Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Live from Tasmania

Mokalus is in Tasmania and everyone who told me this place would freeze my expletives off is a liar. There's no internet connection available at our chosen accommodation, which I consider to be a major oversight both for me and them. So this post is coming to you from the Drifters Internet Cafe on Salamanca Place by the Hobart waterfront.

There's not much to tell about the trip itself so far except that hiring a car between two geographically-challenged individuals such as Deb and me may have been a mistake. We haven't managed to get anywhere so far without either making a wrong turn or wrestling the locals for parking spaces.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Nearly forgot my password to get in here.
PPS - Lucky for you I can manage.

Monday, 26 June 2006

Like cable television by mail

I have now joined Quickflix, an online DVD rental service. This is specifically for things like Stargate Atlantis that I want to see, but may not want to own. Also, they have a much larger selection than all of my local rental places combined and doubled. It's how the internet is meant to apply to this kind of business, and apparently it's working really well.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I had to join when we started watching Stargate SG-1 season 8.
PPS - There was a bit of story that was told only in the Atlantis series.

Sunday, 25 June 2006

The Sunday Mok - The Thinking Dance

Sunday - I did some grocery shopping after church in the morning then took a nap in the afternoon. I continued clearing out a branch from the back yard, played City of Heroes and did the laundry, too.
Monday - I reworked some of the web pages for our performance appraisal database and booked my car in for its 20 000km service. My brother and I had dinner with Dad at the local Thai restaurant, which made me a bit late for bible study at Bridgit's.
Tuesday - I dropped my car in for its service at 08:00 and caught the bus into the city, because the busses to Spring Hill don't run at that time. That meant a long hike uphill to work. In the evening, I skipped karate to go to the movies with the rest of the churchies.
Wednesday - I tried to get my Microsoft Certified Professional ID associated with my Microsoft Partners account. Two phone calls to MS tech support, one email and a whole morning of effort had yielded no results and I was not happy. I ate at home and then went to Deb's to watch Comedy Inc.
Thursday - I mostly worked on the performance appraisals database at work, then picked Deb up for dinner at Dad & Beth's. After dinner, we left rather quickly, then watched Stargate SG-1 at Deb's.
Friday - When I woke up, the Australia vs Croatia soccer match was still going on, and Australia was down 2-1. In the evening, we took the youth group kids to Laserforce. I didn't play as well as I would have liked.
Saturday - Very uneventful. Went grocery shopping in the morning, took a walk and a nap, and watched more Stargate, all with Deb.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - "The Thinking Dance" is a complex sequence of foot motions that helps you think.
PPS - Obviously.

Friday, 23 June 2006

Friday zombie blogging

Zombie movie Last Rites debuts in Los Angeles.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have no idea if it is any good.
PPS - Primarily because I don't live in LA.

Thursday, 22 June 2006


The thing I crave most in my life is time. Not time by myself or time for any specific activity, just time. In my perfect world, the day is X hours long, where X is "as many as necessary". I have time to do my laundry and dishes every day. I have time to sleep in and still get to work; time to finish my projects and read all my mail. I have time to watch my television and time to do the shopping and cook a decent meal. I have endless time to spend with Deb and it never gets so late that I have to go home again. I have time to write and time to read, and before I go to sleep at night, I have time to pray it all through with my Maker. If I had the time I need, there is nothing that can upset my day. This is not an original thought.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I am least happy when I am rushed.
PPS - Deadlines are my natural predator.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Break some rules

Last night I saw Stick It, a movie about gymnastics. This would not usually be on my list of things to do. However, I found myself enjoying it to a certain extent. Some of the dialogue was witty (though some was infantile) and the movie showed the power of civil disobedience. That is, when the rules start breaking down, you can start making a point by breaking the rules peacefully and publicly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sometimes you even get your point across.
PPS - Change, however, can be very slow.

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

One random thought

If I had a pet manatee, I'd name him "Hugh", just on the off chance I could one day get the vet to say "Oh, Hugh, the manatee".

Mokalus of Borg

PS - These are the things I think when I'm asleep.
PPS - I'm not certain if I've lifted this straight from somewhere else, though.

Monday, 19 June 2006

The Simple Life (not Paris)

I am frequently accused of being lazy when I mention ways in which the world could be easier to use. I'm not talking about the total elimination of effort - that would leave me sitting as a passive blob with a feeding tube down my throat. I'm talking about the elimination of unnecessary effort. Am I lazy because the mail is delivered to my house rather than stopping at the post office? I'd say not. So why am I lazy if I want to use my computer to eliminate boring, repetitive and pointless tasks such as remembering email addresses?

This is what I do for a living. I make tasks easier for humans by involving computers. That's the way it's supposed to go, anyway. The point is that task simplification is the essence of my day-to-day goals, so it's what I think about a lot of the time.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The ideas I spout are usually the ones I can't enact myself.
PPS - The other ones are well under control.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

The Sunday Mok - A few church activities

Sunday - Deb and I had lunch at Dad & Beth's to hear about their trip, then we came back to my place to play the Black & White 2 demo. I slept for part of the afternoon, then ran the computer in the evening church service.
Monday - Public holiday, so the bible study group met for breakfast. I brought scrambled eggs and cut up some fruit when I got there. When I got home at about noon I watched a whole video podcast sermon from Mosaic then studied for my Microsoft exam on Wednesday.
Tuesday - I worked most of the day on visual layout of the appraisals database. I skipped karate in the evening to get to a church council meeting and report back on the conference in Adelaide.
Wednesday - I passed my Microsoft exam with flying colours and also wrote some code to let people search the performance appraisal database for people by common nicknames as well as actual recorded names. I had dinner at Deb's followed by Stargate SG-1.
Thursday - I found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. At work I was greeted with a few tricky bug reports that made the day a bit frustrating. Family dinner at Dad & Beth's, then back to my place for more Stargate with Deb.
Friday - Deb's actual 21st birthday. She came over in the morning to play on my PC while nobody needed it, and in the evening I got to spend more time with her in lieu of my usual youth group duties.
Saturday - I slept in a bit, read some news, played City of Heroes and watched Prison Break. In the afternoon Deb, Roni and I took the train to Brunswick Street to pick up some Korean cooking ingredients, then Deb and I got a pizza for dinner and rented Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Several of my links in this post almost came out sounding like spam.
PPS - I'm resisting the urge to compare the movie to the pizza in terms of quality.

Friday, 16 June 2006

Friday zombie blogging

Brad Pitt has won the movie rights to a zombie movie penned by Max Brooks, who authored The Zombie Survival Guide. Details, naturally, are sketchy at the moment.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The movie is currently titled World War Z.
PPS - Almost everything about this could change before the movie is finished.

What happens if you dial the wrong number?

I shouldn't have to remember phone numbers. I shouldn't see phone numbers on caller ID - it should be names. Phone numbers shouldn't change when people move house or change mobile carriers. I should be able to access my voicemail box on my PC. It should not be possible for telemarketers to call me if I choose to deny calls by default and whitelist only my friends.

I should have a default deny power for my phone at my end, or at least a specific denial power. If someone calls me and my phone picks up the signal but then recognises the number as a "deny" number, then my phone should not ring.

So why is this not how things work? One point is low interoperability and the lack of applicable standards. Our communications are on a few different networks that don't communicate. But on my own end, I don't get to blacklist phone numbers myself because the phone company makes money from every connected call.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I don't think that problem is likely to be solved.
PPS - Too many interests are in conflict.

Thursday, 15 June 2006

Fight or flight

It's funny that a fright response is a bladder movement. It's like your body saying "You know what would help out right now? Urine. Throw 'em off the scent or something." Perhaps the idea is to quickly shed some excess weight so you can run faster.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The sad part is that I'm sure someone has researched this.
PPS - I'm not going to look for them.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006


Banning a celebration because some people find it generally offensive is like banning shellfish from sale because some people are allergic. Or it would be, if they were allergic by choice.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Banning a celebration because it involves illegal practices is another thing.
PPS - Unless those practices were outlawed in order to ban the celebration. Clearly it's complicated.

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Everything is most important

Everyone tends to have the idea that their own focus is the most important, to the level where they will claim that, without it, the entire production will fall down and everyone should bend to make their job as easy as possible. They're probably right about the first bit. The other part about everyone else making their life easier doesn't quite track, especially if you're the one who has to change.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Of course, in your particular situation, you happen to be right.
PPS - That's just the way it is.

Monday, 12 June 2006

Magnet Sense

I've always wondered what it would be like to be able to sense electromagnetic fields. It turns out that you can do it by implanting a magnet in your fingertip. While that's relatively cool, it's also kind of horrifying. Perhaps the same effect could be produced without surgery by using some kind of glove or finger sheath.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Link via digg.
PPS - I'd be down for the glove version, thanks.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

The Sunday Mok - As discussed in committee

Sunday - I skipped church in the morning, which is very unusual for me. I'd been feeling unusually stressed and unable to handle it properly, and it seemed like a break in the routine might help. In the evening service, I performed in a short skit that went over pretty well.
Monday - I worked on report contents for the appraisals database all day at work. In the evening I went to bible study at Gwen & John's. There's really not a lot to tell about Monday.
Tuesday - I booked a Microsoft certification exam for this coming Wednesday and worked more on report contents. Karate in the evening, followed by a brief City of Heroes session.
Wednesday - Moved on to the visual representation of appraisals reports. I had dinner at Deb's, after which we looked through each others' old photos. When we were done with that, we had time for two episodes of Stargate SG-1.
Thursday - More tiny adjustments to the visual layout of the reports. It would have been nice to get it right in discussion first, before we go back and forth listing little changes for me to do and reviewing the results. More Stargate at Deb's in the evening.
Friday - I just worked on bits and pieces of everything, because we finished the report formatting on Thursday. In the evening with the youth group we went to see Cars, which I enjoyed more than I expected.
Saturday - A brief shopping trip in the morning with Deb, then rest at home. I was going to play City of Heroes, but the Issue 7 expansion had gone live, so the patch had to be downloaded and applied. Deb's 21st birthday party was on in the evening, consisting of a meal and Trivial Pursuit. And bubbles.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - A lot of bubbles.
PPS - I had fun.

Friday, 9 June 2006

Complimenting strangers

Usually as I walk down the street I see features or accessories to compliment in the strangers I pass. I have never actually let one of these compliments exit my mouth, because I fear the stranger may misinterpret me or somehow take offense at the compliment. I will grant that my fears are very likely unfounded.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have known some subcultures where complimenting strangers is normal.
PPS - Most notably music festivals.

Thursday, 8 June 2006

I never did trust dairy foods

Jesus ate no dairy foods while he was in the tomb, and three days later he was alive again. You know what else? He also did not wrestle any tigers and completely refrained from bungee jumping.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Blogger was down this morning.
PPS - The only explanation was that they were "fixing a database issue".

Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Invention of the day

Internet-enabled vending machines to "phone in" sales records would increase profits by allowing the vending company to keep popular items stocked up and optimise the routes of the restocking technicians.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Every now and then, these tiny ideas come to me.
PPS - They only occasionally include the term "internet-enabled".

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Google Reader

They just keep on giving. I don't know exactly how long it's been out, but I've just learned about Google Reader, an online news feed aggregator that lets me store all my news feed subscriptions online and access them from anywhere. Though the concept is simple, it's taken me this long to get fed up with the offline versions. I had previously been leaving my work PC on all the time with Mozilla Thunderbird running just to make sure I got every item.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I think that was causing it some distress.
PPS - Windows boxes are just not made for that kind of uptime.

Monday, 5 June 2006

The Cyborg Name Decoder

A while ago, Chris linked to this Cyborg Name Decoder, so I gave it a go. Since it's a fairly slow news day, here's the result:

Machine Optimized for Killing, Accurate Learning and Ultimate Sabotage

I am impressed by the coherence of the acronym produced by this automatic script. Really, it's very good.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It's a bit violent, I'll admit.
PPS - Click the image to go and find out your own.

Sunday, 4 June 2006

The Sunday Mok - Extended warranty

Sunday - I slept until 07:30, went to church with Deb and picked up a few items from the supermarket. In the afternoon, I took a nap and cleaned out some overhanging branches from the back yard. I ran the computer for the evening church service, too.
Monday - I spent the whole day at work on the design of a new report format for the performance appraisal database. It had to go through three people for approval, and at the end of Monday I'd just gotten through one. At bible study in the evening, Murrae had brought a large selection of Jelly Belly beans to eat. I had too many.
Tuesday - I kept working on report design, though not entirely by choice. Getting everyone happy with a design is slow going, especially when they keep coming back later with new ideas. I picked up pizza for dinner and happened to run into Deb and Roni on their way to rent a movie.
Wednesday - I finally got to do some coding for performance appraisal reports, which felt much better than designing and writing documents. In the evening, my PC was busy recording the latest Prison Break episode, so I did some reading.
Thursday - The cold mornings are making it hard to get out of bed. During my lunch hour, I caught the train to Milton to pick up a new power supply for my PC, because the last one had been giving me trouble. I had dinner at Deb's, after which we watched some Stargate SG-1.
Friday - Bug reports and new appraisals code at work. Nothing too exciting. At youth group in the evening we basically talked about Schoolies week and life after school. The kids were kind of energetic, which didn't work especially well with the laid-back nature of the program.
Saturday - I took a walk with Deb in the morning, for exercise, then we went out clothes shopping to make sure we don't freeze to death in Tasmania. I also bought a basic laptop to take with us, so I should still be blogging while I'm down there. We had breakfast foods for dinner - pancakes, sausages and scrambled eggs.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I've started doing daily push-ups and sit-ups again.
PPS - Apparently the difference is noticeable.

Friday, 2 June 2006

Intrusive MP3 convenience

As convenient as they have become, music players are still intrusive. Headphones or earbuds have to be wireless to be really useful, and their batteries must last for months without recharging or at least without conscious effort by the user. The best kind of music player would be worn like a wristwatch and require no headphones at all, playing sound by somehow directly stimulating the air inside the ear canal or transmitting sound through bone. The sound would still be private, then, but not require intrusive and anti-social earphones. This technology, once developed, could easily be adapted for hearing aids. I'd name the remote sound reproduction device after the technology named in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey: the "statiophonic, oxygenetic, amplifya-graphaphona-delaverberator", just to be odd and difficult. Marketers would then be free to name it however they feel.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I have never liked tangling with cords.
PPS - I can stand the inevitable batteries of wireless, as long as they last a while.

Thursday, 1 June 2006


I remember a horrible anti-acne product ad because of one particular line:
"And you don't kiss. No way."

This is what these advertisers are throwing at insecure spotty teenagers. "Your love life will not exist if you have acne at all. We just happen to have some cream here, and we say it gets rid of acne. Do you want some, or would you rather be a sad, pathetic, lonely, boring, ugly loser for the rest of your natural life?" Vultures.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The line was said in a joking, light-hearted tone.
PPS - I'm sure it wasn't meant to be taken lightly.