Thursday, November 30, 2006

Savaged by ducks

Robert Scoble was asked to attend PodcampNY, and quite rightly asked if travel expenses were an option. Not demanded. Not asked for an appearance fee. If it was a possibility.

Apparently this was too much for one of the organisers, who drops it onto his blog with comments that this was all too much...

Robert posts it on his blog and the fun begins.

The commentary on the organisers blog is quite good, he's not going to be living this down for a while. Especially since he still hasn't apologised.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wacom Pen Tablet set to stun

I've been very slack in updating this blog... I'll have to make an effort to update daily. Or hourly, like Scoble - I think he has a blogging robot that posts for him, but that may only be a rumour.

My shoulder has been very painful. The steroid injection helped not at all, or at least not once the painkiller wore off. My wrist was aching hugely as well, in that numb ache way. So I bought one of these:
This is a Wacom Pen Tablet, the A6 model so it isn't huge. I've been using it as a mouse replacement at work, and pushing work to buy me one -- given it costs about $150 (AUD) I was concerned about leaving it there.
I've found that since I got this I don't get that numb wrist and arm anymore.

It hasn't helped my shoulder a huge amount though.

The Tablet comes with some drawing software as well, so I'll have to give it a try out.

My weight is now around 88 kg, which means I've lost five kg since I started watching calories -- I have approx 1500 a day, although some weekends that is stretched quite a bit. Some meals at Fasta Pasta, for instance, have more that 1500 calories on the plate.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Speedom of Freach.

I'd been reading some articles on the rise of apparent fascism in the USA. A recurrent theme by commentors include statements like "If it was a dictatorship, you wouldn't be able to say that!!"

Err... Freedom of speech in the blogosphere era just adds a bit more noise to the background. For each comment made by an astute observor, add fifty spam blog posts; twenty astroturf blog posts; official news on Fox; reports on photographing famous people instead of covering the iraq war in national magazines.

Freedom of Speech is irrelevant when no one hears you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Political Aside

Being an Australian, it may be odd that I find the USA's political system fascinating. On the other hand, the USA is an enormous force in the world.

It wasn't that long ago I would have said "An Enormous force for good in the world". I'm not so sure now.

With Americans heading into mid-term elections, it is hard to understand why they haven't put their president in a cage yet. Torture is "Okay". Invading a country that had nothing to do with the Sept 11 terrorist attack is fine, especially if you lie about how it was involved and now say "oh well, we was wrong". Not understanding that the president is NOT immune to the law. Spying on your own citizens. The list grows.

Voting Republican in the states means a vote for torture

In Australia, chief Bush lickspittle is our very own Prime Minister, John Howard. Vote Liberal. Vote for Torture.

By my understanding, if Australian troops in Iraq have participated in torture they would have committed an offence against our law. If they knowingly allow US troops to commit these acts, they would have committed an offence as well.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

not a blog?
In a ThinkWeek paper, accepted by Bill Gates, and discussed with him before MSN even started publishing Spaces (more than two years ago), we (not just me, but MS researchers too) defined blogging as having five things:

1) Easy to do reverse-chronilogical content display. Type in a box and hit publish. New stuff goes at the top of the page. Old stuff moves down.
2) Discoverable. Through search engines (I listed Google, Technorati, MSN, Yahoo, and a few others). I specifically mentioned a ping server as infrastructure too, ala Technorati or IE, blogs are public. I would go as far as saying that a site that does not ping a pingserver, like, is NOT a blog (private Web sites don’t ping and are NOT discoverable by search engines).
3) Social. I can track when you link to me from another domain, either through search engines, through trackbacks, or through my referer logs. (I can’t be social with private cross-domain spaces).
4) Permalinkable. I can send you a link directly to a post. (I can’t do that with private spaces).
5) Syndicatable. I can use a news aggregator to read your content, which lets me read a lot more blogs. (I can’t do that with private spaces).
Now.. let's see how many I get right.
Reverse chronological order? Check
Discoverable in search engines? Err...
Social and trackbacks? Blogger has "backlinks"... apparently. This is too hard.
Permalinkable? Yeah, got that.
Syndicatable? Blogger provides an rss link.

Now, technically I should be able to go to the linked post and post a link back to this post -- I guess thats the "trackback" bit. But from seeing other sites, it seems to be more... automated than that for some sites.
As for discoverable... well, eventually. If you knew what keywords to use. Maybe.


Shoulder has started aching again, and forearm gone back to numb. Yay. Back to the Doctors. However, since surgery is the option left on the shoulder, I think I'll have to live with it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

needles update

Having a needle shoved into the bursa on your right shoulder is not as bad as I expected. I barely felt the needle going in, and just a slight pressure as Cortisone and the local were injected.

So far, I haven't noticed much difference: apparently it can take a few days before it takes effect.

Oh, and thanks to the nice person from Scotland who bought one of the PPU infant creepers :) I'm hoping that whatever CafePress charge for postage isn't too insane

Friday, July 28, 2006

Babies good for two things??

From Mark McClusky's Blog

Kristen and I were talking about the blogging thing the other day, and realized that the single best promotional opportunity is the cute little baby we have. After a little design work, here's what we came up with. What father could resist? Grab your own at Cafe Press.

(via Boing Boing) Babies are apparently good for marketing, but the Boing Boing link to the article was titled "Babies good for two things: poo production and marketing" -- so I thought it only fair if t-shirts were available for the OTHER thing:

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I have a lovely condition called "Bursitis" in my right shoulder. This is not fun at all, as it makes the range of motion of my shoulder smaller than it should be. Also, it hurts.

I've been taking anti-inflammatory drugs for the bursitis for over six months, however these don't seem to be improving the problem. Adding to the bursitis is a persitent "numb" (lack of) feeling I get in the hand and forearm. The doctor thought that it might be carpal tunnel at first, but a nerve conduction test showed that to not be the case. Nerve conduction tests, by the way, are done by doctors who get to zap electricity through their patients while trying hard to not laugh.

So.. I'll be getting a needle steered into the joint by using ultrasound, and then steriods will be injected in. This apparently has a good chance of working.

I hope.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

WTB [Bloghabit]

I find that adding posts to a blog is not an automatic habit as yet. It is something that needs to be learned, become ingrained.

My interests are fairly wide, which makes for a blog without a strong, single theme: there's writing, World of Warcraft, Computing, games and gaming... some politics sneaks in on occasion, and I read a few lefty blogs from the US: not extremely helpful here in Australia but interesting in that the US is now the only world superpower.

I'm a little concerned that the US executive decides that torture, well, it's fine. What's next? "Hey, poison gas is fine--if you object, you must support terrorism!!!"

Given the.. total lack of readers other than those using the "next blog" button, I'm really writing this for me. Ah well.

My 60 Rogue Telansa is getting a bit lacking for things to do: in WoW a lot of the feeling of achievement is in leveling the character. Once you hit 60 (until the expansion comes out) all there is left is getting better equipped... so that you can do the raids and instances to get better equipped. Or you go grind reputation with a faction to get the faction rewards that equips you better so you can etc etc.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

DDO is not WOW

I've been playing some DDO -- Dungeons & Dragons Online, that is. Stormreach (as it is subtitled) is an online, multi player version of the pen-and-paper (PnP) role playing classic. The game is a reasonable version of the 3.5 edition rules. But is it an MMORPG?

I'm familiar mostly with World of Warcraft. In WoW character progression is well done, there is a huge pile of content, some nicely balanced character classes (rough rule of thumb -- if all the class forums have complaints about their class being nerfed or no good, then they are balanced. Oh, and nerf shamans!), professions to gather resources and create things from those resources. A functioning trade system (Auction House), enhancement of items (enchants but also short-term enhancements such as poisons, sharpening stones). Guilds. Two sides (Horde and Alliance), which are also balanced. Quests lead to other quests. Grinding. Solo play and group. Items that get better and better and are worth fortunes.

DDO has.. err.. well.. its got characters. And adventures.

What doesn't it have? Well.. no professions. No gathering or manufacturing.
Even though group play is almost essential to progress (you have low level adventures that are soloable, but in the main the jobs need a group), there doesn't appear to be much to make people want to play with others.

Is it fun? Yeah, it is, but its more something where I can team up with my son and hit a few adventures. We're only level 2 (progression in this game is intensely slow, although the use of "enhancements" inside the levels was a brainwave) and hopefully by the time we hit level 3 we'll be able to get into some of the more challenging quests. The quests, adventures, scenario things is it, and if you don't mind that in the game I guess it would be enough.

What does DDO need?
Gathering and Manufacturing or customisation of things would be a huge boon for this game. Some MMORPGs can point to their crafts as a big play point -- Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest, E2, WoW, EVE Online -- they all allow the players to make things that then have a value elsewhere in the game. DDO has nothing. If there were alchemists (able to make Cure Light Wounds potions, for instance) EVERYONE would want to be one. DDO has players collect a few different artifacts (Mushrooms, Prayer Beads, pages from a research journal) and these can be traded to "collectors" for some nice(ish) loot. Why not instead allow the players to combine mushrooms into potions, or prayer beads into an enchant on some piece of gear?

Some content that isn't in a sewer, basement, abandoned warehouse -- how about out in the open? Mind you, we aren't that far into the game, perhaps that is coming.

PvP or duels. Or both. I don't play PvP much on WOW, although I used to -- lag time from Australia to the US WOW servers is bad for PvP (plus I suck) so for me it isn't much of a priority. But to enhance the game it would be great to be able to duel it out with another player, or even have a "Capture the flag" or "King of the Hill" type arena.

Bad guys. Everyone is either of Good or Neutral alignment. Where are all the bad guys?? Strangely, the coming patch will include Drow -- Dark Elves are evil, so I'm not sure how that will work.

Some way to stop the scenario frustration -- we did one quest three times over and just got pissed off: if you killed too many Kobold Prophets you failed the quest. Since the Prophets mixed in with other Kobolds, it made it hard to avoid them, and since when you swing a weapon it rolls to hit everyone in your range we killed too many over and over again. When I'm playing a game that takes an hour I don't want to get into yelling matches with my son over who killed the last prophet: a "stun" effect that doesn't do damage would be good. Maybe I should have leveled the sorceror instead of the warforged barbarian.

There's a content patch coming in July, and we're only a little bit into the game. Hopefully we'll find its worth the money we're paying for it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Back again

Okay, I'm guilty. I didn't update here for quite a long time (last post was way back on April the 6th).

Some of the reason for that was sheer laziness on my part. This blogging stuff is hard work. I won't even pretend to get a huge number of readers -- fact is that I doubt anyone comes here at all. If you are here and have a read, Hi!! Post a comment so I know you were around :)

Another reason for me not being here was.. well.. I wasn't here.

Blogger had decided I was a spam blog. Their robot locked me out, and that was it. I had to send a "please unlock me" message to Blogger. What I didn't know was that my page would not automagically reappear, but that I had to come into the control part of the blog and republish it.

Now, why did I appear to be a Spam Blog? I don't know. My past posts about Spam Blogs maybe? My links from other sites? My links to other sites?

In any case, the nice people at Blogger must have reset my blog, and so I'm glad to be back. I'll try and keep this site more up to date in future.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Gates of AQ opened...

By ... someone?

And here's a shot of my interface as well :)

Friday, March 03, 2006


but I have a tendency to believe that if one must have a two-party system (and for some unfathomable reason, apparently we in the US must), the best scenario is when the executive and legislative branches are controlled by the opposing parties. That way neither party gets everything they want and by and large the public is served by their need to compromise to get anything done.

from Whatever

from 2003!!

And so true. Here in Australia, for the first time in decades, on the federal level the Government (currently the Liberal party (Australian conservatives) ) will have control in both the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament (that is, the House of Representatives and the Senate). We don't have an "executive" branch, but the party with the most seats in the lower house is the Government. The leader of that party is the Prime Minister. For the lower house, the person who gets the most votes (done with a cascading style of voting) gets the seat. The Upper house, however, uses a much more complicated proportional representation method. And so it is easier for the "third" parties to get seats.

This means that compromise happens. It has to. To get the laws through, the Government has to either deal with the opposition (which it does a lot more than would be expected) or the third parties who have the balance of power.

But now (or soon) the Government will have a clear majority in the Senate. No compromise is necessary.

We are all screwed.

Friday, February 24, 2006


So.. what is this then: ?

Found on

Interesting flash, but very little information so far.

Friday, February 17, 2006

brrreeeport runs around the net (and a book report)

Robert Scoble makes a suggestion for bloggers to put the non-word "brrreeeport" into their blogs, to test out the search engines. And away they go!

Not only was it taken up quickly by his fans, but it appears a number of splogs have used the keyword as well... Interesting to see where this leads.

Books: Just finished Cell by Stephen King. It was... not what I expected. Okay, let me put it this way: If the author on the cover had been some other name, and (for some reason) I bought it, it would have been an enjoyable read and I would have noted that writer for future purchases.

But with Stephen King on the front, I want more. I felt a bit let down, that he hadn't given his all to this book -- on the Amazon site there are a few opinions about it being a rehash of The Stand. Err.. no. The Stand was a multiple POV epic, spanning months. Cell occurs over a short timeframe (a week? two?) with a single character viewpoint. This makes it a tighter read, but I felt the character of Clay wasn't developed enough. He needed a few more flaws -- he's an artist who draws comics. They're mentioned a few times and then that topic is left. No one pops up who recognises his name, he wasn't famous as an artist.. it's as if the comics and the portfolio he is carrying at the start were just a prop to chuck as soon as he could. He's seperated from his wife, but the why isn't apparent.

I liked it, but I wouldn't say it was a favourite.

WoW: My character is level 52 now and has 300 skill in Tribal Leatherworking. I just spent three quarters of my gold getting one recipe (Devilsaur Leggings), which I won't be able to make until I can kill multiple giant dinosaur things... Not going to happen soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Good writing advice

Given that I already read Scalzi's "Whatever" blog, it was nice to see a link to it on Coding Horror, which is another blog I read. Holy bloglinking, Batman!

Have to remember a few things. One, write more on this blog; Two, write more in general. Oh, and three, eat less kilojoules, lose weight and avoid the currently high risk of getting Type II Diabetes in the next five years. Yeehaw!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I've loved these pictures ever since seeing them on John Scalzi's website (whatever).

I'm posting this one mainly to link from elsewhere (hehehe):

Friday, January 13, 2006

Blogrolling, linking, trackbacking

And a number of other things I have no idea how to implement.

On a help page here on Blogger I find the idea of "Hey, add your stuff to blogrolling and add links with that!!!11!". Great. I make a Blogroll account, add a couple of blog links (it's not like I read only a couple) and then go into the "add the blogroll to you blog" information. Okay. Copy some Javascript.

Copy it where? Oh right.. into the Template. So... err.. where? In the link section? Okay, in it goes.. and ... it doesn't seem to do anything.

Hmm.. I go into the help: "See the documentation with your blogging service". Okay, off to Blogger's help.. which doesn't help much at all.

I'll figure it out eventually, I guess. Luckily, there IS a Netvibes backup method that saves your links to an XML file. If I could work out how to import this thing, it would help.

EDIT: Well.. as is now obvious by the huge list to the side, I've worked it out (or.. its working now and wasn't before). Woot.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bouncing around the web

The Reg is the Wikipedia vandal you can't revert.

I don't bother with The Reg anymore. I only went there for the BOFH, but all the latest by Simon have been crap. Actually, since number 14 or whatever they've been pretty tame.

I'm using to aggregate RSS feeds... which is fantastic except for the slight problem I have now -- I have 39 feeds I'm subscribed to. If they're all open, it fills a couple of screens with links, and often, they are to the same place.

One of them is, which apparently is a useful place. I wouldn't know. In netvibes, when you click on MOST of the feeds, a floating window frame thing opens with the rss published text inside it. You may only get a bit of the article (on Blogger you have to choose to publish the whole article in your feed, so I understand the WHY of this), but you generally get some idea what the link is about. Digg however opens a new window. And this window generally contains nothing except for another link, usually to someone ELSE. Fantastic. To make it more fun, say I read the article in the link on BoingBoing. I have that linked in netvibes. Then I see a link on Ed Bott's blog (another netvibe link). Two links. One back to BoingBoing, the other to somewhere else. So I go to the other link (Thomas Hawk) who links... to BoingBoing. Sigh. AND to himself (this article). Gah.

I guess this is all part of the fun :/