Archive for May, 2010

Care for a Star Wars breakfast?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I do!

If there is one thing Jemma does well – its make pancakes and cookies. These of course are not her only merits… but for this post I shall focus on the pancakes.

What could improve said pancakes you may ask?

mmmm Yoda head. Honestly, I would prefer fried eggs instead of pancakes in this form… but I think the yoke would cause some problems.

While I have your attention – and chances are if you have read this far you are a star wars nerd – here is something else to consider:

Periodic tables do not interest me in the slightest. This one does. Pretty obvious why.

A lesson in Tron – Part 1

Monday, May 24th, 2010

There will only be one part. So listen up. It just made the title look better? Get off my back.

Tron – released 1982 – is an epic cyber adventure of gargantuan proportions. I should write movie bylines. Essentially. Man programs computer. Computer lasers man. Man is inside computer. There is some plot there… but its arduous. We are welcomed to a world based on human representatives of computer programs – or at least have names that resemble parts/programs.. eg ‘Ram’ is one of the earliest characters met.

Here is the 1982 trailer:

Did you see the graphics there? That is some classy classy stuff. Now it looks a bit dated now but at the time this was cutting edge. By the time I saw it for the first time – it was still holding its own. Tron almost single handily inspired me to get interested in computers. It alone has kicked off many dreams I had of creating apps/tie ins for VR/simulated reality – so much so that I have currently created 0. Too much stimulus I think.

What could top this?

Tron 2.0. The game. This blew my fragile little mind at the time. You are IN the computer. IN the computer. Under the guise of playing a video game – pfft. Couldn’t fool me. I saw right through it. Fantastic game – good appropriation of the story and actually created a pretty dam immersive game. For a while this was my benchmark for games.

What next? Really things are pretty intense already…

no embed makes baby jesus cry

Ok massive anti-climax not being able to embed that. But it is a Disney film and they are pretty tight on these things. In short. The idea of a new Tron movie (Tron: Legacy) excites me. This is the chance for another part of my childhood to be re-created… and so far it looks good. Ok, lets ignore the first minute of that trailer….

Otherwise – here is some more pre-release footage. Clip creates more hope:


A new hobby – LFS!

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Linux from scratch.

Lately I’ve been looking for ways to increase my basic linux knowledge – for both troubleshooting and maintenance. I took a look for courses but nothing really met what I was after. The Ubuntu Certified Professional looked to a little too basic and RHCE costs some money – so that might happen in the future.

A colleague brought my attention to the Linux from Scratch project.

So I think I’ll find some hardware and undertake this. If you are lucky – I’ll track my progress here.

Otherwise. You’re out of luck.

Time for a new helmet

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I’m thinking I need a new helmet. I’ve had my current helmet for 2 years now (maybe a bit over) and its treated me well. Nearing its shelf life and it isn’t as comfortable as it used to be.

Thar she blows.

I’ve always dreamt of something classy but cool. Comfy but styling. Functional but fun. Last year I saw this real cool looking star wars type thing – a cross between motox and road.

(yes I am a nerd) Something like that.

So I did some research – which is tough without a brand name… so far this is what I have found:

Black visor though! BLACK! So when my next overtime payment comes through – I am hunting a variant of this puppy down.

Perl – worth more than a pearl?

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Its done. I knocked over my first perl script.

What did I learn? Are you kidding. What didn’t I learn! Ok, I learnt its not too bad once you know where you are going. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t the most complex script so there is plenty more to learn but its a starting point.

Here are some things I picked up or used:

^- Important.

my $host=$ARGV[0];
my $url=$ARGV[1];

^- Grabbing arguments – pretty standard stuff there

my ($b_s, $b_usec) = gettimeofday;

^- Getting the time – I used this to calculate the latency it took to grab a page. Archaic method maybe – but works for my purposes.

my $www=WWW::Mechanize->new(
agent => 'MasterBlaster-01',

# Grab the page specified as ARG1 or bomb out
$www->get($url) or print "Cannot retrieve $url\n" and exit($return);

# Dump the page to a string without html tags
my $stupidstring=$www->content('format' => 'text');
# Match on host name provided - then grab the next digits and store as error numbers
if($stupidstring =~ m/$host([0-9]+).*$host([0-9]+)/){
# If we can't get the URL - bomb out with a critical error
print "Cannot retrieve $url\n";

^- This was the replacement method I used to grab the page I needed to check – forget the errors args, this won’t mean much to anyone externally. The previous method was simply dumping the entire page – html tags and all – which caused problems as you had to deal with ALL THESE TAGS. Urg.

# Get time of day now - calculate how long it took
my ($a_s, $a_usec) = gettimeofday;
my $diff=0;
if($b_s == $a_s) {
$diff = $a_usec - $b_usec;
} else {
$diff = 1000000 - $b_usec; $b_s += 1; $diff += $a_usec; $diff += ($a_s - $b_s)
* 1000000;
$diff /= 1000; $diff = int($diff);

^- The rest of the latency calculating code – this is something pretty standard we use across a number of scripts…. does the job.

# Check the error tallys against the thresholds specified below
# return the error tallys and latency figures along with an error code
if ($HourlyErrors > 20) {
print "CRITICAL: ${diff}ms - (day: $DailyErrors, hour: $HourlyErrors)\n";
} else {
if ($HourlyErrors > 10) {
print "WARNING: ${diff}ms - (day: $DailyErrors, hour: $HourlyErrors)\n";
} else {
print "OK: ${diff}ms - (day: $DailyErrors, hour: $HourlyErrors)\n";

^- Checking my results against specific thresholds and then returning a state to the monitoring system. The monitoring system then takes specific action based on this result.

Essentially it does 2 things – grabs a page, regex for a string which gives a value, calculates latency to get the value and then depending on the value returns a state!

</fear of perl>

Fun fun fun!

Why I would dump the iPhone.

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

“Why would I dump the iPhone?” I hear you say as you glare down at your 3G[s] baby.

For Android. Plain and simple.

This is set to be a confusing and long love affair. Torn between the worlds of iPhone fanism and google support. Ok, so there is more to it than that. I just feel an Android could fill a few voids the iPhone has [created].

Things I love about my iPhone:
– sleek UI – the stuff looks good. Polished. Works.
– good application support – everything is on there. Helps to have a single point as an app store.
– strong carrier support – pity the plans are so skewed its not even funny.
– google integration – gmail support, google maps. contact sync? cool.
– iPod – music on the run.

Things I hate about my iPhone:
– closed shop – seriously, I own the hardware. Let me do what I want.
– UI restrictions – wallpapers? themes? Custom icons? No one thought this was a good idea.
– .caf format – enough said. MP3 is pretty basic.
– iTunes – wacky decisions here – No, I don’t want to erase my iPhone to sync.

Things I love about my potential Android phone:
– Open sauce! I could write something! If only I wasn’t lazy.
– Control – UI changes, MP3 as SMS tone! WOW!
– Black sheep – having something just that little different.
– Sense UI – mmmm nice little bits and pieces.
– Application integrations – facebook, twitter – all that stuff I don’t use in my Contacts.
– More google integration – Yes, they can have my data.

Things I hate about my potential Android phone:
– Carrier differentiation – so many phones. so many lame ones.
– No single point of app purchase – different carriers offering different stores. Urg.
– Carrier control – did you know Optus have withheld the app store? Not cool guys.

There is hope. OS4.0 is like a last ditch effort to keep me. Multi-tasking. Folders. Alas Apple, is it a case of too little too late?

I think it comes down to one essential point – I shouldn’t have to jailbreak my phone to do what I want with it. I own the hardware.

Judge Dredd – awww yea.

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Judge Dredd really takes me back. Nothing better than a slick talking, hard hitting, armour pimping Sylvester to ignite a child’s dreams. Ah yes…. the post-apocalyptic world of Dredd.

Ok sure, I’m not a true acolyte. I didn’t read the comics. I have no intention of reading the comics – lest they spoil said memories! What is the point of this you may ask? Only some great news! A new movie has been announced.

Have you seen Sunshine? I have. I loved that movie. Have you seen Vantage Point?. I have. I liked that movie. So in my mind this is good news…. as long as they don’t kill those childhood memories.

ps: He is the law.

Internationalized Domain Names!

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Good news everybody!

Internationalised Domain Names have been released. Fantastic huh? What? You aren’t impressed. Oh. I see. Well. Maybe you should have a read of this article.

Pretty interesting read on the requirement to implement IDNs and how ICANN has introduced them without causing problems.

Internationalization of the internet means that the internet is equally accessible from all languages and scripts

It will be good to see the level of penetration this gathers. I think its a positive move toward unified global access to the internet.

Even more entertaining is one of the comments:

Why are gamers and other Netizens excluded from ICANN MeatSpace Face-2-Face meetings ?

I don’t think I’ve seen anyone seriously refer to ‘MeatSpace’ before. Made me chuckle.

Look at your phone! Now look at mine!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Funny little Apple spoof was brought to my attention – required reading is the original old spice ad… which itself is fantastic. This is the standard ALL advertising should be held to:

old spice:

apple spoof:

Borders – bringing the ‘A’ game!

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Such. Good. News.

This has made me happy. I’ve bought a number of books from Amazon/Fishpond lately – and while the books always arrive and the price points aren’t bad… it just takes more time. I’ve steered clear of the borders/dymocks/angus and robertson online stores as the price point instore always seems much higher. I’ve spent some time on the sites in the past and they are a decent setup. Good to have a decent local competitor!