Wednesday, December 12, 2007

EEE PC competition

"Cloudbook" UMPC to run Googlish Linux
If this comes out the same price as the eee pc things could get interesting :-)

Via C7 ULV processor clocked at 1.2GHz
30GB hard drive.
512MB RAM
7" 800x480 screen
And apparently 4+ Hour battery life!

Apple faces elitist crisis

The Elite Apple Corps - washingtonpost.com an interesting article apparently written by a mac fan complaining that Mac's/Apple stores are too popular now, it's no longer alternative it's now main stream much to their disgust.

And commentary by the Inquirer :-) Apple faces elitist crisis.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Queen Charlotte

Welcome to another trip post, in which I record our adventures in Queen Charlotte sound, where we met the remains of interesting fauna, mysterious ruins and I try not to get distracted by shiny's and take photos of my intelligent and trustworthy companions. Any way on with the adventures.

Intelligent and Worthy Companions!

So Sunday morning MP, AW and my self headed north to Picton briefly stopping at Kaikoura for a break we arrived about 3:45pm and headed down to the foreshore to wait for AR to arrive from Wellington, her ferry showed up so we headed to the Interislander ferry terminal to wait for her to disembark. 15mins later we had spotted the passengers get off the ferry no one had shown up at the terminal and with the arrival of txt asking where we were we realised that we'd gone to the wrong terminal and needed to go to the Bluebridge terminal (first time I'd heard of there existence, wonder when they started up). So after a short drive we picked up AR and retired to our holiday park for the night, where we proceeded to spend an hour or so swimming in the heated pool, before heading out for tea and then after playing Pirates (The Boardgame, won by AR on her first game by 1pt).

Next day (Monday) it was up at a reasonable time, sort out gear and head down to the kayak company, where they're quite happy to hire us gear but tell us our planned route doesn't exist/is impossible. So after a few suggestions we decide on an alternative that involves a rather long first day, load up our kayaks and head out with out stopping for lunch, we finally get onto the water at 12ish. We then proceeded to follow the route outlined in the map, enjoying the scenery and the weather.

The Route Pink being AR/AW

At 5:30pm (still with out lunch, though a reasonable amount of dried fruit/bars), after having stopped once at a nice cove for a bit 3 hours earlier to alter the kayaking pairs and have a rest, we decided to skip the first camping spot which is just around the headland and push on to the planned Island. At 7ish AW and MP spot a pair of rather large dolphins in the shallows and get with in 5m of them (the other kayak due to a maintenance ;P issue was currently grounded for a short break). Finally at ~8:30 we arrive at Blumine Island, just as the sun sets, after 8hours kayaking half of which was into a headwind and having covered 20+ Km.

Finally the Island!

We set up tents and have tea while fighting off the scouts from the local Weka population, before the light entirely fades then head to bed to play cards as the Weka's scream their warcry's to summon reinforcements. By this point the Weka scouts have managed managed to drag our bag of maps, our chocolate, the bread, several empty plastic bags and some other food to the edge of the bush before we finally intercept them and had a go at our plastic dishes.

Weka Scout!

More of the Blighters

Tuesday - 5am am woken by the birdsong as the local birds decide to let me know that the sun will be rising in a few hours time, nice song but way to loud (have a listen the the movie file below), the result of which is, I apparently wake others in my tent with my mutters about the loudness :)(Blumine Island is a reserve with a significant trapping program as a result there are lots of native birds, which combined with the campsite being carved out of native bush...).



Finally getting up a couple of hours later, enjoying the view of the sound in the morning light, taking some photos and having had breakfast (Muesli bars for me, Muesli + milk powder (icky) for the others).



Looking out From Blumine Camp Dawn


Looking out From Blumine Camp Sunset

We decide we're too tired to head to the next planned camp Cannibal Cove and leave our tents up so we can stay the night so decide to visit the nearest island for a look, however a third of the way there the strengthening wind causes a change in plan to circling our island then to landing on a bay on the other side of the island from our tents. After resting for a bit and observing shinny stuff and the remains of native fauna we follow a DOC trap track up 10minutes into the island where we come across several long flights of old overgrown concrete stairs, which after climbing we find lead to our "Mysterious Ruins". Which we proceeded to explore while postulating a number of theories about what they originally were. Having explored the ruins we then headed back to our kayaks and back around the Island to our camp, where we proceeded to play a good game of Rock covered Settlers of Catan (Boardgame MP's; rocks to stop the wind blowing the board into the bush :-)).

The Mysterious Ruins

About this time we find the DOC water supply has run dry and so myself and MP head along the beach looking for a fresh water stream to replenish our supplies which we soon find, collecting the water from a 2m waterfall 20m's inland from the beach. After which it's tea time so we get that meal out of the way, take some pictures of the sunset and then head to bed. All the time fighting off the horde of wekas whose numbers appear to have doubled since the first night.


Poser

Wednesday - wake up at 5am again, Birdsong, get up 7am take a few more photos wait for the others to get up then pack up the camp and reload the kayaks while fighting off the Wekas whose numbers have now approximately tripled. We then head to Resolution bay to drop the kayaks off, a quarter of the time spent getting there seems to be spent with the kayaks along side in the middle of the sound, as we try to work out which of the various bays we can see is the one we're actually supposed to be going to. Finally arrive at the beach below the School House bay camping ground dump the gear out of the kayaks set up the tents then AR and MP take them a bit further round to the pickup point where they're collected by a water taxi about an hour later. The first part of the days been rather cloudy and windy but in the afternoon it brightens up and the weather becomes quite pleasant. As a result the afternoon is spent having lunch, then mucking about down on the foreshore taking photos and enjoying the view.

View of School House Bay, Campsite and Resolution Bay

Tea is had as we fight of the scouting wave of the local Weka's (we've learnt this time though, we'll not be hanging around long enough for their reinforcements to arrive ;-)). Then it's more card games and finally off to bed in preparation for walking the next day, unfortunately I'd ended up with a "large" rock partly under where I'm sleeping so a lot of time is spent trying to avoid it, and I'm up rather early the next day.

Need I say anything?

Green hair Weed!

Thursday - up early take a few photos and wait for the others to get up. Once every ones had breakfast we pack up fighting off the Weka scouts, and start walking leaving at about 10am (before the reinforcements arrive). Lovely weather but hot the tracks rather wide and through native bush for the most part with good views down into the sound and it's bay's.

View out across Resolution Bay

We arrive at the Lodge in Endeavour inlet at 1:30pm (~3 hours) and stop to buy lunch (mmh Cold Ginger bear + Wedges covered in sour cream, sweet chilly sauce, fried mushrooms and Onion; simply heavenly). An hour later it's back to the track with refilled water bottles from the lodge tap (Looks like a lovely place to stay, if you want to explore the sounds I'd suggest having a look at it). The plan is to continue to camp bay or punga cove for the night (4 hours) as the alternative to stay at the inlet would mean we'd need to walk 7 hours tomorrow the last 3 straight up the steep ridge, rather than a 3 hour walk up it before camping for the day. Any way so back on the track after 2 hours most people are finding it some what painful, the weathers still lovely and there have been some lovely views out to the sound and Blumine Island. About 40 mins out from Punga cove AR can barely walk, so we carry her pack for a bit then when reaching the 30min sign for Punga cove leave it behind the sign and MP dashes on ahead to inform AW and to book rooms at the Punga cove backpackers/resort. We finally get there and take MP's back upto the rooms which are half way up the hill as he heads back down the track to grab AR's back. Getting back 40 or so minutes later. At which point it's decided AR can't walk any more so we'll get the water taxi out from here the next day rather than carry onwards. So it's off for hot showers and tea before heading to bed. The days result is 25+ Km/8hours walked, 1 person with bad blisters, 2 with minor blisters and one complaining about sore feet :-p.

Walking the Walk


Friday - Up at a reasonable time, water taxis informed of the changed schedule then backing up our gear and heading down to the jetty, with overcast weather and spits of rain. End up playing cards in the cafe for an hour or so while waiting for the taxi, then back to Picton. Where we collect our gear that was stored at the kayak company and load it into the Van, then head back to Chch stopping at Blenhiem for lunch at the square and refreshments. We finally arrive back in Chch about 6:30pm/7pm two days early.



Still I enjoyed the trip especially the kayaking and the first quarter of the walk. Lessons learnt, A day of 7+ hours of any physical activity with a group of people of a variable degree of fitness is asking a lot. Walking with heavier than usual packs is not good if you want to avoid blisters.


As usual click on images for bigger versions! And a Few more images Including Shiny's, remnants of wildlife, wildlife, and various things that looked interesting!


Interesting native species - Giant Snail Shells and a Matticus Handius






Wildlife


Shiny


Some of the Local Wild Life

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rainbows End - full text online

The full text for Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge has been put up online for those interested in such things. The book is a nominee for the 2007 Hugo awards. Vernor Vinge is a rather well known SF writer who usually has some interesting ideas to play with so if you have time it's well worth the read.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Winning Rice for the UN


FreeRice

And interesting site that tests your vocab and claims to provide the UN with 10 free grains of rice for each word you get right. Rather interesting and the words can get very very hard rather quickly with ones such as pettifogger, degustation and others. Also along with give out the rice it gives you a Vocab score which I think correlates to how harder a words you know.

So far my vocab score been hanging around 40-41, so have a go and let me know what sort of score you get on average!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Diamond Age

If your looking for some interesting Science fiction I'd highly recommend Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age or, A You Lady's Illustrated Primer".
A very interesting book where societies, cultures and Nations are memes and Nanotech isn't so much technology as everything.

It's a very interesting book and I highly recommend it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Suicide Bombing Makes Sick Sense in 'Halo 3'


Suicide Bombing Makes Sick Sense in 'Halo 3'
It was after pulling this maneuver a couple of dozen times that it suddenly hit me: I had, quite unconsciously, adopted the tactics of a suicide bomber -- or a kamikaze pilot.

An interesting little article.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Linux is Productive

Well I've finally managed to finish installing the latest version 64bit of Mandriva Linux on my laptop, the result being much to my supprise I actually got some acutal work done due to the lack of games etc to distract me from my task. Along with the advantages inherent in Gnome desktop compared to Vista. Virtual desktops, Scale/Exposé andvarious other difference between the systems make the Gnome Desktop much better at handling work that envolves 10+ windows and 3-4 different apps, even on a 1440x900 res screen.

Also being 64bit it's nice to know the 4GB of RAM can actually be used rather than 3.5GB when running in 32bit Vista.



Eee PC

Any one looking for a cheap (NZ$600) ultraportable laptop? The Asus Eee Pc seems to have hit off rather well, with a heck lot of info on the web about it.


The review sites love it.

Asus Eee PC 701 4G Review
Eee PC Review

The specs are decent
* Processor: Intel Celeron M ULV 900MHz
* Graphics: Integrated Intel GMA 900 GPU
* Storage: 4GB of Flash-based storage (SSD)
* Memory: 512MB of DDR2 RAM (667MHz)
* OS: Xandros Linux (Asus customized)
* Screen: 7-inch screen with 800 x 480 resolution
* Ports: 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA monitor out, headphone jack, microphone input, SD card reader (SDHC compatible), Kensington lock slot, Ethernet 10/100
* Webcam (0.3 MP)
* Battery: 4-cell 5200 mAh 7.4V Li-Ion (rated at 3.5 hours)
* Wireless: 802.11b/g Atheros
* Input: Keyboard and Touchpad
* Weight: approximately 2 lbs with battery, 2.5 lbs travel weight with AC adapter.
* Two-year warranty

And it's so small that some people have been shiped boxes of five when they order 1.
Asus' Eee PC laptop so small, buyers sent boxes of five


Certainly rather tempting for the price though the low resolution for the screen seems abit of a pity. Be tempted if I had a six hundred dollars sitting around.

Linux desktop lacks innovation - The INQUIRER


Linux desktop lacks innovation - The INQUIRER

An interesting article which for the most part tends to support the statement that the desktop may lack innovation. However I'm not so sure about the Microsoft patents part. Is resemblence enough enough to sue? And are the desktops really that similar? Thinking about both KDE and Gnome there certainly are similarities but there are also alot of differences, somewhat more so with Gnome HIG than KDEs interface.

Friday, October 26, 2007

State of the planet


BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Humans failing the sustainability audit

A BBC report about the Geo-4 report just released by the UN. The article also links to a pdf of the report, so if you want to see an indepth review of what is happening to the planet then have a look at the BBC article and read the UN report.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blindsight


Just finished reading "Blindsight" a book released for free under the creative commons licence. It's a very interesting, hard science fiction novel. Which explores a number of interesting ideas, related too intelligence, consiousness and they way our minds work. If your interested in that sort of thing or just good Science fiction I highly recomend you read the Book. The link is to the online copy and also links to PDF and zipped HTML versions.

Blindsight by Peter Watts

The ideas with regards to sentience and Intelligence and if both are required, for a advanced or high tech species are very interesting.
So read the book and let me know what you think!

A few examples of some of the things mentioned or discussed in the book can be found here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Free GOOD Science Fiction

If your looking for some good reading material, you should check out theBaen CD's at the Fifth Imperium It a collection of free CD Images, containing books published by various BAEN authors. There are half a dozen full books freely availiable in html on each CD. If you don't want to download the full CD Images you can view there contents and read them online via the site an example of the format and layout can be seen with the Honorverse CD as seen in the
Honor Harrington Index Page.

The books tend to be by a range of rather good SF authors so well worth a read if you don't mind doing so off a computer screen or have enough paper to print the books out.

What I'm up too currently

I've spent the last 4 weeks or so doing paid work for my supervisor while waiting for my thesis to come back. Kind of fun, research is alot more enjoyable when your being paid to do it rather than paying to do it. Also knowing that at 5pm that's it for the day, and not having to worry about is it enough to get the thesis done makes a major difference. At this point looks like a mix of my work and some by a couple of his previous students will result in a paper which I'll be helping to right in the next few weeks, which would be rather good! Also the pay is nice and having something to do 4 days each week is good. Have also just restarted demonstrating with first year labs as they restart for the final term of the year. A fun set of lab's spent 2 afternoons this week at Travis wetlands and the Bromley oxidation ponds, helping students ID birds and making sure they don't loose any of the departments gear or do anything stupid. Also a nice chance to take the odd photo (See bottom of post), though of course the weather did the biology field trip thing and was rather bad both days (on Friday it clouded up just as we arrived there).

Apart from that have been doing a bit of reading and a decent bit of computer gaming so far have played:

  • Knights of the Old Republic - A rather impressive bioware starwars RPG would rate it an "A+".
  • Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords - Another good RPG by Obsidian, and a somewhat different focus the the previous one, not yet finished but think I'd rate it an "A" or "A-".
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Interesting semi RPG/FPS, good fun and rather spooky in parts "A-"
  • Bioshock - Not yet finished but a rather good FPS with some RPG elements, I don't think it's quite as good as every thinks though "A-"
  • StarLancer - Fun space opera/sim game, enjoyable but the inability to save during missions makes it rather Hard "B+" (not yet finished)
  • Fallout 1 - Older (1997) GURPS derived (You are "SPECIAL") post nuclear war RPG, with a 1950's style, lots of adult humor and rather violent but a bloody good game (both figuratively and literally) "A+" If you haven't played it you should runs on both Mac and PC.
  • Fallout 2 - Larger more complex, and less tightly woven than the orginal still lots of fun though I haven't finished it yet (A-)
  • Half Life 2 ep 1 - Also played abit of the first episode for HL2, all right but not amazing (B+)

Also been reading a bit, if your looking for some very good epic fantasy, I'd highly recomend "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. Also any thing by Alastair Reynolds, Neil Asher, or Richard Morgan if you prefer SF.

Any way that is about it for now, I'll leave you with a few pictures, more can be found at my flickr account.


Introducing - The New Zealand Scaup
Originally uploaded by Falcdragon




Scratching - New Zealand Scaup
Originally uploaded by Falcdragon




The New Zealand Scaup
Originally uploaded by Falcdragon




The Oxidation Pond
Originally uploaded by Falcdragon

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vista: The Good and the BAD!

Thought I might as well stick up a few thoughts about Vista as I've been using it a bit on my laptop while slowly configuring my linux setup and waiting updated version to come out:

The Good -

Vista's Built in search - By default it's selected when you press the win key or click on the start menu, so type in the first few letters of the app or something from the document you want to open, and it brings it up in a second then it's just a matter of hitting enter to start it, or the down key then enter if theres a couple of apps with similar names. For starting apps I'd say it's pretty close to gnomes deskbar tool though it lacks the useful plugins deskbar has for web, calculator etc.
Also as a search engine it seems pretty decent, though maybe not quite up with Googledesktop in some areas such as text preview.

System speed - It's pretty good, vista finally utilizes all available ram to cache apps and other stuff of interest in a manner similar to linux, as a result the system is rather snappy. At least on laptop with 3GB RAM.

Sidebar - A widget system that seems to work fine a little slow starting, and some what RAM hungry (70MB for 6 applets one of which has my address book loaded) but CPU lite. Also could do with a few more applets and a hot key to bring them to the front ie F9.

Security - Requesting permission to make system changes is good, still not with out it's share of problems check out the BAD.

File System Layout - The new file system layout with /users makes more sense than the old /Documents n Settings. Also placing the various media, catagory and search folders at /users/username/ makes more sense than the old /Docs/username/My Documents/.

Windows network center - Nice clear layout of how and what your connected to.

The OK

3D desktop - Somewhat RAM hungry (100MB 9 apps open + sidebar) but again fairly CPU lite when used with a dedicated 3D card (10% single core when moving a video window round while it's playing). The 3d switch app mode is alright but nothing great, much prefer the linux cube, wall, or OSX expose.

Appearance - Not bad not brilliant either, far, far better than XP's though if your computer can handle Aero. The new icons are nice and the file previews and folders showing previews of there video or image content is nice.

Windows Defender - Spyware/malware protection, useful but hard to know how effective it is.

Windows Mobility center - Quick access to laptop specific settings.

The Bad

Security - Permissions can get out of hand to create a folder and rename it in a section of the drive you don't have full permissions too requires 4 confirmations!
1) Warning you will need permission to create the folder
2) Permission
3) Warning you will need permission to change the foldername
4) Permission
That's 4x you need to click continue in an admin account! UAC really needs a cooldown period or something similar like linux, ie once you give your self permission you have admin permissions for that Window and it's contents until you close the Window.
It also needs some method of saying hey I trust this app this can be run as admin as long as it doesn't change with out me being asked to confirm it each time!

Compatibility - Some games are quite mucky to get set up and some of the vista security options can result in odd things happening to them. Compatibility mode + Admin permissions has worked so far for me though.

Performance - For gaming at least seems somewhat slower than expected, this may be due to still fairly early drivers for vista and current generation hardware.

Settings - The settings have been rearrange somewhat, not sure why but compared to windows XP sometimes things aren't where you expect to find them.

Size - An operating system with out any applications appart from basic email, internet and IM shouldn't take 8+ GB HDD space!


Overall I think vista is a nice upgrade from XP if your computer is fast enough to handle it properly and if you don't have too many legacy programs.



Windows Vista, with a few changes.




My previous linux desktop.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Any one with a facebook account may want to read this...


Facebook to show profiles to search engines | The Register

For those who care about online privacy you may want to make the changes in the account settings recommended by the article when they become available.


360° Light Field Display

Rather Awesome semi hologram!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Doomsday Machine?


Did the Soviets really build a "doomsday machine"? - By Ron Rosenbaum - Slate Magazine

An interesting article well worth reading, which reminds us that while the cold war as such may have ended many of the decisions made during that period may still threaten us.

The possibility that such a Doomsday system may exist is rather disturbing to say the least, and reminds me of far to much disturbing Nuclear war SF that I've read. Especially with the recent reactivation of Russian Nuclear bomber flights.

Monday, August 27, 2007

From bebo

1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it doesn't make sense. NO CHEATING!

Some what bizarre the mix you can get.

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
How can I keep from singing - Enya

WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE?
New Medicines - Dead Poetic

WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK OF YOU?
The Tower - Vienna Teng

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
UNATCO - Ionstorm Studios

WHAT DO STRANGERS THINK OF YOU?
0 - Nakagawa Koutarou

WHAT DO YOUR EXES THINK OF YOU?
Vhailor Theme - Black Isle Studios

HOW IS YOUR LOVE LIFE?
Town - Bethesda Studios

HOW WILL YOUR LOVE LIFE BE IN THE FUTURE?
Secret Seeker - Ichiko Hashimoto

WILL YOU GET MARRIED?
The Umar Hills - Bioware Studios

WILL YOU HAVE KIDS?
Lost Village - Castlevania Developer

ARE YOU GOOD AT SCHOOL?
Tuba Mirum - Orquestra SinfĂ´nica de Budapeste

WILL YOU BE SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE?
Inner Take - Ichiko Hashimoto

WHAT SONG SHOULD THEY PLAY ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?
Duke of Death - Jeff van Dyck

WHAT SONG SHOULD THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Viconia's Romance Theme - Bioware Studios

THE SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE:
Herr, lehre doch mich - Brahms, Johannes

YOU AND YOUR BEST FRIEND ARE:
Selig sind, die da Leid tragen - Brahms, Johannes

HAPPY TIMES:
Nemesis- machinae supremacy

SAD TIMES:
Brynnlaw - Bioware Studios

EVERY DAY:
Tokusou - Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi

FOR TOMORROW:
Shin Troop - Nakagawa Koutarou

FOR YOU:
Zone Triggers - Mooze

WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR HAVE IN STORE FOR ME?
Rem - Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi

WHAT DO I SAY WHEN LIFE GETS TOO HARD?
Cursed Clock Tower - Castlevania Developer

WHAT DO I THINK WHEN I GET UP IN THE MORNING?
Tavern 2 - Bioware Studios

WHAT SONG WILL I DANCE TO AT MY WEDDING?
A Shadow on Me - Project 86

WHAT DO YOU WANT AS A CAREER?
Deus Ex - Ionstorm Studios

YOUR FAVOURITE SAYING?
A Knife in the Dark - Howard Shore

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Romdo Overshadows- Yasuyuki Ueda

WHERE WOULD YOU GO ON YOUR FIRST DATE?
Desert - Black Isle Studio

DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Black Out- Muse

WHAT DO I LIKE DOING MOST?
Area 51- Ionstorm Studios

SONG THAT DESCRIBES MY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL.
mx explore - Bethesda Studios

WHAT IS MY STATE OF MIND AT THE MOMENT?
The Void - Ben Houge

HOW WILL I DIE?
redd - Black Isle Studio

THE SONG THAT YOU'LL PUT AS YOUR SUBJECT:
Misa no Theme A- Taniuchi Hideki

A Question - Skype or SIP?

Do any of you who read my blog utilise any VOIP programs like Skype or Gizmo? If so which program do you use? As I am thinking about setting up such a program and would prefer to use what ever one is used by more of the people I know if any of you use such a program, that is.

Also I don't entirely like the idea of using Skype have heard the odd iffy thing about it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A couple of links

What Scientologists believe.
  • It's hard to believe any one would believe something this silly! Though I guess if you've spent $100,000's on trying to learn it your likely to want to believe it somewhat desperately! Still I guess some people could/would say some aspects of Christianity are nearly as silly!

It doesn't pay to be smart!
  • Fairly interesting though unsurprising.

Monday, August 13, 2007

IQ's and Occupation


Modern IQ ranges for various occupations

An interesting table the high end being a little predictable though the variance for College professors is a little worring.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

A shorter history of the next 25 years


Charlie Stross, Life's a Game and Then You Die: the Future of Online Games
Whether you live and play in augmented reality or virtual reality is a choice you'll make every day. Probably the two environments will overlap so that the next generation — the folks born in 2012 — won't necessarily be aware of it. Do you remember growing up before computers? Before CDs? Before GPS? Before the internet? They're not going to remember growing up before MMOs, or VR, or AR. The politicians grandstanding today about the evils of computer games and the urgent need to ban Whizzumajig will look as quaint to their eyes as a Prohibition-era preacher ranting about the evils of the demon Rum.



Charles Stross has a look at some possibilities on when computers and computer gaming may end up (especially MMOGs) for the next 5 though 25 years. Very interesting stuff, it's going to be very interesting to see how things change in the next 25 years. He makes some rather good points about TPM and DRM as we put more and more of our selves up online it's going to become increasingly important to us to control and protect our "online" avatars and properties, and such technologies are likely to play an important role in such protection.


Thinking back 10 years, my family was transitioning from an old second hand green screen pc (386, 300k ram) that got used once every few months to a P166 with 32mb Ram and 3GB HDD with a 33.6k modem. No cellphones, no DVD's, a few old 35m Camera's. The internet was present, but there wasn't a lot to look at for most people, a few news sites, plenty of computer related sites, warez and a few other things. Internet was for email and IM for most of us and the local BBS was still kicking a bit as an alternative. Multiplayer computer games were generally dialup or lan based. Most of the other families we knew some with older children (late highschool) or younger had one family computer which got used for school projects and a few games and cellphones were company provided for the few who had them.
Now look at it today (though we've now a different age group so it may be partly due to that) in a family of 5 we have 6 computers all networked (admittedly 2 don't get used a lot) not counting 2 additional ones that the "shop" owns. We have 2 digital camera and 4 cellphone of which two of the cellphones can also take pictures. Multiplayer computer games are webbased and modems are some where but not attached to the computers. The computers are on average around 2 years old and yet are in the range of 2Ghz (10x faster just based on frequency not work) with 512-1024MB RAM (~20x + more) and spread among them we have ~600GB (200x more)of storage space, the internet connection is 2Mbps (~60x faster). The internet can be used for just about anything email, IM, phonecalls, gaming, TV, movies, music, photos, journals, buying and selling, organising our schedules and is one of our primary sources of news. We can often connect to it from any point in our houses (if wireless) and some public places, we can connect to a limited amount from our cellphones (at a level of interaction that reminds me strangely of the internet around 1997). It's changed so rapidly and only now are our generation the "first" as such to grow up at least partly with the internet starting to get to the point where we can have an effect on the structure of the web and start to create the services we want to use. With all this occurring in just 10 years it's going to be incredible interesting to see what happens in the next few years.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sex and Intelligence


Gene Expression: Intercourse and Intelligence

An interesting article that people may find interesting to read. An interesting quote mentioned in the article is this:

An intellectual is a person who's found one thing that's more interesting than sex.
Aldous Huxley

Apples to Apples

Can be rather amusing at times:

During one game this was observed:

Kelly is Odd, Creepy and Sweet.
Reuban R is Delicate and Sensual.
Reuban T is Calm and Ordinary
Matt P is Primitive, Temperamental, Rich and Selfish
Andrew is timeless.
Chad is Filthy, Arrogant, Hostile and Horrifying.
Fraser is Industrious, Touchy Feelly, wild , idiotic and Inspirational.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ends justifies the means - Again.


Assuming God is primarily interested in doing that which is good (hopefully a sound assumption), then what do you think it would be more interested in:

  • That which is best for individuals?
  • That which is best for society/the human existence?
  • That which is best for the earth/universe?
  • A combination of the 3, balancing all three against each other.

Secondly do you believe that God would utilise or act on the idea "That the ends justify the means?". And if so do you think God holds to it in most cases or just the exceptional?



As I'm thinking it is likely that the works of God at least as described in the old testament aim to balance that which is good for an individual, society and the universe, in a manner in which the end results are far more important than the means utilised to reach them.

What do you think?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Five Killers


The Five Killers

This looks like it could be an interesting western adaption of anime.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Unspoiled comments.

A good book, it ends the story well, though not amazingly. With the different format (doesn't work on the school year) from the others it's a little bit shorter that the last couple of books and flows somewhat differently.
The hallows seem to be a rather odd inclusion though, appearing from nowhere to take up a reasonable proportion of the book. The book might have been better if less time was spent on them and more on what the other characters are doing during the time period, though admittedly that would be a bigger departure from the previous ones than the hallows.



Spoilers in white select to view; do not read past this point on RSS:











Snape's character so deserves further mention at the end though using his name is a nice touch. I wish she'd spent more time developing him in the books.
Also DD comes across in a less pleasant light though out the book, though his final conversation with Harry does a bit to redeem that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Twiter Sixth Sense?


Clive Thompson on How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense

An interesting look at twitter and it's ability to provide a sort of social sixth sense.

I'm not entirely sure that such a "sixth sense" is always a good thing. For somethings like knowing when people are busy, and have other stuff to do sure, but at other times it seems like such a system would leave people feeling like though know about every thing that's happening to you. Thus leaving you with nothing to actually talk about when you meet in person. I guess this is quite dependent on what level of detail you but into your twitter posts.

What do you people think?

UN in Africa


BBC NEWS | Africa | The UN's all-pervasive role in Africa

Interesting Article hard to tell if it's actually accurate though.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

HP and the Deathly Hollows leaked


Leaked Potter book photos buzz round the Internet

Amusing and rather nuts! Some ones photographed all the pages of a prerelease copy they've got and stuck them all up online!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Half Blood Prince

Well seeing Era has made a post on the subject and that this post has been sitting in my drafts for a week now I might as well post it with the book due Saturday.

I can't be bothered making as many predictions as Era but based on my rereading of the Half-blood prince last week I suspect we may find out something along these lines.

Snape is Good, and following DD's orders. Various things in Half-blood suggest this.
He makes the unbreakable oath in HB, to help Mal, knowing that DD would expect him too or possibly as he's already discussed this with DD.
The reason being that DD suspects he's going to be killed soon, and that Mal has been ordered to do it and would prefer Snape to do it rather than force Mal to do something truly evil.


Any way I'm looking forward to Saturday!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature

Psychology Today: Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature
An interesting read, and sure to fire up the blood of some people. Includes such things as:

# Men like blond bombshells (and women want to look like them)
# Humans are naturally polygamous
# Most women benefit from polygyny, while most men benefit from monogamy
# Most suicide bombers are Muslim

Any way have a look people at let me know what you think.

I find it interesting that the article links many of the behaviors covered to some sort of "evolutionary" advantage to either one or both of the sexes. Some of which I'm not so sure about would be nice if they'd provided links with additional details/papers in support of there suggestions.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

As you may have gathered from preceding posts...

I handed my thesis in on Monday this means a couple of things.

First for the first time in 18 years I'm kind of at a lose end. Having no idea what I'll actually be doing for the rest of the year and next year onwards, apart from hopefully "looking for a job" and "working at a job".
So soon after 18 years I'm finally going to be out of the education system for at least a year or two.

Any way as a result I'm rather keen to do stuff so if any ones interested in gaming, RPGing, MTGing, Tamping etc please let me know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Automated Addressbook/Calendar

For those of you with large lists of email contacts that you never manage to keep updated

Plaxo might be of interest. It's an online Address Book/calender that will automatically update peoples contact details when they make changes.

How it works is you import your email address books into the program tell it your email addresses and then fill out the standard address book profile for your self. Then if people you know sign up and there email is in your address book and yours in theres it will update the contact information associated with that email address. So if you change address or phone number every one who has your email address gets the updates in there address book.

The updated details also apparently can be pushed out to the various programs you use, ie Thunderbird, MacOSX, Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo email, cellphone and others.

Any way it works better the more people join up so please people solve my address book problems and yours and add your selves.


Thunderbird Sync Tool

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Scary thing

Something you should never really do in linux but especially not when you've nearly finished writing your thesis on the machine in question is to accidentally move /usr into the root trash can. Thus leaving you with a computer with no applications and in a state that won't load, thankfully a recovery CD allows the moment of the folder back to the correct location!


Well at least it wasn't "rm -rf /" this time.

Dangerous Ideas



Edge 214

Do women, on average, have a different profile of aptitudes and emotions than men? Were the events in the Bible fictitious — not just the miracles, but those involving kings and empires? Has the state of the environment improved in the last fifty years? Do most victims of sexual abuse suffer no lifelong damage? Did Native Americans engage in genocide and despoil the landscape? Do men have an innate tendency to rape? Did the crime rate go down in the 1990s because two decades earlier poor women aborted children who would have been prone to violence? Are suicide terrorists well educated, mentally healthy, and morally driven? Are Ashkenazi Jews, on average, smarter than gentiles because their ancestors were selected for the shrewdness needed in money lending? Would the incidence of rape go down if prostitution were legalized? Do African American men have higher levels of testosterone, on average, than white men? Is morality just a product of the evolution of our brains, with no inherent reality? Would society be better off if heroin and cocaine were legalized? Is homosexuality the symptom of an infectious disease? Would it be consistent with our moral principles to give parents the option of euthanizing newborns with birth defects that would consign them to a life of pain and disability? Do parents have any effect on the character or intelligence of their children? Have religions killed a greater proportion of people than Nazism? Would damage from terrorism be reduced if the police could torture suspects in special circumstances? Would Africa have a better chance of rising out of poverty if it hosted more polluting industries or accepted Europe's nuclear waste? Is the average intelligence of Western nations declining because duller people are having more children than smarter people? Would unwanted children be better off if there were a market in adoption rights, with babies going to the highest bidder? Would lives be saved if we instituted a free market in organs for transplantation? Should people have the right to clone themselves, or enhance the genetic traits of their children?

Perhaps you can feel your blood pressure rise as you read these questions. Perhaps you are appalled that people can so much as think such things...


Looks kind of interesting I might have to keep an eye out for a copy of the book, any way if you want to see a bit more about it scroll down a bit on the linked page to read the foreword and afterword.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Free Backup

Any one looking for a place to backup up to 2GB of files for free?
Might be worth having a look at Mozy they offer 2GBs of free automated (encrypted) backup through there little app which is available for Windows and MacOSX.

Might be worth looking at if you've got a 2GB or less of files that you want backed up regularly with out having to do anything.
Now if only I can get it working in linux some how.
You can find a very short review here.

If your doing your masters or some other form of study it may be worth having a look. An extra layer of protection/backup against hard drive crashes is always a good idea!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Best Scfi of the 00's



blog.pmarca.com: Top 10 science fiction novelists of the '00s -- so far

Top 10 science fiction novelists of the '00s -- so far


This ones right on the money, if your looking for a few new authors. I highly recommend most of these having read a bit by most of them (Charles Stross, Richard Morgan, Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, John Scalzi, Neal Asher). These guys are all part of my list of reasons why leaving uni and get a job are good. Though I'm definitely going to need a bigger bookcase as well! Unfortunately the public library only tends to have a few of the various books by them they're so new, still a good place to start!

For those of you who don't mind reading ebooks Charles Stross has one of his more recent works available for free download from here. http://www.accelerando.org/book/

An Update

For those of you who may be starting to thinking I've fallen off the face of the earth recently I'm afraid to tell you it's not true, better luck next time.
Instead I'm a little bit busy with the painful thing that silly universities tack onto the end of your 2.5-3 years of doing nothing much, that gets called a Masters degree. The attached images should give you some idea of the sort of things that involves.




And yes I am using all three screens and two computers, haven't quite needed to turn on the third computer yet. Also on another note emails rather bad for shuttling back and forth 15MB documents, university needs to work out a better system!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fallout 3 Official Teaser Trailer



Fallout: Welcome to the Official Site

Well worth a look, if your interested in computer games or RPGs in general.

30 Days Of Night



30 Days Of Night - Official Site A potentially interesting movie, horror/Vampires. Due out later this year, the trailer at least looks interesting, as is usually the case.

Apparently part done in NZ.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Product loyalty: consumers mistake familiarity with superiority


Product loyalty: consumers mistake familiarity with superiority


Worth a read, especially for those who insist that their OS is so superior, or those who dislike new software/interfaces.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

List of Latin phrases



List of Latin phrases:

This page lists direct English translations of common Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before that of Ancient Rome.


A cool little page, if only they'rd taught latin at high school! I so would have preferred it to Maori.
And then I might acctually be able to pronounce some of these properly

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Science education requires overcoming childhood understanding


Science education requires overcoming childhood understanding
The authors go into extensive details about two cases: rampant teleology and mind-body dualism. Children tend to believe that every object has a specific purpose or function, which fits in nicely with the teleological view of life espoused by many forms of creationism, such as intelligent design. They also view the mind and brain as operating on different levels and performing distinct functions. Among their examples, the authors note that preschoolers believe that the brain is involved in analytical tasks such as math but plays no role in behavioral activities like pretending to be a kangaroo. They suggest that this produces a tendency to accept various forms of mysticism, such as astrology and psychic powers.


An interesting post that makes a fair bit of sense, might be worth reading the paper at some point.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Speculum Update - Mt Somers

Speculum Conlectio has been updated with some images from the recent tramp. A few more photos are likely to be added by the end of the week, once every one's had a chance to sort through their images.

As usual there is a collection of landscape pictures at my flickr account.


(Image from Jude's collection)

Flickr

Friday, May 25, 2007

This is just sick!



RPG Blog -- Your guide to role-playing games.: Speedruns and role-playing games: strange bedfellows

There seems to be a strange hobby of people seeing how fast they can complete certain games. Apparently called speedruns, I'd heard of them mentioned before but never actually realised they were doing it with games like Baldurs gate 2.

None the less some have BGII tends to take ~250hours when playing through all the options yet someones managed to clock it in 1h 11min!

Radiation Eating Fungi



Gamma radiation: It's what's for dinner

Rather cool, an interesting example of how life can survive or adapt to just about any conditions.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tech and Civilisation

Another rant this time on technology and civilisation. Noting I'm currently in my 6th year of studying in a field of science I'm likely somewhat biased in what I think about this sort of stuff. Seeing Science to a certain degree exists to further technology.

The first thing is that technology for the most part, as far as we can tell, is the product of civilisation as well as both the means and the ends of civilisation.
Civilisation advances technology and technology in turn advances civilisation, while becoming both the cause and cure of many of the ills of civilisation.

A common idea at the moment seems to be that of "dropping" out of the technological society to some degree or another, to get back to the basics etc.
Hardly a new or original idea, it's been tried numerous times before in varying manners with varying degrees of success, possibly the most successful example I can think of might be the Amish.

Any way I'm wondering about how well people have thought it through and to what extent would they consider dropping out of the technological society?

For example would you consider dropping out to the point where you are completely self sufficient, contributing nothing to society, no taxes etc?
If so do you expect government funded healthcare and a pension?
If so why? Your certainly not helping pay for it if your live in a manner that pays no tax.
What would you be doing to help People/Government/Society?
Or would you drop out to a lesser level? Keep useful tech an dump stuff like TV's, coffee machines, blenders?
Would you remain at your job, or find a new one that was lower tech yet helped people or provided something they needed? Such as becoming an organic farmer or a wandering doctor who wandered from village to village?

Another thing I find worrying about the go low tech idea is that if a large enough mass of people adopted it and started dropping certain none essential tech such as TV's there is likely to be a sort of flow on effect to other areas of technology that people depend on.
Say TV's get a boot, so factories that produce them shut down, and some how we find jobs for all those workers, also save a bit of power so a couple of spare power plants gets shut down.
Now if you get hit by a natural disaster what happens? Say a Dam or two burst (big earthquake, certainly possible) so there is a significant loss of power, with less power stations as a result of the ones shut down earlier every dam has a bigger share of the electricity generated. So what happens to electrical heating, if a power runs short or lighting?
Also natural disaster the government wants to alert people about it, and provide them advice on how to survive, what places to avoid etc. However we've got rid of TV's so radio it has to be. Radio though has a lesser bandwidth, it doesn't display visual info so it will take longer to inform people and warn them of the full extent of the problem. In that time difference how many will die?

The thing is that with our society and civilisation everything is interrelated. Technology is present every where, extending our lives, our activities and the range of habitats we can survive in. And because technology and science are so interrelated cutting back in one area will always have flow on effects to other areas. Effects, that due to the way we use technology to extend humans abilities to survive and live when they would be other wise incapable of doing so, means that reductions in technology will lead to loss of life, either directly or indirectly. As minor issues become major ones.
One series of books I've read makes and interesting suggestion. That being, for what every you do, there will be at least 3 unexpected and potentially unwanted consequences, that you failed to see or consider.
So consider carefully and don't jump off the bandwagon just because you don't like the way it's heading just at the moment.

Also the other thing to note is that humans being generally a competitive species if one group, if not all groups reduce technology to the same level those that don't will soon out compete those that did reduce it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

This is not a PORN site

No matter what some people think!



So any way at the moment I can currently post to it but not view it.
Being the 2nd or third time this has happened in the last year or 2 I'm less than amused.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rights

Warning what follows is probably a meaningless rant, containing a large amount of hyperbola, and the pushing of Idea's beyond what I actually think.

One thing that I think is over used and some what bastardised at the current time is the idea of rights.
People, the Media, various groups and Politicians all seem to have something present in the background of there thoughts something they call rights.
Some thing you should have or deserve simply because you exist, or because your a member of a certain country or segment of society or something. For some reason that usually isn't logical or well thought out these people deserve something some "rights".
Be this the right to free speech, Human rights, the right for the disabled to enter public buildings, the right to economic equality, or what ever.
The problem being that they seem to think these rights some how exist out side the normal order of things, that they just are, they're something you have or get not something you work for or do any thing about, the universe or other people just owe you them.

However I really don't see how this works. As far as I can tell the universe owes you exactly squat/zero that your'd actually want to collect (the only thing it may owe you death/entropy, but that's something most don't want to collect).
What I think rights are actually (rather than some debt the universe owes you) is a set of shared ideas/recommendations that are useful for helping human societies function. They seem to be ideas that if ignored are likely to have consequences due to the manner in which human's nature/mind work.

The important thing about these "recommendations" is that of you except them there are certain responsibilities associated with them that must be followed if you desire the right.
ie If you want human rights then it is imperative that you grant them to others. If you fail to then don't go complaining if yours get violated.
As such "rights" of this type can be considered to be the underlying frame work human society is based on. However it is essential to remember that such rights are not some fundamental intrinsic absolute. They only exist as an agreement between you and the rest of your species.

Any way it appears that somewhere along the way to our current society the responsibility aspect of such rights has been forgotten. People see equality as a right and this and that as a right. Maybe as a result of companies believing they have a right to profit with no regard to those who they profit from, or perhaps it's politicians voluntary to take all your responsibilities if you'll only just elect them, or the media going "oww look shiny, you need!" whenever something interesting turns up.
For example equality is not a right if you want equality it's something your going to have to work for.

On a slightly related note I'd thought I'd add a quote from a little TV/Anime series I was watching recently. It's not something I totally agree on but I do have a certain amount of sympathy for the Idea.

"People are not equal, Those who are born fleet of foot, those who are born beautiful, those who's parents, are poor those who have weak bodies.
Birth, growth and talent, All humans are different!
That's right people are born to be different!
That is why people fight and compete with one another!
From there Evolution takes place.
Inequality is not evil, equality it's self is evil!
We fight, compete and continue to evolve"



Finally I guess the point of this post was that rights come with responsibilities, if they don't they're just dreams, illusions of a delusional mind.
So don't expect any rights unless your prepared to work for them.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Gaim = Pidgin + 2.0

For those of you who use Gaim as their IM client (for msn/gtalk/aim/icq/yahoo/what ever). You may be interested in knowing that it's changed it's name to Pidgin and that version 2.0 has just been released after a very long time in development. It's a very nice step up from gaim 1.5. It can be downloaded from:
http://www.pidgin.im/
Available as always for Windows and Linux.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

To Treat the Dead



Doctors Change the Way They Think About Death.

Interesting if accurate, and if any thing can be done to utilise this apparent discovery.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Poll

Have a look at the side bar and enter an please vote!
Related posts coming soon!

Do people have intrinsic Rights simply because they exist? Rights that come with no responsibilities?
Yes
No
Some
  
pollcode.com free polls

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Sleep well and Wake" & Desktop Search

Looks like your right Christina, Jared's "Sleep well and wake" does appear likely to have originated from the Wheel of Time series.

A prime quote from the books being:

Sleep well and wake, Rand al’Thor.” Only an Aiel would wish you a good night by hoping you did not die in your sleep.

The wonders of desktop search!
Note if your running Windows XP, I highly recommend you download and install Google Desktop Search to handle searching your documents. I found it to be one of the most useful tools on my laptop when doing my Masters papers, being able to type in a fragment of something you remember reading in a paper and having Google Desktop find the appropriate research paper with in seconds is unbelievable useful.
If your running Linux then install Beagle Desktop Search and if MacOS X 10.4(?) upwards then you don't need to install any thing Spotlight will do it for you.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ale's Well with the World: Scientific American



Ale's Well with the World: Scientific American
An odd little article for all you beer drinkers.
A quote from it...
"He who drinks beer sleeps well. He who sleeps well cannot sin. He who does not sin goes to heaven. The logic is impeccable."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Photos: Easter 07, West Coast

Well for those of you who are interested, among those who went and those who stayed, Speculum Conlectio and my Flickr account have been updated with Images from Easter.
As usual panoramas, scenery, etc Flickr; People Speculum Conlectio.

Additional Images will be uploaded next week when Anaru is less busy.
Update: Additional images from/suggested by Alethea now online.




A Question

Would you agree with the statement that:

The ends justify the means.

Why/why not?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How we learned to stop having fun.


How we learned to stop having fun

Not so with the Calvinist version of Protestantism. Instead of offering relief, Calvinism provided a metaphysical framework for depression: if you felt isolated, persecuted and possibly damned, this was because you actually were.


An article looking at an apparent change in behavior ~3-400 years ago, where people moved to a much more individualistic world view. Suggesting urbanisation and a market-based economy are partially responsible for this.
Also interestingly suggests there may have been a link between a Calvinistic world view/faith and Depression/Suicide.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren



God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren

The God Debate
At the Summit: On a cloudy California day, the atheist Sam Harris sat down with the Christian pastor Rick Warren to hash out Life's Biggest Question—Is God real?

Well having read the whole thing I'm rather impressed, Rick manages to do rather well. Personally much of what he says seems a lot less confrontational than the other chap, though I certainly don't agree with some of what he says regarding his views on certain aspects of Christianity. Any way here are a couple of interesting/amusing bits from the article, and I highly recommend you have a read of it!


WARREN: I say I accept that by faith. And I think it's intellectually dishonest for you to say you have proof that it didn't happen. Here's the difference between you and me. I am open to the possibility that I am wrong in certain areas, and you are not.

HARRIS: Oh, I am absolutely open to that.

WARREN: So you are open to the possibility that you might be wrong about Jesus?

HARRIS: And Zeus. Absolutely.

WARREN: And what are you doing to study that?

HARRIS: I consider it such a low-probability event that I—

WARREN: A low probability? When there are 96 percent believers in the world? So is everybody else an idiot?

I wish he'd let the chap finish that statement, it would have been more interesting than the "idiot" charge.


Another Section:

So, parse that. God gave you an immigration attorney, but God killed a little girl.
WARREN:
Well, I do believe in the goodness of God, and I do believe that he knows better than I do. God sometimes says yes, God sometimes says no and God sometimes says wait. I've had to learn the difference between no and not yet. The issue here really does come down to surrender. A lot of atheists hide behind rationalism; when you start probing, you find their reactions are quite emotional. In fact, I've never met an atheist who wasn't angry.

HARRIS: Let me be the first.

WARREN: I think your books are quite angry.

HARRIS: I would put it at impatient rather than angry...


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Tolkien book due soon



Tolkien Jr completes Lord of Rings - Independent Online Edition > News

This could be interesting assuming it's closer to LotR and the Hobbit rather than the histories or the Silmarillion.
Also hopefully the quality of the work is up there with whats expected from modern fantasy authors.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Easter Muffins

Most of you seem to rather enjoy these so here is the recipe.

Freeze well

1 3/4c Flour
1 c Castor Sugar
100g Butter
1 c Yoghurt (flavoured is fine)
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Small Caramel Egg (or Peppermint Chocolate, rollo etc)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Sift dry ingredients togeather.
Melt butter, add egg, yoghurt, milk and vanilla mix until smooth.
Add liquid ingredients to dry, + Chocolate chips and fold until flour is dampened not smooth.

Add mixture to tins and push Caramel Egg into centre.
Bake 180*C for 10-12min. Leave in tin for 5min before moving to cooling rack.

Freeze for storage longer than a couple of days.
If frozen microwave ~30 secs to thaw
If not frozen microwave 10 sec to melt egg!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Camel Game



Revenge of the Mutant Camels - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ha found the old Camel game mentioned to various people recently. If you like weird games give this one a try.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Suggestions requested

Here is one of the larger panoramas from the trip to Peel forest. As you see there are some major issues with it. I deliberately took images to form a step like panorama how ever I'm not exactly sure what to do with the bit's that aren't photo. In this one I've just mad them black and stuck a frame around it however it looks rather odd. So any body got some suggestions to improve the image?
And no going back to take more photos to fill it in properly is NOT and option.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Busy at uni.



Got to love camera phones don't you? This is after 15mins work with the gimp. Any way it's of one of the rooms I've spent ALOT of time in over the last year or so!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fundamentals of Christian Faith

What do you think the critical key points of Christian faith are?

Thinking about it I can only really think of 3 that I consider completely and utterly required for one to consider ones self Christian:
  • That God exists.
  • That Christ existed and was the son of God or God incarnate or something similar (what ever the correct theological term is for that).
  • That he died and rose again.
I do not however consider these to be requirements for admittance to heaven (should it exist) or to be a good person and so forth.

Can any one think of any other absolutely fundamental ideas for a Christian or disagree with any of the ones posted above?

Personally I'm not so sure that the 3rd one listed above is critical.

Cheeky Vista sale!





Dragon PC Vista Ultimate ed OEM version
You know how legally OEM software isn't supposed to be sold with out new computer hardware? Well these guys are certainly following the letter of the law they're selling Vista Ultimate ed OEM with a 1gb Pen drive, computer hardware eh ;-)?!
Which makes sense in an odd sort of manner seeing Vista can use a Pendrive as additional Cache memory for the computer making a Pendrive effectively part of the computer.
Any way the result is you can get Vista Ultimate 32b ed off them for NZ$320 compared to say NZ$650 for the Upgrade 32/64b version from DickSmith.
The other amusing thing is if you managed to buy it with out the pendrive they list it for NZ$333, so what do you know that 1GB pendrive is worth -$13.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sketches of a Mind - Communication & A Changing God

We seem to be quite a hard species to communicate, we certainly have enough problems occur within our species due to communication failure. Following this sort of line of thought I was thinking about how God has attempted to communicate with us some many times and how so many times it has failed miserably due in most cases to humans losing interest or going off to do there own thing.

Any way here are some of what I think are different methods the bible portrays God using to communicate with us through out history, in a rough sort of chronological order.

  1. God the Immortal Farther: Walking with us, teaching us, showing humans this world. Problem being first time he goes on "holiday" or something and stops paying attention for a little bit what do you know? People have started doing stuff he suggested was a bad idea forgotten the message!
  2. Distant, Wrathful, Almighty God: Resetting the world (perhaps?) because only one chap will listen and things have deteriorated to a point It can't stand! Chosen people/family's tested to see if they're worthy and truly follow It. Third party non-human messengers and so forth, a God who seems at home in Myth and Legend. Seemed to work fine for small groups of people or individuals, but didn't seem to scale up.
  3. Classical Mythical God: Chosen leaders, hero's and nations. Miracles Pillars of fire, rescuing and creating an entire nation. Establishment of structured religion, High Priests, Sacrifices. Punishing those who stuff up or turn from them, and those who oppose It's chosen people and nations. Unfortunately doesn't seem to work very well at all even while the miracles are happening people turn away or want more.
  4. Prophetic God: Prophets and Prophetic Kings, divinely appointed leaders, direct but less flashy miracles, working through the Prophets. The established religion supports and follows the prophets. Cycles of punishment and intervention announced and guided by the Prophets. People connect with the prophets they may not like the messages but they understand them and follow them while the prophet survives. Slowly gets less and less effective though until only a few people accept and follow the prophets.
  5. Distant God V1: Steps back from human affairs reduces intervention lets people cope for them selves. Suddenly some people realise that some things missing and fall back to the Established religion, placing greater and greater importance on it. Eventually though the religion becomes to established, less about God and more about the man made rules, laws, tradition and appearance.
  6. Human God: The next/final step up from Prophets. Christ. God becomes human, takes human form. God living with us experiencing what we are, eating, drinking, sleeping and ageing with us. Eventually dieing for us. Humanity fully embraced, Mortality experienced the uncertainty of human existence comprehended and the uncertainty of what comes after! A tragedy of miscommunication finally understandable in human terms. Something that reaches out and touches the human "soul" in a manner that we can comprehend. This provides a personal human faith, a real flesh and blood being we empathise with, comprehend to a degree, someone we can seek to understand, to follow, to love and believe in. Promises that it isn't the end that there is hope for a future.
  7. Distant Loving God V2: The message delivered in an understandable form, allow it to remain a human faith something people hold to as a matter of faith and belief. Reduces the temptation for humans to blame every thing on God and seek God to do every thing. Waiting till the promised time when humans have truly understood the message.
The Future what comes next?
The End?
Another form and stage should humans forget the current one?

What do people think?
Do you agree disagree with this sort of series of views of God?