[d3v0 lifeblog]

A blog of the newly hedonistic d3vo.

Books

I finished Pushing Ice by Alastair Renolds on Thusday night on the couch. A good read with great use of lots of real physics and plenty of long term end point thinking.

Finishing at 9pm, I wanted another book to read so I went out and got one.

I'm a fast chooser and it only took me ten minutes to buy one including
-lacing my shoes
-getting to the book store
-by foot
-and getting home again

It is handy living 100 metres from a late night book store :)

Translations from MEL to WLG

Some translations of words.

Pint -> a UK sized pint glass of about 560 ml.
Pot -> a much smaller glass
Thong -> jandal
Chewy -> chewing gum
Dink -> to double someone on a bicycle
Blowy -> a blowfly or a blowjob.
Wristy -> a wrist job
Old mate -> used a placeholder when you've forgotten somebodies name, or when you don't want to mention them by name
Parma -> a dish served at pubs that might once have been related to the Italian dish chicken parmiagani, a creamy pasta dish flavoured with taragon, but is now crumbed deep fried chicken with tomatoe relish and cheese served with fries.
Swimmers -> togs
Runners -> running shoes
000 -> 111
sidy -> city
cd -> city
hache t m l -> html
vanilla slice -> custard square

Better at Relationships with Women Part 2

--
So I'm better at women in a relationship context.  What do I mean exactly?

So things are working out much better, and I can see what is and isn't happening, and these relationships have clarity, and I can steer them to some extent and negotiate them and size them and communicate about them with some comfort.  I'm really pretty happy about this as you would expect.

My modest set of experience means that I think I can see patterns in dating, shagging, being friends, having meaningful relationships and getting close to women.  I think these are western patterns.  Some part of these feels cultural, but a lot of it feels like a good computer program for trust construction over a lossy channel.

So I was very intolerant about not knowing about what things meant when I was dating.  I had trouble not knowing answers to questions like 'Does she like me and which way?'.  I was kind of nervous about it and I'm sure it showed and steered things badly.

Data points let me get some idea of what things meant, by figuring it out in retrospect, and this comparison stuff has let me build a tolerance for these questions through realising things about communication, specifically about what you are dealing with in terms of the communication medium, which I have not heard or seen a satisfactory explanation of.  Mine looks like this:

"The communication channel for dating starts small, is lossy, garbles messages and breaks if any message is too much bigger than the last one."

There is a lot of depth about what I mean here, that you have to understand that capacities and limitations of the channel in order to ever have a tolerance for it that is necessary for a composure and a competency.

There are some ways specifically that you need to parse information from this channel that mean that you can't really reasonably be very upset or pleased about signals that you get right away, you can't often parse the last few signals you got, you can only parse early ones in the chain.

I think the parsing of this information is specifically a Type 1 Context Sensitive grammar in the Chomsky heirachy.  These are the ones that are hard to parse because you need to keep a kind of state in your parser.

Better at Relationships with Women Part 1

--
I realised tonight while talking with a buddy that I seem to have been luckier in the past year or so than prior with women.  Much luckier.  Much better.  He asked me what that was about and I replied that I'd think about it and get back to him.

It isn't that I've been working out lots at the gym, I haven't, I'm not in good shape for me.  It isn't a new haircut.  My wardrobe has been pretty good this last year, but not markedly different than prior.  No new car.  My home has been in pretty good shape however, a tiny help.

Part of things is slowly accumulating some mass of 'emotional skills', abilities to pick apart specific feelings, actions, reactions.  This has happened basically because enough experiences, including being crushed, have happened to me.

I'm a guy that needs a lot of data to work things out and I certainly got that with a share of crushings, bad chasing, poor calls and an actually crazy woman with Boarderline Personality Disorder.  About 5 or 6 years worth of data is how long it took me to get somewhere towards my self perceived competency.

Most people get this stuff earlier, but being a geek and having a great long early relationship, starting relationships late, being an introvert, learning finer points of social skills later; these meant that I didn't get 5 years of random dating done till about a year ago, roughly.

I've had plenty of support though, here and in other places, that has helped a lot, so thanks :)

I think things needn't take this long if you have a good guide.  I certainly had people to talk to, but to at a level of specificy that worked for me.  In extreme detail when things don't work, breaking that down to some fundamental thing, some fundamental contradiction, that is how I learn.

For general unguided mish mash experience, it took me a lot of data points.

But I have found people really good at relationships, kind of at the wrong end of the process, but these people do exist and so that is good to know and talk about.

Firefox 7 Fixes

Somewhere along the road from Firefox 3 to Firefox 7 that we have seen this year a couple of features have fallen from it that I want back.

The first is a status bar thingy at the bottom so that you can see the URL of links before you click them.  If you download actual files or do various kinds of web development then this feature is pretty useful.  This plugin puts these features back:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/status-4-evar/

The second feature is removing the "http://" bit from your address bar.  For developers this looks weird and for anybody who copies and pastes this is a pain.  You can turn it back on by faffing with a setting, it takes about 20 seconds to do, see instructions here:

http://peter.upfold.org.uk/blog/2011/09/28/un-hide-the-http-in-firefox-7/

Happy browsing :)






Checklist for new couples

--
It occurs to me to write a checklist for new couples. My starters for 10:
- how should you wake her up in the morning? How much sleep does she need?
- morning person or night time person?
- what is her tea/ coffee order?
- is she fast in the shower or slow in the shower, how many minutes?
- wheat, vegan/ vege, chicken, fish, bacon, beef, basic dietary considerations?
- does she get grump if she eats meals late? How grumpy?
- does she suffer in the warth/ cold. How warm or cold?
- does she text with multiple sentences (gen X) or single sentences gen (Y)?
- how contracted does she like her text messages?
- does she want you to leave voice mail, call back or send a text.
- should you return her missed calls?  By calling?  By text?
- email, yes or no?
- facebook, yes or no?
- twitter, yes or no?
- What musical genre's will she not enjoy at a bar?
- Does she find fine dining weird?
- multinational junk food such as McDonalds? Yes/ no.

Jesi adds
- favorite colour pieces in Settlers of Catan?
- current library card? yes, no, where?
- ascended in nethack yes, no, really, really close!
- prepared for the zombie apocalypse, yes or no?
- cats, yes or no?


Sydney vs Melbourne

One upon a time lots of kiwis went to Sydney to live and work. This time was about 1990s. A small handful of friends went went there and spent a happy New Years eve there in 2000. I went back for two months work in late 2000 also. A couple of my London acquantences didn't go there, they went through Melbourne and then on to London.

Sometime between now and then the default Australian city for kiwi's I run into has changed to Melbourne. This works for me but I don't know why Melbourne works for other people too.

So I am slowly putting my life together here. I've got a place, although it isn't empty yet, and I have caught up with all my friends here. This is all pleasing.

Finding a job that I like takes time here, but I have made progress and people want to interview, so I just have to be patient.  I've got two second interviews, one which I turned down because I didn't like the job description and another that only happened on Friday and might not have finished deciding about.

I'm sure I'll have more news soon!

New Shows To Sample

Lisa Kudrow of friends fame had trip shows that I should sample while waiting for new Doctor Who to turn up.

Who do you think you are?, the US versuon of the UK show.

Web Therapy is a web series of three minute shows.

Games to Play

--
I'm looking forward to playing these indie games when I'm through with my current games and projects.

Hawken: Kind of Mechwarrior deathmatch with epic cityscapes that are future degro.



Stacking: Russian dolls adventure, beautiful textures, music and text but no speech.



Marian: Errie hand drawn 2d scroller thingy.

Subversive: ROBBERY!

F1 2010: like it says on the box, by Codemasters :)

Burnable Wintery Things

--
I bought my winters firewood from Wholesale Firewood Supplies who have a website http://www.firewoodsupplies.co.nz. I asked for short lengths, which helps it fit into my diminutive fireplace, which is not a normal consideration.

I've been using at my various dark night time dancing gatherings tea light candles that last for ages, they are called Plant Wax Tealights. They last about twice as long as normal ones, about 6 hours!

Google +

--
Google is about to get into the social space with google plus. It looks like a spruced up and cleaned up version of Facebook.

Facebook is too naff to live forever, a bit too open, annoying, walled and untrustworthy. It will die like AOL before it and Compuserve before that. These things are just medium term trends before the next incarnation pops up.

I'm not sure if Disporia will be good enough fast enough to matter. I'm not sure if I trust Google more or less than Disporia. The export data option though has got me thinking, it is a feature I don't have to write when I want to leave.

Facebook has a huge advantage, but the cool kids always want to try the new thing, so I'll be trying Google + too.

Heroes

--
Finished season four of Heroes, which was the last season. I liked it but it didn't end like the last episode of a show ever, the writers thought they would get another.

It was a good show, had lots of good acting effects and originality. The Hero parts where my favourite, and I liked the love interests.

Ultimately I think the show struggle to build multi seasonal arcs the way that Lost did, Doctor Who does or even the X files from a long time ago. That might have cost it the fifth season.

Disfunctional European Union

--
This is funny because it is accurate. It is not clear exactly what the European union is going to look like in a couple of years time.

Sore Feet Happy Mind

On a bus with two sore feet and one happy mind.
Tuesday night dancing was big and people are starting to get it, that dancing is about social dancing and not classes for their own sake.

I'm steadily extracting myself from my contract in Manila, about a week of post contract support to go, i'll be pretty happy when it is over.

With my spare time I'm hacking up ideas that been in
idling in brain, which makes me happy too!

Contract Completion

--
Ok, I've just about extracted myself from the end of my contract to Manila. The work has almost entirely taken over my life for the last 9.5 weeks. Ahh, day rates.

I was so happy when I got off the phone to the guy who is taking over from me that I clapped to myself for about ten seconds solid. I've got a half hour tonight and an hour tomorrow of email work, then up to 14 hours of phone and email support over the next two weeks and then I'm done.

It was a rough engagement hard deadlines, and lots of undescovered scope. I was working by myself for much of the time. The company wanted me to avoid taking weekdays as travel so I travelled in weekends and worked all the week days.

There was a lot of undiscovered scope which was hard to manage and make me look bad. I was building software from screenshots and sparse documentation and 55,000 lines of source code which means that you get it wrong and have to fix it in a hurry.

It was lonely being in Manila for 4 weeks. I saw my sister for a day and a half in the middle which helped a lot, but 4 weeks is a while to be away from all your friends in person.

So I get my life back tomorrow, surfacing after about a fifth of a year. People have had babies, I should meet them!

Manila, Phillipines

--
I'm in Manilla. Got an interesting and probably challenging contract here for an American company that just bought an ecommerce site.

Oddly the company had sold this ecommerce site 5 years ago, but have bought it back for less money. I don't understand global commerce even when it pays my wages!

Art Deco Napier 2011

--
Stayed in a backpackers full of swing dancers again, so much fun. We got announced Jam circles from the Navy Big Band, which was cool, they rate our dancing and play swing friendly tunes.

This picture kind of sums it all up, I'm dressed vintage, photographing my reflected image in a vintage car hub cap in front of vintage buildings.

Consultants Out Of Work Checklist

--
I'm looking for work, but not broke, and won't be any time soon. Here are eleven reasons why.

0 Meet Everybody for Coffee
Drink coffee like you have a bad addiction with all your former colleagues, project managers, reports, university friends and tell them you are looking for work. Take notes, follow up, offer suggestions, send helpful emails about their work problems. These leads take a while to gestate, get started right away.

1 Get Square
Pay all your bills, send out all your outstanding invoices, file all the things. You are better to do this first before you incur any penalties on late bills.

2 Tax Work
If you haven't done your last year tax filing with your accountant, go do it now. This will sort out your owing taxes, which may be your biggest business liability.

3 Shrink Your Provisional Tax Payments
Get your accountant to shrink your provisional tax payments based on you not working some portion of the year that you worked previously. In conjunction with the usual year on year growth factor in Provisional Tax calculations used by accountants, you may have already paid for some breathing room.

4 Pause your Retirement Savings
If you have a private voluntary retirement savings scheme, pause it for a quarter while you take a holiday and find interesting work again.

5 Shuffle All the Money
Shuffle all your money so that your revolving credit account is full, if you can manage it. This will likely chew up some of your biggest cost of living, mortgage payments.

6 House Renovations
If you have painting, shelving or other handyman work that are on the property or chattels, do some of this. It may help with a rental evaluation if you get super desperate later.

7 Get a Flatmate
Get a flatmate to help cover costs. This may be incompatible with number 6 temporarily, or a precursor.

8 Fire the Cleaners
If you had cleaners to help deal with your busy lifestyle, fire them now that you are unemployed.

9 Land Line, Ditch It!
If you have a land line, consider ditching it for a cheaper bill. It used to be that a land line might get called by a recruiter, but they now only call cell phones. The land line is not a business too for an independent consultant any more.

You probably don't want to shrink your internet however as you may use this a lot to find work, or keep entertained.

If you are making or receiving a lot of calls on your cell, increase your minutes package to avoid paying penalty rates on business day minutes.

10 Flog Your Old Business Tools
If you are an IT consultant, you probably have a couple of old laptops and a couple of old desktops to sell. I do! List them on an auction site and hoard that money.

Old graphics cards? Flog! Old audio gear, flog! That pile of ten weird computer keyboards, list that crap!

Old suits or ties you never wear? Take them to one of those stores that sells and takes a commission.

Siimilar Words To Confuse Me

--
Ok, here are a bunch of similar words that I will disambiguate.

Nagle (Computing)
Nagle's Algorithm is a low level TCP/ IP algorithm about when you should buffer outgoing data. It is designed to avoid congestion.

Nagle (Dancing)
In the Balboa dance from the Swing family of dances, Nagles and Nagle Sweeps are optional, unlead footwork variations in the basic steps.

Nargle (Fiction)
In the fictional universe of the Rowling Harry Potter books, Nargle's are mythical creatures of mischief.

Half Remebered Dream: Blood Investigator

--
Ok, so I have half remembered dreams from this morning/ last night.

In my third person dream, I was me but didn't look like me. I looked like a generic investigator going under cover in an American TV show.

So the first scene is me at the edge of a fresh water ice lake, with snow on the ice. I am feeling trepedation at going under the water. It looks cold.

Then I am underwater in a flawless suit getting patted down by a bouncer. He is checking that I am in fact some sort of supernatural by making sure I exhale the air from my lungs. This isn't a bar you are allowed to breath in, apparently.

Then I'm at a bar buying some blood to ingest, in my cover.

I'm looking flawless and fabulous, but everything is a little bit green because we are underwater.

Then I get made and my cover gets blown. My hair undulates in the bars underwater currents.

--

Not sure what the show might have been.

Contract Race?

--
I saw a recruiter today who does IT Contractor recruiting, Julie. She was nice.

Now I get to race her to see if she can find fun work for me before I do. For the last 8 years when I've done this I've won, oddly, beating the professional recruiters.

Game on.

Webstock, Merlin Mann Workshop

--
I went to a Webstock 2011 workshop today with Merlin Mann who is best known to me as the inbox zero guy and the 43folders guy.

I felt like his talk was aimed at post 7 habits, post getting things done people who want to get better at getting to creative work.

He talked about detailed descriptions of task by task change without using that word by instead talking a lot about prioritisation and where that stuff comes from. We kind of nanny and tolerate junk items on our 'priority list' when in fact it is just some kind of baggage that we likely don't actually care about.

He emphasised conscious thinking about what you are doing, checking in with yourself and trying to incorporate zen like detachment into your work organisation process at lots of levels or 'altitudes' of your life.

Points I wish to remember:
- When you have junk priority you are meant to be working on that isn't important to you and you don't care about, this will cause you to procrastinate.
- Expect change in yourself only at a rate similar to rates of change you have had in the past.
- Don't expect discontinuous change in your habits, this is why new years resolutions are junk.
- Your life gets better when you start shedding fake priorities.
- Conscious consequence trading.

You can get an overview of his half day workshop in this video, he gets to it about half way through.

Geeks At Lunch


Caught up with an old friend back from the UK for a visit over lunch, a group of university classmate geeks. Also his much more normal partner.

I noticed some weird stuff that happened as our dishes were turning up. As the waitress bought each dish, the five of us knew who had ordered each one and gestured so.

Further, where a dish turned up that more than one person had ordered we resolved the decision using a FIFO algorithm.

This wasn't any effort or special habit, this is just geek minds at work.

An HTML 5 Ditty

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I've written an HTML ditty, kind of a 'resume-ware' website, to play with the HTML5 canvas element.

It is a clock, in 24 hour time, enjoy.

www.radialclock.com

Things I'm not at terms with today

--
When I try to kiss a girl for the first time, there are three outcomes; she kisses you back, she allows you to kiss her but doesn't really kiss back or she pulls away and you kiss air.

It is a blink test, you are asking a question with your actions and she doesn't have much time to think about it she just has to react. I like blink tests because I think they can give good hints about what people actually think on a subconscious level.

So I tried to kiss a girl last month and she pulled away, and I'm not really at terms with this, today.

--
The lindy hop teachers calendar is up for the first part of the year. There are teacher workshops for the teachers on the schedule this year, but I'm not invited, which means that I'm not going to be on the teaching calendar.

I assisted a bit last year, and also a bit the year before, but this year I'm not even on the list of people to fill in the gaps as cover, as far as I can tell.

There lots of better dancers, better and more established teachers, and other more experienced dancers who will fill in this year. The scheduling is entirely rational and it is good scheduling.

However, just for today, I'm feeling overlooked because it feels like a demotion.

--
I'm a contractor which give you a flexible and erratic, semi planned work life; I like this a lot.

When the company you work for does a good job of communicating contract extensions or finishing requirements, this is a good thing, it means they like your work.

If they don't talk about renewing a contract or much about it finishing, it means your work is not on their mind, which is usually bad. If you get overlapped with another contractor then it means they don't like your work output and are replacing you.

In NZ culture, if you decide what someone is doing and is capable of doing is not good, what you do is end their contract early by giving then the minimum notice period.

In mid December I got given the minimum notice period at ANZ National after consultting there for a very long term. I'd just finished delivering some really excellent once in 5 year infrastructure work.

I got axed because of bean counter reasons, not because of my work, but just for today I am grumpy that the thing in the world that I am best at is not more important than some ill conceived strategy.

Ian (M) Banks Interview

--
An interesting and long interview with Ian Banks.

Mirrors Edge

--


Mirrors Edge is a great but greatly floored game featuring free running. Kind of like Tombraider without any old stuff, your do running, jumping and vaulting around cityspaces and inside big buildings.

Check it:




The game managed to get me to feel things I haven't felt before in a game; a little vertigo, the feeling of being cramped, a sense of free running across building tops. First person cutscene hugs with your in game sister, that was a first.

The music and visual appeal of the game are a great draw, and the running mechanics are pretty fun. After playing the game you can do time trials on parts of it.

You pretty much have to shoot people. It says you don't have to do this but it I found some levels too hard without resorting to guns. I got through about 2/3 rds o the game without shooting people though.

Totally worth playing if you can mostly ignore the poorly written story; these guys needed a proper storysmith. Rumours exist of a follow up game.

I'm off to hunt down the excellent soundtrack from the internet, also a first.

[game purchased digitally and downloaded using Steam, in a holiday say for about $10.]
[wikipedia entry here]

Lost

--



I finished season 6 of Lost recently; I liked it a lot. It was consistent in its own genre jumping way and asked lots of valid questions about identity and reason. If you got transplanted to a jungle, what would be important in your existance?

Lost is a crazy ride. It appears that the writers drive off a cliff with crazy ideas somewhere in season 2 then continue into accelerating freefall all the way up to the end of season 5. As mad and rediculous as it all is a great deal of sense and 'placement' is created in season 6 which pretty much flies a straight course.

There is plenty of clever stuff across the seasons. Seasons one, two and three have flashbacks to fill in character backstory, which is about creating more story threads. Season four and five have flashforwards, which kind of borrow against the present to create tension in the future. Season 6 has flashes 'sideways' which gets you trying to figure out what is real and why.

The crazy numbers get explained, as does the whole deal with the island, Richards longevity, the nature of the smoke monster and host of other pleasing details.

I think Lost ended with a sort of two way duality ending, where the plane both did and didn't crash, with a post life afterlife meetup of the main characters.

I liked the acting and the long mornful looks of lost love and love never to be. For me they are the trademark of Lost, a long and perpetuating note in the score of the story.