Archive for April, 2005

Mind reading computers?

This story is just plain scary, researchers have found that the brain reacts differently to different stimuli, and have developed software that can say which stimuli the person was subjected to, even when they don’t know it themselves. The scientists have plans to make it possible for the software to know what kind of mood a person is in, even if they are mentally stable, perhaps even "reading" your thoughts.

Surely this invades any sense of privacy that anybody could have. It really doesn’t matter what I think, what matters is how I act on it.

For example, if I became extremely annoyed at someone and felt like murdering them, this would only be a passing thought, and as long as I didn’t act on it, it would have no relevance, but if my mind were read while I was thinking this, surely I could then be charged for conspiring to murder, even if I had no intention of carrying out such action. For that matter, what right does anybody have to find out what I am thinking, unless I inform them. I have to wonder how anybody can create such technology and think it is a good idea.


Add comment April 28th, 2005 at 11:49pm

Congratulations ACTION, you’ve done it again…

Well, they’ve done it again, once again ACTION have made a complete mess of a change to their service.
ACTION have just recently changed their timetables. The good news is that they finally accounted for the extra time it takes the Buses to get through the Canberra Centre bus stop, the bad news is that they forgot that it takes longer to get along Bullumbir Street than Bunda Street and haven’t accounted for that…so the buses are still late.

ACTION also modified the morning services of the 38 bus in a very bizzare way. Previously the 38 was running at 8:25, 8:40 & 8:53 along Ainslie Avenue, and if I managed to miss the 8:53, I could catch a 36 at 8:55ish. The new arrangement sees two 38’s arriving around 8:30 (they both arrive at the same time due to the traffic light delays on Bullumbir Street) and there isn’t another one until 8:55 (which never arrives until 9:00 or later). The 36 timetable has also been modified in such a way that it is earlie than the 8:30 buses, and later than the 8:55 bus.

My grumble here is that the 38 used to be relatively predictable, it was every 15 minutes, and I could catch a 36 if I missed the 38. Now due to the insanity of the new bus timetable, I have to be ready for the bus before 8:30 (previously 8:40 or 8:53 would be acceptable), or I will not be able to catch one until at least 9am, which makes me rather late.

I do have a theory about this bus timetable change. ACTION knew that I catch a 38 (or 36) from Ainslie avenue in the morning to get to Dickson College. They knew this, because I was a person who made a lot of noise about safety issues at the Canberra Centre bus stop, most of which remain unaddressed, and I eventually got tired of making noise after it became clear that they had no intention of ever doing anything to fix the problem. I could just be paranoid, but there is a chance that ACTION have decided that I am a nuisance, and therefore don’t deserve a decent bus service. I can see no other such bizzare changes to other timetables in Canberra, only the Ainslie Avenue routes. If ACTION think that it was a good idea to do this, they should expect some angry correspondence. I am certain that they will do nothing to fix the problems, but they do deserve an amount of angry noise.

On the plus side, ACTION have moved their fleet of horrible new green buses over to the 300 series intertown buses, meaning that I don’t have to catch them. Those things were never designed for suburban roads, they are too low to the ground, and have very little suspension. They are still pretty dreadful on the major roads, but at least they don’t have to rattle, clatter & bang as much. The Green buses continue to service the 34 (Hospital run).

Naturally ACTION have taken their policy of “It doesn’t work, so we’ll give it to everyone” and applied it to the Weston Creek area services. They were designed to make the buses act like Taxi’s at night. People would ring the ACTION phone number and say that they wanted to catch a bus from wherever they were. This service simply wasn’t working in Weston Creek, some people were waiting more than an hour for a bus. ACTION in their infinite wisdom have decided that this is a great system and expanded it to all of Canberra (except certain parts of Yarrulumla, which currently have high nightime patronage of buses) and called it Flexibus. “Buses are not Taxi’s” is my quote, if you need to get somewhere after 7PM, get a lift or ring a Taxi, you’ll be waiting all night for a Flexibus.


Add comment April 27th, 2005 at 07:21pm

AFL Coverage In Canberra

I’ve discussed this numerous times on Google Groups, so I’ll make it brief. Thankyou to 2CA for making it possible to hear live AFL coverage on a regular basis in Canberra. They have cornered the market by providing the *only* commercial radio AFL coverage in Canberra, and they also are the only place that are regular with the coverage. The ABC do cover it, but they are not regular, they shuffle it over to News Radio whenever they take the NRL, and often News Radio just cut into other programs with it, and provide no information about when it will be on. 2CA are regular, they do Friday night from 7PM, Saturday & Sunday from Midday, and other special days whenever they happen.

I will be writing a letter to 2CA about this shortly.


1 comment April 26th, 2005 at 07:35pm

More stuff on the seminar website

You can now find the overhead presentation and notes on the seminar website
The overhead presentation in it’s previous location had some bugs. It is no longer available in the old location, and has been updated in it’s new location.
The new location also has significantly better download speeds than the old location.


Add comment April 25th, 2005 at 07:36pm

The week that was…a day late

This is a multipurpose post, one, it is the last regular installment of Samuel’s lcaLIVE. Two, it doubles as my official feedback email to the LCA organisers. Three, it tripples (???) as a school assignment due in a few days (I have to write a gonzo style random article about anything…it’s easier to just use this).

That was without a doubt, one of the best weeks I have ever had. It all started on Sunday of course, actually no, it started on Saturday night (I could argue with myself that it started when my former boss heard that LCA was coming to Canberra…but I won’t) when I decided to go to the early registration on Sunday because I thought that it would be much quieter, and I could get lost without missing anything. I also decided to fix up my old printout of the LCA timetable, after a long heap of scribbles, I just gave up and printed it again.

Sunday saw me register and pick up my conference bag, badge & T-Shirt. I also managed to get partially lost on the way to the venue, “Noooooo, I’m a Canberran, I don’t need a map, I can memorise a campus map.” The first statement was true, as for the others…well, always look at the ground.

Sunday night was the time for finishing writing my seminar and practicing it, Michael was right, it was too long. I shortened it and made it to bed at 2am

Monday arrived, and so did I, I was early for the Security Miniconf, and became tempted by the Purple Pickle’s offer of filling my LCA mug with coffee for $3.10, I walked out the wrong doors, had the wrong building number in mind and declared that “That creek shouldn’t be there!” I was lost again, thankfully, somebody told me that there was a building of food out the other doors. That is where I found a nice place that filled my mug for $2.80, I however thought that the Miniconf started at 10:00, but due to my lack of a miniconf timetable, I was wrong, it started at 9:30 and I missed the first 10 minutes of the first installment of SE Linux with Russell Coker. I decided that I should borrow a laptop to make use of the wireless network, and make my blog fit it’s title of “Samuel’s lcaLIVE”…I rang a friend and they offered for me to pick one up.

Monday night saw me putting the final touches to my seminar, which actually means creating the entire visual experience (Overhead Presentation in english), this saw me in bed at 3am…and a few fun mistakes that weren’t spotted. The printer also played up (due to me turing off the wrong computer) and made one page of my notes almost unreadable)

Tuesday came around, I had to rush out to Majura Primary in the morning (approximately 30 minutes from civic by bus), pick up the laptop, rush back to LCA and be there by 10am for the start of day two of the Security Miniconf. That all went fine, well, the “getting out the door” part did anyway. I was carrying three bags, one for the usual stuff, coffee, various papers, etc, a second for the video camera and a third for the tripod. I got out to Majura Primary, waited for a few minutes, unnamed person shows up and has forgotten the laptop, I rush back to civic on the bus (OK, I had to wait for the bus to run late first) whilst making changes to my seminar notes. At the Miniconf I made more changes to my seminar notes (which made it look like I was going to repeat the seminar before me, to the people behind me).

11am, seminar time, Michael announces a five minute break to allow me to get my stuff setup (Thanks Michael for the assistance), and then I start. 30 seconds in and Michael is getting up and walking down to the front, which makes me think that he is kicking me off…he was actually turing the volume up at the request of a person up the back…during the seminar I stumble across a slide which had a few problems, first one I noticed was the squiggle under the word “SmoothWall”, which proves that I did the diagram in Word due to frustrations with other programs, the second, and more embarrasing and funny problem, was the public IP address used in the diagram (123.456.789.012) which is obviously very very wrong (If you don’t know why, see Apart from that, the 50-60 people did seem to enjoy the seminar. I however was exhausted, and needed a cup of coffee…I would have like to deliver that seminar again though, maybe I will one day.

Russell had more SE Linux on Tuesday afternoon, it went waaaay over time, but it was fun, and was definetly the highlight of the Security Miniconf.

That night I ran the video of my seminar and was very disappointed to find the audio almost inaudible. I was releived to find that the organisers had recorded it though…or so I hoped.

Wednesday was the start of the “real” conference, and saw the announcement of special prizes, 1GB flash drive each seminar, and IBM Laptop each day.Wednesday was tutorial day, this was good, I attended the “Recovering from HDD disasters” and “Building user interfaces with video and 3D graphics for fun and profit” one. I thoroughly enjoyed the second one, the speaker couldn’t decide who to give the flash drive to, so we played heads and tails, and I won. By this stage I had found the magical terminal room as well…that made me happy. I also found out that my seminar had been officially recorded, and the audio would be available in about a month. The lovely people at also replied to my email and gave me webspace for my LCA video and associated materials.

Thursday saw Tridge’s keynote, and his bitkeeper comments. That was very good & proved three things. One, ZDNet had a reporter at LCA. Two, The Register adapt people’s blogs and turn them into articles. Three, Slashdot are really really annoying and stupid people. My blog was among the first places on the net to have the Tridge story (I think ZDNet beat me to it), The Register however, were definetly after me, and had no more info than my blog…I have no problem with them using my matrial, but I would prefer them to have some kind of acknowledgement of my name rather than “delegate”. Slashdot are just plain annoying, the Tridge V Linus V Bitkeeper story has been the top story for a while, I had the important update on it, and it was rejected, instead they went and accepted somebody else’s version of the story who submitted it hours after mine had been rejected, this isn’t the first thing of mine slashdot have rejected, it is in fact, a continuation of their apparent policy of rejecting all of my submissions, no matter how important or interesting they may be.

Thursday lunchtime saw Russell Coker playing Augmented Reality Quake, he did manage to accidentally break,turn off, or cause temporary incapacitation of equipment, which I jokingly put down to his body having SE Linux Policies. SE Linux is fantastic, and if you don’t know anything about it, then please do.

On Thursday night I played with the audio of my seminar and managed to get something semi-usable. This made me happy, and had me thinking of an interim release.

Friday was yet another great day, plenty happened, but I was very tired, and needed a constant supply of coffee to stay awake. Unfortunately there were a few mishaps with speakers and the timetable, and I had to rearrange my viewing schedule, but it was fun none-the-less. I think it was friday that the Tux Racer seminar was on, this was fantastic. I have read that it wasn’t technical enough for LCA, but I think that it is important to have at least one non technical seminar per day, it helps prevent brain melt…and also helps lift the mood, especially near the end of the week when everybody is tired and overloaded with information.

At lunch time Friday I finally had a go at Augmented Reality Quake, which was quite fun.

Friday night saw me uploading the interim release of the video of my seminar (which you can download from I will be making a proper release of higher quality, properly edited video and DVD after the official LCA audio & video is released.

Saturday saw Eben Moglen speak, he got a standing ovation, and so he should. His consistent legal defence of open source software has seen it flourish, and proven to business that it *is* the future. (OK, Microsoft still need a bit more convincing, but a look at the sponsors of LCA should prove just how much business value it.)

The organisers were, for the most part, friendly and helpful. They were under an enourmous amount of pressure (I know, I’ve organised stuff before, and it is a credit to them that they managed to make it look seamless and under control, the better you hide the late organisation, the better you have done.) A few times they were a bit snappy, but this is understandable, the amount of pressure they were under, the massive organisational effort, and dealing with idiots that tried to steal everyone’s passwords with rogue APs, and other idiots who felt the need to float various beverages through lecture theatres that were marked “No Food Or Drink”, can’t have been easy, especially when the latter idiots complained about it in their blog. They worked hard to keep as many people happy as possible, this included the caterers, and as such, the white mugs were to stay inside. Thankyou to the organisers, this was fantastic.

The people who packaged the flash drives obviously didn’t expect anybody to ever have a need to use them…but I finally got my flash drive out today (because I actually thought about doing it), and I now have 1256 MB of portable storage.

I’m now looking forward to next year’s LCA in Dunedin, I’m considering submitting an abstract to it so that I can speak again (and avoid many of the costs). It should be good, and I hope to be able to make it there.

I am pleased to be able to announce that during LCA, my webserver logs hit 90% for firefox usage, and 45% for Linux usage. Good to see the educated people hitting my webserver.

I calculated that I’ve lost about 14 hours sleep during the conference, and will now have to work on reclaiming it (sitting here typing this isn’t helping).

This is the last regular update to Samuel’s lcaLIVE, I will be making an index post soon to provide quick and easy access to all the lcaLIVE entries. My blog will now continue as normal (which has a new definition, previously normal meant that there were no entries, I will try to update the blog at least once a week from now on.)

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 25th, 2005 at 12:58am

The search for the Purple Pickle

Well, I decided yesterday at lunch time to find that Purple Pickle Cafe, I had been told that it was "down the ramp and around the corner", perhaps "Down the ramp, turn right, walk across the bridge over the creek, turn right, it’s somehwere down there on your right".

I had tried to find it earlier in the week, but gave up in frustration, yesterday I decided to work out where it was, looking at the outside maps, it told me it was in the University Union building…looking at my paper version, it was in a closely numbered building that isn’t exactly close. I found it eventually…

Today should be interesting, it is the last day of the conference, this week has certainly gone quickly.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 23rd, 2005 at 08:55am

Interim Video Online

Thanks to the lovely people at you may now visit to see the video. I am however uploading the video via SCP as I write this, but it should be finished soon.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 23rd, 2005 at 12:36am

Well, a day of utter confusion…

I forgot it was Friday…I mean, I knew that it was Friday, but it just didn’t register in my head…so I forgot to make the connection between that and the heap of Friday changes to the LCA timetable. One seminar of note today was the one about Tux Racer…I was actually expecting yet another seminar of code and theory (I’ve managed to avoid most of those), and it wasn’t my first choice, but the seminar I was going to attend was either cancelled or moved (Can’t remember which), so I attended "Extending Tux Racer" which was actually quite fun…I think Tux enjoyed it as well. Some other seminar I was going to attend was also cancelled or moved (whichever the other one wasn’t), and the last seminar of the day I felt like letting my brain rest and saw "Remastering Knoppix" which was good.

I tried what Russell did yesterday, Lunchtime Quake…good fun, I also discovered that I have a small head. Bizzarely (or maybe it proves my theory about Russell), there was nothing wrong with the little yellow gun, and it was working fine today.

Note: The "Russell and SE Linux" jokes are just that, jokes…and based on Russell reply to my email, he enjoyed them. SE Linux is a fantastic project…and if you don’t know anything about it, then you should learn about it. See Russell’s site for more info than you’ll ever need on SE Linux

Linus & Linus had some more quotes today, but I didn’t take photos of them…maybe tommorow.

These are the seminars that I thought were the best of LCA (I will be emailing this to the organisers for their collaboration of the three best of’s for tommorow, unfortunately, miniconfs and tutorials are not able to participate, but I’m including them here anyway)

  • SE Linux (Russell Coker)
  • PyFlag (David Collett & Michael Cohen)
  • OWASP (Andrew van der Stock)


  • Securing Third Party Web Apps (Michael Cohen)
  • Small Business Network Security (Samuel Gordon-Stewart)…yes, I am biased
  • SSL/TLS (Sean Burford)
  • More SE Linux (Russell Coker)


  • Building User Interfaces With Video & 3D Graphics For Fun & Profit (Wayne Piekarski)…This is where I won the 1GB Flash Drive, and Wayne has been bringing his equipment out at lunch time for Quake demos


  • Cluster Mirror Block Devices (Daniel Phillips)…The presentation was created during the presentation before it, I was sitting next to Daniel as he wrote it…that was the "Dream Machine" seminar


  • Extending Tux Racer – Learning By Playing (Elizabeth Garbee)
  • Rapid Application Development using C# under GNOME (Michael Davies)
  • Remastering Knoppix (James Cameron)

There, I think that should do it…

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 22nd, 2005 at 11:06pm

Interim Video is rendering RIGHT NOW!!

Yes, that is correct, the interim video is rendering right now, once that has happened I will make a little index page for the ibiblio site (thanks to the lovely people at and then post the link here. For those of you who missed the announcement previously, this is an interim release of my seminar about small business network security…the audio isn’t great, and I’ll have to wait a month for official working audio, at that time, I will do some proper editing on the video (currently it just has titles and a couple bits of text, plus the camera vision…eventually it will have decent audio and relevant presentation slides in it.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 22nd, 2005 at 09:12pm

Another day…

Yes, I know, I didn’t get the video online last night, hopefully tonight.
I’ve had so much fun at lca so far that I am thinking of ways to get to New Zealand for lca2006…the obvious one is to submit an abstract…maybe something along the lines of "Helping Windows users migrate to Linux".

I didn’t make it to the Asterisk seminar yesterday as I went to the DDRaid thing instead….that’s where the pictures of the "dream machine" and the "big stick of pointyness" came from.

I’ll give you my list of potential best of’s later.

Today for me:
9:00 Andrew Morton
10:30 Morning tea
11:00 Cairo, making graphics easy to print.
12:00 Lunch
13:30 WorldForge
14:30 Rapid application development using C# under GNOME
15:30 Afternoon tea
16:00 Towards a small, efficient Linux hardware inventory system
17:00Module hot-swapping for Dynamic Update and reconfiguration in K42

Say hello to me, I don’t bite

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 22nd, 2005 at 08:28am

At this rate

At this rate we are going to end up with a new law firm “Linus, Linus, Tux & Associates”

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 21st, 2005 at 10:12pm

Have I become a news source?

Quite possibly… ZDNet obviously had a reporter at lca who reported on the Tridge event, whilst The Register, apart from some info about why Tridge was at LCA, and some history of the story have no more info than my blog in their story, they also mention attendees as a source… See the story here

btw, some new photos on the photo gallery

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 21st, 2005 at 08:14pm

NEWS FLASH: Tridge describes bitkeeper at lca

This morning at tridge described how he worked out the bitkeeper protocol.
Connect to a bitkeeper server with telnet and type "?" (without the quotes of course).

Tridge also refuted being a wizard…

On a slightly related note, Linus & Linus have new quotes today, and the lca vikings are preventing people from taking white mugs outside (pictures coming soon)

As for my seminar video, well I played with the audio last night, there are still large chunks of non-understandable speech, but it would probably do as an interim release…please note that the interim release will not have any presentation slides editied in, as I can’t really tell when I brought them up. Once I have the microphone audio I will then be able to edit in the slides and use the camera audio as background noise. I will also be able at that stage to add titles and other important stuff, including creating a DVD and placing the iso online, which, thanks to the lovely people at, will be available for download at a decent speed…

According to google alerts, this blog has now been indexed and is appearing in search results, googlebot has also visited the photo gallery, so hopefully that will appear on google shortly as well. Last night while editing the audio, I was watching my webserver spitting logs, and was glad to see that people are using the ubuntu cd’s available from the registration desk at lca.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 21st, 2005 at 12:17pm

The important question…

To bring coffee or not to bring coffee, that is the question….and it is a very important one that I’m thinking about right now. I do prefer my coffee, and it gives me caffeine in thermos….ANSWER: Bring Coffee

Todays Lineup for me
9:00 Keynote with Tridge, listen to Samba, win a laptop
10:30 Morning Tea
11:00 Netem
12:00 Lunch (and likely blog update)
13:30 Linux Kernel Scalibilty
14:30 The awesomeness of Asterisk
15:30 Afternoon Tea
16:00 Virtualizing Linux on PPC64
17:00 Fighting Spammers with Exim and SA-Exim

If you bump into me during the day, say hello, I’m not as scary as I look.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 21st, 2005 at 08:32am

Beginners Luck

Wow, what a day…
Firstly we had the Conference Opening…Tux came in, and brought along Linus and his twin (who is also called Linus), bizzarely, Linus & Linus haven’t been doing much except standing about watching food all day.

A picture of Tux
The organisers have arranged some great prizes, each day during the keynote talk they will give away an IBM Thinkpad, Tux almost ran away with one. (And you may now attend the keynotes…I’m not overly concerend about the laptops anymore…keep reading to find out why…hint, it has something to do with the title)

Recovering from HDD disasters was quite interesting….unfortunately due to the late night I’ve had recently, I almost fell asleep during it…I found a cure though…COFFEE

With myself awake I was able to concentrate on important stuff like what food was available…and something else…ummmmm….hmmmmmm…ah, that’s right, the seminars…nearly forgot about them…

I discovered something about automatic doors today. You can go out, but you ain’t coming back in…unless the door is nice and feels like opening the one you aren’t standing in front of.

The other seminar I attended today was the Building User Interfaces With Video And 3D Graphics For Fun And Profit…some of it went straight over the top of my head, but all in all, it was an excellent seminar. Anyway, at the end of each seminar, one lucky person will win a 1GB flash drive, Wayne (the speaker for the seminar) couldn’t decide who to give the flash drive to, so it was a game of Heads and Tails, something I’ve never played before…well, beginners luck it was, I won the flash drive 😀

One important bit of news…I can’t get the microphone audio from my seminar for about a month…so if you are good with audio and want to have a go at cleaning up my audio, let me know.

Photos from this can be found at

Samuel Gordon-Stewart reporting for Samuel’s lcaLIVE

Add comment April 20th, 2005 at 08:26pm

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