Saturday, October 30
The Aussie punters (and the bookies) had the Australian election picked, so let's hope they're on form again:
Big Aussie bets on Bush: CentrebetThe spread in Australia was much wider, at $1.16 for Howard and $4.50 for Latham, but I'll still read this as a good sign.
WHEN it comes to punting on the United States election, the big money in Australia is on George W. Bush.
Online bookmaker Centrebet said after its $1.9 million turnover on the Australian election, mainly local punters had now broken through the $500,000 barrier on the November 2 US poll.
The biggest bets so far had come from Australian punters, Centrebet said, with two of $50,000 and another of $30,000 – all on Mr Bush.
Mr Bush was at $1.45 and Democrat challenger John Kerry $2.50, the bookie said today.
Centrebet said unlike most elections it was finding the US poll hard to predict because little money was being wagered by Americans, who were not familiar with the online agency.
(Hat tip to commenter JPB over at, uh, yes, Tim Blair)
The Palm Software Store is having a 25% off sale (which has the nice effect of turning US-dollar prices into Aussie dollars) so I hopped over there this morning and bought most of the software I been trialling, including Facer Launcher (an applications manager), Palmary Clock (a, well, a clock, but it does everything you could imagine needing from a clock, like multiple alarms at different times on different days with different sounds, so you can play Reveille at 7 on Monday morning but have a gentle pip-pip-pip at 8:30 on Saturday, plus sunrise and sunset times, phases of the moon, and so on), Pocket Tunes Deluxe (a good, if not especially remarkable, MP3 player), Warfare Incorporated (which is Command & Conquer for your PDA - or, if you have a long memory, Dune 2) and of course PDAmill's indispensible Snails (wherein two opposing snail armies reduce each other to escargot using everything from handguns to nuclear missiles).
Eh. Anyway, in return for my $130, I got a bunch of emails and some links where I could download the full working versions.
Total human inolvement (apart from me, the customer): Zero
Total environmental impact: Well, I leave my computer on all day anyway, so: Zero.
Total irreplaceable resources used: Zero.
And yet I have a collection of wonderful new tools and toys, and a bunch of small companies in America and Europe have my money. I'm happy, they're happy, and all that happened is some photons went from Australia to America, and some other photons came back the other way.
Friday, October 29
Via Tim Blair, this piece from the New York Times of the Southern Hemisphere:
Trailer trash: fightin' mad, want DubyaIt does get rather better from there, fortunately, with a decent explanation of the Jacksonian tradition. But the sub-editor who wrote that headline either (a) has a very fine-honed sense of irony or (b) is a complete idiot. And I know where my money would be.
One particularly overlooked group will keep the White House Republican next week, writes Peter Hartcher.
On the face of it, it seems ridiculous that George Bush should have any chance of re-election next week. He is the first president to oversee a net loss of jobs in the US economy since the Great Depression. He has led his country into the most controversial war since Vietnam.
With the American election cycle now nearing the end of its fourth year, it's worth taking a look at how one other country* handles this sort of thing:
PM set to announce electionI repeat: Six weeks would be a longer-than-usual campaign and it would be the first time since 1984 that a federal campaign would run for that long.
Sunday, August 29, 2004. 12:05pm (AEST)
Prime Minister John Howard has left Government House after discussing the date for the federal election with the Governor-General, Michael Jeffery.
The election is likely to be held on Saturday October 9, six weeks from yesterday.
Mr Howard will hold a press conference at 1:00pm (AEST) and Labor leader Mark Latham will respond soon after that.
Six weeks would be a longer-than-usual campaign and it would be the first time since 1984 that a federal campaign would run for that long.
The election is likely to be fought on the domestic front - families, the economy, health, education, environment and truth in government.
But Australia's role in Iraq will also be a major issue.
The Labor Party needs to win eight seats from the Coalition for the Howard Government to lose its majority.
It will be a tightly fought election, with recent opinion poll results showing little difference between the major parties.
* Cough cough.
The distribution of votes for the Fishing Party in Queensland has handed a fouth Senate seat in that state to the National Party, who together with the Liberal Party* form the Coalition, which is John Howard's party, i.e. the good guys.
You've got to love Australian politics.
* Which is, of course, the conservative party in Australia.
Thursday, October 28
Wednesday, October 27
Miss me? Wondering where I've been?
Well, let's see:
Picked up some nasty tummy bug the same day our internet connection went out at work and didn't get properly fixed until 8pm (not good when you're setting up to become an ISP, even a virtual one). Went down to Melbourne to visit my nephews, where after a week of mid-Summer weather in Sydney (highs apparently over 40 degrees in some areas) I discovered that warm weather here does not necessarily translate to warm weather there. Survived on toast and vegemite for four days, after which the tummy bug surrendered unconditionally. Bought a bunch of comic books. And some roast chestnuts, which I hadn't had before. Strange things. Came home. Read said comic books (including vol. II of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which frankly, I don't think is really all that special). Rebuilt my Linux box (finally) which, despite requiring me to update 405 packages, went completely smoothly. Linux box now has everything RAID-5 or RAID-1 again, with two independent RAID-5 arrays, one of them hot-swap (at least in theory), and direct fan cooling for every disk drive. (It also currently has the case open and a 30cm fan pointed at it, as used by the Australian Government.) Bought a Palm Pilot (Tungsten T3; I looked at the reviews of the T5 and decided I liked the T3 better). Nice toy; adequate screen, as opposed to my old Pocket PC, which was definitely inadequate. If you get one, though, you need to be prepared to spend another $50 to $100 to get the software it should come with, as the software it does come with is crap. It works, it just doesn't actually do anything. Kind of like MS-DOS, which never crashed because there wasn't anything there to crash. Discovered that without a memory card the Palm is largely retarded; you can't even put an MP3 on it. In fact, its handling of files is retarded; it wouldn't know what a file was if one bit it. So: ordered a 1GB SD card online. They're cheaper than you think. Went to Animania on Saturday. I thoroughly enjoyed it last year, when it was held at UNSW, my alma mater if old undergrads can use the term. This year it was at the Sydney Town Hall which despite boasting an impressive pipe organ didn't seem as good a venue. More central, at least, since it has its own railway station. Unfortunately, I sat right up front near the stage for the cosplay competition. Why unfortunately? Because they had this sort of catwalk thing this year, and all the contestants spent their time out on the catwalk, either facing directly away from me or with the host blocking my view. The judges for the event were on the opposite side of the catwalk, so I guess that made sense, but it didn't make for good pictures. Also, the shutter lag on my Sony P85 is a killer for action shots, unless you like looking at girls' bums. Which I do, but seeing their faces once in a while is nice too. Got my 1GB SD card, and immediately filled it with music. Couldn't find my albums by thingy, whatsername, they're not there! Maybe I never ripped them to MP3s? Oh, Deborah Conway, that's who, maybe if I look under D?* Put those on there too and I have, oh, 11MB left. Battery life, like the screen, is adequate; it doesn't go flat in a typical day's use as an MP3 player and a Game Boy substitute while I'm on the train. (Who buys these things to take notes?) I found one of the Seven Magical Fish of Isola, too, but then the invisible Zinger got me. Deleted a thousand spam comments from all across MuNu. And then a yacht ran into the Opera House. As Simon knows, I work only a couple of blocks away from there, and there were ambulances and fire engines running about like ants when someone's kicked their nest over. And then the main entrance to Wynyard Station was closed for some reason, so I had to go round the corner, up one block, and in the top entrance on Clarence Street along with 97 million** other people and one of the escalators was closed and the other one was turned off.
And now I'm home.
And you? How have you been?
* Yes, D. Yeah, I know. Shut up.
Thursday, October 14
Richard Dawkins is a moonbat of the first order. And the editors of the Guardian are insane.
Tuesday, October 12
Team America doesn't open here until December 2. The Incredibles December 26. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow not until February 3.
From today's The Age:
Labor has not had the moral imagination to respond to the conservatives' radical agenda.The conservatives' radical agenda? Well, in this day when the radicals have become reactionary, that's might not be as silly as it sounds.
The article is the usual pathetic whining of the losing left - the author "lectures in sociology at the University of Melbourne", which should tell you all you need to know.
This item from the same paper, titled "Face it: Latham has failed", is rather more in touch with reality.
This from the official blog of the Australian Greens:
Right back atcha, guys!
Submitted by Virginia. on 11-10-2004 10:42 PM, in the category
Apologies for the fact that idiots exist.
Obviously the re-election of the Liberal Party has given some of our redneck pals the guts to come out of the woodwork. Apologies to people who attempted to read and/or post to the comments section of the blog today, and found themselves redirected to boring (and badly-designed) right-wingery.
As I'm sure you know, a redirect script is a terribly impressive and complicated thing to program, and makes you look really cool.
Anyway, comments are off until I can put aside my election hangover for long enough to deal with the minor problem it presents - I guess this is just practice for life under our newly-minted undemocratic democracy.
One of the things I've most been looking forward to once the elections are over and Howard and Bush have been returned to office with increased majorities is the complete screaming meltdown of the left.
Still three weeks to go for the American and global meltdown, but here in Australia it is already under way. WhackingDay has the goods.
Sunday, October 10
With 8.35% of the primary vote and 4.39% of the two-party preferred vote counted, the Australian Electoral Commission is calling 6 seats for Labor, 14 for Liberal, 5 for National (so 19 for Howard's Coalition) and 2 Independent.
There was a strong early swing against Labor due to the forestry workers in Tasmania, and it looks like the Coalition has picked up one, possibly two seats there.
9.34% primary, 4.81% preferred counted.
7:20 PM: Click!
11.98% primary, 5.96% preferred counted
So that's 33 for Howard, 12 for Latham.
Well, early days, early days.
My DNS server isn't responding. Wah?
19.10% primary, 9.49% preferred vote counted.
They've taken one of the Tassie seats off the Libs and put it back in "doubtful", though.
7:33 PM And remember, it's not just Australia that's voting today. Afghanistan is going to the polls too. Thanks to, well, you know.
20.37% of the primary and 10.39% of two-party-preffered votes counted.
And remember, the Liberals and the Nationals are in coalition, so it's 55 for Howard and 32 for Latham.
How do they count these things so fast? It's not like they're particularly simple, and they're not computer-based or punched cards.
26.57% of the primary and 14.44% of the preferred vote has been counted.
28.67% of the primary and 15.65% of the preferred vote counted.
The Coalition has 62 of the 76 seats it needs for a victory, and there are still 44 seats in question. I think it's a pretty safe call for a fourth term for John Howard.
But I'll be back in five minutes anyway.
31.83% primary and 18.47% preferred counted.
Labor 40 (yep, they went backwards)
Looks like a national swing of around 2% to the Coalition, so they will likely be returned with an increased majority.
Not only have I lost the CD cases for my original Sims collection - which have the license keys on them - but I've lost the file I created that I put all my license keys in. Poot. Oh, no change on the election in the last five minutes.
Not much movement now, as the marginal seats won't be called for one side or the other until a lot more votes have been counted. Labor has picked up 1, with 38 remaining undecided.
However, the Coalition need only 9 of those 38 to win, whereas Labor would need 34. I'm seeing the Coalition picking up an extra 5, maybe 7, seats compared to last time. (And they already had an 81-65 majority.)
While we wait for something to happen (like the votes coming in from Western Australia), the ABC is predicting 85 seats for the Coalition (up 4) and 62 for Labor (down 3).
Mark Latham has conceded. John Howard is once again Prime Minister of Australia.
Well, today is voting day here in Oz. Voting doesn't finish for a few hours yet, due to Perth, which is always running late. And so, in a few hours, we will know.
Are we in for a fourth term of John Howard's decent and sensible (if unremarkable) leadership? Or will I spend the next four years apologising for my government?
I plan to go to sleep tonight without checking anything anywhere, and then tomorrow morning I'll take a look at Tim Blair's site. And spend the day re-installing my Linux box, either way.
My Windows box seems to... Work. Yes, I have it booting to a RAID-5 volume. Writing to RAID-5 is rather slow - the benchmark I ran only gave me 12MB/s. But reading from it, I sustained just on 100MB/s, which is all you're going to get from a standard PCI slot. Overall, not unhappy, once I got the BIOS and the drivers sorted out. (Yes, the drivers were also immensely sucky.)
Friday, October 08
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