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Sat, 28 Jan 2006

Mark Shuttleworth talk notes. - 12:54
So the keynote this morning was from Mark Shuttleworth, talking about collaboration between open source projects (lca link), as I missed the best of sessions (too busy running around telling people what the best of sessions were.... oh and I guess a need to use some bandwidth before I lose it for two weeks) this is the last of the talk notes I will be uploading from lca.

[/lca] link

My NZ Mtb trip in May 2005, oh and some ghosts. - 12:37
In May last year I headed over to New Zealand and competed in the Cateye Moonride 12 Hour race as a solo, then did some more riding and travelling in New Zealand. At the end of the week I flew south to Dunedin for the Ghosts of lca past meeting for the weekend to assist the lca2006 crew in preparations for 2006.

As I am back in New Zealand again at the moment and about to do 2 weeks of mountain bike riding, which will include competing in the n-duro 24 hour race. I thought I had better upload these photos before the next trip really has gotten under way. (Also while I still have bandwidth at lca right now).

My May 2005 NZ Photos are now online. Also I have a write up of the race in an email from the time.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 27 Jan 2006

Van Jacobson rocks - 15:13
The next two talks I saw today were David Gibson talking about the new device trees and device tree compiler they are using for all powerpc archs (and could in theory be used for unrelated archs such as arm or x86 variants). Device Trees for embedded systems (lca link)

However the standout talk of the entire conference was probably the next one I saw. Van Jacobson, you know one of the guys that was involved with creating the Internet, and designed protocols in such a way that they do not suck and thus the Internet does not fall over. Anyway he presented a seminar with suggestions for speeding up the Linux tcp stack (lca link).

Van Jacobson had done the code, the tests and the work had really obvious merit for the conclusions, he presented to the likes of Dave M, Linus and Rusty, everyone else liked the talk too.

[/lca] link

More trench notes. - 11:12
Last night we had a rather cool Professional Delegates Networking Session, with thanks to IBM and HP for the beers and food, at the Larnarch Castle in Dunedin, neat location. This morning the keynote was from Damian Conway talking about lessons learnt (technical and social) from the perl 6 development process. Next I went to Chris Yeoh's talk about Managing Memory in variable sized chunks. Then I got to see the cool new stuff Wayne Piekarski has done in the augmented reality gear and software he has been presenting about since lca began in 1999.

I have uploaded some notes, not much from Chris' talk but a but from the rest.

Wayne has managed to make the tinmith system a lot smaller now, to the extent the entire system fits in a bum bag sized case with some batteries mounted on the hips (2 8 Amp Hour batteries, I suspect if he used NiMH 4.4 Amp Hour cells he could get the battery packs even smaller and lighter too).

Damian Conway rocked seriously, a great speaker and I am a perl fan so it was fun to see.

[/lca] link

Thu, 26 Jan 2006

Trench notes - 15:04
So the title of this is somewhat incorrect, the stuff I am seeing is not a negative experience, thus not trench style, ahh well. It is really good to see and attend the talks. I have for the heck of it been taking notes of most of the presentations I have been going to. Not many notes at some, such as the LA AGM, partly because more details from LA will be imparted on Saturday and partly because it is not particularly fascinating. Anyway I have placed my notes (in order of seeing them) in a directory on this web server.

So far I have put notes up from

The notes are fairly rough, and just my interpretation of things. Also I recorded stuff from the slides a bit so if you look at them when they are eventually released by the organisers there will be some overlap.

[/lca] link

Wed, 25 Jan 2006 2006, bring it on - 10:25
I will be using Australian times on blog entries, though I am right now in Dunedin, New Zealand for 2006. This is hell fun, as I kind of had to miss the conference last year, what with running the thing I have not seen all this cool technical content since Adelaide 2004.

Mike Beattie and his crew have put on another awesome conference this year. Some of the highlights are going to be Van Jacobson (yes that Van Jacobson) with suggestions on how to improve the speed and integration of the Linux tcp stack. Damien Conway's keynote (I really tried to get Damien to lca last year but alas he had to pull out for various reasons), Dave Miller, the guy who melted all our brains at CALU in Melbourne and lca in Sydney. And a whole heap of other stuff, if you are not here, why the heck not?

Heck as Mike said in the conference handbook, they even improved on the cardboard cutout Linus technology we used in Canberra last year to the extent you can talk with Linus in a real interactive conversation, though Mike does request that no one try to fold him up and take him home in their suitcase.

Right now I have just been taking notes in a tutorial from Andrew Fitsimon on open source graphic design. Showing off the features and capabilities of inkscape, scribus, the gimp, fontforge and how to produce web and print quality stuff well. The tools are amazing, and in the hands of a graphic designer as capable as Andrew some cool stuff can be created.

Looking forward to a whole lot more cool geekery over the coming days.

[/lca] link

Mon, 23 Jan 2006

2006 Audax Alpine Classic - 22:30
I rode the 2006 Audax Alpine Classic yesterday out of Bright in Victoria, I completed the full 200 KM (Bright to Falls Creek via Towonga Gap and Mt Beauty, back to Bright, then up Mt Buffalo). It was damn hot (not just hot). I took some photos and put them online on a 2006 Audax Alpine Classic page, to think I decided to suffer through this pain rather than attend the two mini conf days at in Dunedin, I must be insane. Ahh but it was a heap of fun, really, heck I will even be back there next year.

[/mtb/events] link

Fri, 20 Jan 2006

Damn Mont rock - 11:08
Mont Packs
Mont Packs (Full Size)
I had to visit the Mont factory to talk to Dave Edwards (one of the owners) about something briefly (I deal with them for CORC a lot). I happened to mention I may need to visit again tomorrow as I am not sure any of my packs were the right size for the three week trip to New Zealand I was embarking on.

Dave said, well we have a few of our Astro Travel packs we use as demos and for testing purposes, you could borrow one of them for three weeks. Wow, thanks Dave. Of course now I feel the need to convince everyone to buy one <g>, I will know better how well they perform in three weeks of course. For now I have a photo of the Astro pack, the Day pack that comes inside it and my bike bag packed and ready to head for New Zealand in my room this morning.

[/various] link

What a coinkidoink. - 10:21
Sorry about the spelling above, I probably can not help it, just as I feel the need to refer to that great northern land of mountain bike and skiing terrain as Canadia rather than the more common name other people use for it.

Anyway last night I had gotten home from work and received phone call from a AC Nielson person performing a phone survey of ACT residence on our perception of the Australian Federal Police wok in Canberra. I thought sure I have a few minutes I can answer some questions.

At the end of the survey the woman asking the questions requested a bit of additional information, one item of which was my occupation. When I answered Programmer/System Administrator she happened to mention, "that is what my Son does down there (meaning in Canberra), though he is not there right now, he is in New Zealand", to which I responded is does he happen to be attending a conference? when she answered that yes he was, I said is it in Dunedin? when she answered yes I realised he was another person attending 2006. Thinking about it I probably know the guy (though she never said his name), after all there are not many Canberrans attending LCA, and I probably know most if not all of them from CLUG and maybe previous conferences. I remember her name was Bridget (though I forget her surname), anyway just another strange random coincidence.

Who knows I may see him there next week, I am looking forward to a lot this year as I did not get to actually see much in the way of conference last year strangely. Mike and his crew have lined up some excellent speakers, it is going to be a hoot.

[/various] link

Mon, 16 Jan 2006

Some of the better batgirls - 18:05
Although I have yet to foist my artistic ineptitude on everyone and participate in the draw batgirl meme I mentioned on Saturday, in order to find the pictures I like again I may as well link to some of the pictures I liked the most.

  • Gorgeous headshot, Babs, this is my favourite I have seen yet. Probably painted, but brilliant none the less
  • Different, Ra's sort of style, Babs (maybe), There is nothing in this drawing that obviously says i is batgirl, however it does look like Babs could in a Ra's Al Ghul centric elseworlds
  • Shiny, Babs, I like the simplicity and the shinyness of this
  • Sad Cass, Cass, In reality it looks as she appears in the comic anyway, a good shot though
  • Snowing elseworlds, Elseworlds, A mangaish looking batgirl in snow, very effective image
  • Green elseworlds, Elseworlds, smooth lines and an interesting interpretation, a bit shiny
  • Grey uniform striking head, Babs (maybe), Interesting uniform, with all the grey the head comes out really bright.
  • Babs day off, Babs, Drawings like this make me wish I could draw, great perspective.
  • Black and White inspiring, Elseworlds, I love the first of these images, this is an inspiring interpretation of Batgirl I think, this is the sort of picture that makes me wish they could get the artist to do an elseworlds entire book in black and white with someone like Neil Gaiman as the author.
  • Simple, Cute Babs, Babs, Simple lines and colours, a painted look, damn Babs looks good in this one, the artist did another one claiming they did not like this attempt, I disagree completely and do not like their second picture
  • Good, slightly futuristic manga style, Babs, more clean lines, good interpretation of the costume

There are a heap more, those are just the images I liked in the first 200 or so when I looked on Saturday afternoon.

[/comp/blogging] link

Sun, 15 Jan 2006

The slashdot effect vs digg - 22:52
On Friday Kottke wrote a good analysis of the slashdot effect as it applied to a recent hit on his own website. Comparing it with the hit from a website called Digg (of which I have never heard).

This is somewhat reminiscent of the slashdot effect t-shirt the Canberra Ozlabs crew made up a few years ago (I was unable to find a photo of any of them wearing it after a quick search), however it is interesting some the conclusions Jason draws here and some of the numbers from his own logs.

I can see what he means about the editorial backing behind slashdot keeping it relevant and interesting to many people, heck Rob Malda weighs in on the Digg style of voting for stories in the slashdot FAQ. Personally I stopped reading slashdot regularly sometime in late 1998 as I decided I did not personally like the editorial line, accuracy (or lack there of) and for some items lag in getting on there. However I can see why is popular still to such an extent, and there is occasionally some interesting comments on there. Also I will read interviews or the odd other item if someone points me toward it.

However the bit Jason points out about stories lasting there longer, the editorial control rather than voting or similar, and a few other points definitely help show some of the reasoning behind slashdot being as long lived as it is. The analysis is worth a read IMO, though it is interesting to note that Rob Malda dealt with a lot of the conclusions in the FAQ back in the year 2000 or so already. I am happy enough with LWN for my geek news though.

[/comp/internet] link

Sat, 14 Jan 2006

Must draw Batgirl meme - 23:27
I saw a link to this Batgirl Drawing meme on BoingBoing today. Livejournal has been accruing hundreds of hand drawn variations of Batgirl. Damn I love the Internet, this almost makes me want to attempt to join in a meme I would be pretty hopeless at (I am a fairly hopeless artist). I guess part of the appeal to me is, being such a comics geek, it is cool to see something like this become so popular so fast, there are around 400 drawings linked from there already, with more appearing regularly. Sure I am a huge fan of babs, however the few Cassandra pictures people have done seem to be some of the best. Of course the elseworlds style pictures are often pretty good too.

[/comp/blogging] link

Riding a bicycle painted on the road. - 23:19
Riding a bicycle painted on the road
Back around August 14th 2003 I received an image in an email that I thought was somewhat humorous. Today I went to email the image to someone and could not for the life of me find it anywhere, and I was unable to work out when or where it was exactly. Google and Flickr both provided no luck after searching for it for a while. Thus when I did eventually find it I thought, if I put it online it will be easier to find next time. If I Google for riding a bicycle painted on the road or some variation they of I should get my own post about it.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 13 Jan 2006

Aaron and the Hollywood Blonde - 17:39
Hollywood Blonde Jersey
Hollywood Blonde Jersey (Full Size)
I did some computer geek sort of stuff for Aaron a while back, as a thank you he was most kind to me and bought me the cycling jersey on the left. Hollywood Blonde Ale, so it is a beer label jersey (like the six pack jersey) and fits in rather well to my jersey collection because really, who wants a plain boring team jersey or similar when you can have fun and in jokes and the like on them instead.

[/mtb/gear] link

Tue, 10 Jan 2006

Kids and the rest of us in a culture of fear - 18:49
A few weeks ago (Early November) Danah Boyd posted a few damn worthwhile thoughts on responsibility and kids in the modern culture of fear. First on 2005-11-02 was growing up in a culture of fear: from Columbine to banning of MySpace.

I have mentioned some of the negative issues of the culture of fear we live within in the past, however reading something like this really makes me wonder if anyone listens to experts on the broader scale when it comes to youth culture.

Danah points out how when Columbine happened, the media in The Netherlands was quite sensibly coming out with stories about "how there was a school shooting by kids who felt alienated from their community." then when the US media started appearing it was more along the lines of "Goths (or anyone wearing black, especially black trench coats) were marked as the devil incarnate. Video games were evil and were promoting killing. Everything was blamed except the root cause: alienation."

Danah goes on to point out how people such as MIT Professor Henry Jenkins when testifying in Washington "about how dangerous our culture has become, not because there are tools of rage, but an unchecked systematic creation of youth alienation." (Children's Culture Plea) appeared to be completely ignored in favour of the easily sold media darling of evil kids.

Danah says a few more really interesting things here, wondering how youth come of age when protectionist actions create hatred and resentment, how ageist rhetoric alienates younger people. Or the US centred (but probably still valid to an extent here with compulsory voting) question of "Ever wonder why young people don't vote? Why should they? They've been told for so damn long that their voices don't matter". I once linked to some studies pointing out drugging children to make them happy doesn't really work, however Danah goes further with "We drug our children the whole way through school as a mechanism of control and wonder why drug abuse and alcoholism is rampant when they come of age.". I could continue quoting this article however i strongly recommend it be read for some perspective on youth culture.

As mentioned Danah was on fire with the youth issues in November, a week after the above article she posted her perspective on a rather poor appearing new law in California which is mostly about how the respect of your children (And youth in general) should be earned and you should not attempt to enforce it, also she points out how important giving youth their own agency is, let them choose, let them make their own mistakes. This really echos strongly with me because of how I think my Mother raised Jane and I rather well. Our mother would never explicitly forbid us from doing things, if we started doing something foolish or mentioned something she disagreed with we intended to do she would tell us she thought it inane and stupid, however she would not forbid the activity and if we set our minds to it would not stop us from learning for ourselves. This works amazingly well because it really does allow you to gain respect for your parents.

Anyway both links are a good read, Thanks Danah.

[/various] link

Ahh the minty memories - 16:14
Joe pointed out this link on mtb-oz today, an archive of a lot of Mint Sauce (wikipedia).

For those who do not know, it is a cartoon that has appeared in the MBUK mountain biking magazine since the 80s. Mint Sauce is a philosophical mountain biking sheep, and a damn good read I think. I almost religiously collected MBUK from some time in 1992 until around 1996 sometime (including the year I lived in England throughout 1993) and really do have fond memories of the cartoon. (and all the back issues in storage along with posters and stickers and other paraphernalia)

MBUK has a link to this archive at the moment which means it is probably fairly new, good to see a link to it on the wikipedia stub too. This brings back so many memories, maybe I should get some of the stickers out of storage and decorate one of my bikes a bit, except of course JJJim already has some Mint Sauce stickers on his Ventana so I would just be following the crowd again.

[/mtb] link

Mon, 09 Jan 2006

I forgot the not make the pan icky stuff - 21:29
I got home from work around 19:00 and hopped back on the bike to get some groceries at Woolworths, I am making a curry tonight which should last for a few days of Dinners or so. I also intended to make cookies again tonight, varying the recipe a bit by adding chopped/crushed cashews and diced dried apricots to the choc chip/oat cookies. I finished getting the curry onto simmer and had rice cooking and was about to start the cookies and I realised, I am out of Glad Bake.

Sure I hear you say I could be a man and simply grease my baking trays in order to stop the cookies sticking to the trays, alas I am not well'ard and dislike washing baking trays to remove icky cookie baking residue. Thus I will get some Glad Bake in the morning and bake cookies tomorrow night. If only I had thought about this and remembered I needed it while getting the other ingredients and assorted groceries.

[/leisure/food] link

Some good mtb rides in Tallaganda - 16:11
For a few years I have done a New Years Day epic with Marea, Stephen and a few others, however last weekend Marea and Stephen were out of town, Andrew and Alex however expressed interest in a Jan 2nd epic sort of ride. So Monday last week we headed out into Tallaganda, parked at Lowden Forest Park (a lovely camping area with a historic sort of power generating water wheel) and went riding around a rather enjoyable loop inside Tallaganda. I uploaded some photos and a word or two last week.

The weekend Just past Dave Sutton had mentioned he was planning to head out on one of Saturday or Sunday for a ride from Canberra, out Captains Flat road, through Hoskinstown and into Tallaganda, then on down to Braidwood for some lunch and then a lift back to Canberra. Dave was getting a few people interested and said space was however limited for the lift home as his van could take 4 people and bikes (being driven out and back by his wife Cec), also I was kind of pondering the idea of a long ride such as this on the mountain bike where more than half the ride would be on the road, that did not appeal, particularly in light of the fact that Captains Flat road is not a fun/interesting/nice road on which to ride at any time really.

Alex said he was keen for another long mountain bike ride this weekend, also Allan Bontjer and a few other people expressed some interest in the idea. I put forward the plan of driving out to Hoskinstown, meeting the group riding from Canberra as they came through, riding with them to Braidwood and riding back to the cars a slightly different way through Tallaganda on the return journey. This plan had the added advantage of a bit more of a sleep in on top of more riding off road and a good explore through some more fun terrain.

Saturday rolled around and I picked up Allan and headed out there to meet with Dave Austin, Alex Ramsey, Randall Fitzsimon, Jaymz Davies and Tony (friend of Jaymz's) who had all driven out also, and we waited a few minutes for Jim Trail, Marea England, Michael Carden, Ley Kingdom and Dave Sutton who were all on their bikes riding out.

I forgot to take a camera on this ride (though I believe Marea may have taken a few photos) however it was a great ride (though with no photographic evidence maybe the ride was a figment of our collective imaginations?). 92 KM of almost entirely off road riding, great bushland to ride through, good company of 11 other mountain bikers (and 6 others on the return ride). Braidwood was packed (coast traffic around Saturday lunchtime I guess) and the Bakery where we refuelled was standing room only with difficulty getting in and out the one exit/entrance door.

With 5h20m riding time it was a pretty good hit out, Allan and Dave both mentioning it was the longest they had been on a bike in one hit for a while, both of them got through it alright, though Allan did not get along well with some of the steeper climbs on the return trip. I doubt he will have much trouble with the Alpine Classic in 2 weeks, as Allan said the climbing in that does not ever go much above 10% unlike the 25% gradients we were doing during the mtb ride. Anyway it is a road ride and Allan is used to road rides.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 05 Jan 2006

Yet another bike in the making - 18:33
Diamond Back Steel MTB Frame
Diamond Back Steel MTB Frame (Full Size)
So although I have a lovely steel hardtail mtb and a Duallie, as we all know the correct number of bikes to own is N+1. I have been looking around for another steel mtb frame for a while, hopefully one I could purchase cheaply (rather than paying AUD $750 for something new) that I might be able to use as the basis of a single speed mountain bike. Sure I have a really light Giant XtC Team Aluminium frame sitting in the shed, however I would prefer to never ride alloy hardtails off road.

Diamond Back used to for years make steel hardtails throughout their bike range, my sister's mountain bike is a 1994 model Diamond Back Topanga, Sam owns a similar vintage Diamond Back Apex, basically they made a lot of rather nice, rather light, steel mountain bikes. I have from time to time checked to see if anyone on Ebay Australia or the Trading Post was selling one of these bikes or frames, however so far have had no luck.

A few weeks ago someone mentioned they had a 1994 vintage unused Diamond Back Ascent frame for sale for AUD $125 in my size. Bargain I thought and snapped it up. The frame (pictured to the left) is in perfect condition, gorgeous blue with gold spiderweb pattern paint job that was popular back then. One thing I have to give some consideration to is the dropouts, currently they are too vertical for single speed use without the use of a chain tensioner. I am tempted to give Wayne Kotzur (the guy who has fixed 3 of my other frames in the last year) a call and ask him to replace the dropouts with some Campagnolo Horizontal Dropouts or similar which would allow for geared or single speed use fairly easily.

I have just been looking around for other parts and currently I have two rim brake (no disc bits on the hubs) front wheels sitting in the shed unused and two rim brake back hubs, I also have two deore cranksets and a bottom bracket to go with one of them that is fairly new. I am already well on the way to building up the bike with those parts. I am unsure whether I should get disc brakes and a new hub for the front or not. Ahh well it should be fun.

[/mtb/gear] link

Pub Bike - 16:50
To join the annals of eccentric but interesting bikes with the couch bike I saw a link the other day to the ultimate Pub Bike. The joys of experiencing beer and cycling, and you do not even have to go to the Pub as the Pub can come to you.

[/mtb] link

Cookies'R'Us - 16:24
I was reading something on Saturday that made me want chocolate chip cookies, so I googled for a recipe, found one (with notes) and baked myself a batch of chocolate chip cookies, using oats rather than nuts.

They turned out fairly well, a soft texture, almost like a cake but still crunchy, this is due to the rise induced by the baking soda. I can understand why nuts or some other variations (adding fruit, etc) may be worthwhile to make them a bit more interesting as a biscuit. Maybe some rice bubbles in the mix would be good also. They went down fairly well on the Tallaganda ride I did on Monday, though when I was eating the cookies at home my milk consumption was rather high as they really did go down better with a glass of milk.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 04 Jan 2006

First non Latin alphabet google logo. - 19:24
I must say this Louis Braille google logo is fricking neat I think. I could not remember any time previously they have used a non Latin Alphabet based logo, so I had a look to be sure and my suspicion appears to be correct. Ignoring a few April fools day (logo) logos (logo) that could be interpreted as something completely different anyway.

Anyway, rather cool I think.

[/comp/internet] link

Sun, 01 Jan 2006

Authors read too - 17:51
I noticed the sunlight filtering through the clouds outside my office window was a little bit orange, worried that there may be a fire near Canberra causing it I went and had a look at the ABC news website, fortunately there is no fire near Canberra, however while there I found a link to a story talking about Stephen King's top 10 lists (books, movies and music) for 2005.

It is good to see he is a prolific reader (80 books read in 2005) and still appreciates it as a premier form of entertainment with the following quote

A friend of mine sold her first novel this fall. She said the good part was finally being allowed into the playground where the big kids play. The bad part, she said, was that her book was tentatively scheduled for publication in 2007. She asked me if I thought people would even be reading novels in 2007, with so many other entertainment options available. I had to laugh, because novels are still the best entertainment option. Even a hardcover is cheaper than two tickets to the local multiplex, especially once you throw in gas, parking, and babysitting. Also, a book lasts longer and there are no ads. Need more? No tiresome ratings system to keep you out if you're under 17, the special effects are always primo (because you make 'em up yourself), and although I read nearly 80 books this year, I never ran across the Olsen twins a single time.

Sing it sister! also books are far more portable than movies and tv.

I am interested to note the number of books he read is high (for someone who also wrote two books in the year and is probably a very busy person on top of his writing), I suspect doing a lot of reading helps more than most other activities for a professional writer, the only other activity that helps to such an extent is writing lots I suspect.

It would be neat if a few authors I really like put out similar lists I think, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett both come to mind.

[/various] link

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