Monday, 31 May 2004

Narrowcast vs Broadcast

A few times per day in the office, I get email that goes to everyone. They're not for everyone, just delivered to everyone. And that's the problem. It's much easier to send a message to everyone than to hunt down a list of, say, current job leaders. Even if there was a single address to which someone could send such messages, they'd have to remember which address it was, and they already know one that will guarantee delivery to all those people.

So: there is a broadcast solution available when narrowcast (delivering the message only to those it affects) would be more appropriate. The cost of broadcast is smaller than the cost of narrowcast, unless you consider the negative PR cost associated with broadcast. You can take one second to send a specific message to everyone, even if it's only intended for a few of them, and everyone else will be annoyed for a few seconds, or you can take five minutes to send your message only to its intended recipients and not annoy anyone at all. The cost you immediately see is your time, so to hell with everyone else.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is not an attitude I condone.
PPS - Not just because it affects me negatively.

Thursday, 27 May 2004

He probably eats lemons

I just got driven home by the most ornery bus driver in Brisbane. It's not really that he's openly hostile, but if you want to ride on his bus, you'd better have a damn good excuse. Don't try to use even a pre-paid concession ticket without a concession ID, and God help you if you want to buy a ticket and need change. If he forgets to open the back door for you, you'd just better hoof it on up to the front before he drives off again. If he doesn't stop when you ding the bell, that's because he doesn't like your face.

I almost get the feeling this guy drives over puppies on purpose, and for fun. I remember him from my university days. No matter how long it took, or how much of a rush you were in to get to your lecture/tutorial/exam/date, he'd meticulously compare each picture ID with the presenting patron. I never saw him refuse entry, but did see him take issue with one or two cards.

Some bus drivers get thanked after the journey. I'll give you three guesses whether this driver is one of those. Some of my friends claim to have met the "Singing Bus Driver" who is all smiles and pleasantness to everyone on board, and belts out show tunes at the top of his talented lungs for the duration of the trip. With all the busses I've caught over the years, I'd think that, at least once, my driver would turn out to be Happy and not Grumpy.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is the first time I've seen this bus driver in a while.
PPS - I hope it's the last in just as long.


Every time I hear a mobile phone ring loudly, especially if it's wrangler is not present, I imagine smashing it into dust with a brick. It usually makes me feel better.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I hear these sounds in the office far too often.
PPS - Especially for a place whose policy is that mobile phones are off during work hours.

Wednesday, 26 May 2004

There is no Force...

There are no Jedi and, furthermore, you are not Luke Skywalker. What is it about our lives that makes us seek fantasy? Is it the realisation that we are as boring as everyone else, or is it that increasingly unreal movies have created a thirst for the life less ordinary? It's probably both. Whether we just want to go on holiday or have adventures on a starship in a galaxy far, far away, we all seem to have some desire to shake off the dust of this one-horse town, so to speak.

The rut we dig ourselves into, before it gets too deep to see, becomes uncomfortable, and we look to hoist ourselves out and start something fresh. No harm in that, I suppose - neophilia has served to inspire many people. The problems come when we stay away and don't bring back our stories and lessons to the everyday world.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I am now about a third of the way through reading "The Last Command".
PPS - And I may be having a little trouble telling fantasy from reality.

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

"I am so ZEN"

I've been reading Fight Club (for the uncivilised, it was a book before it was a movie) and the differences between the book and the movie are interesting. In the movie, the narrator's "Zen Master" phase was practically just mentioned in passing. In the book, he sticks with it a bit longer. He thinks in haiku to calm down. He says he gets ZEN in everyone's FACE, and writes it just like that.

I get the impression that our modern Western culture is becoming Buddhist by default. Not a true Buddhist culture, of course, because we're still consumerist Westerners and the true Buddhist elimination of desire would mean we all should give up our credit cards and stop lusting after the latest combination mobile phone/MP3 player/GPS device/waffle iron. So what exactly are we taking from Buddhism? Perhaps part of the reason our post-Christian society is leaning that way is because firstly, if you are a Buddhist, you are on a path, and are expected to be working it out rather than have it all worked out already. Secondly, it might be that nothing seems to be wrong in Buddhism: there are no commandments and no laws. No "Thou Shalt Not". Well, there are, but they're more like suggestions. All in all, society is gradually embracing Buddhism because we're all too afraid to admit we actually believe in anything.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I am not a Buddhist.
PPS - As such, I probably have a misguided idea of the Buddhist philosophy. Much like you do, unless you are a Buddhist.

Monday, 24 May 2004


Because I seem to be socially maladjusted, my interactions with other people can seem strained at best and non-existent at worst. Last night during a long session at the local coffee establishment with many acquaintances, I felt particularly lonely, and wondered why. My current working theory is that I am tired and overworked, which means I'm unable to focus on anything for long - let alone the social interactions I usually find so taxing.

Could that be why so many of us feel more alone in the cities than residents of quieter towns claim to feel? Maybe not - I already have a theory about that. When we have thousands of people from which to pick and choose our friends, we don't have to be nice to everyone we meet, and end up being snarled at by most of the strangers we encounter. When there are only so many friends to go around, we need them all, and we are nice to everyone, which in turn creates a generally positive feeling in the community.

We have lost our community existence. A friend of mine - a youth worker - said that the basic unit of society used to be the village. Then it was the extended family. Then the nuclear family. Now it is the individual. Soon it will be the fragments of the individual.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sometimes, I can hear it emerging already.
PPS - Where will we be left when we can't even form a cohesive whole of ourselves?

Friday, 21 May 2004

Super-fun Happy Bowl!

Last night I went out to dinner with some friends to a Chinese restaurant in Fortitude Valley called "Superbowl". I'd never been before, and Our Fearless Leader for the night had assured me the portions were quite large. We still needed 10 mains and 3 barrels of rice to fill 12 people, though. I'd definitely go again.

Also, yesterday, one of my workmates held one of my paper cranes for ransom. I didn't realise it would upset me until it happened. It only mattered because it was the green one - all the rest are white.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I wanted to cover his desk in cranes in response.
PPS - But I only had time to fold four. I lead a busy life.

Thursday, 20 May 2004


I did the weekly grocery shopping last night because I won't have time to do it tonight (it's usually done on Thursday). My Tazo addiction showed itself again: I bought two packets of Stix just for the Tazos even though my collection is missing only five of the discs I could possibly find there. I have to call it an addiction now, because it's possible I'll just throw the chips out and keep the Tazo.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If only all of life's problems were this petty and small.
PPS - But in that case, I can imagine there would be more of them.

Wednesday, 19 May 2004

Final Fantasy XI

An unfortunate combination of factors has recently cut my internet time at home down to virtually zero. To summarise, we have cable internet service now, and because it's an "always-on" connection, I installed a firewall program. This firewall program does not support Windows internet connection sharing, which was previously being used to connect two PCs to the net via one modem. Thus, until I find another solution, we are stuck with exactly one PC on the internet. Now enter the second factor: the online game Final Fantasy XI, which has captured my brother's attention and much of his time. Mix in a bit of irregular sleep patterns from him, and I have to beg and plead just to get an hour online at home.

In addition to all that, any time I do get online I am usually interrupted every five minutes by the questions "Are you done yet?" and "How long will you be?".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm sure it's a really good game.
PPS - It had better be.

Tuesday, 18 May 2004


I spent an hour and a half last night watching the bad movie "Rollerball". I probably should have gone to bed on time instead. I got the impression that the plot had been sucked dry long before anyone got pen to paper, and the whole thing felt rushed (not surprising, considering the short length). One thing that did impress me, though, was the night-time car chase that was actually filmed at night with infra-red cameras. It wasn't enough to save the movie, but did stand out.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Current mood: numb.
PPS - It's my blog and "numb" can be a mood if I want it to.

Monday, 17 May 2004


In the absence of another love interest, I'm returning to someone who's already rejected me. She'd kill me for thinking this way, and to make things worse, I told her I was over her. I'm remembering little things I learned about her, too - some of them made me sad. I really can't be more specific in a public blog.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - She's a wonderful person, inside and out.
PPS - Why would I do this to myself?

Friday, 14 May 2004


I did the weekly grocery shopping last night (only because Dad, who usually does it, is in Russia) and I hardly had to buy anything. I think it's because all our family friends assume that my brother and I can't feed ourselves, so we've been supplied with free ready-cooked meals all week. I think I'd rather be cooking, if only because I perpetuate the idea by accepting the meals.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm even finding it tough to get through all the food we've been given.
PPS - I may be buying a car soon, for less than I expected to pay.

Thursday, 13 May 2004


After exhausting the Tazo supply in the suburb where I work, I have now located a new supply in the central business district. We're back in the collecting business, baby!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I definitely need a life.
PPS - But for now, this will do.

How Computers Should Look

Browsing through, I'm often struck by the thought that this is how computers should look. I'm sick of beige (or black or silver) boxes with giant monitors, cables everywhere and ugly peripherals. Computers are meant to be tiny, powerful and, if they're visible, they should be pleasing to the eye.

Ideally, your computer should integrate so well with your house (or other habitat) that it is entirely invisible and you hardly notice it. Failing that, it should at least look good. I doubt there are many computer manufacturers worldwide who aim to make their cases out of polished wood or in truly appealing shapes that differ from the standard box.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Perhaps Apple are the innovators here.
PPS - I feel so dirty for saying that.

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

The Pizza Name Game

A challenge I thought I'd throw out to everyone: order take-away pizza with names of characters from movies or books, or celebrity names, and keep an absolutely straight face when the person behind the counter calls out "Pick up for Gollum?". A few names to get you started:
David Beckham
Charles Manson
Mary Poppins
Arthur Dent
Harry Potter
Gandalf the White Wizard

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Extra points for showing up in costume.
PPS - I have never tried this myself.

Tuesday, 11 May 2004


I've stayed home sick from work today, because I'm coughing up yellow stuff and have no energy. I've basically slept until now, but it's definitely time to be up and about, even if I don't leave the house.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Perhaps I'll try to find my Star Wars video.
PPS - Link for the day is a friend at Livejournal.

Monday, 10 May 2004

Fighting Emo

Yesterday I went to the Lion's Den Cafe to see Half Way Out, and also saw The Simpletons (who poked fun at the fashion style known as 'emo') and a ska band whose name I can't remember (who did a great cover of the Captain Planet theme song). I skanked through the whole Half Way Out set, so I was dripping with sweat by the end. It was a great time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I just would have liked to stick around for Crying Out Loud.
PPS - It was probably my last chance to see them play for ages.

Saturday, 8 May 2004


It's unusual for me to post on a weekend, but this morning has left me with something to say. My father left for Russia today, to go visit a missionary and help build playgrounds with some other members of the church. I won't see him for two and a half weeks. The odd thing about this is that when we said goodbye, we shook hands. It was more of a farewell between acquainted adults than a father-son interaction. I guess we're not close, and I always knew it, but it's not something you want driven home quite so obviously.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I got up at 04:30 to see him off, and I haven't gone back to bed since.
PPS - I'll be tired on Monday for sure.

Friday, 7 May 2004


I'm a fan of the Brisbane ska-rock band Gerald, and have been for a while. Recently, though, I think I made the jump from casual fan (and friend of two members) to scary groupie. I think it was at AGMF this year that I crossed over, at least in the mind of the band. It was the second Gerald show I'd been to in just over a week, and I saw Ben, Dave and Adam talking to someone outside afterwards. I said "Hey, guys. Good set." and kept walking, but thought a second later "Man, what kind of freak am I?". See, it had occurred to me that I'm a non-musician using music lingo who actually has nothing to say to the band, and I still said it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - My motivation behind the spontaneous remark can only be the mild insanity of a groupie.
PPS - Then again, maybe I'm over-analysing things just a bit.

Thursday, 6 May 2004

A lesson in catching busses from someone who should know better

There are a few things you should and should not do when you are attempting to catch a bus home after a long day of work. For easier digestion, I shall present them here in point form.

1. Leave work with enough time to get to the bus stop without rushing.
2. If you bump into a friend on your way to the stop, keep your conversation brief, even if she is cute.
3. When your bus arrives, even if you're rushed, take a few seconds to check whether it is the right bus.
4. If you happen to get on the wrong bus, get off as soon as possible instead of waiting on board "just in case" it gets closer to your destination instead of dumping you in the middle of bloody nowhere.

By following these simple rules, as I usually do, you can avoid the embarrassment of calling home and trying not to use the words "wrong bus" within earshot of the other passengers.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - No matter how often we do something right, we just might do it wrong next time.
PPS - I dub this "Mokalus's Rule of Practiced Idiocy".

Wednesday, 5 May 2004


It's been a while since I had a Tuesday night free. Last night I used it to play Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. Every time I looked at the clock I was surprised by how long it had been since I looked last. I'm very grateful for the KI device from the expansion pack, because it allows me to export and import screenshots to carry around. I don't need to take paper notes anymore - I take digital photographs in the game, make some notes on them with Paint, and return to the game. It's all too easy.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Well, even though I say "easy", I've actually only completed two out of four Ages.
PPS - And I'm sure I've been everywhere I can in one of the other two.

Tuesday, 4 May 2004


I think I'm overdue for a proper holiday. Long weekends are good, if you can spend them relaxing. I seem to choose to spend them with friends in long sessions. I can't turn down an invitation to hang out watching movies and playing console games, but my body would much rather rest. I'm a bit divided between being an introvert and an extrovert - I can't tell whether I recharge by myself or by being with others. It seems that when the company is really good and prolonged I feel great afterwards, or when I get as much time as I need to just sleep in and relax, doing nothing, I also feel good. It's this sort of in-between socialising that drains me. Seeing my friends in short bursts throughout the week just wears me down. I need something different. I need more than a day (perhaps more than a weekend) with people I love, or I need to be by myself for just as long.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sometimes I'm not sure if I know myself at all.
PPS - And then I get too busy to notice anymore.