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October 23, 2007

Some more photographs

I still can't say yet exactly what's happening with my scanning project yet, unfortunately, though it's heading along the lines of good news at this stage. In the meantime, here's some more photographs to keep everyone occupied and believing that I'm really alive still at Penn State. Really. Anyway, here they are:

  1. There's this really nice statue outside the Business Building at Penn State.

    I was rather taken aback by this statue outside the Smeal College of Business. The building itself uses a lot of glass windows, and methinks is quite pretty in places.

  2. There is some random fountain, outside the Forum Building.

  3. I was lucky to catch the sunset outside Sheetz, on North Atherton Street, State College, one evening.

    State College and University Park are very fortunate to have some very pretty sunsets through the year, sun or snow. Rain, too -- sometimes.

  4. Notice something about the bookshelf labels?

    I was at the local Barnes & Noble in State College, and the person with me and I noticed that Love & Sex and Sexuality were both next to Addiction/Recovery.

    Oops, maybe?

Anyway, that's probably enough for now. And I'm still alive. Yay! More photographs later!

September 26, 2007

Back already

Sometimes I wonder if I do forget that I'm back in the United States. Proof that I know I am, though:

  1. The first reason is that I visted Stanford University.
  2. I also visited Tempe, Arizona, which is incidentally one of Lower Hutt's sister cities. So here's a random photograph from Tempe.

I'll put up some more photographs soon, and hopefully I'm allowed to make some announcements on what I'm doing next for my book scanning work.

Hugs!

September 14, 2007

All together now...

... it's that time again, kids!

Vote early, and vote often! (Whomever you vote for doesn't bother me that much. And no, I'm not saying vote multiple times and get yourself done for electoral fraud. I hear it's not particularly nice to get caught doing that.)

July 17, 2007

Captions without pictures

OK, Time managed to do what I initially didn't think (easily) possible -- write about lolcats (and I Can Has Cheezburger?) without really showing one (not counting the one at the top of the online version of the article, which doesn't appear to me to be an example, and if it actually is, it's not as funny as other lolcats out there).

(Tonight, someone mentioned to me about the ICANN Has Cheezburger! one. Which reminded me, as I spotted at least one InternetNZ person in the photo and the photo credit to a InternetNZ I know that it's AGM time, once again. Pity I'll be in Dunedin on the night. Yay for proxies!)

April 30, 2007

Another patch in the works

Oh, brilliant. I'll need to load up another blasted time zone patch, so my computers back in NZ don't get too confused. That's in addition to the one I already had to install for dealing with the US changes, too.

Now, will all the major operating system vendors issue patches in time for the 4,182,612 people that will be directly affected by this, I have no idea.

Sigh.

February 21, 2007

Hackers fake Howard heart attack

I just got a rather large stack of spammy e-mail messages saying that the John Howard we all know as the prime minister of Australia just 'survived' a 'heard attack (sic)'. Another says a 'hear attack (sic)'. Yeah, whatever. I'm not the only one to get the spammy/phishy e-mail messages, though. There's other variations of the e-mail message, and it's been happening for a while.

Sigh.

February 4, 2007

Nailing jelly to the wall

Tried nailing jelly to the wall? Don't bother, the advice would appear to say.

It'd appear the exception is to be found in concentrated jelly cubes. Which, last time I checked, one can't find in NZ. Those just stick to the wall, but can be nailed, anyway. But, as the advice author says:

This is called "cheating".

Another reminder, after going to see the Vagina Monologues for WMNST 205 last night: I should be studying, I should be studying, I should be studying... [instead of looking at articles on nailing jelly on a library laptop!] Anyway, the play was an interesting empowerment of women's sexuality -- because it took not only a positive look, but also a multicultural look at sexuality, including, well, rape.

Not a bad week overall, then. Lots of study has been done. Yay!

But there's still more to do.

Sigh.

December 25, 2006

A reason for me to finish packing sooner

I've been packing so busily I didn't realise it became Christmas Day less than twenty minutes ago; I really should finish soon so I can enjoy it (and to sleep first, perhaps). At least that's what our Santa-friendly US-Canadian military agency's NORAD Tracks Santa service just posted, even with some videos:

This is another sign that I should hurry up packing. Not only does the site have videos, they still run a phone-in service. Well, if you live in North America and can get at the toll-free line. The live tracking map, however, either isn't ready yet or shows Santa really hasn't left the North Pole. Heh.

Damn. I should be packing for Penn State and Celebrate quicker.

Merry Christmas!

On other interesting (depending on personal preference, I guess) news, any volunteers to go over and check (and add) the hyphenation and macronisation (for the te reo Māori section) in Hinemoa: with notes and vocabulary, as I get it converted in to an e-book through PG/DP?

December 8, 2006

Hinemoa's story is now/not available for proofreading

Well, you'd better hurry if you want to go to Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders website to help proofread Rev Henry James Fletcher's Hinemoa: with notes and vocabulary. (Why bother to mention it? It's the first book on the DP site with Te Reo Māori claimed as the primary language.)

So far, it's looking like it will have the fastest first round proofread cycle I've ever seen on the site of anything I've uploaded (not counting a book that was around 5 pages or so I previously uploaded).

Or, if you don't want to proofread it, you could just download the PDF scan of Hinemoa instead. The whole book comes with a glossary (the book appears to be pitched as a textbook for English-speaking learners of Māori language and culture) and some sort of quick summary of the story in English; methinks one would find the entry on the Hinemoa story in the 1966 edition of the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand also useful.

(It's not the only other book in PG or DP that I can find that's in Te Reo. You'll find Edward Shortland's Maori Religion and Mythology floating around DP at the moment; it doesn't claim Māori as the primary language. That appears to be the only other one I can find right now on either website, however.)

Enjoy!

Celebrate '06 maps

Almost everything's sorted -- I'm leaving for this (and next) month's Celebrate conference in New Orleans just after Christmas. There's one other thing I'll be doing while in the USA which I'll write about later when that's sorted as well.

I don't know if I'll get any book scanning done while I'm away, but I've had a couple suggestions from other Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders users to consider visiting to help with book sorting or scanning. I hope I do have time to make that happen, and I hope last week's uploads aren't the last for while I'm away. We'll see.

And, to, uh, celebrate going... I've made some simple maps of CESCM "Celebrate! At the River" 2006 conference venue -- and nearby airport. Take a poke via Windows Live Local, Google Maps or Google Earth. (I've also added the addresses of two of the groups mentioned in the conference schedule: the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra -- mmm, jazz -- and Shades of Praise, an interfaith gospel choir, though I've no idea where the actual venue for their events will be. Both look quite exciting, so can't wait to hear them both, especially the former, when I seem to waste a lot of my DSL traffic quota each month listening to ABC Australia's dig Jazz station.)

It might be worth noting that when putting up Google Earth folders for other Google Earth client users to download, file types might need to be added in some cases to make life easier. On Apache 2, it most likely will be as easy as two AddType lines in one's .htaccess: AddType application/vnd.google-earth.kml+xml .kml and AddType application/vnd.google-earth.kmz .kmz ought to do the recommended file type trick. Useful to prevent browser questions, if anything, at least for IE7.

November 30, 2006

And finally, the books

All right, so I took like twelve days to get around to filling out the basic bibliographic information, but finally, the two parliamentary papers (well, books, really) I've just uploaded are the Report of the Chief Librarian, General Assembly Library for the year ended 31 March 1958 (Special Centennial Issue) and the Report of the National Library Service for the Year Ended 31 March 1958; the latter has already been converted into HTML for Project Gutenberg, too. Both were, of course, like most if not all other papers in the AJHRs, Presented to the House of Representatives by Leave.

Thanks to the New Zealand Parliamentary Library for telling me what their birthday was by pointing me to their centennial annual report. I ended up using the two above plus their 1925 annual report as birthday texts (their birthday, that is) on Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders proofreading site. For the record, the library tells me their birthday (albeit in the predecessor name, the General Assembly Library) is 20 September 1858, when that institution we all know and love (or not love, as the case may be), the Parliament of New Zealand (or, again, at the time, the General Assembly of New Zealand in Parliament assembled) appointed a certain Major Francis Campbell as its first librarian.

Methinks now I'll move back to the morality and juvenile delinquency inquiries and texts I usually scan (or find scans of). Problem is deciding what to do next, and means. Case in point is Contraception, sterilisation and abortion in New Zealand: report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. I'd like to scan it, but problem is, it's 454-odd pages. That means major spine bending if I do, and I don't exactly want to go damaging a book or report (this one's both, I guess) that isn't mine. Same goes for the Mahon Royal Commission's report (or, the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Crash on Mount Erebus, Antarctica of a DC10 Aircraft Operated by Air New Zealand Limited), though not a sexuality- or morality-related text. That one's shorter at 166-odd pages and may be manageable, but there's the problem of the full bleed (edge-to-edge) photographs. That'd make them become difficult to scan -- they are spectacular though for colour photographs of the time and make a compelling part of the report, so I do need to include them. Plus there appear to be copyright notices on some graphs and diagrams, especially near the end of the report (I'm told these are erroneous claims that wouldn't hold up if challenged, but them notices are still there nonetheless, and methinks that I do need further confirmations on those before I scan them; I could scan them without the graphs but I'm also told those diagrams and graphs are important factual documents I can't exclude for balance reasons). The spine's size I imagine might make it easier to scan, however.

Sigh. But I'll figure something out eventually, I'm sure.

But a lot of it is to do with money for equipment. You can't exactly easily run a scanning project, even as specific as mine, on a shoestring type budget. And to make the spine issue (which many of us have have ever gone scanning or photocopying large books are all too aware of) and those curved lines of text less obvious requires better scanning equipment like the OpticBook. (Either one of these kind of scanners, or a really expensive scanning service like the Heritage Materials Imaging Facility -- but use of their top-of-the-line Cruse non-invasive scanner is rather expensive with a per page price, the VUW NZETC tell me!) Quite likely it'd be prohibitive for an individual person like me.) Maybe a contestable fund like what Russell Brown suggests might help here. Either that or winning the national lottery. As Russell puts it:

Develop a simple, contestable fund to allow individuals and groups to have public archive content digitised on request, thus extending decision-making power to the people who will actually use the content. Make all such content available under a Creative Commons licence, thus developing an on-demand archive in parallel with any archive developed as part of an official strategy.

(This idea of his was written in response to Creating Digital New Zealand: The Draft New Zealand Digital Content Strategy: Discussion Document. If you wanna comment on this very wordily-titled discussion paper, you'd better hurry. You've only got three weeks; the cover says Comments due by Wednesday 20 December 2006.)

As for why I took so long to post this, hopefully I can announce why come Monday next week. Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, maybe. Or I'll forget to anyway... I'll see.

And finally, the books

All right, so I took like twelve days to get around to filling out the basic bibliographic information, but finally, the two parliamentary papers (well, books, really) I've just uploaded are the Report of the Chief Librarian, General Assembly Library for the year ended 31 March 1958 (Special Centennial Issue) and the Report of the National Library Service for the Year Ended 31 March 1958; the latter has already been converted into HTML for Project Gutenberg, too. Both were, of course, like most if not all other papers in the AJHRs, Presented to the House of Representatives by Leave.

Thanks to the New Zealand Parliamentary Library for telling me what their birthday was by pointing me to their centennial annual report. I ended up using the two above plus their 1925 annual report as birthday texts (their birthday, that is) on Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders proofreading site. For the record, the library tells me their birthday (albeit in the predecessor name, the General Assembly Library) is 20 September 1858, when that institution we all know and love (or not love, as the case may be), the Parliament of New Zealand (or, again, at the time, the General Assembly of New Zealand in Parliament assembled) appointed a certain Major Francis Campbell as its first librarian.

Methinks now I'll move back to the morality and juvenile delinquency inquiries and texts I usually scan (or find scans of). Problem is deciding what to do next, and means. Case in point is Contraception, sterilisation and abortion in New Zealand: report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. I'd like to scan it, but problem is, it's 454-odd pages. That means major spine bending if I do, and I don't exactly want to go damaging a book or report (this one's both, I guess) that isn't mine. Same goes for the Mahon Royal Commission's report (or, the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Crash on Mount Erebus, Antarctica of a DC10 Aircraft Operated by Air New Zealand Limited), though not a sexuality- or morality-related text. That one's shorter at 166-odd pages and may be manageable, but there's the problem of the full bleed (edge-to-edge) photographs. That'd make them become difficult to scan -- they are spectacular though for colour photographs of the time and make a compelling part of the report, so I do need to include them. Plus there appear to be copyright notices on some graphs and diagrams, especially near the end of the report (I'm told these are erroneous claims that wouldn't hold up if challenged, but them notices are still there nonetheless, and methinks that I do need further confirmations on those before I scan them; I could scan them without the graphs but I'm also told those diagrams and graphs are important factual documents I can't exclude for balance reasons). The spine's size I imagine might make it easier to scan, however.

Sigh. But I'll figure something out eventually, I'm sure.

But a lot of it is to do with money for equipment. You can't exactly easily run a scanning project, even as specific as mine, on a shoestring type budget. And to make the spine issue (which many of us have have ever gone scanning or photocopying large books are all too aware of) and those curved lines of text less obvious requires better scanning equipment like the OpticBook. (Either one of these kind of scanners, or a really expensive scanning service like the Heritage Materials Imaging Facility -- but use of their top-of-the-line Cruse non-invasive scanner is rather expensive with a per page price, the VUW NZETC tell me!) Quite likely it'd be prohibitive for an individual person like me.) Maybe a contestable fund like what Russell Brown suggests might help here. Either that or winning the national lottery. As Russell puts it:

Develop a simple, contestable fund to allow individuals and groups to have public archive content digitised on request, thus extending decision-making power to the people who will actually use the content. Make all such content available under a Creative Commons licence, thus developing an on-demand archive in parallel with any archive developed as part of an official strategy.

(This idea of his was written in response to Creating Digital New Zealand: The Draft New Zealand Digital Content Strategy: Discussion Document. If you wanna comment on this very wordily-titled discussion paper, you'd better hurry. You've only got three weeks; the cover says Comments due by Wednesday 20 December 2006.)

As for why I took so long to post this, hopefully I can announce why come Monday next week. Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, maybe. Or I'll forget to anyway... I'll see.

November 18, 2006

Anyone for a real debit card?

For some years, I was aware that Westpac New Zealand were (past tense) offering a Visa-linked debit card, which from what I was able to tell, they called a 'cheque card'. One of those you can actually use online or over the phone, that is. But they weren't offering it to new customers. Now, in the guise of something called Westpac Debitplus Visa, it's present tense again.

(These appear to be the cards with a Visa logo and hologram and the word 'debit' under the logo.)

At $10 per year, linked to a current account or cheque account, it seems quite nice. 2.5% for the foreign currency fee is a bit on the high side, though. If one gets enough mailorder stuff from overseas or actually goes overseas often enough, there probably are cheaper options (taking into account the foreign currency charges) for a bit more in terms of the annual fee.

On the other hand, I don't tend to like credit cards myself, so this is somewhat attractive. I wonder why though the banking system here hasn't tried to popularise it -- maybe the EFTPOS system is too lucrative a revenue stream (in Australia, some banks appear to offer Visa-branded debit cards as a way to avoid EFTPOS charges) to give up, if it is lucrative at all? I've no idea. With the low or no fee transaction accounts already here in NZ, though, that doesn't seem to me to be a reason for not having them already.

No young ones getting the card, though, if one defines younger than 18 as young.

Disclaimer: I'm not being paid for, nor have I been asked to write the above. Heck, I'm not even a customer. I think.

October 31, 2006

The pains of deciding on a cellphone call plan

So, BestMate was actually an 'add-on' to Vodafone NZ's newly-released Supa Prepay plan (the wording kind of made this obvious beforehand, though), and not the main offering. But before one signs up, best to look at one's usage patterns. Steve Biddle has written thoughts on Supa Prepay, reminding us that it may not be suitable for some prepaid customers, while Matthew Robinson looks at the text messaging add-on, prepay crediting requirements and why he thinks that it's only now that something new is being offered. Comments following only assume prepaid accounts.

If one makes lots of calls of one or two minutes to multiple people and in-network or to landlines, it seems not worth bothering, as Steve points out the rounding used (per second after the first minute for Motormouth, Anytime and Nights & Weekends; nearest minute -- I'm guessing upwards -- for Supa Prepay), note to mention 49¢ (Motormouth) versus 89¢ (Supa Prepay and Anytime). If one's calls are longer than about 4 or so minutes, however, a $2 two hour cap might be an incentive. Overseas calls change things a little, but not much. There's no in-network or landline restriction on Supa Prepay, however. It's possible Nights and Weekends may also be appropriate; there's no in-network or landline restriction there either. But such in-network restrictions can be solved by (depending on one's circumstances) getting another phone on a similar prepaid plan on the only other cellphone network, or a second plan (and thus, account) on the same network.

So, without add-ons, unless one does actually do calls longer than about 4 minutes or doesn't want to complicate their life with a second phone (on another plan or network) or SIM, there won't be much point.

With the add-ons, the text message offer ($10 for 2000) is in-network only, which means trying to con as many friends as possible on to the same network. That's not always possible. While Telecom NZ's $10 for 500 plan has an allocation a quarter of the size, there's no in-network restriction. They also offer a in-network $10 for 1000, though. (The most I've ever really done with a push has been about 200 or 300 all networks in a month.)

Credit minimums are a little iffy for low-volume users as well. 365 days for the existing plans versus 90 days. The number's 365 day validity stays for all plans, however.

As for the other the BestMate add-on, I've already noted that it's not worth my bother given my usage.

Overall, nice idea, but doesn't suit my usage. Oh well. But I understand that it's quite possibly an attempt to lift ARPU, as Steve Biddle talks about in his diary entry.

That's enough from me on phone plans for a while. Talking about commercial products (no, I haven't been paid for or asked to write the above) in the way I have for the last few days scares me. I'll just stick to some more news articles as I usually do, now. At least I'll try to.

Sigh.

October 30, 2006

More on Vodafone's 'BestMate' plan

Only a small snippet confirming what I found yesterday: that it's all-you-can-whatever voice and video calling and text messaging to another in-network (Vodafone) number, for $6 a month. The message appears on Vodafone's customer service site. I guess it does guarantee them, to some degree, some cashflow, revenue, or whatever the exact word is.

(Unfortunately, they don't list the last modified date on the question so I can't see when it was 'accidentally' (or apparently so) leaked, which would help determine the age of the information, but according to the UNIX date hidden in the URL, it was created on 1161052238, or 17 October, in the early afternoon NZ time. Assuming the $6 statement has been there since then, that'd be amusing in that this is linked to from the bestmate.co.nz viral marketing site Vodafone set up -- see the FAQ JavaScript-based popup link in the bottom right corner of the front page.)

The page also gives a URL for the plan's fine print. Doesn't work yet, and the HTTP last-modified headers for the general prepaid fine print say they were last uploaded on 17 May.

Again, I'm not sure I'd bother, as I tend to spread my usage among several people. It's nothing against the product -- it just doesn't fit my usage patterns.

October 29, 2006

Lots of hands, lots of disinfecting gel sort of stuff

Two more stories before I head to bed, both unrelated to the other:

  1. What's next? If politicians use disinfecting handwash stuff to clean their hands after shaking hands with crowds, perhaps it'll be disinfecting lips after kissing babies next.

  2. Archbishop defends faith schools (BBC) -- it's surrounding the controversy of a plan compelling new state-funded faith schools in England to take up to 25% of pupils from outside the religion.

    It's interesting as I recall there's a similar provision for 'non-preference students' in New Zealand's state integrated schools, pretty much most of which are Catholic. As far as I know, many if not all of these schools have a non-preference quota in their integration agreements, given though that I've never actually read any of these agreements.

'Prepaid' credit cards, finally!

Kelvin Yong writes that gift vouchers, in the form of a prepaid Visa card, will soon be available from New Zealand Post under the name 'Prezzy Card'. So it's not really a credit card per se in terms of getting a credit line, but given for some people the difficulty of getting a credit card, it might become useful -- it's apparently to be accepted in most places as per a 'regular' Visa credit card.

At least it appears, according to the FAQ, that one won't need to buy it online, which would probably need a 'real' credit card in turn. Phew.

It's a pity that it is specifically not reloadable (as per the fine print), thereby requiring effectively their $5 activation charge for a new card every time one's card is finished. For someone forced to use it for every day transacting, it'd start getting rather expensive, unless they were able to load a large amount of money each time. (Assuming the $500 maximum loading on a card, that $5 each time, the loss of interest on the blocks of $500, one's actual ability to stump up with $500 at a time each time, once one reaches about 3 or 4 cards, one might as well try really hard for getting a 'real' credit card -- credit card annual fees are as little as $15 a year or $18 a year to $25 a year, or $35 with rewards points, if one likes those.)

Not only does just that stop me from getting one for more than just amusement value -- the product's expiry date is just (at least) a year, and there's a 3.5% foreign currency transaction fee, when most banks are around the realm of 1.75% (half that of this card's rate!), 1.85%, 2%, 2.1% 2.25% 2.5% or 2.5%, as far as I recall. On the other hand, it might be worth considering getting one for higher risk transactions -- one's number would have to change often, if the card's not reloadable. Then again, I can't imagine many people using it for overseas travel. In that case, it seems there may be a more favourable option in the form of TravelMoney (also from Visa). The for at least a full year statement with regard to its validity/expiry period that's mentioned on the card's home page puts me off the most.

Overall here, I think it's a good card for a 'first mover' in to the market to use marketing speak.

I'd be interested to see what denominations of preloaded values end up being available, or whether it could be determined largely arbitrarily at time of purchase. Of course I wouldn't want to have a large amount loaded, but equally I wouldn't want to have to change often, were I to get one for purchasing reasons (as opposed to present giving reasons). The home page, though, suggests it can be between $25 and $500, but doesn't say exactly what particular values can be loaded.

Interestingly, they have a partner of sorts in the venture, so I'm guessing, like their Good Call prepaid calling card, it's probably some sort of reseller/resale arrangement with said partner (in Good Call's case, it's some people called CardCall, and in this case, some outfit called WildCard Systems). They're using some of their subsidiary Kiwibank's systems though, it seems, if the private bag number for Prezzy Card disputes is the same as Kiwibank's.

Now, why don't any banks here (Westpac did, I hear, but they aren't taking any new customers) do cheque cards, or transaction account-linked 'credit' cards? If they did, I wouldn't have a particularly desperate need for a credit card anymore. I don't really need the credit, but I'm forced to get it, and the risk that comes with it.

Delving deeper in to the product's fine print, there are some nice ones that that I haven't mentioned yet. If the card's worn out, it's a $20 fee (which also applies if one's lost it, which seems fair enough). Also, one can't use it to get cash out of a money machine or while at a shop, nor use it for gambling websites (the latter sounds like something to keep the post office's US-based business partner out of trouble).

Overall, in a naive sense, I hope it helps encourage people not using credit cards for credit. It sounds like a fun thing, too. Maybe I'll get one anyway for amusement.

Another reason I mentioned it here is the usefulness of (overseas) travel, should I do that in the future. Useful as a backup, but I have no idea if I could get a card replaced while overseas. Perhaps yes, but maybe way more than the stated $20 fee.

$6 per month for Vodafone's 'BestMate on Supa Prepay'

Sick of the viral marketing that's making you say 'just bloody well tell me'? Well, some folks at a local electronics store (whom I'm guessing other locals will be able to identify from the pictures below) decided to put out their (possibly still embargoed) marketing collateral for Vodafone NZ's supposedly brilliant (I haven't I should add pass judgement on it yet, and I've got no idea if it is, really, but I'm not a marketer) new BestMate™ on the new Supa Prepay plan (yeah, they write it with the trademark symbol, even in the press release, heaven forbid), for their prepaid cellphone customers, a little early (as far as I can tell).

So, if the sign is to be believed, it's 'Call, video [call?] and TXT' one's nominated best friend for $6 per month. I'm guessing that the $6 wouldn't allow reciprocal calls or text messages back without the other friend person also paying six buckazoids to Vodafone as well. It doesn't suggest how many so-called best friends one can, uh, have. It might also be one of multiple options. I don't know. Heck, I've no idea how open a secret this is, anyway.

Makes it quite interesting for people who mostly send text messages to one other person, as it then effectively trumps Telecom NZ's 2007 $10 for 500 text messages plan.

[I would have uploaded the photographs as indicated, but all three of my usual points for uploading photos seem oddly broken. I'll try again later.]

[Update (6:18): Looks like I've managed to get one of the album sites to upload. Sigh. Took a while.]

Here's closeup of the operative part of the sign, which basically tells us to call, video call and send text messages to our 'BestMate' for '$6 a month'. And here is a detail from another of the photographs. The person holding another person seems rather odd to me. The full album might be useful, too. Lastly, here is a slightly blurry overview of the whole sign.

Yeah, the man holding the woman in his hand seems mildly odd to me. I'm trying not to make a resistant reading of that.

Would mobile number portability actually get around to happening? Vodafone claim that it's happening next year, but the same statement has been up for a while. Then again, Telecom says they'll have it sorted to launch, of all dates, on April Fool's Day next year.

I hope that's not a joke. I'd like just to see a few more points of competition. Portability would help.

October 21, 2006

It's the telly -- no wait, it's the programmes they watch... no wait, it's...

Whoever said New Zealand's biggest threat was a moral decline? Maybe even a moral decline thanks to dodgy television programmes and dodgy films? (And with that, dodgy by whose standards?) Anyone thought of all those screens of varying descriptions wasting childhoods? Sometimes it isn't totally the blame of the media or the programmes carried on the media -- it's the use of the media, too, to some extent.

The NZH also run an intergenerational comparison on the abovementioned topic.

Of course it's dangerous to get blinded by one factor, so I won't venture more in to this particular debate.

Other things -- I'm planning a study trip at the moment. For those that don't already know what, I'll mention it if (and once) all the details fall in to place. And Klaatu's Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft is currently playing on my Pandora.com station. Hmmm. I liked the Due South version that they did; it just seems to sound different now.

New on hydro.electric.gen.nz is my take on the 'new' tabbed browsing feature in IE7. It's all right, but tabbed browsing did take a while to get added as a feature (for those our there not having been pestered or nagged by Windows yet to install IE7 yet -- if you're using the operating system at all, I've left the original message window available). Loading third-party solutions (OK, so one was engineered in the form of Microsoft's own Windows Live Toolbar) just isn't my cup of tea for tabbed browsing.

It's a pity that I find Firefox's memory leaks in its current releases on some of my systems at home a little bit too much.

October 19, 2006

Two years later, the toy dinosaur's still there

Looks like the Flintstones-style dinosaur (Dino?) is still on White Island's crater webcam two years and (nearly) five months later. When its existence was first reported, GNS said that they hoped Dino sticks around for a while, but we doubt he will have the staying power of his ancestors. The acid environment on White Island gives plastic a fairly hard time.

Uh, well, as of today, it's still there on the White Island crater webcam. Courtesy of HTTrack and hydro.electric.gen.nz, some captures from the webcam for posterity:

The White Island Volcano Crater Webcam from 1.00pm on 1 October, 2006, on hydro.electric.gen.nz, not GeoNet.

This compared with earlier. To me it probably means not a lot, and not a lot's changed, but I'm guessing to a geologist, a lot has. Except the dinosaur hasn't received an acidic demise yet, assuming she or he ever will any time soon...

The White Island Volcano Crater Webcam from 10.00am on 24 May, 2004, on hydro.electric.gen.nz, not GeoNet.

October 14, 2006

Something to probably not get a child under 36 months for Christmas

Well, chances are you don't want to be getting a new Tickle Me Elmo toy that appears (albeit to me) to have the potential to hurt a young toddler. But look at its moves!

Methinks that I want one too.

September 8, 2006

Now, if only...

...Google Maps had street level coverage of my street. (Now, if you don't want my mini-essay which I wrote for my own amusement, you may want to skip straight to the thoughts I have on my latest batch of scanning for S27(1)'s scanned books collection. Hehe!)

They do do street maps -- it's just got no satellite imagery at street level for my suburb and then some: a good chunk of Lower Hutt is missing from the coverage (at time of writing).

With the new address to location translation on offer, it would be nice if the, uh, hole (no pun intended) in coverage were fixed. (Incidentally, the Windows version of the Google Earth client isn't much better when looking at Lower Hutt [see also below]; it appears to currently use the same data set as Google Earth for Lower Hutt -- you could also try these same coordinates in Google Maps if you can be bothered.) If it were, maybe I could put together some nice mapping stuff.

But then, there's a million other mapping websites with New Zealand coverage around, with at least one with apparently better street level aerial coverage (as in no holes in coverage, actual image quality being another matter -- hey, at least it's consistent!), and most that I use for every day purposes are developed in and for the local market here. That's not to mention the city council's property information database has really good images of individual properties. Some, though, concentrate on street maps as opposed to aerial maps or satellite imagery, but make up with their trip planning features (two, Metlink and Yellow Pages, claim they do walking directions, too).

I wonder if I should re-learn some programming to get myself away from all the stuff I'm doing for graduate school for a nice little bit of recreation and perhaps do a localised mapping thing (Jabber map stuff sounds like an idea here) for amusement.

Anyway, here's what Google Maps currently looks like to me with its gap in street level satellite imagery coverage when I search for Lower Hutt. Here's a closeup of what Google Earth sees of Lower Hutt at the moment -- note the change in detail. Now, here's the extent of the gaps in street level coverage of Lower Hutt in Google Earth at the moment; it's currently the same as Google Maps.

And, another book scanned

On other matters, I scanned another book today. Yay for high speed multifunction photocopiers that e-mail on stuff in PDF! Which while I'm on that subject, I've done the same for a few other books that will be released on to Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders on September 20 as birthday texts for proofing.

I'll announce what those ones are closer to the day, but in the meantime, I've scanned A Plea for the Criminal (1905). It's a response (and on first skim through while scanning it, a critical response) by an ordained minister to a book I got through PG earlier that sounded to me like something on eugenics, and that went by the name of The Fertility of the Unfit (1903).

I'm debating if I want to have images up as I've done so previously, or just have the PDF (that the photocopier spat out at me) available -- or both. Feedback would certainly be appreciated on this. (Thanks in advance!) If someone wants A Plea for the Criminal before I get around to properly posting it online, let me know and I'll either email it through somehow, or actually get around to posting it. I blame grad school for my lack of alacrity. Heh.

It doesn't mean that my attempts to find additional sources for material to scan (legally, of course) that is Section 27(1) compliant is bearing some success, necessarily, or even at all -- I do hope it does -- but I have found some stuff that should keep me occupied while I do look for things more relevant to my grad school study and research -- though today's scanned book is very much related in some aspects (say, related to the eugenics stuff someone found in a text I'd also scanned and put through PG).

ibiblio server move

The wonderful folks (ibiblio) that host Section 27(1), the dr-fun-changes mailing list, this diary you're reading right now, the SCM e-book editions, and even some teddy bear satire (which I must admit is not really being updated at the moment, partly due to worries over chewing up ibiblio's precious disc space), are having some stuff happening from Saturday, 9 September at 10am (NZST) until Sunday, 10 September at 10am (NZST). Apparently there may be some interruption in service; mail will be down for a wee bit and I won't be able to post, but the site should stay up.

One more time, thanks people for the hosting! Trying to host lots of scans of books to show the publisher's original intent (something I don't think a formatted e-text like what Project Gutenberg do) is rather (though methinks for the value of the intent, not unreasonable or overly onerous) disc intensive (not to mention slightly more demanding on bandwidth and traffic if you get the Slashdot effect or even a comparatively minor 'Public Address effect'), so everything's appreciated. :)

August 31, 2006

Sold your phone lately? Or checked your antivirus program lately?

So, you erased the information as the manual said? Seems like flash memory on phones is a little bit more resilient than you'd want it to be in this situation. Also from MSNBC today:

  • Write an e-mail that actually gets read -- one (opinionated?) person's view on the matter.
  • I'm glad my only potentially difficult encounter with a cell phone company (Vodafone New Zealand) over a billing issue (I was happy to pay the money in this case, I should add, so there wasn't a dispute there) wasn't hard to solve -- one phone call and I never (as they promised) heard back. Apparently it's no fun at all in a certain other place. Mirroring that, credit reports aren't either.
  • Last up for me, there's a debate about the ethics of creating variants of viruses for a consumer test. This is an interesting one -- I can see how creating variants can help antivirus vendors develop better heuristic logic and so on, but it just doesn't seem right.

I've also had a bit of an enlightening day on some new sources of volumes for scanning from for the Section 27(1) books today. If it comes to something, I'll write again.

August 5, 2006

'Free', again

One thing that pleased me about Movable Type 3.3 was that licensing terms were reverting back to free for personal use without any blog or user restrictions. Hmmm. Cool. Oddly, I still remember previously when it had a similar personal licence.

August 2, 2006

Parachute!

No, not that Christian music festival, but the fun 1980s hand held game. I wish I'd still had my copy of the game. It was rather good fun -- when the button batteries were fitted.

I never had a copy of Donkey Kong, though.

August 1, 2006

Goldenhorse and Avril Lavigne

OK, I didn't know that, at least according to Pandora, that Goldenhorse's cover of I'll Never Know (on She Will Have Her Way: The Songs Of Tim & Neil Finn) is 'similar' to Avril Lavigne's Complicated (on Let Go).

July 30, 2006

Irn-Bru!

Yeah, Cool Britannia is still hitting the wallet, but not so badly this week. Just a 300-millilitre can of Irn-Bru soft drink (the Glasgow-made version of which is apparently banned in the USA!) this time. $3 (or, about £1 at the moment), though? I must be crazy, but then it's not like I do it once every month. :) Now, if only there were a similar American groceries shop around here too... hehe. And, on an earlier, slightly unrelated note:

For those who haven't noticed yet, the Bear Committee have previously got Kabecca Kenby-Bear the Kiwi to review a bottle of Irn-Bru purchased at New World Metro in Willis Street.

July 23, 2006

Another reason to waste money

I now have another reason to pretty much waste money -- the other one being paying the post office to collect newly-released postage stamps -- Cool Britannia, the English-Scottish-Welsh-Irish 'grocery' shop (really, just a pile of really nice sweets, lollies and general minor household goods) has opened their second branch. In Lower Hutt. My first visit to their new store was rather nice (and it's very well laid out like their Wellington store, which I also adore). I only picked up a $5 quarter of sherbet oranges this time, split in to a paper bag and another (airtight) cellophane one, so I was quite merciful on my budget this time. They (the sherbet oranges) are quite nice, so far.

My wallet is in trouble. Gulp.

[Cross-posted at LJ.]

July 20, 2006

More books soonish

Hot on the heels of finally getting my Jabber server back up, I'm settling on a few possible books to put on the S27(1) and PD Books pages. At this stage, it'll possibly be some of the documents surrounding An Act to specify the circumstances in which contraceptives and information relating to contraception may be supplied and given to young persons, to define the circumstances under which sterilisations may be undertaken, and to provide for the circumstances and procedures under which abortions may be authorised after having full regard to the rights of the unborn child (or, the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 for short). The related Royal Commission inquiry report might be a bit of a push with my current time commitments, so I'm considering a look primarily at the select committee reports instead. I am, nonetheless tempted to try scanning the Royal Commission report. Time will see! :)

I'm still also looking in to some 1950s-era stuff (such as Mazengarb's report, of course, but I think at this stage that I've covered the vast majority of what I'm interested in.

April 15, 2006

Fun with trying to earn air points, air miles, or whatever they're called...

Possible signs that you've signed up for the wrong airline's frequent flyer points thingy: you phone a partner airline of theirs to check your booking, and they say words to the effect of 'Virgin Atlantic? Who are they? Virgin Blue? But we're a competitor of Virgin Blue!'

(Oddly, the Air New Zealand person I was speaking to hadn't even heard of Virgin Atlantic, which initially didn't help things along.)

At least Tiny Albert can say that the food on the return trip he had with them was nice as airline food goes, at least.

Tiny Albert tries the fare in Super Squished Cattle Class on Virgin Atlantic from Sydney.

March 23, 2006

When using multiple secure shell windows...

...make sure you know which window you're using when trying to use su or sudo...

Oops. :-S

March 20, 2006

Mona Lisa, nearly starkers, with paint strippers!

Yeah, looks like someone else thought it interesting, too.

Mona Lisa... Smile? Starkers?

But, strippers? Uh... right.

Continue reading "Mona Lisa, nearly starkers, with paint strippers!" »

February 2, 2006

Sherbert lemons

Good gracious, I'm sitting in the SCMA cabin listening to some random Microsoft Christian radio feed (I don't really have time to analyse the theology behind their playlist right now, so don't ask) and consuming sherbet lemons.

I think I have an obsession to sherbet lemons. I get the impression from my best friend, who introduced me to them while we both were at Cool Britannia on Taranaki Street recently, is regretting her decision to show me them. :)

[Listening to: Great Awakening -- 4Him -- Best Ones (04:48)]

January 17, 2006

Off to the murder house

Yeah, no prizes for guessing where I'm going this morning. And pity it's a user-pays murder house now that I'm over 18.

January 16, 2006

Leaks and new-ish methods

NZH:

  • Perhaps this is another type of leak?
  • It's apparently the 'suck it and see' method: The number of people coming to New Zealand on temporary permits and later taking residency is on the rise, according to latest migration statistics. The "suck it and see" approach is leading to more successful settlement, says the Immigration Service.

[Listening to: Fall to Pieces -- Avril Lavigne -- Under My Skin (03:29)]

January 15, 2006

Hygiene, privacy and crystals

All right, a few links to pass this Sunday by...

  1. Hygiene: at least the parents in this case (so far, anyway) aren't blaming the early childhood education centre involved...

    Dr Brieseman said authorities considered closing the centre, but most of the exposure that was going to occur had already happened.

    The difficulty with a childcare centre was that preschoolers generally were not hygiene-conscious.

    I thought the last bit was a little obvious? But nothing a bit of teacher modelling of best practice can't at least attempt to correct, anyway.

  2. Privacy: AMERICAblog just bought General Wesley Clark's cell phone records for $89.95.

    Oops?

    Liberal, conservative or person-on-the-street American... it doesn't look good.

    Either way, nice tool for 'concerned' parents...

    (Spotted via David Farrar.)

  3. Crystals: Rakon could be the poster child for New Zealand business.

Back to the regularly-scheduled programming of women's studies- and Bear Committee satire/humour-related diary entries next week. I've had enough 'holiday', methinks.

[Listening to: dig Jazz -- Australian Broadcasting Corporation]

January 14, 2006

Segways are monkey bikes?

Or... Only in Australia?

January 11, 2006

Back from leave

Yeah, it's the bottom of a Qantas Airways inflight plastic cup.

Yup, I'm back from leave. May the fun of working on my ibiblio collections again this year soon begin! :)

January 5, 2006

Bear naming contest!

Hi!

The Bear Committee (see http://greta.electric.gen.nz/~nikster/bearcom.html if you're not familiar) has decided to run a fun competition to name their newest bear cub minion/crony/ally that signed up over here. Answers please to either nikster@greta.electric.gen.nz or www.flickr.com/photos/ahkitj/82419215/ -- a prize of a Committee-endorsed lunch (bought from The Kiosk at VUW, or other Committee-approved establishment of course) with Nikster, Little Albert Kenby-Bear, new cub and their hēkeretari is on offer to the winner. If the names are good.

In order to help you select the best name, fourteen photos (taken with Tiny Albert Kenby-Bear, one of its brothers) is attached; [the] new cub is the white-furred bear with the blue scarf. Deadline for entries is when the bear's named. Which could be in the next five minutes, so you'd better hurry.

Good luck!

Bear hugs,
Nikster's hēkeretari (for Nikster, who's actually on holiday somewhere in Wellington).

NB: no shaggy fur from [the] new cub was lost in the shooting of the pictures. Just so you know; new cub wanted that mentioned.

[Selected photographs in full entry.]

Continue reading "Bear naming contest!" »

January 2, 2006

More of the same

  • I haven't travelled further than HK or Australia for some time, but I've noticed that payment receipts shops give out in HK tend to not blank or zero out some of your credit card's digits. Indeed, I've even had my name printed on them. That's not good if you tend to be someone who throws out (or loses) their receipts pretty rapidly and not hoard them until the statement comes in (as I've almost always been told to do).
  • Hong Kong has pretty fountains.
  • In Hung Hom, Kowloon, the SmarTone-Vodafone shop is, like the ship concreted in as a marketing gimmick, a really good landmark when you get lost.
  • Those advertorial-based LCDs on buses and trains get rather annoying for a while. At least the train operator with them has done the quiet cars thing where they at least mercifully turn off the speakers. But still leave them blasted screens in the carriages.

With some luck, I'll be back from leave soon.

December 25, 2005

Christmas travel notes

Happy Christmas and happy holidays, and here's some this-and-that observations about travelling in Hong Kong:

  • If you travel on a taxi, it's likely to be a Toyota Crown Comfort, LPG-powered.
  • The taxi you travel on is almost certainly painted (mostly) red, though green on the odd occasion.
  • At least in Kowloon, if you come across postcards and have half an interest in posting some postcards at some point, buy them. They're hard to come across.
  • They don't sell postcards in book shops or stationery shops.
  • Remember those movies such as The Matrix where two people start a fight in a subway station and end up on the railway tracks? It's a bit hard to do that in HK -- that's because there's a glass barrier (with doors that line up to the train doors), so one has to break that first before getting started.

Correction: Well, the above applies if you're in certain parts of HK, and others were my general not-looking-far-enough-ness. The green taxis are from other areas that I hadn't been until the day before I wrote this paragraph (29 December), book shops do sell postcards (if you look really hard and usually upstairs in some obscure place, and often only one shelf of them), and it appears that just the MTR has the glass barriers on their undergrounds. (One can still film their on-track movie fights on KCRC stations without those pesky barriers, but it's just not the same as a subway... and kids, don't try this at home. Or at a train station.) Anyway, happy new year!

December 22, 2005

Milk

Another odd (though very cool) thing about Hong Kong -- there's a bunch of Catholic monks that bottle milk. Welcome to Trappist Dairy!

(Though I get the feeling they're not the only owner, and probably not the biggest one. A couple sites via Google Cache suggests they got a bit too old to do the milking themselves so own 30% of a company that appears to import it from elsewhere.)

December 20, 2005

Kiwifruit

Two things about the Wellcome supermarket downstairs from where I'm staying here on leave in Hong Kong:

  1. 'European kiwifruit' apparently includes New Zealand Zespri brand kiwifruit, mixed together in the same fruit and vegetable section tray.
  2. Cans of Pringles are cheaper than one's usual garden variety bags of potato chips.

By the looks of them, I don't think they're related to GlaxoSmithKline's predecessor either.

December 19, 2005

National Radio

Hmmm. Listening to National Radio using an Internet stream when I have no other means of easily doing so just feels weird.

[Listening to: National Radio -- Radio New Zealand]

Enron

I watched Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room on the plane into HK. Those new-fangled on-demand screens have pretty odd picture quality, but one is only really stuck in there for at worst 12 or so hours at a time, so they are a rather nice diversion if one is either (or if unluckily lucky, both) on a night flight or sitting in a non-window seat.

No particular opinions about the film, other than it was a good documentary for diversionary purposes while trying to figure out how to open the amenity kit us cattle classers were given. The interesting thing, however, is the conspiracy that is claimed to have occurred from within about Enron skimming profits off the Californian electricity market and how Ken Lay and other (corporate) relations championed deregulation for (from what the documentary made things out) their own ends.

Anyway, I'm still on leave. See y'all in a few weeks, with photographs of the place inbetween.

December 7, 2005

Pity I'm busy tomorrow...

I'm going on leave soon, so I'm too busy to work on the new women's studies resource site, or to go to this gig at Indigo Bar tomorrow with an old friend (Jerome Chandrahasen) on the line-up. Sigh.

Here's the Wellington Comedy Club poster I spotted on Lambton Quay today.

So go if you can!

December 3, 2005

I want coffee!

Sigh. I want coffee. Now!

Even if it's that crazy stuff they pour out free on air planes.

Coffee, Flight QF4004 (2 of 3).

November 23, 2005

Upcoming new site

After a bit of discussion back and forth about my honours research project, I've decided to do part of it as a student-run website on women's studies. I've sorted out a domain name and at the moment I'm sorting out hosting. If you're interested in contributing links and short thoughts of women's, sexuality and gender issues now and again diary/blog style, drop me a line and I'll keep you in the loop. (I reserve the right to edit contributions for grammatical clarity and for markup validation purposes, but I won't edit the substance of contributions, unless a sane law court threatens me with jail or something like that. Which I'd imagine would be rather unlikely.)

Thanks!

November 2, 2005

Get a free rootkit with your next music purchase

That's right, people, according to Sysinternals. Buy the album Get Right with the Man by the Van Zant brothers, and courtesy of their record label, one apparently will get a rootkit installed on their Windows system that's difficult to remove.

And if you buy it in the next fifteen minutes, I imagine that, instead of steak knives, you'll get a lot of frustration instead.

October 28, 2005

Where's the weirdest place you have met someone?

One Woman's Words: Where's the weirdest place you have met someone?

Also on the same diary is something on Nike posters aimed at women. The apparent wording on the poster that's linked to has some, uh, rather interesting wording. I get the idea there are several interpretations that could be drawn. I'll have to look at this poster again next week when back in the office/cabin.

October 19, 2005

False passport used to get $180,000 mortgage

I haven't seen this before: False passport used to get $180,000 mortgage.

And I hadn't heard of something like this before either: a person that watches a staggering 17 hours of television a day.

October 17, 2005

Marmite the 'Marmite-loving cat'

I mean, what else would one name the cat?

October 16, 2005

027 versus 021 voice quality

Is it me or is the voice quality on my 021 GPRS/GSM handset better than the 027 CDMA handset I have been checking out for a couple of days now?

Either way, both of them are working, which is what matters. I hope both of them will, at least until number portability finally comes about -- which I'll believe when I see it happening.

October 15, 2005

Odd free track downloads

Hmmm, there's some weird stuff Amazon have in their free downloads pages:

[Listening to: Shame & Scandal -- Madness -- The Dangermen Sessions, Volume One (02:53)]

October 13, 2005

Permanently misspelt

Car park sign, St Mary of the Angels, Wellington.

Ouch.

October 8, 2005

Keeping New Zealand beautiful...

...by eating sausages. Really, you can do so, too! Or so this advertising billboard might be interpreted as saying.

However, I'm trying to give it a sympathetic interpretation, but it still looks rather odd.

The Max advertising billboard on the corner of Willis and Mercer Streets, Wellington. Another Max advertising billboard, this time near Feltex Lane, Wellington.

My resistant reading asks why there's the need for the cheerio sausages, the way they're held and eaten, and the use of the tomato sauce bottle.

But then, I'm new to this academic discipline, so time will tell. :)

October 3, 2005

Cupcake

From an acquaintance in Auckland:

Jo's cupcake.

Jo's cupcake.

Originally uploaded by starla.

Must... have... cake!

Also:

  1. Jo's cupcakes #2.

  2. And the tray was cute too, apparently.

    Jo's cupcakes #3.

Must... have... more... cake!

September 29, 2005

Nikster moves home

Sorry, no new photo shoot, as it only involved a pile of tarballs transferred over SSH and the usuall tinkering with a text editor. But to cut the story short, after poking through ibiblio's collection policy, Nikster's pile of humorous photo shoots have moved from greta.electric.gen.nz to www.ibiblio.org.

(At least I wouldn't consider it a vanity site, anyway. It's mostly a pile of satirical cuisine and travel reviews. When I remember to put in captions.)

The main collections, though, are the Section 27(1)-related materials. I haven't had much time this term to scan and upload any new books, but with my plans to start honours next year studying the books, things should get rather interesting.

September 21, 2005

Google Print

For those who don't want to wade through annoying printable PDF files, there's now a searchable copy of 149 Poems on Google Print.

For viewing and searching, the best experience is probably still to be had with one of the PDF copies, though. At least with this new copy you won't need to load Acrobat Reader or some compatible clone.

September 15, 2005

Schnackengrubensteinwitz

I wonder where the Ministry of Justice got the name Schnackengrubensteinwitz for the name of the orange animated character they and the Electoral Enrolment Centre use on their electoral-related advertisements? For example, these two mentions of him in print/online, one on an EasyVote card:

The front side of a sample 2005 EasyVote card. Enrol to vote.

[From: http://www.elections.govt.nz/uploads/easyvote_front_copy.gif, 15 September 2005.]

He's definitely a lovable guy, and at least for the EasyVote card, he does get the point across that it does make the process easier for those persons involved in working on the day. :)

Apparently it's the 'best nation' in which to do business

In the New York Times: New Zealand Named Best Nation for Business. On why New Zealand is a good place to do one's business, only this is offered: The United States and New Zealand, for example, were the only two countries in the rankings that imposed no requirement at all to give severance pay to workers who had been laid off.

Politics doesn't even come in to it, considering there's an election on Saturday (which, as I've said, I'm not going to comment on -- I feel I need to be neutral and non-political regarding it). I just want to know far more on why New Zealand is a good place for commerce, not just one terse sentence in the whole story.

The following paragraphs do actually talk about some of the arguments related to that sentence, but I'm sure there's more to it than what the newspaper mentions.

September 8, 2005

Charging and charring

Guess who's going to start charging for viewing content?

Mutter.

Update: DPF and Jordan Carter have both mentioned this, plus some clarifications. So, not so bad, actually. Yet. Phew!

September 6, 2005

Flashers

Now I've heard it all: Passenger snaps flasher on New York subway.

On the subject of really short stories, the New Zealand Herald really, really need to elaborate a little bit more on what services Telstra are supposedly cutting, even as an initial published story.

September 1, 2005

Lower Hutt youth centre opening party

Well, the youth centre's official opening party, anyway. To cut a long story short, here's some photographs of the place just after the party was over. It looks pretty good, and of course it turned into another of those Bear Committee impromptu meetings.

Anyway, here's a set of highlights from the set.

Little Albert Kenby-Bear at the Secret Level opening party. Move Bar at Secret Level. View of Move Bar at Secret Level, from the High Street window side. The raised stage area at Secret Level, with one of the pool tables in the foreground. Some of the large chess pieces at Secret Level. The Move Bar menu. Completely non-alcoholic, too. The Move Bar coffee supply. At the top of the stairs to Secret Level. The view from Secret Level, northbound along High Street, from Move Bar. Look for this sign when visiting Secret Level.

In short, it's a bloody good place. Go use the facility when it's available (most days during the week, I understand) and you're free. It's for all you youth and young adults out there in Lower Hutt. While I don't work there, it'd be good to see y'all there if I'm around, of course. :)

August 25, 2005

Gummy bears!

Ever wondered where gummy bears come from?

2005-08-22: Where we get gummi bears.

Doctor Fun, 22 August 2005: Where we get gummi bears.

August 12, 2005

View of Frank Kitts Park, Wellington

View of Frank Kitts Park, Wellington.

View of Frank Kitts Park, Wellington.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

Well, I wish I were there right now. Yes, I posted this here at the end of May, but I want to be sitting down there. Right now.

Even though tonight it's rather windy.

August 8, 2005

Diebold in Wellington

So, Diebold is definitely in New Zealand. Yay -- that is, in their perennial ATM business (not their other business in voting machines, I should add). Well, if anyone hadn't noticed, anyway -- at your favourite Kiwibank machine, at least. They're also it seems arrived in Victoria, Australia, too:

Diebold on a Commonwealth Bank machine in Melbourne.

The above Flickr photograph also links to a machine at Carnegie Mellon University turned into a Windows Media Player box.

Then, of course, there's the inevitable Windows boot screens and diagnostic screens that apparently instill confidence in some. Me, I'm not sure what to think.

A Diebold-supplied automatic teller machine rebooting Windows after a crash. A Diebold automatic teller machine running diagnostics on itself after crashing.

Anyway, it's not the best of photographs of the back of automatic teller machines, but it does clearly say 'Diebold' on the back screen of this Kiwibank one in Civic Square, Wellington:

Yes, Diebold do Kiwibank automatic teller machines, too.

[Listening to: dig Jazz: "Music With Depth" -- Australian Broadcasting Corporation]

Update: naturally, I'm not the first to notice and post pictures of Kiwibank machines with errors or other (supposedly, I'm told) tell-tale Diebold stuff labelled on them.

Japanese prime minister loses key reform vote

Now, I couldn't resist the pun in a BBC news item I just saw: apparently it appears that Japanese parliamentarians have gone postal.

August 4, 2005

Drop

Drop

Drop

Originally uploaded by mrhyde_br.

I didn't take this one, but it does look kinda pretty.

Roundup

No, not the Monsanto pesticide, but a summary of the icons I haven't got around to deleting off my OS desktop:

And for the historians -- from 1999: Preamble shamble.

More links from the 'backlog' of icons later in the week.

July 28, 2005

The mystery of the free university-provisioned metropolitan daily newspapers

There's stands of free daily newspapers at Victoria University of Wellington at the moment.

With compliments of Victoria University, there's stands of free copies of the Dominion Post at the university at the moment, albeit during the week. I've posted some neutral thoughts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahkitj/29149096/ for the keen.

July 27, 2005

Leap second

Ha. You're getting an extra second this year. So there.

SCMA news now. Now that the WSCF-AP books have been uploaded, I've been working on arranging the DVD Our Stories, Our Struggle: Life and Mission of World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific to be put online. Thanks to those doing that -- I'll post details and credits when it's done.

[Listening to: We Belong Together -- Mariah Carey -- We Belong Together (03:23)]

July 24, 2005

Marriage is the most dangerous social institution!

Ouch! Well, guess whom this is from, without Googling?

At present marriage is easily the most dangerous of all our social institutions. This is partly due to the colossal ignorance of the public in regard to sex, and partly due to the fact that marriage is mainly controlled by lawyers and priests instead of by women and doctors. The legal and religious aspects of marriage are not the primary ones. A marriage may be legal—and miserable; religious—and diseased. The law pays no heed to the suitability of the partners, and the Church takes no regard for their health. Nevertheless, the basis of marriage is obviously mating, or sexual intercourse. Without that there is no marriage, and with it come not merely health and happiness but life itself. Cut out sexual intercourse, and society becomes extinct in one generation. Every generation must, of necessity, pass through the bodies of its women; there is no other way of obtaining entry into the world. Hence, it is clearly the duty of women to understand precisely the processes involved, from beginning to end.

With the lower animals sexual intercourse is desired only seasonally, and only for the purpose of reproduction. With the higher animals—man and women—sexual intercourse is desired more or less continuously throughout adult life, and desired much more for romantic than for reproductive considerations—that is, for the sake of health and happiness rather than for the sake of procreation only. A few women, and still fewer men, have no sexual desires. To them sexual abstinence seems more natural than sexual satisfaction. But for the majority of mankind and womankind—for all normally healthy men and women—there is this continuous desire to be happily mated.

Yup, it's our friendly Ettie Rout, kids! In the above, she's writing in that great 1922 classic Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity, from the S27(1) bookshelf.

It's interesting from any viewpoint how she gets quickly to her views and ideas on certain things. That's the first two paragraphs of the introduction above. The first five sentences, and especially the fourth, are quite telling in this regard.

[Listening to: Breathless -- The Corrs -- In Blue (03:29)]

Google Moon spoof

Oh dear. It's another moon landing.

July 21, 2005

High-tech trolley aims to transform shopping

But the new shopping trolley still won't necessarily push straight -- it has the same wheels as the traditional model.

July 18, 2005

More electronic books!

All right, so they're not Section 27(1) books. But if you're finding that your copy of the CD World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Library: Archives and Resource Materials Since 1974 shows up too many pesky security errors thanks to Windows XP SP2, you might want to try a copy I've installed at http://www.ibiblio.org/ahkitj/wscfap/arms1974/.

(I've done a preliminary copyright clearance of sorts in the last week -- I see also that it's already up at scm.org.nz -- if the link is still available this time tomorrow, my double check worked out fine.)

July 16, 2005

Homework first!

Well, I had partial success. I've only read the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince so far... and a few other bits. Maybe. Honest.

Gormless photographs will follow shortly.

No, it's government property

The Indian government has dismissed claims by a Muslim trust, the Sunni Waqf Board, that it owns the Taj Mahal.

BBC:

The board argued the monument was its property since it holds several Muslim graves, and the board is responsible for all Muslim graves in the country.

Bring on the court case now, perhaps?

Queues

I wonder how long are the Harry Potter queues at the book shop I preordered a copy of a certain book?

July 8, 2005

Bad taste?

Oh dear, again. It looks like the Evening Telegraph goofed.

This is the front page of the said newspaper, saying 'TERROR ATTACKS ROCK'.

That's not to say by posting this I'm doing so in bad taste -- far from it, I don't see anything funny in the above. I see the non-realisation by a newspaper that their design when folded at a news stand could be misinterpreted badly is not good.

In that spirit of horror at the event, certainly sympathies from me to everyone in London and around the world. Yikes. This was big.

[Source: ukdragon.com]

July 6, 2005

Deep Impact

Maybe the NASA folks should be careful about Deep Impact -- from Monday's Doctor Fun:

4 July 2005: 'They blew up our nicest comet! Prepare to destroy the Earth!'

June 27, 2005

Can you do this?

From Doctor Fun this week: Can you do this?

Doctor Fun presents 1991, #114: Can you do this?

I know I can't.

Friday night at Jet Bar

Wine glass and lamp shade, Courtenay Place.

Wine glass and lamp shade, Courtenay Place.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

Friday night, downstairs, over at Jet Bar in Courtenay Place, Wellington.

In unrelated news, Judgments of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand on Proceedings to Review Aspects of the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Mount Erebus Aircraft Disaster and Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity got posted to Project Gutenbery today as 16130 and 16135 respectively. Yay! The Section 27(1) pages will also get updated this week with the links.

June 26, 2005

Browsing a safari

Some random thoughts from browsing one man safari today:

(And no, I don't endorse any of the last set of external links. Proceed at your own risk!)

Sheesh. Some of the stuff I come across is just plain odd, if not crazy.

Thanks be made to a friend who gave me a tipoff to oms.

[Listening to: Better Be Home Soon -- Crowded House -- Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House (03:10)]

Less expensive options

Instead of paying four digits of money to cover over things one doesn't want to see, wouldn't a far more viable option be to hold press conferences elsewhere?

Google Sitemaps

For the power house, I'm now using a variation of templates from Anders Jacobsen and Cameron Bulock.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84">
<url>
<loc><$MTBlogURL encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<priority>1.0</priority>
<MTEntries lastn="1">
<lastmod><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></lastmod>
</MTEntries>
<changefreq>daily</changefreq>
</url>

<MTEntries lastn="10">
<url>
<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>
</lastmod>
<priority>0.9</priority>
<changefreq>daily</changefreq>
</url>
</MTEntries>

<MTEntries lastn="10" offset="10">
<url>
<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>
</lastmod>
<priority>0.8</priority>
<changefreq>daily</changefreq>
</url>
</MTEntries>

<MTEntries lastn="1000" offset="20">
<url>
<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>
</lastmod>
<priority>0.5</priority>
<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
</url>
</MTEntries>

<MTArchiveList archive_type="Category">
<url>
<loc><$MTArchiveLink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<changefreq>weekly</changefreq>
<priority>0.7</priority>
</url>
</MTArchiveList>

<MTArchiveList archive_type="Monthly">
<url>
<loc><$MTArchiveLink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
<priority>0.5</priority>
</url>
</MTArchiveList>

</urlset>

Niall Kennedy (as featured by Six Apart) also published his own template.

Also of related interest might be Movable Type's Microsoft Word template.

June 20, 2005

Sliced fibre, anyone?

All right, who smells that Xtra's and Telecom's problems today are thanks to someone (last time I remember something similar, it was a road contractor, but of course it doesn't mean it was them this time) slicing a little bit of Telecom fibre optic cable?

If it was just one cable, perhaps having a backup route might actually be a good idea...

I'm typing this over dialup. Helps having backup connectivity off a provider that avoids the telco that provides your usual network access. :)

June 19, 2005

Burke defeats Burke

Sometimes life doesn't seem fair, does it, like being defeated in a grand electoral steeplechase by not only a landslide, but getting defeated by a namesake as well. Aside from the ABC, the victory rates a mention in the NZH. (How odd -- the ruling party now has nearly three times the seats of the opposition. Even to a politically neutral spectator like me, that just looks big.)

Elsewhere, in the New York Times: What Is Google, Anyway? Is Google a media company? One answer is: Sure, Google is a media company, except when it isn't. The other answer is: It doesn't really matter anyway. In the NZH: you may have a grave problem getting a plot for yourself when you die -- at least in greater Auckland, anyway.

June 18, 2005

Biggest. Defeat. Ever.

Fun and games at the ABC tonight!

It looks like it's going to be the biggest landslide defeat ever for the NT CLP in the great electoral steeplechase.

Oh, and something about girl being born from a frozen egg, a Man keeps wife on life support to save unborn child and Fleet Street ends its days as journalism hub.

Gate latch, Kelburn

Gate latch at the front entrance to a house on Salamanca Road, near Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington.

Gate latch, Kelburn

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

And, here is the last photograph of mine that I intend to make a note about today.

This is one of my favourite photographs so far this year that I have taken. I was surprised at the level of detail that I got from the rust on the latch. It's unfortunate that Flickr's recompression routines don't let you see it on their copy of the photograph. Alas.

No, the Bucket Fountain is not a public toilet

What to use the Bucket Fountain for (apparently) ...

What to use the Bucket Fountain for (apparently) ...

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

And no, I didn't do the abovementioned map of the Bucket Fountain. Even if Elijah Wood allegedly did do something of that ilk. (The map was spotted at school.)

Time for entertainment!

That's right! If anyone's looking for a close by election fix before the big one in Wellington later in the year, the grand Darwin steeplechase is on tomorrow! Centrebet has odds on for an ALP win.

Ah, much fun to be had watching from neutral sidelines. And from far away.

June 16, 2005

Stargazers could be in for a treat tonight

Myself, I'd have no idea what to look for.

June 13, 2005

The Northern Territory Government doesn't exist any more

Here's a lesson in why you need secondary nameservers outside of your network. As I write, the whole of the nt.gov.au domain is currently lame, as neither of the two nameservers can be reached at the moment. I guess a bit of e-mail as well as the usual web traffic (I'm trying to get to one of their websites at the moment for something trivally important) is down. That's on the whole domain, from what I can tell.

As far as I can tell, the folks who appear to be their provider, Optus, seem to have trouble with the peering point with Telstra in Melbourne or thereabouts. Unfortunately, both of the NT Government nameservers appears to be behind that link (well, quite likely, as both nameservers appears to be on the same Class B subnet). So nothing appears to be working for nt.gov.au at the moment. Oops, perhaps, for at least .

In other words, isn't it nice to swap secondaries with other people, or at least having one nameserver coming in from another Internet provider's connection? At least then MX records can be read and mail deferred.

Oh well. Guess some things get thrown aside in the need for expediency. If this looks like bagging a government agency, go dig some random domain names' nameservers, and you'll see it's a common practice. Even with some big Internet providers' own domains! In New Zealand, paradise.net.nz come to mind, among many, many others. Perhaps another way to see it is that best practice seems to change. Or at least common practice.

June 13

June 13, 1920: The United States Postal Service rules that children may not be sent via parcel post.

On the other hand, that did come from Wikipedia.

June 8, 2005

$420.40, $2741.49 or $12686.67 to Melbourne, anyone?

Emirates would so far in all my looks around airlines' and travel agents' websites take out the prize for the most expensive economy fare 'to' Melbourne. ('To' would be the operative word here -- it depends whether oddly-suggested connections like the ones I found below count.) For interest about how much their air fares to Melbourne, from Auckland, were, I entered in leaving on 1 July 2005 and arriving back 7 July 2005.

(Of course, computer search results always a level of real humanity and human discernment applied to them, but sometimes some of the results are, well, weird.)

The first option seemed reasonable. $420.40 (including $82.40 in taxes) taking the afternoon 4.00 flight EK405 from Auckland, and returning on the morning 8.15 EK404 from Melbourne. (It's $1063.40, tax $82.40 on first class.)

It gets a bit odd here. The second option is for $2421.49 (taxes $89.49). It uses the same EK405 flight out, but takes an evening EK407 from Melbourne to Dubai! Then the following day, it takes the evening 8.45 EK432 from Dubai. Fortunately, that's direct to Auckland. Arriving back two days later than expected.

Now, the third option gets worse. A whopping $12686.67 (taxes $103.67). How? Going out from Auckland to Singapore (1 July, afternoon 5.25 EK433), then to Melbourne (2 July, afternoon 3.20 EK404). Going back, it's to Dubai first (7 July, evening 9.30 EK407), then Bangkok (8 July, morning 8.50am EK386), and then finally home to Auckland (8 July, evening, EK418).

The second option on a first class search is nearly as amusing. Flying out it takes the third economy option's route (Auckland to Melbourne via Singapore). At least it's sane for the flight back (taking that 8.15 EK404). Price? $6301.49 (taxes $89.49).

I wonder if they're trying to upsell accomodation at each stop?

Now, I haven't mentioned business class. Like both economy and first class, the first option's very sane ($1013.40, taxes $82.40). Option 2 goes there (EK433, 1 July, 5.25 afternoon; EK404, 2 July, 3.20 afternoon), and back (EK405, 7 July, 7.20 evening; EK432, 8 July, 9.20 evening) via Singapore for a modest $10806.58 (taxes $96.58).

Here we start getting in to new car territory. For $16927.58 (taxes $96.58), you can go to (EK433, 1 July, 5.25 afternoon, on first class; EK406, 2 July, 10.10 morning) Melbourne via Dubai and back (EK407, 7 July, 9.30 evening; EK418, 8 July, 9.00 morning).

This last one's the best, though. Unlike the roughly $17000 fare above, if you take EK432 (8 July, 8.45 morning) on first class (the engine appears to default to first class when it can't find the right seats), you pay a gold-plated $18322.48 (taxes $96.58).

I guess their search engine's Please wait while we find the lowest priced combinations of available flights and fares... has some odd issues it needs to solve. In the meantime, they're amusing if only for a few moments.

Ah, the joys one has when clicking on the odd banner advertisement while reading the NZH and getting distracted. I need better things to do. Oh, and regards to the above: E&OE. So there.

June 7, 2005

Meteor shower seen across New Zealand

Meteor shower? What meteor shower?

June 6, 2005

A Tyrannosaurus rex fossil's surprise: she was ovulating

NYT: Until now, distinguishing the sex of dinosaurs has been impossible without well-preserved pelvic bones.

  • Unsolved Mysteries, by David Greenberg: With the unmasking of Deep Throat, one of the 20th century's biggest political mysteries has been solved. But other riddles about Watergate linger.
  • Hal Holbrook Saw a Torn Man: The world now knows that Deep Throat is Mark Felt. But for many, Deep Throat will always be Hal Holbrook, the actor who portrayed him in the movie All the President's Men.

June 4, 2005

Smoking banned in Indian films

From the ABC:

[Listening to: Radio New Zealand International]

June 1, 2005

Deep Throat steps out of the shadows

NZH: He was the most famous journalistic source in history.

Update: some more stuff, from the NYT...

May 31, 2005

Expensive ways to get a transistor radio

Well, I checked out the RRP today for the transistor radio I recently got to get some amusement. The Sony Walkman SRFS84S/SRF-S84 I got a few weeks ago on Fly Buys points to avoid getting around to buying an iPod or similar device has a recommended price of roughly $60 on Sony's website. I'm told by a family member that similar products are available from The Warehouse for around $2. Maybe Sony makes money off putting the Walkman logos and Mega Bass on the front.

I was expecting a rather high price, but not that high.

From the Computerworld site: wireless price gouging in local hotels, and -- with Telecom -- at your local Starbucks, Telecom competing with itself (apparently), the Wanganui Computer goes and Keith gets another hat at InternetNZ.

[Listening to: Big Yellow Taxi -- Counting Crows -- Hard Candy (03:46)]

[Listening to: Fallen -- Sarah McLachlan -- Fallen (03:51)]

[Listening to: Drops Of Jupiter [Album Version] -- Train -- Drops Of Jupiter (04:20)]

May 30, 2005

Wind turbine

The wind turbine at Brooklyn, Wellington, New Zealand.

The wind turbine at Brooklyn, Wellington, New Zealand.

Originally uploaded by jesstherese.

So... the wind turbine's blades are taking a break. But it looks kind of 'naked' without the blades on the turbine. At least they're on the ground, and not too far away. This photo by someone else I found today on Flickr; I really should visit the Brooklyn windmill some time soon to take a look for myself.

May 29, 2005

You are getting sleepy...

View of Frank Kitts Park, Wellington.

View of Frank Kitts Park, Wellington.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

You are getting sleepy. You want to generate heaps of foreign exchange receipts for Wellington and the Hutt Valley by visiting. You are going online to some reputable online travel agent and booking a flight and accomodation to visit this place. Hmmm -- noone sleepy yet? Guess the bridge wasn't tempting enough, then.

(I wonder how much electricity this uses, come to think of it...)

[Listening to: some random radio station on my new transistor radio, purchased in an effort of apathy to be not to be getting around to buying an iPod.]

May 25, 2005

I'm a big boy now, says solo shopper Roscoe, 3

From the New Zealand Herald: I'm a big boy now, says solo shopper Roscoe, 3. Truth is stranger than fiction, it seems, of course.

The bird stays

Yay! The Morning Report bird call stays!

May 19, 2005

Telecom wireless access

Well, another try of Telecom's hotspot service worked this time, in the bar on the ground floor of the railway station in Wellington -- unlike my last attempt at Starbucks in Willis Street.

May 17, 2005

Google News page 2

Again, in the unlikely case someone finds it useful (like the previous customised page that was posted), here is my second customised Google News page.

May 16, 2005

College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age

From the New York Times: College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age. Some shades of Cambridge High School anyone, but perhaps at least in a more positive (and, well, American, geographically, as opposed to New Zealand) setting? And to imagine if VUW tried this... and to think of the digital rights management costs, especially with those non-one-off licence payments! Still, the basic principle shows much promise. Interesting, this all -- will be equally interesting to see how it turns out. Outside the world of education, I do wonder what uses there may be.

Time will tell.

On another note potentially stupid note, I managed to coax my DVD-ROM drive here to play the Brooke Fraser DVD, though not using my preferred software video player. But in any case, I'm playing it a few times now in case I don't get a chance to do it again on this computer. It's an improvement on the results of my last attempt to play the disc, anyway.

[Listening to: Saving The World, Lifeline, Arithmetic and Better -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight: Special Edition (Disc Two: DVD) (18:51/19:09)]

May 14, 2005

Brothels in Kent

According to the venerable site that is The Register, a search for brothels near postal code TN12 7EA shows a police station. Also mentioned is a pointer to Dutch academic research material archives, and a new way to use Skype for the classic scam. Yes, the 419. In other possibly equally venerable (or otherwise; I'm not intentionally judging them) spots:

On a different tack, I ended up buying the 'special edition' of Brooke Fraser's album. Unfortunately, the bonus DVD suffered pretty much the same fate that Centre Stage (which I can't seem to find right now) suffered on my computer -- it wouldn't play. Odd. It did when put into the television, so I'm still happy. Just someone don't tell me I need to send the computer in again for warranty service. The lack of a local authorised warranty centre gave me quite a shock in courier charges. The transportation charge was peanuts, but once the postal worker got to the compulsory insurance bit... apparently whole computers are quite a risk.

More books will be scanned from about Monday week. Watch the bookshelf. As for the quick table, it wasn't much of a success, but I might keep it anyway.

May 11, 2005

Chocolate at night!

Chocolate at night!

Chocolate at night!

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

Chocolate! Nothing better than some chocolate piled up on one's desk at night, ready to be eaten!

May 10, 2005

Eugenics!

Apparently I've scanned a book on eugenics, I'm told! Or, something called The Fertility of the Unfit, by a William Allan Chapple, in any case. I've got a preliminary scan available now. A split page version will be available once I get my act together and put it through the DP OCR pool. Or, if I have enough time, I do that bit myself. As it happens, it will probably the former, due to school stuff to do.

This is one odd text published in 1903 (hey, it even had what appears to be the original cover still on it), but then again, I only skimmed it as I was scanning it tonight.

Enjoy!

May 7, 2005

Parthenon

It's odd what has the most views in the greta.electric.gen.nz album: a picture of what I presume is a replica Parthenon that a friend uploaded. Maybe it has something to do with the rather odd comments the photograph received over the course of a couple of months. (Some other photographs suffered from a similar fate; I tried to get rid of the comments with obscene language or porn or other unwanted comment spam links. I don't like doing that. I feel like a censor. Yuck.)

Anyway, I imagine that Kari photographed the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.

Raspberry Coke

More marketing madness: Coca-Cola with Raspberry. When will this endless marketing end? And what about Cherry Coke again? Someone?

In Internet-related stuff, Australia seems to be making motions with its upcoming ENUM trial. In education, evolution and creation come up again, this time in Kansas.

[Listening to: All I Need -- Bethany Dillon -- Bethany Dillon (03:16)]

May 4, 2005

How to make a decision

Stone, paper, scissors -- really. Honest.

Flower, Lady Norwood Rose Garden

Flower, Lady Norwood Rose Garden

Flower, Lady Norwood Rose Garden

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

I've been trying to figure out what this is, which I took during a lunch break at school. I was getting the impression asking about the other flowers in the pond I found this growing out of that the staff weren't too sure. I'm guessing this isn't lavender, however. Any clues, anyone?

April 27, 2005

Jelly beans on a saucer

Jelly beans on a saucer.

Jelly beans on a saucer.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

Taken at school yesterday afternoon after a spur-of-the-moment sort of visit to a vending machine. It reminds me of a Ronald Reagan quote: You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans. I'm also finding much enjoyment in reading the definitions a jelly sweet in the shape of a bean (Concise OED) and a chewy, gelatinous candy in the shape of a bean with a hard sugar coating (Oxford American Dictionary of Current English).

April 25, 2005

More

New York Times:

  • Pope Benedict XVI Formally Installed: At a Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, the new pope officially took control of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Shall I Compare Thee to the King's Library? It might seem unfair to King George III, but recently, as I surveyed Liberace's collection of vintage automobiles, fur coats, feathered capes and antique pianos in the Liberace Museum here, I thought of the King's Library in the British Museum.
  • A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her: Arianna Huffington is starting up a Web site, the Huffington Report, that will feature blogs from celebrities like Arthur Schlesinger, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, David Geffen and Walter Cronkite.

Roundup

In the absence of much time lately to write about exciting things, here's a roundup of new stories I found perhaps even just vaguely interesting. Most of them were from the NZH or the BBC. They're in no intentional or particular order.

As usual, I haven't included any items from Fairfax's Stuff site. And not until they have a reasonable archival policy, anyway.

[Listening to: Humour Australia]

April 20, 2005

Starbucks today

I was down at the Willis Street Starbucks in Wellington today, deciding to try and get their shiny new-ish Telecom Wireless Hotspot Service running on my computer.

Put it this way, the competition did much better. It actually worked, as opposed to obtaining an IP address and not doing much more (directing me to a login page would have been nice).

A nice touch though was when upon telling the cheery staff that their hotspot didn't seem to get me anywhere (such as a login page in a web browser), they smiled and gave me a CD. It was titled Telecom Wireless Internet Access: A Guide to Getting Started, with the friendly suggestion that I Call 0800 952 695 for Telecom Wireless Hotspot Help. I might have done that, if I weren't actually busy talking to someone at the same time about school-related stuff (and sending off an e-mail message he suggested). Oh, and running a Jabber client, of course.

The Windows instructions on the Flash-littered disc were basically what the instructions on Telecom's hotspot site. Still no luck.

My conclusion is that a system reboot may have helped, but unless one wants to be rude to the person one is talking to about school-related matters, it's not really an option.

Still, it was an interesting experience, not least the discussions I had on my Section 27(1) project. I now have an official Starbucks coaster, Xtra and Starbucks logo on it, too.

April 12, 2005

Cane toads

I have a suspicion that if I tried to use a golf club or cricket bat to kill cane toads, I'd probably end up breaking the club, if not bend it out of shape.

Any possibly better ideas, anyone?

April 9, 2005

Contradicting typos in Mazengarb

I've been thinking about the amusing typos one can find in the Mazengarb Report (1954). My favourite so far is the following, which was found by another user (in a paragraph on the school leaving age) on DP, while preparing the PG edition of the text:

The school leaving age is now 15, but there are obviously some pupils, in the upper forms of primary schools and the lower in post-primary, who, either through lack of ability or lack of interest, are not only deriving "appreciable benefit" from their further education, but are indeed unsettling and sometimes dangerous to other children.

It's subtle, but it can be an amusing contradiction. I wonder if anyone picked it up at the time? :)

What if Stephen King wrote examination papers?

Ever wondered what would happen if Stephen King wrote MCSE exam revision books, or more interestingly, the papers themselves?

April 6, 2005

Google News page

In case someone per chance finds it useful for themselves, I've made my first customised Google News page. I'll post some newer renditions as I add some education- and youth-related searches to it.

April 5, 2005

An expensive delay for everyone but the couple

Well, here's a wedding delay that doesn't inconvenience the couple so much as the guests, or perhaps it will be the souvenir makers losing out the most?

And, from a prison officer in Sweden on taking away heavy weights from inmates:

"We don't feel it is part of the mission that society has given us to create ... over-sized muscle builders."

April 2, 2005

Quench your thirst for knowledge!

From Google, and a previously unknown species of strangler fig, Google Gulp!

As usual, don't forget to read the Google Gulp FAQ.

March 25, 2005

Eat more fruit and keep fit!

After all, it's the fruits of perfect health.

Usually it's the other way around

What about sneaking paintings into a museum?

March 16, 2005

I want a tank!

Why don't I ever get an ex-army tank in my back garden?

March 14, 2005

Restored, but not from a backup!

There are days when you wished you'd kept more recent tarballs. Today was one of them, after being alerted by someone (thanks!) that Safe Marriage had disappeared from the Section 27 and Public Domain Books Gallery. Oops. At first I thought someone must have tried to put on a copyright infringement claim, but of course the book was a pre-1923 book, so was definitely covered under the expiry provisions of US copyright legislation as I understand it. It is also way out of copyright in the NZ legislation, so I should have been covered both ways. Anyway, it's been so good to have some cool people from DP helping me fix this.

But, whatever the case, I now have a tarball copy of a new known good copy of all the books, so we can all rest easily. For now.

Well, you too can now, once again, enjoy Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity! Or, if you'd prefer, just one page at a time.

At this point, I should probably suggest some discretion is advised reading the book, as it talks about sexual issues. But, that said, it was a best seller in England, and was popular in Australia, even if the New Zealand authorities banned a book by a New Zealander...

In any case, there's no lurid interest in putting these books online. It's all good academic interest, and I hope other people can find some use for these books, such as the person above (who e-mailed me about the missing book problem) appears to possibly have.

Which, by the way, if anyone needs a tarball or other archive of some or all of the books, please tell me. Attribution would be useful, by the way, thanks. :)

Back to the original topic, yes, I've learnt my lesson with backups. Naughty Jonathan!

[Listening to: We Don't Know How Lucky We Are -- Frederick Dagg -- Fred Dagg: Anthology (02:49)]

March 6, 2005

Signs malware and spyware are both getting out of hand

Here's another sign (courtesy of Slashdot) that malware is getting out of hand: at least 23 megabytes of bandwidth used up without asking. Not to mention in the same story someone discovering that they've been had for no less than 65 megabytes for a .NET Framework installation they never asked for, excluding the adware, malware and advertisements that came with it.

I wonder if Microsoft AntiSpyware and Norton AntiVirus will come out with definitions against the web page markup that does this, if not already... as someone on a byte cap, this is not only below the belt, in a very uncomfortable spot, but quite probably unethical.

I guess I have to be very careful what websites I visit, now. Grumble. Not that I wasn't already, however.

March 5, 2005

Horses

In the interests of road safety, LTNZ have bought the naming rights to a horse.

[Listening to: Pacific Symphony Orchestra -- Appalachian Spring Suite (27:02)]

February 28, 2005

The digital divide is 'narrowing fast' -- apparently

Well, that digital divide between rich and poor nations is narrowing fast, the World Bank said on Thursday. Apparently, so says Reuters, in the New Zealand Herald.

February 25, 2005

Kakapo are breeding again!

It's not every day (or year) that one gets excited that kakapo are breeding, once again.

Another book finishes proofreading, sort of

My first solely public domain book that I've scanned, Ettie Annie Rout's Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity (1922) has finished the DP proofreading rounds and is now In Post-Processing. It's not a S27(1) book, as I may have said earlier, but it is closely related to some of the books that are S27(1)-compliant that I have listed on my page.

February 20, 2005

Size doesn't matter...

...for brains, that is. Apparently.

Elsewhere at the BBC right now:

And yes, I did get one of the Gmail invitations in the abovementioned report.

February 17, 2005

Now you too can do it at home!

Now, you too may do it from the comfort of your own home! Presumably, though, not on yourself. (Surely that would be difficult while one has sudden heart trouble.)

That's right, folks! For roughly a couple thousand cool US Dollars, you too (if you can supply that pesky US address) may own a home defibrillator from Amazon.com!

For those too lazy, the page claims that the Philips HeartStart Home Automated External Defibrillator is a versatile beast.

Features:

  • The first and only defibrillator available over-the-counter that can be used by virtually anyone with the materials included
  • Easy to use with guided interactive voice instructions
  • Safely delivers a shock only if needed
  • Reliably runs daily self-tests for readiness

(The links are only provided for those interested. No way I'd try to sell one of these right now at the price they're being sold at. Alas. Cheaper would be better. But they certainly look like they might be useful.)

Incidentally, "home defibrillator" on Google NZ comes up with some interesting things. But Google ain't research, as we're always told. :)

February 16, 2005

Slicing fibre, again

Watch those wayward bits of fibre!

And, unfortunately, having a moko may not be a good idea. (The reporter paints it as a pretty difficult question to answer, as well, alas.)

February 15, 2005

New diary planet

Planet Apteryx: a new diary planet. Enough said.

February 12, 2005

Public domain-only book added to the Section 27(1) page

I've added a PD-only book, Ettie Annie Rout's Safe Marriage (1922) to a new section of PD-only books on the S27(1) page.

You may also wish to read this fine PD book in the S27(1) book shelf. A 'split page' version, courtesy of DP's OCR processes, is also available, and may be far more legible for you.

February 8, 2005

Mazengarb Report (1954) posted to Project Gutenberg

Thanks to Cori and several others, Oswald Mazengarb and friends' Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents is now available in a Project Gutenberg HTML edition! Other editions appear to be available, including archived files of the two plaintext editions on offer.

For some reason, book 14760 in the catalogue currently appears to point to a different book at the moment, but nonetheless the links go to Mazengarb's report. How odd. So, I guess chances are they might reassign numbers to the book at some point. But, it's there for now! :)

Thanks again go to Cori and other DP-related people for their help, and so on.

February 5, 2005

Hansardise

Here's an odd word I found in the OED today, while looking for Hansard, for those who get enamoured with them: Hansardise (or Hansardize in the dictionary itself), or to confront (a member of Parliament) with his former utterances as recorded in 'Hansard'; to prove (a person) to have formerly expressed a different view or opinion. (Alas, you may need, to view the full entry, an oed.com account, it seems, or a nice EZproxy server like VUW's to get it for you.)

Ooooh, I see that VUW have decided to buy a full subscription to the Oxford DNB. It would have been very much useful to have subscribed to Oxford Reference Online (and either subscription level there would have done nicely, too) as well, though.

February 2, 2005

Powerswitch

On the subject of hydroelectric power generation, or probably more appropriately, electricity prices, I've never mentioned the Consumers' Institute's Powerswitch site before.

They also have a section on broadband Internet providers and dialup Internet providers as well. It seems I can't tell currently when the dialup database was updated, but right now the broadband table appears to have last been updated before UBS was implemented.

February 1, 2005

Rule: don't leave scrap paper behind

It might be analysed!

January 31, 2005

Getting to 4 Kelburn Parade

Well, the new timetables server from the regional council comes up with this route on its automated brain that I'd never thought of. Slightly modified for my writing style, here it is:

  • Turn left into Wellington Station.
  • After 3 metres, continue into Lambton Interchange Subway.
  • After 175 metres, turn left into Lambton Quay.
  • After 250 metres, turn right into Masons Lane.
  • After 50 metres, turn left into The Terrace.
  • After 120 metres, turn right into Aurora Terrace.
  • After 300 metres, continue into Walkway.
  • After 120 metres, turn right into Clermont Terrace.
  • After 80 metres, turn left into Salamanca Road.
  • After 0.5 kilometres, turn right into Kelburn Parade.
  • After 17 metres, arrive at 4 Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington.

But if that's not mindless for 25 minutes to Kohanga, the route via the cable car is a bit odd, funnily enough:

  • Turn left into Westpac Stadium Walkway. (Wouldn't it be easier to exit the railway station?)
  • After 60 metres, turn right into Unnamed Road (which I've never heard of, oddly).
  • After 70 metres, turn right into Bunny Street.
  • After 30 metres, turn left into Stout Street.
  • After 350 metres, turn left into Lambton Quay.
  • After 350 metres, turn right into Cable Car Lane.
  • After 60 metres arrive at Cable Car Station (Lambton Quay), Wellington City. (That was a 13 minute walk.)
  • Wait 2 minutes for a cable car.
  • After 3 minutes, arrive at Cable Car Station (Salamanca Road), Wellington City.
  • Turn right into Walkway.
  • After 40 metres, turn left into Salamanca Road.
  • After 175 metres, turn right into Kelburn Parade.
  • After 17 metres, arrive at 4 Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington City. (The last bit is a 4 minute walk.)

Maybe I'll stick to human experience. But aren't automated trip planners just fun for odd and unexpected things like this?

January 27, 2005

www.telecom.co.nz appears momentarily broken

While just now trying to quickly find out Xtra's prices for 'broadband' (no, wait, boredband, perhaps -- I'm not entirely sure I really, really want it right now, anyway), it seems I can't get on to pretty much any page on www.telecom.co.nz. How odd.

Here's a screen shot of www.telecom.co.nz looking temporarily broken right now. Uh oh.

Before, it were beautiful; after (adware), things got ugly

Ah, the memories of Opera... before it got adware. Ugh. I really must consider trying it again sometime. If the adware has gone, perhaps.

January 26, 2005

The Game of Life!

From the NZH: John Conway and his Game of Life!

I'm sure pointing out individual banner ads doesn't violate my new website host's request that one doesn't place banner ads on their pages. So, on the subject of sexuality education in NZ, here's yet another ad from a certain Microsoft instant messaging program. It's from the No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba campaign:

Here's that banner advertisement from the abovementioned Ministry of Health education campaign.

(And, this is one more reason to use Jabber. Virtually no banner advertisements in most clients, if at all. If it weren't for annoyed friends using Microsoft product that demand to be able to use all the nice little toys in the said products, I'd have switched all my accounts onto the appropriate Jabber transport ages ago. Which reminds me, I need to get my Jabber server back online. Soon.)

Sixteen snippets of supposed 'secrets'/trivia from the world of Google

Ah, alliteration. Here's the write up by someone of a lecture by a Google employee.

With the web server I'm using being a bit faster again, and a new version being introduced in my absence from it, I'm back using the diary posting software w.bloggar.

From Slashdot today: AOL killing Usenet access and a link to a Scientific American article that mentions the NZDL project. S27(1) is probably far small at the moment (possibly forever too small, too) to even think of trying out their software project (Greenstone), of course. And, from the New York Times: a teacher is charged over an attack on her principal. For some reason, the title on its own reminds me of the British-made television show Teachers. Also at the NYT is an article about the differences in form between men and women, but [that these differences do] not mean that they function differently.

January 22, 2005

And another one goes!

Yes, looks like there was another earthquake that's now on the GeoNet drum. In addition to Friday morning's. And some of the others from this week.

By the way, I may if I have time, before going to Hamilton, be going to the blogger drinks on Wednesday night. Even though I detest the word 'weblog' or 'blog' and I consider this a 'diary'. Never mind. :)

January 18, 2005

A big thing or two

In a moment, something about food. But first, that earthquake. Yes, an earthquake in 'the' Shaky Isles.

Well, as DPF said, it was big and that there was an earlier one I don't remember.

Here's the GeoNet national drum image from some time tonight.

At least hopefully the effects of this weren't too big. Don't think I can say the same for the trouble at Panix. No pun intended.

Other stuff I've found interesting in David's diary tonight: the ALP's Mark Latham disappearing from the Australian federal parliament (I knew that already, though from one of those e-mail alerts, from The Age's web presence), and person having too much food. And it doesn't end there.

In Section 27(1) news, I've received clearance for the Court of Appeal decision and, separately, the Royal Commission report I'd applied for copyright clearance for PG. They will be two interesting books to scan!

January 15, 2005

Weekend reading, or lack thereof (at least in Section 27), and the week that was

In Section 27(1) news, obtaining the next book on my list of finalists to scan next (which, incidentally, as I've said, wasn't actually a S27 book, just PD in the US and NZ) has hit a snag. Looks like it's onto the next possibilities on the list, though there are some further options to explore. Which does include looking for more finalists for the next list. Suggestions appreciated, though my own personal interest and academic study takes precedence. So there.

Now for some (mostly) education-related weekend reading for everybody. Starting off at InternetNZ: happen to be a lawyer looking for some teaching and research work? Maybe a fellowship might be useful.

Anyone else smell qualifications inflation in this New York Times article, too?

Looks like I'll need a bit more than a BA, then from the SES -- I mean the School of Education Studies. Or should that be a FOE of Still Eating (or Emulsifying) Something? I'm not sure. Hehehehe. Actually, that's what I intend to do, anyway, and not get into the satire business. For the time being, at least.

Interestingly, the last three or four paragraphs of that article seem to be the most useful. I'll have to make a note of them.

And, I now know why libraries for sight impaired people don't like using CDs for distributing books. And why fields alongside parking barriers are bad. For business or security, anyway. (And if it were Photoshop, it was funny anyway.)

Oh well. I've had an odd week, and two wonderful people helped out with making things a little better. (Thanks!) On to the weekend now, I think.

(To the abovementioned people: I hope you don't mind not being named. Unless it's to do with services rendered to get my sites up and running, I'm generally hesitant to thank people online in such a place like this without their knowledge.)

January 10, 2005

Virginity pledges

I've just finished watching the Channel Four documentary Texas Teenage Virgins on TVNZ. It appears to be at least a year old, but makes for an interesting episode from what appears to be a television series on religion.

It's almost as if Texas (and much of the USA is going through much of what we in NZ went through from the 1950s (see 1954's Mazengarb Report which I've just digitised) through to 1990, when a lot of contraception education was legalised (and it's been further liberalised since, judging by the self-adhesive addenda stuck into my printed copy of Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum when I got it. (Disclaimer: I'm not necessarily expressing any views on sexual education policy in Texas, just an observation.)

On the subject of what to scan next and digitise, I've put in copyright clearance for PG for one ministerial inquiry from 1922 (actually, I'm about to upload it), one landmark Court of Appeal judgment from the early 1980s (though I'm also wondering if I should pick another one on the Western Samoan citizenship case from around the same time), and a Royal Commission from the 1980s.

I'll probably actually stick to stuff I'm interested in for my graduate study, actually. But it's so easy to get distracted when reading primary source documents.

January 8, 2005

A summary of the Mazengarb Report conclusions

Yesterday, I wrote the whole Wikipedia entry on the Mazengarb Report. The best part, though I guess very rushed, was a very quick run down of the conclusions in the report. I didn't summarise the recommendations, however. That seemed a bit long to do in an evening with a reasonable level of analysis (and hopefully better than the job I did with the conclusions).

Anyway, here is how it went (thanks in part to the glories of the GFDL).

The report came up with 27 conclusions and around 20 recommendations. Among the conclusions, in summary:

  • 1 through 4 and 26 dealt with sexual immorality, noting that "immorality has been [organised]", and the unfairness that boys could be charged for indecent conduct, but girls could not be charged.
  • 5 through 9 urged a tightening of censorship laws.
  • 10 urged a "closer bond between school and home."
  • 11 discounted the contribution that coeducation schools had made to "sexual delinquency".
  • 12 urged tightening of a school leaving age of 15.
  • 13 recommended that a school principal should be notified of students under government care.
  • 14 and 21: "The school is not the proper place for fully instructing children about sex." However, the report suggested it was a good place to "listen to addresses or see appropriate films." It also claimed (21) that police found in many incidents that many youths were either "too ignorant" about sex, or knew too much about it.
  • 15 appears to be an attack on the previous Labour government's state housing scheme, believing in "the new housing developments" thre were large numbers of young children, without the good modelling of older people and organisations. Similarly, 16 says while community groups were doing their best, "facilities for recreation and entertainment will not cure juvenile delinquency".
  • 17 placed some blame at parents allowing consumption of alcohol at "young people's parties", without specifying the age of the said young people.
  • 18 and 19 thought parental neglect left children feeling unloved, something the Committee believed was conducive to delinquent acts.
  • 20 appears to blame high wages of the time discouraging careful use of money (and thus, the Committee concluded, self reliance).
  • 22 and 23 were concerned with religion and family life -- the "present state of morals in the community has indicated the value of a religious faith" and that decline in family life was due to a lack of respect for the "worth" of religious and social boundaries.
  • 24 blamed "new concepts" coming about due to the destabilising effects of world wars, contraceptives, divorce liberalisation and increasing popularity of sexual relations before marriage, and 25 saw the unaminous recommendation that minors should not be allowed contraceptives.
  • 27 wanted more preventive measures taken by the government on child welfare.

Perhaps later on I'll have time to do a better version of it.

A new project, and a new location!

Well, to cut a long story short, the power house has indeed changed locations. For now, at least, but that said, it's not an experience I want to repeat any time soon.

Sorry for the long entry, too. Got heaps to mention.

(Yes, kids, greta.electric.gen.nz is still experiencing trouble. Sorry. I'm working on it with Philip as time allows either of us. :) Thanks for everything, definitely, Philip!)

Part of the reason is that I've decided to take on a new project, digitising books that come under Section 27(1) of the Copyright Act 1994 (NZ). So far, I've only done 1954's Mazengarb Report, but I think there's some good, promising targets for the Section 27(1) treatment. (It's going through the Distributed Proofreading process to become a Project Gutenberg e-book, too, which coincidentally -- read on for the coincidence -- is also hosted on ibiblio.)

As a result, I'll be spending less time on esoteric things, and mainly talking here about the books I republish on the Section 27 pages, both on the Section 27 project itself, and commenting on the books I post. I'll be creating a category presently for all that stuff.

TypeKey authentication is, for the time being, compulsory. My web host for the dr-fun-changes list and the Section 27 pages has suggested it. And, yes, it's the fine, gentle creatures at ibiblio. (I like their self description on their front page, the public's library and digital archive, incidentally -- fits in with PG and Section 27 quite well, methinks.) Thanks, guys, for taking my pages on for hosting.

It was actually for the dr-fun-changes list to be closer to the people who host the Doctor Fun pages that I originially decided to move. Then I came up with the Section 27 project, so after a bit of consultation with librarians, my university's copyright officer (even though I didn't use and don't intend to use VUW books for the time being), and a couple other allied experts, it appeared that ibiblio was also a good fit for digitised books that have no copyright in New Zealand.

You'll find more gormless information on the Section 27 page.

There's much more in the way of news I want to mention that I haven't while tph has been down, but I'll save that for a bit later. Such as the fact that a lot of inter-entry links are hard coded for the previous location. Never mind. They might get fixed, some day, if I have time. I knew I should have used relative links...

But, to cut things short, I'm back in business! At least completely so once my Jabber server has Internet connectivity again. :) I'm doing new projects now, so old ones may fall by the wayside, but that's another story, too. I'll keep you all updated.

November 27, 2004

Misusing statistics?

I prefer to be non-political (certainly in public, anyway, and almost so privately) and I also prefer to be able to call myself politically inactive, but I also believe that I can stay neutral when coming across some weird uses of statistics.

A site against same sex relationships and civil unions, civil-unions.org, appears to be misusing statistics. If you follow the reasoning, the site appears to be saying that because less than 4% of people in same sex relationships (according to their reading of census results), they don't deserve the rights the current Bills under consideration provide. Moving along, they also claim significant support for their position because only 4.5% of submissions were in favour of the Bills. What they don't realise is that it's easy to stack those sorts of statistics with submission writing campaigns (it's not new). But the best one doesn't involve statistics at all. It says: Think of the bad effects this Bill, if allowed to pass, will have on future generations and younger children. They don't even use statistics at all.

Thanks to DPF, who appears to be in favour, for the link.

I'm not mentioning my position here at all. I just find it interesting when sides in an argument are seemingly so selective in their facts, even if I agree, overall. (Incidentally, I would look at the 'other side' of the debate, but I can't easily find statistics on civilunions.org.nz right now with the time I have left online tonight.)

November 17, 2004

Home internet access provider rankings

As per a pointer on an InternetNZ mailing list: NetRatings have put up their latest NZ home ISP top ten. No particular surprises who's at the top, with Telecom/Xtra taking up nearly half, and what's listed separately as TelstraClear and Paradise taking up, all together, around 21%. Unless there's an ISP called Other, ihug thus takes third place. Slingshot gets fourth, but below what appears to be the margin of error, or what the PDF file calls any rankings smaller than 4.7% -- they're indicative only due to sample sizes.

I see that they've also published a top 10 (online, I presume) publishers for NZ (also presumably online) visitors over 60. If there were any surprises of sites that I've heard of, it would be Public Address (I'm assuming they mean www.publicaddress.net) at third place, with 17%.

Of course, the above two paragraphs assume I have implicit trust in statistics. Yeah, sure. :) Hey, that's a thought. I wonder if I want to know how they track this?

I'm not sure I do want to know.

More on the above (and, maybe, more) providers in a day or so. I'm thinking about their implementations of dial-up modem standards.

In a galaxy far, far away...

Oh, the memories.

Mmmmm, changing spots...

(Interestingly, elsewhere in Amanda's entries, is a claim from a US reader that her nearest polling booth in her country's recent elections was around 160 kilometres away. I wonder how much they use mobile polling booths and postal ballots, and how it compares to Australia's experience, where some electorates are bigger than a good proportion of the countries of the world.)

On the subject of VUWSA executives' diaries, the EVP's diary looks fun.

Maybe I should do a 100 things about me entry for myself for some amusement (and serious thought) at some point.

Back to study in a moment. Enough of reading diaries for today!

November 15, 2004

Another one bites the dust!

Hot on the heals of ACE's demise, WCE have finally got their death wish.

From January, I'll be a student in the renamed School of Education Studies, in the Faculty of Education. Why can't there be a School of Musical Chairs instead? Or perhaps using the same letters, Still Enamoured with Studying?

I see the price harmonisation between the two institutions is finally moving beyond the tripling in price of student influenza vaccinations at WCE, too. Ouch.

Of course, however, the nice papers on youth issues, such as EDUC 229, will continue. Well, they'd better. I'm likely to be signing up for EDUC 228 and or EDUC 340 next year.

Why run backups?

What, stupidity with files when it comes to computer maintenance? That would have to be the first of an infinite number of reasons why I have installed a backup routine for my critical systems. Which reminds me, though I save an image onto a network share, it's just about time to transfer some of that to compact disc, once again. After all, I don't want to get worked up over losing 300 photographs myself, especially after the Kohanga end of year concert last Thursday night.

Based on the reader comments on a similar article the above linked to, it sounds like to me quite possibly the BBC could possibly take the cake for the freezing the hard disc trick.

All right, back to school work, now.

November 10, 2004

A child sues his parent for not buying him a computer

OK, an 11 year old child suing a parent because she didn't buy him a computer as promised has to be a little crazy, even if it were the proper thing to do, right?

November 9, 2004

Obselete!

I guess my photograph of the old Karori Public Library building will rather soon be a bit out of date, especially when they're rebuilding the place.

Must take another look around there, some time soon. And get some of my more recent photographs uploaded.

Oh, the joys of looking through Google results. Maybe a bit more sifting will uncover a rather good Jabber avatar for me, though I do like my current ones.

November 7, 2004

Closed home

A few doors down the street right now, there's an open home, but the apparently great marketing genius in the real estate agent (who shall remain anonymous, so no photograph) taking the open home seems to have parked her car right at the street end of the driveway, so one either has to walk on the grass verge or squeeze past the car to see the house. Great one, perhaps.

[Listening to: The Shy One -- B*Witched -- Awake and Breathe (03:10)]

(Hmmmm, I really do need some newer music, come to think of it.)

October 23, 2004

Comment spam again

Yes, tph -- and thus everything else running off greta.electric.gen.nz (which includes my Jabber server) -- is currently suffering a comment spam maelstrom, once again. Grumble. There were somewhere between 40 and 60 spam messages/comments. (I'd give an exact count, but they were coming in fast enough to annoy me.)

Spammers: when will you realise you're losers for making people's lives (say, mine) harder just to sell stuff?

In other thoughts, I notice that it's mainly .info domain names that they seem to be using. Maybe it's due to the free .info domain names offers I've seen floating around the Internet lately. Argh.

On another thought, I really need to move stuff to the other box I have on this network to prevent some of the issues.

[Listening to: Jewel -- A Night Without Armor: Poems by Jewel]

October 20, 2004

United States terror list singles out New Zealand man

Oops.

I wonder if the money transfer service lost a customer out of all of this?

Another moral of the story: the game's up when your local MP gets involved in such a ridiculous affair.

Update: I've posted the New Zealand Herald story to Stupid Security.

October 14, 2004

Spades are really something else

Dave [Tollner] calls a spade a shovel and luckily Territorians know what both a shovel and a spade look like... They appreciate that -- and I think that is one of the reasons they have supported Dave.

That was the also reelected CLP senator, Nigel Scullion, on page 013 of Monday's Northern Territory News.

September 4, 2004

www.gop.gov is broken, sort of

Well, not a news story really, but surely not the sort of thing you want to happen to your one of your party's web sites during election season, even if your party hasn't bothered with the site for a while (presumably editing the site during summer is too much work, or you're not supposed to edit it during election time).

Current screen shot of http://www.gop.gov/ on a first page load.

Curiously, the workaround is to select the link to the Spanish language version of the page, and then go back to the English version.

I wonder how the Republicans got this domain name, anyway. I recall when the whois was showing more information, I saw something along the lines of 'federal exception'.

September 3, 2004

Fun with Air New Zealand

I've sent Stupid Security's way some links to this week's fiasco over barefoot toddlers:

Some toddlers appear to have done something even a terrorist would have trouble doing -- delaying a flight by around 40 mins by boarding barefoot. It might have been quiet, if a couple NZ members of parliament hadn't been on board. Ironically, the captain only agreed to take off after the harrassed parents found some socks. Really, Air NZ could have picked someone else for safety or security issues.

Nat Howard (I presume it's him) asks if anyone has seen the captain's side of the story. My inkling is that it's a bit like the situation with public servants -- it's a bit hard to comment publicly on something you're passionate about (or pretty much anything, really) without losing your job.

I see he's also posted something someone sent him (no external website verification, though, but interesting nonetheless) about delays on an El Al flight's arrival because a smoker needed to be dealt with by police. My only possible guess (as posted in reply) is perhaps they either wanted evidence on their second trip, or perhaps both visits were a, uh, smoke screen for something else.

Thanks for the stories, Nat. :)

August 14, 2004

R2 feed oddness

Is it me, or are R2's live television streams slightly mixed up? Unless I'm mistaken, the Māori Television modem feed is carrying TVNZ stuff instead, and even has better reception than the 'right' stream for the TVNZ stuff.

Weird.

Still, it's great right now. They're showing a documentary on Elvis, which is somewhat relevant to what I'm essaying about at the moment for EDUC 229.

August 7, 2004

Random stuff

First, I want a Bluetooth rifle. Second, I don't want to download a whole new installer every time I hear of more vulnerabilities in Firefox. Third, the latest medicinal spam offers I get are for codeine.

On yeah, and ACE seem to think they're finally going to let themselves disappear into the University of Auckland. Here's wondering if it will actually happen properly, now that it's approved, from (apparently) 1 September. In the meantime the merger between WCE and VUW still wanders along in the consultation process.

[Listening to: Menelaus Remembers -- Anton Lesser -- Homer: The Odyssey [Disc 1] (05:29)]

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 12, 2004

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)]

June 26, 2004

It's all money

Walking past the stall for the Shop For Your School booth at Westfield Queensgate, I see that this year, they aren't using the sponsor's product at all this year at the counter. No Apple desktops this time -- they're using two HP desktops, instead.

June 24, 2004

Can't be bought

Love can't be sold. Love can't be bought. Love can't be found in the marketplace.

[Very randomly watching: The Wedding of Peter and Cara (01:31:50) -- R2]

June 22, 2004

Some toilet humour, a systems update, and some school results

Perhaps someone needs to select better acronyms?

On other matters, greta.electric.gen.nz is back up, until the second week of July, Philip tells me, so more overloaded load average madness on my Jabber and Mailman box is to be had until then. (Actually, it was up all the time the downstream server it hides behind was being worked on, but hey, even I couldn't access it during the downtime.)

I've also calculated what I think is my likely mark for EDUC 234, based on adding up my marks (ah, the joys of internally-assessed university papers). No such luck yet with the SOSC 111 paper I randomly picked up. That had an exam, so I'll be waiting for a while. Now, unfortunately, it's time for me to sort out my papers for next trimester. Yuck, as I smell degree planning up ahead in bright lights. Ugh, indeed. Incidentally, I see the VUW School of Education has decided to change its website. Hopefully this time the information is updated often enough, though even in its previous state, the information was still useful.

Time for bed now, methinks. I was going to write about the upcoming InternetNZ spam workshop, but I've decided to leave that until afterwards as I gather up ideas. (And yes, I'm still working on that unit plan. I might trim it for brevity, though.)

June 16, 2004

Learning new stuff every day

Today's cool word I find while randomly browsing the online Oxford English Dictionary: New Zild, the adjective form of it being defined as Of, relating to, or designating distinctive New Zealand speech or language; of or relating to New Zealand (esp of something viewed as typically characteristic), among other definitions.

And I've learnt how to persuade Movable Type to make some XML feeds for the power house; I thought it'd be a good touch to finally get around to it after someone suggested I do so, to make putting me on Planet Jabber a bit easier, should I ask to be added. Not sure I do, but if I am added, I wouldn't object. :)

On other matters of 'learning', I've finally realised the joys of a certain travel book, albeit by CD. For the past four years, since getting a copy of the US edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on CD, I've found audiobooks much easier to take in than books in print form. Alas, the Harry Potter audiobooks as sold in NZ are rather expensive. Looks like I'll have to curb the habit and continue reading the print versions (like I did with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Damn.

[Listening to: Disc 2, Track 17 -- Douglas Adams -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Audiobook] Disc 2 (03:05)]

June 15, 2004

Commented out

Lesson of the day: when you write a very provocative post, be prepared for the responses. This particular one from a Microsoft person wonders about a certain coincidence, and then attracts a handful of equally provocative comments back. While I'm browsing it and I hit reload, the article disappears. Then reappears (slightly edited, I think) when I hit reload again a few moments later, all 18 comments gone. All this in the last ten to twenty minutes.

Coincidence? Do I think this was just a coincidence? I think not.

Second lesson: if you play with fire, you'll be burnt. Oops indeed. I'm not making any comments about the content of the diary posting myself -- anyone with schoolboy or schoolgirl experience (or any playground wisdom, really) should know this.

Updates, 12:48: Mark Derricutt saved the comments in his diary, while I get Ping 'http://blogs.msdn.com/joestagner/services/trackbacks/154867.aspx' failed: Sorry couldn't find a relevant link in http://hydro.electric.gen.nz/pub/self/diary/tphse/archives/000114.html from the Microsoft person's diary software. How rather odd. Maybe it's a 'coincidence'. Spooky. Oh wait... hold on, there's more as I type this. I see that he says a couple of folks did as I expected and dropped by to offer personal insults and name calling. Sure that this were the case, but deleting the whole lot seems a bit heavy handed. They weren't all flames or porn comment spam, right? Hopefully, however, his genuinely meant message doesn't get lost in all the backlash (back and forth, that is), which appears to be that dodgy hacker people are costing everybody, not just a certain software company that makes a certain operating system. I think that's his point.

June 10, 2004

Firefox 0.8 and 0.9

Quick, Aucklanders -- what do you notice about the code names for Mozilla Firefox 0.8 (Royal Oak) and 0.9 (One Tree Hill)?

I wonder if it's a coincidence, or if this will continue? :) Of course, I'd rather they used suburbs of where I live, and not some big heap of land up north. Hehehe. :) At least it might for a while... the previous code named releases appear to be Pescadero (0.1), Santa Cruz (0.2), Lucia (0.3), Oceano (0.4), and Naples (0.5). A quick Google search suggests to me these are all places in California, if anything. (Seems also that 0.6, 0.6.1, 0.7 and 0.7.1 never got code names, which is a pity. Oh well.)

June 3, 2004

Optical illusions

On the day I get a new mobile phone, a new technology comes out...

Hrm.

May 29, 2004

Melted pink toy dinosaurs

White Island's now got a pink dinosaur as a mascot, thanks to a crater webcam from GeoNet. (If the thing's finally melted, though, hydro.electric.gen.nz has a copy from 24 May.)

The scariest part of this is that it's gone on The Age over in Melbourne, and the New York Times. There's a good write up about this all in the New Zealand Herald, also home to probably one of the earliest postings about the dinosaur.

Actually, the scariest thing would be that it's appeared on Slashdot. The ultimate in knowing a site's made it. Perhaps.

The White Island Volcano Crater Webcam from 10.00am on 24 May, 2004, on hydro.electric.gen.nz, not GeoNet.

Telephone etiquette

Contact Sheet has republished very nicely a scan of an old US Bell System booklet on telephone etiquette. I'm sure I once found a similar book published by the NZ Department of Education's School Publications Branch and the New Zealand Post Office from probably the 1960s or 1970s about the local telephone system, which included a similar section on phone manners.