Tuesday, June 14
I forgot to (a) set my new modem to respond to pings and (b) create a NAT rule for SSH. So now I can't home from work.
(Yeah, most people are happy with being able to work from home, but I'm a nut for symmetry.)
Monday, June 13
| You scored as Natural Causes. Your death will be by natural causes, though not by any disease, because that is another option on this test. You will probably just silently pass away in the night from old age, and people you love won't realize until the next morning, when you are all purple and cold and icky.|
How Will You Die??
created with QuizFarm.com
And all this time I'd been planning on dying from proton decay.
Sunday, June 12
I've noticed lately that separatist sentiment has been on the rise in western Canada, what with the government being hopelessly corrupt and the eastern provinces being happy that way. I was reflecting that such a situation is hard to relate to as an Australian, when I was struck by a thought.
The general idea is for Alberta and maybe Manitoba and Saskatchewan and who knows, British Columbia, to break away from Ontario and the Maritimes and then, um. Form their own nation? Apply to join the US?
Heck with that. Join Australia. You know it makes sense. You have the snow, we have the beaches. Both rich in mineral resources. Both sparsely populated. Both have funny accents. Both love beer. Both have mooses... No? Okay, scratch the mooses.
And in part two, what we do is - get this - sell South Australia to the Japanese. It's not like anyone's using it. It's two-and-a-half times the size of Japan, and has roughly one hundredth the population. They'll love it! Okay, they're kind of broke right now, but we'll take payment in Playstation 3s and anime. Or they could join the Commonwealth of Australia, the Good Bits of Canada, and Japan. (CoAtGBoCaJ.)
Where's the downside?
Saturday, June 11
Had huge problems with my internet connection today. Drop outs, freezes, packet loss, data corruption, you name it. Tried everything. Checked ISP forums, no-one else seems to be having trouble. Disconnected, reconnected. Reset. Powered off. Unplugged the phone. Swapped cables around. Nothing helped. Sometimes it would work fine for, oh, several minutes, before melting down again.
In a final fit of desperation, I swapped my old reliable modem for a new ADSL2 unit I'm supposed to be testing. Of course, that meant I had to configure it from scratch with all my NAT rules and such.
And waddya know, it works. Not sure I'll recommend it though. The modem we currently sell has a wonderful diagnostic feature that tests everything that could possibly go wrong and gives a nice little report. It's an absolute life-saver. "Okay customer person, now click on Diagnostics and tell me what it says... Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Fail. Right, that means your password is wrong."
This one doesn't have anything nearly as good.
Meanwhile, somewhere along the line, some episodes of Mahoraba that I was watching last weekend managed to corrupt themselves. That makes me kind of twitchy, because the files were fine when I watched them. Things that make you go urk.
And even after I'd patched them up with Bit Torrent (which is brilliant for that - it checksums the file in 256k blocks and then only downloads the corrupted or missing parts) - even when they were all happy again, WinAmp wouldn't play them. And it did a week ago. Some digging around suggests that it's choking on malformed VBR audio, but it worked a week ago. And Media Player plays the files just fine... And a week ago, Media Player on my computer would crash on startup.
I hate computers.
Um, anyway. Cool toy of the day is Azureus, an extra-nifty Bit Torrent manager written in Java. It's just the thing for downloading your 200 hours of anime a month. It can even show you an animated diagram of all the packets going back and forth between you and the other computers in the swarm. Azureus works particularly well when you aren't suffering 90% packet loss.
And it has a little blue frog. Every computer needs a little blue frog.
Thursday, June 09
I'm only posting this in my Cool category because I don't have an Unbelievably Mega-Cool category.
Now, admittedly, I can't quite see my house:
But that doesn't mean -
- that I can't see your house:
(Click on the images to get some idea of how much detail is available.)
World Wind brings the entire planet to your desktop. Currently Windows only; I hope that will change, because everyone should have this.
Thank you, NASA. Umpteen squillion dollars and worth every penny.
(And thanks to bjornart on the mu.nu forums for pointing me to this.) more...
Wednesday, June 08
Glenn Reynolds thinks the US Senate is a bunch of communists. "I have here a list of 100 communists in the government", Reynolds said today, a clear reference to the 100-member upper house.
"Fortunately, the blogosphere is more careful", Reynolds added. Yes we are. more...
News about the situation in Zimbabwe - from a Zimbabwean.
Tuesday, June 07
We had the famines in Ukraine. (7 million dead.) We had the Great Leap Forward in China. (30 million dead.) We had Cambodia. (2 million dead.) And Uganda and Angola and Ethiopia and Somalia. And now it's happening again.
President Robert Mugabe's onslaught against Zimbabwe's cities has escalated to claim new targets, with white-owned factories and family homes being demolished in a campaign that has left 200,000 people homeless.If that last paragraph doesn't send a chill up your spine, then you weren't paying attention during the 20th century.
Across the country, Mr Mugabe is destroying large areas of heaving townships and prosperous industrial areas alike.
The aim of this brutal campaign is, says the official media, to depopulate urban areas and force people back to the "rural home".
Yes, Mr Kothari. And what do you plan to do about it?
Across Zimbabwe, the United Nations estimates that 200,000 people have lost their homes, with the poorest townships bearing the brunt of Mr Mugabe's onslaught. "The vast majority are homeless in the streets," said Miloon Kothari, the UN's housing representative. He added that "mass evictions" were creating a "new kind of apartheid where the rich and the poor are being segregated".
Earlier, bulldozers had begun wrecking the adjacent industrial area. Ian Lawson, the owner, was assured by a senior police officer that the site would be spared.God may not be able to help. But a few hundred UN troops could.
But at 6am last Tuesday, 10 lorries filled with police arrived and the destruction began.
"The police officer said to me 'Why are you running for help? No one can help you now. Not even God can help you. We are going to destroy this place'," said Mr Lawson, 60.
If they weren't too busy raping goats.
Virtually all the areas singled out for demolition voted for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the last elections. The MDC says that Mr Mugabe ordered the destruction as a deliberate reprisal. But the regime is also seeking to depopulate the cities, driving people into the countryside where the MDC is virtually non-existent and the ruling Zanu-PF Party dominates.Subsistence agriculture - if they are lucky. Mass starvation, more likely.
The Herald, the official daily newspaper, urged "urbanites" to go "back to the rural home, to reconnect with one's roots and earn an honest living from the soil our government repossessed under the land reform programme".
And this time, no-one can say they didn't know.
(via Tim Blair)
Burning the homes and businesses of the citizens of your country, forcing many others to leave their homes at gunpoint, and arresting journalists that are trying to cover the event, and that's just in the last week. So what would a country have to do to not be considered for a position on the Human Rights Commission, or is it even possible to be a big enough abuser of human rights that you may not even qualify? I was just wondering.I'm wondering too. Hell, even the Guardian is wondering:
In April, Zimbabwe was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Commission for the third year running by satirically minded African states...Gah.
Monday, June 06
Gratuitous puppy picture:
Little Cafe Mocha is a cocker spaniel / shih-tzu cross. He's one of a litter of five, along with brothers Oreo, Dingo, Jack Jr. and Bob. Picture courtesy of Scarlet on the mu.nu forums.
vs. the Zombies.
Sunday, June 05
There are at least three types of DVI connector, even though they all do exactly the same thing. On the other hand, two plug-pack transformers can have exactly the same plug, even though one provides five volts and the other twenty-four.
Small electronic gadgets are surprisingly resilient in over-voltage conditions. But I still wouldn't recommend doing that.
I was recabling my computers because the space under my
dining table desk had turned into something of a R.O.U.S. nest. In the process, I managed to plug my USB hub into the plug pack for my old Logitech wireless keyboard. (Not the new old one, but the old old one.) It survived, assuming that all the lights are supposed to be lit up all the time.
I haven't got my new flashy keyboard working yet. It doesn't seem to like being connected through a USB hub, which will be a problem since I plan to get myself a little KVM switch - one of these; it supports DVI, so there should be no loss of picture quality. But if my keyboard won't work with a USB hub, it probably won't work with a KVM switch either, which kind of defeets the porpoise.*
Meanwhile, my intended new ISP turns out not to provide static IP addresses. I've always had static a IP address, since way back in 1996, so I didn't even think to check.
Damn. That will really screw things up.
* If you ever wondered why porpoises live in the ocean, well, it's because they don't have any feet.
Friday, June 03
And about bleeding time too. I've been waiting for someone to do this for years. Its so bloody obvious, but the few attempts that have appeared on the market have been absurdly - almost criminally - overpriced.
It's a battery-backed RAM disk on a PCI card. The actual interface is SATA, so it works as a standard disk drive without any drivers; the PCI slot just provides the power. The battery is good for about 16 hours, which should cover most power failures, and it looks like it would be easy enough to plug in something beefier if you needed it.
Best part? Well, two best parts. Three.
One, it doesn't come with any memory. In previous cases (the unlamented Platypus Technology cards, for example) you had to buy the card with memory already installed, at a 300% markup, and you couldn't upgrade it later.
Two, it uses ordinary DDR RAM, which is cheap as a very cheap thing at the moment.
I want at least three of these puppies. And another three for work.
Mark Steyn echoes one of my points on the European constitution:
One of the most unattractive features of European politics is the way it insists certain subjects are out of bounds, and beyond politics. That's the most obvious flaw in Giscard's flaccid treaty: it's not a constitution, it's a perfectly fine party platform for a rather stodgy semi-obsolescent social democratic party. Its constitutional "rights" - the right to housing assistance, the right to preventive action on the environment - are not constitutional at all, but the sort of things parties ought to be arguing about at election time.Exactly.
Amnesty International recently completed its spiral into irrelevance when it called Guantanamo Bay "the gulag of our times". Rusty Shackleford has a powerful and disturbing article on the true nature of the gulags:
Ten percent of the entire population of the Soviet Union lived in the camps.The Red Cross at least had the decency to deny that one of its representatives accused U.S. authorities of being "no better than and no different than the Nazi concentration camp guards" - which suggests that they realise there is a difference.
The Gulag administration was the largest single employer in all of Europe.
The average life expectancy of a camp prisoner was one winter.
At least twenty million people perished in the labor camps during Stalinâ€™s rule.
Will Amnesty International show similar decency? It seems unlikely.
Thursday, June 02
I've put in the forms to switch over to my new ISP, iiNet, so sometime next week I will be reduced to using dialup for a couple of days.
Following that, though, I will be running at a zippy up to 8Mbps! That's more than five times what I get at the moment.
But I will have to somehow survive on just 80GB of downloads per month. That's only, what, 200 hours of anime?
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