Archive for the 'thoughts' Category

The evils of a word processor

July 21st, 2010 | Category: thoughts

I’ll admit I’m not the greatest fan of the modern word processor. Being in the web world perhaps the greatest evil is the markup that is generated when text copied from Word is pasted into any rich text capable HTML editor such as TinyMCE. Word is not alone in doing this, also has its fair share of ugly HTML and most other systems have a nasty habit of creating ugly HTML. But this isn’t what I’m concerned about in this blog, it is more about the plethora of formatting options it provides and lack of focus in the user interface.
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ATO, HECS/HELP and interest – or lack there of

July 10th, 2010 | Category: australia,thoughts,work

In Australia, it’s tax time again. This means that the tax office sends me nice letters saying how much I owe them for my HECS/HELP debt, how if I paid it all up front it’d reduce by X amount (if only I had that much money!) and how they don’t charge “interest” on the loan, they merely “index” it against the cost of living. What ever makes it easier to sleep at night. But recently I realised something simple: the Australian Tax Office charges interest not including amounts you’ve already paid.
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Nothing beats the real thing…but a pirate

April 11th, 2010 | Category: movies,thoughts

So lately I’ve had issues with CNC4. I paid for it and ended up downloading a server emulator to play the game. It even gave me the pre-order mission anyway. A while back I got EzyDVD’s Battlestar Galactica collection. Every single episode of the new series plus Razor and The Plan. It also has the 1978 and 1980’s material as well. It is a box and IMHO very well presented. Early on one of the DVD’s wasn’t playing properly, I put it in my Mac and it worked on both my Mac and the PC. I tried Season 3 Disc 4 today and that isn’t working. Fortunately I have DVD rips of season three downloaded so I stopped watching “the real thing” and swapped to the pirate. The pirate copy doesn’t require me to sit through two sets of copyright notices, Universal’s gratuitous logo and then wait for their fancy little intro sequences just to watch a single episode.

So much for the real thing. I want to spend money on supporting things but Firefly and Dollhouse is proof that doesn’t matter either. The fact that it takes ages for a Region 4 DVD to come out (compared to Region 1 and 2) so I can’t at times legally buy something anyway. Let alone the fact some things never get released in Australia anyway. Rather depressing at the end of the day.

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Banning smoking

April 10th, 2010 | Category: thoughts

I had a thought the other day about smoking. The problem with banning smoking is two fold. The first problem is that you put out a large corporation that makes lots of money, pays some taxes and pays more towards your electoral campaign. It also employs people. The second problem is harder: smoking has a significant addicted population. These people vote. So not only do you have corporations with donations but people who vote.

But I feel there is a curious middle ground to be made. Each year increase the minimum age to buy cigarettes – or simpler, those born after a particular year cannot buy cigarettes. This way older smokers aren’t threatened and eventually dissipate and it is hard for newer smokers to get started. A curious example is that of slightly older members of social groups or families being able to supply cigarettes to younger people who can’t buy it yet. As the age increases, this will become increasingly hard to do and slowly this impact will dissipate. This strategy also gives the ability for those companies producing cigarettes to diversify into other areas.

The main complication with doing this is international travel. If one can reasonably travel to another part of the world and become addicted then this poses a problem. Ideally there would be a global ban like this but I don’t foresee that happening.

A simple thought on a weekend afternoon.

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Centrelink Efficiency

March 24th, 2010 | Category: thoughts

So today mum got a letter from Centrelink saying they’ll pay her money and that they’ve already paid her money which is good. However they also sent her a form which is to be returned tomorrow. Seems a bit much to hope that a letter will arrive in time, but it could be worse: it could have arrived tomorrow or even worse on Friday. Yay for Centrelink!

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March 24th, 2010 | Category: thoughts

It strikes me that our language around problems is confused. When someone is talking about a problem they can be talking about the cause of the problem or they can be talking about the symptom of the problem.

This leads to the obvious that the symptom is treated not the cause. Removing the symptom by statement fixes the problem if you state the problem is the symptom. But that doesn’t resolve the root cause of the problem and thus it can potentially break the workaround you’ve created to remove the symptoms.

Another curiosity for the day.


Better use of categories and tags

March 16th, 2010 | Category: thoughts

I was recently looking through some blogs and noticed their use of categories against tags. It got me thinking about how I sort this blog. On this blog I have a whole heap of categories that I probably treat much like tags. Only a few actually have a significant amount of posts beside them and I’m considering slowly migrating them to be tags instead of categories. WordPress is good in the fact that it offers both loose categories that you can put something into and tags as well. Tags seem to be even looser than categories but they seem to be roughly equal. Categories have the advantage that they can be nested however tags can’t but all in all I don’t use hierarchical categories so realistically category == tag. All in all, perhaps starting after this post, I’ll work on adding more tags to items and paring back my categories (I actually added a new category to put this post into!).

Let the experiment begin!

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Today: 11-Mar-2010: Meeting-o-rama

March 11th, 2010 | Category: thoughts

Busy day, at least towards the end. The morning I barely remember but it was a wash of different tasks. The afternoon became more structured and hectic. At 2pm I started on the discussion about issue tracking around the place, 2:30pm I was in the ICT Security office getting stuff reconfigured to fix this weird port issues we’ve got, 3pmish I was visiting our friendly Apple head/Audio Engineer to acquire stuff. I was supposed to finish at 4pm and headed to have a meeting with my masters supervisor about a few things. Ended up being late to all so I had left my pad with the Audio Studios, rushed to get that and to my 4pm which meant I wasn’t packed up, came back to my desk and worked for another 15 minutes or so responding to calls and emails. What the? Crazy work ethic. I was trying to reconfigure the library blogging platforms, test and production, as well throughout the day and had various issues with things. Need to file HEAT requests for getting the changes made into the public as well. Many things to do, little time!

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Mosaic – MacOSaiX

June 21st, 2008 | Category: thoughts

My birthday’s gift from my girlfriend created using Mac Mosaic application

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The segmentation of the Internet

October 29th, 2007 | Category: thoughts

More and more I see articles about how the internet is becoming more and more disjunct: firewalled and limited by sovereign nation states to prevent the flow of information. Today I saw an article on Slashdot commenting about Russia’s interest in creating their own internet similar to that of China’s (perhaps complete with firewall as well) and other parts of the world have had similar stories where the government is attempting to limit or reduce the availability of information made available from the internet.

The fact is that it reminds of something that scares me more than I realise: the Internet in is segmentation is similar to the ‘Internex’ of the Seaquest DSV world, a sci-fi tv show from 1993-1996. The Internex had some cross over into different countries (e.g. sovereign nations were still connected) however each nation was heavily gaurded from the next one, I assume to protect from cyberterrorism. The cyberterrorism threat in itself reminds me of the claimed issues of Chinese attacks with in the USA government departments. It is always interesting to see where fiction leads us to reality (or reality becomes like fiction) with so many parts of sci-fi becoming more and more a reality. But the question is, does the rest of the world predicted in these visions of the future also come with it? Or is the restriction of this information again the start of more borders as governments realise what the Internet is really capable of delivering to its users?

It makes me wonder. Where is the world headed?

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