Saturday, August 30

Digital TV Card Update

I plugged in the Card last night.
Start up the computer.
Drivers are detected fine. Software installs fine.
Start up software, it starts to autotune the channels. Picture looks crystal clear.
Go to the channel listing, and only 9 and 10 had been detected.
I do another scan, and ABC and 7 are also picked up.

The stations that are getting picked up correctly are working well. Some tweaking still required of the MPEG decoder, to avoid ghosting on moving images (it's an issue with Interlacing/Deinterlacing probabally)

Reading the forums eveyrone else is having the same problem. The company is working on a bug-fix for the software ASAP. (Actual problems are: Channel 7 tuning, but not being picked up correctly, SBS not being tuned at all.)

Hopefully they get a fix in the next few days.
Update:They got a fix that night. All is now working well.

Friday, August 29

Predictions from A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer

In Neal Stephensons book - The Diamond Age: or a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, he predicts nanobots designed to counteract other nanobots. You would set up your privacy shield of nanobots, constantly sprayed around the front door of your house, etc.

In Slashdot today, Blocker Tags to Protect Privacy From RFID Tags, yes, those tiny (microscopic) tags that can be used to track things, now have a tiny countermeasure.


Soaring high in the sky,
He may be small but only in size.
Astroboy, Astroboy,
He is brave and gentle and wise!

Stronger than all the rest,
this mighty robot will pass the test,
Oh villians fear him, so we cheer him,
The amazing Astroboy!

When you need someone strong,
Our robot friend will never be long.
Astroboy, Astroboy,
He will try to right any wrong!

When there's danger near by,
No matter who, what, where, when or why.
He'll defend us, he'll defend us,
The amazing Astroboy!

Thursday, August 28

Day of Nothingness

Woke up this morning with a stuffy/sore head, runny nose, coughing and feeling off-colour. After I'd gotten up and dressed I decided to take the day off work. So I e-mailed in sick. (Don't even need to speak to anyone nowadays!)

The days rest/pottering around has done good. I'm feeling much better now.

The Digital TV PCI card# that I ordered is probabally sitting on my desk at work now. The place I ordered it from was delivering them in a First Ordered First Out fashion, and mine was expected to be posted yesterday.
Update - Fri Aug 29, 7:30am: As expected, there was an expresspost postpak sitting on my desk when I arrived this morning. Contents are as expected, nicely wrapped in bubble wrap.

Tuesday, August 26

How many pixels are there in a frame of 35mm film?

How many pixels are there in a frame of 35mm film?
Barb asked me a similar question, and I answered something along the lines of "film is analogue, so it's a bit hard to tell. If you zoom in far enough on the film then it will start to get splodgy..."

The above article says that on a handheld camera, it's approximately equal to a 4 Mega-pixel Digital Camera. With a Tripod and good lenses, it's approximately a 20 Mega-pixel digital camera.

The same person did an article on photos he couldn't have taken with his digital camera back in 1999. Economies and Quality have changed massively since then. His 1 to 2 year estimates on when the quality would shift about were quite accurate.

Monday, August 25

Buffalo Soldier

Music: Computer Fan

No, not the Bob Marley song. The Movie.
This was quite an enjoyable movie, about drug dealing and bullying in the US Army. Specifically based around some soldiers based in West Germany around the time that the Berlin Wall was being torn down.
Joaquin Phoenix plays an army specialist in a supply division. Many amusing moments. Many moments when I thought that the story was just too unbeleivable. No-one would do that and get away with it!

If you like movies with a combination of Drugs, Comedy and a little bit of Violence, then you'll probabally enjoy this movie.

Sunday, August 24

Party Postmortem

Mood: Relaxed, Tired
Music: Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here and Meddle

The Party went quite well.
People didn't really start to turn up until quite late, probabally figuring (quite correctly) that the party will go lateish.
Most people seemed to be enjoying themselves, and things didn't really die out at all until everyone left at around 3am.

Only a few bits of lost property, all now identified.

  • A handbag, that was picked up at 3:45am that morning.

  • A small black cardigan, soon to be picked up by its owner

  • A backpack, that I'm giving back to it's owner tommorrow

The cleanup this morning went well. We (Dave, Ainsley and Myself) cleaned up the house in an hour, after we all got up at around 11am. The house is now cleaner than before the party! (Freshly mopped/vacuumed floors, etc). Cleaning was followed by a much needed post-drinking big breakfast at the local cafe. Yum.

Saturday, August 23

Digital TV for Computer - Followup

After a bit of research and thinking, I've gone and ordered myself a Nebula DigiTV PCI Digital TV Tuner card for my HTPC, with the aim being to have it set up and working well before September 15, for archiving of DrWho in a decent form.

More updates as I attempt to get it installed. Hopefully I get adequate reception for Digital TV in my house!

Lord of the Rings Movies Information

New Line Cinema has decided to re-release to film the first two Lord of the Rings movies, in their extended form!

They are planning on showing them in the two weeks leading upto the release of the film. The press release doesn't say whether they will be showing the extended versions in Australia.

Choices: Do I re-watch the extended versions on DVD in the days leading upto the Return of The King release, or do I see them at the cinema...

Thursday, August 21

What a week

Mood: Agravated and Unsettled

Oh what a week!
Only 47hours till my Party!
Only 21hours till the end of the work week.
I'm ready for the week to finish now...

Almost yelled at a delivery person for interrupting me. Luckily my logic kicked in before my mood could take control, or else I'd have to cook dinner myself.

Wednesday, August 20

Blackout - At Work

Well, not exactly a blackout.
All the desks in my "cluster" at work have their power connected to the previous one.
The person sitting at the desk next to me put his feet up on the conduit holding the power cord and kicked out my desks power.

Doh! Last 5 minutes work lost.

On turning on the computer, after the automatic scanning of the disk for errors, WindowsXP decided it liked the screen BLUE. Yes, a Blue Screen of Death.
The computer wouldn't even boot up in safe mode.

I've just re-installed XP, only to have inetinfo.exe crash during the installation.

I think it's time to start fresh with the operating system..... :(

US Blackout's Internet Effect

Renesys Corporation has done a small report on the effects of the big blackout in the US (on Aug 14) on internet routing.

There is an animation showing routers going offline and a couple of graphs showing routing table sizes and changes to the routes.

Analysis of Linux Code that SCO Alleges Is In Violation Of Their Copyright and Trade Secrets.

SCO made the "mistake" of showing some slides of the Linux code that allegedly violates their copyright.
Within hours, some people had done an Analysis of the Linux Code that SCO Alleges Is In Violation Of Their Copyright and Trade Secrets.
Linux Weekly News also has some info.

It seems the code in question was published freely under the BSD Public License, by SCO and by other people, and another version of the same algorithm was published in Kernighan & Ritchie's The C Programming Language in 1978, without any restrictions.

Lies, Lies and SCO....

Sunday, August 17

Word of the day


Edited transcript of MSN convesation (with big bits taken out):
Josh: lsaj;klj;saljk;sfajdalflkghuoiovmnxvczn
S: is that indicative of your mood.
Josh: oartuaky
Josh: or partially.
S:oooh!! cool word!
Josh: depending on spelling
Josh: same work though.

Josh: Youw seawch - oartuaky - did not match any documents. Oh, dat scwewy wabbit!
No pages wewe found containing "oartuaky".

(Yes, I have google set to the Elmer Fudd language by default on all my 'putas.)

Word 2:
Googleplex - A (specific) big number with lots of zeros on the end. - 10^[(10)^100].

Thursday, August 14

Countdown to September 15

Dr Who Returns September 15.
I know lots of you already know. But I couldn't find the link mentioned anywhere, so I thought I better place it here, so I remember when it was that it restarted (when I look back on this in 5 years time, when it finishes)

Wednesday, August 13

Modern Drunkard Magazine

Modern Drunkard Magazine - a most excellent publication.

Read about using booze to overcome life's many obstacles, and other wonderfull articles.

And while I'm posting random links - Compare the dimensions of your favourite Science Fiction Starships.

Tuesday, August 12


RoboSweep is an "Intelligent" sweeper. Cheap.


  • Inteligent means that it was designed to be simple. No circuit boards! The inteligence is entirely mechanical.

  • It's cheap and nasty and doesn't work.

Monday, August 11

Random Blogs of Destiny/Despair

Are kelly and beth destined for each other?
(Kelly's dog also has a blog)

Welcome to AUSWAY PUBLISHING --- Melway Edition 1

I was discussing the Jollimont railyards recently, and we looked up a melways from a decade ago. Specifically, the area where the new Federation square is now built and the surrounding features. -- Maps 43/44

The year was 1966. Southbank developments hadn't even been thought of yet. The Childrens court was next to the Beaurepairs Swimming Baths on Batman Ave (later renamed to The State Swim Centre, then even later, apparently demolished when they removed the road it was located on and replaced it with parkland), with a couple of ovals down the road at flinders park (now the location of the Tennis Centre).
Welcome to AUSWAY PUBLISHING --- Melway Edition 1
Oh, and does anyone want to go to the Clayton (Metro Twin) Drive-In Theatre? (Map 70 - H11)

Yes, thats right. I managed to stumble across the first edition of the melways. A lot has changed since 1966.
The westgate bridge was build in 1978. Hitachi supplied the first of Melbournes new train fleet in December 1972. The Jollimont railyards was "rationalised" in 1999. I'm sure people can list hundreds of other things that have changed in the city precinct since then.

Feel free to leave comments or links in the comments section. :)

Sunday, August 10


I just copied some photos off my phone that have been sitting there for a while.

Avril's 1950's party with some of the Ladies dressed up nicely for the occasion.

One of the kooshballs that I bought the other week and the box they arrive in, with all the kooshballs inside.

Finally, a cariacture of my uncle, published in the The Australian Financial Review on 6/8/03.

I know, I don't take very exciting photos. That's one (of many!) reasons that I'm not a professional photographer.

Friday, August 8

Digital TV for the Computer

I hadn't looked for a while, but it appears that Computer Digital TV Cards are now available for use in Australia!

They are still quite expensive (A$330). Hopefully they come down in price over the next 6 months or so.

Existing analog TV Tuner cards provide very poor quality picture. Digital ones should provide perfect picture, and also require less CPU to record shows (as the picture is already MPEG encoded).

If I mix this with some Alpha release Home Theatre PC software, I might be able to get a decent setup going.


Ever recognised someone on a train, but decided that you weren't in the mood to socialise, so you avoided eye contact and pretend you didn't see the person?

I did this the other day. The seat next to me then freed up on the train, and the person sat down in that seat.

What do I do? I can't acknowledge the person now, after not acknowledging them earlier. I have my headphones on, so if I keep on looking forward, I won't be able to hear them either. I am very uncomfortable.

The person looks across at me. Stares across infact, or Glares. What do I do? I can't do anything. The stare or glare is an acknowledgement that I have intentionally ignored her. I can't break that now! So I do nothing. Stare forwards, and listen to the immortal advice from the radio-play that I am listening to - "Don't Panic".

She sits next to me for the remainder of my journey. I go to get off at my station. She stands up at the same time. I walk quickly off the train, and walk fast home, not looking back.

No entry in her livejournal yet. Sorry Sasha, if you read this!

Thursday, August 7

No Caffiene

I'm on my second day of no coffee. I had some chocolate yesterday, I'm not sure if that counts as enough caffeine to aleviate symptoms.

I've had a headache all morning. The standard caffeine withdrawl headache.
It seems to be getting worse this afternoon.

Update: 7pm
Headache got worse over the day. Also a bit of nausea. I left work slightly early. Got home. Took panadeine and Vegamite Toast. Waiting for vegamite toast to relieve pain and for panadeine to do whatever it wants to do.
I hope it's better tommorrow.

Wednesday, August 6

Gay party to become Death Penalty Party

In South Africa, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance recently voted to change their name to the Death Penalty Party of South Africa, reports.

Here in Australia, can we expect similar changes?
Perhaps the National Party can start promoting City Living and the Building Industry. Or perhaps the Greens can become the "Bring Back White Australia Policy" or something whacky like that.

Tuesday, August 5

True homemade coilgun pistol from Russia.

At lunchtime, somehow coilguns got brought up in the conversation, specifically, DC mentioned this Gauss gun made by some russion person.

Apparently the site got hit by slashdot, and as a result, Optus decided to redirect Optus Cable users using the above link to a local cached version. When transparent proxies become non-transparent...

The site above includes circuit diagrams and lots of pictures. The gun runs off 6 AA batteries, and fires the bullet silently, as no explosion is necessary for propulsion.

Monday, August 4

"some people have strong beliefs!"

What happens when a Jewish Rabbi discovers Jesus?
A cult.
This one is in Melbourne, former Jewish Rabbi, and self-confessed crazy person, Rabbi Vallins, started a small cult in Melbourne a few years ago.

He mentions on his page about being admitted into a psychiatric unit, the breakup of his marriage, falling in love with a Reverend of the Church of Christ, being fired from his position as Rabbi at a Jewish synagogue, his exploration of Japanese and Indian cults, and further adventures until he finally discovers Jesus in Washington D.C.

All worded in such a way as to make you feel like you "know him". Standard cult practice for drawing people in.

Websites like this can be amusing to read. Whackiness....

The Coffee Experiment

I first broke my caffeine addiction in Year 12, just before the mid-year exams. I used to drink a number of cans of Coke a day. Since then, I occassionally have some coffee or Coke, and suddenly I start to get withdrawl symptoms again.

I've had coffee a few times in the last few days. It started with a coffee at lunchtime on Friday. On saturday, by about 7pm, I was in desperate need of some caffiene, so I had some Coca-Cola. Sunday, I had 2 coffee's over the course of the day, in my wanderings around South Melbourne and the City.

It normally takes me a bad week of headaches and grumpiness to get myself unhooked from coffee. I'm not willing to break the cycle yet. I need to be able to concentrate at work. I'll just have to keep on drinking the stuff, I guess. Mmmm..... Coffeee.

Someone once decided to do a Coffee Experiment, which involved trying to drink a lethal dose of caffeine in the form of cups of coffee. Thanks to the lovely Internet Archive (it has recently dissappeared from the google cache), you can still read this wonderfull article. An amusing read on the effects of too much coffee. (Sorry for the bad colours. The cache didn't get the background properly)

Brannon Braga Clueless about Enterprise

Sci Fi Wire interviews Braga about enterprise: "For his part, Braga told reporters, 'I don't think creatively we were doing anything wrong. It can be debated from many different angles whether there are problems with the show. There are many people that love the show. We're very proud of the show, but we did feel that after a couple of seasons, it was time to do something differently.' So why did viewers bail last year? 'Don't know,' Braga said matter-of-factly. 'Don't know.'"

I guess he hasn't been reading any of the online reviews or talking to any former fans then.

Sunday, August 3


"This is the worst function in the world!" -- person at work looking at some tangled/broken code.

This bought into my mind the song "Tribute" by Tenacious D.

It was the longest and most tangled function in the world... Tribute.

Long time ago, when that guy still worked here,
he was coding down a short and urgent deadline.
All of a sudden, there shined a shiny demon... in the middle... of the function.
And it said:
"Write the worst code in the world, or I'll eat your soul."
Well that guy, he look at the screen,
and then he said... "Okay."
And he coded the first thing that come into his head,
Just so happened to be,
The Worst function in the World, it was The Worst Function in the World.

Look into my eyes and it's easy to see
One and one make One-Zero, One-Zero and One-Zero make One-Zero-Zero.
It was binary.
Once every hundred-thousand lines or so,
When the power does cycle and the screen doth glow
And the keyboard doth click...

Needless to say, the boss was stunned.
Whip-crack went his schwumpy tail,
And the beast was done.
He asked him: "(snort) Be you hackers?"
And he said, "Nay. We are but men."
Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh-ah-ah,
Ohhh, whoah, ah-whoah-oh!

This is not the Worst Function in the World, no.
This is just a tribute song.
Couldn't remember The Worst Function in the world, no, no.
This is a tribute, oh, to that Worst Function in the world,
All right! It was the Worst Function in the World,
All right! It was the most tangled function, the worst function in the world.
And the peculiar thing is this my friends:
the function he wrote on that fatefull night, it didn't actually run, and was not
anything like this song.
This is just a tribute! You gotta believe me!
And I wish you never knew! Just a matter of opinion,
Ah, fuck! Good God, God livn',
So surprised to find you can't stop it.

All right! All right!

Friday, August 1

One OS to Crash Them All

At work yesterday, we found an application (A PDF converter), that could reliably crash Windows 2000 (Blue Screen of Death) when a given certain input. We tried this on a few machines, and with the latest service packs.

Under Windows 2003, it didn't crash, the program just spat out garbage.

I guess they actually did do stuff in their 1 year security/bug fix time.


I set myself a goal last month, to make the cash that I had on me last until the end of month, without withdrawing any money from the bank (including cash out from supermarkets).

I decided this, after selling my iPAQ on the 1st of July for a wad of cash.

I succeeded! Yay! I still had $15.50 in my wallet this morning.
This included paying $80 to Kellie in cash, for a Marylon Manson concert ticket.