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July 30, 2004

I'm shy

Yikes. I seem to have made it into InternetNZ's annual report, just in time for today's AGM. The photograph I ended up sending them was taken by a school friend nearly four years ago.

[Listening to: The Right Time -- The Corrs -- Best of the Corrs [Australia Bonus Track] (04:08)]

In other electoral news, I finally found out today a friend got elected to a general position on the student union executive (congratulations!), and the results of the last JSF membership votes are available.

[Listening to: Only When I Sleep -- The Corrs -- Best of the Corrs [Australia Bonus Track] (03:51)]

July 27, 2004

Reworked spam filtering on greta.electric.gen.nz

Well, after some very constructive user feedback on greta.electric.gen.nz's spam filtering setup, I've learnt one thing: don't try using pipes in Exim on an under-powered box for your SpamAssassin filtering. You'll end up sending out lots of timeout bounces to people who try to send you mail, not to mention spotty mail service, while some other messages will freeze.

And in my stupidity, I discover that the reason SpamAssassin wasn't being invoked by amavisd-new was that it's disabled by default in Debian, as far as I can tell.


At least that means I hopefully don't have any more bounces. But now that it's fixed, I have a backlog of mail longer than my arm or any other form of exaggeration I can come up with.

Well, I think it's fixed, now. I believe there's a good chance it won't be, if the load averages stay high enough. But I'll find out in the morning.

[Listening to: Would You Be Happier? -- The Corrs -- Best of the Corrs [Australia Bonus Track] (03:26)]

July 26, 2004

TypeKey not quite working here

Yes, I know that TypeKey authentication on the power house is broken. Apparently I'm not supposed to use the comment spam filter I've installed with Movable Type 3.01D, but Movable Type overall didn't complain when I upgraded, so I left it there, and took the consequences.

Hopefully the upgrade for the current releases of Movable Type is released soon. I need a cure for apathy, too.

July 24, 2004

McDonald's wireless

I was at the Lower Hutt McDonald's for lunch today, and discovered some teenagers being let loose with Windows-based PDA handhelds (I assume that these had wireless options taken up and enabled) to take orders in the inclement weather. Later, one of the two assistants (perhaps because they didn't give her a jacket to wear) was back inside taking orders from walk-in customers. The interesting bit was one man trying to pay with a credit card (using the handheld). No such luck -- yet. He had to use a counter terminal instead. (Now, all they need is cheap wireless in some of their outlets -- preferably using my favourite wireless provider where they can, naturally.)

[Listening to: Lifting Me -- The Corrs -- Best of the Corrs [Australia Bonus Track] (03:59)]

A crazy day

Wow, those EDUC 312 readings are intense. And then I still haven't decided if I'm going to the Kohanga ball tonight yet. Then when I got told that I appear in the newspaper, having had a crazy day overall, I thought at first perhaps someone got arrested and tried to use my name.

Anyway, the conversation goes something like thus. Mark asks did you see yourself in the Herald? I wonder if someone's misidentified me with my NT namesake (that's the Northern Territory of Australia, not a certain Windows OS flavour) politician person -- and no, I'm not related to any politician in Darwin -- and that last time I thought I appeared in the paper was two years ago on the Dominion Post's second day of publication. Mark then advises me that the New Zealand Herald's Web week column people have been looking around the power house:

One big blog: This tech blog seems to run on for ever with postings about all sorts of issues affecting its owner and the world of technology at large. Good for infrequent browsing.

Run on for ever? Now that's a new one. Though it's probably accurate. :) Perhaps I should actually write about electricity policy at some stage. Education theory and policy is far more sexy at the moment, though... (I wonder what good for infrequent browsing means for this site? Not that I expected anyone to read this, but cool if they do, hey?) :)

Anyway, for those who have been visiting, I should probably mention pretty much the same thing as David: I don't update this blog every day or anything, and it varies a lot between random irrelevent rants and occasionally politics and even more occasionally some vaguely technical notes. Occasionally. However, I should add that I am more likely to wonder about education issues more than geeky stuff nowadays. After all, it is more, uh, attractive for me to write about at the moment. (Which reminds me, my Jabber server's JIT gateway is still apparently stuffed, even though the daemon happily restarts on demand. Oh dear.) There's also the minor issue at the moment that, for example, <q> and </q> tags don't have any effect whatsoever in IE at the moment. Though (in a slight plug) Mozilla browsers (and other clients) do.

But what is this diary about? Firstly I don't like the name 'blog' or 'weblog'. This is more of a diary to me, than a, uh, 'log', though more public. I write about random stuff. I have an interest in both education and teaching issues, and the odd geeky thing I've learnt (all of which culminated in me joining the InternetNZ council, where I keep an eye on all sorts of stuff, but most of all education issues). I also tend to write long soliloquies like this one over the course of a few moments, instead of several small entries. Go figure. I probably should write more about this, but I'll leave it until later.

(In the meantime, I wonder if I'm one of the 4 out of 6 that fishy knows? Small world, I know. Mmmmmmmmmmm.)

The best part about this whole exercise, though, is that I've discovered some interesting (figurative) neighbours. Groovy. And thanks to the New Zealand Herald, too. Ka kite. :)

In other news, I've done my JSF membership voting for this quarter. Mostly renewals that were solid, but still a pleasure as usual. Which also reminds me, I need to check on that Wiki of mine and somehow force it to allow self-created logins... either that or I just let anyone edit, but then I need to keep an eye out for vandals... I can't ever win. Oh yeah, DPF's little dabbling in wireless networking reminds me of the Network Stumbler sessions I've had lately. Compared to a few months ago, more and more people have discovered turning on encryption is a damned good idea, but still a fair lot of people around The Terrace through to Lower Hutt aren't doing it yet. But at least the majority are now, compared to my Network Stumbler logs from March. Essentially, the police's and New Zealand Herald's Auckland conclusions pan out in Wellington, too, as far as I can tell from my limited trips. Home users really do need to note that their networks need better-than-defaults setups. Or maybe they really do want their broadband bill to be at risk, just to make things easy for them? :S (And no, I didn't try to get free access off any AP.) Oh well, off to bed, now. :) Enough of a mega entry. Really. :)

July 22, 2004

School notes

Not much time to write, but a note to say that I'm still here, and Jabbering when I can! :)

Well, I've had my first four lectures and first two tutorials for the new (sort of) trimester (why the heck VUW chose 'trimester' over 'semester' is beyond me, as people not familiar with non-maternity-related uses of the word tend to give me odd looks) for both EDUC 229 and EDUC 312. I'm finding the papers informative (already 229 has stretched my views on life challenges for youth and how they might cope with stuff), while 312 is giving me new viewpoints on ethnicity, building on the stuff I caught up on at WCE.

On that note, it's likely I'll be visiting WCE today with the Kohanga people.

Which reminds me, I need to put in my JSF membership votes in, quick smart! :) Looks like it's a good list to look at, as usual.

July 12, 2004

Back at school

I'll be starting Education classes tomorrow, with EDUC 229 (Young People, Education and Media) and EDUC 312 (Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Education Aotearoa), so I won't be writing so often as I used to. Possibly not at all, even. Alas.

EDUC 229 seems to be the most exciting of the two, as it's more relevant to my interests at this time.

I've also got some wish to tinker with Jabber and spam-related stuff (the latter through InternetNZ) more often, plus work on some youth and media interests, another reason this will probably take a back seat. :(

[Listening to: Tending The Happiness Tree -- Amber Claire -- Love and Such (03:57)]

I'll be back, soon enough, though. :)

Without advertisements

I've had some fun coaxing Gmail into displaying their advertisements and related pages links next to e-mail messages, lately. Seems like it's great for mailing lists one reads -- the links provided tend to be relevant. But when one gets to personal e-mail messages where one discusses a variety of topics, it starts going all over the place a little. The personal e-mail message I'm looking at right now has stuff as varied as concert tickets, and related links to constitutional bans on marriage in the US, something on when Star Trek meets bad psychology, and something on constitutional authority in the US, none of which were relevant at all.

Here is an example of Gmail's Sponsored Links and Related Pages sections.

[Listening to: Without You -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight (03:00)]

The spam filtering, however, isn't doing David Goldstein's mailing list (which I administer) too well yet. For sure it'll get better, but in the meantime, the odd message is still getting tagged as a false positive.

On Jabber-related things in my life, one of my transports is currently down. The JIT one seems to be acting up, marking itself 'offline' and not budging despite a restart. No time to look at it carefully at the moment, unfortunately. Hopefully later in the week, even though I'm back at school.

[Listening to: Song To The Siren -- Amber Claire -- Love and Such (03:46)]

July 2, 2004

David gets a pay rise

Well, we never did have a report on the spam workshop in the end. But not to worry. We got some good discussion in on other matters.

Speaking of which, earlier in the day (before lunch), yes -- we did vote DPF and the other officers a pay rise. And it wasn't a case of stuff being passed around -- from what I can tell, the nature of DPF's job, for example, has changed, but the president's especially.

But I don't like talking about money. So I'm leaving it there.

[Listening to: Disc 02, Track 13 -- Philip Pullman -- The Amber Spyglass [Dramatisation] Disc 2 (03:56)]

Things to do with a CityLink connection

One is to check out the streaming CityLink webcams. They appear in almost full motion, as far as I'm concerned. Top webcams I think are the Zephyrometer and Cuba Mall ones -- at Cuba Mall, one can see the 'don't walk' light on the traffic light currently located in the middle of the image flash in pretty much full motion. Mmmmm. (Well, in truth, it's not full motion, probably 15 frames per second, looking at it in an offhand way, but motion enough to see planes start to descend in the Zephyrometer webcam, and people's leg movements in Cuba Mall.)

It also seems to work well with Jabber in terms of latency. Most lag now is on the cable modem (and the associated firewall) that greta.electric.gen.nz hides behind.

But in the meantime, I'm eagerly awaiting the video clip streams from the spam workshop from R2.

(On another note, before the Bearcom forget, the latest photo shoot has Albert overeating SPAM, and regretting trying.)

The more important thing, however, about being here at InternetNZ today is, of course, the council meeting. We're currently looking at the Interop Programme, not the spam stuff yet. But I think this is a good thing -- we need the funding stuff sorted, quick smart.

InternetNZ council meeting

I'm at another InternetNZ council meeting. Nothing out of the ordinary, apart from two proposals from the previous meeting getting a mention. I'll write about them once the minutes go up, as time permits.

Pete (our executive director) is to giving us a summary of the spam workshop after a five minute break. Should be interesting.