Hanson's fraud had major political consequences, as did her bigotry - Anyone who thinks the bitch is hard done by should read this. She got a fair sentence according to precedent; and got her sentence halved by being allowed to serve two three-year sentences concurrently. It makes me fucking sick that people are planning a vigil outside the jail this weekend. I heard a friend of hers call the sentence "unaustralian"... I guess she thinks being a power-hungry, xenophobic, racist bitch is the epitome of Australian. How I despise the whole sorry lot of them. For any American readers... Hanson is a virulent example of the worst kind of redneck. She does not represent the majority.

slashdot bits

Slashdot | Computer Game Improves Children's Hearing, as well as other skills.

Slashdot | Learning to Say No in the Workplace?. "No" is one of the hardest things to say when you're in IT... I guess probably any workplace. With IT situations it's often a problem of explaining how long the request will *really* take, not what they think it should take. People still think websites shouldn't cost anything to develop - hell, their daughter has her own homepage, how hard can it be?

CircleID | Is the Internet Dying? - There are indications that the Internet, at least the Internet as we know it today, is dying. ... Between viruses and spammers and just plain old bad code, the net is now subject to a heavy, and increasing level of background packet radiation.

Slashdot | Slashback: Bouncing, Taxing, Releasing. Regarding the BBC's announced public library of BBC material:

Well, not releasing everything, No, not as such, that is, you see ... An anonymous reader writes "According to this press release from the BBC, the 'BBC creative archive' (earlier on slashdot) will not be as full as previously assumed. As the page says, 'The BBC Creative Archive would make selected BBC material universally available for private not commercial use in the UK.' (my emphasis) Looks like we won't be able to get the Hitchhiker's Guide and complete works of Monty Python after all, folks."

Now, everyone who really thought the BBC would suddenly give up their video/cd/dvd revenue, please stand up.... I will now point and laugh at you for being FUCKING IDIOTS. The BBC won't even license Dr Who samples for use in music (see "BBC blocks the doctor" in the tychnews 2001 archive), because they are "particularly protective of the Dr Who brand".

The beeb will more than likely release anything they know they can't sell. Apply that filter and you'll see why I never really got excited.

slashdot bits

Globetechnology | Delivering perfect pitch: [T]he music industry is divided over the use of computer hardware called autotuners, used by acts such as Britney Spears and N Sync ... Pop stars and punk bands alike are piping their voices through the hardware, which corrects and improves their vocal pitch during concerts and on records. Well, they are called NSync, not NTune. I think it's cheating, at least on stage. In the studio it's a different matter; it's more like being lazy (or having to put down a track in too short a time).

Yahoo! News - Do Video Games Now Draw More Women Than Boys??

MSNBC | Microsoft?s big role on campus. * News | Why computer virus writers are useful and we should thank them. Same argument people raise about hackers - they expose the weaknesses of a system. As the system's vulnerabilities are fixed, it gets "stronger". Interesting take on the subject.

Planet Slayer - Greenhouse Calculator. I apparently used my share before I made it to double figures. Sadly, the biggest things that can make a difference are not within our direct control. We can try to influence the way our power is generated and the way big business operates; but it's not a very fast/obvious result. If you go the full hippy commune, you'll score well. If you're average, yikes, we're bloody awful to the environment.

I noticed this morning that of the six units where i live, only two of the recycling bins were out. We regularly fill ours, in fact sometimes we have to throw recyclables in the general bin because the green bin is chockas. Do people just not separate their rubbish? It's not hard.

Shorter than 100 words, short as a short black in fact: Espresso Stories. Short stories you can read in less time than it takes to drink a short black. Hmmm. To be honest, you'd need a few to keep you going all the way to the bottom of the cup; with those few stubborn grains of sugar that never dissolve.

[Happy] - Fun fun fun on zee autobahn... We are zee robots. I could, of course, combat this with a rambunctious-dose of cold turkey, and run away to a cabin in the woods, devoid of electricity, plumbing or internet. I could wander around the woods with my axe, talking to the birds in a strange dialect, lulling them into a false sense of security as I chop down their tree and take it back to my cabin to burn. I could pick wild berries off trees, eat them, and then suffer from a terrible stomache before being flung off into wild hallucinations...


Slashdot | Say Goodbye To Your CD-Rs In Two Years? I think I've had nightmares along these lines... I can't read dutch so I don't know if there's a specific list of CDR brands which fail fast. However the comments to this article back up what I've always thought - cheap discs are crap disks unless you really know which ones to buy. Personally I used Kodak for ages, never had any troubles. They're the ones who make the (stupid) 100 year claim (as if they could possibly have tested it). For no reason I know of, they've all but disappeared off the market. Since then, I use Sony blanks; same thing - no hassles. I've also used Laser, which are cheapies; and they've been ok. Then, the really ugly - I've seen cheaparse cds (think Mr Platinum) where the foil flaked off a few months after burning, showing exactly where fingers touched the top of the disc.

Ultimately I figure the only real way to keep data is roll it over to new media every few years. Floppies -> CDs -> DVDs -> whatever comes next. The capacity increases each time; too. Plus, how much data do we really need to keep? Have you ever hung on to an ancient version of some program, "just in case"?

Oooh, football content. Run away now, it's scary.

The Courier-Mail: Referees losing control [25aug03]. I've been saying this since last year (the TV can hear me, you see - it passes along all my comments to the ref). I suspect it has something to do with inconsistent judgements, refs becoming better known, plus it looks like all the hard calls go off field to a guy with TV replays. Then there's the touch judges having radio contact, which lets them have more of a say (used to be they only got a say when the ref asked/looked for it). Ultimately the players must just feel like the ref on the ground with them doesn't have the authority that they used to. | Hanson to allege interference (August 25, 2003). The grounds for appeal sound pretty far-fetched to me; or more accurately "oo-er, they were playing politics". Worse still is that people are saying they'd vote One Nation because of the jailling: A poll in Brisbane's Sunday Mail put primary support for One Nation in Queensland at 21 per cent, only just below the 22 per cent of the primary vote the party recorded in the 1998 election.

Fucking what???? I know Aussies love an underdog, but people... Hanson is not an underdog, she's just a bitch*. Plus, no matter what you think of her sentence; are people seriously saying they'd choose to vote for a party whose founder/leaders were so thick they fucked up registering their party so badly they were jailed for it? ARGH! Besides all this, can the world move on now? A stupid hate-monger got jailed for breaking the law. Next!

* A bitch, who dug her own hole no less.... :P go team random puns.

Would you like karma with that? | Hanson will 'need protection' (August 21, 2003). I wonder if her opinions about law and order will change at all over the next few days...

"As the Australian population is quite aware, Ms Hanson has never been sympathetic in regards to her approach around women in prison and their issues," Ms Kilroy said.

"She had a strong law and order policy that she was thrusting into the community, therefore it just depends who is actually in the prison system at the time and if they are interested or not in that politics." The twice-divorced mother of four was in protective custody for her first night as a prisoner.


Pending an appeal to be lodged today, the sentence dashes Ms Hanson's hopes of ever resurrecting her parliamentary career. As a convicted criminal, she is banned from standing for state or federal parliament again.

It may sound like a harsh sentence; but the available maximum sentence was ten years. She improperly registered a political party and mishandled nearly half a million dollars; even if driven by ignorance, they're serious crimes - they mess directly and measurably with Australia's democracy (as we still try to call it). Plus, it's hard to feel sorry for such an evil, ignorant bitch. Sadly her antics put some very real problems back onto the "too hot to handle" pile. Consider this story, on the same day - | Gallop stands by indigenous claims (August 21, 2003). Can you bring up problems about Aboriginal health or criminal behaviour? Not if you're white. Not even if you simply want to change things for the better; and you've been voted into a position where you can do something positive about it.

So, enjoy jail, Pauline.

Some other news bits...

Headers and soul [dive into mark]. I would like to point out that geeks know how to use the answer to a question as a weapon. That may not be the driving factor here, but it's still true. I - unfortunately - have a support aspect to my job. People are meant to attend training and read documentation before they call us, but they don't. As a result; I've occasionally answered a (dumb) question in such intentionally mind-numbing detail that the person asking avoided asking me (dumb) questions after that point. Which was what I was aiming for. I've also told someone that all the info is contained in a detailed tutorial (which they should have already read), then proceeded to tell them all about it in greater detail; ignoring their cues that they'd like to go and read the tutorial after all, please stop talking, my brain is melting, I'll be good, please. Next time, they read the damn tutorial first. They still had a question, but it was an informed and reasonable question which only took a minute to answer.

What's that? Hell no, geeks aren't above revenge. We put up with jocks in high school and you all get to pay the price ;) So go beat up a jock if you don't like it.

Bris Vegas Rock Sluts is live (no, not a pr0n site). That said, we have been advised to make sure we get the right if we ever type the URL directly.

I also know the owner of (not a pr0n site either)....I have such classy friends ;P

Greg's Digital Archive | bikini retouch - ever wondered how those magazine models got so thin? Photoshop. This example shows just how far an image can go. Check out the full gallery for other great examples like a promo shot of a shoe and a composited burger sign. If you've ever wondered exactly what can be done in Photoshop, this will show it. What's interesting is how the image seems pretty much ok until you see the original. Then your mental picture clashes with the final product... maybe you process the image more fully or something along those lines.

[Happy] - Fun fun fun on zee autobahn... A blog by a Brisbane web designer*. Amusing writing style, really nice design. He just squeaks in with forgiveness for his abuse of the apostrophe.

* no no, not this blog. i'm a web developer. there's a difference, you see. ok, nobody else gives a toss - so just trust me! ;P

Update: the post die tv, die gets the best quote so far this week: I usually throw a glare at the TV and say a 'Fuck you,' to it, which would probably look a bit odd to the neighbours. When you see a lone man standing in his apartment screaming obscenities at his furniture and appliances, you know it's time to move, as he probably spends the rest of his time making Napalm in his garage.

Critical Section - People over 30 should be dead - According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, or even maybe the early 70's probably shouldn't have survived. To some extent this follows through the 80s as well. It wasn't until the 90s that things really seemed to go fucking crazy. Some things really are different now, though. Which is a pity.

I'm reminded of something a friend said a while back - he can't stand the way kids are wrapped in the proverbial cotton wool. He's a teacher, so he really sees what kids are like. You've got to let them fall down; so you can pick them up, dust them off and send them on their way.

Google Web Search Features - Calculator. Swiss Army Google adds calculator feature. Why? Well, I think Google got to a point where they figure they can do whatever they fucking want. The world would be lost without it, since people now confuse Google with web searching in general. If Google popped out of existence, hundreds of thousands of net users wouldn't be able to find their own digital arse with both online hands. Not just the ones on AOL either.

That said, I still use Google for everything; even though there are services like Teoma and All The Web which also do a fine job. It's just that I've been using Google since nobody (other than geeks) had ever heard of it - a long time ago now.

EnviroMission - Where are they now?

Long time readers (*collapses laughing*) may recall the solar energy project which proposes a Solar Tower; using the updraft from a greenhouse to spin a turbine. A really fantastic idea, IMHO. Anyway, (according to the EnviroMission Limited - News page) they've signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia's biggest energy supplier to have all power purchased from the project; released shares; reduced running costs (and staff, sadly); and progressed with a site. Oh yeah... and they've confirmed it is feasible to build the tower, these small details :P

Seems to be chugging along. I really hope this one goes the distance. Australia has MMFD (miles and miles of fucking desert) and the brains to turn it into clean energy. Hopefully this project won't go the way of all other Aussie ideas - bought out by foreign interests after a total lack of local interest.

I was prompted to look up progress after seeing this article on wind power.... Feature Article: Weekly Feature - Steady As She Blows: Power electronics and exotic energy storage devices are making wind power steady enough to compete with conventional electricity sources.


Battle Drake
You're a Battle Drake. You walk around looking to pick fights. Your usually the start of riots and arguments, but you take pride in your work. Your life experiences have taught you much, and you aren't known to lose any of your battles. You need to think more of others and get your head back on your shoulders. Battle drakes are often found in gangs or in bars, full of confidence. If you follow your instincts and don't misjudge others, life will be most successful for you!

What kind of Dragon are You? brought to you by Quizilla

Uh huh. As usual, no friggin link to see other results.

Looks like Coke are finally bringing out cherry cola in au. Plus they're giving away an iPOD, if you're willing to give them your email address. I guess the success of vanilla coke made them realise that aussies will drink other kinds of cola if you put it on the shelf for more than three weeks. Meanwhile, Dr Pepper is becoming increasingly hard to find. Damn! But then, apparently I'm the only one who likes Dr Pepper.

slashdot bits

Slashdot | Chimera Twins Story. Unfortunately this is audio-only; which is an irritating way to publish a story. But the concept is pretty wild - apparently it's possible to have two lots of DNA. I can see the Hollywood movie being pitched as we speak.

Acquitted Man Says Virus Put Pornography on Computer. A man in England successfully beat criminal charges on the grounds that his computer was riddled with Trojans and other viruses. In short, malicious code did the downloading; not the computer's human users. Slashdot notes this is not the first time this defence has been used.

While I'm amazed at anyone stupid enough to leave their computer connected to the phone line when they knew it was autoconnecting to the net; it does open up some questions of proof. The presence of the porn is not sufficient proof of guilt; however the presence of a Trojan is not immediate proof of innocence. The trouble is how to protect the innocent, but prevent this becoming an easy defence for real offenders? Computers are complicated beasts and there are many ways an innocent person could get in trouble... particularly as the average computer user barely understands anti-virus software, let alone spyware sniffers and firewalls.

Computers and the law are a scary combination.

more bang for your computing buck

The Register | 'C' word use shocks IT industry (" commoditization"). And what about those desk top costs -- two years ago, running at over $2,000 per user. With 20 years of PC literacy, increasingly stable cheap PCs, and everybody and their uncle running home computer set-ups with more muscle that at the office without any IT support, how is it all justified? Well it?s not.

I periodically ask our support staff why the hell we're stuck with crappy, overpriced name brand systems. I get the same argument most of the time - they come with X years of tech support. Which is usually the point where I ask how many more weeks it will take to get so much as an email response from Compaq with a price on a replacement part; or whether Dell ever did offer us a replacement on the lemon system which couldn't be fixed.

Frankly my team could purchase no-name systems with Athlon chips that would whip the arse off the PCs we have now; and more than likely have $1000 per system in change out of the money it cost to buy the name brand Pentium systems. If parts fail, we can go to a local computer shop and buy a replacement on the spot. Driver issues? Yeah ok, they'd be worse across the entire organisation. But you know what? Out of the box, my current system clashed with the standard Windows 2000 installation; which fucked up all sound and video and the damn thing still won't shut down without manual intervention.

But big organisations stick with big name brands, and they pay through the nose for low value-for-money systems and non-existant support. The org's support staff still have to run around looking for the drivers which work with build 58 of name brand model number 5.

Then again, I am often told that my view is skewed because I know a little about how to run a computer. As opposed to the average user, who apparently still knows SFA.

Orcish Spam #7. Funny to anyone who's ever played D&D (or AD&D, or third edition, or whatever you fucking pedants). Sadly, I once had this *exact* situation arise in a gaming session. Never goad the GM.

New Driver Down. We are ruled by cheap souls in expensive suits. I don't know how anyone in this fucking country sleeps at night. Also mentions getting fired because of a plotting co-worker; as well as finally finishing his book.

BBC | From mouse to machine gun - Journalist Paul Rubens finds out if playing computer games can help him cope with a day pretending to be in the special forces. This is a good read for anyone out there who's ever tried to argue that playing computer games can "train children to become killers". In short, that's bullshit; just like the kid who recently discovered that being a Gran Turismo guru didn't mean he could drive a car.

Hands off the ABC Petition We the undersigned respectively request: "That the Federal Government reverse it's [sic] cuts to the ABC budget, respect the public's right to an independent media and use the established methods, namely the ABA to ensure full independence in the event of another review of the complaints." | Entertainment | TV shows axed with no warning (August 06, 2003). Micallef Tonight has been axed. FUCK. It really pisses me off when they do this to a show - give it a varying timeslot, pushed late by a self-absorbed gameshow; then complain that its ratings aren't good enough. If you don't know when a show is going to start; you're going to miss episodes.

At least White Collar Blue, aka. boring Aussie Cop Show Number 4591, got the arse too. Small mercies.

Hilarious: Brisbane Broncos | Cutting them down to size: Three Broncos forwards were sent to remedial boxing lessons last week because coach Wayne Bennett felt they were too soft and lazy for Brisbane's charge to the finals. ... [Coach Wayne Bennett wanted] to make them see it is easier to give 100 per cent on the field than to have to come in here and do this. | ABC slashes shows but defies Alston. The ABC has axed iconic televison programs such as The World at Noon and Behind The News as it carves more than $26 million from its annual budget - and says it will endure more funding pressure if that is the price for its editorial independence. The ABC board's decision spells the end of schools programming, cuts to live sport and documentaries and the closure of the broadcaster's cadet journalist training program, and foreign bureaus may have to close. Meanwhile Senator Alston is chucking his substantial weight around; but that's nothing new. The Communications Minister, Richard Alston, has persistently accused the ABC of biased reporting. ...for example, telling the truth about what a corrupt #$!@ he is.

This is a real pity - so many great things being cut. Behind the News (for instance) was my first exposure to world events; presented in a kid-friendly manner - informative, but not too confronting. We watched it during the later years of primary school and I liked to think that it would continue on pretty much indefinitely. I guess it's tough to fund a show like that though. It doesn't have the merchandising opportunities of, say, Bananas in Pyjamas.

slashdot bits

BBC NEWS | Technology | Stopping the pop-swappers In America and the rest of the world the biggest culprit in falling music sales is large-scale CD piracy by organised crime. ... The pirate CD market is now so big, $4.6bn (£2.86bn), it is 'of greater value than the legitimate music market of every country in the world, except the USA and Japan'. why is the RIAA spending its money pursuing individual file traders?

Power from blood could lead to 'human batteries' -

A List Apart: Using XHTML/CSS for an Effective SEO Campaign. That's Search Engine Optimisation, for people who like their acronyms expanded. While the copy of the article isn't that great; the point is good - valid XHTML will give better search rankings than tag soup. To put it another way; if your code is lying about your content*; your rankings will suffer.

* What do I mean by that? Well, if you mark up a heading as a piece of text with a font tag; that's misrepresenting that piece of text - in short, lying. If you mark up the page's top heading with an H1 tag; the document is specifically stating that the piece of text is significant - it's the heading, and that's the truth. Computers are not humans, they will believe whatever you tell them. They will not interpret a big bit of text at the start of a document as a level-one heading. They will interpret an H1 as a level-one heading. So, don't let your code lie about your content. Simple, really.

boingboing bits

McDonald's tests high-tech grill. The ultimate goal of course is to eliminate the underpaid, surly teenagers and get a machine to flip the burgers. That's progress for you. Of course, the food will still be shit - just automated shit. They will attain a truly stupendously consistent standard of shit, ready to clog your arteries just as soon as you're too hungry to care and nothing else is open.

DaFONT :: Famous - Drink/Food. Corporate typefaces. Probably not legal, but the parody opportunities are vast.