news bits

news bits

going postal

HOT AIR: Postal Experiments: We sent a variety of unpackaged items to U.S. destinations, appropriately stamped for weight and size, as well as a few items packaged as noted. We sent items that loosely fit into the following general categories: valuable, sentimental, unwieldy, pointless, potentially suspicious, and disgusting. We discovered that although some items were never delivered, most of the objects of even highly unusual form did get delivered, as long as the items had a definitely ample value of stamps attached.

The copyright is 2000... I strongly suspect this experiment would have gone differently a year later (ie. after September 11, 2001).

news bits

  • PM targets gays in marriage law - National - Gay couples will be banned from marrying or adopting children from overseas but will be allowed to inherit their partner's superannuation under proposed changes to marriage laws announced today. Howard has openly imposed his own opinion on the country; using the "elected representative" catch cry. Another bit of rushed legislation that suggests to me that he knows he won't get voted back in, so fuck what the voters think.
  • Italian law on pizza purity a mouthful - World - It may be too early to talk about pizza police but Italian legislators are mulling a detailed draft law laying down rules to protect real Neapolitan pizza. Personally I think it goes too far to specify where the ingredients used come from; as opposed to what the ingredients should be. But hey, I rarely eat anything that an Italian would call a "pizza" :)
  • MTV bans 'Super Size Me' ads - Film - MTV has refused to screen ads for Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock's film about fast food and overeating, because they are 'disparaging to fast food restaurants'. No, really? A film which shows how sick you'd get trying to eat nothing but McDonalds... and it's disparaging to fast food restaurants? Say it ain't so! But you've got to love it when MTV has so completely lost any kind of edge it ever had, that it openly controls its content to avoid offending big business.
  • Survey finds more Porsche owners fool around. 27/05/2004. ABC News Online: Among German men, Porsche drivers were the least faithful, with 49 per cent admitting infidelity, followed by BMW drivers at 46 per cent. Among women, Audi drivers were the least reliable, 41 per cent admitting to affairs. The most faithful group were owners of Opel-Vauxhall cars, with only 31 per cent of male and 28 per cent of female drivers in Germany having committed adultery.

news bits

  • | Man walks free in Euthanasia case (May 26, 2004) / Son freed after helping mother suicide - National - A son who helped his elderly mother kill herself today walked free from a Tasmanian court, a decision hailed for its compassion by euthanasia advocates.
  • PM handover to Costello worries voters - National - The poll reveals that 47 per cent of voters believe the Prime Minister will retire during the next term and that 41 per cent would be less likely to vote for the Coalition at the election late this year if they thought that Mr Costello, as is widely expected, would be his successor.
  • Microsoft behind $12 million payment to Opera | CNET Microsoft agreed to pay Norway's Opera Software $12.75 million to head off a threatened lawsuit over code that made some Web pages on MSN look bad in certain versions of Opera's Web browser, CNET has learned. The article goes on to discuss the way Micro$oft has abandoned development of IE now that they've bludgeoned the world into submission. Browsers like Opera and Safari are the real leaders of the pack these days; particularly with things that should be standard like inbuilt pop-up blocking. Note that IE6 does not have "good" web standards support; it's more like "not as horriffic as the old versions". Switch to Opera, kids :)
  • FOX SPORTS | League | Gould baits Maroons (May 26, 2004). I guess he felt left out; being the only one who hadn't made a complete arse of himself yet. Who knows, sometime after the ref whistles time on; someone somewhere might focus on some fucking football.
  • | Older compact discs not aging well (May 26, 2004): The industry is desperate to play down the significance of the problem, fearing record companies will be inundated with demands for refunds or replacements. Don't forget the industry has also fought long and hard to keep it illegal to make any form of backup of these discs. They might have given you something faulty, but they won't take any responsibility on themselves. You don't mind buying all those CDs again, do you?
  • Director confident young actors can complete Potter series. 26/05/2004. ABC News Online: Despite speculation that the young stars of the Harry Potter films will outgrow their roles, the director of the latest instalment believes they can see the popular series through to the end. The characters grow up too; so this makes some sense. A bigger concern would be whether Rowling can actually produce the books in time.

news bits


news bits

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news bits

  • Broadband bait does the trick - News - Yep, lots of people have signed up for shit broadband - $30/month with a 200meg limit? I do more than 200megs with my 56k dialup access. If you actually do anything more than email, you're either going to pay a great deal of money in data charges, or you'll be "shaped" back down to modem speeds for about 90% of the time. Plus, they still don't want to know you if you live in a unit.
  • | Tycoons get wealthier (May 20, 2004): The richest 200 people in the country increased their combined wealth by $8.3 billion to $71.5 billion in the past year according to the BRW Rich 200 List. I wonder if any of them actually pay tax? Packer boasts about avoiding it...
  • The Australian: 200 missiles found on roadside [May 18, 2004]: More than 200 anti-aircraft missiles have been found alongside a major highway in Russia's Far East, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported Sunday quoting military officials.
  • BBC NEWS | Technology | Rivals challenge iPod's dominance : Apple's iPod may be the flavour of the month, but there are better and cheaper choices, says a computing magazine. What? Apple's product overpriced and overhyped? Not actually the best product? SAY IT AIN'T SO!

but then i realised it's not a joke...

Imaginary Girlfriends - Find Your New Imaginary Girlfriend Today! You can literally buy everything except the actual relationship; including the breakup. From the site: This is a service provided by a real life girl where she will pretend to be your long distance girlfriend by sending you personalized love letters, emails, pictures, leave phone messages (if you want), and provide other girlfriend-like services. This relationship appears real to others that may see these things, but it is not.

Yeah, this couldn't go bad at all. It's not inviting stalkers or anything. It's not like people will form an emotional attachment to the imaginary relationship...

Freaky shit.

news bits

  • | Deadly weapons cache seized (May 19, 2004): A frightening, multi-bladed knife destined for Melbourne's streets was among a cache of weapons seized by Customs yesterday. Well, frightening is a word. So's impractical. I can't imagine any crim seriously taking to the streets with this tucked down their pants.
  • Probe hears fire, police rivalry hampered 9/11 rescue. 19/05/2004. ABC News Online: Rivalry between New York's police and fire departments and conflicting advice from emergency teams on September 11, 2001, hampered efforts to save lives as the Twin Towers collapsed in a smouldering heap, the commission investigating the attacks says. Here's me thinking that jurisdiction pissing matches were just a figment of Hollywood's imagination.
  • Precious cello saved from CD cabinet fate. 19/05/2004. ABC News Online: A Los Angeles nurse has found a stolen Stradivarius cello worth $5 million next to a rubbish bin and planned to turn it into a CD cabinet until she discovered it was the instrument the whole town was searching for, according to her lawyer. You would hope they'd honour the offered reward. Would have been one hell of a CD case though.
  • Australia to see the light on tourism - National - New tourism campaign. Woo. Although I was interested to see a clip from the famous Paul Hogan ad... apparently it's misquoted as "throw a shrimp on the barbie" when actually he says "slip another shrimp on the barbie". Funny how these things happen. Misquote it again, Sam.
  • Fidel Castro can live to 140, doctor says - World - Fidel Castro's doctor denied rumours that the president's health was ailing, saying today the 77-year-old leader is in excellent health and claiming he can live at least 140 years. Apparently cigars have preservative qualities ;)
  • Secret Lib poll reveals why PM is worried - National - Simple reason that didn't need a poll: the budget only sounds good to someone who is going to have a baby later this year. The Breeder Budget marginalises pretty much everyone else; particularly those who earn less than $52k and are curious to know whose arse that "average" figure was pulled out of. That, and people don't like a government that openly tries to buy votes. Oh, and Howard proving himself to be an arrogant, lying fuck might have some influence as well; but I'm only guessing there.

news bits

the new, friendly mafia? | Peace and Profits for Mafia in Sicily: The new strategy is to avoid exorbitant rates, such as the ones applied to Grassi's factory, but to cast the protection net much further afield, even to small shopkeepers. ... When Mafia bosses today hear on the grapevine that a member is not happy and is considering turning state's evidence, they no longer kill him or his family but send envoys to listen to his complaints and try to keep him in the fold.

lunch money expansion!!!

Atlas Games | Lunch Money: Sticks and Stones: Lunch Money: Sticks & Stones™ adds even more pain and mayhem to the dark, frenetic world of Lunch Money. This long-anticipated 55-card expansion set is designed to be mixed in with the original Lunch Money card game. New weapons like Chunk, basic attacks like Spank and Evil Eye, defenses like Backlash and Hide, and specialty cards like Tantrum, Cooties, and Wedgy make Lunch Money: Sticks & Stones a necessity for every Lunch Money fan.

Orders are being placed as I type.

news bits

  • Pentagon denies secret interrogation deal. 17/05/2004. ABC News Online: United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is under renewed pressure to resign after reports he approved a secret operation that encouraged the abuse of Iraqi prisoners to gain better intelligence. Yeah sure. Rumsfeld will resign when you pry a signature from his cold dead fingers. / Iraqi torture victims to seek compensation - After Saddam - Iraqis tortured in US captivity in Iraq plan to file a class-action suit in US courts seeking compensation. Americans must be getting all choked up - the world is adopting US traditions. *sniff*... it's beautiful...
  • Moore tells of documentary 'pressures'. 17/05/2004. ABC News Online: US film-maker Michael Moore says he faced pressure 'from the beginning' to stop him making his controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
  • Lamborghini becomes cops' anti-getaway car. 17/05/2004. ABC News Online: Italian police have taken possession of a sleek, 500 horsepower, two-seater Lamborghini Gallardo, which can hit a top speed of nearly 300 kilometres an hour. Watch recruitment applications for their highway patrol go completely nuts... :) I'm told they use Skyline GTR twin turbos for the same kind of thing in Japan. Also a damn nice incentive...
  • Hunt's fork stunt gives security something to chew on - National - Talking about jailing Hunt for this is stupid. You have a pissed-off traveller who was humiliated at the checkpoint; who then proceeded to the departure lounge and - with no planning whatsoever - obtained ten metal forks and boarded the plane with them. My questions is: if Rex Hunt did that on the spur of the moment, what can a terrorist accomplish given weeks of planning?
  • A cutting room floor in your own lounge room - National - A budget-priced DVD player that automatically edits bad language, sex and violence out of popular films could soon be on sale in Australia after proving a hit in the US. The film industry is making an arse of itself complaining about this - with this sort of machine, their movie can remain intact for the rest of us who can cope with some bad language. Let people who want censorship have censorship, so that the rest of us can watch the movies as they were created.
  • Cashed-up taxman launches blitz - National - The Tax Office has launched its biggest anti-avoidance blitz against taxpayers ... It will use data-matching technology with Centrelink and banks to lift its strike rate. There you have the problem: they are going after taxpayers, not the big fish who pay no tax in the first place. On top of that, they plan to use Centrelink's data to do it. Centrelink can't find its own arse with both hands, let alone get their records straight. Using their data is almost criminal.
  • Redfern riot blamed on heroin trade - National - The 'true cause' of the continuing conflict between Redfern police and residents of the Block was the lucrative heroin trade - and not racism, a police sergeant has said in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry.

/. and register bits

news bits

it's all relative

i was feeling guilty about the effect my freaked-out lj feed is having on various friends lists, until i noticed neil gaiman's feed is doing the same thing ;)

oh wait... neil is more interesting than me and people will put up with it for him. dang.

news bits

changing permalinks for fun and profit

Question: when is a permalink not a permalink?

Answer: when it's generated by Blogger.

What am I on about? Well, the relaunched blogger now creates a single page per post, for the purpose of adding comments and giving the post a permanent link. So what's the problem... that's a great idea, right? Well, blogger bases the URL on the contents of your post (specifically, the heading). For example, this very post has the permalink

Now, here's the problem. If you change the title, eg. if you re-edit the post to correct a typo, the permalink changes. Hence, the permalink isn't permanent at all. So why not use the old format, with your multi-post archive page and a link anchor? Well you can still do that, but you better pray nobody does something crazy like using the URL where they found the single post and all the comments (like i said, crazy...).


Numeric permalinks may not look pretty, but they work. I understand the desire to be groovy and use plain text, but if it changes anytime the user edits the contents of the post; you've got a problem. I guess bloggers will just have to use the old-style link as a permalink; and hope for the best.

news bits

news bits

holy crap - blogger comes to the party

The Great Blogger Relaunch ... We have comments. Yay, woot, etc :) Plus Blogger has provided standards-compliant templates created by some of the best in the biz. Opera is no longer crippled to the lo-fi system, and the new interface - while it will take some getting used to - seems pretty nifty. Some of my pet hates have been addressed! :)

So anyway, I've added the ability to comment on new posts; and linked the Atom XML feed and livejournal syndication page (pity I can't turn off comments for the lj feed since I don't actually see them unless i read my own feed). speaking of lj, sorry for anyone whose friends list just got flooded by the feed freaking out. i suspect the permalink format has changed.

UPDATE: so far unable to get comments working, probably since republishing the blog is timing out. i suspect blogger is getting hammered like all hell.

UPDATED UPDATE: trawled further into the help resources and discovered the original code fragment delivered to my screen was incomplete. The automatic insert routine doesn't appear to work so well; but hey. Anyway, we seem to be up and running. Bear in mind that the current design(s) do not include styles for the comment system, so they might be ugly until I work something out.

darkwave charts

ADC #005 is now out. The only surprise being Covenant slipping from #3 to #6 despite touring Australia (well, three gigs, but near enough). They may jump back up in the next chart.

Now, where the hell can I buy WAT by Laibach? Mental note: harass Jarrod at GUP to stock it.... :)

it's still funny

Apple patented by Microsoft - News - ZDNet: U.S. Plant Patent 14,757, granted to Robert Burchinal of East Wenatchee, Wash., and assigned to Microsoft, covers a new type of tree discovered in the early 1990s in the Wenatchee area, a major commercial apple-growing region. ... Microsoft has filed with the Patent Office for a certificate of correction to re-assign the patent to Burchinal, the representative said.

i have to say it

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: Colophon - Welcome to May 2004 redesign, code-named The Spring of our Hope.

Yep, Zeldman has redesigned, again. I like the overall effect, but I'm continually amazed by Zeldman's choice of colours. Specifically, non-contrasting colours. I have trouble reading this page. I had trouble reading the default stylesheet in the last design too. For an accessibility/standards guy; Zeldman really hates contrast. Maybe the site looks sweet on a Mac, but on my work PC (LCD monitor) it makes my eyes bleed trying to read more than three words. So I have turn off the whole lot.

But hey, it's not my site.

a scattering of news

jakob states the obvious

Change the Color of Visited Links (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox). I'd be curious to know how he gets the figure of 74% websites using different colours for visited and unvisited links. That aside; sometimes it's good to have someone like Nielsen state the bleeding obvious so you can back yourself up on it if management question you. The sky may be blue, but senior managers want stats, damnit! after all, they didn't really hire you because they thought you knew what you were doing.