Shadow Footprints

Wanderings in Virtu and Verity.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Quote of the Day

In all large corporations, there is a pervasive fear that someone, somewhere is having fun with a computer on company time. Networks help alleviate that fear.
-- John C. Dvorak

Monday, September 29, 2003

Quote of the Day

Rumor travels faster, but it don't stay put as long as truth.
-- Will Rogers

Security through Obscurity

The Cybersecurity Report that caused a critic to lose his job.

Doctor Who to return to TV

Good news, from The Register

What kind of thinker are you?

I am a Linguistic Thinker and a Logical-Mathematical Thinker.

Linguistic thinkers:
Tend to think in words, and like to use language to express complex ideas.
Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.

Other Linguistic Thinkers include:
William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank

Careers which suit Linguistic thinkers include:
Journalist, Librarian, Salesperson, Proof-reader, Translator, Poet, Lyricist

Logical-Mathematical thinkers:
Like to understand patterns and relationships between objects or actions
Try to understand the world in terms of causes and effects
Are good at thinking critically, and solving problems creatively

Other Logical-Mathematical Thinkers include:
Isaac Newton, Archimedes, Albert Einstein

Careers which suit Logical-Mathematical thinkers include:
Physicist, Chemist, Biologist, Lawyer, Computer programmer, Engineer, Inventor

This is from the BBC Quiz

Living in America

Do I really want to consider living in the United States?

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Still not the king

Cassandra Claire has ceased doing The Very Secret Diaries of characters in the Lord of the Rings. Bardvahalla has taken over.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Saturday, um, Tuesday?

Cervantes and Shakespeare both died on the same date. Cervantes died Saturday 23 April 1616. Shakespeare died Tuesday, 23 April 1616.

Bionic Office

Joel Spolsky has designed an amazing software development office space. The interior windows idea is nice.

Political Interests

I agree with Rex Wockner's statement about lefty political interests.

I've tried to get interested in lefty political organizations but they inevitably turn out to be paranoid, neutered by political correctness, or all talk and no action.

Soccer Parents

In Bill's post on Bill and Kent's Place on the Web he talks about parents, you either take the job seriously, or you have no business being a parent, period.

The eight points he mentioned all applied to my mother. He also says about attending games your children are in. My mother disliked rugby. She went to all the games of my brothers. She got involved when one brother's soccer team had no coach. She took on the role of coach with the help of a few library books on coaching and rules. That team won the cup that year. I'm proud of her.

Quote of the Day

There are important characteristics that cyclists (bike people, if you prefer) most always share: a love of adventure, a strong whiff of self-sufficiency (self-reliance), a strong desire for good healthy exercise, a love of Nature and the outdoors, and tendencies to 1) waste less, 2) pay less attention to money, 3) not worry about impressing others, and 4) seek the humble pleasures of life.
--Ken Kifer

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Quote of the Day

He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave.
-- Sir William Drummond

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Platform 2

I had dinner with Darren tonight at Platform 2 in Kingsland. The food was delicious, service was excellent. Some cute staff too! We shared the lavash (flat bread) with baba ganoush, oil, and dukkah as a starter. Darren had the beef eye fillet. I had the lamb tagine. We both chose the tiramisu for desert. The meal was so filling we could not finish desert.

I'll definitely be returning.

Quote of the Day

Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.
-- Demosthenes

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

My AD&D Type

I Am A: Lawful Good Elf Mage Bard

Lawful Good characters are the epitome of all that is just and good. They believe in order and governments that work for the benefit of all, and generally do not mind doing direct work to further their beliefs.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Mages harness the magical energies for their own use. Spells, spell books, and long hours in the library are their loves. While often not physically strong, their mental talents can make up for this.

Secondary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Mystra is the Neutral Good goddess of magic. She is also known as the Lady of Mysteries. Followers of Mystra wear armor and carry shields with her symbol on them. Mystra's symbol is a ring of stars.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy of NeppyMan

An Elf? Noooo!

Quote of the Day

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
-- Sidney J. Harris

Monday, September 22, 2003

Virus Infected Spammer

Aaargh! Some spammer has got a virus. One of my public addresses is receiving many viruses a day. Fortunately it's a bigfoot address, so I can either terminate it, or redirect it to a hotmail account.

I used to think a spammer infected by a virus would be a perverse form of justice. If only it was one that would shut down his network. Unfortunely, I, and I suspect many others, are being bombarded with more emails than normal. I'm glad my ISP has virus scanning. It saves me from downloading attachments only to have my virus scanner warn me about the virus laden email or unsafe attachment.

Quote of the Day

You cannot escape the results of your thoughts. Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain or rise with your thoughts, your vision, your ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration.
-- James Lane Allen

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Quote of the Day

AllSome men are bastards!

Obviously this includes me.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Quote of the Day

You must recognise yourself for what you are, not what you believe yourself to be.
-- Shantidasa

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Which Cool Evil Guy Are You?

Look Raist, squeeing fangirls!
You are Raistlin Majere from Dragonlance.

You smirk, torment and look dashing in black velvet. Ultimate evil magic powers are an additional bonus.

Which Cool Evil Guy Are You? brought to you by Quizilla

Inclusion of teens in sex index

Deborah Coddington is seriously screwed up if she believes that publicising all convicted sex offenders will make the environment safer. A more useful publication would be one that lists all violent recidivists, sexual or not. The youths are paying for their drunken activities, but nothing suggests that they are likely to re-offend.

What advantage will reading her publication give you? Will you feel safer if none of your neighbours are in her publication? Will you be less cautious about your children's activities if none of your neighbours are listed? Will you be worried if you find out that your neighbour had sex with his girlfriend when she was fifteen and a half and he had just turned sixteen? The only advantage I can see in her publication is that it will make money for her, from the same people who watch Holmes, the people who read the tabloids for juicy scandal.

Quote of the Day

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
-- George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

MP3s Are Not the Devil

Orson Scott Card writes MP3s Are Not the Devil. As he makes his living by writing, copyright protection is important to him. He explains why the recording industry are a sad bunch with their indecent passion for punishing the "criminals" who are violating their rights.

Two incomes, more debt?

The situation of Two incomes, more debt? arises from the second income being used on fixed expenses and not discretionary expenses. The second income allows people to commit to more, so they leave themselves with less to cut back on when necessary.

Age of Superstition

We seem to be living in an age of superstition. What is it with people believing, without any scientific methodology of testing, in the healing powers of crystals, and magnets? There are degrees of superstition. People who wouldn't believe a psychic hot line buy the crystals.

I'm not totally adverse to crystals. Feel free to buy a crystal whose shape and colours you like. Tell yourself that you will relax by looking at it and enjoying the shape and the colours and the natural imperfections. Tell yourself that relaxing and enjoying things will boost your sense of well-being and probably your health.

I would like people to question statements they are given, and not take everything on faith. Sure, I take the evidence of scientific testing on faith, I'm not testing it myself so I have to decide if the source of information is reliable. A few testimonials of people who have benefited from crystals/magnets/psychics is not enough for me.

I don't mind people conditionally taking things on faith. If someone says to do something then you have already evaluated whether you trust the person enough to do whatever the suggestion is, and when you see the results of your action you will reevaluate your level of trust. This all depends on the repurcussions of the action, and unimportant things can be followed. Is your health important enough?

Quote of the Day

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.
-- St. Jerome

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Flashmobbers' Ignorance - Followup

m0nty (with the kewl number instead of letter in his name) has updated the NZ Flashmob site to say the following:

A small number of our mail list members participated in there own virtual flashmob this morning. Part of the list was named ‘auckland’. This, unintentionally, meant that new members joining Auckland, early this morning, were broadcast to about 20% of our membership. We are really sorry for any disruption it may have caused, this was a genuine error.

However, this was fixed at 10:35am. Ironically, everyone who continued to reply and complain about the ‘spam’ created it.

The majority kept their head, and the ones who lost it and threatened me, need to stick their bananas somewhere special and question using their professional, work email addresses for this sort of thing in the first place.

Ken Kifer killed

On Saturday, 13.September.2003, while bicycling near his home in Alabama, Ken Kifer was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The drunk driver had been reportedly released from jail for a previous drunken driving offense just four hours earlier.

It was through his Bike Pages I learned of him when I started commuting by cycle.

Ken had bicycled over 100,000 miles in his life and argued extensively on his pages that bicycling is a safe, fun, and healthy activity. He had inspired and encouraged thousands or perhaps millions of people to also bicycle and provided well written and thoughtful advice on many aspects of bicycling.

Flashmobbers' Ignorance

Someone, probably m0nty, the organizer of Auckland's flashmob, had a problem with setting up the website. Visitors have clicked on the link to send him their mobile number and have sent it to the entire mailing list. Now responses are appearing on the list, along with some mobile phone numbers.

I have all these e-mails coming through to me. The e-mails are addressed, this is not me???

Is she used to mailing lists at all?

For some reason my mobile number has gone out to all of you, i'm not sure why. Can you please disregard this and stop calling. I think this is someones idea of a strange flashmob, very funny but i need to do some work now.

Flashmobbers aren't savvy enough to realize that she didn't want people ringing. Anyway, why would you ring an anonymous cellphone at peak hours? You're paying for it (or shafting the boss with the call cost). If they are going to do that then I should organize a mob to send me micropayments.

can you please tell me what's going on? Why am I getting all these e-mails?

You signed up to be part of the collective.

Why are emails being sent out to everyone???????

I thought this would be obvious

can we stop it somehow ??

Um, No! Only the website owner can

This is not good

Are you sure?

Ok, obviously the signup form on the website isn't working, which means each person who signs up is sending their mobile number to all recipients of the email list.

If everyone stops emailing asking to be removed etc, then the emails will stop arriving.

Please stop replying to

Someone with a few clues at last, pity he was ignored

There must be one person who has set up the site who can fix it!!???

Yep! Unfortunately he's not reading his email at the moment.

just thought you'd like to know..

for some reason i got sent one of your "my cellphone number is.." emails..
i have no idea why, as in the header it was clearly addressed to your email addy, not mine.
very odd.

This was after a lot of messages had been sent. I guess she doesn't skim the contents of her in box before processing each email.

I really do need to get some work done guys.....this is getting ridiculous!!

Is your delete key broken? There was only a couple of dozen messages at this time. Do you have to read your email as soon as it arrives? Why not try ignoring all messages from

in fact i have just started receiving a whole lot of your emails!
what is going on??

umm i don't even have anything to do with flashmob, except for sending my cellphone number from this email addy to the wellington flashmob email addy.

it's not an inconvenience for me, but is quite a serious problem for you methinks..

This wasn't her first message. It seems she ignored the fact that she got a copy of her own message earlier

How to kill cyclists

Go, Skid Racer, Go! should be an effective way to kill a few more cyclists. Obviously the sort of driving we need on the road. Also, think of the advantage it'll give in parking in tight spaces.

And the children shall guide ye

Another meaningless action by a flashmob. A few more of these and we can get mobs doing useful things, even though it will be meaningless to the participants of the mob. All they want is that momentary sense of collectiveness that they get from the mob.

Quote of the Day

A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
-- Duke Ellington

Seven Deadly Sins: #6 Greed

I want a Canon EOS Digital Rebel

Monday, September 15, 2003

When the shooting stops

How to make a home movie that is watchable. The Sydney morning Herald article, by Nick Galvin includes recomendations of how to get images that people will want to look at time and time again. It warns that 60% of the footage will be unwatchable.

The next step of the RIAA

Denounce Newswire: RIAA Opens Detention Facility for Suspected File Sharers

Quote of the Day

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
-- Sally Berger

File-Sharing Battle Leaves Musicians Caught in Middle

The New York Times has an article, File-Sharing Battle Leaves Musicians Caught in Middle, on the impact on musicians and the battle by the RIAA against peer-to-peer network file sharing. It points out that many musicians get no royalties due to the accounting practices of the big recording companies.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Queer Eye for the Oz Bloke

Australia is going to produce a version of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy I have friends making me a tape of the US version so I can see what it's about. They think it's great. (Or should that be fabulous?) I'm reserving judgement until I see it for myself.

Quote of the Day

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
-- Dorothy Parker


I'm a bit depressed today. I would like to be at a funeral this afternoon but it's out of town. The 24 year old son of family friends died this week, after a car accident. I rang and spoke to his mother last night, and I'm glad I did. Twenty four is such a waste.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Quote of the Day

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.
-- Aristotle

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Drive by shooting

I was the subject of a drive-by photo shoot today. While I was out skating along the waterfront I guy in the back of a SUV took my photo. It must have been because of my "WOOF!" cap as skaters are common there. He was cute, as were the two guys in the front seats. I figure they were tourists eating out in Mission Bay.

Quote of the Day

Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions, they can be changed as your priorities change, new ones added, and others dropped.
-- O. Carl Simonton

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Writing: Help for bad bloggers

Mac Diva has a good article, Writing: Help for bad bloggers on Mac Diva implies, correctly in my mind, that reading bad writing leads to writing badly.

The future is not what it used to be

Spider Robinson (of Callahan fame) is concerned for the future. With an upswing in the fantasy side of Speculative Fiction, and a downswing on the science side he feels it in incredible that young people no longer find the real future is unexciting. He sees this as a fear in technology.

I see it as people are not interested in the space opera aspect of SF. I see that people can't accept that attitudes in the future will be the same as today. Old SF in the 1950's had people acting in the same way as people from the 1950's. Today we see vastly different attitudes in many things. Look at how ubiquitous cellphones are now. The changes in methods of communication has changed peoples attitudes. Even SF roleplaying games have changed. Once Traveller defined, in games, the future, but the introduction of books with a cyberpunk theme has changed expectations.

Readers of SF have been too well educated to accept the science that allows fast interstellar exploration. Until there is enough publicity about a breakthrough in some sort of faster than light transport, readers get jarred by shoddy pseudo-science. It is easier to maintain a sense of disbelief of magic. A future where FTL occurs is a future with an ever-present information network, a future where biotech and nanotech has solved many of the frailties of human flesh.

The future coming is not in glistening spaceships.
It is digital.
It is biotechnology.
It is nanotechnology.

First Class

A touching Story. Petrified Truth: The trophy

CD Price Reductions?

Will the price reductions (see The Register) for CDs flow here? At $NZ30 per CD, and more, we could do with a drop in prices.

Quote of the Day

The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed.
-- William Gibson

Monday, September 08, 2003

Running Blog Capitalist: Can the Left Get Any Stupider?

This guy is an idiot. Running Blog Capitalist: Can the Left Get Any Stupider? How can someone possibly oppose the senseless gathering of people who have no life or friends. It gave them a chance to get together and let them see others who had nothing better to do. It gave them a sense of belonging that must otherwise be missing from their lives.

Seriously though, he blames the left for this, wheras I'd say it was centrist with some left organising. These aren't the people who turned up at every organised protest, they are the apathetic who think they should do something, anything, but generally don't care enough about any cause. They know that this has absolutely no meaning (apart from financially to the Burger King store they harrassed).

Quote of the Day

Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions, they can be changed as your priorities change, new ones added, and others dropped.
-- O. Carl Simonton

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Book swaps under fire

Jessica Adams is claiming that bookcrossing is devaluing books by co-ordinating lending for which no royalty is payable. She seems to be unaware that members of bookcrossing have a high regard for books, and don't just trash them.

Joel Rickett from the Guardian highlights the chance of someone intending to buy a book and being lucky enough to find a bookceossing book are infinitesimal, and that bookcrossing has fuel word-of-mouth bestsellers.

Neil Gaimen states in his weblog "Booksales are booksales, readers are readers, and the two things aren't exactly the same."

Friday, September 05, 2003

Shirky: A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Clay Shirky has an interesting article, A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy, on group dynamics. In it he covers the three patterns detailed by W.R. Bion in a book Experiences in Groups: And Other Papers.
These three patterns are:

  • Sex Talk where the group involves flirtatious or salacious talk or emotions passing between pairs of members,
  • Vilification of External Enemies where identifying else can lead to group cohesion,
  • Religious Veneration where something has been nominated as beyond critique.

Microsoft Adds Tilt To the Mouse Wheel

The review from Extreme Tech looks promising, apart from the price. As they point out, it will be most useful for people working on spreadsheets and databases.

Quote of the Day

When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.
-- Charles M. Schwab

Blogger Haiku

The blog sugarmama has written a series of haiku about some bloggers.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Quote of the Day

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.
--Diane Ackerman

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Current Projects

I am not someone who focuses on one thing, to the exclusion of all else. I am interested in doing many things.

I am currently, as usual, overdoing things and attempting to do all the following:

  • Research the island Maui in Hawaii

  • Produce a photo journal

  • Produce a blog

  • Improve fitness via cycling, and inline skating when Auckland weather permits

  • Update Dungeons and Dragons characters

  • Read current book

  • Redesign webpage

  • Date

Garden Design Plans

I need to redesign my garden, but, like so many people , I need to do it in small sections. I have to replace some pittisporum trees with a trellis that will serve as a backdrop to some roses, provide provacy from my neighbour, and not encroach onto a carpark.

I also want to extend my patio and pave a larger area of my yard, incorporating a permanent barbecue, and seating against the hedge. I'm looking at replacing the grass in this area with patches of groundcover plants that can take a light amount of foot traffic.

I need to put up a clothesline even though Auckland weather is hostile to clotheslines. Occasionally I want, or need, to hang something out to dry and not use the dryer. I've selected a line that can fold flat against the fence when not in use. It will go around the corner from the patio extensions and have paved access. There's a couple of gardens I want to put into that area but as yet I have not descided on the plants.

Bamboo is a menace I have to deal with, coming underground fom the disgraceful overgrown neighbouring property. I cannot progress on the shaded garden outside my kitchen until I have created a concrete barrier in a trench against the fence.

With E-mail Dying, RSS Offers Alternative

I read a lot of newspapers online. I receive headlines emailed to me for some of them. I've started using FeedDemon as my source of RSS feed. I'm a bit behind on some news emails that I haven't yet read, so going this way means I can still check out all my news sources without overloading my email. The article With E-mail Dying, RSS Offers Alternative indicates that this is the way to go, and that more and more sources will be going this way.

Quote of the Day

You have not lived a perfect day...unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you
--Ruth Smeltzer

Monday, September 01, 2003

A Sorcerer's Treason

I've recently finished A Sorcerer's Treason - Isavalta (1), by Sarah Zettel. I enjoy it, Although a lot of the elements common to fantasy were used, especially the cross-worlds aspects, this book came across well. There's enough loose ends in it to expect a sequal, even though the main protagonist is not aware of these loose ends. The prequal is due out soon, and I intend to buy it when it comes out is the standard sized paperback (or borrow it from the library).

I overdo is the amount of reading I attempt. When I used to catch the bus to work I could manage more books but now that I bike I don't get the benefit of that time in the morning. If I ever do have to catch public transport I need something to read, I am not a person to sit quietly staring out the window.

I'm finally starting to read Crossroads of Twilight (Wheel of Time (10), by Robert Jordan. Unfortunately this series seems a bit bogged down, with very little being resolved in a book. Hopefully this will pick up the pace. There are so many threads ongoing that stories could have been published in parallel with this series, halving the size of each book and focusing better on the characters.