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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!)

July 15, 2007

Kiwi losers (uh, spammers) not to buy scooters from

OK, now and again I get advertisements sent to me, and I just know it can't be permission marketing, because they're not often addresses I give permission to send me crap at. (Yes, I know they're not the first people to try this.)

So, when a New Zealand outfit that shall remain nameless within the .co.nz domain with the words 'me' and 'bike' in it (not in that order) send me spam from a United States-based IP address (and upstream appear from that that they may be sending it from a Chinese IP address), I'm suspicious about them.

I'd like to give them benefit of the doubt, but wouldn't using a New Zealand Internet provider instead of a Chinese one be cheaper? It does sound like someone's got something to hide. (On balance, if they are indeed using a private computer of theirs to send the mail, dialup to China is surely expensive. They could be using a VPN setup, but then the question is why bother?) Some further analysis of the domain shows they appear to be using the same provider for their mailout as they are for their domain's website, mailserver and nameserver, so the immediately preceding IP address can be explained, but not the Chinese IP address they appeared to use upstream, nor that I can't find that I've ever communicated with this outfit before.)

So if you get an advertisement to buy scooters imploring you to save on carbon emissions and all that emotive stuff to get you to buy, don't do it from these losers. Well, guys -- keeping your computers on sending this spam is helping produce carbon emissions.

Heck, even the whois points to a marketing company. Guess they haven't done their homework.

The new anti-spam law could not come sooner. Don't buy the scooters from these losers -- don't encourage them to send spam.

(And a final note to the company in question: don't spam me again.)

May 30, 2007

Welcome back to New Zealand, locked mobile handsets!

Coincidentally, I hear of a certain something while I am looking for a new handset to use on Telecom NZ's CDMA network (think worn out buttons) -- the sooner I get it the better, as Telecom are going to make it obsolete by moving to GSM, or the network type Vodafone NZ currently use. (Albeit for voice they're using GSM for, anyway, it seems... data might run on something else if I read things right. If I have.)

Which can only mean one annoying thing for someone like me -- I'll have to put up with locked handsets once again. It's something I recall Vodafone did when I had my first (prepaid) handset with them (oddly, that Alcatel One Touch Easy was locked so that their postpaid SIM cards couldn't use it, though I see that Telstra Australia still do that sort of thing), but I found that by the time I got mine, they were already it seems giving out the unlock code for phones at that time fairly readily (I recall being told at the time that they didn't bother with locks anymore because handset subsidies were no longer being made; it also seemed they weren't too worried about losing roaming revenue from customers putting overseas operators' cards in while overseas). Doubtful they'll be doing that once Telecom gets their GSM act together.

Sure, I want phone companies to recoup their handset subsidies, but I don't want even a slightly confusing unlocking regime like that used in Australia (what I dislike there is at least two carriers' attempts to extract money after what would seem to be a reasonable length of time). The best I've had so far for locked handsets is T-Mobile USA: 90 days' account standing and they give it to you the unlock code with no questions or fee. At least that's what they told me when I signed up. (Which I should check seeing I have an 850/1900 MHz handset somewhere they sold me that's ripe for asking about. Too bad what I have read about Telecom's proposed network build doesn't mention whether it'll work on their network if it does end up using 850 MHz for voice. Gut feeling says no, though.)

So, the returning spectre of locked handsets to New Zealand would appear to be imminent. Tasty.

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.

December 25, 2006

Safety

Here's a good reason to RTFM with those presents these holidays: setting those WPA passphrases to stop hackers (and possibly neighbours, depending on circumstances) can be a rather useful thing to get done.

October 31, 2006

MySpace to use recognition software to block copyrighted multimedia

The NZH has grabbed from Reuters a report that MySpace wants to use new technology to stop users from posting unauthorised copyrighted music on the social networking website and oust frequent violators of its policy. OK... I guess there must be no one at all that'd be able to claim fair use rights nor claim that they were licensed, then, and that anyone that uses so-called copyrighted music or videos must be doing something illegal and have something to hide -- or so this scheme appears to assume. I'm not necessarily disputing such an identification system, but what if someone does honestly and in good faith try to claim fair use or licensed use? What mechanisms would there be to claim fair use or for licensed uses to be noted? I'd need to know more information before I passed judgement on such a scheme.

Sigh. It'll be interesting to see the answers. :)

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 6, 2006

RealPlayer 10.5 fiddling with Google Toolbar 4 without permission

At least I don't recall knowingly giving permission while updating my RealPlayer 10.5 installation. Noone should dare tell me that they just mysteriously appeared in an unrelated phenomenon.

Right now my Google Toolbar 4 installation in Internet Explorer is sitting shiny with a Rolling Stone dropdown button that wasn't there previously and a similar RealMedia icon that wasn't there previously either.

And here are the two offending icons. Clicking on the dropdown bit with one comes up with headlines, as if they were headline feeds, the other with tracks to listen to.

Poking around, these are 'custom buttons', so had I added them myself or added them with explicit permission, that'd have been my fault. Fine. But these weren't added as such. (That said, they seem rather innocent at first. Some technical information from Google Toolbar's options menu window: the Rolling Stone button says 'Sends your query to www.rollingstone.com when clicked' and 'Receives information from www.rollingstone.com periodically' and the Rhapsody.com one says 'Receives information from feeds.rhapsody.com periodically'. It still does not excuse what Real has done, though.)

This is damned immoral. It's wrong. It's as bad as spyware/badware, malware and home page hijacking. Losers. Anyone else had this?

His Majesty King of Interface -- oh, and Telecom implies that Jabber is peer-to-peer stuff

Right, two things, while I should be doing work/finishing off at Women's Studies for the university year: my friend Donald Gordon is now King of Interface, or, put simply, a life member, and (in an unrelated madness) the open standards-based Jabber instant messaging protocol is a peer-to-peer technology, Telecom Xtra implies. Egads.

September 28, 2006

And another registrar...

I'd a poke around today and switched registrars for electric.gen.nz.

It's no real reflection on the previous registrar or even the new registrar (all right, so there was the price difference; I've had three different registrars, and I only switched from one back to another in less than 15 minutes because they only allowed two or three nameserver entries). If anything, it's a reflection of how smooth the domain market works. None of this pesky wait 60 or whatever days after registration stuff -- pony up with payment and your UDAI which your (soon to be) previous registrar should have provided (and if not, they have to pretty much straight away, give or take). If anything, poke around for a few minutes to create a customer account at a new registrar, arrange payment (if asked for; some don't ask for one until it's renewal time) or ask for an invoice and hey, presto.

Oh yeah, and hunting for the UDAI can add in a few minutes of waiting if one decides to insist on searching old e-mail or printouts for it instead of requesting a new one.

Well, that said, it was done in minutes, maximising time for more important things, like homework.

Bloody painless, it all was.

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.

July 22, 2006

One reason you wouldn't want to bother with getting broadband in New Zealand

Why wouldn't you want to bother? Why wouldn't you want to dare switch your DSL-based ISP to another one once local loop unbundling is ready? Now there's another reason. In some areas, there isn't enough space in some telephone cabinets, not to mention that it's just as bad in the main exchanges.

This isn't just the rural or supposed 'lower income' areas. Remuera supposedly has a significant waiting list, and one person in New Plymouth has been told to wait four years.

Hmmm. Charming.

I'm not sure what I would do.

Meanwhile, the ISP bidding war continues.

July 20, 2006

The great ihug bidding war

So who'll it be that gets ihug, folks? The NZH says it might be Orcon, while Computerworld claims it'll be Vodafone.

June 28, 2006

Wi-Fi flaw discovered in 802.11b network protocol

Oh, bugger.

June 22, 2006

Postgraduate school

Yeah well, it will be over for the term by Monday. Methinks.

Which is what I've been up to. 'Regular service will resume shortly.'

On other matters, my Jabber server, greta.electric.gen.nz, is back up! Turns out all I needed was five minutes to read through and configure jabber.xml, and then three more minutes to generate a certificate and turn on port 5223. Easy! Why I didn't do it sooner... sigh. All this getting busy at postgraduate school seems silly if it was only going to take this little time.

Just in case it comes in handy for anyone else consider a move (albeit on jabberd 1.4), I'll write up the painless experience next week. (Actually, it was painful. Once I realised how simple it was.) At this rate, maybe I'll look at ejabberd as well and open registrations a little more for fun.

See y'all Monday evening, hopefully. :)

May 8, 2006

Noone Usenet?

Not at Xtra anymore, it would seem -- or 'a few hundred' rounded to the nearest thousand below. Hmmm.

May 5, 2006

Privacy and soft drink

Which have nothing to do with each other, but off MSNBC's news website, happenings in the US:

From the latter:

The phone records are generally acquired by the resellers through fraudulent means and would not be admissible in court as evidence, but they are still helpful as an investigative tool, say officials familiar with the investigation.

The alleged use of the customer records by law enforcement officials could raise legal and ethical questions, as it would circumvent due process and years of established laws protecting consumers from random eavesdropping on electronic communications.

And, on a random note: The Style Contest for Movable Type, Typepad and LiveJournal.

April 20, 2006

Google in China: The Big Disconnect

Via David Goldstein, something from NYT: Google in China: The Big Disconnect. David describes it as: what I reckon is an 8,000 word story that deals with China and Google, censorship, internet use in China, cultural differences on the use of the internet between China and the west.

He suspects it won't be up for long. I guess we'll see.

February 13, 2006

Uploads again

So now, faster upload speeds, if you want to pay more. Possibly not me at these prices, anyway.

February 8, 2006

A start on broadband

But will the strong words follow through, though?

I could do with the upstream bandwidth. I can't be the only one that does uploads at home for reasons other than violating copyright.

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 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.

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 5, 2005

Radio New Zealand streams

Seems like Radio New Zealand have finally made the official release of the meta file addresses for their Windows Media live streams. Their audio website lists http://meta.radionz.co.nz/live/national.asx and http://meta.radionz.co.nz/live/concert.asx as a Live Stream Test, whatever they mean by that; http://meta.radionz.co.nz/live/rnzi.asx, while also listed, has been available on RNZI's audio website for some time now.

This will be extremely useful, especially if the peering issues can be sorted out. I still remember the RealAudio stream of yonder ago. It was a pity that was stopped and we had to wait quite a few years for this. Hopefully it lasts.

August 20, 2005

Peering in

Now, Radio New Zealand, bless their souls, are running a live National Radio stream especially for coverage of the David Lange memorial service (and bless him, too). Now, this setup is the prime example of the effects of peering -- the primary server hosting the full rate stream is pretty much firewalled to anyone off a Telecom- or TelstraClear-sourced Internet feed. I'm getting the United States-based feed that's a vastly lower rate on both Xtra and Paradise.

The ironic thing about this setup -- and Computerworld has suggested that this is it -- is that Xtra license some Radio New Zealand content on their streaming media page. Perhaps they'll be nice to their customers and host a mirror of the live feed. Unmetered too, if we're lucky, maybe?

There's so many potentially political issues I'll just leave it there. But it'd be nice to get a universally accepted access arrangement.

August 19, 2005

Zotob

I don't know why people don't patch their machines so regularly, but it seems my, uh, paperwall is picking up a lot of port 445 attempts, as well as the usual naughty behaviours on port 138.

Come on, the bloody outbreak is happening, people. Really, it is. There's even a rival infection going around, too.

Oh well. Back to the idle monotony of homework.

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.

Free local telephone calls could come under scrutiny

I wonder what does under scrutiny and up for a rethink mean in this particular context?

August 4, 2005

Projects and news

I've been working on a few GEND-related projects and assignments lately, so while the scanning is related, that's been put back a little. So, if anyone's looking for a reason why I've decided to leave the InternetNZ council, there you go.

Anyway, one's a short 20-shot photographic essay of supermarket shopping, which I've titled I Promise I'll Be Gentle. More about it once I hand it in.

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 7, 2005

Net users change habits to avoid spyware

NZH: The Pew internet and American Life Project found that an overwhelming majority of internet users have stopped opening questionable email attachments, or taken other steps to avoid a plague of stealthy, unwanted programs that can disable computers or secretly monitor online activity.

June 27, 2005

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

It's all expensive

The US situation: Beyond Wi-Fi: Laptop Heaven but at a Price. Plenty of technologies can get you online wirelessly these days, but there's always a catch. Wi-Fi Internet hot spots are fast and cheap, but they keep you tethered to the airport, hotel or coffee shop where the hot spot originates.

June 25, 2005

Rats! Lines Companies! Rodents! Telecom!

So, it was a rat, after all, and lines company contractors. And now it's time for Telecom to talk compensation for themselves. This will be fun for them.

And there's little demand for business DSL upstream speeds faster than 128? Someone tell me that Telecom are joking. Really. They must be.

June 21, 2005

Rat blamed

Um, a rat isn't exactly a road contractor, though a (possible) rat and a electricity contractor hitting a cable probably is. I don't even want to know the cost of the fibre cut. Things were a bit crazy around town, after all.

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 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 4, 2005

Smoking banned in Indian films

From the ABC:

[Listening to: Radio New Zealand International]

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 24, 2005

Christian porn filter seen as censorship

From the NZH: Christian porn filter seen as censorship.

Anti-porn software developed for schools by a company with links to fundamentalist Christians has been criticised for blocking students' access to leftist political forums and websites on sexuality and health.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard approved the Watchdog Corporation's CampusNet filtering software last year, as part of a $9.5 million package to help schools screen out hackers and objectionable material such as pornography.

I wonder if my Section 27(1) and public domain books page will be next? :)

A neutral thought here: perhaps it's better to not block information sites so students can get both sides of arguments, so they can research these views? Perhaps doing so, and providing some teacher guidance anyway for any Internet access, would help students form balanced and fair assignments and personal world views and opinions?

May 22, 2005

Final presentation

I have (if I have added my papers -- courses, if you will -- and points right), I have the final assessment piece for my major tomorrow. There are some ancillary bits such as a literature review and reflection to also do that are due on 27 May, but other than that, I am done.

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 7, 2005

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

Scanning more books

Thanks to a suggestion from someone obtained from an SCMA-sourced contact, I've started scanning a book from a William Allan Chapple, as well as a response to that book written by someone else. I expect I'll finish these by mid-June, though there are no guarantees, of course.

More details to follow. After some discussions with a local university library, I am also likely to have another select committee report from the 1920s scanned in addition to Venereal Diseases in New Zealand (1922). This will be likely to occur during the mid-year break at VUW.

[Listening to: On My Knees (LP Version) -- Jaci Velasquez -- Heavenly Place (03:49)]

Some more education-related articles from mostly the NYT and the BBC:

All right. Sleep seems good now.

[Listening to: Legacy -- Nichole Nordeman -- Live At The Door (04:16)]

[Listening to: My God (LP Version) -- Point Of Grace -- Steady On (05:04)]

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.

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

Patent reviews

Here's an interesting note from someone claiming to be an IBM employee on their internal review processes for patents.

On another note, today I came across an online directory called The Asterix Annotations. While I knew a lot of the puns already, this would have been useful years ago!

March 29, 2005

And you thought New Zealand 'broadband' had issues?

Thought that, whatever you might call New Zealand's 'broadband' market, that it's having problems? Well, they're having broadly similar problems with the broadband market in the United States. However, the biggest problem seems to be whether one should have to pay for a phone line with one's DSL.

I suppose on first quick impressions, over in the United States, there's more of a problem due to the apparent popularity of cell phones and Internet telephony over the broadband lines that's a problem. I imagine it's quite possible this sort of thing might become an issue in New Zealand in the future, with cellphones starting to replace landlines.

Fibre to the front door of your home, anyone? There's probably still room on them electricity poles outside, unless the TelstraClear cables have taken all the room. Which is likely. The Telecom poles look decidedly sparse, though.

March 24, 2005

Happy Easter!

Assignment handed in. Sleep is now on the agenda. Happy Easter!

Oh yeah, and so is some work on helping write some Jabber client documentation, and another assignment. Once the sleep thing (and thus that annoying tiredness thing) is out of the way.

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 4, 2005

Another InternetNZ council meeting

At another InternetNZ council meeting. The agenda's fairly tightly packed this afternoon.

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 27, 2005

Where there are peers, now someone doesn't peer

TelstraClear: mutter. Further information is available from the NZNOG.

Hopefully the situation gets better. Soon.

February 12, 2005

Nameserver queries up markedly

For some odd reason, the queries on two different secondary nameserver providers for electric.gen.nz have been markedly up from a several thousand a month (September 2004) to either the high tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands (October 2004 to this month to date).

How odd -- and that's just for two of the providers. Maybe it's time to take a closer look at the site logs again.

I did have some maelstroms on the odd occasion of varying levels of annoyances, so perhaps it's something to do with that.

I wonder if I should do a graph of it?

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.

The publicity effect

Seeing the Close Up story last night on TVNZ publicising the Mount Wave Cam as a place for voyeurs has me speechless a little. I'm not sure what to think. There is a video clip of their report that's around six-odd minutes long, if you can manage it.

Seems like whoever's controlling the Java applet at the moment is trying to find women to zoom in on (it's on full zooom right now, too). No such luck, really. It's obviously raining pretty heavily, by the looks of things.

Whatever one's views, it does look slightly alarmist but the report, whether or not it is indeed alarmist, does raise some privacy issues. It is a public place, on one hand. Maybe warning signs might be appropriate. Perhaps.

It's going to be a mine field to work through, no pun intended.

In other news, Gopher access is back on greta.electric.gen.nz on a pygopherd daemon, so it's also available once again in non-Gopher browsers. I need some content to put on there, though. I wonder if photographs from my trip to Hamilton would be of use?

My Jabber work should also continue, from late February, once my school timetable is finalised.

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 8, 2005

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 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.

October 29, 2004

InternetNZ council meeting today

Yup, I'm at another InternetNZ council meeting. Thing of interest today to me are some applications at the tail end of the meeting.

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 2, 2004

Work, work, work...

I'll be dead for the next few weeks. Bear with me...

When I'm back, hopefully there'll be more photography up.

July 30, 2004

I'm shy

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

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

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

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

July 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)]

July 2, 2004

David gets a pay rise

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

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

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

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

Things to do with a CityLink connection

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

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

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

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

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

InternetNZ council meeting

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

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

June 25, 2004

Workshop notes

Having gone to the Wednesday night NZCS event, it felt as if I had the recap before the big workshop on Thursday. But no matter, as it was useful to hear the stuff beforehand.

What I didn't hear beforehand from Andrew Maurer was some detail about what was meant in Australia's Spam Act 2003 by inferred consent. As I (still) haven't read it for months (I suspect possibly even before it was passed, as well), it was interesting to see how wide a net they have cast to avoid innocents being caught up. Anthony Wing also had a few important messages. The interesting bits though were that his agency has issued 130 warnings so far, and a suggestion not to reinvent educational material. (I've heard similar things with regards to Internet safety, too, in the past.)

More on this and the InternetNZ submission later.

As if by coincidence, I received an e-mail message from Dell this morning, asking me to 'confirm' consent, for the purposes of the Australian Spam Act 2003, for staying on their books as (presumably) a marketing target, which I was happy (I know, I'm a sucker) to do, as I am pondering whether to replace a computer that seems to have a rather dodgy thermometer somewhere in it.

Thanks muchly to the kind Jeff Barr of Syndic8.com, I now have a Gmail account. The part of most interest to me was the spam filtering function. But, alas, now having my paws on a 'virgin' e-mail address is so tempting enough to consider not publishing it online to see if harvesters pick it up and start spamming it...

[Listening to: All You Wanted -- Michelle Branch -- The Spirit Room (03:38)]

June 24, 2004

Spam workshop today

Well, it's just hit midnight, which means I am off to the anti-spam legislation workshop that InternetNZ are running today. Yesterday, though, I got the opportunity to attend a joint NZCS-InternetNZ meeting in Wellington, with some of the speakers at today's workshop making an appearance. I have to say I now have an appreciation for the policy decisions the Australians made that I wasn't too keen on, courtesy of Andrew Maurer and Anthony Wing. The most important one to me is the civil remedies, as I was thinking for a while it'd be better to get black marks than financial pain (though it never was a deal killer for me). It's great that we got these two fine men along to the workshop: if their contribution today is anything to go by, they'll be great tomorrow for helping with formulating the submission to the MED. Also a good time to meet them and some of the other people involved, before the workshop, too.

Once we can get the legislation in place, I'll be very happy, and I'll feel much better about putting my efforts in the direction of educational resources for schoolchildren. Groovy.

In the meantime, there's an interesting New York Times article on some developments in technology-based verification solutions. More related stories and comment to come later in the day, when I get back from the workshop.

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 17, 2004

How to Jabber safely (apparently)

Being a read the manual type of person, reading a fact sheet on 'safe' IM practices was kind of amusing. But, that said, serious at the same time.

A while ago, I was contemplating running an academic experiment using a chatbot I'd cobbled together using existing parts -- centericq and some external plugin implementation of Eliza. I'd have to say it did work kind of well when I were testing it -- if one were supervising it (it has a habit of suddenly causing a crash by increasing processor overload, at least last time I tried it). It did fool the odd person, but there were two problems -- it processed each message individually, and it couldn't join conference rooms, because it would reply to everything in the room, right down to the join messages. (I imagine, though, for the latter I could have used a grep or something.) I can't seem to get past the ethics issues, though, but that's mainly because I haven't had time to work on it in the last several months. Still, it was of some amusement at WCE.

What does this tell me? Like my join message on jdev@conference.jabber.org suggests, I'm not hot by any means at programming, and I worship off-the-shelf binaries from apt-get. But I like writing documentation-like stuff, which is what I suppose I can contribute to Jabber.

In the meantime, however, I'm working on a unit plan for teaching schoolchildren safe choices with regards to junk e-mail and instant messages. I've deferred work on it, however, until a workshop next week...

So, incidentally, I'll be going to an anti-spam legislation workshop in Wellington on 24 June. It should be interesting to see what sorts of stuff come up. Sure most of the spam we get in NZ comes from overseas, but we still don't want people to perceive our country as a soft touch. At least in the meantime we have a good Internet Service Provider community who tend to (by my experience or two getting a spammer run in; other people's experience may vary, I suppose) terminate spammers pretty quickly.

[Listening to: Disc 3, Track 09 -- Douglas Adams -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Audiobook] Disc 3 (03:08)]

Update: while typing this, someone asked me to put my chatbot back up. Turns out its home directory was a bit full, so creating a fresh account seems to have done the trick for now. Currently it's Jabber only, but I'll add back the other protocols if I see it's gonna be useful. I'm not sure if I'll leave her on all day, though. I'll have to think about that.

[Listening to: Disc 4, Track 01 -- Douglas Adams -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Audiobook] Disc 4 (02:57)]

April 24, 2004

Cute cartoons

Here's a cool Internet safety site.

InternetNZ council

I'm at another InternetNZ council meeting right now.

March 23, 2004

Still at InternetNZ

We're onto the 2LD review discussion now. In the meantime, the format shifting stuff is now on Slashdot. I've posted a comment on this. In short, this is what I said: I mean, can't we be trusted to make just one copy on cassette? We can photocopy and otherwise duplicate textbooks sensibly, or ensure we use copyright licences through the system of course notes for students. And the friend next to me right now has a pile of LP records he'd like to put on to audio CD. Funny that. I'd like to do it too.

And onto DNSSEC -- Keith is talking about the other country code domains doing it. The root server operators are wanting to adopt it in their final form -- so now it's a question of when, not if. Will be interesting to see if we end up doing it.

At the consultation

I'm at the Wellington InternetNZ consultation right now. There doesn't appear to be much controversy so far; one very good thing is that far more members than members that replied to the invitation have shown up.

Nothing much to report, so far. The usual points of disagreement have appeared, which I think shows we're having some good and robust discussion.

On another subject, I've noticed this fortune/message of the day greta spat out in the last week or so. Kinda nice, cool and thoughtful, all in one. :)

How you look depends on where you go.

March 22, 2004

InternetNZ meeting tomorrow

That's right, kids! It's time for another meeting for InternetNZ members in Wellington tomorrow. Of special interest for myself is the 2LD review, though the rest (such as the business plan). I haven't had a lot of time to read, but the part of the review that caught my eye is the suggested preregistration period for proposed new open 2LD domains. This could be an interesting point for discussion...

March 12, 2004

Cool new InternetNZ digs

Had a good reason to go see the new joint offices of InternetNZ, the DNC, and NZRS today. It's very modular, and unlike the old office housing InternetNZ and the DNC, bits can be divided off at any time, plus there's improved facilities for visitors and councillors. I guess this means there will be a cool meeting place for the InternetNZ-UniForum joint Wellington regional meetings, if we do indeed hold them there. :) Cool!

February 22, 2004

Necessary bear food reviews

Nikster wishes to announce that the Bearcom are now reviewing good food. First up are Honey Mustard Grain Waves and SPAM. That's right, there are photographs. (Curiously, the Australian SPAM site appears to have some ColdFusion trouble right now. Ha.)

February 20, 2004

Another InternetNZ council meeting

Yep, I'm at another InternetNZ council meeting. Unlike other InternetNZ meetings, this month's meeting, it seems, will be pretty uncontroversial.

February 16, 2004

Stuck in Lower Hutt

While I'm stuck in Lower Hutt unable to get into Wellington due to the weather after advice from traffic police not to attempt travel, here's some articles I've been holding out posting for a few days.

Firstly, in Germany, one city council has decided Linux is so easy even a woman could use it. Elsewhere, Kuro5hin doesn't seem to like Movable Type. (I'd stick with Blosxom, but like with the previous software, it just took too long and I as of now still don't have the time to rectify it. Maybe in a month or two I will.)

Onto technical things, I'm looking at installing a comments filtering system. However, it seems I get few enough comments one side of me is saying I don't need it. But then I wouldn't have to look at my diary so often for people desperate for Google rankings. Personally, I'd rather not use things to defeat PageRanks. Mumble. And Nikster really does need to get her GnuPG key signed eventually, after one aborted attempt. That and I am for now using Firefox as my usual browser for personal interest. It seems kinda funky, though I'm not too keen on the second name change. Oh well. Reminds me of the naming problems for some characters in the Tintin comic strip series.

February 10, 2004

Telecom, TelstraClear and the $10,000

Telecom's customer of the month is... another InternetNZ councillor (not me, alas), Grant Forsyth, in their monthly $10,000 draw -- but he's one of TelstraClear's top people. :)