Friday, December 15, 2006
On another note, your favorite internet deity (and mine), Richard Giles is up to something. It is a... well I have no idea what it is but he is trying to generate some buzz. The theory from my perspective is that I mention Scouta here on my blog, and anyone who reads it mentions Scouta on their blog and anyone who reads their blog... well you get the idea.
We want technorati humming the word Scouta in the wind. We want google to feature the Scouta colors for just one day. We want Microsoft execs sitting in boardrooms huddled in fear. Well probably not. But it's fun to dream right.
And also, sign up if you are interested. I did. I am intrigued, as I am sure is at least partly the intent of the conspirators. There is a wonderful feel of suspense about the whole thing which keeps me reading the blog waiting for some morsel of information.
Monday, December 11, 2006
As it turns out it wasn't that bad, I got a serious chest infection instead. And when I got back to work, I was a week behind. That's always good for stress levels right. Once I got through my anti-biotics I of course did another couple of 2am'ers and ended up sick again. You'd think I would learn my lesson huh?
Well, even though that was all bad I have started listening to a podcast which is essentially about all of the challenges I would face in any given work-day. It's called dotnetrocks and it's been around for ages. I can't believe that I'm so much of a nerd that I download and listen to a radio show about programming.
As a total aside to this I discovered the podcast series by Rory Blythe called The Smartest Man in the World. I dare anybody to not find the Neopoleon County Blue Laws informative and useful. The world would be a better place if government started enforcing them instead of "making" me enjoy an extra hour of daylight.
Oh yeah, we have daylight saving now. Let me just say, "I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVING". It brings out a steady stream of annoying fascists who demand that it is a better way simply because they can go to beach after work. Do they have kids who refuse to sleep because the sun is still up? Why can't they get up before work and go to the beach?
And then someone says something really intelligent like "It's just so they can have another hour of trade with the Eastern States". Like they are the be all and end all of trade. People also do business with America but we don't wind our clocks back 16 hours to deal with them do we? Anywho, this is starting to turn into a rant so back on topic.
I want to make a special mention of a dear friend who has passed away today. Katz came with our house. She refused to leave so we started feeding her and she seemed fairly content. She put up with a steady stream of kids poking her in all sorts of innapriate places and even the annoying dog who like to lick her face. She was named by my daughter who kept calling her Katz until it stuck. She was also discovered to be a he after a couple of years but she never seemed to mind. Katz developed cancer in her ears a little while back. She went through several operations but never really healed properly and was today buried at my mother in laws house. Katz we will miss you.
Well now I find I'm crying again so I'll sign off. For those of you who have no idea what the title of the post is going on about I suggest you look into The Meaning of Liff. It is crammed full useful little terms which everyone should adopt. Well until next time, this is Mike, treading water and juggling fire.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Unfortunately the craziness isn't yet over. I've got about 20 hours of work to do (outside of normal work hours) between now and Tuesday lunch time. We all know what that means... Working Weekends time.
And that won't even finish me off. Oh no. Because after that I have exams Thursday AND Friday. And then I have another project to present the following Monday which will take at least 25 hours to cobble together.
We all know what that means... Working Weekends Time.
How did this happen? I used to work weekends because I was studying during the week. I guess in many respects that argument still stands. Nevertheless, I feel a bit mental at the moment.
You may have noticed the length of time between my last post and this one. Or even between the previous one and the one before. Well, these crazy goings-on have been on the table for a little while. You kind of end up waiting for the moment when you can rest but it never comes.
Like right now, I feel that I should go to bed and sleep. But by the same token, I know how much I have to do tomorrow and there is some small (but annoyingly loud) part of me which keeps suggesting that the more I get done now, the less I'll have to do tomorrow, and the later I can sleep in.
But then, it isn't just tomorrow. It's the next 10 days.
O so soon is the christmas break. Nettie, I say this for you. "I CAN'T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS". A glorious 10 days off.
Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but right now I am so run down that I wouldn't enjoy a chocolate eating contest (even though I've been on a diet for a week).
How did I get on such a glum note? It's just the space I'm in right now. I can't wait for beer and sleep. And spending time with my family and friends.
Ah well, even without caffeine I am far too wired to sleep yet. I might read some X-men comics or something. Warlock and Cypher are about to die and that will be sad. I'll be back soon, and I promise to be happier.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Well, to be fair, it's assignment and test time at uni (tomorrow's my last official day. Then come the exams), it's crunch time at work, I hardly have the time to say hello to my family, and also, I'm almost out of hours on my cruddy dial-up account. You do remember dial-up right.
I hate assignments. And clients. These are the things that require preparation. I have decided that what I actually don't like is preparation. It seems that whenever something requires a decent amount of prep work, that's when I tune out.
I like tests. Tests just happen. Either you know your stuff or you don't. There is no point trying at the very last second to get anything done.
Ah well, I'm rambling and I promise I'll try and say something good soon.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
*Cue harp music and cheesy flashback effect*
Last weekend I started this blog. I assume that you know that because I haven't made enough impact on the universe yet to have casual readers. My very first post included a reference to a guy which I met at a corporate breakfast. I won't mention his name as he's probably out feeding the masses somewhere and I don't want to disturb him.
Within 3 hours of my post, said person had left a comment on my blog. The blog had been up for just three hours. RG, as I will now refer to him, had no prior knowlege that I was putting a blog up last Saturday and still, he somehow managed to find out about it in three hours.
Well, I was shocked and a little wierded out. Here was an entity who clearly existed on a plane above our own. So Nettie and I conducted "The Experiment". In short, my sister, who has never met or come into contact with RG, conducted an internet seance (is that spelt correctly). She mentioned RGs name on her blog in an attempt to get Him to visit.
It took a little longer this time but success stands. We have successfully summoned RG. Now I must take this opportunity to ask that no-one else perform this experiment. The reason is that we need RG to be out there conducting miracles and not answering petty summons. But now you know:
If thy need be great
And thy intentions pure,
Speak His name thrice,
And he shall appear.
But seriously, Richard left a comment explaining that he had uncovered the blog entry using nothing more sinister than technorati (how sinister that is I leave to your own discretion). He had conducted a "Vanity Search" and struck gold.
I think that there is definitely a case here for people to wonder if, at some stage in the future, blogging and other online activities and services might need to be covered in primary school (or even earlier) to prepare young people for the digitized world around them. I will leave this topic for another post.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Is there more to it than Google Alerts? Is it omnipotence in action? Is he really a god of some description? All of these questions can and indeed must be answered.
I actually want to talk about "The Experiment" but until it is done I can't. I will be back, likely fairly soon.
And back to the puppies and the crying.
Just over three months ago I was out the front of my work enjoying a quiet cigarrete, as I was want to do when the weather presented itself as such when my boss pulled up in front of me. This is an unfortunate byproduct of working in a building with executive parking next to the ashtray out the front.
Richard (not Giles this time) said to me:
Mike, when are you gonna give those things up?
I took a drag of my cigarette and said to him:
Richard, that was my last one.
Really? If you have truly just given up smoking right here in front of me I'll give you one hundred dollars.
It's a deal.
Well, let me tell you. The first week was hell. I was like a small insane puppy which has been given a shot of adrenaline. I honestly couldn't sit still. I wanted to move all the time, pick things up, put them back down in a different order. It's a strange thing to watch yourself go slowly mental and be kinda smug about it.
I argued with myself constantly. "Just one more. It won't hurt", I would tell myself. But I knew the dangers of that trap. I've given up before, I know how easy it is to cave.
Last Friday was my 100th day. Now I don't even think about it. I sometimes like to get up and go for a wander outside, but I think that is a consequence of having very little fresh air in my cubicle. On Friday everyone in my office gathered in the boardroom and we had cake to celebrate. Richard even gave me $100.
Richard has offered the same deal to our new secretary and she has accepted the challenge claiming that I have inspired her. I'm not sure how to take that, but it makes me feel proud, like I have accomplished something grand.
Tomorrow marks Nat's first week. She's been going crazy but I keep reassuring her. It will be okay. Some day soon she will be so proud of her achievement. I understand what she's going through.
I took the $100 and bought a heap of DVDs. For those of you who read Nettie's Blog you would've heard that we went to carousel on Saturday. I bought:
- Tango & Cash (I watch this every time it is on tv. Now I don't have to watch the ads)
- Mallrats (No explanation required)
- Fantastic 4 (Flame On!)
- X-Men III (I love my XMen)
I just wanted to take the opportunity I guess to thank Richard so much. It was never about the money (although my DVD collection really appreciates it), it was always that you believed in me that kept me going. Whenever I felt like having a cigarette I would just imagine trying to tell you that your faith in me was unfounded. I couldn't betray that trust.
Well I'm gonna go cry at tissue commercials or something now but I'll be back sometime soon to spout wisdom (or at the very least some serious ranting).
Good night world.
Monday, October 23, 2006
I said the other night that I had some good post ideas and some ranting to do and I'm afraid the time has come to rant. Today I will be ranting about the internet and it's contribution to personal identity crisis.
You see, I have been kicking around the internet for a number of years. I probably arrived on the scene in 1995 or 1996 as I was finishing up high-school and since then I have signed up to no end of internet based services.
These services include;
- email newsletters,
- forums and bulletin boards,
- webmail accounts,
- free web spaces,
- internet service providers,
- online learning tools,
- and several special purpose online applications.
This would be fine except for one small problem. They all require me to identify myself in some way. Ordinarily even this wouldn't be a problem but because of privacy concerns and security considerations they don't share any information.
I only really decided that this was a problem a couple of weeks ago when I decided to join
Flickr and GMail (among others) all at the same time. I found myself entering the same username and password (when the system rules allowed me to do so but I'll get to that issue in a minute) and the same profile information. Why do I need to create a profile each time? Why do I even need profile information to be stored on flickr anyway? Isn't flickr about sharing photos?
I understand that people are concerned about security and identity theft. What I would like to see is a centralized service containing just profile information. This service could be accessed by other applications when they need personal information via a user key of some description. I'm not a security guru so I don't understand the logistics of such a thing but it would be great to sign up to OnlineIdentity.com or some such and then be given a user key which you use when signing up to flickr, gmail and so on.
Maybe people could just fill up the Online Identity account with everything about them and then decide on a site by site basis which of that information they want to display.
I mentioned above as well that I have a tendency to re-use the same username and password for everything that I sign up to. This is probably a bad idea but so is having so many usernames and passwords that you can't remember half of them. The problem with this is that the rules are different for many applications. Some apps require a username to be between 6 and 10 characters, some require between 8 and 12. Some are unlimited. Some require a valid email address. Some systems require complex password containing non-alphanumeric characters. Some don't allow non-alphanumeric characters. Sometimes my usual username has been taken by someone else. At least once in the past, it had been
taken by me and I couldn't remember the password.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel (even if it is on the front of a train). It seems that as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft sweep through the internet purchasing services they are trying
to centralize user profile information. The problem is that each one wants to be the center so we are having a scenario with three large companies standardizing in their own special ways. Is it just me or do they not remember the browser wars. It is up to us as internet users to stand up and say:
Hey. There is only one of me but you don't need to fight. Talk to each other that you might someday understand me, and my needs.
Well that about wraps it up. I promise I won't be so long-winded in the future. Ranting online is fun even if I do get the desire to close with "I'm Alan Jones".
If you have an opinion on centralized identity management or even if you've experienced an issue involving online identity/profile management please leave a comment.
OK I'm really going to go now.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I am married to a wonderful woman (I-heart-Barbie) who, for whatever reason, seems to love me no matter what I do. This, as it turns out, is a serious advantage because I seem to contantly get her "up the duff" as the saying goes.
Yes, I am the father of a small horde of demons which, upon closer examination, turns out to be three kids. They are Chiara, Caleb and Wil and I'll get a photo of the up at some stage for everyone to have a gander at. The joke used to be that I was breeding my own basketball team, but it got less funny as I got close so now it's a cricket team. I may be a fair way off with this but I still reckon I could beat Australia with my players.
I am a university student (for the moment at any rate) studying Computer Science. I have been at this for 10 years now and I have 2 weeks to go. Fingers crossed, touch wood and all those things.
I mentioned above that I work as a web developer for Creative Nature Communications. This is nowhere near as boring as you would imagine. I won't go into the sales-y puff here because no-one wants to read it but the work is pretty cool and the people are friendly.
As a part of our continual business goal, we need to help people use technology to communicate in effective and innovative ways. I have a bit of a sinister motive in creating this blog in that I want to find out just what one is and how one does it so I can apply it to my work.
That doesn't invalidate any other resons for doing this. The main one is that i want to talk to the wind. Who knows, maybe one day the wind will talk back.
Well, three kids down and the mrs is out at a party. Guess that means I get to go to bed (probably to read on my laptop [gods I'm a nerd]). I have a number of ideas for posts (and some serious ranting to do) but if I use all my A material up front, you'll never come back will you?
Ah well, g'night.
Richard is a world-renowned blogger and podcaster and he'd come to do a talk on communications for a breakfast I was attending.
Richard said to me:
There is nothing to starting a blog. You just do it. Then it's up to you to keep it up to date and keep your readers interested.
In that spirit I have started. Now let's see if I can keep it going.