[d3v0 lifeblog]

A blog of the newly hedonistic d3vo.

3 Work Offers in 25 hours

As an example of the fickle, abrubt and generally awkward nature of contracting, I got three start right away work offers between Thursday 12pm and Friday 1pm. Three offers in that period of time is a little unusual, but what is more unsual is that I didn't know about any of the three projects before Thursday at 12pm! Kind of nuts.

I took the java gunslinger job, FYI.

iTunes and Quicktime bundling

In a move set to waste more of the worlds presious bandwidth, Apple have started bundling iTunes and Quicktime together. This would be fine except that when you want to install quicktime on a computer, you have to grap iTunes as well. This pads the download out to about 35 megs, which seems pretty bloated when you want to watch some rocketboom.

I'm wasting time before getting my hair cut with the excellent Liz at Jam :)


In other news it looks like I'm about to have some work again either as a Java/ J2EE Gunslinger or as an overpowered HTML codemonkey. Some money would certainly make my bank balance happy.

I'm not sure I want to put on the Gunslingers bandoleer, it's been a while since I've worn it. It means I get to be fast, mobile, shoot from the hip and ride shotgun. These are fun things. The money is good. A short range, blunt, do-it-my way mercenary, hired gun, short term, one shot wonder.

But it's a one way gig, running without wearing any country colours, no backup. The trail is forcast to be steep, muddy, and requires translation to communicate with the locals. I even get chased as part of the deal, the dreaded audit squad with its black on black markings and its cannon.

It could be a long trip through EJB country, the local infrastructure malitia may have a mandate of interference. I've some applet action, need to do battle with the iText consensus and am frankly concerned by the temporary alliance of tag libraries I must corral.

But I was at the wedding of a posse member, and they need help before they get rundown by the big T, clicking in the sky, that makes it personal, and if the sandbags need filling before midnight then you take your lumps. If you're born to it how can you really say no? It's in the blood.

In other news the May 13th twist has a name, it's form is yet to be inflated. It even has a nursary rime connection.

Blowtorch Nerds

Check out these guys, they are hard cord nerds. The daily commute gets the ANOVA treatment, yeah baby.

Palmer 24th April 2006

Palmer, a deeply nocternal specimen of Felis silvestris catus is caught red handed at his nightime antics:

Open Source is Winning

Hi All,

You probably haven't noticed, but open source is winning where it needs to win. This might not be permanent but the last few years have been nice.

I have this mental models of teirs of technology users. At the top there are uber geeks such as mr_supagamer and myself, then there are geeks, then power users, then most business users, then everybody else.

First, let me get this straight, gnu/linux and more recently apple have OWNED the uber geek space for years. At least five years, maybe ten years. The most pleasant, productive, efficient and fun place for uber geeks to work and tinker for at least the last five years has been gnu/linux and Mac OS X.

Why? It's the cool server side stuff such as Apache Web Server and Asterisk. The ecosystems for these things are unix ecosystems. There are windows ports, but they are often missing cool stuff such as text to speech or stability.

The next two teirs are a bit funny. Linux doesn't have to win with the geeks, because they will take their cues from the uber geeks eventually. But Open Source does need to win with the power users, because it's the power users that will eventually push things to everybody else in the chain.

I've seen open source win big time with power users last few years there. Mostly it is because of Firefox (nee Firebird, nee Pheonix), it's popup blocking and tabbed browsing. All the uber geeks, geeks and power users I know can't get enough of Firefox. It's the thin edge of the wedge.

There is a critical mass aspect to making people change, and it starts with the apps you use in my opinion. If you spend most of your time using open source apps, then the next question becomes which platform supports those apps best? At the moment it's gnu/linux, but that could well be gnu/freebsd or gnu/gnu in the future.

I used to think that Thunderbird would be the next app that would swing things, but with the advent of google mail, yahoo mail and most recently google calendar, it's not clear to me anymore that having a fantastic email client is really that important.

Probably this year Bittorrent is the most important app for wide adoption. It's very linux friendly as it is written in Python which exists on most linux boxen. It looks and works the same under both, but there is a unix specific version of the bittorrent tools which can be run headless on a server, to specifically cater to uber geeks :)

Bittorrent will get used mostly to download video this year, and that means more demand for good video players. The best video players are probably VLC and MPlayer, although MPlayer is not very friendly to use for most people.

Although MPlayer and VLC are available under windows, and are in my opinion the best video players under windows, the have been written originally under gnu/linux.

There is this whole media centre record of television thing going on. I think it is an abberation that will be correct by a combination of more bandwidth to internet users and better video codecs that allow for smaller files.

The h.264 codec looks to be about to be the codec of choice for all sorts of medium, and is better than MPG4, and a lot better than MPG2 that DVD uses. H.264 will be in used on blue-ray discs and hence will be in the playstation 3. Also it will be used in Hd-dvd players and hence the XBox 360 will be able to play it.

Internet bandwidth is slowly tricking up, but this year the biggest impact in New Zealand will be if Lost episodes start getting encoded in h.264 by default. This makes them about 2/3rds the size of XVid or DivX encoded episodes and so may well outway modest gains in effective internet speed this year.

What this means for open source this year in NZ is that if you like to download video and play it, and do things in a web browser, then the best apps and the best O/S for those apps are both open source. :)

Professional development goals 2006 : 0 and 1

I have five professional development goals for 2006. Three of them are new things I've started this year. One of them has been brewing for about three years.

The fifth one was also a new thing this year. It was probably the most exciting one, certainly the most radical and the one that I had the least control over. This fifth opportunity was courtesy of mr_supagamer, it was a contact to a recruitment person at Google. I got to look at the job description for one of my dream jobs.

Over the last month I've been having a long email conversation with the recruitment person. I got past the CV checking stage, but got rejected at the pre-screening stage. *sigh*

So that means I've got four possibly attainable goals left for the year. If I can get one of them to stick then I'll be having a resaonble year. If I can get two of them to stick then I'll be having a good year, so back to the grindstone.

Forthcoming 31st

Please mark in your calendar's my forthcoming 31st combined celebration:

Saturday 13th of May

It will be large and loud, the twist is being twisted.

Started Undercoating

I've done lots of preparation to the walls. I've filled, sanded, scrubbed and washed them. I've also touched up the ceiling where the previous painters missed the wall.

I used some no-more-gaps to make the corners look nice, there is naturally a gap between the pieces of plasterboard. Next I spent a couple of hours meticulously masking the ceiling doors, windows and skirting.

Then finally I started undercoating, just got around the edges of the room with a brush. That means I get to use the roller tomorrow to undercoat the main surface of the walls :)

Here is a shot of the same corner as below. The floor is covered with a drop cloth. You can just make out the undercoat that has been applied with a brush.

Wallpaper All Gone

I have removed all the wallpaper from the house. Check out the state of the floor after I finished pulling off the paper! I'll be selling the wallpaper stripper soon.

Advertising Gets Surreal

I stumbled across this via metafilter. The Saatchis in the UK have invented a band so that can flog ad placement with them. Go figure. In these surreal times it's probably genius.

click here for the article

He Made Me

Just got home from an evening of drinking with mr_west_end and others. For a lark, (hoover hoover), we went drinking in the hutt. The rounds were noticably cheaper.

At the exchange mr_west_end made us dance. I was initially very confused when trying to decide whether the music or the venue was more degrading, but eventually overcame that paradox with the application of gin. Gin seems to be the theme of the week.

In other news I have almost rid the house of pesky wallpaper. Almost. Tomorrow. Will photo blog appropriately.


A Good Day

Today was a good day. I got up and sent lots of email and made a hole in the wall to lay some more cat6 in. Then I bought paint, undercoat, rollers and filler to paint the spare bedroom with. I'm choosing Vegas as the colour, it's a bright yellow that looks a lot like mandarin, I hope.

I headed into town and met an old colleague in midland park. We wandered down to Docside and sat in the sun. We had a couple of apple juices, a gin and tonic and a mocha for $15, pretty good for table service in the sun! Docside had sun glasses, hats and sunscreen that punters could wear which was pretty cool. I had brought my own hat.

Whilst imbibing we ranted at each other about how the current situation with Asterisk and open source telephony is like the early days of the web and that we would be kicking ourselves if we didn't build an app to test the waters. Had good long discussion about the sort of apps that are appropriate to do over a telephone, and what sort of human wants match up with that. Then at the bus stop I had my first really good business idea for a telephone app. Need to call some friends and figure out saleability.

On the way home I picked up some drycleaning and some odd red curry paste. Not totally sure about the taste, my coconut cream wasn't very creamy. I made curry for three and put two in the freezer.

mr_west_end came over and we poked and prodded his mother laptop. Then I showed him some of our mutual friends blogs. Then I showed him how to call ms_west_end, who is actually in the west end, via skype for £1 per hour instead of the charges they are paying at the moment. mr_west_end now owes me 40 euro pennies!

Then we played with google earth a bit. Time for bed, I have pre-screening with google tomorrow (thanks mr_supagamer).

V for Vendetta

This is a cool movie. Making it *now* was very gutsy, and quite controversal. I'm surprised that it was possible to get funding for it. I was assured by mr_west_end that they did in fact shoot a lot of it on site in London. Given that it is a huge anti government and very applicable as anti-Blair, I found that astounding.

Hugo Weaving was awesome, really really fantastically awesome. He has to do most shots with only his voice and tilts of his mask. He should get a best supporting actor oscar, or whatever category they can shoe horn him into.

It is based on a comic book that isn't very new but yet is emotionally engaging, it's done by the Wachowski brothers and yet it's a very policital and current movie, Natalie Portman is roughly the lead actor and does some very good acting. It broke all my expectations for those involved.

I'd give it 4 and a half stars out of 5.

Palmer 9th April 2006

Dear interested parties, Palmer is doing very well. The dirt box is gone and he has got the hang of the catdoor. When Palmer playfights with the neighbours cat Magenta it mostly consists of making lots of noises at each other.

Pictures of Palmer with ms_big_sister

Scary Dating

So ms_rose and I are through, it was fun but wasn't going anywhere. I'm sure she will make a great drinking buddy, so no regrets there.

ms_datewrangler_g has organised me a a blind date already! She fast! I'll have to return the favour with interest.

Problem/ opportunity is that blind dates are scary. You see if you meet someone and there isn't a bunch of immediate magic, then the date will be merely emotionally challenging.

But the problem is, and I've experience this only once, when you think your blind date is really cute then that's a whole other game. What happens is that you meet the and you blush and get flustered, and that compounds the whole introductory awkwardness quite a bit. It's like

Spoken: hi ms_blind_datee
Iternal: ........ she's really cute, and now I'm blushing, and she can see me blushing and now I feel coy, and she can see that too, and now I can't think of what to say next, and she can see that too, and now I'm blathering in the linguistic equivalent of a defensive cricket shot.
Spoken: ... I'm mr_blind_dater ....
*awkward pause*

So the only thing more difficult than a moderate blind date is in fact a really good one, which is the whole point of the exercise. Sigh, I'm trash talking myself already.

Who's Knocking

In order to fulfil a certain birthday request for mr_storysmith , I got had to jot down all the lyrics of my copy of a particular song. The interweb didn't seem to have them handy, or at least not for my version of the song. So here are the lyrics as I hear them off Creamfields: Ferry Corsten: disc1: track 15 Who's Knocking


(none of us say goodbye)
(none of us say goodbye)
(none of us say goodbye)

stop that beat
before it gets something serious
something dangerous

stop that call

before it gets something
out of control
that leads uncontrollably

this crazy night

come back down boy say the music hits again
come back down boy say the music rides so high

come back down boy say the music hits again
come back down boy say the music rides so hi-ii-igh

didn't say goodbyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

you gonna say boom
you don't go changing

Once again

knocking on the door in the heat of the night
feels like something's going crazy
my soul is blind

who's there
knocking at the door again
feels like my hearts going crazy
i'm going wild inside


who's there
inside my soul tonight
is it you

tell me

who's there?
behind the doors tonight

tell me it's you

are you there?
are you there?!
are you there?!?!?
are you there?!!?!?!?
are you there??!?!?!??!?!!!!


who's there?
behind those doors tonight

once again the silence calls
once again my heart recalls
once again my mind is bald
once again I feel your call
once again the silence falls
once again my heart recalls
something back into it all

tell me again

(who's knocking at the door)
(who's knocking at the door)

take me back again

once again the silence calls
once again my heart recalls
as my feelings sow it all

tell me again

(who's knocking at the door)
(who's knocking at the door)

once again...


I'd like to point out that this is a piece of art that I feel very strongly about. My list for the last year goes like this:
- Who's Knocking
- Brokeback Mountain
- Crash

Yes, it's that good, I compare it to a whole movie.

In associated joy I have discovered that Amazon sell the sibling of the album that this song is off, which apparently is Paul Oakenfold doing an old school style trace house album. If this is true then I'll probably just about wet myself when I get ahold of the thing. It has been wishlisted.

Research Ideas

Two ideas have been bouncing around my head for a long time, both would be a joy to research fulltime.

The first idea is related to the geodesic domes as described by Buckminster Fuller in his book Critical Path. I have a vision in my head of a combination of software, hardware and manpower that could be used to build emergency shelters immediately following natural disasters such as tsumanies and hurricanes.

It should be possible following a natural disaster to build at least some temporary shelters using the leftover materials of preexisting structures.

Primarily my vision is a device that catalogues all leftover wood in a small area with the help of people. It then computes the kinds of geodesic domes that this leftover wood could form the framing of. Such software would need to optimise for a variety of factors such a manpower, time to build first domes, time to recut wood, local wind and earthquakes conditions.

Such a device might use a digital camera to photograph each piece. It could be shipped with a long roll of plastic to form the covering of domes, and would print or otherwise instruct the buliders of domes in fine detail.

The second idea I would like to research would be an advanced readahead daemon for the linux kernel. Fedora Core has a readahead service which precaches likely used files to speed up the boot process. Max OS X has a playlist of files that it thinks are hot and keeps permanently cached. SCSI and SATA have read reordering capablilities.

My idea is to take a much more sophisticated approach to file and disk caching that is based around the files processes are likely to need at certain times. Take for example the files that will generally get used during a machine boot. The statistics for what these files are and how likely that are to be need is knowable.

If these statistics where known an advanced readahead daemon could know that a machine was booting and prefetch most of the files required at boot before or as each they are needed.

It could do this in a fundamentally more efficient way than regular cache technologies if the optimal path across a disc to read the required files and parts thereof was to be computed before the boot process itself was run.

Such a process could be applied to optimise many disk intensive activites like starting Eclipse in my workspace or loading a OpenOffice document.

This work may be related to the disk optimisation work done for many Playstation 2 titles.