Sunday, 31 December 2006

The Sunday Mok - Thus spake the sheriff

Sunday - I had to sort out my Christmas schedule because I wasn't at all sure where I needed to be and when. I had a rehearsal in the morning for Christmas Day, then lunch and presents at Deb's place. After the evening service, we all went to McDonald's for supper because the Coffee Club had closed for Christmas.
Monday - After singing in the morning service, I had Christmas lunch at Dad & Beth's place with the whole step-family. We came home during afternoon nap time and returned for dinner. In the evening, Deb and I watched some more Stargate Atlantis episodes.
Tuesday - Deb and I had lunch with Mal, Linda, Dad and Beth to talk about wedding reception plans. I think it went rather well. After a quick dinner, we saw Happy Feet. Since we were early, we chatted at the nearby Cold Rock.
Wednesday - Atlantis season 2 got finished in the afternoon and returned via a nearby mailbox. I helped (watched) Deb make a lemon meringue cheesecake for the engagement party and we watched Disney's The Return of Jafar just for something to do.
Thursday - I went jogging in the morning, which I hadn't done in some time. I took Deb and Mia to Brookside to pick up some items for their Philippines trip, too. In the evening was our engagement party. It turned out rather small, but at a density that could just as easily be characterised as "intimate" and "friendly".
Friday - Since Deb is away, I spent most of the day reading news and watching recorded television. I also watched some of my Fullmetal Alchemist DVDs, where I had fallen quite behind. Deb called in the afternoon, missing me already, and I also tried to work out what I'd do for New Year's Eve.
Saturday - I woke early to drive to the airport and see Deb off. For the rest of the day, I did much as I had on Friday: reading news, watching recorded TV and DVDs and also playing City of Heroes. It's strange playing games on a monitor (my old CRT) that occasionally doesn't display red.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "Thus spake the sheriff" is an accidental mis-reading of part of the Christmas carol "While Shepherds Watched".
PPS - I caused some significant laughter at rehearsal that way.

Friday, 29 December 2006

The Engagement Party

Last night was the engagement party and I think it turned out pretty well. We only managed to get a few guests, though, because we announced the party at such short notice and started with a small guest list to begin with. To the best of my knowledge, everyone had fun, we got a few gifts (I wasn't expecting any, due to the short notice) and I now have a best man too.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There were lots of laughs to be had.
PPS - I'm calling it a success.

Friday Zombie Blogging

A new twist on the old formula: Black Sheep is an Australian movie featuring zombie sheep. The trailer looks pretty high-quality, so I think I'd like to see this one when it comes out in March.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Technically it'd be a comedy.
PPS - From the trailer, though, it looks like a gory and relatively deadpan comedy.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Yahtzee and algorithmic intelligence

I've played a bit of Yahtzee over the past couple of days. I keep getting distracted by calculating odds and average scores. Basically I'm informally designing an algorithm that a computer could use to play. I realise it must have been done before many times, but that's no fun for me. I think I've settled on calculating an "expected score" for each square and maximising the total score at each turn.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Yes, I realise this reinforces my nerd status.
PPS - Try not to judge me too harshly.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Out of the time line

This change in routine from weekday posting at the office is affecting my posting regularity. It's because I'm at home and forget which days are weekdays. I'm sure I'll get enough into the swing of things by the time I'm back at the office, which is hardly helpful. Also, I'll be away for a week in mid-January, so I think my posting during that time will be handled by a program. I'll try to do better in the meantime, though, even if not many people are reading right now.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Actually I'm getting just about the same number of hits now as before.
PPS - Or so I recall from my site statistics.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Hap-hap-happy Feet

Tonight I saw Happy Feet. Robin Williams steals the show, as he tends to do, and the little penguins are definitely cute. Aside from the environmental moral (stop over-fishing now) there's little else to say. I liked it, and I'd probably go again if the rest of the gang was going.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I was surprised to see Steve Irwin's name in the credits as an elephant seal.
PPS - It seems like the kind of thing that would have been noted along with his death.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Christmas vs Xmas

I've decided to separate the Christmas festival into Christmas and Xmas. On the Christmas side, we have all the Christian celebrations and trappings, such as nativity scenes, songs about Jesus and church services. On the Xmas side (which should be pronounced "ex-mas" to be clear) we have the secularised festivities: trees, tinsel and songs about Santa Claus.

Now I know that if you dig deep enough you can find a Christian root for lots of things about items I'd place in Xmas, so here's the guide: if a non-Christian would be perfectly comfortable with a particular element of the celebrations - say, decorating your house with lights - then that's Xmas, not Christmas.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If you need an abbreviation for Christmas, write "Cmas".
PPS - I automatically read "Xmas" as "ex-mas" thanks to Futurama.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

The Sunday Mok - Who is "Christmas Eve"?

Sunday - Deb was feeling off-colour in the morning, so we stayed home and did some bible study on our own. Chores in the afternoon were followed by a sausage dinner at church in the evening and a set of nativity monologues. I was Joseph.
Monday - I've just been tinkering with my programs at work for some time now, waiting for real work. I deposited some of my coins that I'd accumulated and in the evening I watched Kenny with Deb.
Tuesday - I had dinner at Deb's and then a meeting with Gwen to do a pre-marriage questionaire. Deb and I discussed the questions later after two episodes of Stargate Atlantis.
Wednesday - At work we had lunch as a farewell to Brad. For dinner, Dad, Beth, Anthony, Deb and I went to the Ashgrove Golf Club to see their function room, but it had been locked up for the night.
Thursday - The office Christmas party in the park delayed lunch by 2.5 hours. I was keen to get started as soon as possible because Deb was waiting for me in the city. We did some last minute Christmas shopping. Later that night we went to see a movie, but ended up doing yet more shopping instead.
Friday - We checked out the Keperra Golf Club function room in the morning. After dinner at Deb's, we went to the local Coffee Club for their regular jazz band on Friday nights. Unfortunately these guys were so jazzy that they didn't show up. So we watched Miami Vice at Erin's place later. Don't bother with it yourself.
Saturday - I helped Deb finish collating binders for Mal and did my grocery shopping. In the evening we ate at Toscani's with Murrae and Tracey, then watched one Stargate Atlantis episode before heading home.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Perhaps Christmas Eve is Santa's daughter.
PPS - Just like Mary Christmas is his wife.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Daze off

Let the Christmas break begin! I'm on holidays as of today, which may be a bit odd. The company set a break period this year that curiously covered days from today until a Tuesday in January. When we figured out that this mandated period involved exactly ten days of annual leave, it all became clear: they're trying to even out leave during the rest of the year. If we're not allowed to accumulate extra leave at Christmas, we can't take as much later. I'm not too worried about it, though. I figure I'll still have enough saved up around May for the wedding and honeymoon.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Today I plan to do as little as possible.
PPS - Within reason, of course.

Friday Zombie Blogging

I require this shirt. Immediately.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Unfortunately, they're out of my size.
PPS - For now.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

I've been had

A few days ago I watched Kenny, all the while thinking I was watching a real documentary. Only right at the end, when the actors' names are shown, did I realise everything was not as it seemed. Then, as I thought back over the movie, I recognised that some of the situations in the movie were absurd, and of course they're not real.

Then, discussing this very topic with Anthony last night, I learned that the family depicted on screen was made up of an actual family (father, sons and grandson) and that the main actor may actually be a toilet cleaner. His name's not Kenny Smyth, though. So now I'm not sure what to believe. I guess it's halfway between a scripted movie and a real documentary.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The term "mockumentary" doesn't quite cover that.
PPS - I'm not sure what term would describe it accurately.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Discriminatory Clubs

This morning I heard on the radio that a particular men's club in Brisbane has voted to keep excluding women from membership. Is that discriminatory? Unquestionably. Should it be allowed? Well, that all depends on your point of view. For example, take Curves, a gym catering exclusively to women. I doubt they would admit a man as a member, since that's what they're all about - excluding men so women can exercise in peace. The only difference with the men's club is that they are not a gym and the gender roles are reversed.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Apparently that doesn't make it okay.
PPS - And what if the men's club was a gym too?

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Bill Gates should move to a poorer country

Seriously. If Bill is determined to make the world a better place through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he should make the world's problems his personal problems. Move to Uganda, then just make himself comfortable. It will involve a significant amount of personal spending, and it would also result in massive infrastructure upgrade projects so that, for instance, clean water, sewage systems, electricity and health care can be put in place. In the end, of course, Bill would be just another billionaire in a fortress somewhere, but at least his money would be going to a country that needs it instead of circulating further in the US of A. How about it, Bill?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Actually he couldn't use Foundation money for this. It would have to be his own.
PPS - This plot twist brought to you by the Bible.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Tupperware in the microwave

I have learned that not all Tupperware is microwave-safe. Although I thought I'd heard someone mention that it was, apparently I was mistaken. For instance, if your Tupperware happens to pre-date electricity as does some of my inherited collection, it is unlikely to be safe for use in any electrical appliance including ovens, toasters and light bulb sockets. The particular container in question is still usable, but is now a bit more bulgy than before.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So perhaps that's the tip: microwave your Tupperware to increase its volume.
PPS - The exact results are unpredictable.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

The Sunday Mok - Everything is Christmas

Sunday - After the morning church service, Deb and I went to Brookside to do some Christmas shopping. I took a nap in the afternoon and ran the computer for the evening church service.
Monday - After work I went to a supper at the church for youth and study leaders. It was nice to hang out with people since bible study won't be on again until February. Deb and I watched one Stargate Atlantis episode before I took her home.
Tuesday - The karate class in the evening was small and we worked with kick pads and a punching bag for a change. I cooked dinner at home, then went to Deb's to discuss wedding plans briefly.
Wednesday - I was a little rushed in the morning, so I took breakfast to work. I had dinner at Deb's where we watched some more Stargate, courtesy of Quickflix. I mailed the disc back on my way home.
Thursday - I misunderstood a request to pick up Deb in the evening, so was delayed a few minutes at the wrong location. Deb cooked dinner and we watched yet more Stargate. We finished the discs I had, and will have to wait for more to come in the mail.
Friday - I met Deb in the city after work for more Christmas shopping. We also rented two movies: Click and Kenny. We watched Click, and it's sadder than I expected.
Saturday - A full day. Deb and I went shopping for Secret Santa presents as well as looking at wedding bands and invitation supplies. We went to the church young adults Christmas party, and I had to miss most of it because of a rehearsal.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I haven't much enjoyed Christmas shopping this year.
PPS - Could be because I left it a bit late.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Friday Zombie Blogging

DARPA wants an army of zombie sharks to do it's bidding. No word on whether they will be equipped with laser beams.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Bonus: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as zombies.
PPS - They look a bit too smiley for me, though.

Re-thinking open plan offices

When planning a wide-open cubicle farm, executives will naturally place themselves in the corner offices with the nice views and the fully enclosed walls. And that's fine, I guess. They've earned something and they're the ones in charge. I just want to suggest that they might consider placing their busy (=loud) assistants in more private surroundings too. Not only is it better for security (since it makes it harder to overhear them) but it's better for productivity in the surrounding area. If their phone (or their secretary's phone) rings off the hook all day, how is that affecting Joe Ordinary in the next cubicle?

Of course it's all done in the name of practicality, which means "money-saving" in manager speak.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I work in a fairly open-plan office.
PPS - I'm right next to the communal photocopier/printer.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Beam me up

The transporters in Star Trek were always (as far as I know) used to transport whole objects. I wondered whether it would be possible to focus the effect on just part of a body, and what applications that could lead to. This is what I came up with:

- Removing cancerous growths and other nasties from a body without any incisions or secondary trauma risk.
- Incisionless cesarean sections.
- Accurate and incisionless implantation of pacemakers, replacement heart valves, cochlear and retinal implants.
- Non-invasive stomach pumping.
- Liposuction.
- Hair removal.
- Arthritis-relieving artificial cartilage insertion.
- Organ transplants.
- Colonic irrigation.
- Kidney stone, gall stone and blood clot removal.
- Artery scrubbing.
- Ear wax removal.
- Blood transfusions and donations.
- Drug administration.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'll admit some are a bit frivolous.
PPS - Especially the ear wax and hair removal.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Google partial omniscience

I read an article yesterday on "10 things Google knows about you". I then performed a search using my real name and nothing actually about me showed up in the first three pages. Since only something like 0.0001%* of people ever go past page 1, I think I'm safe for now.

*This statistic completely made up. Your results may vary.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Google knows who you are.
PPS - But only if you're famous.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Agnostic believer

If an agnostic is defined as believing that you can neither scientifically prove nor disprove the existence of God, then I am an agnostic believer. It also follows that there are a large number of agnostic unbelievers in the world. Being "agnostic" doesn't define one way or the other whether you actually believe in God, so it's not really a valid answer to the question "Do you believe in God?".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I guess people use the word because it sounds more acceptable than "atheist".
PPS - It's less confrontational, because it expresses little about your beliefs.

Monday, 11 December 2006

Turn left where?

I'm starting to prefer Google Maps over, simply because links to Google maps are free. Unfortunately, while Google Maps does provide driving directions, it doesn't work with Brisbane. It can't even give me directions from my place to next door. I guess that means it's coming later, but it's still funny from a human perspective.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - So for now I'm using Google Maps for locations and WhereIs for directions.
PPS - I haven't looked for third-party Google Maps directions sites.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

The Sunday Mok - Collage by Numbers

Sunday - Deb and I were still being congratulated in the morning church service. I wonder how long it will go on. In the afternoon, we went out to Invitation House in Fortitude Valley to get ideas for wedding invitations.
Monday - Dinner with Deb at my place followed by Bible study at Tracey's. That will be the last study until February.
Tuesday - I left the office early. I needed to be home in time to teach the karate class in the absence of the usual teachers. Only six students showed up. After dinner I watched Day of the Dead alone.
Wednesday - I went Christmas shopping at lunchtime and found that the Queen Street Mall is about five minutes closer than from the previous office. Deb and I had a meeting with minister Gwen in the evening to sign our declaration of intent.
Thursday - Mal and Linda came over for dinner so we could evaluate the downstairs area of the house for transformation into a granny flat. Afterwards Deb and I tried to finalise our guest list. I think we still have work to do.
Friday - We took the youth group kids out to Sizzler for a formal dinner in the evening. Afterwards I played with a Nintendo Wii for the first time. It's an impressive piece of hardware.
Saturday - I had a rehearsal for a church Christmas event in the morning, then Mal, Linda, Deb and I drove around looking at reception venues. In the evening several of us saw Casino Royale. It was very good. Recommended.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - My LCD monitor's ON button broke on Friday.
PPS - This post comes to you courtesy of my trusty laptop.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Friday Zombie Blogging

Apparently it's common practice to send chickens to the gas chamber and turn them into compost when they're too old to lay eggs anymore. But some of them manage to return from the dead and stagger around, in search of tasty chicken brains.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Creepy.
PPS - Night of the Living Chickens.

Join the Federation

Lately I find myself thinking a lot about instant messaging and why we have so many different incompatible networks. Why should it be that way? What is standing in the way of instant messaging federation - turning all the networks into one?

Control. Each provider right now has total control of the network and that's going to be tough to give up.

Power. There's a certain political game going on where one network vies for bragging rights over another network based on various crowed features and statistics. In addition, they have the power to tweak the network and add features as they see fit without negotiating with anyone.

Fear. If we open up the network and let people choose how to connect, we may open the whole world up to spam like we've never seen before on instant messaging. That's one of the primary problems with email and it's caused by cheap inter-operable access and greed coupled with gullibility.

In counterpoint, what is there to gain?

A larger user base. If there was only one IM network (or seamless interaction between all of them) then the number of chat buddies available to any given user vastly expands. There's no buddy barrier - everyone is free to choose your program to access the network, even if their buddies all use another program.

Bragging rights. When people are free to choose any of hundreds of IM clients to access the network and they choose yours, that's worth bragging about. There was no vendor lock-in to force them and they came anyway. That's definite street cred.

Gratis protocols and servers. Instead of having to define, code and maintain a messaging protocol as well as the servers to provide it, you are free from this particular programming burden. You can still run your own server with your own back-end software on it, but you really don't have to. You can even contribute to the further development of the protocol if you like, because it would be open-source.

If you can email anyone on any provider from any other provider, you should be able to chat with them on IM too.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If email were like IM, Hotmail users couldn't send to GMail users.
PPS - All the barriers are artificial

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Crazy invention of the day

The Avatar Phone: an android you take with you everywhere so that you don't look crazy talking on your hands-free mobile phone. They actually are the phone - microphones in the ear, speaker in the mouth. Sure, it's a little inconvenient, and the battery life is a worry, but would you rather seem like a crazy person talking to nobody? I thought not.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Unfortunately you have to buy an extra ticket on trains.
PPS - And you have to switch it off on planes.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Day of the Dead impressions

I watched Day of the Dead for the first time last night. Now I kind of feel like I should clean my ears out with soap. I'm sure someone has done a profanity count on that script, and I'm sure it's very high. Anyway, besides being a little dated, I found it interesting in a car crash kind of way.

Zombie movies are typically about the best and worst of humanity, and this one certainly gets that part right. It seems these survivors have much more to fear from each other than the undead. I also liked the way the zombies were learning to be civilised as the humans drifted further into barbarism. Apart from that, though, it's pretty standard fare.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't think zombie movies need to be about gore.
PPS - This one was definitely gory.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

I believe that you are ninja too

Happy Day of the Ninja! According to Ask A Ninja, today is the Day of the Ninja, much cooler than "Talk Like a Pirate Day". Go ninja crazy - wear a full shinobi to work, do backflips down the mall and leap backwards up into trees. It's probably best to avoid killing anyone, though. Real ninjas get a little upset about that, and you don't want to make ninjas upset. It's a lot like making the incredible hulk upset, but with less green and you die faster.

In the spirit of the Day of the Ninja, here's a picture of me with a t-shirt wrapped around my head ninja mask:

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Check out
PPS - I'm wearing my ninja-black business shirt today.

Monday, 4 December 2006

Upward-focused employee assessments

The people who work for a manager are also qualified to assess that manager from their viewpoint. They should be allowed to do so rather than relying on upper management to make the right assessment and decisions without the input of those in the trenches. An assessment of a manager is a way for the subordinates to make their voice heard at higher levels.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This does not happen at our company.
PPS - It probably does not happen at many, if any.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

The Sunday Mok - Can't walk down the street without being offered a job

Sunday - After the morning church service I had lunch at Deb's. We skipped dinner because we weren't that hungry, and I ran the computer for the evening service. By the time we got to the Coffee Club afterwards, the kitchen was closed.
Monday - We had some unpacking to do at work, but then very little else for the rest of the day. I found I couldn't use Thunderbird for email in the new office. Bible study was at my place.
Tuesday - Deb met me for lunch in the courtyard outside, which was nice. After karate in the evening, I logged on to City of Heroes for about an hour. It's the first time I've played in a while, or at least it feels that way.
Wednesday - I got to Deb's for dinner about 20 minutes before anyone else got home, including Deb, so I sat outside and contemplated the weather. We watched the end of Stargate Atlantis season 1 and were upset at the cliffhanger ending, especially since we didn't have the next disc.
Thursday - I spent the day at a seminar instead of at the office. In the evening, I showed up a week early for a meeting. What can I say? I'm enthusiastic. Following that, there was a farewell party for Scott, who is now overseas.
Friday - The company put on a lunch for our section, which was good. In the evening for youth group, we took the kids to Southbank for a photo scavenger hunt.
Saturday - I went for a jog in the morning and got offered a job on the Santa sleigh that does the rounds of the local streets handing out goodies. Towards the afternoon I went shopping with Deb, accompanied by Murrae, Tracey, Mal and Linda.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In the end, it wasn't that successful a shopping trip.
PPS - Not as much as we'd hoped, anyway.

Friday, 1 December 2006

Friday Zombie Blogging

Custom zombie portraits available from this guy. Expect to pay 80 USD for your own portrait.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It would certainly be a unique Christmas gift.
PPS - Link via Boing Boing.


Here's my question of the day: if sporting events have corporate sponsors who pay to put it on, what's the ticket price for? And if the ticket price pays to put the event on, what are the sponsors doing there? Either the sponsors are recouping their advertising costs by making you pay to see their logos or they shouldn't have such high exposure.

I can accept that there will be advertising at sporting events, because it's an excellent opportunity to reach a large group of people who are all interested in sport - a clear and attractive demographic. My point is that they are either the entire reason for the event (in which case they're paying for the lot and the tickets should be heavily subsidised if not free) or they're an afterthought (in which case they shouldn't get their name on the stadium).

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Just my 2c.
PPS - It just seems to me that we're paying twice.

Thursday, 30 November 2006

Net Neutrality

Why would the US house of representatives vote against net neutrality? The telecommunication companies want to charge different amounts based on different internet traffic, like placing a massive toll on VoIP calls, for instance, to prevent the internet telephone business from competing with their traditional copper network.

I think the primary problem is marketing and education. When the representatives think "internet", they're not thinking about abstract traffic. They're thinking about websites. And when they think "neutral", they're not thinking about pricing. They're thinking about partisan politics, because that's their world. So "net neutrality" to a politician is more likely to mean "enforced non-partisan rhetoric on websites" rather than "no toll booths on the internet".

Even if they did understand the second meaning, they're unlikely to vote for it, because it seems to do with restricting the freedom of the companies who make the massive "campaign contributions" (ie bribes). So our likely scenarios are a misunderstanding or a misalignment of interests. Either way, without a change in tactics, we're likely to see US legislation supporting a selectively-choked internet.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There are many excellent articles on this subject available.
PPS - Including the Ask A Ninja video.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Crazy invention of the day

I was sitting in the courtyard having lunch with Deb yesterday. As the wind blew my serviettes and Subway wrapper away, I saw a tall building in the distance and had a thought. They should put power-generating wind turbines on top of skyscrapers.

Now, to me this is a good concept that deserves further investigation. It also seems like one of those ideas that someone somewhere must have had already. If someone has had this idea before, though, it must have been deemed either infeasible or ridiculous, because I've never seen city rooftop wind power implemented.

And I was correct: people have thought of this and actually done it before. However, as this article explains, the structural implications are too big a hurdle, making the idea generally infeasible.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I guess solar power is the workable alternative.
PPS - But until solar cells are more efficient, it won't make much difference.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Midvale School for the Gifted

I've noticed that the glass doors on the front of this new office building are a trap for young players. They are clearly and helpfully labeled "PUSH" on the outside, which is good, but the word is visible from the inside too. It says "HSUP", but somehow that goes unnoticed until you push on each door once. Then you re-evaluate your position and realise you've been reading backwards. I did this earlier, then I saw another of the building's tenants do the same. Thus I conclude it's not just me.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I wonder how it is that we don't notice the backwards writing.
PPS - Could make an interesting psychology study.

Monday, 27 November 2006


I slept in this morning somehow. I was pretty sure I set an alarm, so perhaps I switched it off and rolled over back to sleep. In any case, when I looked at the clock for the first time, I saw 07:05, which is five minutes before I usually leave the house. Breakfast? Not today. Shower? Unfortunately, we have time only for the absolute bare essentials. I dressed faster than a quick-change magician, threw some food at the cat and hung out last night's washing like a whirlwind on fire. That was the real time sink. I got it all done, though, and made it to the bus stop in time to sweat and wheeze onto the bus like an eighty-year-old triathlete.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This post was composed entirely offline.
PPS - My network connection was not yet set up properly.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

The Sunday Mok - Party Party

Sunday - There were two engagement announcements in the morning church service including Deb and me. After yard work in the afternoon I had dinner at Deb's and we started watching The Empire Strikes Back. We finished it after the evening church service with Murrae and Tracey.
Monday - There's been very little on at work this week. Most of the time I've been working in advance on a project that is yet to receive funding. I had dinner with Dad and Anthony at home, then went to Deb's to plan wedding stuff.
Tuesday - I watched Fullmetal Alchemist during lunch at work because I'm way behind. Karate in the evening was a good workout. Afterwards, Deb and I went to Dad & Beth's for dinner and discussed more wedding plans.
Wednesday - I woke up early and disoriented, and couldn't remember the day of the week or whether my alarm had gone off yet. That happened again on Thursday and Friday. I took Deb to see the Cirque du Soleil production Varekai, and we both enjoyed it very much.
Thursday - With so little on at work, we started packing for Friday's office move. In the evening I planned the evening church service for Sunday. It's the first time I've done it, and I'm a little uncertain about it.
Friday - As I prepared to leave the office, I plugged in my flash drive to synchronise my personal files. The machine crashed immediately. I hope it's not permanently damaged. We played Spicks & Specks at youth group, which was fun.
Saturday - Deb and I went to a farewell party for Trent and Penelope, then to Mia and Sam's engagement party, to which we were late. We would have gone to my uncle's 60th birthday party as well, but times and places were not compatible with the other parties. In the evening we watched Stargate Atlantis before having an early night.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I received a good-natured chiding on Saturday for announcing the engagement by blog rather than phone.
PPS - That would mostly be because it meant a two-day delay for most people.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Friday Zombie Blogging

A high school production of Night of the Living Dead. Apparently it went rather well.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Other sources tell me they had to cancel plans to use real zombies.
PPS - Those rehearsals ended tragically.

The inbox stress indicator

A good gauge of how busy is my life at any stage is the number of emails in my inbox. I archive them when they're not needed anymore, so I only see what's absolutely necessary in my mailboxes. Usually I have about five for home and two for work. Sometimes, in a bad week, I'll average twelve to fifteen. Currently I have ten at work and fifteen at home for a total busy/stress factor of twenty-five. When I'm usually sitting at a seven, you can see how this would affect me. And while I know it shouldn't, somehow that doesn't seem to register.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think I'll get to archive a few of them today.
PPS - My work inbox will be nearly empty when I go home.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

They always pick the guy with the wire

Last night I saw Cirque du Soleil's Varekai, and I definitely recommend it. It was funny, thrilling and brilliant, sometimes all at once. It's like watching contortionists dancing ballet in zero gravity. I couldn't quite follow the story, though. As near as I could tell, there was some winged boy who fell from the sky, then had his wings stolen. He saw some animals, then I think there was a fire. In the end he got married. I guess the story isn't the most important part here.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There appears to be a video clip sample on the website.
PPS - Most of the music, as far as I could tell, was performed live.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Anyone got a prototype?

If ground-based use of tractor beams is feasible, they could be used to enforce speed limits in certain geographical locations such as schools. They could be used to prevent people from running red lights. Of course that second scenario means we need a bypass for vehicles that are allowed to run red lights, which just introduces a vulnerability into the system.

With sufficient smarts, a tractor beam system could be set up at a problem intersection to detect imminent vehicle collisions and prevent them or at least minimise their impact.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - These are the kinds of thoughts science fiction guides me to.
PPS - I have several more.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Could be a metaphor

Our section is allegedly moving down to a new office on Friday. I say "allegedly" because I went looking for the building over the weekend and couldn't actually find it. The two competing theories so far are that it's too confusing a place to locate without a native guide or that "new office" is a euphemism for "fired". I really hope it's the first one.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I can't imagine anyone going to this much trouble to just get rid of someone.
PPS - Even several someones.

Sunday, 19 November 2006

The Sunday Mok - Warp 1, Engage!

Sunday - Church in the morning, followed by grocery shopping and a nap. In the afternoon I went to the Enoggera Bowls Club to play rebound volleyball with nine of my school friends and associates. It was great to see everyone again, plus the exercise did me good.
Monday - I spent the week at work on the performance appraisal database and identity database. I think performance appraisals are nearly finished. At bible study in the evening, we just discussed the reading without the video and I passed on a copy of the Mosaic talk series "Life's Toughest Questions".
Tuesday - I woke up tired and stayed that way at work for most of the week. Karate in the evening was a little easier than last week. After dinner, Deb and I watched some Stargate Atlantis.
Wednesday - It was tough to get out of bed. My own fault, of course, for having late nights. There was a big storm around lunchtime, and I found it hard to focus all day. Deb and I had dinner at my place because the storm had cut power to hers.
Thursday - Dinner at Dad & Beth's was a really nice marinated roast, with apple pie and custard for dessert. I say this to make you jealous. My step-brother-in-law mentioned that I could have saved on my laptop purchase if I'd salary-sacrificed for it. This is why it's handy to know an accountant.
Friday - We took the youth group ice skating, though many of our regulars were elsewhere celebrating the end of their school year. We witnessed a marriage proposal on the ice which I knew I couldn't mention to Deb until late on Saturday.
Saturday - Deb and I went Christmas shopping for each other, which meant a little time apart and hiding store-branded bags afterwards. When we met back up, we looked at engagement rings. When we found one we both liked and saw that it fit perfectly, I bought it. We went to dinner that night at the most expensive restaurant we've been to. Good food, though.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Deb's face hurt from smiling so much.
PPS - I smiled a lot too.

The news

Just a quick note because I don't have time to do a full Sunday Mok until later: Deb and I are engaged as of yesterday! We're both very excited, and the only thing we've really worked out so far is the date for the wedding: the 12th of May.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There'll be a few more details in The Sunday Mok later today.
PPS - Until then, feel free to speculate on various aspects.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Friday Zombie Blogging

Everyone's in on zombie movies recently. I realise it's been a little while since a high-profile release, but that bandwagon is still a-rollin'.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Personally I'm hanging out for World War Z.
PPS - And Diary of the Dead, of course.

Interactive sport

It occurred to me last night that video referees need not be physically present at the particular sporting event in which they are participating. Given the right technology, they could be lounging at home, reviewing decisions and reporting back as required.

Then I realised that, apart from actually having a say, that's just what the rest of the fans do. So why couldn't we farm out the video referee decisions to the fans? Then instead of yelling at the TV, we push a button and our voice is heard.

Obviously the biggest problem would be partiality - typically the team with the biggest fan base would get the favourable decisions. For the most part, I don't think we can actually trust the fans to be impartial, which would be the idea behind using more than one. Some kind of merit ranking would have to come into play. Perhaps votes would be weighted by seeing how often particular armchair umpires voted for and against their own teams.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The whole thing gets kind of complicated quickly.
PPS - Perhaps the home vote could just be kept as a statistic.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Reams of nonsense

With very little else to do today, and a modest amount of content there, perhaps it's time I introduce my other blog, Proverbially. It's basically an archived list of the original quotes I display on Messenger every day. There are an indefinite number still to come in the future. There are also lots more buried somewhere in my past chat logs, and I should really get around to digging them up some day. Enjoy!

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Perhaps, in time, these two blogs will become one.
PPS - For now, it feels like they should be separate.

Expressing excitement

One of the problems with text-only communication is that it allows only binary excitement levels, depending on whether or not you use an exclamation mark. Consider "That's great." versus "That's great!". Same sentiment, but when seen side by side, one looks apathetic and one looks ecstatic. So when writing such a phrase, you have to decide which end of the spectrum best expresses your enthusiasm level. It can be a tough decision.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Some people use multiple exclamation marks.
PPS - I don't get that at all.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006


Not all moments are created equal. Some moments demand attention, while others slide by without a thought. Some moments are the perfect time to stare at the clouds, and some are the perfect time to concentrate and get things done. Some moments are spoiled and some are saved. Some moments die while others live.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I feel like I should edit this into a free verse layout.
PPS - A task for a different moment, perhaps.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Thin desktops

There's an idea about internet service that's been around for a while that hasn't caught on. Basically, internet service providers sell you (as a service) a virtual desktop on their servers. That way your internet connection appears blazingly fast just because all your downloads are direct on the wholesale backbone and all you see is a view of it.

I think people (or geeks at least) will be hesitant to take up offers like that, despite bullet-speed downloads. They know how hard it is to switch service providers, and what happens if you decide to leave? If they want to, they can lock up your (virtual) machine and throw away the key, or "accidentally" lose the file. Probably worse than that is the security threat. Not that I imagine the service providers will take it lightly (at least not after the first lawsuit) but that the big media companies will see it as a goldmine. Every machine is then identified as belonging to a person, rather than today's semi-plausible deniability. Also, they can copy your machine and take it away for examination without ever having to inconvenience you. Big Media would dearly love to embrace this model of internet service, I believe.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The whole idea seems too problematic for the public.
PPS - That's probably why it hasn't caught on.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Life Inside the Asylum Casino

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes a clause against cruel and unusual punishment (ie torture). This has been pointed out to me in response to my methods for dealing with phone spammers (aka telemarketers). The obvious implication is that I am torturing these poor phone operators and denying them the basic human rights they deserve.

I'll admit that targeting the operators doesn't really get to the heart of the problem. The core problem we are fighting here is human greed, and the mechanism by which it is enacted is by the casino model - if you have enough customers and the probability of a sale times the profit from one sale is more than the cost of interacting with one potential customer, then you have profit.

We are all victims here. Everyone gets spam on the phone and by email. Unfortunately, by the time email spam gets to you, about the best you can do is delete it and get on with your life. With the telephone and the systems in place there, you can tip the scales of the economic interaction just a little bit. You reduce the number of customers (since you tie up one operator for a while) and you increase the average cost of contacting each person very slightly (because the time per customer goes up). Yes, you inconvenience the one poor marketer on the other end of the phone, but the important part is that the spammer overlord starts to feel the pinch. That only happens if everyone fights back, though.

I consider it cruel and unusual for me to receive semi-automated phone calls from overseas to sell me things I don't want, didn't request and will not buy, and then to receive them again and again, over and over until the end of time. Is my only option to roll over and accept this as the usual state of affairs? No. Do I have to hang up immediately, thereby allowing the spammer to pursue better leads elsewhere? Hardly.

Okay, I can't defend the active teasing games, but I think the best thing you can do with a telemarketer is hold them on the line rather than hang up immediately.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The global spam machine can only be stopped by everyone working together.
PPS - And I mean every last person.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

The Sunday Mok - And I never cooked burgers again

Sunday - After I fed Meg in the morning, she came back upstairs, which is unusual for her. She must have been lonely. The morning church service was followed by a sausage lunch, chores and City of Heroes.
Monday - It seemed like several little things went wrong. I made a couple of mistakes at work, ate at home instead of at Deb's. Bible study in the evening was a bit unfocused because we were at Bridgit's place, which is also home to five puppies.
Tuesday - Deb's sister Mia came along to observe karate in the evening, then I had dinner at Deb's. We watched a little TV and chatted the evening away.
Wednesday - I'm trying to wrap up the performance appraisal database at work. The user interface needs more functionality for managing the organisational structure. Dinner at Deb's again and more chatting.
Thursday - I brought lunch with me to work, but forgot about it and bought another. After work I waited 75 minutes for the bus, then decided to walk and catch a different one. Deb and I watched some recent South Park episodes and Black Adder.
Friday - At youth group in the evening, we just hung out playing games, chatting and listening to music. It was pretty good.
Saturday - I slept in, went for a jog, played City of Heroes, then went to Deb's for lunch. She cut my hair again, even shorter this time. We went bowling in the afternoon with Murrae and Tracey, then watched Napoleon Dynamite. It's hard to tell if I liked it or not.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think I did.
PPS - It's just spectacularly slow.

Friday, 10 November 2006

Market This

Games to play with telemarketers:

Hello - Answer only the questions that can be answered with "hello". See how long you can keep them on the line. My record is about three minutes.

Pardon - Make them repeat everything at least once.

Questions - Repeat everything they say to you, but as a question. See how long they stay on the script.

The Silent Treatment - Put the phone down and walk away. Usually, the auto-dialer doesn't provide any way for the call centre minion to hang up, so they're stuck on the phone with you. If they really were calling with a legitimate reason, they'd hang up and try again. Note that this works best with a cordless phone rather than a physical hook switch.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - My favourite is the silent treatment.
PPS - Yes, I know it's mean.

Friday Zombie Blogging

Video game characters drawn as zombies for a Hallowe'en contest.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't think characters that were already zombies counted.
PPS - Then again, I haven't checked out all the entries yet.

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Urban Dead End

I'm growing a little bit tired of Urban Dead, the browser-based zombie game I usually play at lunchtime. Not because it's inherently tiresome (everyone knows I like zombies) but because I seem to have done all I can. There's more killing or more reviving, plus lots more searching, barricading and walking around. I have all the skills I need now, so unless I switch sides to become a zombie full-time, I'm stuck. If I did shuffle off the mortal coil, I'd immediately be able to buy all the remaining zombie skills, so there won't be anything to accomplish there, either. Maybe I'm just done.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - And yet I still love City of Heroes.
PPS - There's more to do in CoH than Urban Dead.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

TV the way it should be today

Democracy is an internet television application. It's been out for a while now, gradually building up to a non-beta release. I thought I'd mention it because it embodies nearly everything I think television should be these days.

First, it works on my schedule, not one set by the local broadcast tower. If I want to watch my favourite program at 6am instead of 8pm, that's entirely up to me, and it's a function of the system, not an add-on feature.

Second, it's global. Broadcast television is bound to geographical locations and economic rationalising. If there are only 0.5% of people in any given area as a potential audience for a show, it won't get shown. If you take it globally with the power of the internet, 0.5% of several billion makes tens of millions of viewers. That's an audience any TV executive can get behind.

The one thing it doesn't do is payment for content. I would accept paying one dollar per show to download and watch on my schedule, as long as it's not locked up inconveniently. And as long as it has absolutely no ads. That would be equivalent to buying a DVD of a TV show and finding it's got all the broadcast ads still in it. That's a rant for another time, though.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Democracy has no pay system because they believe in gratis and libre media.
PPS - And that's fine by me.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

South Park and Atheists

Atheists net-wide have recently learned a lesson about South Park: sooner or later, they will come for everyone, including you. The recently-aired episode (ending with "to be continued") featured famous evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins in a couple of compromising positions. Boing Boing has the skinny, including a comment from an offended atheist and another who's more easy-going. And that's the lesson: either you're confident in your beliefs and can laugh at them while still holding them true or you're insecure and can only laugh at other people.

That being said, of course, sometimes people say things that you just can't laugh at, no matter how mature or confident you are.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The evidence, in this case, is that the episode was funny.
PPS - I'm eager for the next installment.

Monday, 6 November 2006

Diametrically opposed

It's common enough to find shops advertising Kosher and Halal food for sale. That's relatively easy, because they're rather compatible (as far as I know). I wonder what would happen if another religion rose in popularity and had incompatible food rules. For instance, say this new religion requires all meat to be cooked in milk (not Kosher). What do the stores do then? Have separate Kosher and Anti-Kosher sections?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - That's the only sensible solution I can think of.
PPS - Unless stores want to specialise in one or the other.

Sunday, 5 November 2006

The Sunday Mok - Remember Remember

Sunday - After the morning church service, Deb and I did the weekly grocery shopping. I spent the afternoon playing City of Heroes. I cooked dinner and helped with a drama in the evening church service.
Monday - I took leftovers for lunch and didn't quite finish it all. After dinner with Dad, the weekly bible study was at my place. Only Deb and Mia came besides John. It felt like I spoke more than usual.
Tuesday - I coded the basics of a travel and market experience report for the performance appraisal database at work. I returned to karate after a couple of weeks away, and it was a noticeable drop in performance. I've had a pretty sore back for the rest of the week.
Wednesday - I had to redesign my identity management code to better allow for expansion. It would have been good to get it right the first time. I had dinner at Deb's and just chatted for the remainder of the evening.
Thursday - Dinner at Dad & Beth's, followed by Fun With Dick and Jane on DVD. My blue card unexpectedly arrived in the mail.
Friday - I was able to go back to youth group in the evening because of my blue card renewal. We had to change plans, unfortunately, because it was raining, and I got the job of waiting at the pool to direct people back to the church. It was good to be back.
Saturday - I played City of Heroes in the morning until Deb called. We went out to lunch and did some shopping for the Mexican-themed dinner in the evening. My piñata costume, created by Deb, won me a cactus.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - My last cactus died.
PPS - I don't know if I over- or under-watered it.

Friday, 3 November 2006

The Case of the Misplaced Milk and the Upset Cat

Meg the cat woke me at 01:15 this morning for some reason. After taking her downstairs and returning to bed still half-asleep, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. I checked everything I could and rationalised the rest, and finally got back to sleep. This morning the milk (delivered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) was halfway across the front lawn instead of on the doorstep.

So I guess the only explanation is a ninja milk-botherer stopped by very early in the morning.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not even sure that the milk had been delivered by that time.
PPS - As far as I know, it could be delivered my magic elves.

Friday Zombie Blogging

Having a late Hallowe'en party? You'll need some decorations. Like a zombie vomiting into a barrel.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Nothing says "Welcome!" like zombie vomit.
PPS - The video is not quite worth the effort.

Thursday, 2 November 2006

It's either sad or funny

How to tell if you are over-tired:
1. View this moving picture.
2. If you made any little sad noises such as a drawn-out "aww", it's time for bed.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Apologies to those who have seen this already.
PPS - It makes it worse if you imagine facial expressions.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Out of the loop

I am terrible at keeping in touch with people. Absolutely atrocious. If you are my friend, chances are that I have almost never called you. Some of you will have been lucky enough to receive a spontaneous email. Most of my friends are in the "I see them at parties" category.

I thought I should mention this because it seems, from that point of view, that I neither value nor appreciate my friends. That's completely untrue, but it really doesn't look that way. So here's to all my friends, whether I see you once a week or once a year. May our paths cross much more often. Cheers.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Having said all this, hopefully I can work harder at it.
PPS - I miss you all.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Vending iced coffee

I spent a few months in a different office at a tiny desk in a corridor. The main point is that I was buying iced coffee from the vending machine, and they were almost always out of it. I think that was my doing for the most part. I kept hoping they'd stock up with more than three new bottles when they restock tech came by. The week before I left, they'd changed the standard contents of the machine, placing *four* iced coffees there. Good times.
By contrast, the vend-o-matic here contains about nine Ice Breaks and usually three each of Breaka 500mL iced coffee and Breaka Lite.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm trying to cut down.
PPS - Each 500mL Ice Break contains nearly 30 grams of sugar.

Monday, 30 October 2006


Many of our troubles come from duplication of information and the actions we must go through to do this. We have information in our heads that we must get into the computer for use there, then we have that same information printed out on notices and posters. Speaking to another human is just an attempt to duplicate information from one storage mechanism (a brain) to another. Posting signs is another example of this, with the difference being the intended audience and the medium.

If all humans were networked in a global mind, then there is no need to duplicate information between brains, as we all have access to each other's thoughts and knowledge. It goes beyond that, however, into the elimination of the individual. We become one beast with one mind. Communication is meaningless when it is complete, because complete communication is identity. Two objects that know all of one another are two parts of a larger object. If you and I share one mind, why would we talk?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There may be a higher philosophical principle working here.
PPS - But for a Monday, this hurts my head.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

The Sunday Mok - Balance in Motion

Sunday - After the morning church service, I cleaned up the yard while Deb vacuumed my car interior. I cooked dinner and ran the computer for the evening church service, then Deb and I went to her place and chatted for a while, since nobody was going to the Coffee Club.
Monday - I spent the whole week writing identity management code at work. In the evening, I had dinner at Deb's, then bible study at Michelle's. We're studying Paul's letter to the Philippians.
Tuesday - I skipped karate in the evening for a meeting. That will make it a three week break if I go back this week. I'll have some catching up to do.
Wednesday - I had dinner at Deb's again, then following the after-dinner conversation, Deb and I watched DVDs and chatted.
Thursday - Family dinner at Dad & Beth's tonight. They'll be flying out to the United Arab Emirates this week so that Dad can help design a marina. Deb and I watched more DVDs after we got home.
Friday - I bought food for youth group supper and dropped it off, then had to leave again because my blue card hasn't come through yet. Deb and I watched Take the Lead, which was okay. We chatted some more afterwards.
Saturday - I slept about an hour past my alarm and had to rush to the church to babysit during the Marriage Course. I don't know if I did very well, because Caleb ran back to his parents about five times. I slept when I got home, then watched Super Size Me. I got a little more out of it this second time, but not much. I played City of Heroes for a while and Deb played The Sims 2 on my laptop. We went bowling with Murrae and Tracey in the evening, followed by more games.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - We both stayed up too late.
PPS - I have to stop doing that.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Virtual Ubuntu

Yesterday I installed not one but two virtual Ubuntu Linux machines, one at work and one at home. Unfortunately, the one at work wants to download and install 200MB of patches right away, which is a bit much. It won't go unnoticed, is what I'm saying.

For a geek, I'm very late onto the Linux bandwagon. I'm not sure why that might be, but with something as easy as Ubuntu to set up, and VMWare Player to let me do so without potentially obliterating Windows, well, there are no excuses anymore.

I'm aware it's a different environment, so it's going to take some learning. I'll have to figure out how my regular daily activities (at home: games, TV and internet) will work. I did find an article on running City of Heroes in Linux that should be interesting reading. But while I'm running Linux only virtually, that would be an experiment only.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If things go horribly wrong, I'll let you know.
PPS - The bonus of virtual machines in that case: delete the file and you're all cleaned up.

Friday Zombie Blogging

Zombie-themed hot sauce, complete with coffin.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Via Boing Boing.
PPS - I'm guessing that you'd have to pick your dinner guests specially for such an item.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Social Drinker

Meg, cat-in-residence at casa de Borg, has a water bowl of her very own. She ignores it completely and prefers to drink from unwashed dishes, the bathroom basin and sometimes she even licks the collected droplets from the floor of the shower. Her motivation is unclear, but it does seem that her preference for company outweighs her preference for water. Or maybe water is tastier with a hint of soap. I guess we'll be in the dark until she learns to speak and decides to explain to us.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In the meantime, I'm just letting her be.
PPS - It usually seems like the best policy.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Virtual Mess

To me, one of the primary selling points of a virtual or robotic pet would be the zero poop angle. It's a simple fact that robots don't need to poop. Any robot or simulation that does poop has, in my opinion, been either poorly or maliciously designed. Apparently, Nintendogs takes the viewpoint that pooping = realism, and should therefore be included in the set of programmed behaviours. I guess that's fun for some people.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I do not own a DS or Nintendogs.
PPS - For the other programmers out there, yes, I know that should be "pooping == realism".

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Copy Stop

A significantly long time ago, technology-wise, Weird Al Yankovic included a copy warning on a video cassette stating that it had been protected with "Patented Copy StopTM technology". Among its claimed effects was the loss of function of your player and recorder, fading of household furniture, the death of pets and global weather disturbances. It was all a joke, of course, but Al proved to be a bit of a prophet in that sense. If a system exactly like Copy Stop existed, you know it would have been deployed by now, and you know someone would have tried to circumvent it, probably killing us all in the process. That's humanity for you.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't often mean to be cynical.
PPS - The warning has been transcribed here.

Monday, 23 October 2006


I'm well aware that my view of the world could be described as "skewed". For instance, the Internet Explorer 7 installer said something along the lines of "To install Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 you must validate your Windows installation. Click here to validate." In my mind, this translated to "You are a dirty rotten thief! To dispute this claim, please click this button." That's the problem with all DRM and call-home procedures on our PCs these days. They assume the worst, and treat everyone as guilty until they prove themselves innocent.

I don't think it is in your best interests for Microsoft to call you a thief and make you prove them wrong. The problem is that it's by far the easier path for them. If they tried to gather information about who was pirating Windows and go after them, they'd be spending their own time and money doing so. If they just accuse everyone, they're spending your time.

Individually it wouldn't be that much - say, two minutes. Multiply that over a company of 2000 employees and we have 66 hours wasted just proving to Microsoft that the company is legit. Across a user base of 100 million people, it's 380 years of lost time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - That's non-stop, not just working hours.
PPS - Crazy, isn't it?

Sunday, 22 October 2006

The Sunday Mok - The crack that split the city in half

Sunday - After the morning church service, I went grocery shopping with Deb. I showed her The Sims 2 and I did some yard work. In the evening, we went to see the Watoto Children's Choir, and I highly recommend them.
Monday - Work. Some bug hunting, some timesheets work. I had dinner at Deb's before bible study which wasn't really a study. Mostly we discussed the minister's recent trip to China.
Tuesday - I got a solid task to focus on at work, which was good. Traffic in the afternoon was awful. A group of us walked past the congestion to catch a different bus home. In the evening, Deb and I played games side by side, her on The Sims 2 and me on City of Heroes. This was only possible because Anthony was away, so his machine was available.
Wednesday - I had dinner at Deb's, then we played the original Sims together for a little while. I left early because I was starting to feel sick.
Thursday - I was pretty hungry all day, which I believe was due to sickness. Deb came over for dinner and we played our games side by side again until Anthony got home. I tried to have an early night.
Friday - I caught an extra-early bus in the hopes of beating the morning rush. No such luck. I had dinner with Deb then helped her prepare for the Marriage Course breakfast on Saturday.
Saturday - I spent the morning watching recorded TV and also ran one quick City of Heroes mission. I spent the afternoon at Deb's doing basically nothing. We did watch Final Fantasy in the evening.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Traffic has generally been worse inbound to the city than outbound.
PPS - The problem on-ramps could be closed for the next six weeks.

Friday, 20 October 2006

Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 7 has been officially released. It looks pretty slick. The problem is that behind the scenes, we have some bugs carried over from version 6. This was done knowingly because of Microsoft's near-monopoly on the browser market (though their share is slipping). The reasoning went like this: IE6 has some annoying bugs, and website makers created their sites to work around the bugs. That created the situation where the IE6 bugs became the de-facto standards of the web in place of the actual standards. Now IE7 has come along and, in order to work with the horrors left behind on the web by the bugs of its predecessor, IE7 must replicate those same bugs. And that is how Microsoft enshrined broken software as standard practice.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The IE7 installation called me a thief, so I quit.
PPS - I looked at it on a co-worker's PC.

Friday Zombie Blogging

Zombie Prom, a now-regular costume formal where you can get dressed up and look like you're dead at the same time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Come to think of it, zombies are often in formal wear.
PPS - It comes from being buried in it.

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Messenger name changer

I change my Messenger Live name every day. It's just one of those things I do. The problem is that it's tedious, so I wrote a script for the Messenger Plus plugin, based largely on someone else's work, that changes my name when I sign in. It also keeps track of the last day it did so, because sometimes I get signed out accidentally, and I only want to use up one name per day.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's in a working state now.
PPS - If I can take it further without just copying more code from the other script, I might release it publicly.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

For the sake of a 2m crack

Because a few streets and bridges are closed around Brisbane this week (engineers discovered a crack in a bridge ramp) traffic is disrupted. The inner city will be described by the media using words like "chaos". Personally it took me an hour and a half to get home yesterday afternoon.

The first reaction people have is that we're glad they take our safety seriously enough to investigate this fully. The second reaction, which kicks in just after they get in their cars, is that this whole situation could be avoided with some putty.

I didn't hear the city council take this chance to promote public transport, but I did hear that transit lanes are being opened to all traffic. The early bus was crowded this morning, so some people must have had the right idea. It got me in here at a decent time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not sure if I'll be walking past the congestion this evening.
PPS - It seemed like a pretty good idea yesterday.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Package tracking

Some time ago, I ordered a t-shirt from ZeStuff with the longest and cheapest shipping option available. The site says that there is no tracking available for packages shipped this way, and that I choose that option at my own risk.

Now, RFID tags are just about everywhere these days, and people are always looking for new ways to use them. For that reason, I doubt I'm the first one to think of this. We could put RFID tags in postage stamps and use them to track ordinary letters everywhere. Even if this kind of tracked postage cost an extra 20c for the tag, I'd be all for it. I'd be especially interested if they could tell me where my t-shirt is.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Data processing and storage would be the biggest costs.
PPS - Yeah, this seems to be old news.

Monday, 16 October 2006


I just saw Jess' post about Netflix throttling and thought I'd check out the Quickflix terms and conditions for a similar clause. Among the rest, I found this bit:
We reserve the right to terminate or restrict your use of Quickflix Services, without notice, for any or no reason whatsoever.

So, basically, they've reserved the right to cancel my account for no reason at all. If the mood strikes a slightly disgruntled employee, he/she could just cancel half of the accounts and, according to the terms, would have nothing to explain to the customers.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The discussion with his/her boss would be something else entirely, I imagine.
PPS - I expect the clause is worded that way so they don't have to explain the reasons.

The End of the World ... of Warcraft

I finally saw the recent South Park episode "Make love, not Warcraft" last night (during time I should have been sleeping, naughty me). Not being a player myself, I can't say for sure whether they accurately captured the atmosphere of the game, nor could I point out which bits were custom animation, but I did find it amusing. It's worth the time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Now if only my preferred MMORPG could get this kind of coverage.
PPS - All City of Heroes has is a couple of comics, as far as I know.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

The Sunday Mok - Birthday sing-off

Sunday - I was on bulletin handout at church in the morning, then had lunch at Deb's followed by DVDs until about 16:00. Back at home, I raked, mowed and pruned in the front yard for an hour. I sang and did a bible reading in the evening church service.
Monday - I worked most of the week on the performance appraisal database, trying to finish off the last bugs and features. I had dinner at Deb's, followed by chatting and DVDs.
Tuesday - Karate in the evening was a slightly harder leg workout than I've been used to recently. That was good. I went to dinner at Dad & Beth's and found out when I got there that it was my step-sister Wendy's birthday on Monday.
Wednesday - I tried to catch an early bus to work, but missed it by two minutes and had to wait for my regular one anyway. I had dinner at Deb's with another guest from church.
Thursday - I caught the early bus to work to make up time I expected to lose on Friday to a long group lunch. The usual family dinner was off because Dad & Beth are away, so Deb and I made chicken enchiladas here and watched DVDs.
Friday - I foolishly let my Blue Card expire, so I wasn't able to attend youth group. I got my application form in that evening and dropped off some things at the church for the other leaders before spending the night watching DVDs with Deb.
Saturday - I went for a jog in the morning, then watched recorded TV until 10:00. I let Deb trim my hair again, then we went out shopping for a birthday gift for Murrae and settled on EyeToy Play 3. We had dinner at Sizzler, then hung out at Erin's.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There were three birthday dinners simultaneously at Sizzler.
PPS - At least, there were three singing.

Friday, 13 October 2006

Friday Zombie Blogging

Michael Jackson's Thriller, India-style.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Bollywood never stops giving.
PPS - Even if you want it to.

Guidelines for dealing with journalists

What to do if you are approached by a journalist:
1. Stay calm. Raising your voice will only excite the journalist, and may attract others nearby.
2. Stay still. Running from a journalist typically results not in a clean getaway, but in a sensationalist spot on 60 Minutes.
3. Divert their attention. Attempt to direct the journalist to their designated feeding area gently but firmly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This entry inspired by a company email.
PPS - It is probably more amusing to me than you.

Thursday, 12 October 2006

The magical book debt

Erin gave me a magical book for my birthday, then I used up the magic. I tried to return the favour by giving the book back, but that's when we found out that the magic was gone. I owe erin one magic book and I'm not sure where to begin.
I've never been shopping for grimoires or other mystical texts, but I'm guessing there's not usually a sign on the door of the shop. My hope is that by standing at a crossroads, clicking my heels together and spinning three times anti-clockwise I'll be transported to the Shadowlands where magical books are as common as birds in the sky and singing turnips.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Hopefully the magic will survive the journey back.
PPS - Well, I've got to try.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

One perfect copy

The RIAA and MPAA are fighting to make digital music and movies (ie CDs and DVDs) impossible to copy because, as they see it, one perfect copy destroys all sales for that work. The problem with the argument is that every work on CD or DVD out there has been copied, and people are still buying them. If one perfect copy destroyed all sales, the entire music and movie industry would be gone by now, because no money would be coming in.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Just a thought.
PPS - I still think piracy is wrong, but it's not hurting as much as they'd have you believe.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

The Curators

Our post-industrial world was run by curators of public opinion. Newspaper editors, television executives, record producers, fashion consultants and more. With the global communications network, those jobs are being made obsolete daily. When it's almost free to put content online, we don't need someone to vet the decision for us beforehand. There's no appreciable risk to manage, and so these managers of risk for other people's money are going to disappear unless they find a way to redefine their role.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Typically former curators find their way as popular bloggers.
PPS - So it's not all bad.

Monday, 9 October 2006

Extend and enhance

I suppose the big disadvantage of web-based applications is the inability or difficulty of creating plug-ins for adapting or enhancing the functionality. For some desktop applications, that's a big plus. The only way for the average developer to extend or enhance a web application is if there is a provided application programming interface, but that is both rare and far removed from the desktop version of the plug-in architecture.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Of course, with tools like GreaseMonkey it's possible to modify or extend web applications.
PPS - But it's not easy, not reliable, and usually against the terms of service.

Sunday, 8 October 2006

The Sunday Mok - 15 Hours Late

Sunday - I was on bulletin handout again at Ashgrove Baptist, on an emotional upswing after Saturday's reuinion. I took a nap in the afternoon, as well as doing some house chores, then ran the computer for the evening church service.
Monday - The whole week at work felt rather unproductive. Dad brought curry and rice for dinner, then I had a meeting to discuss the upcoming term for youth group. I played City of Heroes for about 90 minutes afterwards.
Tuesday - Karate in the evening included all the regular kicks, punches and blocks, plus combinations and kata. After dinner I went to Deb's to hang out and chat.
Wednesday - There happened to be lots of leftovers from a catered meeting at lunchtime, so we all ate pretty well. I had dinner at Deb's (a kind of improvised Mexican lasagne) then watched DVDs.
Thursday - I left the office early, at 17:00, which has become common for me recently. It just makes me feel like I've got a few extra minutes in the week. Family dinner at Dad & Beth's followed by DVDs.
Friday - We had a section lunch at a local bar & grill, and I think that's going to become traditional for Fridays. Also traditional will be one person picking up the entire tab. In the evening was the Alpha celebration dinner. I left with two thirds of a banana cake and 1.5 litres of custard.
Saturday - I got up early to help cater for the Marriage Course running at the church. In the afternoon I took Deb and Mia to Indooroopilly for shopping. I had dinner at home and spent the evening playing City of Heroes. The banana cake started to go bad, so Anthony and I finished it off.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sorry this post is about 15 hours later than usual.
PPS - I can't imagine it affected anyone's lives too greatly, but I felt I should apologise anyway.

Friday, 6 October 2006

The future is made of plastic and holograms

You know that bit in Back to the Future Part 2 where Marty's girlfriend Jennifer sees her future wedding photo? She exclaims: "I get married in the Chapel O' Love?" I never could tell if she's excited or horrified. I'd more confidently guess "horrified", because very few girls would dream of a Las Vegas wedding.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Also, she wasn't smiling.
PPS - But the tone of her voice still leaves me guessing.

Friday Zombie Blogging

Apparently, dying is no longer the career limiting move it once was. A dead woman was elected to office in Budapest, presumably because she'd do a better job than a living politician.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't think I'd like living in a country run by zombies.
PPS - For one thing, the currency would be brains.

Thursday, 5 October 2006

The Goatee Dimension

I'm fascinated by role reversal worlds, like interchanging good and evil or male and female. They're very useful philosophical tools to understand the nature of things in our own situation. For example, how are events like births, deaths and weddings treated in a world where evil is exalted and good is frowned upon? What would the celebrations be like when men finally got the vote? How would our history books look if Adelle Hitler had waged a terrible peace across Europe?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've been known to blame wrongs (tongue in cheek) on my evil twin.
PPS - I do wonder what he'd be like.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Putting the "Grand" in "DARPA Grand Challenge"

The next DARPA Grand Challenge is currently being prepared, and the teams have been chosen. Whereas before the robotic vehicles had to navigate a desert course without any human intervention at all, now they have to navigate busy city streets, obey traffic laws at all times and park themselves at the end.

That's a pretty big jump, to my mind. I'll be very impressed if any team actually completes the course this year (or even next year). I also wonder how busy these "busy city streets" will be.

When systems like this are better drivers than humans and cheap enough to be installed as standard, I expect we'll see the cost of owning an actual driver's licence go through the roof.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Because then you'll be one of the meat-sack maniacs ruining the streets for all the robots.
PPS - The human drivers, however, will not just disappear.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Anti-speeding legislation and device combo

Here's how it goes: you get caught speeding once, and we install a speed limiter in your car, set to the default highway speed of your state. If you get caught again, we check the limiter. If it's been tampered with or removed, your licence is cancelled immediately. Otherwise, we crank the limiter down another 10kph. If you're caught speeding too many times, you'll only really be able to drive on suburban streets at the limit (because highway driving will be too slow).

Of course this does nothing to prevent people from (a) speeding in the first place or (b) speeding in other cars. In all, I'd say it has more problems than benefits, but it's interesting to think about.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There were a few hoons doing the rounds in the local streets last night.
PPS - And me without my caltrops.

Monday, 2 October 2006

It's light red

We've had a discussion recently about what exact colour is one of my highlighters here at work. Brad and Ross say it's pink, while I maintain it's red (riveting stuff, I know). The problem is this: am I slightly colourblind (red-pink would be the only classification possible) or are we just a bunch of guys with different colour vocabularies?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I know it's not a deep red or fire-engine red.
PPS - Maybe it's flourescent red.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

The Sunday Mok - By your powers combined

Sunday - After church in the morning, five of us (Anthony, Dad, Beth, Deb and me) piled into one car to go and have lunch with my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Handley. We also managed to catch up with two of my cousins, Tim and Jenny, while we were there.
Monday - I was dealing with caffeine withdrawal for most of the working week, so everything seemed extra-tiring. I did some grocery shopping after work before dinner at Deb's and a night of DVDs.
Tuesday - I got a ride to work and home again most days in the week, thanks to an available parking space. I skipped karate in the evening to rest and play City of Heroes.
Wednesday - I actually tried to take a very short nap at lunchtime, and sort of dozed for about five minutes. It only helped a little. Dinner at Deb's, but I left pretty early after that.
Thursday - I picked up my glasses on the way home, then had dinner at Dad & Beth's with Deb, Anthony, David and Dean. We watched some DVDs after dinner with me wearing my glasses. I think they helped.
Friday - I read a very interesting article on how Google manages software projects. Boss David took the section out for lunch at the reasonably close restaurant Super Bowl. Deb and I had dinner at a local Indian cafe.
Saturday - The 10-year high school reunion. It was really good seeing so many people again and catching up. I managed to remember most faces and slightly fewer names. I made sure to get contact details from Leon, Blake and Ian before I left.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I find it difficult to remember my glasses.
PPS - I'll get used to it.

Friday, 29 September 2006

Friday Zombie Blogging

An on-campus game at Cornell University that's a lot like live-action zombie apocalypse role-playing.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - These things are always so far away.
PPS - And those people nearby are uninterested.

Class of ninety-[mumble]

So I've got my 10-year high school reunion on Saturday night, and I'm alternating between apathy and curiosity. I've seen most of my friends since school, but there are other people that might be interesting to catch up with. I don't think there's anyone there I'd like to avoid. If so, they'll want to avoid me too, so that should work out fine. I don't feel a particular need to show anyone that I've made something of my life despite their predictions because, for one, I don't remember anyone bothering to put me down much.

On the off chance that I need to get rid of someone, I've compiled a list of conversation-stoppers to use:
"So five years ago I had a psychotic episode, but I'm feeling better now."
"I just got out of prison yesterday. They don't know yet, of course..."
"I keep cats. I think I've got about 37 now, but it's hard to count them."
"I'm just standing in for one of your actual classmates."
"Do you have anywhere you could hide a gun for me?"
"You're sitting in it now."

Mokalus of Borg

PS - With any luck, I'll never need them.
PPS - I'll be sure to take photos.

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Frames by Converse

My glasses were ready yesterday. How come nobody mentions how expensive new frames are? Also, the phrase "my glasses" when applied to me absolutely spins me out. Though I've basically known it's coming (both the parentals wore spectacles) it's still a trip and a half to think that now I have to wear bits of glass to make my eyes work properly. They're only for reading, really.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - And watching TV and driving at night and using the computer...
PPS - I'm picking them up tonight.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

The Evidence

My belt is an exceptionally good one, and I've had it for over ten years now. It's still going strong. However, there are now a series of obvious black marks where my waist has gradually expanded and the buckle has moved up a notch. Since I was still growing when I first got the belt, that's not much of a surprise. I've since stopped growing taller and continued growing wider in tiny increments, as documented on my Tactical Pants Retaining System(TM).


PS - Perhaps I should get a new one that doesn't advertise the fact so plainly.
PPS - But I doubt I'd find one quite so good.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Pool Mobile

Today and for most of this week I get to car pool in to work which results in either tasty overtime or sweet, sweet sleep-ins. I got picked up at the same time as the bus would arrive and got in about 20 minutes early. It would be nice if it was possible all the time with, say, company-sponsored parking spots for car pools, but we've got too many cars and not enough spaces to make that happen.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I will enjoy it while it lasts.
PPS - I wonder if I can doze on the way instead of chatting without being impolite.

Monday, 25 September 2006

Load limited

Yesterday at about 17:30 I plugged in my new battery backup power supply and hooked in all the equipment. I've got my PC, Anthony's too, and his monitor on the battery backup outlets and other peripherals on the three surge guard outlets. Then at about 22:00 I was transcoding video and Anthony was on Final Fantasy XI, the thing starts screeching at us like a smoke alarm in panic mode. Turns out the battery outlets are overloaded.

Now, if I were more electrically-minded, I probably could have predicted that a UPS like this couldn't handle two PCs running hot, but I'm not a sparky. I'm a softy with a screwdriver at best. So now I've got to make the difficult choice of how to arrange things. Only one PC gets to have battery backup now, but the choices for the other outlet are my monitor (pointless without the PC up and running), the modem (with no router to keep it on the network), the router (with no PCs to connect to) or Anthony's speakers.

It seems like the speakers are the most logical choice, in the same way as smooth peanut butter, of all the peanut spread varieties, is the most like dairy butter. It might be true, but it's still a long way from right.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Of course, I could boot Anthony's PC off backup.
PPS - Since I own the UPS, after all...

Sunday, 24 September 2006

The Sunday Mok - The hand-me-downs of high fashion

Sunday - In the morning, the Uniting Church had a combined service of both morning and evening congregations, so I went to that and sang out front. In the afternoon I played City of Heroes and the evening activity was bowling for René's birthday.
Monday - Work saw the end of the major recorded bugs in the performance appraisal database so I started working on the timesheet transfer system and did that for most of the week. Alpha in the evening was all about the church, then we discussed the course as a whole. It was the final Monday night session.
Tuesday - I aimed to have an early night, so I just went to karate, cooked dinner, folded laundry and went to bed.
Wednesday - Dad had taken delivery of the new washing machine and installed it himself after some dramas with the water mains. After I ate at home, I went to Deb's and watched Charmed.
Thursday - There was a practice building evacuation at work, and it might have been the quickest ever. After dinner at Dad & Beth's, we watched Charmed as well as Family Guy.
Friday - Youth group is over for the term, so we went to Stu's to watch the football. Since neither Deb nor I are particularly interested in football, we left early to go and see The Devil Wears Prada. We probably could have waited.
Saturday - I went for a run in the morning, then went back to bed until 11:00. I picked up an uninterruptible power supply and a new soundcard from Umart then Deb and I went shopping at the nearby Toowong Village. Deb cut my hair in the afternoon and we watched Charmed up to the beginning of season 4.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I thought the UPS had four battery-backup outlets.
PPS - It seems to have only three.

Friday, 22 September 2006

Loyal customer rewards

Quickflix has sent me a second DVD. That's not remarkable except that my account only entitles me to have one out at a time. Maybe I'm like their millionth customer or something. Actually, I suspect it has something to do with the introduction of their new "pay in bulk and save" plan options, and I got caught in some kind of glitch.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Their Stargate Atlantis discs must be in high demand.
PPS - They're at the top of my list, but I've only received one so far.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Spiffy and spinny

Dad received delivery of and installed our new front-loading washing machine last night, which is much shinier than our old one. It's got buttons instead of a dial and it runs on electricity instead of little rats in wheels. The feature that interests me the most is the Delay Start, which means I'll be able to load the machine at night and set it to finish just before I get up in the morning. Then I can use the fifteen to twenty spare minutes in my morning routine to hang out washing if it suits me, rather than attempting an immediate load-and-start when I get up, followed some time later by a frantic hang-up and dash to the bus.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I imagine the cat will be slightly alarmed at the mysterious robotic cube.
PPS - But only for a while.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

It's spelled differently to that other musical Hanson

I don't want to sound like I'm just plugging The Chaser's War on Everything again, but that's pretty much what I'm doing. I'd love to get a CD of Andrew Hansen's comedy songs. I'm a bit of a fan of musical comedy in that way, and I just loved The Prolix Songwriter and The Fan of Doctor Who. I guess I could do the CD myself, if I ever find more than those two songs.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There are probably more on YouTube.
PPS - I haven't looked in depth yet.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

The pirates who never get out of your head. Ever.

Over the weekend I heard the Veggie Tales song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" and it's been on repeat in my head ever since. At first I thought is was cute. Then it was a bit annoying. Now I'd dig my brain out with a spoon if it would make them stop.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - They might not have been to Boston in the fall, but they do something.
PPS - They've probably driven many parents to damaging CDs and DVDs.

Monday, 18 September 2006

Entitled to it

Are opinions a right or a privilege? I think a good argument can be made for the idea that some opinions have to be earned - you aren't automatically entitled to them. For instance, would you say that you're entitled to your own medical opinion? How about a legal opinion? Theological? Political?

Some opinions are worth more than others. That's why we have expert witnesses in courts - their opinions are worth more than others in the same field, and are worth more than those of most other people in the room. It is that way because they've worked for it. So perhaps next time I'm about to spout an opinion on something, I'll stop to think whether I've earned the right.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In most cases, I probably haven't.
PPS - This may be why I'm already pretty quiet.

Sunday, 17 September 2006

The Sunday Mok - Down and up again

Sunday - After the morning church service, Deb and I helped Wendy and Dean (step-sister + husband) babysit for the newcomers lunch. While most of the kids were happy watching Veggie Tales I talked computer games with the eldest. I sang in the evening service and then we all went to the local Coffee Club for supper.
Monday - I spent the day in tedious data cleansing which really zonked me out. Alpha in the evening was about telling others. It's more about being open about faith rather than keeping it a secret or beating people over the head with it.
Tuesday - All day at work on performance appraisal bugs. I've been getting pretty tired of that routine, so I took a couple of chances for diversions. Karate was okay, all combinations and kata.
Wednesday - After work and dinner at Deb's, we started watching Charmed on DVD. At the moment I'm ambivalent about it. Maybe I'll get into it later.
Thursday - Damien, HR head, wanted a version of the performance appraisal database to put on a laptop and take to Melbourne to demonstrate. But he didn't have a laptop for me to work with. Dinner at Dad & Beth's included some hearty after-dinner laughs.
Friday - I got the laptop version of the database done and started to feel better about myself. It was good to have a different goal that was verifiably achieved. Youth group in the evening was a murder mystery party to finish off the term. The attendees really got into it, which was good, and the costumes were quite entertaining.
Saturday - I went to see the optometrist to get my eyes checked, because I've been noticing some trouble with long distance vision recently. She told me to drink lots more water and wash my eyes morning and night. I cooked chicken enchiladas for dinner, with a bit of direction from Deb, and I think over the course of the day we watched eight episodes of Charmed.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have some half-formed thoughts about Charmed that I might write later.
PPS - After they're fully-formed, of course.