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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Internet in Australia










Typical speed






email, web

VoIP,multimedia, large downloads

ASP, video-conferencing, large downloads,large uploads

VoD, HDTV, improved, e-learning, collaboration

Av. monthly cost





source: Sydney Morning Herald, who stuffed up making the html table.


First day back at work after the Easter long weekend (4 days off) so experiencing the exaggerated monday-itis of going back on a Tuesday. Good news was that it wasn't an overly pleasant day outside, so not really missing out on anything.

Had a lovely weekend. Lisa and I drove up to Gosford for Jays birthday lunch (stuffing ourselves silly at an all-you-can-eat buffet) on Sunday, Saturday we had lunch in Market City (Chinatown) and then went to the gallery and checked out Art Express, which is the best art produced by students in their final year of school (year 12). There was some awesome stuff. One thing I noticed was that about 80% was done by girls. Read into that what you will.

prawn and wonton laksa for lunch
.:: Lunch ::.

Sunday night we drank a bottle of red while watching "Oceans 12", which despite a couple of bad reviews... we really liked. Although while I can't speak for Lisa, I can say that I'm a complete sucker for that sort of movie...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Happy Easter

... Island.. Posted by Hello

When Blobjects Rule the Earth
by Bruce Sterling
SIGGRAPH, Los Angeles, August 2004


"The lines between Artifacts, Machines, Products and Gizmos aren't mechanical. They're historical. The differences between them are found in the material cultures they make possible. The kind of society they produce, and the kind of human being that is necessary to make them and use them.

Artifacts are made and used by hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers.

Machines are made and used by customers. in an industrial society.

Products are made and used by consumers, in a military-industrial complex.

While Gizmos are made and used by end-users, in whatever today is == a "New World Disorder," a "Terrorism-Entertainment Complex," our own brief interregnum.

Blobjects tend to be a subset of the class of Gizmos. Not all blobjects are Gizmos, but most gizmos have insane amounts of functionality in them, and they are designed on computers."

"A Gizmo is not manufacturable by any centrally planned society. A Gizmo is something like a Product, but instead of behaving predictably and sensibly for a mass market of obedient consumers, a Gizmo is an open-ended tech development project.

In a Gizmo, development has been deputized to end-users.

End-Users, who are people like practically everybody in this audience, do a great deal of unpaid pro bono work in developing Gizmos. The true signs of a Gizmo are that it has a short lifespan and more functionality crammed into it than you will ever use or understand. A Gizmo is like a Product that has swallowed a big chunk of the previous society, and contains that within the help center and the instruction manual.

A Gizmo, unlike a Machine or a Product, is not efficient. A Gizmo has bizarre, baroque, and even crazy amounts of functionality. "

"Now, I could redesign this Gizmo to make it into a simple Product.

But then this Gizmo would become a commodity. There would be little profit in that; in an end-user society like ours, Products come in bubblepak or shrinkwrap in big heaps, like pencils. There is no money in them.

So there are good reasons why a Gizmo is almost impossible to use.

It's because a Gizmo is delicately poised between commodity and chaos.

It is trying to cram as much impossible complexity as it can, into an almost usable state. It is leaning forward into the future.

This is what our society does for a living now. This is what you do here at SIGGRAPH. You use Gizmos to eat complexity, and you try to sell it at a premium. A Gizmo Society of End Users is always pressed up hard against the limits of the usable. That's why rendering time always takes almost too long, no matter how much RAM or ROM you've got.

This is not an oversight, this is an inherent part of our contemporary civilization. A Gizmo is the classic form of our society's material culture at this point in time.

That's how it is, and we need to accept that. This is the apotheosis, the crystallization, of what we are up to right now. But that is not the end of the story. Because the next stage is coming on fast.

The next stage is an object that does not exist yet. It needs a noun, so that we can think about it. We can call it a "Spime," which is a neologism for an imaginary object that is still speculative. A Spime also has a kind of person who makes it and uses it, and that kind of person is somebody called a "Wrangler." At the moment, you are end-using Gizmos. My thesis here, my prophesy to you, is that, pretty soon, you will be wrangling Spimes.

The most important thing to know about Spimes is that they are precisely located in space and time. They have histories. They are recorded, tracked, inventoried, and always associated with a story.

Spimes have identities, they are protagonists of a documented process.

They are searchable, like Google. You can think of Spimes as being auto-Googling objects.

So what would it be like to encounter a spime in your future real life? How if you know if you stumbled over one in the street? Scott Klinker, a teacher at the Cranbrook design school, envisions it as something like this:

Scenario: You buy a Spime with a credit card. Your account info is embedded in the transaction, including a special email address set up for your Spimes. After the purchase, a link is sent to you with customer support, relevant product data, history of ownership, geographies, manufacturing origins, ingredients, recipes for customization, and bluebook value. The spime is able to update its data in your database (via radio-frequency ID), to inform you of required service calls, with appropriate links to service centers. This removes guesswork and streamlines recycling.

Today, most consumers know little or nothing about their possessions. They might know the brand, because brand awareness has been forced on them for years, at great expense, by massive product advertising. A Spime, by contrast, is an object that can link to and swiftly reveal most everything about itself. It might as well do this, since Google is perfectly capable of telling you everything anyway.

Managing that becomes a competitive advantage for spime makers. A true Spime is going to get ahead of the curve by bringing you inside the tent of the designers and developers and engineers, and the sales and marketing people. A true Spime creates spime wranglers.

Wranglers are the class of people willing to hassle with Spimes.

And it is a hassle. An enormous hassle. But its a fruitful hassle.

It is the work of progress. Handled correctly, it can undo the harm of the past and enhance what is to come."

from When Blobjects Rule the Earth
by Bruce Sterling
SIGGRAPH, Los Angeles, August 2004

..:: Alien-flower-hed ::..

Posted by Hello
This was originally a container for some absolutely horrible tasting lollipops. It makes a much better pot for my fern.

T-Rex marrow found

"Reuters is running a story about a shocking development in paleontology: A T-Rex thigh bone fossil was reluctantly broken to fit in a transport helicopter, and inside soft tissue was found. It appears to include blood vessels and bone cells. Scientists hope to isolate proteins, and perhaps even DNA."

Posted by Hello

Free Wifi on Tacoma-Washington train

"Free open WiFi on Tacoma-Washington train, courtesy WiFi hacker
A Seattle wireless hacker rides a commuter train from Tacoma every day with a battery-powered WiFi hotspot in his backpack that's linked up to the Internet with a 14.4 wireless modem. Catch his train and get free WiFi on your commute.

The open wireless node can be found in the first car of the last morning train and in Car 403 on the 5:10pm return trip. Use SSID "FreeInternetAccess" or "seattlewireless" to connect - You may have to assign yourself an IP in the range and use the Default Gateway as the DHCP is sometimes flakey...
" Posted by Hello

Nation's naming mystery

Flinders's legacy revisited ... an early reference to Australia in a  1545 book now held at the National Library.

A historical foundation stone may have to be reconsidered after the discovery of a 16th century German map that used the word "Australia" 259 years before the explorer Matthew Flinders bestowed the name on the continent he had just circumnavigated.

An 1804 map, published in the book Flinders wrote about his voyage that appeared on the day he died in 1814, is generally credited as the first map to assign the name Australia.

But the National Library of Australia has acquired a 1545 book containing a world map with the southern hemisphere land mass titled Australia - the proper noun form of the Latin word Australis.

The library's map curator, Maura O'Connor, said the map posed intriguing questions: "Was Flinders aware of the 1545 work when he suggested the name Australia in 1804, or was it that both authors were simply using the noun form of the Latin word as a more suitable name for the land mass?"

The map is in the book Astronomia-Teutsch Astronomei, published in Frankfurt by Cyriaco Jacob zum Barth. It examines astronomical knowledge and includes woodcut illustrations. Ms O'Connor said the library acquired the book last year.

Australian maps authority and author Dorothy F. Prescott of Melbourne said Flinders was probably familiar with the German astronomical work.

"Flinders sailed by the stars and would have had access to a lot of books on astronomy, and it may well be that he saw the German map," she said. "When Flinders was starting out, a lot of people in England were starting to refer to Terra Australis or New Holland as Australia."

Another map that would have influenced Flinders, Mrs Prescott said, was Captain James Wilson's A Missionary Voyage to the South Pacific Ocean, performed in the years 1796, 1797,1798 in the ship Duff from 1799. "The Wilson book contained a map that actually used the words 'Greater Australia' - taking in Captain Cook's map of the east coast and the south and east coasts of Van Diemens Land," she said.

Officialdom had embraced the name by 1830. It had appeared by then in Admiralty Hydrographical Office publications.

...from smh

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Programs that will run from usb drives...

from Jeremy Wagstaff's LOOSE wire.

The Rise of Smart Buildings

Building-automation systems used to function in separate technology silos. Now vendors are rapidly adopting IP, Web services and other technologies that are beginning to converge with traditional IT infrastructures.
At Panasonic Corporation of North America's headquarters, a project is under way to replace wall-mounted thermostats with individual, virtual thermostats controlled by PCs. Real estate management firm Kenmark Group in San Francisco created an operations center to save energy by centrally monitoring and controlling the multiple office buildings it manages. The system includes a common Web portal and uses XML and an IP backbone network to "talk" to components within individual buildings.


Just got home after picking Lisa up from the airport. She went down to Melbourne for the weekend for some movie script related shenangigans... Needless to say, I'm contractually obliged to say nothing more...
We were starving by the time we got back to her place so went we down the street to a nice little cafe for a late lunch. They did a great salmon linguini. We saw Ralf, who i worked with at Gateway and who I haven't seen in about 3 years. I've spent significant chunks of the weekend learning C# and playing with mysql. Last night I had dinner around at my friend Srini's place, we watched "Paycheck". I bought Strange Days today on dvd for $20.
Life is good.


sexy girl, sexy bike.... and a strange giant tiki face door : what more does one need in life? Posted by Hello

Spore... Posted by Hello

One of the initial screenshots from Will Wright's (designer of the Sims) new game... Aside from the fact that the game sounds great and something I can completely get into, I simply love this image...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

coolhunter noun. A person who investigates cutting-edge trends, fashions, and ideas and sells them as market research to companies so they can incorporate them into their latest products.

reference: wordSpy

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pink and Orange Frangipani flower... Posted by Hello

Banana stalk Posted by Hello

Hitachi unveils 'fastest robot'

Japanese electronics firm Hitachi has unveiled its first humanoid
robot, called Emiew, to challenge Honda's Asimo and Sony's Qrio

Breasts a treasure chest worth $2.2bn

Mothers of Australia stand proud, your breasts are worth $2.2 billion a year.

A study of breastfeeding by NSW Health says mothers should be counted as food producers and recommends breast pumps be GST-free, putting women in the same category as farmers...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

New working week could help us get a life

Don't like starting work at 8am? Think work should recognise walking the dog is as important as going to school plays?

The working day could be redrawn so all vital business happens between 10am and 3pm to reflect workers' demanding lifestyles, according to Access Economics in a paper released today. And child care could be tax-deductible and workers could draw on their superannuation to fund parental leave.

All this would cost the Federal Government a relatively small amount, the paper suggests, and bring about "a higher available talent pool, improved staff retention, productivity and higher quality of work".

Having core business hours between 10am and 3pm would allow people to work from 7am- 3pm or 10am-7pm, in accordance with their family needs, such as dropping children off at school and picking them up. Face-to-face meetings could take place within the core hours while more flexible engagements, such as tele-conferences, could be scheduled outside.

The definition of the family must also change to include not just the nuclear variety but a "21-year-old with a dog", said the national president of the Australian Computer Society, Edward Mandla, whose group commissioned the report.

The IT industry is already feeling the pinch, with too few workers joining its ranks, and the problem is such that the Government is considering significantly raising the limit on skilled migrants to fill the gaps.

The Information Technology Minister, Helen Coonan, is looking at the paper as part of her push to bring more women into the IT industry.

"It has to be about choice," Mr Mandla said. "If you want to work 18 hours a day that's fine but it's not always appropriate at other times in your life."

He said tax deductibility for child care was a "bigger issue than anyone thinks", with parents paying up to thousands of dollars in fees to stay at work. Access Economics estimated this would cost the Government $771 million a year.

The second biggest issue for workers was having more time for exercise, with the paper suggesting a removal of the fringe benefits tax on gym and other recreational memberships funded by employers or workers through salary sacrifice. This would cost the Government $154 million.

The paper also urges favourable tax arrangements to encourage workers to sacrifice part of their salary to fund parental leave.

from smh

Monday, March 14, 2005

How To: Building a BlueSniper Rifle – Part 1

Watching the news these past few weeks, you would think that hackers have taken over our cellphones. From the Paris Hilton phone hack (which was notWireless security has been thrust into the limelight. The proliferation of Bluetooth devices has made wireless communications easy and the Bluetooth group wants you to believe that this technology is safe from hackers. However, the guys from Flexilis, a wireless think-tank based in Los Angeles, beg to differ and they have a big freakin gun to "voice" their opinions. Bluetooth-based), to the unintentional release of Fred Durst's (from the band Limp Bizkit) sex video -

John Hering from Flexilis, with the new BlueSniper Rifle
Figure 1: John Hering from Flexilis, with the new BlueSniper Rifle
(Click image to enlarge)

The gun, which is called the BlueSniper rifle, can scan and attack Bluetooth devices from more than a mile away. The first version of the gun showed up at Defcon 2004, a hacker/computer security convention held annually in Las Vegas. You can read about it in Tom's Hardware show coverage report here.

While the early version was held together with tie-straps and rubber bands, this newest version has a much more professional look. The team at Flexilis learned a lot from making their previous gun, and have made many improvements. The gun is now bigger, stronger and more durable and the antenna is almost twice a powerful as the older model. It also has a small computer which eliminates the need for lugging around a heavy laptop just to gather data.

How hard was it to make this gun? John Hering, from Flexilis, says, "The parts are easily available for a few hundred dollars and you can make this gun in a long afternoon." In fact, in this two-part article, we will show you how to build your very own Bluetooth sniper rifle. A complete parts list is provided and we will document each step of the manufacturing process. We'll also report on our test "shoot" of some famous high-rise buildings in downtown L.A., namely the US Bank / Library Tower and the AON Tower.

US Bank / Library Tower in Downtown Los Angeles
Figure 2: US Bank / Library Tower in Downtown Los Angeles

read on here...

Taste in music

A professional musician has revealed her ability to taste sounds, according to a Swiss study published in the British journal Nature.

The unnamed musician can taste tonal intervals. A minor second is sour and a major second is bitter.

Minor thirds are salty, major thirds sweet and minor sixths creamy. And the sensations are consistent.

The musician underwent examination for the phenomenon, known as synaesthesia - or crossed senses - at the University of Zurich for more than a year.

"Whenever she hears a specific musical interval, she automatically experiences a taste on her tongue that is consistently linked to that particular interval," the scientists led by Lutz Jancke said.

But they added that the linking of sound and taste was extremely rare.

She uses her condition in her work by identifying tonal intervals from the way they taste.

Synaesthesia more commonly involves colour, and the musician is able to see notes as well as taste intervals.

The researchers tested her strange ability by putting solutions with sour, bitter, salty or sweet tastes on her tongue. She was then asked to identify the relevant tone intervals by pressing a button on a computer keyboard.

via smh

SeeFree®: make your sight free.

SeeFree glasses
SeeFree® glasses
Distracted by billboards? Offended by their sexist, ageist content? Want to drive safely, with your attention not being diverted by catchy images and slogans? As a tourist, would you like to observe historical monuments and beautiful views, rather than companies logos overlapping them? Not happy with commercialization, visual pollution of public spaces?

Our SeeFree® Visual Spam Blocking System™ based on cutting edge image-recognition and augmented-reality technology, will effectively filter out all "visual spam" you don't need, and will make your sight really free.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Machine Elves

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Machine Elves (also known as self transforming machine elves) is a term coined by the writer and philosopher Terence McKenna to describe the entities that he claims one becomes aware of after having taken tryptamine based psychedelic drugs such as DMT. According to McKenna, their constant dance creates the reality as we perceive it. By following their dance, one can stay in contact with the Logos, a subconscious world of spiritual and other information. A close similarity is the Hindu Dance of Shiva.

Many people have claimed to have encountered such entities, and have described them as abstract beings existing in the universe created from human and animal mental space. The term "DMT Space" has also been used.

There are numerous references of such encounters that could be found in many cultures ranging from shamanic traditions of Native Americans to Australian aboriginals, to African tribes, to the modern day "urban shamanism" like Santeria and Vodoun and the "new breed". This is something that Timothy Leary used to describe the rising generation of urban shamans, who would, he claimed, augment the modern world's spiritual awareness of the world.

This concept may be related to a tendency for the brain to imagine living entities during certain altered states. The best example of this is the extremely common feeling of a living presence during sleep paralysis (which has been theorized as the origin of the succubus, as well as a common theme in many alien abduction stories). Another example would be the widespread experience of a "Salvia Goddess" encountered by users of Salvia Divinorum.

These entities are a common theme of psychedelic trance musicians like Shpongle. Space Tribe created a track (TIP Records, 1996) entitled "Machine Elf" containing a voice sample of Leonard Nimoy saying "Visual contact established. Requesting permission to land."

The Spanish television show La Bola de Cristal featured the Electroduendes, roughly "Electro Elves."

Monday, March 07, 2005

I really like this Illustration from House Industries.. Posted by Hello

groovey phone design Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Matt and Olivia get married!


Friday, 4th March 2005

...All the very best wishes you two crazy kids..
more photos here

I featured Semacode here before... now, along the same lines are dataglyphs from Parc...


This is the dataglyph for the address of this blog.
Here is the same thing in semacode :

...I don't know about you.. but the semacode dataglyph gets my vote over the parc one in terms of aesthetics... which is probably one of the least important concerns with such a thing. ;) I wonder what the upper limit is in regards to the amount of data that can be stored in a single glyph?

Friday, March 04, 2005

I'm an Uncle!

My Sister gave birth to a baby boy: Evan Alexander Orgill was born at 12:22pm yesterday, wieghing 3.49kg (7lb 11). Hearty congrats to Gill and Russell.

...And, of course, Evan.

.............I'll get some photos up here soonly.

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