Thursday, July 31, 2008

General: Oops! ... Well it'll probably be O.K. ...

Five tiny mistakes that became Huge Catastrophes - Click Me

There are many interesting little gems scattered throughout the story, so it's well worth a read.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

General: The taming of the Shrew

Easy, buy it a drink (that always works ;-)

Here's the little imbiber and friend 'Slow Loris'.

Monday, July 28, 2008

General: Who likes a good 'B' picture?

Here are quite a few of them, from the SL wedding of Baldric and Emmanuel!

Techo: CPU Usage 1%

Yes, well you'll get that with 64-bit Windows Server 2008 Datacenter...
IF you have 64 processors and 2 TiB (2,048 GiB) of RAM!

Much more on Pushing the Limits of Windows Physical Memory, for the many varieties of Windows, by the cluey Mark Russinovich here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

General: Celebration Central

Well, 'Saturday night and Sunday morning' indeed!
Saturday night Carol and I went to another Christmas in July at the local lawn bowls club.
There were about 80 guests and a great time was had by all.

I had to go at 10PM though to get a bit of a rest, ready for Sunday morning.
Sunday morning 1:30 AM that is, to attend a wedding in Second Life, 9AM Saturday their time.

This was a first for me but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Unless you were there you couldn't imagine how serious and significant an event it was with no detail overlooked, thanks to great work by a lot of people.
The minister was an actual real-life minister and it is a real relationship in both worlds, SL and RL.
The ceremony was in both text and Audio, so those of us so equipped got to hear them both making their vows and the minister declaring them married, definitely a Kleenex moment!

I got a heap of pictures of the wedding and reception, so have a look here.

Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy future to Mr and Mrs Garfunkel!
(Well, I'm not sure if you actually can change your surname in SL, but you get the idea)

Update: The offocial photo's are here, That's me in piccy number three.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

General: Christmas In July, #1

We were invited to a friend's Christmas In July party (a Blue Mountains tradition) last night.
I got a little virtual dancing practice in first, but there was no actual dancing as it turned out.
Still, I did get to sit on Santa's knee and got a prezzy from the Secret-Santa pile.

Piccies Here for those who're interested.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Techo: Opening up TWO cans of Wupass!

On Intel, AMD/ATI and Nvidia.
Maybe PC prices will drop further with a bit of luck!

Email evidence unveiled in NVIDIA/ATI price fixing civil action

EU Files New Charges Against Intel

General: Now I'M feeling very depressed!

Blue - - puts down my 1.5Mbps broadband in no uncertain terms!

"Just in time for all these E3 movies, my cable bandwidth was quietly upped, and I am now getting staggering 31 Mb/s downloads, close to 4 MB a second.
This makes it more apparent than ever that in this brave new internet world, my old 1.5 Mb/s connection probably doesn't even qualify as broadband, as it was not really capable of downloading a lot of these clips, much less streaming them.
Back in the day we had a joke about "Low Ping Bastards," but I think that's much too kind a description of the connection I'm currently enjoying."

General: I'm not getting you down am I?

That would be 'Marvin, the Paranoid Android' of course.
If you want to own a bit of Douglas Adams memorabilia, this will certainly fit the bill, a very big bill though, $25,000 !

Not that there's really much funny about mental health issues, they can happen to anyone, we're just lucky they only cause suicide in under 1% of us!
J.K. Rowlings experience, for instance -

Still, it's not surprising individuals in trouble get overlooked by society when 3,600 mental patients can vanish in a single mental institution! (and then be discovered) -

Scary stories, all of them. Now do you feel lucky?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Techo: SSDs not quite so bad as first thought

Toms Hardware has taken note of criticism of their SSD/HDD battery-life evaluation, such as this one by George Ou that I read some days ago -

Here is Toms Hardware's apology and revised evaluation -

This time, George gives then an 'A-' instead of an 'F' -

The more important thing, imo, is the differences between Single-Level Cells and Multi-Level Cells (SLC and MLC) used in Flash memories.
MLC is inferior in performance, but cheaper to make, so guess which one the manufacturers want to foist on us?

I vented (just a little bit) here -
I'll tell you right now,
MLC is the HD/DVD of SSDs, SLC is the Blu-Ray of SSDs.
People just won't settle for cheaper but inferior, no matter how many profit dollar signs are in the vendors eyes.
They might as well get used to it and concentrate on SLC and bring the price down by total market dominance, that works!

Techo: Nvidia price-cuts, no surprise there...

Except for Nvidia who are probably sobbing their socks off that that they aren't making the profit they expected due to unexcpectedly stiff competition from AMD/ATI.

Here's the news -
Nvidia's top end GeForce GTX 260 and 280 graphics cards ... launched for $399 and $650, respectively, less than a month ago.
But pressure from ATI has driven Nvidia to already cut the price, hard.
The GTX 280 is now only $399, while the GTX 260 is $299, the same price as ATI's HD 4870.
Good to see ATI back in the fight.
Anyone already buy this and feel hosed though? Competition is a lovely thing.

And here's a pre-pricecut story, by a fellow Blue Mountains resident, on why ATI cards caned Nvidia so hard -

General: Worlds Oldest Blogger Signs-Off

The worlds oldest blogger, an Australian woman has passed away.
Here is the story and a short extract -

CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian woman renowned as the world's oldest blogger has died at the age of 108, with her last posting talking about her ailing health but also how she still sings a happy song every day.
Olive Riley, of Woy Woy about 50 miles north of Sydney, began blogging in February last year, sharing stories from her life during the two world wars, raising three children on her own, and working as a station cook in the outback.

Read her Blog 'The Life of Riley' here -

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SL: Ruthed!

I finally found the missing piece of the OpenSim on Vista puzzle, you have to run the Opensim server as Administrator, even when you already ARE an Administrator. Gee, thanks for such priveleges, Microsoft.

Sadly, the XP build I have worked on is looking like it has low-level stability issues as it is a machine that I resurrected from a major crash in order to get somebody's data back from it.
I think I'll have to re-install from scratch, which kind of tempts me to use Linux instead.
Darn, it's one learning curve after another.

So, now I have 65,536 square metres of ocean that I can terraform to my hearts desire. I will have a 15,000 Prim budget and no network lag or unexpected Sim outages (I hope).
If I get confident and the traffic cost isn't too insane, I might even try connecting to the OSGrid to share the place.

This is a 'tiny' 63x62 metre block I raised from the seabed to learn the land tools (after I built an atoll first). 3,900 square metres and no land tax to pay, lovely!

Until I manage to port my Second Life inventory across, I will probably remain 'Ruth', the default Second Life avatar.

Porting stuff across will, of course, be restricted to stuff I have permissions to, but hopefully won't be too hard once I part with 14 Euros (about AUD $22) to these guys -
Thanks to mentor and all-round nice person Moggs for that heads-up -

Incidentally, it turns out that you don't have to do Second Life scripting exclusively in LSL (Linden Scripting Language) as it is based on .Net/Mono.
You can also use C#, Java, VBScript (On Windows) and more, so long as you put a comment on the first line to identify the language.
Some caveats however -
But that won't stop the .Net fans from networking in Second Life -

Monday, July 14, 2008

SL: Noddy's Guide to Opensim Setup

I had the passing thought to Google 'Opensim Vista' to see if others had problems with the installation.
I'm happy to say I found a nice hand-holding guide -

It starts off -

"If you’ve have ever wanted your own Second Life Island/Estate but didn’t want to pay the $1700 bucks plus $300/month fees for it, then this tutorial series is for you. I will take you through downloading, installing, and configuring an Opensim standalone server on Windows Vista using the community edition of MySQL. It is all free of charge thanks to many others who are forging a freely available virtual world platform."

It shouldn't be hard now.

Also, I don't see why these instructions won't work on XP too, so I intend setting up the OpenSim server on an older PC on my home network. Then I might be able to connect to the OpenGrid.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

General: Petrol $8/Litre - Bring it on!

I have made no secret for my disgust at the Dickensian attitude of employers to teleworking.
They aren't happy if they can't see people at desks like some 21st century counting-house.
It's not like they don't have a million metrics to measure employee productivity that have nothing at all to do with where the employee is located.

NO clerical work not actually requiring personal contact with other people should require the worker to leave home in this day and age.

Get rid of that stupid fixation and see how much fuel consumption, traffic congestion, car-parking and time wasted on pointless travel is eliminated.

And it's not just workers, get a load of this video -

Do you really need to send a kid to school for them to do P.E.? of course not.
Since they can get all the information and explanation in detail on any subject in the world these days, how many hours could we cut off the school day and leave them plenty of hours of daylight for play and social interaction and forming friendships.
Schools aren't so much there for the kids as for the parents to have a place to send them while they both go out to work.
Maybe the fuel crisis (real or a marketing ploy) will help drive initiatives like this one -

General: Starry Starry Night

Here is a rather nice video of a recreation of Vincents work with the soundtrack accompanying it.
A lot of skilled work packed into 4 minutes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

SL: Linden aren't the only Virtual World makers

Introducing a new category "SL:" to make finding relevant articles easier for my Second Life friends.

I have been looking at an alternative to Second Life where I can host my own virtual world just for practicing building etc with no lag or outages.

The project I found was OpenSim -

Wikipedia has more on Open Simulator -

Here is some info' on setting it up -

I'm still in the throes of getting it set up right, but meanwhile, I disovered that there is another project which ties all these private virtual world servers together in a grid -

A handy place for getting a quick overview of all this is -
(not often you see a '.us' suffix)

Lest you think all this Second Life stuff is just a game and not a genuine virtual reality, I will mention that I got offered a full-time Real Life/Second Life job last week as a scripter (programmer) on a major project with a real company, I think I'm going for it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

General: That's not a big mug of coffee...

That's ballast in the making! ;-)
Man flying lawn chair lifted by Helium balloons
Too bad Mythbusters found it so hard to do!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

General: I'll drink to that!

I'm glad I downloaded Firefox 3 as soon as it was available, it is much faster then IE7 on Vista 32.
Just a few other people like it too apparently -
Guinness bestows download record on Firefox

(Over 8 million downloads in 24 hours)

Techo: Don't rush to buy an SSD for your notebook

Toms Hardware dishes the dirt on SSD power consumption -,1955.html
The SSD Power Consumption Hoax :
Flash SSDs Don’t Improve Your Notebook Battery Runtime – they Reduce It

Friday, July 4, 2008

General: For the lazy people ;-)

A couple of people have mentioned that they preferred the email newsletters I used to send out, citing the inconvenience of having to remember to check the blog.
For this very reason I enabled RSS on the blog when I created it, subscribe and you will be informed of each new post as it happens.

Plus, as I alluded to in the opening entry of this blog and preceding email regarding it, with increasingly harsh penalties for misappropriating copyrighted material, it is necessary to replace the former wholesale cut-and-paste approach with a precis and link to the material, whether in the blog OR an email, so you would still need to visit the web-sites for the whole story.

Have a go at using the RSS feed, I think you'll like it.

General: Beware - Brain Pain!

A nice little free game with simple controls that is infuriatingly tricky.

Oh yes, this will soak up some productivity!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

General: IOS makes PDF ISO32000-1

Not 'Techo:' because this potentially affects everyone.
The PDF format is no longer Adobe's, it belongs to all of us.

PDF is now ISO 32000-1, an international standard

It mentions -
"The next version of Microsoft Office, still called "Office 14," will support by user-chosen defaults at least two published international standard document formats. But at least for now, neither of them was Microsoft's to begin with."

And ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden clarifies -
"The standard will benefit both software developers and users by encouraging the propagation and dissemination of a common technology that cuts across systems and is designed for long term survival,"

Here's hoping we can soon wave goodbye to proprietary formats holding hostage historic documents of all forms.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Techo: Brace Yourself...

Intel says to prepare for 'thousands of cores'
But as Blue ( says-
"Based on the quad-core timetable, expect software support in 3008"

General: When one lifetime isn't enough...

Get a Second Life like I, 'Haizo Baum', did -
Haizo Baum Photoset on Flickr

The Second Life 5th Birthday (SL5B) expo' is on until the 7th of July.
So much wonderful stuff and lots of freebies too, now is a good time to think about joining in if ever you're going to.
You can go everywhere and see what it's about for free, even having a go at building.
It only costs for membership if you want to own land and build permanent things.
If you're with Bigpond in Aus' your Second Life bandwidth is unmetered and free too, I presume other countries and ISPs might do similar bargains.

General: The Bluebird Project

This was pointed out to me by my friend Graham.
Unsurprisingly -

Basically, they are restoring the Bluebird which was raised from lake Coniston.
The diary is a very good read so I think I'll keep this page open and return for a bit more every now and then.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Obit: One of my favourite actors :-(

Sad to report, Don S. Davis who played General Hammond on Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis has passed away.

Or the full story here -