherwise, with Linux. This is because the UNIX architecture on which it is based has been exhaustively tested and refined for more than 35 years and has proven to be extremely efficient, robust and secure. Improvements continue at a rapid pace, but new versions remain basically compatible with the underlying UNIX architecture.

Rephrased the following entry could be a positive for Windows and it's more modern technology, not being hampered by 35 years of legacy systems.. Is it really a good thing to have an OS that goes back 35 years to the time when a single computer filled an entire room and punchcards were the order of the day? Sure you know that some bits are going to last forever, but with the changing role of computers and their continued integration into everything, can the UNIX architecture keep up?

(6) There are no forced upgrades for Linux users. This because older versions continue to be supported (e.g., with the development of new security patches and device drivers) and because newer versions, if desired, are available for free (as is all free software) and are typically highly compatible with older versions. The developers of proprietary software, however, have strong financial incentives to engage in planned obsolescence, namely, in order to induce users of earlier versions to spend money to buy or lease new versions.

There are no forced upgrades for any other OS either. Even now I still see people using Windows 98 (sometimes even Windows 95 *shudder*) and they are quite happy with their old versions of Word and Excel.

(7) Should a user decide to upgrade to a newer version of Linux, there are no licensing fees or other software costs if the user selects a free distribution (i.e., version). Moreover, the training, program modification/conversion, hardware acquisition and other costs associated with upgrading to a new version are also relatively low due to the compatibility with earlier versions.

Notice the key phrase 'if the user selects a free distribution'... Most organisations will use a commercial Linux distribution because they can package in some form of support arrangement. If we use Red Hat as an example, admittedly the costs are lower than Windows for a large purchase, but not by much.

(8) Linux has no onerous requirements for keeping track of licenses. In a company with hundreds or thousands of computers, a number of full time personnel can be required just to make sure that all of the computers in use are in compliance with the complex licensing terms of the EULAs (end user license agreements) for Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and other proprietary software. And for Linux users there is no fear of surprise audits by the BSA (Business Software Alliance), with possible severe penalties for minor license violations.

A positive for Linux I suppose, with OpenOffice.org getting better with every release there is no real need to have any Microsoft Office products on a users machine. Except that if the company/university/government department want some support for the product, then they will generally pay for the commercial version, StarOffice, which has its own license restrictions.

(9) Linux features superior security, including a very low rate of infection by viruses, trojans, worms, spyware and other malware. This is because UNIX and all of its descendants (including Linux) been designed from the ground up with security in mind, rather than having attempts at security tacked on as an afterthought. For example, users do not routinely use the system as the root (i.e., administrative) user, thereby protecting key system files even in the event of a break-in by a malicious intruder. Also, a robust firewall is included in major distributions and it is enabled by default. Another important factor is the free availability of the source code, which allows thousands of people around the globe to search for security vulnerabilities in it.

Linux doesn't have a spyware/malware/virus problem because it is not popular enough. That and most Linux users these days are a bunch militant psychos. So if someone ever did write some spyware for Linux, they would be hunted down and tortured for sure.

(10) Linux is highly resistant to system crashes and rarely needs rebooting (i.e., restarting). This can be very important for large organizations for which even a few minutes of down time can result in a substantial cost. The reason is that Linux has been designed from the ground up to be an extremely stable and robust operating system, incorporating all that has been learned about attaining these goals from the more than 35 years of history of Unix-like operating systems.

Complete crap, we have Windows based database and web servers that have had uptimes of months and are only restarted to apply patches. You don't have to restart a Linux box to apply patches but you still have to reload the kernel and drivers into memory which still causes downtime. And if you are in such a critical situation where even a minutes downtime is a bad thing, you would have a farm of servers to spread the load over anyway.

(11) An extensive selection of high quality application programs is available for use with Linux, most of which are also free software (including nearly all of the most popular ones). Many of them have features and performance equal or superior to those of comparable applications for use with Microsoft Windows. In fact, users often find that all the applications that they want are available freely on the Internet and that it is no longer necessary to purchase any commercial software.

This may be true but the free stuff just doesnt have the quality that the commercial products do. If you compare GIMP and Photoshop, you will quickly find that Photoshop is a kick arse product that has so many features you will never test its limits, GIMP on the other hand is a poor copy which is good for simple stuff and can be forced into doing complex stuff. Photoshop just works.

(12) There is a choice of numerous distributions (several hundred) of Linux, each with its own unique set of characteristics but all basically compatible with each other. This allows users to select the versions which best meet their specific requirements. It also means that if one provider of Linux were to go out of business, there would still be many others from which to choose. Moreover, it fosters a healthy competition among them, thereby contributing to the continuous improvements in Linux's quality and performance. If the choice seems overwhelming, it is usually difficult to make a mistake by selecting one of the most popular distributions, such as Red Hat or SuSE.

Most of the distributions are made by people customising it for their own particular world. Some are extremely hardware specific to contain the size of the distribution. Add to it that getting drivers for a lot of hardware devices in Linux is very hard or just plain impossible. Being forced to purchase specific hardware to meet a distributions needs is a painful task and ties you to specific hardware vendors that could go out of business. Six of one...

(13) Linux features a high degree of flexibility of configuration, and a great deal of customization can be accomplished very easily and without having to modify the source code. For example, it is a simple matter to configure Linux during installation so that it will be optimized for use as a workstation, desktop computer, notebook computer, web server, database server or a router. Likewise, the appearance and behavior of the desktop, including icons and menus, can be configured in an almost infinite number of ways, according to user tastes or requirements. They can even be made to resemble Microsoft Windows. Should this not be enough, the ability to freely access, revise and recompile the source code allows virtually unlimited flexibility of configuration.

Except for the bit about modifying source code, you can do the same in Windows.

(14) Linux and other free software uses open format file formats. These are formats for word processing, spreadsheet and other file types that conform to industry-wide standards and which can be used by any developer of software to create compatible programs, in contrast to the closed formats commonly used by some proprietary software. This eliminates the problem of lock-in to proprietary standards, with the consequent difficulty and expense of switching to other software in the future. It allows the user to have complete control of its data, particularly in the event that at some future date the developer who originally created the software goes out of business or stops supporting its earlier software.

What? You mean the open file formats that still don't have the full functionality that proprietary formats do? Also, increasingly commercial products are supporting the use of XML based file formats which allows anyone and everyone to get to their raw data if they so choose.

(15) Linux is generally faster for a given set of hardware specifications. This is due to greater optimization of the source code, including far less code bloat.

All this means is that you can use those P200 desktops for another few years before being forced to upgrade. Perfect for those schools who don't have enough funding.

(16) Linux features a high degree of compatibility with other operating systems. For example, it can read, write, copy, erase and otherwise manipulate data that resides on Microsoft Windows partitions on the same hard disk drive (HDD), act as a Windows server for a network containing Windows clients, format disks for use with Windows, and even run Windows programs directly if necessary. In contrast, the Microsoft Windows operating systems cannot access HDD partitions that contain other operating systems, cannot format disks for other operating systems, etc.

If everyone uses the industry standard NTFS then there shouldn't be a problem... You can't spout industry standards as being a plus and then turn around and say Linux supports non standard stuff, Windows doesn't.

(17) Very high ethical standards are maintained for Linux and other free software, in large part due to the very openness of their development process and the free availability of the source code. Linux has never been convicted in a Federal court of violation of U.S. antitrust laws or other crimes, nor has it had to pay penalties for the unauthorized copying of technology developed by other companies.

Linux as a whole is not a business, it is a community. A business is there to make money, giving incentives to hardware manufacturers to use an OS is only illegal when the competing OSes aren't good enough.

(18) Linux reduces the need to upgrade or replace hardware when upgrading to newer versions. This is because its code is very efficient and compact, thus allowing it to work effectively on older computers that are not suitable for the newest versions of Microsoft Windows.


(19) Linux is capable of operating on a wide variety of platforms (i.e., processor and system types), rather than just being limited to Intel-compatible processors and computers. It scales well and is well suited for use on a diverse array of equipment ranging from supercomputers to industrial robots to electronic medical equipment to cell phones (and can even run on a wristwatch).

Yay, that 1983 DEC machine can be dragged out of the cupboard for another run... oh wait, who the fuck cares. Consumer PCs these days are so cheap that buying exotic hardware just because you can put Linux on it is a bit silly.

(20) Linux is a superior choice for use in academic institutions for a number of reasons. Among them is the fact that there are no secrets (in sharp contrast to proprietary software), thereby providing students the opportunity to study how computers really work rather than to just learn how to use them. Many educators are convinced that it is far more important for students to study computer science fundamentals than to practice specific applications (such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint). One reason is that computer science fundamentals will still be valid many years from now, whereas the specific application programs, especially the proprietary ones that do not conform to industry-wide standards, are constantly changing and those currently in use will likely become obsolete in a few years.

If a 'computer science' course is teaching the use of Word and Powerpoint, I think the course name should be changed to 'IT'. If you are teaching computer science fundamentals, teach the theory behind it all. Sure you can teach students what the code for dealing with TCP/IP looks like, but knowing the protocol is a much better way of learning. That way the student can write their own TCP/IP application and learn something properly.

(21) For governmental agencies, Linux and other free software allows for transparency of data because it stores the data in formats consistent with industry-wide standards. This is in contrast to the proprietary, closed formats characteristic of commercial software. Such transparency is important for maintaining an effective democracy. Keeping non-secret data in standards-compliant formats allows anyone to access it without having to purchase expensive proprietary software. Also, storing secret data in standards-compliant formats is widely regarding as being more secure than keeping it in proprietary formats.

See point 14.

(22) With Linux and other free software there is little reason to fear the existence of backdoors, in large part because all of the source code is available for inspection. A backdoor is a secret method for obtaining remote access to a computer. There is a (not unjustified) concern by many foreign governments and corporations that back doors have been covertly inserted into proprietary software that could allow the software developer and agencies of other governments to snoop into their most confidential data.

With the current scrutiny on all OSes, in particular Windows, any existence of a backdoor is going to be found quickly and patched rapidly. ANd if your data is that secret that you don't want other people to see it, pull the network cable out of the wall.

(23) Using and advocating Linux helps foster a healthy diversity and increased competition throughout the software industry. Such competition can promote technological advance, improve performance and lower costs for open source software and proprietary software alike. Both economic theory and hundreds of years of real-world experience clearly show that monopolies have little incentive to innovate, tend to produce shoddy products, charge inflated prices and tend to corrupt the political system.

Increased competition in areas where there is no cost, therefore forcing commercial entities out of business, creating more havoc. If the Linux 'mob' put their heads together they could produce a real world OS that could compete with Windows, box it and put on shelves for half the price of Windows and it would sell. The common perception of free goods is that you get what you pay for and Linux is suffering because of it. Actually having some income to go into improving Linux will only help Linux take more market share.

(24) Linux and other free software have not only caught up with, or some cases surpassed, their proprietary counterparts, but they are also developing at a faster pace. This trend will accelerate as demand for such software continues to grow and more and more individuals and organizations become actively involved it its development.

See point 25.

(25) Linux and other free software provide the opportunity for users to contribute to the advance of software technology because the source code is freely available to study, improve, extend and redistribute. This has been fairly common, and the most notable corporate example has been IBM. In addition to giving back to the software community and being a virtue in itself, such contributions can have great public relations value.

I see that the head of IBM wasn't named as Time's Person of the Year... Bill Gates donating money to all sorts of good causes has PR value outside of the nerd community and thus much better public relations value than some big company doing development on the new Linux kernel. Software developers rarely get to choose where a copmpany's money gets spent and have to roll with the decisions made by people higher up the chain, helping out some developers is a nice thing to do but it isn't going to sway a managers decision when it comes down to cost and incentives.

Nikon says goodbye to film... nearly...

Nikon released a press release yesterday stating the following:
Following the success of our digital line-up over the last seven years, which has resulted in more than 95% of Nikon’s UK business being within the digital area, Nikon Corporation has made the decision to focus management resources on digital cameras in place of film cameras. This decision will allow Nikon to continue to develop products that match the demands of an increasingly competitive market place.

Despite this growing competition Nikon Corporation has continued to outperform the market, and has recently reported positive financial results which saw group net profit climb by 20% in the fiscal first half which ended in September. Group sales also increased by 9.8% to 342.85 billion yen in the same period. Sales of high end digital SLR cameras and the success of products like the D70s and D50 have helped contribute to these positive figures.

As the film camera market shrinks and the popularity of compact digital cameras increases, demand for products that offer advanced features and extra value is continuing to grow. High performance digital SLR cameras are performing well as users shift from film-based SLR cameras or upgrade from compact digital cameras to digital SLR cameras.

As a result of the new strategy Nikon will discontinue production of all lenses for large format cameras and enlarging lenses with sales of these products ceasing as soon as they run out of stock. This also applies to most of our film camera bodies, interchangeable manual focus lenses and related accessories. Although Nikon anticipates that the products will still be in retail distribution up to Summer 2006.

In recognition of Nikon’s commitment to professional photographers we will continue to manufacturer and sell the F6, our flagship film model, as well as a number of manual interchangeable lenses. Sales of the manual FM10 will also continue outside Europe.


Nikon - Press room - Press Release

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

One-eyed Geelong supporter I'm sure...


Cy - the weird Cyclops like kitten


What was suspected to be a clever little hoax has turned out to be true...
A photo of a one-eyed kitten named Cy drew more than a little scepticism when it turned up on various websites, but medical authorities have a name for the bizarre condition.

"Holoprosencephaly" causes facial deformities, according to the US National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

In the worst cases, a single eye is located where the nose should be, according to the institute's Web site.

Traci Allen says the kitten she named Cy, short for Cyclops, was born on December 28 with the single eye and no nose.

"You don't expect to see something like that," the 35-year-old Allen said from her home in Redmond, Oregon.

Allen said she stayed up all night with the deformed kitten on her recliner, feeding Cy a liquid formula through a syringe.

She says she cared for the kitten the next day as well, until it died that evening.

Allen had taken digital pictures that she provided to The Associated Press.

Some bloggers have questioned the authenticity of the photo distributed on January 6.

AP regional photo editor Tom Stathis said he took extensive steps to confirm the one-eyed cat was not a hoax.

Stathis had Allen ship him the memory card that was in her camera.

On the card were a number of pictures - including holiday snapshots, and four pictures of a one-eyed kitten.

The kitten pictures showed the animal from different perspectives.

Fabricating those images in sequence and in the camera's original picture format, from the varying perspectives, would have been virtually impossible, Stathis said.

House Update #13 - Lets 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...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Off the leash...

Well as my first entry of the week, it will be from a very tired state of mind.

Last night, I went along with Donna to her work Christmas/annual staff party. What an interesting event...

I now know what happens when you take a couple of hundred people who are normally working hard when the rest of us are out on the town having fun and let them off the leash with an open bar at a rather swanky yacht club on the Swan River (hint: it was the home of the America's Cup for 4 years). The amount of alcohol that was put away last night was quite impressive.

I wish I had a camera with me last night though, not long before the bar closed I went to the toilets and there were 4 toilet stalls in the bathroom, and in each stall had a guy having a good ole chuck. Was quite an amusing sight. After relaying this information to some other people at the event, I was told the female bathroom was exactly the same.

The scary part of the whole situation is that some people were saying that the party was fairly tame compared to parties in previous years...

If things go quiet during the day, I could have possibly fallen asleep. Didn't get home and into bed until 2:30... then only got about 4 hours sleep. Early night tonight methinks.

Oh, and have you ever heard the noise made when one of those chip/choclate vending machines falls over onto its front. It makes quite a thump. To give you an idea what those things weigh, it took 8 guys to stand the machine back up.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Whatchu talkin bout Willis?

Do journalists actually get an education before they are given jobs reporting world events to us. Although it isn't an earth-shattering event by any means, the annual report on Christmas spending does a have a fairly big impact on our economy, the problem is that the headline for the article does not necessarily match what the story is saying.
Retailers 'hurt' by Christmas spending shortfall

Retailers are bracing for a difficult first half of the year after Christmas spending figures did not meet expectations.

An index that measures cash and credit transactions has found that while spending was the highest ever recorded for December at $22 billion, the rate of growth is the lowest in seven years.

The Australian Retailers Association says it was looking for a 3 per cent increase in sales but the figures show a growth rate of only 1.4 per cent.

So even though Christmas spending reached a new record, it wasn't high enough so they are complaining?

The projections for the growth rate were probably based on the growth rate of the Australian economy which is sitting around the 3 per cent mark. I wonder if they took into account the fact that commonly purchased items like milk, bread and petrol have gone up more than 3 per cent in the last 12 months. Like myself, most people have a budget to adhere to and there isn't an endless supply of cash. If more money is being spent on the staples then of course there will be less money for Christmas presents.

» 'Conspiracy Theorist Craig' enters the blog

Maybe this is just a way for the Australian Retailers Association to put some pressure on the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates where they are. As soon as interest rates go up, the number of people with large mortgages will lose a good chunk of the disposable income that is spent.

Retailers 'hurt' by Christmas spending shortfall - ABC News Online

Stand-up...

Listening to some stand-up comedy the other day, I heard a bit by Sarah Silverman that was comedy gold. It was wrong, but so damn wrong it was funny. A few examples of the humour are:
If black people were in Nazi Germany the Holocaust would have never happened-or at least to the Jews.

My neice called me and said 'Aunt Sarah, did you know that Hitler killed 60 million Jews during the Holocaust?'

I said 'No honey, he killed 6 million Jews, not 60 million!'

The she said 'Oh yeah, oh yeah, but really, what's the difference?'

Because 60 million would be unforgivable!

She relies on the shock value of her jokes to do half the work for her. That said, it works very well and offers a small insight and criticism of the current level of anti-racism and political correctness.

I remember seeing her on Conan O'Brien a while ago where she dropped a bombshell that caused a bit of hot water for NBC in the US. Other people can transcribe the story better than myself:
In a 2004 appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, she told a joke with the punchline, "I love chinks," for which the Media Action Network for Asian Americans demanded an apology. NBC and O'Brien both apologized, but Silverman never did.

The joke is about trying to get out of jury duty, and as Silverman told it, a friend suggested to her, "Why don't you write something inappropriate on the form, like 'I hate chinks'?" But she says she did not want to be thought a racist, so instead, "I just filled out the form and I wrote, 'I love chinks' -- and who doesn't?"

Now that is funny.

This shit is going too far...

I think some people are a wee bit too sensitive on the race issue.
THE shine of Ricky Ponting's historic century was dulled by accusations of racial abuse of South Africa fast bowler Andre Nel by a spectator at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

The mood of the afternoon was soured when charismatic Nel reported to umpires brent "Billy" Bowden and Aleem Dar he had been racially abused by a man in the Yabba's Hill stand while fielding at fine-leg.
Nel had played along with the crowd for most of the day, even clapping while spectators chanted "Andre is a w--ker" until the sideshow allegedly turned nasty and he was called a "kaffir lover".

"Kaffir", also heard at the WACA Ground in the first Test in Perth, is the most derogatory term used to describe a black person in South Africa.

So in effect, all this spectator was saying that Andre Nel loves black people. How come he found it offensive? Does he not love blacks? Or does he find the use of the word 'kaffir' offensive?

Everytime I have heard the term of 'kaffir' used, it has been in a similar vein to the Australian use of 'wog'. And I would wager that most Australians believe 'kaffir' is just another word for black, not the most derogatory word to describe a black.

Anyway, this is all a bit funny with the whining coming from one of the most racist countries on this planet. They may have moved forward a bit but they still have a long way to go.

Race slurs anger South Africa - NEWS.com.au

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Now: Google < MS, Future: Google > MS?

Google is really starting to accelerate their product releases. If this article can be believed, then Google is stepping into a whole new realm that will not only annoy MS, but also Dell, HP and others.
Cheap PCs, anyone?

Google will unveil its own low-price personal computer or other device that connects to the Internet.

Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

Bear Stearns analysts speculated in a research report last month that consumers would soon see something called "Google Cubes" — a small hardware box that could allow users to move songs, videos and other digital files between their computers and TV sets.

Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president of products, will give a keynote address Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Analysts suspect that Page will use the opportunity either to show off a Google computing device or announce a partnership with a big retailer to sell such a machine.

If Google wants this to work, they will need to provide desktop productivity applications (word processing, spreadsheet, etc) out of the box to consumers, whether it be online applications or installed on the PC. A simple solution would be to just package OpenOffice.org on each PC that goes out the door. But the 'Google' approach should be to put these applications on the web for free or charge a paltry yearly service fee.

But in the end it could end up being a very cheap way to get an extra terminal for home so your missus doesn't keep trying to use your machine. Just make sure it has email, IM and a web browser and the female end of the market will be happy.

Industry Feeling Presence of the 800-Pound Google - Los Angeles Times

Can't they just leave it alone?

I received the crappy chain letter calling on the UK government not to release Robert Thompson and Jon Venables a few days ago (nevermind that they were released in 2001) and then this turns up in the paper.
ONE of the sadistic murderers of two-year-old James Bulger has become a father, it was reported yesterday.

Robert Thompson's girlfriend gave birth to the child within the past 12 months but it is understood the baby's mother has separated from him after a series of arguments.
Thompson, 23, has been living under a secret identity since his release from British jail nearly five years ago and his girlfriend was unaware of his part in James's horrific murder.

In February 1993, Thompson and his friend Jon Venables, then 10, abducted James from a crowded shopping centre and took him across Liverpool to a railway line where they tortured and battered him to death.

Why can't they leave it alone?

Bulger killer has child - The World - Breaking News 24/7 - NEWS.com.au