Watson – doesn’t roll off the tongue like T1000

February 18th, 2011

But is the name of our eventual overlord that important?

Lets for a second pretend you missed the IBM Jeopardy Challenge – the challenge to determine future rule of the human race. For one, you are a silly mortal… you missed our race being destroyed by a mere LCD screen showing a globe with exclamation marks over top (I’m informed each mark represents a race previously conquered). Here, have some back story…

To think – this entire situation could have been mitigated if Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter didn’t humiliate Watson with their post match antics;

Yea, good work Brad. Give him the old rabbit ears. Jerk.

Ken, who I have deemed to be 7/8ths smarter than Brad “I’m an actor” Rutter made humble advances on Watson throughout the rounds;

Smart move Ken. Keep playing your cards (or tiles as the case may be) right and you will have secured your position as “Human Death Camp Warden #213″. A position coveted by Brad “I’m not as good as Ken” Rutter.

Evidently it was the post match humiliation that really drove Watson to destroy our souls as direct punishment for what these mortals deemed “post match jovials”. FOOLS! Once again Brad “I’ll be a TV host one day” Rutter has proven he doesn’t think before he acts (or buzzes).

And I bet Alex Trebek is rethinking his life decisions after he was so certain the human race could defend itself in a simple trivia game. You fool Trebek, you’ve sealed our fate.

As a few side notes;
– Despite Ken’s best efforts I don’t think you can honestly describe a match of Jeopardy as gladitorial.
– Why did the entire audience need to be IBM staffers? Was the blatant humiliation of our race in a knowledge test not enough? We needed super nerds in suits surrounding the contestants.
– Next round we should allow Watson to beam the information directly to our neural cortex… despite the pain associated with this approach I would prefer it over the ancient IBM spokesman talking through a dust mouth – Ok… I can’t for the life of me find an image of this guy. But he was old. Walt Disney old.
– The entire three day challenge was in fact an ad for IBM.
– Its pretty decent that in the end charity was the big winner here – with nearly all spoils going to charity.

My rants aside – if you wanted to see some more info on a pretty spectacular project… check out the IBM page on Watson. If you are up for a nice in-depth video summary check out – this link.


January 25th, 2011

It has been a while young blog – how I miss your sweet embrace.

I’m in Canada! (and the crowd goes wild!) Decided to head abroad for 12 months with Jemma to see North America and get our travel on. I’ve remained employed and am working remotely covering the night shift for the oncall engineers – dabbling in some co-working/hot desking environments. Headed to ‘209 Yaletown’ this week where the drop in fee is $30 CAD with desk, kitchen, external screen and internet included. Not cheap, but not bad. Sadly it isn’t 24/7 access – basic 9-5pm.

I’ll attempt to find some new nerdy north american items to post about (Bar the original Mrs PacMan table downstairs in the hostel). Still reading away – but on a kindle no less…. more to come on that another day.

Lacking on the nerdy work content of late. Have done more programming… and expanded in to using GitHub which is new and fancy. Attempting to get my head in to Ruby (as we will soon have a nice monitoring system based upon it). Otherwise all is well in the land of server management and hosting providing.

Until next time! (Here is some candy)

ze mo!

December 15th, 2010

So Movember has come and gone and also – so has my mo. sadness.

It was fun and this year I think was the fullest most dense year of growth!

Amazingly I only managed 1 photo which Jemma kindly took of me while dining over some noodles. We decided to go for the serious look. Without further ado:

Funny – it changed color the longer it remained on my face. Some sort of symbiotic relationship! While I didn’t look ANYTHING like Seth Bullock in the end… I think the shape was pretty close and the look grew on me. I even pushed the limits and kept it until Dec 4th…. but that was all I could muster and its now gone for another year!

Until next year my furry friend. Until next year.

Windows 7 traitor

November 16th, 2010

A new laptop arrived with my name all over it a few months back. A particularly nerdy laptop – Alienware M11x. What can I say – I’ve always wanted to own an Alienware.

The let down? I’m running Windows 7. This was a big change for me – I’ve always run Windows at home and at my previous job but for the majority of my work with other *nix hosts I’ve used Ubuntu. I always liked the native terminal and ability to customise almost anything.

I always hate buying a pre-built system as they love to RAM so much stuff on the OEM install. Dell used to be the biggest offender – this time round it was alright. There were a few things on there.. McAfee/Backup agent that I dropped immediately but otherwise I’ve stayed with the original OEM install (this is the first time I haven’t done a fresh install).

Immediately the cut from Ubuntu to Windows had me missing a few of the basics that I had come to use. My biggest gripe was loss of ‘focus on mouse’ for windows management. There is an option in Windows 7 to enable “Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse” which I tested out. This has to be one of the most annoying implementation I had seen. When you hover on a window it activates (which is great) but then it brings that window to the front. Annoying. I like to have windows overlapping and be able to type in multiple windows without losing my main window focus in the foreground. I pushed on and found there is a registry hack to achieve this:

First; Open regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Edit UserPreferenceMask value to be 9F 3E 07 80 12 00 00 00

Then; In HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Edit ActiveWndTrkTimeout, change ‘Base’ to Decimal and put in 150 as the ‘Value Data’
This value is time in milliseconds that it takes for the focus to change to the new window.

Lastly; Log off and log back in.

This sorted my focus problems and made it pretty much usable for work again.

Another point of pain was the lack of virtual desktops – pretty much tying me to having all my applications open and crowding my single desktop. I looked at a few apps that provided ‘virtual desktops’ for windows. Some were good but I struggled to find one that easily provided the features I wanted;
– Multiple Desktops
– Ability to drag between the desktops
– Ability to preview the virtual desktops from taskbar
Found a decent opensource project – http://windowspager.sourceforge.net/ which solved all my requirements. Check it out as the site has a decent demo if you need some better window management.

Otherwise – all is good in the world of Windows now. Its a massive improvement on previous versions and its nice to have things ‘just work’ like flash in Chrome. Once you’ve got all your nice apps on – Thunderbird, Chrome, Putty etc its pretty much usable. Also, the battery management is perfect.

Movember – let the growth begin.

November 3rd, 2010

Perfectly timed with the return of the site is the start of Movember. Movember is based around raising awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men.

I’ve decided to my small part by signing up for a bit of growth – here is my mospace if you feel so inclined to donate.

I usually struggle to come up with a style so this year thought I would take some inspiration from some stache lads. First up was Ewan McGregor – the man knows how to grow a mo:

But I felt it was a bit too … classic? I’ve been watching Deadwood from season 1 and figured I could try to pull off a Bullock:

Funny though, cause if you look at the real ‘Seth Bullock I’ve got no hope….

That thing is gruesome.

And we are back!

November 2nd, 2010

Soooo. Had some problems for a while there. The site wasn’t generating php content correctly and instead was passing the raw wordpress code to users hitting the front page. The most annoying part was over 3 days over troubleshooting I fixed it at some point but Chrome kept serving me a locally cached version that was broken – essentially I kept trying to fix something that wasn’t broke.

As part of the return I’ve migrated to a new host! Huzzah! We are now located in Freemont, CA in the US of A. Site response is a little snappier and generally cleaner.

Will get some more content coming up shortly to celebrate the return!

Stack Regen Complete

September 29th, 2010

In a previous post I discussed my acquired stack of books – here. I then posted a little recap on all the books and my general thoughts.

Much to my excitement the stack has returned!

What do we have this time round:
Neal Asher – Gridlinked
Douglas Adams – Holistic Detective Agency
Isaac Asimov – The Caves of Steel
Alastair Reynolds – Revelation Space
Isaac Asimov – Robots and Empire
Orson Scott Card – Enders Game
Tim Severin – Odinns Child

Ended up buying almost all of these from Ampersand on Oxford St in Sydney (except Revelation Space). Decent prices and a good selection of Science Fiction books. I’ve got my eye on a number of others in store that I’ll head back to pick up next time.

While I was in Kinokuniya attempting to find the new Peter Hamilton (disappointed once again) one of the staff recommended Alastair Reynolds – hence why I bought Revelation Space. Another book also took my eye:

I haven’t looked in to it at all but its on the list.

Another week another laugh.

September 29th, 2010

Ahhh yes – another gap. I believe in some cultures a blog with healthy gaps in it is seen as good luck. Which culture? I can’t recall right now.

I’ve had a somewhat entertaining few weeks. Plenty of goings ons. But I shall not bore you with details and instead – I will share with you the brighter moments. Hence forward is a picture break down of my life (obviously not the entire thing… just last few weeks):

I ravaged a cartridge from the labeler at our data center. How I managed this – I shall never know. I have submitted a training request for “Labeling”.

All lies. I was so excited when I found this – Cinnamon soda! Awesome. Just like the Big Red gum?? Nope, its just straight fire engine/creaming soda. In my excitement I missed the “Red Soda” label. Pfft.

I was then swiftly excited at the prospect of finding the pop tart motherland. I didn’t even know there were 27 flavours! There are now. I dutifully bought a box for $7.95 promising not to eat only them. I proceeded to have pop tarts for breakfast the next five days. God the things are good toasted with a cold glass of milk. Would I feed them to my kids? Heck no! (Ok maybe once.)

Then to cap the week off – while I was walking around a book store I stumbled upon these puppies. Its like Lego for people with a degree or something. Magical! Or more – removes the magic of Lego! WHERE HAS THE MAGIC GONE!

Pretty much wraps up some random photos from my life and phone!

*** Photos do not represent in any way a linear time line. The memory works how the memory works and I’m pretty sure the images were in alphabetical order.

New posts are on their way!

September 23rd, 2010

I have been distracted! But look – here is something cool…

If I had an iPad I would cover it with this:

You can buy them! For a lot of money.

The stack – defeat imminent!

August 30th, 2010

A few posts back there is a image of my bedside stack of used books. I come with good news. It is almost at a close.

How did it go? A little something like this:

Vagabond – as always, fantastic. Cornwell provides a good alternative to my SciFi grind and always manages to captivate my imagination. I thought we might be steering a little close to religion with the ‘Holy Grail’ theme but I was surprised at the delivery. Great in short. If you enjoy this – you will love “Azincourt”.

Foundation – ahhh Asimov. How old you are! I love reading a classic Asimov SciFi. The language is so different and the themes… dated. I always find it interesting to see how we have developed since his age. If only he could see us now. Decent read – interesting use of time (presented on a massive scale). Good intro to the ‘foundation’ series and I think I’ll hunt down the rest. Short and sweet so perfect little pickup.

Judas Unchained – Hardcore. SciFi. Its why I love you Hamilton. This turned out to be a 1300 behemoth (more pages than ‘Cryptonomicon’ but content not as dense{read confusing}). I keep coming back to Hamilton because the universe he presents does nothing but interest me. Immortality. Technology. Sentient Machines. Sex. Oh and action. Plenty of action here – good follow up to Pandoras Star and closes off the series. Recommended to all who like a bit of space opera.

Knife Of Never Letting go – I promoted this in the stack and read it here because I needed a SciFi go between. Hamilton to Banks would blow my fragile little mind. Hrmmmm what to say here – let me start with “Its a teenagers book”. I didn’t know this. Now you do, you are warned. Its clearly marketed towards them and at times I wanted to stop reading because of this (Mum told me to throw it out but I wanted to persist – just like a whingy teenager). I’m glad I read it to the end as it matured significantly in the last 50 odd pages… almost bare-able. Will I read the next? Maybe. I’m interested in where the plot will go but didn’t enjoy the writing style.

Excession – Read this before ‘Use Of Weapons’ as it was written first (thats how I am!). I had only read later Banks (Matter and Algebrist – both I enjoyed). Decent reading an early culture novel and a lot of content covered. The exploration of sentient tech always grabs my attention and the comedy Banks ties in is refreshing. High on my list of SciFi reads.

I had intended to read Heaven’s Net is Wide here… turns out it isn’t book two of the Otori Clan tales. Alas, it is a prequel. So I couldn’t touch it (prequels are for reading AFTER the other books…. it makes sense in my mind – ok, I read following the timeline they were written). This meant one thing though….

Use of Weapons – Oh god. A Banks back up. One straight after the other. At first I thought this was a bad call. Banks is sometimes a bit tough on my head. I really enjoyed Excession though so I thought I would just follow it up. I am about mid way through this one and so far it is rather enjoyable. Presented in a very different manner to Excession – a bit of time jumping… but the SciFi themes are there. Work in progress so I can’t comment on the finished product.

Pretty much burnt through the stack in the order they presented. A lot of train time has given me a lot of reading.

Imminent visit to second hand book store detected.