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Feb 28, 2007

Some Arty Links

Fascinating - Running the numbers. Statistical imagery representing facets of the USA - see how many handguns are out there, how many painkillers are used, how many brown paper bags are used, see a painting made up of cans etc etc

If you fancy yourself as an artiste take a look at The Structure of Man - a blog with video to help you learn to sketch the human form.

[/misc] | [permalink] | [2007.02.28-22:29.00]

Feb 27, 2007

Strange Maps

if you're a fan of maps and geography check out the Strange Maps blog. Theres a wonderful explanation of how the left/right hand drive systems evolved in different parts of the world.

[/misc] | [permalink] | [2007.02.27-18:06.00]

YouTube Music Video - Red Sparrowes (Live)

The Red Sparrowes have a fine line in long song titles - check out the video for Alone and unawares the landscape was transformed in front of their eyes. Given that all their songs are instrumentals and that the majority of todays song lyrics are pretty vacuous I guess descriptive titles provide a little context.

The song is pretty trebly supplemented beautifully by the pedal-steel guitar giving it an apocalyptic western feel as the climax slowly builds into the fifth minute of the piece.

Their first album is great - particularly if you're a fan of Mogwai or Godspeed you black emporer.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.02.27-06:13.00]

Feb 26, 2007

The Golden Age of Computer RPG's + More

I loved Bards Tale on my C64 - The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993).

Interesting - NetApp respond to recent studies on disk failure profiles. As per Storagemojos pre-amble its surprising other vendors aren't all over these studies plugging their solutions to these problems we've always suspected but didn't have the numbers to justify. Lovely quote - "RAID 5 today verges on professional malpractice".

Fascinating - This is Iran, but not as you know it and also Chomsky on Iran, Iraq, and the Rest of the World.

Wonderful - Retro Steampunk Keyboard. Not sure about the white keys but its still pretty awesome.

Amusing - Mr Pichassohead. Create your own Picasso-esque portraits.

Best comic in the universe - Thirty years of 2000AD. On a related note Dave Bishop has a blog with a lot of background on 2000AD, its artists and authors - Vicious Imagery. Dave also wrote a pretty definitive history of the comic - Thrill Power Overload.

Some interesting ideas - 12 crackpot tech ideas that could transform the enterprise.

Interesting - Users Who Know To Much and CIO's Who Fear Them. I'm all for client initiated innovation but I think IT departments need to be properly resourced to deal with the demands of "Shadow IT". Want to foster collaboration then resource enterprise IM and virtual workplaces (Wikis, SharePoint, QuickPlace etc); want to allow people to plug in memory sticks and mp3 players then resource IDS and eDRMS tools to make sure documents are safe and secure etc etc

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.02.26-17:53.00]

Feb 20, 2007

Googles Disk Failure Rate Study + More

Fascinating - Analysis of Googles Disk Failure Rate Study. Looks like MTBF doesn't mean a hell of a lot; neither does an optimal operating temperature (in fact according to the study cooler seems worse).

Open source - DVD Authoring with DVD Flick.

Nifty - Popular figures re-imagined by artists.

Interesting - 10 largest databases. Some discussion about the order of these databases and some omissions according to the comments. Still vast amounts of 'stuff'.

A couple of useful guides - Linux NIC bonding and Using VMWare P2V.

Spolsky on Seven Key Customer Service Points. 'Take the blame' is always a good way of diffusing a difficult situation.

Useful - 10 Linux commands you've never used. Pstree, lsof are both really useful but I'm not sure about the others in the list.

Kiwiana - Metafilter thread on the Haka complete with YouTube links. Useful for comparing the be-mulleted 70's All Blacks anaemic Haka to the new Tana era Haka. Also be sure to watch the All Black / Tonga Haka match-up. Series psychological warfare.

If you want to manage your iPod on different PC's but don't want to keep wiping out your iPod contents try the free and cross platform Floola. Supports Windows, OS X and Linux.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.02.20-18:16.00]

Feb 19, 2007

Monopoly Has Come a Long Way

Interesting post by NetApps CEO on their 'Management Away Day'.

Instead of 'Death by PowerPoint' they split up into teams and ran simulated scenarios running a 'Virtualised NetApp Company'. Apparently BTS developed the simulator - interesting to see Sales and Marketing people wrestle with Engineers and watch revenues rise and fall based on the decisions made.

Sounds a lot more interesting than the usual audience participation rubbish dished up at team building seminars.

[/tech] | [permalink] | [2007.02.19-00:26.00]

Feb 18, 2007

Funny Links

If you let people create official petitions - they'll want to change the national anthem.

All over the interweb - Tech support for new fangled books.

Funny but tragically true - what if national flags truly represented the country in some way ?

Religion is irrational - Science vs Faith. He's got some other pretty good flowcharts around including What would George Bush Do ?

Textbook stickers - Disclaimers for books containing information on evolution.

[/humour] | [permalink] | [2007.02.18-18:23.00]

Feb 15, 2007

Paper Folding + More

Found via - Advanced Paper Folding. Amazing stuff. A mathematician pushes the boundaries of origami.

A nice post about using Yahoos new Pipes tool. It looks like the type of thing someone should have come up with many years ago - the ability to customise web content to show you want you want - like a web dashboard (that isn't a crap corporate portal filled with ads). The biggest hassle is all the baggage that comes with a Yahoo account required to experiment with it . . .

Interesting - Five Thoughts on the Nintendo Wii. It really does look like the Wii will be the real winner in the competition for the casual gamer.

Geeky - Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique Science Scout Badges. "I've done science with no concievable practical application" is my favourite but I'm sure many scientists would go for "I'm a scientist who is fundamentally opposed to administrative duties".

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.02.15-23:49.00]

Google Co-op

Ever since moving to static rendering on my perl based Blosxom site I've had a broken search function (Blosxom search is a perl module that interacts with the Blosxom cgi).

I finally found a nice and easily customisable alternative to 'rolling my own' - Google Co-op. Fill in a simple form, specify what you want to search and then customise the resultant search page by including the source for the form (about 5 lines) into your own page.

I haven't bothered to customise the results - I'm just glad to have a working site search :-)

[/tech/web] | [permalink] | [2007.02.15-18:05.00]

Feb 14, 2007

Solaris Telnet Exploit + More

Interesting - Insight into how the Solaris Telnet exploit was fixed. Good to see them turn it around so quickly.

Offline application support via Firefox 3 - demo of Offline Zimbra (webmail client).

Funny - Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) compares Irony in the UK & US. Also a great (and humorous) article on NYC Etiquette.

More humour in the form of Complaints Choirs.

New chip - IBM's Power 6. Looks like a beast. Also news on Suns Niagra 2 and Intels 80 core teraflop chip.

Wonderful - some great trick photography.

Awesome - Star Wars Lego lust. The new Falcon looks amazing. Definitely toys for boys with big bank balances according to the Lego shop!

Great procrastination site - LineRider. To see the it pushed to the limit check out this - extreme lineriding clip.

Chris points out that Mac Laptop Docking is Expensive. Not since the old Duo line has Apple come up with a dockable solution - it looks like there are some other options particularly if you have a MacBook Pro with ExpressCard socket - Belkins HighSpeedDock and more at ExpressCard's promo site. The ability to add a PCI cage to your laptop would offer unlimited expansion for hardcore users.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.02.14-18:04.00]

Feb 12, 2007

Elevators & Small Change

Bumper crop of spleen venting this month -

The Ministry of Transport (after all they certify the lift) should legislate to prevent an elevator stopping on level 1 or 2 of a building. Why the hell can't people walk up or down a flight of stairs and leave the lift free for those of us that actually need to hit the 10th floor ?

But wait there's more -

Why must people wait to be served before pulling out their wallet to pay ? There's nothing quite so aggravating as seeing someone reach the teller, barman, bus-driver, ticket booth etc and fish around for the some means of payment. Don't get me started on people that pay for bus-fare with a $20 note . . .


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.02.12-02:08.00]

Feb 09, 2007

Canon Lens Assembly + More

Amazing - How Canon Lenses Are Made. Tour of the assembly process from silaca to completed lens - no wonder these things are so expensive.

OLPC - Bitfrost Security System for the One Laptop Per Child Project.

Freeware remote control application for your Mac - iRedLite.

Interesting - How to hide money from burglers. Don't think I have enough money to leave around to be found let alone to hide anywhere other than a bank.

Cool - Time lapse images of classic 80's arcade games.

Classic space art - Robert McCall. His images seem to have appeared in a huge number of books from the late 70's and 80's.

Useful - Word Processor Reviews.

At last - VMWare release their P2V application for free.

Useful - Laying the groundwork for Vista. I'm sure many IT shops will be looking forward to revamping their current standard desktop installation. Heres a reference to Microsofts deployment tool for Office 2007 too (you don't use the old ORK anymore).

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.02.09-20:01.00]

Feb 08, 2007

YouTube Music Video - The Verlaines

It was a toss up between The Verlaines, Shellac and The Red Sparrowes but my inner scarfie came through and I dug up this classic Flying Nun video for The Verlaines - 'Death and the Maiden'.

Typical late 80's student jangle until the waltz kicks in just before the end. Definitely a work of pop-genius.

From this Wikipedia article comes the explanation of the lyrics -

"You'll only end up like Rimbaud

Get shot by Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine...."

The lyrics above refer to Paul Verlaine, who was a French poet in the 1800s. After going into a drunken rage, he shot his lover - fellow poet Arthur Rimbaud. The Verlaines were named after the poet.

"Shall we have our photo taken?

We'll look like Death and the Maiden"

This is a reference to a 1916 painting by Egon Schiele, which shows a woman embracing a dead man.

Singer/songwriter Graeme Downes is now a music lecturer at Otago University (he completed a PhD in Mahler!)

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.02.08-23:19.00]

Feb 07, 2007

Cisco Documentation is Useless

There will be a special place in hell reserved for hardware/software vendors whose products should interoperate but whose documentation is so piss-poor it becomes a Sherlock Holmes like effort to make everything work.

As an example if your fancy new 1130AG access point won't power up the radios via a Power Over Ethernet connection supplied by an injector don't include a reference to a technote that isn't included in the box (definitely a WTF moment). Especially when the note is critical to the devices operation and would only take 2 to 3 lines of space to include in the original setup documentation.


In case anyone else runs into a similar problem heres the appropriate reference -

* Cisco Aironet and WLAN Controller Product Power Options

Of course for any of that to be useful you need to go through a painful 'discovery' process - first you have to determine why the access point comes up and pairs with the wireless LAN controller but the radios don't come up. Then you have to spot the error about power (either with a serial console session or in the controller log), scratch your head a little when it works with an ac-adaptor but not PoE, discover the reference in the skimpy setup document, look for the technote reference, discover its not in the box, search Cisco and get sidetracked with the whole IOS versus LWAPP (one will let you enable the radios via web interface the other will not and it seems entirely random as to wether the device will ship with IOS or LWAPP) and then twig that the injector is the problem and that the command needs to be issued to the access point from the controller (you can't issue the command to the access point itself unless you have LWAPP so you go through some hoops trying to re-flash the device before realising this isn't necessary).


Someone needs to give their documentation (online & print) team a good kicking.

Other than that the combination of the 4402 WLAN Controller and 1100/1130AP's works really really well :-)

[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.02.07-19:58.00]

Feb 01, 2007

Humour - Vista Upgrade Decision Flowchart

This thing is all over the interweb - Windows Vista Upgrade Decision. Some of the advice is actually spot-on - there still doesn't seem to be any compelling reason to upgrade. Maybe when I get a new PC . . .

[/humour] | [permalink] | [2007.02.01-21:42.00]