Archive for August, 2005

All the posts are categorised

I have now finished categorising all of the old posts that were imported from the old site. I still have to fix the formatting and images on some pages, but at least the categories work now.

Samuel

August 31st, 2005 at 07:25pm

Sheep Intelligence Tests…why???

According to some CSIRO scientists, sheep are not as dumb as a lot of people think.

The scientists sent the sheep through a maze and found that after going through the maze a few times, they had reduced their maze solving time from 90 seconds to 30 seconds.

Personally, I have never seen sheep as stupid. Flocking may be instinctive, but I never as it as a sign of unintelligence.

What I would like to know though, is why did the CSIRO undertake this study, after reading the entire ABC News article I still can’t see why they did it. Does it really prove anything of any value? I don’t think so, so what purpose does it serve? Anybody care to enlighten me?

Samuel

4 comments August 30th, 2005 at 11:07pm

Glucksen Glucksen Glucksen

I’ve just had a look at my collection of spam emails which I don’t bother deleting as gmail automatically deletes them after 30 days. Anyway, I just noticed some interesting names that the spammers have used lately.

  • Gwrtheyrn Zaragoza
  • Gralnick
  • Grossman
  • Erik Fuentez
  • Goldenson
  • Glucksman
  • Fishbein
  • Himmelfarb

I must say though, it was interesting to see “Adler” sending me an email with subject “Baldness Won’t Work”. Interesting…I would have suggested that some of the baldness cures won’t work, but I’ve been proven wrong by these masters of the English language.

I have to wonder if “Glucksman” is perhaps a poor attempt at “Glucksen”, a german word for “Chuckle” which is what most of the spam I receive is good for.

Samuel

2 comments August 30th, 2005 at 07:15pm

Coffee Filled With Lovely Antioxidants

From the “I keep telling you I don’t drink too much coffee” files comes this story:
Numerous media outlets are informing us all about the benefits scientists have found in coffee, to quote some of the story

A study has found that coffee contributes more antioxidants – which have been linked with fighting heart disease and cancer – to the diet than cranberries, apples or tomatoes.

“Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close,” said Professor Vinson, whose study was described at the weekend to the American Chemical Society in Washington.
The study found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee appeared to provide similar levels of antioxidants.

They (antioxidants) have been linked to a number of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer. Studies have associated coffee drinking with a reduced risk of liver and colon cancer, type two diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

A spokesman for the British Coffee Association said: “This study reconfirms the fact that moderate coffee consumption of four to five cups a day not only is perfectly safe but may confer health benefits.”

All these quotes and the rest of the article can be found in the Online Edition of The Independent.

Samuel

4 comments August 29th, 2005 at 10:31pm

I Stapled Myself

This evening I finally got around to making a 2CC poster to attach to my school bag. I tried many different ways of attaching it to the exterior of my bag, including multiple sticky tape attempts. Unfortunately all of these attempts were unsuccessful, so I decided to use staples. I got the stapler and realised it was empty, so I filled it and proceeded to staple the corners of the poster to the bag.

The top corners were easy as the stapler reached the corners around the zip. The bottom corners however could not be reached by the stapler and I instead had to unfold it and put something behind the paper to bend the staples in place and make it easier to staple. I used a metal ruler, however the first staple I did that way caught me with the ruler slightly out of position and my finger in position, so I ended up with a staple in my finger which, needless to say, hurt.

I eventually got the staples in the right places and I now have the following half-A4 poster stapled and taped to my bag. (Some of the tape couldn’t be removed after it stuck to the paper, so it is now providing extra support.)

2CC Poster

Samuel

6 comments August 29th, 2005 at 09:45pm

Schnappi stable at eight

Schnappi has remained at eight on the ARIA singles chart this week.

Samuel

August 29th, 2005 at 12:32pm

Assignment or Sneaky?

I’ve held this story for a week now because I had far too many other important stories to run, and then forgot to run this one, so here it is.

Last week while I was choosing potatoes in City Supabarn I noticed a pair of people, aged around 13 or 14, taking note of the prices of various produce items and comparing them to prices at other stores around Canberra.

If this was a school assignment then that is fine, but the paperwork they were filling out seemed to be just a bit too professional for a school assignment, apart from which, I can’t imagine why a school assignment would have students comparing prices of onions, bananas, types of meat and other products. Even the most elaborate maths assignment doesn’t require that much leg work. Apart from which, it is hard to imagine a teacher realistically expecting year 7/8 students to go into multiple supermarkets in Canberra (and some of the names I heard were from fairly remote suburbs…relative to Civic) and complete those forms.

I would suggest that it was probably a job that they were being paid to undertake, either by a research company, an industry regulator, or a competing supermarket.

I did try to get a closer look at their forms by inspecting (and choosing) items near them, but I couldn’t get a clear look.

Regardless of what they were doing it for, it certainly breaks the old stereotype of the price checker being the well dressed man in a suit holding a clipboard and squinting at the price tags.

Samuel

August 28th, 2005 at 07:53pm

Samuel’s Musicians Of The Week

This week’s award goes to Dire Straits, and the feature song is Walk Of Life.

Here comes johnny singing oldies, goldies
Be-bop-a-lua, baby what I say
Here comes johnny singing I gotta woman
Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay
He got the action, he got the motion
Yeah, the boy can play
Dedication devotion
Turning all the night time into the day

He do the song about the sweet lovin’ woman
He do the song about the knife
He do the walk, he do the walk of life

Here comes johnny and he’ll tell you the story
Hand me down mu walkin’ shoes
Here come johnny with the power and the glory
Backbeat the talkin’ blues
He got the action, he got the motion
Yeah, the boy can play
Dedication devotion
Turning all the night time into the day

He do the song about the sweet lovin’ woman
He do the song about the knife
He do the walk, he do the walk of life

Here comes johnny singing oldies, goldies
Be-bop-a-lula, baby what I say
Here comes johnny singing I gotta woman
Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay
He got the action, he got the motion
Yeah the boy can play
Decidation devotion
Turning all the night time into the day

And after all the violence and double talk
There’s just a song in the trouble and the strife
You do the walk, you do the walk of life

Samuel

August 28th, 2005 at 03:54pm

Working on the categories

One of the main reasons I moved to WordPress was the categories function, where I can apply a specific category (subject/topic/whatever) to a post which can make them easier to sort through. It also means that those of you who remember my promise back in April that I would index the Samuel’s LCA Live posts will be pleased to know it is now done. You can either follow the category link in the sidepanel to see those posts.

So far I have only categorised posts from April this year and before, and I am now going to bed due to the fact it is past midnight. Once I have categorised the posts I will fix the links and bring them into line with the new formatting (mainly the quotes) and then fix the images.

This is all time consuming and mildly exhausting, but ultimately it will be worth all the work I am putting in.

Samuel

August 28th, 2005 at 12:26am

Here’s the Schnappi video

It would appear that Google are directing a heap of people who want to see the Schnappi video here, simply because I keep mentioning it’s progress on the ARIA charts…well fine, here’s the link, Enjoy!.

And just to make life easier, I’ll put the link in the sidebar as well.

Samuel

August 27th, 2005 at 08:13pm

Prizes Arrive…Finally

I don’t think I’ve ever discussed this here, so I’ll start the story from the beginning.

Back in the February 2005 edition of Australian PC User Magazine there was an article about networking for small business which appeared to be recommending various Windows servers and seemingly expensive ADSL router/switch devices.

Whilst there was nothing wrong with this per se, it did seem odd that the aim of the article was to save small business money, but was recommending various relatively expensive options. This prompted me to write a letter.

Hi,
In your February edition, you had an article which discussed choosing
equipment for a small business network. In it, you appear to recommend
broadband routers and Windows Servers.
I have an alternative suggestion for businesses that are a bit more
conservative with their money.
Forget the $150+ broadband router, dig out an old PC, throw a couple
of network cards in it, get a cheap 1 port broadband modem, and put a
copy of SmoothWall Express 2.0 firewall on the PC from
www.smoothwall.org. SmoothWall, being a standalone Linux distro, will
protect your network with a minimal amount of setup, and provide a web
proxy, DHCP server, etc for free.
As for the file/print server, try ClarkConnect from
www.clarkconnect.org, the Home Edition is free (and can be used
wherever you want), and provides a windows file server (samba) plus
mail server, web server and more, again for free as it is another
Linux distro. CC also requires a minimal amount of setup.

If you consider that a broadband router with enough ports for your
entire network can cost over $200 and that Windows servers retail for
$900+ and have rigid user restrictions (more users costs more),
meaning a total cost of over $1000, and that my suggestion would cost
just enough for a couple old PCs, and an ADSL modem (my D-Link DSL300G
cost under $90 from citysoftware.com.au), a total of under $300, less
if you already have the old PCs, I know which option I would choose.

Incidentally, I run SmoothWall and ClarkConnect at home, and it runs
without a hitch. And these free products can be modified, and usually
have a lot of user provided addons that extend their functionality.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart
(Address & Phone Number removed)

When I picked up the March edition of PC User I started reading it and noticed that something looked vaguely familiar, and after looking at it a little while longer, realised that they had published my letter as the “Letter of the month”, albeit in a cut down form.
Letter Of The Month, March 2005, PC User Magazine
For this I won a 512MB flash drive.

Needless to say I was rather pleased with myself and eagerly awaited the arrival of my prize.

A month passed, the next issue of PC User arrived in the mail, and I still didn’t have my flash drive, I decided to phone PC User magazine. I phoned them numerous times over the next few weeks, always being informed that “The supplier had difficulties” and I should have my flash drive soon.

More time passed, and with the Linux conference and other things, the flash drive slipped my mind. Eventually, on May 31, I sent them the following email…needless to say, I was masking my frustration with sarcasm.

Hi,
You might remember me from the March 2005 edition of PC User, I wrote a letter about free software and old computers being useful for servers. My letter won “Letter Of The Month” and my prize was a Lexar JumpDrive Sport 512MB USB flash drive.

I waited a little while thinking that it might turn up in the mail, and after waiting a few weeks and receiving nothing I gave your offic a call, I was informed that you were waiting for the flash drive to arrive from the supplier, so I waited a checked again a few weeks later, you were still waiting, a few weeks later you were still waiting and I was assured that it would come soon. I’ll admit, I’ve been busy, and I had forgotten to check on the progress of my flash drive, and to this day I still haven’t received it, in fact the only thing that reminded me was that I received my copy of PC User in the mail today.

I’m guessing that either your supplier has forgotten about the flash drive, or you have. Either way I am still waiting, and would appreciate an update on the progress of the flash drive. If it so happens that your supplier is incapable of delivering a flash drive, perhaps another supplier would be useful.

I would also imagine that after all this time, my details may have gone missing, so I thought I should probably give them to you again:
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
(Address Hidden)

Phone (H): (Hidden) (I spend most of the day at college, but you can probably get me on this number after 4:30pm most days)
Phone (M): (Hidden) (A lot of the time is class, but you can always catch me between 10:50-11:10am & 1pm-2pm)

And naturally my email address: smoothwallsamuel@gmail.com

Thanks,
Samuel

To my surprise, I got a reply the very next day

Hi Samuel

When did you speak to us?

It was a rather dismal reply, I agree…I replied to it

Hmmm, good question. From memory it would have been a few weeks after receiving my copy of the March issue of PC User in the mail, and then again a couple weeks after that, and a couple weeks after that again.

But with school work and being involved with a Linux conference it all just slipped my mind.

Thanks,
Samuel

I never heard back from the unnamed person at “ACP Tech Titles”, and after another period of time in which it all slipped my mind, I put in another phone call, however the people I would have spoken to were “unavailable” and I never got to speak to them.

A little bit more time passed, and eventually (on July 25) I got an email out-of-the-blue from Anna Raciti, deputy editor of PC User Magazine

Dear Samuel,

Our sincerest apologies for the extremely long delay you’ve had to endure on this. You have been more than patient with us and we really do appreciate your understanding.

Today we’re sending your prize and a few extra goodies in an attempt to make up for the hassle and inconvenience you’ve had to endure.

Please accept the prize and the extras with our sincere apologies.

If you have any more problems, please don’t hesitate to write back to me and let me know.

Again, thank you for your patience and sorry for the extensive delay,

Regards,
Anna Raciti

To my absolute amazement, she had replied to my email from May 31, indicating that my email had been circulating for quite a while.

After a little bit more time, my prize and extra goodies arrived on August 16. It turns out that PC User eventually just went to an officeworks store and bought a flash drive off the shelf, they also packed in some other goodies…here is a photo:
Prizes for PC User Letter Of The Month
Top Row:

  • A note saying “Apoligies for the delay, please enjoy!”
  • The 512MB Techworks Flash Drive

Bottom Row:

  • A book about music & video downloading
  • A DVD of the movie “Willow” which I remember seeing on free-to-air while I was sick, good movie.
  • A Microsoft Wireless Mouse “With the look and feel of leather”. The interesting thing about this mouse is the box says “New” in many languages, and then says “Copyright 2003”

Well, I just wish to thank Anna Raciti for finally sorting it out. It was an interesting adventure, and I’m glad it has finally come to an end.

Samuel

August 27th, 2005 at 07:50pm

City Ads (News) uses the right picture

I love stories I can tie in with previous posts!

You may recall that a couple weeks ago I declared that City News is the worst newspaper in the country, and then regular commenter John B1_B5 noticed that they were using a picture containing some unknown model to promote a theatrical presentation (albeit supplied by The Canberra Theatre Company and not checked by City News).

Well this week they have a picture on the cover of “The Canberra Review” which promotes a new presentation of Romeo & Juliet and others by the Russian Ballet (you may recall from a previous post that some of this will be “the most captivating and sensual nude scenes ever”). On this occasion they appear to have the picture correct, which suggests to me that The Canberra Theatre took notice of John B1_B5’s phone call and/or City News want to retain at least one shred of credibility.

The real estate section, “City Property” is interesting this week. A quarter page ad semi-formatted as an article on page two, a quarter page article on page 16, an almost half page opinion piece on page 17…and the rest? You guessed it…Ads!

1 comment August 27th, 2005 at 06:37pm

Thankyou to 295% of the readership

It has been interesting over the last few days to watch the various statistical reports that my hosting provider provides coming online and providing conflicting reports.

It seems that none of them can agree on how much bandwidth the site has used (it ranges from about 5MB to 15MB) and they all seem to want to tell me different things about how many 404 errors there have been.

The most interesting statistical anomaly so far is that AwStats is estimating that 295% of the readership have added the site to favourites. If it is true that, on average, each reader has added the site to favourites 2.95 times then I am very pleased, but I suspect it is just AwStats having problems with it’s estimation calculations.

I am still continuing to use the offsite statistics collected via javascript and an image (Webstat & Nedstat) for the moment. Whilst they don’t provide the purely accurate statistics from the webserver logs, they do measure page views pretty well, and are much better at counting visitor numbers due to the use of cookies. (Don’t worry, I have checked the privacy policy of these companies and they don’t even look at the data they collect.)

I will probably download the raw logfiles and analyze them myself with something like Pyflag which is (at least partially) the brainchild of Michael Cohen, organiser of the Security Miniconf at the recent Linux.Conf.Au. PyFlag will provide me with the power to find out what I want to find out accurately, which is more than I can say for the other statistics in use which do their best, but aren’t flexible enough….plus I get to have more fun this way.

Samuel

August 27th, 2005 at 12:11pm

Further Fixes

Alrighty then, we now have a login/logout section in the sidebar.

This will allow you to register a username and password (which you will require to post comments). It will also allow you to quicly and easily login and logout.

This not only helps to protect your identity by preventing people from misusing your “name”, but also stops me from going insane manually entering URLs for site administration.

The site admin link will allow you to edit your profile (It’s a good idea to keep your email address up to date in case you forget your password).

Samuel

2 comments August 26th, 2005 at 11:15pm

Answer to Lateral Thinking Question

In a previous post about a sleepless night and a call to a talk radio show, I mentioned a lateral thinking question which was asked on that particular show. Since that time there has been at least one person type that question into google and land on this blog (and probably end up very disappointed that I talked about it and didn’t have an answer for them). Over the weekend I heard the answer and promptly forgot to post it, so here it is.

Firstly, to recap the question:

In the 1960’s an East German woman swam the 100M freestyle in a record time of 59.(something, forgot exact number) seconds, but it was never officially recognised, why?

Well, as it turns out, she was naked and disqualified as a result.

Does this mean that our swimmers would be better off abandoning the watery-aerodynamic suits and swimming without clothing? I don’t know, and I don’t think the TV stations would be allowed to show us! (well, not without blurring/blocking of images anyway)

Samuel

August 26th, 2005 at 12:31am

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