[d3v0 lifeblog]

A blog of the newly hedonistic d3vo.

First Date Offer of the Year part 2

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After some issues with seldom checked email addresses and mutually exclusive holidays, I have entered negotiation of my first date offer.

Details are currently meeting for a coffee at some undesignated time next week, time to be decided next week.

Good Weekend

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The weekend is about two thirds over, but it has been very good so far.

Met mr_aligator Friday night for a quick cocktail first up. Ran into a hen party there also. It was too early in the evening and we weren't required to help with any feats.

Then off to eat food, and drink good wine and talk about it at great length with mr_aligator. We ate at Boulcott St Bistro which was very good, as ever. The waiter was competent but I think new. I got duck liver pate followed by duck and we went halves in a chocolate cake with saffron ice cream desert thing. It was all very sound, very tasty, sensibly portioned and well presented food. This omnipresent all ground high quality to the food and wine at Boulcott St Bistro is why I like the place so much and have for so long. You go there and order what you feel like and it always tastes very good.

Next we caught up with mr_storysmith and ms_mr_storysmith, and assorted other people at a Yakatory bar. We drank some cold sake standing up. It was good.

Next up was karaoke at mr_swingouts place on Courtenay. Someone was making cocktails, I had a few. We sang badly, very very badly. It was late. I crawled into a taxi and got home about 3pm, setting my alarm for 1pm.

I sleep solidly, but and got up about 1:30 to a cracking good Wellington summer day. I started eating, breakfast immediately followed by lunch. ms_cycling_godess came around. We lotioned up and headed off to run the tricky and fun part of the mount lowry challenge loop track.

We parked a car at the end, then drove back so we could skip the road running. We had a cracking good run. We ran freely and well up mother natures excellent course of undulating ridges and spurs. We stopped briefly to admire the view in a few spots which was magnificent. My favourite is the view you get of Petone, the beach sweeping around to the western edge of the harbour. The sea twinkling in the sunlight.

I got back about 6:20 and immediately had to shower and head into town for mr_noobs birthday dinner. Was good, I ate a lot, was very hungry.

Then I went to a summer themed party at a flat. Did some swing dancing with one of the flatmates there who was very keen to practice again.

I'm uploading some more Milford photos to my gallery. It's late and I have to do some building tomorrow. A bit of fencing and some covering.

Cool Stuff Being Made

This looks cool. Will be watching all of these eventually.

A Good Sunday

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Today was a good Sunday. I got up, ate breakfast and did some housework. Then I took a shower, running into my flatmate for the first time this year as I left the bathroom.

Then I did some screwing with my cordless screwdriver. I put a piece of ply on one side of the cover for my hot water cylinder. Good fun.

Next I took off to upper hutt to see mr_godson who is doing very well. Not yet 2, talking some and walking lots. I read him a bedtime story, but not before he was all laxed out in my lap like some kind of hypnotised chicken. I stayed for dinner.

Then I raced home, got a few things and went to the Botanic Gardens. A rock/ swing band were playing. There was a small group of enthusiastic people from swing class. We danced lindy for a while until things got too crowded. Then we went down to a path next to the stage and did stealing jams till the band stopped playing.

trees + live music + botanic garden + summer + hot follows + lindy hop = fun

Now the stealing jam is where a couple are dancing and you try to steal your way in, displacing the person dancing. As I'm a lead I was trying to displace the other lead. You do this by jumping in at the right point and grabbing the follows hand. The counting is very trick to do consciously so it seems better to lunge when it looks promising.

The dancing lead can get defensive and lead moves that travel the follow away from. Sometimes it is best to steal from behind where they can't see you coming. A simultaneous double steal happeed where a follow stole me from my follow in exactly the same beat that another lead stole my follow from me. It was very cool.

The crowd seemed quite understanding of us dancing and were polite about trying to make space for us. We seemed to incite some adhoc partner dancing in the crowd, something like mutual arm socket dislocation.

I didn't feel subconscious at all dancing where hundreds of people could see me. We seemed to be revelling in being able to dance in public. The crowd accepted our somewhat period dress in a very Wellington way.

Storytelling and Technology Part 1

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This is the first in a few parts of my thoughts on storytelling and technology. I think this is an critically important subject for our species but that people in all the traditional and contemporary professions have yet to get it. This will include many of you, my bloglings.

This part is about computers and storytelling. You can substitute technology for computers here which is vitally important as our species chooses between nerdvana and the meat-hook.
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Stories for Computers

Professionally I am a kind of storyteller. My job is to tell stories to computers. Computers have infinite patience, and they require layers and layers of interacting stories in order to exist as we know them. These are stories that computers replay and follow. These stories are know in my profession by names such as programs, scripts, sites, daemons, applications and services.

Just like the connections in the neural network that is your brain that makes you a person instead of a lump of meat, computers need stories to do anything at all.

The layers and layers of stories inside a computer may make up the most complicated things ever devised by humanity. There are perhaps only a few people alive who really appreciate what goes on inside a computer. Most of us computer professionals get by with relatively scant understanding. It is not that we are a silly profession, it is that the stories are too many and too deep.

The stories in computers are in part a retelling of mathematics, in as such can only be as advanced as humanity itself. The stories are also partly an abstraction of the real world and in this aspect they represent our ability to reuse an create metaphors.

You might think I am being poetic or abstract saying that computers tell stories but it isn't really my idea. For example the global usability professional body has it's yearly conference last year, the title of which was Usability Through Storytelling.

Another IT profession called Business Analysis also makes use of a storytelling technique called use cases which tell small business stories.

Back to my profession, software. There are lots of parallel activities with writing a book. Authors, or wordsmiths as I like to call them, are at a disadvantage to programmers. It is an important disadvantage because it may be the path out of the current peak oil and global warming crisis that is the generational challenge of everybody under the age of about 35.

(I just said that if you are under 35 that we are responsible for fixing all of humanities current problems before humanity kills itself, either we fix it before we retire or we never retire)

As the stories that a programmer writes are given life inside a computer, it is possible for a computer programmer to write stories that are live. This means programmers can write stories that do things on behalf of people.

One of the things programmers have put a lot of effort into is writing stories that help programmers write more stories. The kinds things I'm talking about here are
- assemblers
- compilers
- languages
- libraries
- operating systems
- frameworks
- standards
- very fancy computer code editors

It is this work that gives makes possible things like the internet, google, blogs and ecommerce. These are all good things but I believe they will not entirely help you and me to save humanity, they are only part of the solution.

Human stories have characters who belong to different sides, tribes, groups, countries or whatever. In computer stories we have systems and subsystems.

The many characters that interact in a story are paralleled in modern computer programs by interacting classes, interacting layers and interacting subsystems.

Authors can optionally use on the fly spelling and grammar checking. Computer programmers must use syntax highlighting and on the fly error checking.

A computer program insists that it's story does not have a single spelling or grammar mistake, so there are special stories that help programmers make this so.

The act of writing a story is the same as the act of writing a computer program.

A story goes through drafts and is edited for improvement by an editor. A computer program may be peer reviewed, but will also be analysed by an Architect. Alterations to a draft or a computer program are called refactoring. There are a bunch of super magical tools that help you do refactoring inside a computer program.

Eclipse is the editor I use professionally and it is quite magical. It lets you play chords are Globally rename a character (refactor->rename) or introduce new aspects of interaction between characters (refactor->change method signature). You can introduce new middle man between two existing characters (source=>generate delegate methods) and change their countries of origin (refactor-> move) with only a few keystrokes.

This whole story of writing stories to help write stories for computers that use the stories to do things for people is a retelling of the scientific method, itself a precursor to computers.

But this kind of story needs an external reason for existing, and that reason is a little lacking. They question is

What stories do we want computers to tell?

This is another way of asking

What story do we want humanity to live in and what part does technology play in it?


My answer to this second question begins

not the story we are living now, because it is not a story that can sustain itself, and it isn't that great anyway. Humanity needs a new story and it needs to start living it right now.



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meta:
next part will be called Best Computer Games Ever and will link to
here.

Summery Saturday

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Today is Saturday and it feels summer. I'm blogging in bed and eating weetbix with cold milk. It is hot and I'm only barely dressed. Feeling good after my long nights sleep which followed an evening of dancing matts at mr_flashs girlfriends flat.

Got oodles to do today but most of it is fun so yay!

First Date Offer of the Year part 1

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I've made my first date offer of the year. It isn't very romantic. There is a girl I decided I like (a process that takes several months) but I only have her email address.

Was hoping she would be at social dancing tonight but she wasn't, so I just sent her an email asking her if she wanted to go to fine dinning with me.

We dance really really well together, she has a nice roundy face, she smells good and has a hot foreign accent. I have hope, wish me luck.

West End to West End

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mr_west_end and ms_west_end are headed back to the west end from whence they came. Tis sad, but I know they will enjoy the tea and the weather.

Look forward to visiting you guys inside of two years. Good pie to you both.

Gallery Issues

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After some technical difficulties I have managed to get the gallery software on my server to accept images larger than 2 megs.

For the technical:
Stupid php has a stupid global config file that effects all php apps running in apache. It has this stupid line which looks like this by default on FC4

upload_max_filesize = 2M

This line is in a file in /etc/php.ini !!! WTF? Talk about specialising your language too much! How am I meant to figure that out? php did not warn or error into apache logs that this limit had been rubbed, stupid php.

Milford Track Day After

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Finne!

Milford Track Day 4

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Dumpling hut - Sandfly Point, 18km 5.5 - 6 hours
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At the end of the track the different groups of tourists took photos of each other with each others cameras. At this point we are pretty happy to be finished, although it was most of a kilometre to the boat from this point.





Click here for the next part >>

Milford Track Day 3

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Mintaro Hut - Dumpling Hut, 14km, 6 - 7 hours
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We set out eagerly on day 3. Today was our big day of tramping, megatramping some might say. The forcast was for snow. As you can see we were totally up for it.




From left to right we have me, ms_organisatrix, ms_booty, mr_sothern_tramper, mr_pantry, ms_hot, mr_noob and ms_brown_sugar.

Shortly before the photo I'd been helping strap some a bandage to ms_bootys foot. She has long soft supple feet. They are hairless with neatly trimmed toenails and soft skin with an olive complexion. Unfortunately these are difficult attributes for tramping and her boot was winning the skirmishes it was having with the skin on her foot. She took it like a trooper the whole tramp and gracefully accepted my offer of solid lukoplast that morning.


Now the reason that this is the megatramping day is that the altitude graph of the track looks like this:



Notice that between the second and third huts there is this mountain thing. Apparently it is 500 metres up and then 1000 metres down. But who doesn't love mountain running?



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Milford Track Day 2

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Clinton Hut - Mintaro Hut, 16.5km, 6 hours
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Day two was our first real day of tramping. Unlike day 1 we had to cover some decent ground and gain some elevation at the end of the day. The forecast was for rain.

We got up late and breakfasted, it was raining. A certain member of our group impressed me with her brown sugar eating skills, a woman after my own brown sugary excesses.

During breakfast we waited for the weather forecast for the day to come up. It got posted around 8:30. It said rain but no heavy rain, no wading would be required today.

It took mr_pantry a long time to put his pantry back into his back.

We set out about 9:45 in some light rain, our first day of proper tramping.



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Milford Track Day 1

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Glade Wharf - Clinton Hut, 5km, 1.25 hours
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So we got up and breakfasted. ms_organisatrix and myself went for bacon and eggs on toast for breakfast. It was very tasty.

The place we were staying in had a storage room that you could lump your extra gear in while tramping. I had an extra bag. mr_noob had an extra bag. ms_organisatrix had three extra bags!!

After lumping away our extra gear we checked out and started trudging up the road to the doc centre.

One of the things I like about tramping, which is amplified by law in a national park, is that you have to be pretty much self sufficient. You carry all your clothes, food, equipment, entertainment, liquor, medical stuff and rubbish. Almost completely self contained and autonomous.

Now this experience is the opposite of buy-it-as-you-want-it consumerism and I felt a little tug from it we milled for the bus. I think you can see it in our faces and body language in this shot



Once our packs were on the bus I felt I had cleared that small mental barrier and that the tramping experience had been set in motion and would be unstoppable for days.



We drove next to Te Anau lake for a long while. I talked shop with mr_n00b.



Then we got on a ferry to head to the start of the track.



The captain of the ferry was pretty legend in my book. He drank his cup of coffee while giving talking us through the features of the lake. The timbre of his voice was deep and thick. He had excellent diction and employed it to sound out his south island accent.

There were some lazy looking guided walkers on the ferry to. Dressed in jeans. Tourists!

We didn't mill for very long after getting off the ferry, the sandflies found us very quickly. They were silent and tiny. The track was wide enough almost all of the first day that we could tramp two abreast. Social tramping.

We had decided to tramp straight to the hut and have lunch there. We shuffled about for half an hour as we talked with each other, took clothes on and off and played with our pack straps.

A very short while into the days walk we came across the first guided tour logings. Basically a nice hotel in a national park. Those guys seemed to soft to rough it.

After that we broke into medium and medium fast groups of four. Ms_hot seemed to want to treat the leg like an aerobics class which of course made her very warm which she would proclaim as a general FYI. I joined her with ms_brown_sugar and mr_souther_tramping in the medium-fast four.

ms_hot and myself recounted running injuries and training anecdotes.

Click here for the next part >>

Milford Track Day -1

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This day started with one of those times on my alarm that doesn't normally exist for me. It might have started with a five, but I was so sleepy I can't really say.

A corporate cabs cab whisked me to the airport where I checked in my luggage. My pack weighed in at 21kgs, oops! I didn't have any water packed either.

So I flew Wellington to Christchurch then Christchurch to Queenstown. On the first plane I spotted mr_n00b and ms_organisatrix. I caught up with them in Christchurch for some breakfast.

My freshly blanked camera was employed sometime midmorning when we arrived in Queenstown. The noobs look totally awake here but part of me is still lying in a bed in Wellington at this point.





(Note the sun present as soon as we left Wellington!)

We got a shuttle bus from to Te Anau and checked into our place for the night. The rest of our party slowly turned up during the afternoon. I grabbed some more supplies with mr_southern_tramper and wrestled with what to keep in my pack.

In the end I couldn't justify a kilogram of buttery sugary cookies, broke my chocolate bar in half, ditched some extra spare socks and clothing and lost a few musli bars. My pack would have weighed at least 17 kgs at this point.

My mall purchased sleeping bag liner turned out to be six feet tall when unrolled. It had survival instructions on it. Mr_noobs liner had a chess board. Go figure.

We were asked if we wanted drinks a remarkable number of times while out for dinner. I got some steak cooked nice and rare, but wasn't really very hungry.

I was a bit nervous and didn't get to sleep very quickly. I kept running through things in my mind that I might have forgotten.


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Milford Track Day -2

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The day of the 26th I had some fun family stuff to do but also had to pack things. I stopped off at Mitre 10 Mega to get some duct tape. In the preceding days I had collected a pack liner to put in my borrowed pack (thanks mr_house_renovator1), a compass, too much food and a heavy secret luxury item.

The thing about tramping is that you are weight limited. Luxuries tend to be heavy so you need to prioritise your luxuries carefully.

I spent a good couple of hours that day packing my pack and printing itineraries. My pack felt pretty heavy.


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2007 Resolutions and back from Milford

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I got back from Milford today. I was there walking the fabulous Milford Track in the fabulous Fiordland National Park which is part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area which has UNESCO World Heritage status.

A short summary of the Milford Track is that it is like tramping through a postcard.

Our party of eight (8) was organised by ms_organisatrix (formerly ms_mr_noob) and consisted of

  • mr_noob
  • ms_organisatrix
  • mr_pantry
  • ms_booty
  • mr_sothern_tramper
  • ms_hot
  • ms_brown_sugar
  • myself
I'll write more about our adventures tomorrow.

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My new years resolutions (otherwise known as goals) in order of significance are
  • to finish my decorating lap of my house
  • to start learning therapeutic massage with a focus on sports recovery
Merry 2k7 years day!