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.


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.


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.


January 7, 2007


Well, dialup works. Photographs might take a while longer to put online. Oh well. Hopefully in-room Ethernet will be up soon, but it looks like that soon will be some time after the middle of the month. Sigh. At least dialup will do for now! :)

December 25, 2006


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.

December 8, 2006

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/ .kml and AddType application/ .kmz ought to do the recommended file type trick. Useful to prevent browser questions, if anything, at least for IE7.

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 station. Hmmm. I liked the Due South version that they did; it just seems to sound different now.

New on 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 when clicked' and 'Receives information from periodically' and the one says 'Receives information from 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?

September 9, 2006

ibiblio moving servers

As if I hadn't said it already, here's the public announcement of ibiblio's server move. From the browsing perspective, collections will be available on an intermittent basis from 10 o'clock this morning until the same time on Sunday. And an e-mail-free day for me... hehe! I will actually get some study done... :-P

Continue reading "ibiblio moving servers" »

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 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.

July 30, 2006

New EndNote link resolver settings

Mutter. VUW Library are migrating their link resolver service from LinkFinderPlus to Journal Finder (which is already being used for holdings information for journals, and also known as Article Linker), so I spent some time working out some settings to replace my current EndNote setup. Basically: if you're game (I accept no responsibility for problems!), set your OpenURL path to
or (choose either depending on whether you want to authenticate to the library's EZproxy server first or not), and set the path to ?rft.spage=SPAGE&rfr_id=info%3asid%2fsersol%3aRefinerQuery&sid=sersol%3aRefinerQuery&citationsubmit=LookUp&rft.aulast=AULAST&SS_doi=&rft.title=TITLE&url_ver=Z39.88-2004& (That's quite a long query string, so you may want to make sure that it's all pasted in there before complaining -- if you want to check, the last part of it should be 'AUFIRST'.)

[Update, 21 August: another set of, possibly better, recommended EndNote settings!]

So far, my wrangled code only works for journal articles, which in any case is good enough for me. Books are easily done on an ISBN search directly on the library catalogue, and journal titles can be had with just the title or ISSN on Journal Finder directly, whereas journal articles have to get quite a few things entered in to Journal Finder -- that is, unless one already has a DOI number such as 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1993.18030416.x.

If anyone still looks for my related Mozilla Firefox 1.0 extension for Google Scholar, if it's still working at all (and I haven't updated it for the last several Firefox releases), it probably won't work by whenever VUW Library finally switch off LinkFinderPlus. I'm not actively maintaining it now, either, as it was just a slightly customised version of someone else's Firefox extension. Though that (as at time of writing) five people downloaded the extension this week seems odd. Oh well. If I need use of it some time, I might take another look at it, but it's not high on the priority list at the moment.

July 20, 2006

Fun with Movable Type and Google Analytics

Postgraduate school is fairly busy, and I haven't been posting any new women's studies-related articles at for some time, alas. But at least my sanity was still intact enough to run an upgrade to MT. Mmmm.

So far the upgrade to Movable Type 3.31 seems to have been rather painless. The only off-putting thing was the (apparent) move from a web page-based manual to a PDF one.

Against my better judgement, I've decided to also use Google Analytics for gathering some data on the tph diary and the SCMA website. While I have some misgivings about the privacy implications, after being largely satisfied over Google's privacy policies at least in the area of informed consent, I'm already for the SCMA site finding out some useful implications for the geographical audience, which is very much Aotearoa/NZ-centred at the moment. There's more bits and pieces such as screen resolutions, too, and this solution seems more seamless than others I've seen previously. Meh. For the possible privacy paranoia out there, my only real use for using it on either site is to use the aggregate statistics that it provides to tailor for the small audience I and SCMA respectively have.

Time will tell though if it's actually any bit useful, of course. :)

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

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.)


November 19, 2005

It works!

Well, the link resolver function in EndNote 9.0.1, once again. EndNote 8.0.2 managed to break it quite spectacularly. Sigh. At least I can use it again, but now I'm wondering if using VUW's Journal Finder service would be much easier. But I have set up the link resolver stuff already, so I may as well use it.

November 2, 2005 crash

Just when I'd nearly finished migrating content from to ibiblio, greta needs a complete rebuild. Which is probably just as well, anyway. Most of the web content that fits ibiblio's collection policy has already been moved, such as the teddy bear satire and humour websites and the dr-fun-changes mailing list.

And in the process, some new content has been added to what was migrated from greta, such as some photographs related to women's studies topics.

I hope they're of use to some people. Enjoy!

Meanwhile, for old times, of the content that's probably gone from her that (most likely) won't be migrated to the rebuilt greta is an entry in a previous incarnation of this diary, tph, from 12 October, 2003:

A quote on Maurice Sendak’s supposedly wild ‘stance against literacy’…

Spotted on an English lecturer’s door at WCE:

What is the significance of Max standing on the books on the first page of Where the Wild Things Are? Is this a stance against literacy by the author? — Signed two satisfied SCKEL 102 graduates.

On another related topic, check out the English Exemplar sheet I Was Sad When My Cat Died. Hrm.

With some luck, the rebuild of greta will be completed by mid-December.

Hopefully sooner, though, of course. :)

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 30, 2005


NZH: Vodafone glitch clears accounts.

Thousands of Vodafone customers have paid a price for a service the mobile phone company advertises as being free.

Customers using the Vodafone Live service this week had all the credit in their prepay accounts cleared out after a technical hitch on the company's network.


However, those who lost the most money were reimbursed on Wednesday night, and Vodafone said it hoped to have repaid everyone by last night.

Sending a text message with the credit, Vodafone apologised for the mistake and any inconvenience.

What, I wasn't hallucinating? Damn...

At least I got a refund for what the text said was 'GPRS overcharging', whatever they meant by that...

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 to

(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 16, 2005

Gallery on the Section 27(1) site upgraded

To avoid the nasty issues I had with Gallery 1.4 disagreeing with ibiblio's web server proxy (which was a bearable but slightly icky problem to work around), I've upgraded the Gallery software powering the Section 27(1) site to 2.0. It seems to be working so far, and the only major thing that's broken appears to be the feed. Apparently there's no feed support in the current release. In the meantime, I'm getting the feed to 307 to the old version's feed.

Apart from that, at least the caching issues are gone for those that log in to view/do stuff. And the old links should redirect fine. Apparently.

More later.

September 6, 2005

Movable Type 3.2

I installed Movable Type 3.2 tonight. Not much to mention, though the Style Library concept seems useful. There's possibly more on this as I update the templates for this diary.

I haven't decided on a new theme for this diary yet. The selection seems much wider this time around, which looks fun.

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


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.

July 23, 2005

Book changes

To prevent pesky scripting resizing your page, and to keep some layout within the SCMA design, the WSCF-AP electronic books' Flash-enabled menus now 307 to a WSCF-AP publications page at The content is the same -- it's just easier to manage for us at SCMA -- and though the layout fits the current SCMA style guide, the content is clearly marked as being hosted at ibiblio.

I'll be likely to start scanning a circa 1937 select committee inquiry on abortion next month, time permitting.

June 26, 2005

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="">
<loc><$MTBlogURL encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<MTEntries lastn="1">
<lastmod><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></lastmod>

<MTEntries lastn="10">
<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>

<MTEntries lastn="10" offset="10">
<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>

<MTEntries lastn="1000" offset="20">
<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>

<MTArchiveList archive_type="Category">
<loc><$MTArchiveLink encode_xml="1"$></loc>

<MTArchiveList archive_type="Monthly">
<loc><$MTArchiveLink encode_xml="1"$></loc>


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 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. :)

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 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


It's odd what has the most views in the 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.

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.

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.

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 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 4, 2005

Beans for (spent) toner

Well, I have a marketing e-mail from HP imploring me to recycle my toner cartridges, which had me thinking in stupid ways. Which (the recycling scheme) is a vaguely honourable thing (well, presumably they make money selling the recycled bits). Until you discover that they don't pay you to send it to them, though they do provide a FreePost number on their website to help do so.

The e-mail reads, however, if until the end of April I hand it in at somewhere called Esquires Coffee Houses, I get to a free medium coffee of some sort, and a chance to win a 1.35 kilogram bag of beans.

Somehow, methinks despite the allure of maybe winning beans, $10 is probably much more appetising for my printer's toner from another place. Though the latter appears to want to try to onsell the bits they recover to recondition cartridges, while HP, apart from presumably trying to prevent this (hey, if the margins don't supposedly come in on the printers, they got to get the profit somewhere, presumably), says that one doesn't get paid, because the objective of this programme is not to collect these products for remanufacturing, but to recycle them responsibly. Hmmm.

Besides, having a 'Swappacino' sounds like I'm about to have a 'swappa crate' (however one spells it) of beer instead. Even if they are referring to swapping a toner for a coffee, it sounds worringly odd to me.

Maybe I need to be examined somehow. I don't know.

Update: to keep up tph's banality when not thinking about S27(1) things, I need to mention that there's also one other problem for me. There's no Esquires Coffee joint anywhere in Wellington or the Hutt Valley at the moment. Guess there's no New Zealand outside of Auckland. Or, in this case, Christchurch as well. Sigh. Could have been worse, I suppose. I'm going to go for the $10 once my first/current toner in the printer finally decides shaking it around repeatedly isn't going to work any more (which I haven't even needed to do yet, either).

February 2, 2005

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 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 26, 2005

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 24, 2005

Link resolvers

Well, I had some progress persuading my copy of EndNote 7 (as kindly provided by a VUW instutional licence that covers students) to like the VUW Library's link resolver. So far, I've had some luck with the path set to and the arguments set to ?genre=article&issn=ISSN&volume=VOLUME&issue=ISSUE&date=DATE&spage=SPAGE&sid=&title=TITLE&atitle=ATITLE&aulast=AULAST&pid=.

However, even that isn't perfect. Or the resolver itself isn't: even with the path set to go through the library's EZproxy server (, it still has some issues, activated from EndNote or within a database. At least it does tell me which databases are good for looking through for a specific article, and it does work/link through with some databases.

As for the actual use of link resolvers, I'm finding them really useful, especially within EndNote when I need to find an article again. While some databases like EBSCOhost does provide me a link I can bung through VUW's EZproxy server to (legally) get the article again.

Good thing there's also the Serial Solutions list that VUW subscribes to, too. Unfortunately it doesn't list some databases due to (presumably) non-supply of suitable collections data by them. Mumble. Never mind.

January 22, 2005

News feed at the Electricity Commission

I thought that seeing the power house officially says it's web news management for hydroelectric power stations, I'd better create a category/section about electricity policy and issues, even if it's now mainly a place to talk about books without copyright. So, here I go.

A quango that has an XML news feed on its front page. Now, let's see if in the new year the Electricity Commission maintains it. And its insurance policy.

On the subject of linking, Six Apart have put together a Q&A page on rel="nofollow".

In the area of S27(1) books, Venereal Diseases in New Zealand is now In Post-Processing in DP too, like the Mazengarb Report. My next document is currently sitting in the DP OCR pool, now. Alas, the next one to scan is going to be quite huge. Eeeek. I guess that I'd better have a good lunch before I start scanning, this next time.

And, last for now, I took some photographs of the Wellington Railway Station, Waterloo Quay, Parliament Building, Government Building and the Wellington Cenotaph late last night on a fifteen second exposure for most of them. At first impressions, I think that the seemingly (at first, at least) over-exposed photograph of the railway station actually looks good, with the blurred flags flapping and the large golden ball of light leaving the station could be interpreted in many ways as a static image. The album is currently offline, but hopefully not for much longer. I'll add the photographs when it's available again.

January 11, 2005

Yesterday's entries' timestamps muddled

In case you're wondering, some of yesterday's entries were in the wrong order because of some timestamp problem.

I'm not sure what happened (I must not have noticed the 'authored on' date as I got the 'create new entry' page), but my guess is time zone issues. But that doesn't explain why my evening entry was after my afternoon one!

(If you're reading this much later than today, I may have made an attempt, by the time you have read this, to fix it using known approximate times. For example, that Texas Teenage Virgins documentary I saw finished some time after 9.30 in the evening.)

Weird. I'll closely watch my next couple entries.

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, 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 15, 2004

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.

October 23, 2004

Comment spam again

Yes, tph -- and thus everything else running off (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.

September 19, 2004

35 minutes and 7 seconds

It's worse.

(And no loan machine, either.)

September 18, 2004

36 minutes and 36 seconds

I think I now know what it's like to have a half an hour call on a GSM handset, after having to call IBM's 0800 support number to log a problem report with a video driver.

The guy was quite good for a natter, and seemed to track down a variety of possibilities, from the Rescue and Recovery backup software, to blaming everyone's 'favourite' service pack (ho, ho, ho), while in the process of reminding me that reading the event log and running Google over errors is the thing to do.

I never knew learning that one's video driver appeared to start having infinite loop problems, a core dump, an apparently spontaneous restart, and being told to wait for a fix to pop up on IBM's website could be such fun.

Perhaps. Or maybe it was the radiation from the phone. :)

September 10, 2004

Falling apart at first, on average

Seems like that the new box is having some minor issues with load averages, using the exim4-daemon-heavy package from Debian testing. From what I could tell, it had something to do with frozen and bounced messages getting repeatedly reprocessed for viruses and spam stuff by Exim.

So, in the meantime, I've re-set ignore_bounce_errors_after and timeout_frozen_after to some probably dangerously (but hopefully sane and or understandable) low levels for now, and set values for queue_only_load and deliver_queue_load_max. Hopefully that does the trick for now, and things don't get too bad (like a big dictionary-based spammer attack on the mail servers here).

Perhaps setting these sorts of options as a matter of course when setting up an Exim daemon is a good idea, albeit from what I can tell.

In other news, I have upgraded to Movable Type 3.11. No apparent issues, but I've come up with a new method of installing the files that seem to make things quicker to upgrade.

Oh yeah, and there's a new logo on SCMA's website. Well, it's 'new' only in that it looks much better than our last drawing of it, but useful and much better, anyway.

[Listening to: Our Mystery -- Bebo Norman -- Myself When I Am Real (03:33)]

September 3, 2004

To (be) live or not to (be) live

If anyone's wondering, I'm currently watching Rove on TV3. I wonder if I should join their vast database of willing TV guinea pigs?

I need to make my life a bit more exciting some time soon. But I don't seem to be bothered at the moment. Hmmmm. I think it has something to do with upcoming assignments, as opposed to dangerously bad apathy, as I do want to be social, when I have the time.

September 2, 2004

Known issues

Seems like TrackBack ping addresses haven't been advertised for the two previous entries, one of which was before the upgrade to Movable Type 3.1 on tph. I suspect I know why, but yes, I'm working on it. At least TypeKey now works properly.

New box

I'm currently building a new box with a view to using it on Philip's network as at least a spam filter and virus scanner. Currently it's being used to relay mail between the gateway and, but I have a feeling this (the spam and virus stuff) is actually something I should have another go at persuading greta to do on her own.

In the meantime, the load average issue on greta has pretty much disappeared, so the lag issues on the Jabber daemon have gone. Back in business!

August 23, 2004

Unicode and EndNote

Damn! I can't do macrons for Māori in EndNote!

This sucks. Especially when most of the titles in the reference list I'm building right now use common Māori words.

[Listening to: Everywhere -- Michelle Branch -- The Spirit Room (03:36)]

On the subject of Unicode, I'm finding that a lot of other programs, such as many Jabber clients, don't like the Windows 'New Zealand Māori Keyboard Definition'. Either the macron input is ignored, or if I even try to paste in a macron, it's ignored. This from some programs that are claiming they have Unicode support, too. However, I don't know all of the ins and outs of Unicode, so I can't offer solutions just yet. :(

Update, 12.15: Yes, I'm using EndNote 7. But I don't expect VUW to bother getting a more recent volume licence unless someone important who needs Unicode support raises a stink about it. Oh well. The EndNote lot claim that a certain SP2 for a certain OS doesn't exactly like their latest offering, anyway.

August 18, 2004


Ah, finally. The weather in Wellington and Lower Hutt suits my wardrobe! Unfortunately, it isn't the happiest of circumstances in which to be please I am able to dress well.

Pity I may have trouble getting home from school this afternoon, though.

Ironically, Linda Clark on National Radio played a certain Crowded House song -- yes, it was Weather With You -- during her show after a report on people waiting at the Wellington airport.

Oh, that and my Blosxom incarnation of this diary has been comment spammed. Grumble. I've just deleted some of the comments. Fortunately there weren't too many comments to delete, and I've now disabled comments. (On that subject, TypeKey still isn't functioning here properly yet, but I've left comments enabled so at least with the stories in this incarnation you can leave a message. Not that a lot of people have done so. But I'm not worried.)

Windows XP Service Pack 2

Just finished installing Microsoft Windows XP SP2 over the last three days. No problems yet, as I am still able to access network shares and the like so far with minimal reconfiguration, with existing settings and with the new defaults.

[Listening to: I Never Loved You Anyway -- The Corrs -- Best of the Corrs [Australia Bonus Track] (03:54)]

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 27, 2004

Reworked spam filtering on

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

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


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

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

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

July 26, 2004

TypeKey not quite working here

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

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

July 24, 2004

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 27, 2004

Briana's back in business!

Potentially good news! The world's worst chatbot, using off the shelf binaries (I feel lucky -- and risky!), Brie (aka Briana), is back in business for now. Feel free to send her Jabber messages within reason, but please read the instructions first.

Also, you may wish to keep in mind that a real human does, on idle occasion, read the logs, to see how Brie puts up with swear words and rude words... :)

June 22, 2004

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

Perhaps someone needs to select better acronyms?

On other matters, 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 18, 2004 downtime

FYI: Due to some changes on the network on which resides, most of its services will be unavailable for a few hours or so tonight. And then, I'm told, probably the second week of July, too.

Thanks, as usual, to Philip Dowie, for keeping the server up. :)

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 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)]

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 12, 2004

Firing up a Wiki

Well, I've finally done it. I've forgotten the vandals that say something stupid. Okie, so I've simply reinstalled a Wiki on greta, PhpWiki to be exact. I've set it up to allow editing from self-created logins for now.

Right now, the only use I have for it is for some quick end user documentation for Jabber users. Why? To be idealisitic, a quick FAQ-style site so I don't have to remember the answer to the same question without having to refer to a newsgroup posting or an infrequently updated website (hey, Emacs takes forever to load on my server).

And so I can compare it against Faq-O-Matic to see which I want for the job. (Well, if I can persuade it to work, which I can't right now.)

Personally, I think it'd be far easier to load more terse statements into ChatBot, so it pops up for users immediately, rather than a web page. But time will tell.

June 8, 2004

Outdoor wireless on Lambton Quay

Wow. Gotta say outdoor wireless in Midland Park (outside Mobil on the Park on Lambton Quay) is pretty impressive for checking one's work timetable without having to find an Ethernet port... or a wireless access point in a coffee shop, or at (another) 'work' on the Willis Street end of Lambton Quay. Mmmmmm... fun, fun, fun. :)

It's starting to get a bit dark, though, so I'm not going to try reception among the other parts of Midland Park. Perhaps another day.

[Listening to: Reverie -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight (05:14)]

Looks like I need to get some more albums, too. Though Brooke Fraser is really, really good, I don't think I wanna thrash it just soon... :)

June 4, 2004

I want a virus!

Where are virus-laden messages when I need them for my newly enabled virus e-mail scanner?

June 3, 2004

NetStumbler around Wellington

Computerworld's brief story about CityLink's wireless network's apparent success (despite my repeated grumblings about the high per megabyte pricing) reminds me of one good thing one can do if bored in the back of a motorcar or bus going through some part of central Wellington: chugging along a street on one's way home with a working installation of NetStumbler or MiniStumbler to see how many people secure up their wireless access points properly.

That's not to say I'm the first person to think of this. In any case, the largest proportion of unsecured access points I've found tend to be CityLink's public prepaid ones.

May 29, 2004

Movable Type 3.0 upgrade completed

I've installed Movable Type 3.0. Things seem to work pretty well at the moment, but the style sheet that I chose isn't too great.

Oh yeah, the hardest bit was manually installing the default templates because it was an upgrade -- but it was certainly worth it.

More diary entries in a moment while I try this out, methinks. :)

In other news, might be getting some more upgrades soon. I'll have to see.

May 13, 2004


Got a chance to play with EndNote 7 tonight, thanks to a licence from school. It's an interesting references manager. Early days yet, but it was quite an interesting time trying to persuade Microsoft Word not to scream virus (or cry wolf) because the macro file wasn't signed just as it wanted. I've now managed to persuade it to look up the essential New Zealand resources for myself, thanks to downloading and modifying connection and filter files off the University of Otago's EndNote site. So yay, I now effectively have a Z39.50 client, so less need for me to use the annoying LCoNZ web interface VUW. :) Doesn't quite work completely yet, but at least it's a start.

On another note, I've been using inGOT Lite for a month now. Alas, I've only had the chance to try it on wireless in central Wellington and at InternetNZ so far, but I like how this program's letting me keep an eye on the traffic count, especially with the account I have with a rather pricey wireless Internet provider. (That said, it's damned convenient anyway, even if they do charge $20 for 70 megabytes.)

The careers fair at school today was also fun. The Bearcom will have to review some of the free things that were on offer at some point.

May 10, 2004

I want Gopher!

In my opinion, it's a pity that despite exceptions, IE doesn't seem to support Gopher any more. Despite any perceived death of Gopher, hopefully it does get a chance at revival. I need a use for my pygopherd server, which also has HTTP output support for those nasty IE browsers. Perhaps mirroring a pro-Gopher document might be something.

May 8, 2004

The Hotel Alcatraz Auckland

Fancy the possibility of staying the night in a (former) prison? The worst prison, however, will be trying to get a copy of the Windows XP SP2 installer. Great. For others, it might be e-mail stalking, which is (supposedly) happening more often. (I'm surprised The Register missed IM stalking, which I consider a much more real form. Hmmm.)

Meanwhile, happen to want a professorship no one seems to want? As for Intel, they seem to be warming to their mobile processors.

[Listening to: Paint It Black -- Vanessa Carlton -- Be Not Nobody (03:31)]

greta back!

Apparently was down due to a physical move of it to another location.

Thanks are owed to Philip as usual for the smooth process. :)

May 4, 2004

Adware-type wireless?

Slashdot has some fun stuff today. First thing I noticed was a free wireless hotspot Internet access idea, which hopefully doesn't mean adware browsing to send me nuts (which it would). But the BBC starting to trial video on demand stuff that they suggested a year or two ago might happen is good.

Weird stuff comes up, too: Kevin Mitnick becomes a hero for a day, while some people in India spend all day clicking on banner ads.

On a completely different subject, I checked out the latest release of Mozilla Thunderbird last night. Whew! It now has an installer.

April 28, 2004

Photos of Prebble

There's an interesting 1983 photo of Richard Prebble at the New Zealand Herald right now.

And there's possibly more jobs for Whenuapai, and lots more for Auckland Grammar. Aucklanders... how big will it all get? :)

On the bright side, despite it being Microsoft, looks like there's going to be more New Zealand language packs for Windows and Office. Useful. Last year's macron input drivers have proved rather useful for my study.

April 27, 2004

Steamy essays

It's not just my envelopes getting cooked. The draft essay I just printed got steamed, too. I must check this out, as it really doesn't sound healthy.

I'm sure I've been storing the paper properly, so I'm not sure what could be causing this. I'll have a closer look at the driver options. Maybe there's something there, perhaps it's the weather or maybe it was me trying to use economy mode. Weird.

[Listening to: Still In Love -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight (04:28)]

April 24, 2004

Relenting on Java

I've just relented and downloaded the Sun Java VM. The installer seems better than last time, but I can't get it to install with success on Mozilla Firefox. It overrode the Microsoft Java VM's stuff, however, it seems, which breaks some programs, but lets others work. Give and take, I suppose.

April 23, 2004

Hot and steamy envelopes, printed especially for you!

I've just tried the envelope function on the laser printer, and let's just say the envelopes seemed to come out happily, but it was a bit of a steamy affair. Somehow I don't think this is supposed to happen and, one 09 toll call later (no 0800 number, alas), the manufacturer's support centre doesn't seem to, either.

[Listening to: Arithmetic -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight (04:02)]

Of course, the call had to become a sales pitch for the vendor's own 'approved' paper. Fat chance I'd buy the stuff if it's available in boxes of ten reams each. And without knowing the prices, I'd bet the 'approved' envelopes are priced well enough to gouge the eyeballs of the average consumer out.

Surely New Zealand Post's otherwise evil-looking Postage Included envelopes should be fine for this sort of exercise?

I must have done something to make it odd. I really don't like blaming other people. At least I have something to print my assignments with.

[Listening to: Still in Love -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight (04:28)]

April 16, 2004 back -- for now

The first good news: is back up once again. The 'bad' news: is going back down once again. The second batch of good news: the reason for the bad news is that is scheduled for a hardware upgrade. :)

April 11, 2004

The server is currently doing stuff. Please stand by. :)

March 26, 2004

Freaky flashing

Okie, just tried upgrading/flashing a BIOS tonight. Yikes. At least the computer still boots, that I know. :)

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 7, 2004

/me wants a webcam

Maybe it's about time I got something like a cheap USB web camera, if only for finding annoying people have been snooping where I live.

On the subject of photographs, the promised snapshots from a certain birthday party back in mid-December did actually get uploaded, but passworded. No, none of the photos were dodgy -- privacy paranoia on my part, that's all. :)

February 1, 2004

Dead letter boxes

Oh, the pleasures of killing off an e-mail address. Personally, I wouldn't do it, but then I have too many addresses to have to check to see which is being flooded the most. Too much time with little payoff for me. At least most of the virii that in the end doesn't go through greta gets filtered off.

Unfortunately, the false negative rate on my double Spamassassin install (one has Pyzor, and the other has DCC) has been going up with mostly the virii getting through; greta does have a virus scanner (clamav) installed, but I haven't thrown it in the mail chain yet. Must do that.

On more cheerful things, right now I'm listening to MPR's Saint Paul Sunday on Concert FM. Mmmmmm. :)

January 31, 2004

spamassassin list changes; w.bloggar

Hmm, two things, I didn't notice that the spamassassin-talk mailing list is being moved. The other thing is that I'm trying out w.bloggar again. I didn't realise since I last used it it has Movable Type support. Neat. Now, all I have to do is try to get the plugin for Movable Type running. :)

What ever happened to being straight up about something?

One of the joys of reading the New York Times on occasion is the odd feature that provokes my attention, such as one on religion being below the surface on websites. On a basic level, I don't have a problem with people using other website content as a drawcard, but I also don't see the problem with people being upfront about their religious motives. At least people can browse one's content keeping their (hopefully honest and well meant) spiritual/religious motives in mind. Then everyone is hopefully happy... or not.

Other stuff I saw on the visit was the latest list of the United States' Iraq war dead. It reminds me of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode (no time to search for it, sorry) where Captain Sisko gives up reading the list of the latest Starfleet dead in the Dominion War. Ick.

On another subject, I think I'll maintain both the Blosxom and Movable Type versions of my/this diary; I'll probably rename the other to something like tph, Blosxom edition, I suppose.

Movable Type kills Blosxom, or Blosxom killed greta

Well, to cut a long story short, the Blosxom incarnation of the power house is no more. As per my usual archival obsession/insanity, the entries will still be available in Blosxom format for the time being, but the damned load averages on greta were going up every time someone browsed it or downloaded the headlines files. Ugh. Maybe I can bring it back later, or at least replicate some of the goodies I had there here. Mmmmm.

December 30, 2003

Might be dumping Blosxom...

Depending on how things go, I suspect there is a very good chance I will be dumping Blosxom. Still haven't decided. The main consideration will be the load times, and whether I can reuse a form of the template I used for Blosxom on this incarnation. So I am still on the fence. In other events, my Christmas break is going well. Back to homework on Thursday, methinks.