around the traps

some stuff that's happened lately

This one is basically a journal post, skip if you want.

  • It has been chilly, by Brisbane standards.
  • I just logged a job to get the last of my old Lycos (nee Tripod) guestbooks deleted. Forgot it existed until it started getting spammed. End of an era there, I started the thing back in 1996!
  • It amused L greatly that I managed to hurt myself with a chopping board. I grabbed one off the shelf and another one came with it. It skinned my wrist then went on to land point-first on my foot. It hurt.
  • L's macbook pro is finally using wireless, instead of us having a network cable trailed around the unit. Woo. It took several goes, fruitless appeals for help in Mac forums, an utterly mysterious 'suddenly started working' and a call to Apple to find out how the hell you check if it's actually using encryption. OSX continues to fail to win me over.
  • Officially didn't get the job in Melbourne. Oh yeah, did I mention I applied for a cool job in Melbourne? :) Guess they had better/local candidates. Sigh.
  • L is strongly suggesting I take a semester off uni. The two courses...err...subjects? Units? Whatever they're called. The two I've done have been fine, but my timetable has been fucked around completely both semesters this year and if I never use QUT's network or see GP's stupid carpark again (nor its eternally empty change machine) then I'll be happy. The real kicker is that if I do find an interstate job and we move, I'll either forfeit the fees for that semester (and possibly cop an academic penalty too) or have to work externally and fly back for assessment. I'm undecided. I had planned to just keep going. For one thing if I stop I'll be tempted not to go back and for another thing you kind of have to live normally until the day you're definitely leaving.
  • Trying to save more money. Not doing well so far, but that's partly due to the HELP (nee HECS) debt which is now doing nasty things to my pay packet.
  • Escaped to the farm, weekend before last. My parents were away on holidays, so we were pretty much using it as a country retreat - very reasonable rates ;) Got out there late Friday night (drove out after dinner) and it was 4°C outside. Brr! It was blissful - so quiet outside, widescreen TV inside, newly-installed broadband... very quiet. Did I mention quiet? :)

Enough navel gazing for one post, I think.

headline of the week

Study finds dingo wee aids mine site recovery. 27/06/2006. ABC News Online. It's just gold.

A new study in Western Australia has found the urine of a wild Australian dog may play an important role in the rehabilitation of mine sites. But my favourite quote: Dr Michael Parsons says once an appropriate delivery mechanism is refined, the repellent can be used in newly restored areas of mine sites to ensure plant life can be re-established without being grazed by kangaroos.

Appropriate delivery mechanism, indeed! :)

around the traps

around the traps

around the traps

around the traps

around the traps

  • It's hopeless - The Jay-Z of Blogging: So I figure, it's been a few years, let me download the open source image editing application 'Gimp'. Maybe it's technically called 'The GIMP', I'm not sure. There's probably a recursive acronym in there, but clearly this is the work of a group whose branding efforts would probably name a PowerPoint clone 'The Retard'.
  • Boing Boing: Cute pink tank cozy
  • - Gallery. Makes XP purty. Nine out of ten mac heads couldn't tell the difference. (ducks and runs...)
  • IPac - The worst bill you?ve never heard of: Simply put, SIRA fundamentally redefines copyright and fair use in the digital world. It would require all incidental copies of music to be licensed separately from the originating copy.
  • Security | InsideGoogle | part of the Blog News Channel: [I]f you include a short string of JavaScript code in a Gmail message, you can cause Gmail to execute the code. The JavaScript needs to be short enough to be displayed in the preview snippet in your inbox. You can stop the problem by turning off snippets; which some people have reported improves performance/load times anyway.

it's uncanny

I stay home from work because I'm sick. So naturally two work crews turn up and do loud things right outside our place.

Two, FFS.

One did...something. No idea, lots of scraping shovels. The other did tree lopping and subsequent chipping. I can't sleep through industrial woodchipping, no matter how much my musical taste has conditioned me into weird reactions to loud industrial noises.

Apparently the shovel people started at 6am and I slept through it, a bit of an indicator that I wasn't in the best shape. I left some (probably incoherent) voicemails with my bosses (yes, joy, I have two) before crashing out again for the morning. But the woodchippers won the rest of the day.


the trappings of academia

I inevitably get annoyed by the fact that so much of academia is focussed on anything but knowledge, ideas and the pursuit of a better world. Mostly it's about protecting your office space, sniping at that idiot at Clearly Inferior University and the Pursuit of Funding™.

I abhor having to look up the (apparently randomly generated) APA referencing style; to say nothing of how much it ticks me off to lose marks for getting it wrong. The extraordinary amount of attention and energy spent referencing (and checking references) takes the joy out of discussing the other paper in the first place.

I have a mental image of being accosted by a ranting academic, screaming "Who cares if their point backed yours up, or if your paper shot it down completely? You put the wrong bit in bold and there's a space in the wrong place! You sir are a bounder and a cad! Hall Porter? Throw this wretch off campus!"

I may be exaggerating of course; and I don't know why the ranting academic was transported through time and space from 19th century England.

I know I should be defending the APA referencing style, being a Standards Guy and all. But it's a poor standard for referencing websites - it has far too many minor variations for unfathomable distinctions between types of website. For example there's a different style for a journal article published online versus a journal artile published in print and online. If I accessed a website, how am I supposed to even know if it was also printed?

So anyway, the minutiae of academia annoy me. I probably wouldn't have entered postgraduate study if it hadn't been required to progress my career. At least I don't have any exams this semester... "exam" being academic-speak for "nasty event invariably scheduled at 8am and designed to penalise you for the bits you can't remember under stress, with no hope of parole based on the bits you do recall..." Hmm. APA referencing doesn't seem so bad now that I think about it.

usb 2.0 rocks

Turns out the USB ports in my computer weren't USB 2.0 (probably 1.1). I figured this out when I saw the transfer speeds off L's laptop.

So now my machine has a four port USB 2.0 card (five if you count the one which is only accessible inside the computer - can anyone explain that? :)). iPod updates, external hard drive backups... it's all flying.

This is awesome. Wish I'd twigged a bit sooner!