Friday, 30 December 2005

Joss Whedon as a wrap-up writer

I have come to a little conclusion regarding Joss Whedon, creator/writer/director of Buffy, Angel and Firefly: he can't write a really good final ending. The wrong characters die in stupid and unpredictable ways, the last part of the last scene is always foreshadowing instead of an ending, and permanent damage is done to the characters in some way. On the plus side, the endings are still dramatic, suspenseful and spectacular.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Joss' endings are probably his way of saying that life goes on.
PPS - And they're different from typical Hollywood tripe. I've got to give him that.

Thursday, 29 December 2005

The Dire Sun Story

In City of Heroes, any individual character can have up to four different costumes. You have to earn them, and they gradually become available at higher levels. Yesterday I made it to level 30 with my main character, Dire Sun, which meant I could get a third costume, as pictured below.

The reason they all look very similar is that I use the costumes as part of telling the character story. The aspect of Dire Sun's story that is told by his costumes is his growing egotism and believing his own hype.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The fourth costume will be mostly bright gold with a glowing aura.
PPS - Nobody said it was a happy story.

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

New, just like yesterday

I'd really like to know what "new information" triggers the little star beside a person's name in MSN Messenger, because I look at the info and am usually struck by the amount of total sameness shining from the contact card. I do notice that there are occasionally different songs listed as currently playing, and very occasionally a new Spaces blog post (but usually not). In either case, something is strangely wrong with that feature.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I feel justified in blaming Microsoft for this one.
PPS - After all, who else was involved in its creation?

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Laser knife

Remember that scene in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where Trillian makes toast with a lightsabre-esque knife? How hot would toast cut by laser-knife stay? It can't be that hot, or it would have been burnt during the cutting. If it was too cold, then the whole exercise would be rather pointless, since the toast would need heating afterwards anyway. This, for some reason, has bothered me for far too long.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I get fixated on details like that sometimes.
PPS - And by "sometimes" I mean "practically always".

Monday, 26 December 2005

Little onions that can swim

Yesterday for Christmas my brother and I received a gift box of various cooking ingredients like simmer sauces, vinegar and a little jar of cocktail onions. I've got nothing against the onions themselves, but I'm afraid I don't know any recipes that involve tiny, tiny onions (except perhaps for an onion cocktail). They may go unused for a little while.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Feel free to point me to creative uses for these floating orbs.
PPS - Preferably cooking-related, but I'm flexible.

Sunday, 25 December 2005

The Sunday Mok - A Very Something Christmas

I had to be at the Uniting Church last Sunday morning so I could be at the Christmas Eve service rehearsal. I believe I have attended Ashgrove Baptist just once in the past month due to obligations at the Uniting Church. After the evening service, several of us played pool and watched Be Cool at Kirsty's.
On Monday I went shopping with Deb. That could easily be a generic description for most of the days of this week. We also watched some Buffy, finishing up season 5.
In the afternoon on Tuesday, I watched more Buffy with Deb. In the evening, Erin, Michelle, René, Stu, Bridgit, Deb and I went to the Mount Coot-tha Lookout for icecream.
Wednesday was shopping again, this time for family gifts. Apparently I bought too many and now it's a "problem" that needs to be solved. It's hard for me to think of generosity as a problem.
I spent Thursday playing City of Heroes and watching old recorded Stargate: Atlantis episodes that I hadn't gotten around to yet. Dinner was at Dad & Beth's with Ug, Deb and David.
My knee started feeling a bit worse on Friday, possibly due to over-use during the week. Deb and I had dinner at a Korean restaurant in the Queen Street Mall, then saw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Saturday, Christmas Eve, I passed the morning on City of Heroes before going to Deb's for lunch. We played a few rounds of Trivial Pursuit DVD, then I went home around dinnertime to eat and take a nap before the late church service. I couldn't sleep, though - it's just too hot.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Last night I slept on the floor of the patio to stay cool.
PPS - Merry Christmas.

Friday, 23 December 2005

Grrr, Argh

I'd love to get a T-shirt featuring the Mutant Enemy Inc. monster logo as featured at the end of the Buffy, Angel and Firefly credits. This is the closest I could find. Much disappointment.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's probably just as well.
PPS - If I had found one, I'd be wearing it often, and constantly saying "Grr, Argh".

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Forbes Email Time Capsule

A while ago, ran an experiment they dubbed the Email Time Capsule. Basically, it was designed to allow you to send yourself (or someone else) a massively time-delayed email. By the time it was delivered (twenty years from now), it would be a message from the past. With that in mind, here are my top five potential (ab)uses for the Forbes Email Time Capsule System:
5. Freaking out relatives with an email from beyond the grave.
4. Driving yourself to insanity by sending a love letter you *think* you won't mind someone reading in five years.
3. Confessing to crimes after the statute of limitations for prosecution has passed.
2. Making one last blog post via a Blogger email address.

And the number one use for the Forbes Email Time Capsule:
1. Clogging up the system with undeliverable mail because who keeps the same email address for twenty years?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Comments on other uses for the system are welcome.
PPS - Unfortunately, the email time capsule is now closed.

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

It's Christmas and I didn't study

Christmas is rushing up this year like a massive train, honking some kind of foghorn, and my only response is to stand terrified in the beam of its one headlight. I have not put up a Christmas tree or sent any cards. I've bought a few gifts, but they're not even wrapped yet. It's just a good thing I'm not working this week, or I'd really be in panic mode.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - As is, I've still got four days left to spread out the panic.
PPS - I thought holidays were supposed to be relaxing.

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

First Corinthians For Dummies

The Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, abridged version:

"Dear Corinthians,
Oh, come on. Grow up.
Love, Paul".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The real thing is here.
PPS - It's called "Corinthians" because it's addressed to residents of Corinth.

Monday, 19 December 2005

Sleeping in rules

...or at least it does when my body allows me to do it. From years of training and habit, I tend to wake up between 06:00 and 07:00 whether I set an alarm or not. "Sleeping in" then becomes "rolling over and dozing for a while longer", but it's still great. From now until early January I've got nothing but sleep-ins and free time. It's gonna be awesome.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Some of my free time is already accounted for.
PPS - I expect to be finished my Buffy DVDs by the time I go back to work.

Sunday, 18 December 2005

The Sunday Mok - Eight Point Four Seconds

Last Sunday was day one of Youthworx 2005, and I did feel a little bit old. Many of the campers had just finished grade 10, and many more were just a few years younger than me. This year, however, I was not the second-oldest there.
Monday, day 2, was when I got just a tiny bit sunburnt - not too serious, though. Not enough to cause pain, at least. I was glad to have David, son of Gwen, in my study group - he was excellent for keeping discussion rolling, even if it did get off course a few times.
Tuesday we headed into Byron for shopping in the morning, then watched Madagascar in the evening back at the campsite. There's not too much to tell about these Youthworx days - they're very relaxing.
On Wednesday evening we had the traditional Youthworx worship service, including a moving testimony from Michelle. I didn't stay long at the after-service bonfire, because I needed a little sleep.
We saw the new King Kong on Thursday. If I can sway your opinion in any way, please do not see this movie. You will never get those three hours back. See the original instead, even if you just laugh at the stop-motion animation.
On Friday morning I hurt my knee on a skimboard. It's tragic indeed, but I think I'll get over it. We came home to rain, then disc 2 of Buffy season 5, which includes one of my favourite episodes, Fool For Love, all about Spike.
Saturday was once again a normal Saturday apart from the doctor's appointment in the morning. Buffy in the afternoon, and a freak hailstorm that lasted only about five minutes, but knocked out the power for four hours.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm writing this from church before we start rehearsal.
PPS - That would be much harder if I were singing rather than on the PC.

Saturday, 17 December 2005

I have returned

I got back from camp last night, so we'll be back to a regular schedule starting tomorrow. Just thought I'd let you know.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The only souvenir I brought back with me was a twisted knee.
PPS - I probably won't go skimboarding again anytime soon.

Sunday, 11 December 2005

Blogging suspended for a week

This is where you would usually see my Sunday Mok post for the week, but right now I'm off to Ballina on the Youthworx church camp. Should be good, but it does mean I'll be away from the internet for a full week, so I won't be able to post here until Saturday.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Wish me luck.
PPS - Sometimes my net withdrawal symptoms are quite pronounced.

Friday, 9 December 2005

Comment in Moderation

Blogger, I see, has enabled a comment moderation feature whereby bloggers can approve or reject comments before they appear on their posts. This is, in my opinion, a better comment spam reduction method than CAPTCHA images, because CAPTCHA completely rules out blind users and gives trouble to low-vision and low-literacy users - it's a more accessible solution for them.

Of course, the flipside is that the comment moderator needs to deal with a larger volume of information, and we all have plenty of data right now. I'm sure Bayesian filters could be applied to suggest spam-vs-not-spam test results, or some other method. Personally I moderate comments by the following procedure:
- Receive the comment via email.
- Decide if it's spam. If so, proceed. Otherwise just archive the email.
- Go to the offending comment and delete it from Blogger permanently.
- Disallow further comments on the affected post.

The last step is because the spambots keep keyword-searching (apparently) and keep finding the same blog posts over and over. Disallowing further comments prevents them from spamming that particular post.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Another downside of moderation is interference with the "liveness" of blog comments.
PPS - Since moderated comments could take ages to show up at all.

Thursday, 8 December 2005

Electron, shmelectron

If we had discovered matter and antimatter at the same time, our world could have been filled with positrons and negatrons. Sigh.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We could always rename them now, I guess.
PPS - But that would take more effort than I'm prepared to put in.

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

English Blood

My usual explanation for why I fare so poorly in Summer is that I have what I call "English blood". It's also why I can cause snow blindness with the glare off my skin. My English blood means my internal furnace burns hotter than usual, to face the cold Winter weather with no problems. In Brisbane, this means I am quite comfortable for two weeks of the year. Around our Summer Christmas, however, I sweat so profusely that I could grow rice. It's not pleasant. So, whenever I say I have English blood, that's usually what I mean.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - No offense meant to any English people reading this.
PPS - Or residents of England who, apparently, are never coming home.

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Magical Mystery Tour

This morning, it seems part of one road was blocked off to our bus, so we were detoured. This wouldn't have been such a big deal if there hadn't been a bus stop missed by the detour. Our dutiful driver decided that he would not miss his stops, naturally enough, so we spent about ten minutes searching the back streets for a way around the blockade to the scheduled stop. At one point we were headed back home, and nobody cheered when we made it back onto the scheduled route.

Fortunately, running non-air-conditioned busses at this time of year is forbidden by the Geneva Convention, so we weren't too uncomfortable during the ordeal.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I say "ordeal", but it was really more like taking a scenic route.
PPS - Except there was no scenery.

Monday, 5 December 2005

"Home" again

I'm back at my desk in the usual office this week, and I've been greeted by a few things:
- A new graduate sitting at my desk in my absence. Apparently there was a little communication breakdown about when I would be returning.
- A broken monitor. It worked for about a minute, then died.
- A complete lack of ready-to-go blog posts. I planned to just pick one from the archive, but none have inspired me this morning.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - On the plus side, my monitor was replaced with a bigger one.
PPS - I was going to make a Viagra joke there, but decided against it.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

The Sunday Mok - Building a salad

I finished up the Disciple retreat weekend last Sunday, then went to Deb's and watched three episodes of Buffy. In the evening service, I ran the computer and helped with a skit.
Starting Monday, work was fairly quiet. I've been handling the bugs that pop up at the rate of about one per day recently, and they're small. Dinner was pasta at Deb's, with Ug and Dan, while watching Mythbusters.
Karate on Tuesday felt tough at the time, but was apparently not too bad, since I felt okay the next day.
On Wednesday I met Ug in the city around lunchtime to help handle some banking business. In the evening, I watched more Buffy at Deb's.
Thursday night I did what I should have done on Wednesday - call a few of the youth group boys to ask them (again) if they were coming on the Youthworx end-of-year camp. I think it was about Thursday that I started to feel stressed.
Friday at work involved cleaning up my PC and making sure everything was backed up and handed over. When I got home, however, I remembered that I still had my building security card, so I'll have to send it back now.
On Saturday I went Christmas shopping with Deb, and I also experienced my first of Harry Potter anything - the Goblet of Fire movie.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not quite impressed enough to go and read the books.
PPS - Maybe if I run out of other things to read.

Friday, 2 December 2005

Lumps of coal in the Sony stocking

Much as I hate the abbreviation "Xmas", I'm getting on board with this:
No Christmas for Sony

Sony have been very naughty this year, and the plan is to boycott all Sony products (hardware, music, games and, yes, Playstations too) for gifts this Christmas. You don't need Sony, and you certainly don't need to be treated like a criminal by them after paying for their products. Show them who's got the money around here and keep it in your wallet.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Meme via Boing Boing.
PPS - Blogger troubles may have delayed this post.


I started a fire last night, with my mind. Actually, I set a saucepan plus oil on the stove and walked away for a few minutes, so technically I started it with the absence of my mind. I have learned some things from this experience:

1. Once burned, a saucepan is never the same again.
2. I'm a difficult person to console. Hugs, kind words and an understanding attitude all make it worse.
3. The best evidence that you have been near lots of smoke is inside your nose.
4. Our smoke detector works.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Casualties of the fire: the good looks of one saucepan.
PPS - Plus a bit of pride.

Thursday, 1 December 2005

Spacing Out

Yesterday I finished reading a book Amazon recommended to me: Spaceland. Strange stuff, of course, being about spatial dimensions higher than our own, and full of four-dimensional creatures whose look can hardly be described, because you and I have three-dimensional brains and experiences. They are described, however, and this is done primarily through the introduction of words for directions along a fourth spatial axis.

Today I started reading Flatterland, and, fortunately for me, it looks like I have read them in the correct order. Flatterland is, I am led to believe from the opening chapters, going to deal with much more esoteric concepts than continuous spaces of whole dimensions.

I suppose I could have learned this from textbooks about higher mathematics, but, generally speaking, that's not something I can read on the bus. Besides which, they have a tendency to be somewhat unreal, non-grounded and abstract in their explanations. I'm after more of a philosophical text - I'm a mathematical consumer these days, rather than a mathematical scholar.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So, I guess I'm off to the four-and-a-halfth dimension.
PPS - Don't even ask me what that means yet.

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Random computer-building thought of the day

I'd love to be able to build a computer into a Pepsi can. Something that small is truly portable, but couldn't include any peripherals. However, it could have a dock interface that looks like a wired coaster, and that's just plain cool. It would probably use a flash drive, or a very portable notebook drive, plus the world's smallest motherboard and integrated network, graphics, sound and several USB ports.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Yes, I was drinking Pepsi as I wrote this.
PPS - No, I don't think it will actually happen.

Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Carry your things in a guitar case

Carry your things in a guitar case. Not a guitar, because that would be too obvious. Things like books, files and your lunch. If someone asks if you have a guitar in there, you can say in a really sarcastic tone "No, I keep my books in here, as well as my lunch". They'll probably laugh until you open the case and show them. Then it'll be your turn to laugh as they back away awkwardly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Life can be fun, if you let it.
PPS - I know a great many jokes are aided by having a wooden leg.

Monday, 28 November 2005

The Monday Mok

Yesterday's regularly-scheduled blog post was cancelled due to Bible Camp, so here's a brief run-down of my week:
I worked, I watched a little Buffy with Deb, then I went on a weekend retreat to finish off the Disciple Bible studies I've been doing on Mondays for about a year. Dad is still honeymooning and we've run out of food (temporarily).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We're going grocery shopping tonight.
PPS - The fun never ends.

Friday, 25 November 2005

Swear Jar

If I had a swear jar at work, I'd be a millionaire by now. And that's just in a few months of being here. The morning conversation that I overhear would easily cover lunch.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Some mornings, a very nice lunch.
PPS - Three courses.

Thursday, 24 November 2005

I wish I was a plumber

It's Mario music, live. If you've got a Nintendo history like me, you'll like it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The rest of you, I guess, can wait until tomorrow.
PPS - Link via Boing Boing.

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

The Girl Gamer population

Designing games for female players has always been an adventure fraught with danger. Sometimes an enterprising designer might seek out these so-called "females" and actually ask them what kind of games they'd like to play. I expect that the answers vary from the younger marks' terse and nondescript answers ("Barbie" and "ponies") to the older girls' standard "I don't want to play games because they're all stupid". Basically there's an entire untapped half of the market out there if someone can figure out what girls want. Good luck with that.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The Sims seems to be the closest to the mark so far.
PPS - That is, if there is just one mark. I expect the market is richer than that.

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Should have tried it on a small file first

I have written a program to post in bulk the blog entries I have written down hastily and offline, and last night it made its first test run on several weeks of accumulated nonsense. Unfortunately for me, it seems that every half-finished post was immediately published, meaning that I had to manually save each one back as an unpublished draft via the Blogger interface. Perhaps this will be a lesson to me.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Or perhaps not.
PPS - I have plans to use a similar program to make blog posts while I am on holidays.

Monday, 21 November 2005

Maybe wrong guessing is in the profile too

I guessed that my Myers-Briggs type indicator was INTP, but the official results say INTJ, with very little room to argue. I do have a routine that I tend to stick to, but other parts of the profile say things relating to Js that really don't correspond to me.

For instance, the profile says that decisions come easily to me. They really don't. Ask anyone. It also said that I am less comfortable with systems of rigid logic where the rules are clearly defined. I loved logic at university. I can tell because I wrote computer programs to handle it and did my own tinkering and informal research.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Though I may like being organised, I can't seem to do it for myself.
PPS - That's a bit of a dilemma.

Sunday, 20 November 2005

The Sunday Mok - Profilin'

I drove Debbie to church last Sunday, since the family car would have been a bit squashed. After the service we went to a barbeque lunch and swim gathering at Stu's. I sang in the evening service, then had a late dinner at the local Coffee Club.
Monday at work meant debugging and model-building, and both of them got rather tiresome pretty quickly. I'd rather be building a user interface in .NET than trying to put stopgap fixes into the Access version. I played some City of Villains in the evening.
I went back to karate on Tuesday and felt fine, though I did take it a bit easy. I take this as a sign that my glandular fever is gone. I spent my lunch break in the park outside the office with Deb and her siser Mia.
On Wednesday I took Deb to see Kelly Clarkson at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, backed up by Rogue Traders. Both were pretty good, but the show was kind of short.
My dinner on Thursday night tried to kill me. It was a frozen chicken chow mein, and there was a broken shard of plastic inside it that turned out to be just wide enough to evoke a choking response. By the time I coughed it back up, I wasn't so hungry anymore. I also saw this and laughed.
On Friday night, we took the youth group kids to the local school oval to play netball and tennis and ended up with a little "indoor" soccer and low-net volleyball. I brought the half-time oranges.
Dad's wedding on Saturday went well, with despite me as MC. It means a few things, including that I now have grandparents again, I'm the middle child now, and I'm no longer living at home, but I haven't moved. It was good to see many of my uncles and aunts come out for the occasion.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I keep saying I'll have to change all my neuroses to middle-child ones.
PPS - But that's wearing kind of thin now, so I guess I'll stop.

Friday, 18 November 2005

Testing positive for personality

All us youth group leaders had a training session last night to learn about our Myers-Briggs personality types. Unfortunately, our test results were not present, so we took our best guesses based on the information Sue presented. I came up as INTP, which means the following for you:
I - Introvert. I can get away from the computer games for a while to spend time with you, but then I'll need to spend a longer time alone to recharge.
N - Intuit. I'm an ideas man, not one for facts and figures, and I don't need to see it for it to be real.
T - Thinker. I'll make my decisions (eventually) based on my head, not my heart.
P - Perceiver. No, I won't clean my room when you ask.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'd already done this in a basic way before.
PPS - There was no questionaire last time.

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Sony: Aiming for the foot

I just love the Boing Boing use of the phrase "Sony Anti-Customer Technology" to refer to the recent debacle. For those not in the know, Sony shipped some CDs that installed malicious, dangerous and intrusive software when inserted into a computer, and, as a result of their shortsightedness and hubris, been subject to a very large backlash, including lawsuits.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - For any big businesses reading this: customer does not mean criminal.
PPS - I like the phrase "anti-customer" so much that I think I'll start using it all the time.

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Google zombie alert finally pays off

According to this story, a singing, androgynous, child-sized zombie called "Pinkie-Pinky" has been hanging out in the toilets of a few schools, terrorising students. It's not quite the zombie outbreak I was expecting, but I'm glad to be in the know.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I certainly didn't expect the invasion to be musical.
PPS - I guess I don't know much about the undead's musical taste.

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

Open standards vs proprietary tech

Microsoft and Yahoo are starting to get the idea that cooperation is more powerful than competition. They are planning to create partial interoperability with each other's messaging networks. In an ideal world (my ideal world), there is one instant messaging protocol - just one network - and many different clients to connect to it. Obviously I'm not blindly and naively advocating that Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and ICQ all join hands and start skipping around in a circle in peace and harmony - I'm suggesting that we get ourselves a standard.

Proprietary technologies and vendor lock-in are the enemies of progress, and they have no place in your world if you are looking towards a brighter future. Unfortunately, they are also terms that make management and marketing drones salivate with anticipation. If you make a good product, however, you do not need to grab your customers by the throat and hold on to make sure they stay with you. If your product is good, your customers stay of their own free will.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If your product is really good, they voluntarily tell their friends about it.
PPS - If your customers are not doing this, you're not producing Quality yet.

Monday, 14 November 2005

Out of thinking points

The exertions of the day have numbed your clouded brain. You stand where you were, swaying slightly.
I am amused by this text from Urban Dead that is displayed when you, as a zombie, run out of Action Points (and can thus no longer perform any actions).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I believe it's the "swaying slightly" bit that gets me.
PPS - I'm a zombie again, by the way. They got me.

Sunday, 13 November 2005

The Sunday Mok - We love Alabaster Box, but we love our sound guys more

Last Sunday, Alabaster Box came to our evening church service, backed up by our own band Contagious. It was very cool. Our sound techs got big cheers for handling a little microphone glitch.
On Monday I was bug-hunting in the user interface of the databse, hopefully meaning that my time down in the Ann Street office is coming to a close. I don't want to be the one who has to stick around to operate the database. That would be very under-stimulating.
I skipped karate on Tuesday, which will mean I've been away for three weeks if I go back this week. I'll have some work to do to get back into shape. After dinner I went to Deb's to watch Buffy.
I ran some benchmarking tests on the database on Wednesday, as well as formally recording the tests I had performed, which made it easier to see whether I had yet succeeded at fully debugging the interface. My copy of City of Villains arrived via courier.
By Thursday, my test list indicated that the database was complete, but I still notice some quirks and occasional oddness in the interface. It's enough to make me want to spend the time to translate it out of Access entirely, because it's really no good as a complex interface package.
The turnout at youth group on Friday was a grand total of three, so we cancelled the planned activity and watched a movie instead. That was probably good for me, because a night of running all over the suburb would probably not be the best idea I'd ever had.
Saturday morning was shopping with Deb. Besides just general browsing, I wanted to find some white laminate for the front edge of the top of my bookshelf. I didn't find it anywhere, though. The evening was a string concert at the church, and though I enjoyed it, I could see that others were more enthralled than me.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I haven't had much time to try out City of Villains yet.
PPS - I probably won't have very much time very soon, either.

Friday, 11 November 2005


Paranoid people and those who need near-100% uptime from their computers use Uninterruptible Power Supplies: external devices - batteries, really - that plug into the mains and provide plug points that look just like the ones in the wall. They convert AC power to DC (for the batteries) which is converted back to AC (when needed) and finally converted back to DC by the computer's power supply. Does anyone else see the problem there? To me, it makes absolute sense to build a battery into every computer's power supply, thereby cheaply, easily and efficiently ensuring that momentary power losses do not result in dead machines and lost work.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - A few enterprising companies do sell power supplies fitting this description.
PPS - But only a few.

Thursday, 10 November 2005

Calendars and schedules

My big software interest at the moment is calendars. It changes from time to time, of course - a little while ago I could only think of blogging and note-taking, and before that it was personal information organisers. But right now it's calendar software - how it should operate, how it should communicate, and what it can be used for.

All the technology exists right now for us to create an online service that allows us to share calendar and schedule information in a totally cross-platform, transparent way, at which point we can figure out new and interesting uses for the information. Imagine an online service like Blogger that allows users to create calendars and publish them as RSS feeds with vCalendar files enclosed for each entry. Now imagine that you can point your copy of Outlook or Mozilla Sunbird at such a feed and show the events on your own schedule.

Now think a bit beyond club meetings and letting your spouse know about doctor's appointments. Think about other applications working with this information. Imagine setting up a personal TV guide with shows or keywords you're interested in, and having a TV card in your PC read that feed and record your shows for you on schedule, whether they change times or not. Imagine scheduling maintenance actions across a whole network of corporate PCs by publishing an event to an internal maintenance timeline. This is technology with powerful potential.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I will probably grow bored of it in a while.
PPS - Give it a few weeks.

Wednesday, 9 November 2005

The Drake Equation

The Drake equation is meant to predict the number of intelligent extraterrestrial civilisations we can expect to encounter (including our own). People, being people, argue about the values of the various factors and show their results of hundreds or very few.

In my mind, they've got it all backwards. We have a known solution to the equation: one. Any factors that, put together, produce a number other than one must be seriously called into question, because they simply do not fit with the observed evidence so far.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The Drake equation is based on evolutionary assumptions that I do not share.
PPS - That, however, is unrelated to my mathematical objections.

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

That's private milk

I have boxes of cereal on my desk at work. They're for snacking. I used to buy my own milk to use with them, because I go through more milk that way than my coworkers who just have a bit in coffee. I labelled these private bottles of milk with my own name to make sure people knew that this was not their milk. The problem arises when we run out of office milk. Someone makes their coffee then goes to the fridge for the final touch - the dash of milk - only to discover that there is none left. But wait, there's some over there. It's got someone's name on it, but I'm only using a little bit, and he won't mind.

Multiply that little bit by everyone in the office, times two cups of coffee per day (average) and my milk disappears completely in little bits that I "won't mind giving up". So now I don't bother buying my own milk.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have considered labelling it differently to deter people.
PPS - Something like "Spider poison" should work well.

Monday, 7 November 2005

It's like LEGO for big people

Yesterday afternoon Debbie and I assembled a bookshelf from Ikea. Following the printed instructions reminded me of constructing a LEGO model, only bigger and with no knobby bits to just click together. That could easily be what led to the one mistake: the top shelf is on backwards, exposing its bare chipboard edge.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Unfortunately, it's nailed in place.
PPS - Turning it around would involve dismantling the entire unit.

Sunday, 6 November 2005

The Sunday Mok - Fever of glands

Last Sunday I skipped church in the morning so I could rest and finish my Disciple readings for the week. In the afternoon, Deb brought The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Guess Who and we watched both.
I had Monday off work, on the doctor's "orders", though I felt fine. I got the word that evening that I had glandular fever. During the day I watched Street Fighter and repaired my mysteriously-damaged installation of City of Heroes.
I went back to work on Tuesday and various people asked how I felt. Apart from a decreased ability to handle late nights, I wouldn't even know I was sick. I didn't go to karate, but did end up at Bridgit's, watching bits of Brainiac interspersed with Dancing with the Stars.
On Wednesday at work, I hit a few snags, so I was slowed down a bit. I had to walk up to the Boundary Street office to unpack some boxes that were still sitting around from the move. I went to Deb's in the evening and we started watching my Buffy DVDs from season 1, episode 1, for her sake.
Though I was at work on Thursday, I felt overtired, and decided to take an early night. I spent part of the evening cleaning out my free-standing cupboard, playing City of Heroes and I also checked out to see if I could learn any cool new pen-spinning tricks.
On Friday night, I skipped dinner at home because we were going to have a barbeque at youth group that night. We went swimming, even though it was a bit colder than we anticipated months ago when we decided on the program. I didn't swim, just in case it's possible to transmit glandular fever through an entire group of people just by sharing swimming water.
I slept in until 10:00 on Saturday, then watched a Simpsons episode and went shopping briefly in the city. I played City of Heroes for a bit, then went to Deb's and watched Buffy before getting dressed and heading to a formal dinner at Ashgrove Baptist Church.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm still tired.
PPS - This is probably going to continue for a while.

Friday, 4 November 2005

Best served cold

Revenge is not a reason to live. It's a force that will continue your existence, true, but that existence will be emptier every day, and when your revenge is taken, it will be smaller than you expected and you will be so hollow that you'll be lucky to survive out the other side to a normal life again.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Revenge is from the Dark Side.
PPS - The Light Side equivalent is forgiveness.

Thursday, 3 November 2005

Several people whose surname is Adams are awesome

Today's Adams is Scott, of Dilbert fame. Just reading this blog post about why he loves Technology has made my day. Really, almost anything could happen to me for the rest of the day and I'd just think back to Scott Adams and his love of technology to bring a smile to my face.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Future featured Adamses will include Douglas.
PPS - I should probably find a third one, too.

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Time to see if I'm naughty or nice

I have ordered a copy of City of Villains as a complement to City of Heroes, which I have spent a reasonably significant amount of time playing. So, when it arrives, I will begin creating evil characters to terrorise the city, and keep playing my heroic characters to undo their dastardly deeds. Which side will win the battle for my mind? I have a feeling I will enjoy being a hero more than a villain, but I'd like to see both sides.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sounds a bit like The Vanishing.
PPS - That will make absolutely no sense if you haven't seen that movie.

Tuesday, 1 November 2005

Mountains of email

The problem with being unable to check your work email for a few days is that it builds up to a massive pile that takes you the entire morning to process when you get back. The bigger problem is that most of it is rubbish, to be thrown out straight away. The big problem for the company is that they still have to pay employees for the time they spend sifting through this useless email. It must be costing somebody a fortune.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Fortunately for me, I'm on the side of being paid, rather than paying out.
PPS - I do sort of resent the time I have to spend for this.

Monday, 31 October 2005

Not following the script

A telemarketer probably can't handle it if you don't follow the script. Keep a copy of Shakespeare next to the phone for those occasions.

"Hello, is that Mr Smith?"
"Now is the winter of our discontent"
"... Hello, is that Mr Smith?"
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"
(long pause)
"I'll call back another time."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have not tried this one myself.
PPS - I think it has potential, though.

Sunday, 30 October 2005

The Sunday Mok - Forced Leisure

I rode with Dad to church last Sunday, contrary to my recent habits. Afterwards, I had Mongolian barbeque for lunch at Deb's with her family. In the after-lunch conversation, I wound up in the local park throwing a spear with a woomera. I sang in church that evening, too.
I spent Monday at work failing to translate an Access database into SQL Server by various means. I also realised just how busy I'd be for the rest of the week. I did get to Bible study that night.
By Tuesday it was clear how bad the Access database was going to be if I left it in its current state. It was running about 30 times slower than the orignal version, which was exactly the opposite of the point of the translation work in the first place. In the evening, after karate, I took some items to Beth's for a garage sale that's been postponed to this coming Saturday.
On Wednesday, if you'll pardon the medical details, I developed a spotty rash over my entire body. Apart from that, however, I felt fine. Deb and I went to the Sit Down Comedy Club for the New Comic of the Year competition. We both thought the second place winner shouldn't have placed.
I went to the doctor on Thursday who reckons I've got glandular fever, which can present as tonsillitis at first, and can also produce a rash. I've been advised to avoid general social contact, but I've sort of gone against that advice a couple of times.
I went for blood tests on Friday, the results of which I should have tomorrow afternoon. I helped set up for the youth group Trivia Night, and then had to rest for a while. I went home and watched Saw on DVD that Deb had lent me. Very interesting.
On Saturday, I cancelled and stayed away from everything, including my ill-fated Brisbane Zombiewalk 2005. I guess I'll try that again next year. I tried to play City of Heroes, but it took all day to download the latest patch at 1.6GB in size. Now the game files are corrupted and seem unable to fix themselves, so I may have to re-install and re-download gigabytes of patches and updates.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I do hope that works.
PPS - Otherwise it could be an expensive call to tech support in the States.

Friday, 28 October 2005

Bubble Boy

By doctor's orders, I am to stay away from work and general social contact for a few days. It's a hard life, but I think I'll cope with several days of forced leisure.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I notice that Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is playing on Foxtel this afternoon.
PPS - I guess I'm all set, then.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

Rumble pack action

For whatever reason, the bottom left panel of this VG Cats comic strip makes me laugh.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I imagine that would make it difficult to play.
PPS - Unless you're into that kind of thing...

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

The new phone

I've been given a phone on my desk once again. Apparently this was not possible for a while because there are no convenient phone points near my desk. The solution from the IT guys was to give me a VoIP (internet) phone. It looks like a regular handset, but it's plugged into the office data network rather than the phone network. The novelty factor of this connection type, coupled with the fact that I haven't had a phone in ages, makes me wish I had someone to call.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've only made a test call to my mobile so far.
PPS - I also received an accidental call from someone else's mobile.

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Caught a spambot with its pants down

Various spambots trawl the archives of my blog leaving comments to link to their sites (to increase their page rank and increase traffic, blah blah). They usually include some variety of generic compliment on the blog, then mentions that, by the way, they also have a website, and, invariably, it "pretty much covers" some topic. Usually the topic inserted makes little grammatical sense, but I think that hardly matters to them. My most recent spam comment must have fallen over a bit, because its comment text read as follows:
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a buy zenegra site/blog. It pretty much covers ##KEYWORD## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
Obviously the link has been removed because I don't care to re-advertise for whatever the hell is being sold. The point of this spambot's complimentary style is obviously to make it appear more like a genuine comment and less like the money-grubbing, evil, soul-sucking, baby-eating spam that it is. This time, however, the script has failed to pass itself off as human and inserted its own keyword placeholder at the end. I find it mildly amusing.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sorry, spam pig, you lose.
PPS - Not that any of the spam comments still remain, mind you.

Monday, 24 October 2005

Brisbane Zombiewalk 2005

This Saturday at 2pm, the plan is to get dressed up as zombies and shamble briefly through the Brisbane CBD, followed by a picnic. If you're only up for the picnic, meet us at Queens Gardens on George Street.

Otherwise, if you're the zombie type, come to King George Square at 2pm, dressed appropriately and ready to get made up with fake blood and dirt, then get your shuffle on. BYO blood and dirt "makeup" if you can.

The planned route is as follows: from the square, cross Adelaide Street and head up Albert Street to the Queen Street Mall. Turn uphill and go up the mall, crossing George Street at the top. Turn left and shamble on until we hit Queens Gardens. The total distance is about 660 metres.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Zombie hordes work better the more people we can get.
PPS - So bring some friends. Bring everyone.

Sunday, 23 October 2005

The Sunday Mok - Tonsils

Last Sunday felt like I was cutting activities out of my life in order to feel less tired and stressed. I chose not to go bowling after church because I felt too tired and not in the mood. Lately I seem to feel tired a lot more than I used to. It could be that I haven't had time to exercise on Saturday mornings the way I used to.
On Monday evening I went to the doctor about my throat and picked up some antibiotics. I was spitting rather than swallowing my saliva when I could, just because it hurt to swallow. That also meant it hurt to eat.
When I woke up on Tuesday my throat felt the worst it has during this entire episode, so I stayed home from work and skipped karate that night. Deb brought over some ice cream to help numb the pain. I improved during the day and watched Moulin Rouge in the evening.
I might have been able to manage work on Wednesday, but I stayed home again. I had dinner at Deb's, then watched Interview With the Vampire, after which we talked for a while.
I went back to work on Thursday and did fine. Dad, Ug, Debbie and I all went to Beth's for dinner, then Deb and I watched Shaolin Soccer back at my place. I must have been tired or stressed, because I got upset by a conversation we had when I drove Deb home.
On Friday at work, the controls and information systems section went out to lunch on the company tab. My side of potato wedges was bigger than my main course, and I couldn't finish it, but at least it didn't hurt to eat anymore. We went bowling with the youth group in the evening and my scores were less than inspiring. I'm out of practice. Afterwards, I watched Robots at Deb's.
I woke up early on Saturday, intending to exercise, but I was too tired. I went to the Youthworx meeting, then went to Brookside with Deb to shop for her sister Mia's birthday present. I went home and took a nap, then picked Deb up to go to dinner at Southbank. We had Turkish, after we waited half an hour for a table. I forgot to get them to validate our parking, though, so I had to pay for that, too. I went home relatively early to sleep.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It seems that's the main thing missing from my life right now.
PPS - It must be my own fault for choosing late nights.

Friday, 21 October 2005

I write unhelpful titles

According to Jakob Nielsen, who tests, teaches and observes website usability for a living, blog post titles should be clear and summarise the content succinctly. Jokes, puns and obscure references, as usually favoured by me, make it harder for people to use a weblog, thereby driving away readers. Therefore, from now on, I will (probably, usually) be writing clearer titles for my posts, just to see how that works out for me.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This doesn't mean I'll stop the humour.
PPS - It just means that the connection between the title and the post won't be part of the joke.

Thursday, 20 October 2005

An ever-renewing natural resource

When I sign on to Messenger, I like to use a new quote beside my name. I keep track of the quotes I'd like to use in a list inside a nifty program called 3Day Organiser. I use one quote per day and I usually come up with about six new ones. At this rate I will never run out.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't think there's enough of it to generate power, however.
PPS - Since I have enough power, that's not much of an issue.

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Plastic face

Anyone whose facial repertoire only contains "stupid grin" and "vacantly serious" should be avoided.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have known a few people like this.
PPS - I don't think I currently encounter any in my daily life.

Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Tonsils on fire

Apparently, I have tonsillitis. After my sore throat did not go away or get better for four days, I sought out a doctor who took a look of less than one second into my mouth and pronounced me tonsillated. He gave me some paper and pointed me at a pharmacy who gave me some unfashionable pills (blue and green together? oh, please) that I am to take twice a day until the bugs go away. Unfortunately it still hurts like hell to swallow.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I declined the offer of a medical certificate for a day off work.
PPS - I have since reconsidered.

Monday, 17 October 2005

Prediction: King Kong Megaflop

I have a little prediction to make regarding the upcoming King Kong remake: it'll flop. Rather disappointingly, I imagine, to any studio executives who are betting the house on it. It's a remake of a classic, and those two terms sit firmly on opposite sides of the box-office draw see-saw, and "classic" loses support every day. "Gone With the Wind" is now, by definition alone, the most classic movie ever. Ask modern under-thirties if they care and they'll ask you right back "Gone With the what?". I am confidently predicting an analogous "King Who?" response to King Kong.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - That's including the draw potential of Naomi Watts and Jack Black.
PPS - I just don't think it will be particularly good.

Sunday, 16 October 2005

The Sunday Mok - Big ol' fat rain

Last Sunday I felt hot and tired, like I had a fever. Apparently I did not, and it was probably just the Spring heat getting to me. We had a barbeque lunch with our 40 Days of Purpose small group. I ate too much.
On Monday I wasn't going to go to Disciple, then I changed my mind at the last minute and went after all. That changed Debbie's plans, too. I had to at least drop in, because I was providing supper that night.
I was informed on Tuesday that our B2B integration software had been going quietly wrong. I think they expected me to notice it sooner or later, but it wasn't quite the kind of error I would notice.
I was unusually hungry on Wednesday, despite an approximate doubling of my usual food intake. I don't know exactly what it was, because it went away the next day. I went to Deb's for dinner and we watched Family Guy from the end of season 2 up to halfway through season 3. I stayed later than I should have done.
On Thursday we started getting a bit of rain, which is very welcome. I went out to a youth leadership seminar at Indooroopilly and glazed over for a while. I'm sure I missed a good chunk of the information.
I felt on Friday as if I hadn't been very busy at work. The job isn't exactly challenging at the moment, though some bits are interesting. We played "wacky sports" games with the youth group kids, and I got into a pretty good mood.
Saturday morning was occupied by Child Safe Church training, then I took a nap and went shopping with Deb for new trousers. My previous pair, now rather old, now have a broken zip. Went to Sizzler for Murrae's birthday, then to Laura's to watch Office Space I left at about 11pm. It was raining.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's still raining now.
PPS - It will be good if it keeps up for a few days.

Friday, 14 October 2005

Hi, My Name Is...

I'm bad at remembering to take off nametags, simply because I don't wear them that often. And when I do, you can be sure that it's going to stay on just long enough for me to interact with some strangers.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's important for them to know who I am, see.
PPS - I need a self-destructing nametag that disappears when I no longer need it.

Thursday, 13 October 2005

Get Drunk and Hide Your Pants

In the morning you'll wake up without your pants on. If you drank enough, you'll only remember that you've hidden them, but not where, so now it's hide-and-seek with a vital part of your wardrobe in the fifteen minutes before work. Good luck!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - They're in the dryer.
PPS - You're going to be late this morning.

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

Follow the white rabbit

Something I wish I could do is go back and see The Matrix again for the first time. On a big screen. That would involve some kind of amnesia ray, and unfortunately we only have two types of those. One is has a caliber rating and works by destroying your memories with very fast-moving pieces of hot lead, while the other is likely best wielded by Icepick Freeman. The point is this: The Matrix, when I first saw it, got so many things so right that it was impossible not to love it. The well-choreographed fight scenes had me leaving the cinema feeling not aggressive but powerful, like I could punch through steel and jump six metres in the air. I had rock music flowing through my veins and the whole world moved in slow motion. I could have dodged bullets if the need arose.

What got to me most about The Matrix, though, were the ideas. There's this whole world created as a thin disguise to keep a human population alive and deluded. When Morpheus told Neo that his eyes hurt "because you've never used them before", I got chills. Of course, a human body actually makes a lousy battery, and you still need to feed it. I've heard the theory advanced that keeping humans captive in this world is their revenge for being forced to store and display terabytes of pornography to spotty teenagers and sad middle-aged men, not for power generation. Whatever their motivation, it was done.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't know how much I knew in advance about the movie.
PPS - Probably very little.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

It's Alive!

A while ago I wrote about Urban Dead, a "browser-based, grid-mapped, free-to-play multi-player game where you play the survivor or victim of a zombie outbreak in a quarantined city centre". I'd been playing as a zombie thus far, smashing barricades and generally attacking people as I encountered them. I would often come back to the game to find myself dead, which is just a minor setback for a zombie.

Now I came back to find that someone had raised me from the dead to a fully alive state, dragged me inside a building, and handed me a GPS device. At least, I think that's what's happened. It could easily be a bizarre bug. The problem is that I'm not sure how to be alive in this game. I need to seek shelter before my turn ends, or else I'll be attacked on the outside and left for dead again. All the buildings are heavily barricaded to prevent anyone from getting in, so I'd need first to clear the barricades, then get inside, then barricade the doors again. Maybe I'll just stay put for a while, listening to that GPS device beep.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Being alive in a city full of zombies is much more stressful than being undead.
PPS - I doubt zombies have many problems with stress.

Monday, 10 October 2005


AI often turns out to have a weakness that can be exploited. An oversight on the part of the designer. A blind spot. Of course, *real* intelligence never succumbs to that, does it? ;)

No, the difference between weaknesses in AI and weaknesses in RI ("real intelligence") is that RI beings can learn to recognise areas of weakness and determine to plug the holes autonomously. AI usually needs external patching, which only serves to shift the holes. The fact that game AI has been routinely outsmarted by the communities of players demonstrates the intellectual superiority of RI over AI.

The design goal of "AI that can detect and overcome its own weaknesses" is very simple to state, but so broad as to be meaningless. Naturally it would have a different meaning in particular game universes, but it is still too broad to design for.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Game AI is becoming less important as we hook up real people to one another.
PPS - Perhaps one day it will be gone entirely.

Sunday, 9 October 2005

The Sunday Mok - Fire on the hills

Last Sunday I spent the whole day with Deb. We weren't always doing anything together, but we were around each other from morning to night. I also installed my new DVD burner.
On Monday I realised that I hadn't seen any of my usual bus companions in some time, and I hadn't been reading anything on the bus either. I used to do that when I rode alone. Bible study in the evening.
On Tuesday I felt a bit lethargic in the afternoon and decided to have an early night after karate and dinner. I felt hot, too, probably because of Spring.
Wednesday morning felt great after the early night. I really should do that more often. I watched White Chicks and Wimbledon at Deb's. I preferred Wimbledon, and I'd seen it before.
I sat outside and did some reading on Thursday at lunchtime, until it got too hot. It was hotter when I got back home than in the city, though, even in the afternoon. That's because the hills were on fire. It happens every few years.
On Friday Yan and I did an informal demonstration of the database for the mechanical engineers. In the evening we took the youth group kids to Suncorp Stadium to see the soccer and unexpectedly bumped into Miv and Julia. I say "unexpectedly" only because it's a big place - a soccer game is a very normal place to find Miv.
Saturday involved a meeting in the morning (as is the new routine), some swimming and seeing The 40 Year Old Virgin, which is a very silly movie, but funny. I laughed.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I kept forgetting Steve Carrell's name.
PPS - I suspect we'll be seeing lots more of him soon.

Friday, 7 October 2005


Something that really (and I mean REALLY) bugs me is the slang use of the word "shotgun". Sometimes it is used correctly - to call the front seat on a car ride. That's the shotgun seat. It's called "riding shotgun". It's from way back when, driving a wagon, there used to be the driver for the horses and a guy with a shotgun who sat beside him. Holding a shotgun, sitting beside the driver. That's what it means. "Front seat".

So every time I hear someone say "shotgun" to call something else like, say, the last piece of pizza, the best toy, a position in a queue or, worst of all, *not* having to do something, the little rage hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Read the following phrases, mentally replacing the word "shotgun" with "front seat" and tell me if it's stupid:
"Shotgun the good couch"
"Shotgun not"
"Shotgun being on Dave's team"

I know that popular use becomes correct by definition, and we say lots of things that would sound stupid to our ancestors, like "dirt" (was originally "drit"). The point is that I'm here right now and I know what it means. You're saying "front seat" all the time when you're calling things, and as long as I know this is true and keep hearing it, it's going to irritate me.

I've heard someone try to explain it away by saying something like it's an imaginary threat with a shotgun, but this was clearly a justification he had formulated long after he heard the phrase and started using it. He didn't learn it anywhere, he "figured it out" himself by noticing that he was wielding the word "shotgun" to get things, much as you would if you had an actual shotgun.

From now on, I refuse to listen to anyone who uses the word "shotgun" to mean anything except "passenger seat".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Or an actual shotgun.
PPS - I seem to have more pet peeves than I once realised.

Thursday, 6 October 2005


I wonder if blog comment spambots stop trying at a place that produces extremely low click-through rates, like my blog? I only got one spam comment today, as opposed to two the previous days.

What would work for me is a moderated system where I approve a comment before it goes live, because I get so few comments. That wouldn't work for larger sites unless the moderation was distributed over many people.

There's a way on the web designed to keep automatic trawlers at bay, called the Robots Exclusion Protocol. Email address harvesters obey it because of a "honeypot" script that's in place on several sites that presents them with as many fake email addresses as they can handle, with a little "robots keep out" sign on the door. When they disobey that sign, they become worthless.

Blogger already disallows robots from using the comment-making page, which means that all my blamments are coming from misbehaved robots. In other words, it is still worth the spammers' while to ignore the robots exclusion protocol. That's what has to change. I suggest meaningless depths of empty, functionless comment pages that lead to further comment pages and more and more, deeper and deeper, all the while achieving absolutely nothing.

When the spammers find their bots blindly following links and trawling around completely pointlessly, costing bandwidth and achieving nothing, suddenly the bots are a liability, not an asset, because bandwidth costs money (and even if you're not paying for it directly, wasted bandwidth is lost income). Then it becomes worthwhile to obey all the "robots keep out" signs on the web.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've been thinking about this a lot over the past few days.
PPS - Perhaps too much.

Wednesday, 5 October 2005

Drum solo

I like to make a little noise when I get bored, or otherwise fidget with objects in my general vicinity, or make noise by fidgeting. I can see how this would be an annoying habit.
One of the habits I find most irritating in others, though, is people who hiss through their teeth relatively tunefully instead of whistling. I'm sure you've encountered "hisslers" before. Somehow it just grates on me, as if they got halfway to learning how to whistle and stopped there.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I tend to stew about these things silently.
PPS - Except for broadcasting my distaste to the world like this...

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

A new toy

I now - finally - can connect to computers in the other office from here, including my own desktop. In theory, at least, this should mean that I never have to take that ten minute walk up the hill again just to debug software or check some settings. This is how the world should be, and I'm inordinately excited about it when things like this just work.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm particularly grateful for this just in time for Spring.
PPS - 'Cause it's getting kind of hot now, and that walk is less appealing every day.

Monday, 3 October 2005

What's that got to do with the price of eggs?

I'm overhearing a conversation now that's been going on and off for about an hour whose main points are as follows:
  • The price of oil has gone up by X dollars per barrel
  • The price of petrol at the pump has gone up by 0.30AUD per litre
  • That's all we know
  • Based on these two related price increases, we can work out at least a theoretical relationship between the two
  • That's not enough information to deduce anything at all
The various points are being made by two people with slightly different wording each time. They're not going to agree. Even though one is attempting to get his point across without being agreed with ("The prices are related"), the other is not giving any ground ("You just don't have enough information").

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think they might have agreed to disagree now.
PPS - That basically means they stop talking and keep thinking they're each right and the other is wrong.

Cannon fodder

The problem with the henchmen of evil overlords is that they might not be that evil themselves, but they're first in the firing line. You've got to kill a lot of people of dubious morality before you get to the true Dark Lord, and that's exactly the way the evil ones like it. If the king himself is there in the front line of the opposing army, you have to ask yourself if your own emperor, back in the Big Black Tower Of Perpetual Darkness And Suffering, is really as good a person as he claims.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Then again, a battlefield is perhaps not the best place for philosophy.
PPS - Wipe out the opposition with the Doomsday Device, then make an appointment with the emperor.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

The Sunday Mok - Evens Out

Last Sunday I went to church in the morning, as I usually do on a Sunday. After lunch I took a nap and did some Disciple readings. For dinner, Dad decided to use some potato gnocci instead of our more usual rice or noodles. That's the first time I've tried it, too. An unusual texture.
Monday at work took two ten minute walks back to the other office just to debug some software. I asked the helpdesk guys if there was a way I could do it remotely. Apparently I have to wait until this Monday for someone who can handle that task. I played City of Heroes a bit, too. I haven't been playing as much recently, due to changed free time priorities.
On Tuesday I moved back to my small desk to make room for Graeme who just got back from a long holiday. At least they gave me an LCD monitor this time to maximise my limited desk space. At karate we worked hard on upper body strength, and I was still sore on Saturday. Clearly I need to work on it some more.
Wednesday night I went around to Deb's and we watched Pitch Black, one of my all-time favourite movies. Deb quite liked it, too.
I got a DVD burner on Thursday and haven't quite had time to install it yet. I'll do that this afternoon. I also saw Serenity. Excellent movie in a very Joss Whedon style: snappy dialogue and well-choreographed action. Loved it.
On Friday afternoon I discovered that the bottle of milk I bought on Thursday afternoon had been used up from the work fridge. It did have my name on it, so a lot of people either ignored it or didn't see. We watched Coach Carter at youth group.
I went for a run on Saturday after breakfast, and I felt a bit unfit. I had to walk some sections and cut the whole thing short. I went to a Youthworx planning meeting, then washed my car and went shopping with Deb. After dinner, we went to Bridgit's for a movie night, where we watched Varsity Blues.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Picking up the pizza on Saturday was delegated to me.
PPS - This is despite the fact that I didn't eat any.

Friday, 30 September 2005

I also hate the crazy frog

Another reason I hate mobile phone ringtones: people have phones here at work and sit them on their desks. In that position, they can answer immediately, but some people are often away from their desks, which means the phone can ring as much as it wants and it will not be answered. So, my problem is mostly a people problem: you're either so close that you could hear your phone on vibrate anyway or you're too far away to do anything about it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - For your own safety, switch your phone to a silent mode while in the office.
PPS - Otherwise someone might snap and try to murder you.

Thursday, 29 September 2005

The good kind of priceless

The vending machine just gave me $2 of change from $2 after I purchased a can of Pepsi MAX. I guess I'm the one millionth customer or something.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Either that or it's just my lucky day.
PPS - Could be both.

I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours

Most of our financial transactions rely on trading secrets that are, as a result, not that secret. How many people, agencies and companies have your credit card number on file? Can you get it back if they abuse it? No, you can only stop it completely, then get a new number and give that out to everyone you *do* still trust. You shouldn't have to trust anyone like that - they should make requests of your account that is kept under your control.

Requests would be denied by default, except where you have explicitly noted that a request is expected. Regular requests could be set up to be accepted automatically, but when something bad happens to a regular request (eg it is six times the size it should be and starts happening every hour instead of every month) then it can be cancelled with no adverse effect on other transactions. Naturally there would be a "speed limit" on regular requestors, so they can only extract cash at a previously agreed maximum rate.

Of course, I know people would mess it up. Legitimate requests would be denied all too often, simply because Grampa forgot to tell the bank that it was expected. Still, that's better than Grampa losing his life savings just because someone finds out his credit card number.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It makes sense to me.
PPS - Lots of nonsensical things do, though.

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Imposing assumption

Some people refuse to check email based on the idea that if it was really important, you'd call. I wonder how people would react if you said you refuse to answer your phone because if it was really important you'd come in person?

I understand the temptation. In these days of information overload, it would certainly be nice to say "no" and just close off one of the most polluted information streams coming my way, but I can't. I rely too much on it. To pare it down to a useful trickle rather than a river of refuse, I just need a reliable way to indicate what is actually interesting to me so I can ignore the rest.

Now if only I could do the same with my phone.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I already refuse to answer "Private Number" calls.
PPS - If you don't want me to know who you are, I don't want to hear from you.

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

It's not very musical at all, actually

Today we're playing musical desks again. I have been moved back to my small desk, but in a new location. Someone neglected to tell me exactly where it would be. My phone is still on the old desk, too, but I can't say I'll miss it. On the plus side, I have a new LCD monitor as a concession to the fact that my desk is just too small for a traditional CRT.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I no longer have room for the plant Linda gave me last night.
PPS - I hardly have room for my own elbows.

Monday, 26 September 2005

They lower stress

Sometimes I think it might be nice to have office pets hanging around, like a ship's cat or something. Of course then we'd get arguments about whose responsibility it is and whether we can swap the cat for a dog or vice versa. The people with allergies would demand its removal and the others who never see it might ask to be moved closer to its usual territory.

The general point is that we go to some significant lengths to create a sterile, dehumanised working environment, then wonder why our workforce is stressed.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I advocate a friendlier work environment whenever possible.
PPS - That means personal touches.

Sunday, 25 September 2005

The Sunday Mok - Mystery Illness

Last Sunday we had one service at the Uniting Church at 11am rather than one in the morning and one in the evening. That left the evening technically free for a surprise birthday party for Renè. Before I heard about the party, my plan was to go to Ashgrove Baptist for the evening service.
On Monday I started feeling sick in the afternoon - gut cramps, fever and queasiness. I was glad to get away from work at the end of the day. I spent the evening watching Family Guy at Deb's.
I stayed home from work on Tuesday in order to feel miserable in friendly surroundings. Deb brought me chicken noodle soup for lunch and Gatorade to keep me hydrated. I skipped karate.
By Wednesday I'd regained a normal body temperature, but the other symptoms remained, so I stayed home again. Deb brought tomato soup for lunch and I spent most of the day just sleeping. I also started back on solid foods at dinner.
I went back to work on Thursday and found it hard to concentrate, plus the abdominal cramps interfered. I made it through the day, but accomplished very little. I probably could have used another day off. I had dinner at Deb's with Ally and Erin.
My problems still existed on Friday, but to a lesser extent. I found that my main problem with my work is discovering how to show five tables of data in a user-friendly way that can also be used for input. So far, no luck.
On Saturday I had a meeting about the Youthworx end of year surf camp, a wedding after lunch and an afternoon at Brisbane Christian Fellowship for their musical revue "The Passage Over". Lots of fun. I felt much better, but still not 100%.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I forgot to do this in the morning.
PPS - Usually it's just part of the Sunday morning routine.

Friday, 23 September 2005

Shallow Pal

I overhear friends talk about troubles occasionally, and I have to wonder why I don't find out in a more traditional way. I'm a friend, after all. I just have to conclude that I am involved only to an extremely shallow level with everyone I know. I don't know if you're in pain and hiding it because, well, you're hiding it from me. I don't know to look any deeper because there appears to be no reason to do so.

I'm hardly going to push all of my friends to reveal their deepest, darkest pains to me. That would be rather pointless. And while I'll try to see what's going on inside, it'll go much faster with your help.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I can't read minds.
PPS - Much as I like to pretend I can.

Thursday, 22 September 2005

And I'm only 30 minutes in

Having come back to work today, I regretted the decision just five minutes after stepping out the front door. I still feel ill, just not feverish anymore. Shortly after I arrived at the office I was told that I'd be moving back to my tiny desk because a drafter is coming back from leave and that the mechanical engineers are getting impatient for the vaguely-defined report they expect to get.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Depending on how I feel, today may turn out to be a half-day.
PPS - Lots of people appear to be sick around here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Burn, baby, burn

I've come down with some sickness very suddenly that makes me queasy and feverish. I think you can guess whether I like it or not. There's also lethargy and some other symptoms not suitable for polite conversation.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So I'm not at work right now.
PPS - I'm still wondering if it was a fair trade.

Monday, 19 September 2005

Narrow Markets

I like this Dilbert comic. You don't have to. It's okay.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sometimes stupidity is amusing.
PPS - Usually it's annoying.

Edit: the link is broken because that's what happens to Dilbert after a month. I found another copy here, but I can't guarantee it will stay up forever.

Name That Car

My car needs a name, and I've only been able to come up with a few names stolen from TV and movies so far. The list of choices currently consists of:

Dead Reckoning
Innocent Fishing Boat
Slave I

None of them seem particularly suitable. The number plate provides very little guidance, too - JBR. I am hesitant to just pronounce it as is, calling the car "Jabber", because that makes no sense.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I suppose it could be John's Big Rig.
PPS - That's in the same category as Dead Reckoning, though: too much for a small car.

Sunday, 18 September 2005

The Sunday Mok - Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money

Last Sunday the Beyond group from church went to the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, fed some ducks and had some icecream. It was fun.
On Monday there were some problems with the B2B software I maintain, and I had to walk the ten minutes to the other office to sort it out. After about an hour and a half, I just decided to leave it until Tuesday, because by then it was 6pm.
I got a bit frustrated on Tuesday because I was being questioned about the future of my work, which has not been fully discussed with me as yet. It was as if I was asked "When are you finally getting around to this new task I've just given you?".
On Wednesday I took a look at a car - a 2004 Corolla Seca - and I bought it. I put down the deposit right then. We had the final 40 Days of Purpose study, too.
I picked up my car on Thursday afternoon and drove it home, then caught a bus back to work to finish the day. The second thing I did with the car was take Deb to Dos Amigos Mexican restaurant, then to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Friday, since there was no youth group (school holidays), I went to Deb's and finished watching Firefly. I think we watched about five episodes that night. I highly recommend this show.
On Saturday morning, I dozed in front of the Super Simpsons Weekend, then played City of Heroes for a bit. Deb and I had lunch at the Pancake Cafe, then headed to Miv's for his 26th birthday bash. We arrived at about 16:45 - technically 45 minutes late - but were still ahead of most people. We left at about 23:30, I think, then were up until 02:00 talking.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's a good thing church is on later this morning.
PPS - I didn't sleep in that late, though.

Friday, 16 September 2005

She said, she said

A while ago, we swapped out patriarchal language (non-specific second-person pronouns were "he" and "his") for inclusive language ("he or she", "his or hers"). Now, since that seems to be too much of a pain, the pendulum kept swinging and we're moving into exclusively matriarchal pronouns ("she" and "hers"). When did it become okay to marginalise men this way? We learned our lesson. We included everyone. It was working. Now we've got to deal with the same problem all over again, but from the other side.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This rant sponsored by the Worldwide Masculist Society.
PPS - Current WMS membership is just me.

Dark Chocolate

I had prepared myself for a much darker experience in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was still a bit disturbed by the first sight of Augustus Gloop and the other golden ticket winners (except Charlie). They were deliberately touched up to look artificial and plastic. The stand-out of the movie is definitely the Oompa-Loompa songs, and also the way Willy Wonka kept dismissing Mike Teavee by just saying he was mumbling. I couldn't catch all of the Oompa-Loompa song lyrics, though - they were drowned out by the music.

When to see it: go to the cinema, then rent the DVD (eventually) and turn on subtitles.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Hopefully the subtitles won't just say "[SINGING]".
PPS - Though I wouldn't rule it out.

Thursday, 15 September 2005

It's an homage

You can't be taken seriously in a business suit that shows off your midriff, but your presentation today is awful. You need a distraction. You may have to spend some time this morning adjusting your PowerPoint slides to put more interesting points way up high, so you have more excuses to reach up and point, once again exposing your distracting midriff. The board of directors will all be suitably impressed.

Happy Midriff Business Suit Day!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I really do enjoy the Girls Are Pretty stories.
PPS - This entry inspired by a true story.

Wednesday, 14 September 2005


You know when you get interrupted doing something rather strange? I just decided I'd take a second to try out the colour scanning functions of our photocopier/printer. My test material was my ID badge. Initially I was alone, but after placing my card on the copy surface, two fellow employees arrived to collect printouts. Since something appeared to be temporarily wrong with the printing, I figured it would be best to make my exit. That, of course, meant lifting the lid of the photocopier to retrieve my ID badge and leaving the copy room as quickly as possible with a sheepish grin. It was as if I'd just been discovered driving toy cars around my desk or doing commando rolls around the corridors with a feather duster rifle.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Nobody's caught me doing those other things.
PPS - Yet...

It's for you

One of the most annoying noises in the world has to be a telephone that will not stop ringing. In the other office where I still must return now and then, the telephones ring loudly and people are often paged to contact reception or a particular extension. Add to that the current refurbishment works and you have a noisy office.

Here in the project office, a ten minute walk away, the phones are set to a quieter volume and there is no PA system. Things are much quieter, and I really appreciate it. I do hear mobile phones ringing now and then, but for the most part it's quiet.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Now if only the work were interesting...
PPS - I guess you can't have everything.

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Debugging what is only half my fault

This morning my task is to fix a file transfer that's gone wrong. Something has happened to a server in Melbourne which denies us access to the files we need. I didn't touch that server or our program up here, and suddenly the whole thing has come crashing down. I am not permitted to touch the server in Melbourne, so I can't fix it myself if something has gone wrong there.

Of course, I can point the finger wherever I want, but I'm supposed to be responsible for getting this done. I am almost totally reliant on other people to solve my problem.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I really wish they wouldn't scream.
PPS - I loathe time pressures and deadlines.

Monday, 12 September 2005


One thing I can't stand to listen to is bragging. If you're telling me a story about yourself with the intention of making me say "wow", chances are good that you won't get it. You'll get a disinterested yawn and you'll have to try harder to make me listen to any of your stories in future. It's because I don't care how great you think you are or how amazing your experiences have been - I care about finding out for myself.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - You don't need to puff yourself up to look big.
PPS - It usually has the opposite effect.

Sunday, 11 September 2005

The Sunday Mok - I ate a big red candle

Last Sunday was Father's Day, so I picked up a cheesecake from The Cheesecake Shop and the three boys of the step-family-to-be went to Beth's with Dad for lunch.
Work on Monday was boring, following the recent trend. Database operating is neither what I was born nor trained to do. I had lunch with Deb in the park outside the office. Pizza for dinner, then a cake for Ug the Caveman's birthday.
On Tuesday, my Firefly DVDs arrived. They had to be courier-carried between the two offices, because I gave the other address when I ordered. I started getting a strange feeling in my throat, like I had a dislocated Adam's Apple or something.
Wednesday the youth group leaders met to plan out the next term so we could hand out flyers on Friday. Bible study in the evening, then stayed up a while chatting with Deb.
On Thursday I had to take a walk between the offices to troubleshoot the B2B software for which I am now solely responsible. Soon (though not soon enough) this responsibility will be outsourced. We went to dinner at the Crushers Leagues Club for the all-you-can-eat buffet. I ate too much. I started watching Firefly, and I'm suitably impressed.
I skipped lunch on Friday because we were taking the youth group kids to Sizzler that night, and two all-you-can-eat meals in two days would otherwise kill me. I was up very late chatting with Deb, and got to bed around 04:00.
I slept in on Saturday morning until 11:45. I went out shopping in the city, then hit Julie & Rory's place to celebrate Julie finishing her PhD. At a little after 22:00 I walked up the hill to Debbie's place to see most of Hitch. I stayed up a bit late again.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So basically I've felt pretty full all week.
PPS - I think that's linked to the Adam's Apple thing.

Friday, 9 September 2005


Superman wears a toupe. You can tell by the way he's started flying with one hand on his head, or that stupid "Krypton Rulz!" baseball cap he's been sporting lately. Come on, Superman, it's time to let go of your fading youth and age with dignity. Besides, a bald Superman could be rather intimidating if he set it off with some tough-guy shades. Also, in the middle of a fight, when someone breaks those cheap sunglasses, he can do like a slow, menacing glare towards the camera, and then kick it up a notch, 'cause now you've made Superman mad.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It was bound to happen eventually.
PPS - I wonder if he'd start losing his powers as he got older?

Thursday, 8 September 2005

A partly-remembered face

I dreamed last night of a conglomeration of faces and names of people I have known or encountered. I bumped into this person in a supermarket and she grabbed my arm. She wouldn't let go until I remembered her name, and she gave me the hint that it was only three letters long. I eventually guessed "Nobi", which I realise is four letters long, and that confused me for a while. I think the name is a fusion of "Obi-Wan" and "Niobe" (from The Matrix Reloaded).

I'm not sure of all the pieces on which my memory drew to construct this Gestalten girl, but I think I recognise a few from primary school and NCYC. There was probably a bit of the Gospel Music Festival in there, too.

There wasn't much more to the dream than that - we bumped into each other, and eventually we were separated again, like ships passing in the night.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It feels like a cop-out to write about a dream.
PPS - Maybe I'll do better tomorrow.

Wednesday, 7 September 2005

So You Want To Be A Zombie

If you can stand playing a game with no sound, no graphics to speak of and no real-time action, but you still want to play in an apocalyptic zombie world, you might like to check out Urban Dead. It's free.

Personally, I started my character as a zombie, and that might not have been my best idea ever. I imagine there's a lot more to do if you're human. I'm currently wandering around, attempting to smash my way through barricades into buildings, where (I imagine) I'll be greeted by a waiting feast of brains. Mmm.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "Brains..."
PPS - "Graargh."

New Car Smell is poisonous

Dad picked up his new car last night - a silvery Corolla - and had to lend it to me almost immediately to drive to karate. Since he was going out, he couldn't drop me off or pick me up. His face had a look of reluctance and fear because, well, brand new car. He didn't even drive it in to work today, preferring to take the bus, so that he wouldn't be parked out in the sun.

I used to hear the Pintara approaching from two streets away. Not because it was loud, but because I knew the sound very well. I don't yet know the Corolla that well (of course) and it's also quieter. That's going to take some getting used to.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I imagine I will not be allowed to borrow this car nearly as much.
PPS - Must be time to buy my own, then.

Tuesday, 6 September 2005


I'm a routine kind of guy, as many of you will know, so the way I handle new things or remember responsibilities is by incorporating them into my regular routine. I had this blogging thing all sorted out, then I moved offices. That move has, apparently, disrupted the delicate balance that is my sanity, and I find myself often forgetting to post in the morning, or just digging through my archives of drafts for something mostly finished.

It might be because everyone appears to be already working by the time I get in here, according to my calculations, half an hour early. I feel a certain responsibility to get right to it, and miss out on my blog posting and reading. From what I've overheard, people in this office work seven hours more than I'm supposed to, and I guess they fit it in early, because they all clear out at 5pm.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I forget what my point was.
PPS - Probably just to apologise for not posting this morning.

Monday, 5 September 2005

Yahoo Groups CAPTCHA

Yahoo Groups uses a CAPTCHA images to prevent subscriptions by bots. I had to try three times before I successfully passed the test, which made me question my own humanity and intelligence. The particular images used by Yahoo include lines crossing the letters, and these make it extremely difficult to tell what a letter is, even for a human. These tests are viewed as particularly problematic from a usability point of view. In my case I was unsure whether a pair of crossed distorted lines was a letter 'x' or just a pair of crossed lines.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Apparently, I guessed wrong.
PPS - Twice.

Sunday, 4 September 2005

The Sunday Mok - You don't have to bow or curtsey

Last Sunday Dad, Beth and I went to my aunt and uncle's place for lunch, and my second-cousin Grace also showed up. We don't get to see any of them very often. Grace is 10 and amused herself making candles from a craft kit.
Monday continued the recent trend of incredibly boring work. This, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, leads me to consider programming projects outside of work hours. I'm currentle reading up on the Vassal board game engine as an alternative to Zillions of Games, which is not especially suited to games involving dice.
It was Tuesday when I found out I'd be going to the black belt grading on Saturday. I was surprised, based on what sensei Peter had seen that night and the previous Tuesday. I was expecting to wait another six months.
On Wednesday at work, Microsoft Access nearly ate all my work so far, which would have been rather bad. The step-family had dinner at a Thai restaurant for David's birthday. He's the eldest step-sibling. It had to be cut relatively short, because most of us had somewhere else to be later.
I left work a little early on Thursday to get to an extra karate class on time, but still turned up late. It was the third class I'd attended in a row that focused exclusively on kata.
On Friday at work I started on a new part of the model and determined to do it absolutely right and keep track of the abbreviated names that had to change on drawings. I met Debbie for lunch, but due to a miscommunication, we waited on different corners of the block for each other.
Saturday was the grading, which took about three hours all up. I passed, and then I wanted to sleep, but I didn't get that chance until night. Went furniture shopping in the afternoon - looking for a bookcase for me at Ikea. It's a long drive and I couldn't sleep in the car.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The grading was a tad easier than I expected.
PPS - That's either because the examiners went easy or because I'm awesome. I think it's the former.

Friday, 2 September 2005


When some new spamming technique surfaces on the web, someone, somewhere, coins a new term for it. These invariably start with the letters "sp" and use part of another word to make up the rest. For instance "splogging" = spamming via blogs, "splorgery" = spamming newsgroups via forged messages, "spim" = instant message spam. As you can see, these words are all awkward and nearly always require an explanation following them.

If someone had thought for just a second, we could have used other parts of the words "blog" and "spam" to give us "blam".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - What a world we would live in then!
PPS - I'd be moderately excited for a minute or two.

Thursday, 1 September 2005

The other good kind of worm

I can't believe there aren't more "light side" worms on the net, that seek out vulnerable computers just like the real thing, remove any infection, and then patch the hole. At the very least I'd expect Microsoft to release their patches in this form, too, since that seems to be a really effective way of reaching lots of their customers...

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I guess being a force for good by exploiting security holes is an oxymoron.
PPS - Like a burglar who breaks in and installs an alarm system.

Wednesday, 31 August 2005

It's the colour of bruises and that plague they had

I've just been told that I'll be attempting my black belt grade on Saturday. So this time next week I'll either be some kind of super master, jumping backwards up into trees, or I'll be dead. That's how these things work, by the way.

Those of you that pray, crank it up now. The rest of you can send me gifts of pasta and rice. I demand offerings of carbs!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - See you on the other side.
PPS - If you want to come and watch, you'll probably have to sit outside.

Tuesday, 30 August 2005

From the Mokalus Dictionary

Rob Roy: A tall tale, exaggerated account or just plain lie about a relationship, romantic encounter or non-existent partner.

On Schoolies Week, immediately following the end of grade 12, my friends and I stayed at Noosa, basically hanging out at the beach and talking rubbish. One day two of us got momentarily separated from Leon and decided to play a little joke. We stayed hidden for about half an hour, keeping an eye on him while concocting a story about meeting a couple of girls. These imaginary ladies took us back to their flat, where we watched the end of the movie Rob Roy, then mysteriously kicked us out. As part of the story, we theorised that they were doing this exact thing three or four times a day.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - When Leon figured it out, he did exactly the same thing to us.
PPS - And I think that was the funniest part.