» Belkin WeMo This kind of looks like the future of home automation.
Belkin WeMo

Nice feature overview here.

X10 is cool but complicated; whereas this looks cool and simple.   |
» Bookcrossing A friend pointed me at Bookcrossing.

Seems like a great way to redistribute your old books and having some fun doing it.

The basic idea - label your old books with a unique identifier, then drop them off wherever you like. Log the 'drop' on the Bookcrossing website for someone to pick up. If they log the collection you can track who and where the book goes. Obviously there are the usual anonymity options and if a non-Bookcrossing person picks up the book they may choose not to join-up (its free, they make money selling accessories like custom labels and bookplates).

Pretty cool.   |
» Mailorder Beer A plug and a bit of a bookmark for myself - Beerstore in NZ does a great job of distributing beer of all kinds delivered to your door.

I've used them a few times now and they're quick and efficient - I even had one delivery with broken bottles which the couriers obviously screwed up and within a couple of days Beerstore had another order on my doorstep no questions asked. Now thats service !   |
» What is a karonkka? A friend of mine recently returned from Finland where he was examining a PhD defence - the process is called a Karonkka.

As well as getting decked out in a full-on tux & tails they actually had ceremonial swords to boot. How cool is that ?

Be sure to read Shauns other posts on the nature of research, patents, science and technology in New Zealand.   |
» TED Talks A friend of mine (cheers Eddie!) pointed me at the excellent TED Talk series.

Subscribe to their RSS feed now.

Theres always something you can set aside 15 minutes of your time to learn about or dump to your mp3 player to listen/watch while you commute.

Recent favourites of mine have included - 'Build a brain in a supercomputer', 'Our buggy moral code', 'What brain damage can point out about our mind', 'Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet?'   |
» Useful Ways to be Persuasive I realised my Linkdump category hadn't been updated in a looong time so I'll kick start it with this link to some common-sense ways to be persuasive.

As per the link comments in the preamble, its a bit pop-psych but theres some useful stuff to help get your head around how you can get your point of view across to other people.   |
» Because you need to know - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout It'll be interesting to see if the New York Times keeps this table up to date - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout.

See which financial institutions receive money and how much they get.   |
» Good Music - Le Pop by Katzenjammer Discovered while reading Popmatters list of Also-rans for 2008 - Katzenjammers 'Le Pop' is one of those joyful albums by a band determined to put a stupid grin on your face at all costs or die trying (cf early Violent Femmes, Crowded House, Pogues).

Check out a couple of videos on YouTube - 'A bar in Amsterdam' and 'Aint no thang'   |
» Good Books - The Shock Doctrine Another excellent read from Naomi Klein - The Shock Doctrine. I have to admit I'm only halfway through this book - mans inhumanity to man makes for tough going - however its pretty much compulsory reading for anyone that wonders how the worlds free market economy's were lead down the track they're currently on.

Essentially what Klein does is posit the idea that free market economies and reforms can only be forced through on the back of an external crisis (sometimes real and sometimes engineered). As a result those people best placed to take advantage of the reforms do extraordinarily well and the vast majority of us end up worse off - with globalisation these disparities keep getting worse as multi-nationals cease to be bound by georgraphy.

As the recent recession and American bank / finance / auto bail-outs have shown - the free market has failed to a certain extent - their own calls for deregulation have bit them on the ass and now they're going cap in hand to the very regulatory bodies they once reviled for assistance.

So even when things go wrong for the wheelers and dealers of the world - they still come out on top.   |
» Good Books - Killing Rommel by Stephen Pressfield Another quick summer read - Killing Rommel is a return to form for Stephen Pressfield - his 'Gates of Fire' was a masterpiece but after that I found 'Tides of War' and 'Last of the Amazons' to be a little dry.

His latest novel tells the tale of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) and their various exploits in the North African campaign, culminating in a mission to track down and kill Rommel.   |

Inkless Metal Pens + More

Thursday 28 December 2006 at 08:25 am Awesome - Inkless metal pen.

Useful - Turning off un-needed OS X services.

Handy Windows tool - Driver Collector. Lets you collect all the drivers from a running system before a rebuild - particularly useful if you no longer have the original driver installers.

Interesting - Early history of computer role-playing games.

Linked before but its still great for procrastination - Optical Illusions.

Rudy Ruckers webzine - Flurb. Features sci-fi short stories from people like Charles Stross. Rudy also has a series of blog entries relating to a recent trip to NZ.

Handy - Forty tips to improve your grammer.

Interesting historical contrast - Genghis Khan: Law and order. How the Khan handled his 13th Century invasion of Iraq.

Excellent - Twenty Four web tips. Nate Koechelys article on easy fluid CSS layouts looks like a great time saver.

I haven't had much luck with Windows desktop managers but the freeware Dexpot
looks like it has potential.

New Scientist - Just can't get e-nough. Problems associated with to much technology.

Taxes + More

Thursday 21 December 2006 at 1:06 pm Looks like we may get a $10 a week tax cut. Rod Dury (of Aftermail/Archivemail fame) points out that from a business perspective giving some tax breaks may improve the economy as it would increase spending/saving and provides an interesting chart which indicates NZer's work harder but are less productive than their OECD counterparts (debunked in the comments). Rod also links to an amusing tale of the way taxation works in terms of dis-enchanting high-income earners. I always thought once you got to a certain income level it just meant you ended up getting an accountant who could do some creative tax avoision (smash together avoidance & evasion) so you pay less tax anyway ?

Handy - 10 Good Unix Habits.

Interesting - How Microsoft deals with network attacks.

Classic - You Park Like An Asshole. Someone needs to come up with some of these sites in NZ so people can send pxts of moronic behaviour - / / / I wonder when cars will come with built in cameras to record trips ?

Definitely need to get a decent turntable - Walt Mossberg reviews two Vinyl to CD turntables. Bet they're direct drive (evil) rather than belt (good) . . .

Interesting - Brian Eno - 77 Million Paintings. Looks like a great way to use a plasma screen while its idling :-)

Procrastination Fodder + More

Thursday 07 December 2006 at 07:21 am Like I need more procrastination fodder - Best blogs of 2006 you aren't reading.

Also check out the finalist and winners of the 2007 Independent Games Festival.

From there I checked out Indexed. Both funny, sad and strange.

Genius - History of the button. My friend used to have a Merlin - I was super envious.

Handy - 30 essential free applications for windows. I use Firefox, Notepad2, FileZilla (occassionally), KeyNote, VLC, TrueCrypt and Handbrake. They're missing Putty and Windows Media Player Classic & Real Alternative though.

Interesting - Google System Blog. See what Google has planned for the future as well as useful tips on their services.

Useful - ABC's of IPv6.

Destruction caused by the new Wii controller - Wii Have A Problem. Looks like Nintendo are really onto a winner. A negative take on the Wii from Slate - claims the controller and sensor system makes so many compromises that it doesn't matter about the quality of the motion so much as any kind of motion at all.

Interesting - 33 Names of things you never knew had names. Also check out these strange words at Snopes. Some of these were on the tip of my tongue but for the life of me I couldn't recall them (peen, tang & ferrule).

Interesting - 50 Ways to use RFID tags.

Wonderful - Writers Resource of information organised by decade - starting with 1650.

Great resource for scientific bits and pieces - American Science Surplus. The Wanna Smash Stuff book looks great for kids :-)

Thoughts on Unstructured Storage. It would seem only 15% of data is managed the rest is not. Describes a three way tussle between database vendors, storage vendors and dba's - who will win ? As the article says - most people on the business side don't really care until it affects the bottom line - when that happens it'll be interesting to see who suffers :-)

Useful step by step guide to setting up ssh keys with Putty.

Nifty - Map of the internet by IP address allocation.

Data Recovery + More

Monday 20 November 2006 at 07:18 am Some interesting data-recovery tales from Ontrack Data Recovery. Remember to always have a backup!

New Scientist - 50 Top Scientists Forecast the Future.

Nice - Postit Pixel Art.

Geeky t-shirts - Pixel-Tools Shirts. Manys the time I've cursed the Mac bomb.

Amusing - Interesting stuff found by Google in source code.

Handy - 99 Email Tips. Some good stuff here particularly for email newbies.

Jason Kottke points to some Logic Problems.

Goes to show that even though its already been invented it can still be improved upon - the better nail.

More oddness from the Kircher Society - Chromatic Writing from Benin. And I thought writing in long-hand was a hassle . . .

Can't wait for these things to hit production - Chumby.

ArsTechnica reviews the Sony PS3. Gets a fairly lacklustre review. I wonder if it'll turn around when the games start to appear - the PS2 had a slow launch too.

Ars also review the Nintendo Wii.

Guy Kawasaki lists the 10 Things I Love About Steve Wozniak. The guy is a god.

Aaargghh - Call my PA. I've never understood the PA thing either. And of course the higher up the food-chain the more likely you are to have an EA. Don't even get me started on 'Dairy Manager'. Sigh.

Interesting - Intermine - lots of home-grown scripts to do this type of thing but this app looks like it takes most of the legwork out of finding where your space has gone and what filetypes are on your servers file-systems at an enterprise level.

Ms Dewey + More

Wednesday 15 November 2006 at 07:14 am Certainly if you can't beat google at their own game then snazz up the search interface and hope nobody worries to much about the results - Ms Dewey. Not that the results are bad but it just seems like overkill . . .

Funky - Self assembling robot chair.

These are amazing - Papercut Art.

I use three of these alot - Interblag. I like the ring of 'blagosphere' . . .

Storagemojo has all sorts of good stuff on storage & datacenters - new idea for rack-mount servers from Rackable. Their stuff seems kind of neat - certainly a cheaper alternative to blades. Similar to the Petabox servers used by The Wayback Machine.

Insight into the benefits of server consolidation using VMWare - VMware Both Better and Worse Than I Described. Going from 500 physical server to 25 is pretty impressive. If they're Windows boxes Microsoft must make a mint on server licenses . . .

Interesting - Reverse Dictionary. I find it a little disappointing - the results don't stand out on the page very well either.

Handy & fascinating - List of social faux pas by country/region. Very useful for frequent travellers.

One of many - Zune review from ArsTechnica. Like most things Microsoft v1.0 can be disappointing but if they stick with it then they could be onto a winner. Wonder what others will do to stay one step ahead ?

The first of the Wii reviews are coming in - PCMag and CNet. Both very positive for game play and entertainment value but lukewarm on the graphics.

First pictures of what will be the production OLPC Laptop. Looks so tiny! I think its going to be a hit and if they produce a slicker commercial variant it will sell like hot-cakes (ok maybe only to geeks).

Absolutely no irony in this domain name Official Meeting & Facilities Guide. Or OMFG. Hmmmm doesn't look like anyone has that as a NZ domain name yet (or my other favourite '') . . .

Wonderful - room painted to look like its from a cartoon.

Delicious Generation + More

Monday 06 November 2006 at 06:38 am Rogue Amoeba - Delicious Generation. A little curmudgeonly perhaps - the Mac world has always been a more 'fun' (remember the pointless but fun Talking Moose or Oscar the Grouch trashcan) place to be in terms of a personal computer - but there is a ring of truth to the argument about flash in the pan developers and style over substance.

Via Wes Felters Hack the Planet - LogoWiki and WikiCalc. I remember using Logo on an Apple II. Relive the experience via the web :-)

StorageMojo discusses a couple of highlights at the Storage Networking World. The inline compression looks interesting as does the flash based SAN and free iSCSI server which lets you experiment a bit with iSCSI if you grab the free Microsoft iSCSI initiator as well.

Ed Brill provides a History of Lotus Notes.

Ed also points to a Microsoft Windows Desktop Search add-in for Lotus Notes. Lets you search your Lotus mail from your desktop.

A database of Jobs-era Apple Mac & iPod gear - Designed in California.

A couple of articles on Apple@30 - Digibarn Computer Museum and Woznaik Leads Anniversary Celebration.

Handy - How to talk to a Climate Skeptic. One way or another the climate is changing - people who don't believe that are seriously blinkered. The weather patterns in NZ have changed markedly in the last 20 years IMHO.

Funny - Amusing Icons explaining Internet Acronyms.

While we look forward to some excellent rugby - the All Blacks are learning French. I love the Guardian translations at the end - "You look like a Sheila with that long hair = Vous ressemblez � une fille avec ces longs cheveux".

Hamachi + More

Wednesday 01 November 2006 at 10:44 am Looks nifty - Hamachi is a zero-configuration virtual private networking (VPN) application. A bit like setting up your own private LAN across the interweb.

Pretty useful place to check once in awhile - SourceForge Project of the Month.

Found on the Project of the Month link above is OpenQRM. Its basically a way to dynamically manage your server (physical & virtual) resources - check this PDF for more information. Makes for pretty interesting reading. The idea of being able to provision applications and servers with minimal lead time is becoming more and more important.

Too true - Users don't care about storage and data � they only care about their own applications, so it's essential to deliver IT as a transparent service.

Storagemagazine is chock full of useful stuff - Backups are not archives. The ability to satisfy electronic discovery requests is pretty scarey. When you have lawyers breathing down your neck for records of email correspondence between two people that occurred over a 2 week period 3 years ago how do you respond ? Thats when products like Archive Manager come into their own.

Interesting information about Google Slack. It almost seems like a fancy version of OpenQRM - it would be amazing to see these sorts of dynamic provisioning tools in action.

Interesting things to do with trees - Arborsmith.

Funny - The Seven Phases of Owning an iPod - An Illustrated Journey.

WindowsXP eyecandy - XPize.

Wired discusses Aranofskys new movie 'The Fountain'. I liked 'Pi' but 'Requiem for a Dream' was a little to bleak for me.

Getting one step closer to having our own fabricators - Draw and Print your own Furniture.

A nice laymans guide to the SQL Injection Bug. I didn't realise it was that easy . . .

DailyWTF + More

Tuesday 24 October 2006 at 06:41 am Brilliant - Daily WTF. Catalog of IT failures - the Virtudyne series reminds me of a company I used to work for.

How Joel Spolsky does an initial Phone Screen for prospective hires.

A good review of FreeNAS. Looks good - some reservations about using it in a commercial environment though (as per the comments at the end of the article).

I could only ever get two sides - Solve the Rubiks cube.

I'm not sure how they'll cope - USA bans Vegemite due to folate. I can never remember wether I prefer Marmite or Vegemite.

You can never know enough about knots - Animated Knots.

Interesting - Six Examples of Odd Sympathy. This is explored in more detail in Steven Strogatz 'Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order.

Poderosa is a tabbed terminal emulator for Windows - Poderosa Project. I'll give it a try but a shell that requires the .Net subsystem seems overkill. I suspect they'll have a hard time displacing putty.

Some inspired advertising - Great ads from around the world. Beware its a loooong page - can take awhile to load.

Richard Dawkins - Why There Almost Certainly Is No God.

"We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can't disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can't disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable."

Blasphemy - of course there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Meet Like Google + More

Monday 16 October 2006 at 08:23 am I hate meetings - How to run a meeting like Google. Especially the interminable 'lets go round the room and tell everyone what you've been up to' ones. Definitely better to have short meetings based around action points, minutes, information and deadlines - then stuff gets done and the meetings are mercifully short. Anything deep can be discussed offline and bought back to the next meeting. A few environmental links - * Breathing Earth shows carbon emissions and births/deaths by country * New Scientist article on Earth without people and the same information presented as a timeline. Sobering stuff. Amusing - Fifty ways a manager can get employees to quite. Its very Office Space / Office. Via Jeremy Zawodny - 'Dilbert' deserves the economics Nobel - Scott Adams financial advice. Nine point plan to financial security. I've only got two of them :-( As seen on Slashdot - Dr Dobbs Journal article on Chris Crawfords new Interactive Fiction company StoryTron. Looks fascinating. It will be interesting to see what type of stuff comes out of such a tool. Must drink more tea - Why green tea helps you lose weight. I need to apply these changes to my install now - Tweaking Firefox for better memory management. A more useful error page for Firefox ErrorZilla. Looks like another must have extension. See some of the interesting stuff coming from Adobe Labs. The Kircher Society blog is having a roundup of death related strangeness. Pretty fascinating stuff. A couple of good reasons why the Mac is a much more 'fun' platform than either Windows or Linux - * A new twist on burning a CD - Disco. I love that blowing on the mic will make the smoke move. * For Mac Laptops with a motion sensor - Skip Checker. Tap the side or move up/down to kick off an action or script. My ThinkPad T43 has a motion sensor but all it seems to do is protect the disk and add a silly coloured icon to my tray. Runs like a dog too. Sigh.

Solaris Patch Management + More

Wednesday 11 October 2006 at 11:55 am Useful for Solaris admins - PCA - Solaris Patch Management Tool. Its a perl script that will patch Solaris 8/9/10 - SPARC & x86. Retro gaming goodness via this web-java app - Virtual Nintendo. Jason Kottke points to some Interesting Google Code Search hits. Wikipedia article on last weeks South Park in World of Warcraft piss-take. The episode is a work of genius and I'm not entirely sure of the Wikipedia article writers realise the irony of spending time and effort documenting it ? In light of the trailer for 'The 300' heres a slightly less fanboyish look back at The Battle of Thermopylae. Its a shame the movie is based on Frank Millers comic rather than Steven Pressfields 'Gates of Fire'. The comic is good but is limited by the medium; the book is brilliant. Wonderful scanned magazine article from the 1950's of miracles you'll see in 50 years. New York Times article - Long Zoom: Will Wrights new game Spore. Will Wright is the genius behind 'SimCity' and 'The Sims'. Why marketing should create documentation - Creating Passionate Users. Amusing - Iggy Pop's concert rider funniest in rock history?. The Gustbuster Umbrella. They'd make a killing in Wellington - the rubbish bins in town are filled with destroyed brollies after a rainy southerly blows through town.


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