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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Add 1 to Cobol Giving Cobol

In 1992 I used to work at a place that was transitioning from Cobol on IBM's VSE operating system to Oracle (Forms, Reports, etc) on HP/UX. I was writing Rexx and C and learning C++.
Usenet's alt.folklore.computers was on my reading list and one thread there was a discussion "If the object orientated successor to C is C++, what is the object orientated successor to Cobol?"
When I zapped off a spoof to alt.folklore.computers in January 1992 I never dreamed it would get reprinted in sigplan notices or that there would be citations to the sigplan notices reprint of it floating around 13 years later.
I'd like to correct two widespread inaccuracies. Although I guess I "invented" the language in its published form by giving a sample of a horrid, if ficticious, dialect of Cobol, I didn't invent the name. Secondly, the initial publication was on Usenet not Sigplan notices. This posting was reprinted in SIGPLAN Notices 27(4):90-91, April 1992.
As far as I can tell, the name was first suggested seven days earlier by a Lars Soltau (space at ncc1701.stgt.sub.org). My posting was a follow-up to a follow-up of his article.
I remember when I read that thread & saw "Add 1 to cobol giving cobol" I had the inspiration for a Cobol stripped of all Cobol's redeeming features with the worst imaginable implementation of object orientation bolted on the side. I really feel that Lars (whoever he is) should get some credit.
The widly reprinted entry could be re-worded 'A tongue-in-cheek suggestion by Bruce Clement for an object-oriented COBOL inspired by a one-liner by Lars Soltau.'
The funny thing is I still remember how much fun it was to write a believable 50 line program to add 1 and 1 and print the result. Ah, the simple joys of youth.
For the record, here's the original article.
Path: sparky!uunet!wupost!waikato.ac.nz!comp.vuw.ac.nz!cavebbs!bclement Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: COBOL Message-ID: <1992jan17 .121358.6700=".121358.6700" cavebbs.gen.nz="cavebbs.gen.nz"> From: bclem...@cavebbs.gen.nz (Bruce Clement) Date: Fri, 17 Jan 92 12:13:58 GMT References: <okes .92jan11224859=".92jan11224859" solb1.essex.ac.uk="solb1.essex.ac.uk"> <vkiq0lg fido.asd.sgi.com="fido.asd.sgi.com"> Organization: Children of Ingle-Frey Lines: 95 This is a repost, I don't think my original post got out, my apologies if it did get to you twice. &gt; In article <okes .92jan11224...=".92jan11224..." solb1.essex.ac.uk="solb1.essex.ac.uk"> o...@solb1.essex.ac.uk (Oke Quotes the original author: &gt; &gt; &gt; &gt;No, no, no. Just as the object oriented version of C is called C++, the &gt; &gt; &gt; &gt;object oriented version of COBOL is to be called ADD ONE TO COBOL. &gt; &gt; &gt; I am not a COBOL expert, but isn't it called "ADD ONE TO COBOL GIVING COB &gt; &gt;You forgot to say please :-) Nondisclosure agreements limit the amount of precice information I can give, but object oriented CoBOL will have the following enhancements on procedural CoBOL: 1. There will be 3 new DIVISIONS: The CLASS Division where object classes will be declared The MESSAGE Division where all messages which may be used are declared The METHOD Division which associates MESSAGES with CLASSES. 2. All existing verbs are deleted from the language. Gone are ADD SUBTRACT COMPUTE (Which should never have been there in the first place, it makes CoBOL too much like ForTran) READ WRITE OPEN CLOSE. There is only one remaining verb SEND which sends messages to objects. 3. Programmers must be careful to avoid using any of the reserved MESSAGE names: ADD SUBTRACT MULTIPLY DIVIDE READ WRITE OPEN CLOSE etc. These are only permitted with built-in object types. 4. The data division has OD declarations to define Object storage. The following is a brief example of an ADD ONE TO COBOL program: IDENTIFICATION DIVISION. PROGRAM ID. SAMPLE. AUTHOR. BRUCE. SOURCE COMPUTER. INTEL-386-REAL. OBJECT COMPUTER. INTEL-386-PROTECTED. REMARKS. (C) 1992, Diversity enhancements. CLASS DIVISION. DEFINE CLASS NUMBER. DEFINE CLASS INTEGER EXPANDS NUMBER. MESSAGE DIVISION. VIRTUAL MESSAGE SORT-OF-ADD APPLIES TO NUMBER INTEGER. VIRTUAL MESSAGE KIND-OF-PRINT APPLIES TO NUMBER INTEGER. ENVIRONMENT DIVISION. DATA DIVISION. OBJECT SECTION. OD NUMBER. * An empty definition, one byte minimum. 01 FILLER PICTURE X. OD INTEGER. 01 I-VAL PICTURE S9(9) COMP. WORKING-STORAGE SECTION. 77 A-NUMBER CLASS INTEGER. LINKAGE SECTION. 77 VALUE-IN PIC S9(9) COMP. METHOD DIVISION. MD CLASS NUMBER. SORT-OF-ADD MESSAGE USING VALUE-IN. EXIT METHOD. KIND-OF-PRINT MESSAGE. SEND DISPLAY "Number: " TO SYS-PRINT. EXIT METHOD. MD CLASS INTEGER. SORT-OF-ADD MESSAGE USING VALUE-IN. SEND ADD VALUE-IN TO I-VAL. EXIT METHOD. KIND-OF-PRINT MESSAGE. * Note the power of inheritence of parent methods SEND KIND-OF-PRINT OF NUMBER TO SELF. SEND DISPLAY I-VAL TO SYS-PRINT. EXIT METHOD. PROCEDURE DIVISION. ONLY SECTION. SEND MOVE 1 TO I-VAL OF A-NUMBER. SEND SORT-OF-ADD 1 TO A-NUMBER. SEND KIND-OF-PRINT TO A-NUMBER. STOP RUN. I hope that this simple example of an ADD 1 TO COBOL program suffices to show something of the power of the language, and demonstrates the true utility of a modern Business orientated object orienated language. -- Bruce Clement speaking for truth, beauty, and the New Zealand way. Exception #13 at F0AF:5A1D Error code: 0000 Do you want to T)erminate the program, R)eboot, or try to C)ontinue </okes></vkiq0lg></okes></1992jan17>







Tuesday, October 25, 2005

He's Back

I've been away from this blog for a while.

No idea if I'll blog regularly or not, but I'm certainly intending to put something up from time to time.

Less of the "Dear diary" recounting of my days & more commentary on the things that delight, interest, or annoy me about the world.

I'll fill in some of the blanks later, oh and the not smoking didn't last. :(

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The New Zealand Herald

The New Zealand Herald: "oue always suspected it, but now there is scientific evidence - many bosses are psychopaths who shouldn’t be allowed to look after a cat, let alone staff. A recent British study, backed by psychologists and management consultants here, found that a sample of senior executives scored higher on measures of histrionic, narcissistic and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders than a group of disturbed criminals. These personality disorders are characterised by superficial charm, lack of empathy and perfectionism."

Friday, April 15, 2005

Smoking Auctions

I'm sitting back, sipping on pinot noir, munching chilli tim-tams, and instead of mellowing out I'm quietly dreading tomorrow. Today, you see, is my last day as a smoker. Before I go to bed tonight I will destroy my remaining cigarettes. Tomorrow I need all my strength.
Perhaps I should certify the butt from my last cigarette and sell it on trademe. LOL.
I was reading before about how internet auctions are driving conventional auction houses out of business. Apparently Dunbar Slone has had to cut staff. As usual with our media they addressed it from the most superficial angle. Basically they took Dunbar Slone's statement and got a couple of tame "experts" on the internet to say that internet auctions are fun.
It used to be that auctioneers took 10% of the sale price, and they took it from the seller; then they started to get greedy. They both increased their cut and demanded a "buyer's premium", so whatever you bid, you had to pay more. Last time I bought something through an auctioneer I had to pay 10% of the total price (including GST) and then pay GST on the 10%. This was on top of the seller's premium, which was probably the same. So the auctioneer with no capital tied up in stock was getting something over 20% of the sale price.
I've also sat in auctions where the auctioneer decided the auction was moving to slowly & suddenly combined several lots together & knocked them down to the first bid.
The final reason I have for not attending real auctions is that if I'm interested in lot 300, I have little idea what time I should arrive, and I don't want to sit through 2 or 3 hours of watching things I have little or no interest in being sold.
I don't go to auction houses any more. They misused their near monopoly position, and lost my trust. They are overpriced and inefficient.
On the other hand, with internet auctions, the auctioneer doesn't get bored and combine lots, I don't have to wait for other lots to be sold and the fees aren't so greedy.
In the news in recent days has been the story of the auction of the last cigarette legally smoked at one Auckland bar. Very much following on from what I said the other day, here's an example of the same story being reprinted nearly verbatim around the world.
Used cigarette sells for $6948
NEWS.com.au, Australia - 9 hours ago
A CIGARETTE butt said to have been salvaged as a souvenir before a smoking ban has been sold in an Internet auction in New Zealand for $NZ7475 ($6948). ...
Sale of $7475 [cigarette] end leaves bidders gasping
New Zealand Herald, New Zealand - 15 hours ago
by David Eames. A cigarette butt auctioned on the internet has smashed visitor-number records at the TradeMe auction house on its ...
NZ cigarette butt sold for $5,300
BBC News, UK - 21 hours ago
The remains of a cigarette smoked in the final seconds before New Zealand's smoking ban came into force has been sold for more than NZ$7,400 ($5,300). ...
Last remnants of smoking New Zealand for sale
Independent Online, South Africa - 23 hours ago
Wellington - A cigarette smoked in the dying seconds before New Zealand's smoke-free laws came into effect in 2004 is set to fetch more than NZ$7 500 (about ...
Cigarette butt on auction for $5,400
AZ Central.com, AZ - Apr 13, 2005
WELLINGTON - A cigarette smoked in the dying seconds before New Zealand smokefree laws came into effect last year is set to fetch more than $5,400 in an ...
Cigarette Butt on Auction for $5,400
Reuters - Apr 13, 2005
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A cigarette smoked in the dying seconds before New Zealand smoke-free laws came into effect last year is set to fetch more than NZ$7,500 ...
Cigarette butt on auction for more than 2,000 pounds
Reuters.uk, UK - Apr 12, 2005
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A cigarette smoked in the dying seconds before New Zealand smokefree laws came into effect last year is set to fetch more than NZ$7,500 ...
Cigarette butt sells for R33 300
Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa - 19 hours ago
A cigarette butt said to have been salvaged as a souvenir before a smoking ban has been sold in an internet auction in New Zealand for NZ$7 475 (about R33 300 ...
Cigarette Butt on Auction for $5,400
ObviousNews.com, Canada - Apr 13, 2005
The butt, witnessed as smoked at 11:59 pm on Dec. 9 by the owners of an Auckland bar, has exceeded its NZ$1 reserve price by NZ$7,574 ...
Cigarette butt on auction for more than 2,000 pounds
ObviousNews.com, Canada - Apr 12, 2005
The successful bidder when the auction closes on Thursday will also get a certificate of authenticity and a mounted display case. ...
NZ cigarette butt on auction for $5,400
Reuters India, India - Apr 12, 2005
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A cigarette smoked in the dying seconds before New Zealand smokefree laws came into effect last year is set to fetch more than NZ$7,500 ...








See how many coincidences you can find.






Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Business as usual

It's been a few days since I last posted here. The title of the blog is "An occasional diary" and I always intended the occasional. As always I've been busy. So what else is new?

Work

There was a bit of a management vacuum with the rush project. All four teams had some work to do on it, and nobody was acting as overall co-ordinator. To get the Finance work done I needed some bits of the Systems work done first, and nobody from Systems was available for a couple of days when I wanted to start. Rather than wait I got agreement from Steve & did that part of his work. Production also depended on that work & with no obvious volunteers I established communications with Aus about delivery to us of installation databases we could test against. Next thing I knew I was acting as a defacto project manager, and the expected happened. So a fair amount of the last week has been spent doing the not-so-much fun part of project management - plans, resourcing, Gantt charts and so on. Yuck! Come to think of it, are there any fun parts to project management? In other words, work is strictly business as usual.

The other other blog

I mentioned a few days ago that I'd set-up AucklandToday.com. In theory the site is strictly stock-in-hand, but I've been writing the odd news item here and there. I'm also mining a rich vein of legal content, media releases. These are lumps of text where people or organisations say what they want people to hear about their product, their company, their political views, and so forth. Sometimes they are pretty much factual reports of something they want to tell the world about, sometimes they are just adverts in sheep's clothing.

Where they look like being reasonably factual, and about Auckland of course, I add them to the site with full credit. Interestingly enough, I'm not the only one playing this game. Scoop.co.nz is very open about the fact that they publish a lot of press releases, verbatim; they see it as part of their site's unique sales proposition. At the other end of the scale are the big media. We've always see the NZPA or Reuters bylines in papers, but now thanks to the internet we can see what this actually means. A few minutes following links from Google News quickly show that dozens of papers around the world have the same text for a large proportion of their content. They're just printing what they are sent. Obviously they each decide which of the various articles they are given they will use, but for the material they don't write themselves, that's about it.

Political media statements are interesting, I wouldn't print one verbatim, but cutting and pasting quotes from two or more of them to make the guts of a story can be quite fun. I get the feeling that a lot of the reports in the media are produced in a similar way. My entry into the world of low-budget journalism seems to be business as usual.

Finally, there's headlines. When I see something about Auckland and don't have time or energy to do an article on it I just take a brief quote with a pointer to the original article, tack on a headline (usually the original one) and add an entry into AucklandToday.blogspot.com, my other, other, blog. Naturally I provide pointers to all the AucklandToday.com articles too.

Politics

Political media releases are an interesting sub-gendre. Whatever the government does, Act and National savage it. I don't expect any better from National, but Act started out as a party of principles, committed to the Liberal viewpoint. Over the last few years it's downplayed its principles in public in favour of cheap points scoring, chasing the sound bite and becoming progressively more like the conservative rump of the National caucus. I used to say there were only 3 parties in New Zealand worth voting for: The Alliance, The Greens, and Act; all parties that stood for something. Now Alliance is history, Act seems to have lost its way, and only the Greens remain. I find this sad for New Zealand. I could never vote for the Greens, I agree with many of their environmental policies, but I could never agree with some of their more extreme socialist views.

Today's effort, and it's strictly business as usual. There's been a big fuss in recent weeks about the planned new electricity transmission lines to power Auckland, and how it was going to force farmers to give up their private property to make the transmission corridor. Today the Government backed down a bit. The New Zealand Herald reported

Energy Minister Trevor Mallard has written to the Electricity Commission demanding it consider other options to the pylons proposal to meet Auckland's power needs. There has been strong opposition to a line of pylons from the Waikato. Mr Mallard has now said the commission should carry out an "independent and wide consultative process" when considering Transpower's proposed new grid upgrade from Whakamaru to Otahuhu.
So Act applauded the change? Maintained a dignified silence? No. Ken Shirley issued a press statement
"Labour’s cynical attempt to appease angry voters over its unpopular pylon plan is all about electioneering, ACT Energy spokesman Ken Shirley said today. The MP was responding to Energy Minister Trevor Mallard’s announcement that the Electricity Commission will investigate alternative methods of supplying Auckland’s future electricity needs.

“The state-owned monopoly has been studying national grid options for 10 years and all of a sudden the Government is telling it to go back to square one and start again."

and so on.

Council dog control fails, woman attacked

"A woman walking past a house in Owairaka yesterday when a Staffordshire terrier cross and a Rottweiler cross attacked her and pinned her to the ground. The dogs were not confined to the property.

"The dogs have a history of aggressive incidents and the owners have received a number of infringement notices for failing to control the animals. One of the dogs has been classified as menacing, and as such has to be neutered and muzzled in public; the other is in the process of being classified."

You can read the rest at The New Zealand Herald

I took those two paragraphs out of context from the article. One was at the top, and the other at the bottom. This wasn't just a good dog turning bad, these dogs had been trouble before. Why did the Auckland council dog control permit these dogs to be kept? Why were they permitted to stay on an unfenced property?

To me the real crime here wasn't so much the dog owners, as the negligence by the authorities allowing the public to be put at risk, and the sad thing is it happens all the time at all levels of society. Every election politicians talk about "Law and Order" and then for three years it is put in the too hard basket. Meanwhile on the odd occasion a conviction is obtained, we see dangerous criminals back on the streets within hours. The criminal underculture has been taught that they will simply get away with it. The sad thing is they usually do; burglars, dangerous dogs, unlicenced drivers, you name it, they ignore the law, and the people who are supposed to protect us are doing nothing except talk about it. For both sides, strictly business as usual.

Firefox.co.nz

Shrug. It came up for Auction; I use and recommend Firefox; It's been a bit painful finding add-ins for New Zealand search, etc. So I bid on it & won. Now to do the site justice. I've installed Mambo & found a theme that wasn't too blinding. Done some basic configuration, now to track down enough content that it doesn't look the idiot son of the open source movement. Strictly business as usual.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Can you predict the next pope?

I've just been reading, Universi Dominici Gregis, the rules for the papal election, and a couple of thoughts hit me.

Despite the way the rules go into the procedure if a non-cardinal (or even a non-priest) is elected, we all know that the next pope will actually be one of the current cardinals, and there's been a lot of talk about St Malachy / Malachi and his predictions of the next pope.

If none of the recent sedevacantist claimants to being a Pope counts as an anti-pope, then the next pope's Malachian motto would be Glory of the olive. If one is a genuine anti-pope then his motto will be Peter the Roman.

It seems to me that the Malachy prophesy can be tested on this point. There's only a hundred and seventeen cardinals under the ages of 80. Two have been excused attending because of poor health, so there's only 115 possibilities for the next pontiff.

So, here's the challenge. Before the cardinals choose the new pope, pick the one to whom each of the two possible mottos best applies. Then see if the cardinals agree with you.

If you feel that 115 people is too many to investigate, there's about 8 or 9 who have been suggested as likely candidates. Pick a couple of them & a random outsider. Post your analysis here, so others can pick different cardinals.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Teams Release

Release

We started the day knowing that to keep the project schedule we needed to get the first pre-release out today. At 10 we met and agreed there was no reason we could think for not getting it out. During the day we found a few bits and pieces, but managed to iron them out. Everything fell into place and it was out at 4:30 which meant Angela and I were free to go and play Interclub teams.

Teams

After giving up in 1998 I've been playing bridge again since July, but until today only pairs. We were asked to substitute for another pair that couldn't play tonight. It was my first attempt at teams for seven years, and Angela's first attempt ever. I wasn't expecting it to go well, and it didn't, but not for the reason we expected. When we swapped tables to play against the other pair we ended up sitting the same way as our team-mates, immediately invalidating the result. The format was a 24 board swapping opponents after 12 boards. We ddn't notice the wrong seating until after the first 12 boards, wiping out the result. At least we sat correctly for the second half so half the match counted.

When we left the table after the second round I felt we had done badly. Luckily for us the opponents did worse, so we had quite a tidy win.

Truth: Pravda Lives

Remember Pravda, the newspaper of the Comunist Party of The USSR? Despite its name meaning "Truth", for seventy nine years it was the boring parrot of whatever its totalitarian masters wasnted to say. Somehow it survived the break-up of the Soviet Union, although it did split between the hard-line comunists who now run the paper edition and a more pro-Russian faction that created the Pravda.ru news service.

Pravda.ru now sports Google ads and other signs of on-line capitalism, and recently published an article on a group of Americans who met for a weekend of fish-hook suspension.

The article was originally written in Russian the quaint translation requires careful reading which reveals more a whiff of the old communist dissaproval of western trends.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

AucklandToday

Setup

After a quick bare-bones install last night I've just spent all night tonight setting up geeklog on my AucklandToday domain. The software was easier to set up than Php-Nuke, but is nowhere near as ambitious in what it does. I've created the bare bones of an information site by grabbing media releases from the regional council and entering a couple of cultural events in the calendar. First impressions are that it's clean and easy to navigate.

Visitors

It's commercial hosting, so I've got access to full stats packages. After I finished the setup tonight I had a look at the logs. I was surprised. I guess I shouldn't be, but within 8 hours of the site going live it got spidered by Google and Searchnz. It also received its first piece of spam after 10 hours. O tempore o mores.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Work, Play and Stats

The Project

Work was pretty full today. I didn't churn out a large amount of code, but I did manage to do a minimal modification to the style selection code on windows to ensure that once the 'Lite' flag is on the program is constrained to use the "standard" style for each windows. Probably only 25 lines of code all up, but selecting exactly where to place those lines of code ... that's where years of practice comes into its own.

Interesting encounters

I've been having some interesting conversations with a couple of other dabblers in the internet world. People with different, yet related interests to mine. Messaging & talking to them made me really start to think about what I am doing with this little hobby. Writing the blogs are a good way to clarify what's on my mind, and what a complex mess of different interests. The domains are like that too. There's no consistency in my portfolio. Am I spreading myself too thin? You bet! Do I need to re-appraise, or just slow down? I'll need to think about that.

I must think I'm like Marmite, the thinner it's spread, the better it is. Despite deciding I was overcommitting myself I had a little idea and went and registered a blog and three more domains called "AucklandToday". LOL. As Blackadder said "I have a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel" watch that spot :).

Statistics of Popes and Saints

Down the bottom of my sidebar is a link to StatCounter.com. Statcounter is a free service that provides basic analysis on web sites, telling the owner where traffic came from. I care about my blog and I'm always interested in knowing that others are finding my work. Over the last couple of days my traffic has nearly doubled. I was having a look through the referrer and search engine stats to try and work out why.

There is a lot of interest in St Malachy's prophecies. 72% of the search strings mentioning Malachy / Malachi by name, by reference (e.g. "Irish saint predicts popes") or by prediction "glory of the olive". Another 11% were searching for information on the late pope, or the details of the election of the new pope. The rest were a mixture, for example it seems I'm not the only one interested in Technorati.

Rainier III 1923 to 2005

Following shortly on the death of Pope John-Paul II, Price Rainier of Monaco has died after a battle with lung, heart and kidney problems.

For most of the world this will pass by unnoticed. For many it will be noticed but of far less import than the death of the Pope. For me, there's a link of coincidences of dates that makes it poignant; still less important than the Pope's death but still something to be noted.

Rainier was born on May 31, 1923; my father was born 12 days later. Prince Albert his eldest son was born in 1958, as was I. Albert on the 14th of March, me on the 20th of January. Neither Albert nor I have married, nor have we produced heirs. Both of us have had a string of female friends . Rainier has suffered increasingly from poor health over recent months, as has my father.

Sure, there's a lot of differences, but there's sufficient there to remind me of mortality.

Rest in peace serene prince, you are again joined with your beloved princess.


The title link isn't working very well and probably won't for a few days, their web-site seems over-loaded. The Google cache is here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Project, Bridge, a New Blog

What a day

We've agreed to work on the rush project in a prototyping mode, which always results in rework, but avoids the slowness of formal design based development. So far it seems to be pretty good. We're doing the C++ here, and the reports / wizards / style sheets in Australia. For the moment the Australians are working off the old database schema, but nothings been broken by database upgrades yet. I worked hard on the project at work. I managed to get it working to the self-test stage and checked in my changes for a build. This means we have something for Rowena when she's next in. Things are looking pretty good for meeting the first internal ship date on Friday. About 5 minutes after I checked everything in, Australia came back with a few changes. Luckily it was just adjusting the availability of some windows, so I was able to get them tested and in before it was time to leave for Bridge. We'd left it a bit late, so it was a quick bite at Burger King.

Bridge

The room was so packed, that the sit-out table was moved into the foyer and the-other-Angela decided to split 4 tables off to play a teams event. We stuck with the pairs, which was lucky, as we led a charmed existence. We over-bid like crazy & kept on managing to make the contracts. I'm not too sure our tactic would have been as successful at IMP scoring. We only came unstuck on a couple of boards. One where Angela bid up to 7C, unfortunately the cards weren't with us on that hand.

The New Blog

I've decided to repatriate my software patent blog to blogspot. Yahoo 360 just doesn't do it for me. Once I made the decision I moved pretty fast and set it up with a basic template for now, then I just copied the postings back from the other place. I'll sort out page counters and so forth. I'd imagine it will be a few days befoe anyone finds it anyway.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Technorati

I'm really impressed by this service.

It's a specialist blog search engine, and is a lot more up-to-date for blogs than the web search engines such as Google & Yahoo! are. Of course, it only searches blogs, so you still need the big players.

I've placed a search box from them at the bottom of my side bar ... I may later lift it up, but I really don't feel like adding yet another way to leave my page too high up. Since you've managed to find this blog I might as well make it easy for you to read the content before getting too many temptations to wander off.

They've got a way to sign up and create a profile. Their help page says

"As a member, you can:
  • Add a photograph to your profile and it will appear next to every search referencing your site.
  • Help other people find your site's posts and learn more about you and your writing.
  • Create free watchlists utilizing RSS to stay informed and track conversations as they happen.
  • Enable your readers to search your blog on your own web pages with the Technorati Searchlet.
"
I figured "Why not?" I gave them a Spam Gourmet mail address, so if I've misjudged things, I can back out.

They also have a way to "claim" your blogs. I haven't a clue what that means, but again I've tried that. Their help pages told me the procedure, but

I was highly impressed that their newsletter was opt-in, not opt-out. I decided to subscribe just to see what it is.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Random Blogging

Sunday

Largely spent researching and blogging about Malachy, and also re-did my layout for this blog. It wasn't all at the screen, I've done laundry, cooked some chili tofu and vegies (vegan) for lunch & am seriously considering a large slab of red meat for dinner ... Either that or open a can of beans.

Blog

As I reported a few days back when I installed Haloscan trackback I badly damaged my publishing template, and also ended up with a second, unrelated, set of comments. I knew I had to fix it, and started again from a default template, applying my personalisations. I hadn't been too happy with the look of the site before, so I selected a different starting point. I like it more.
The Blog was supposed to be a kind of diary. Looking at recent efforts I seem to have wandered off into current affairs. I'm going to make a conscious effort to bring the subject of the blog back to my life.

John Paul II & Malachy

I've spent a fair amount of time on this, see next entry for what I came up with. It's Interesting how what started out as a brief article on his death turned into major blogging research on Malarchy. I'd heard about Malachy long ago - I've been on the Internet for 13 years, and I first heard about him long before then. I remember trying to find out about his predictions way back in my late teens. Today, thanks to the internet it wasn't that hard.

Yahoo 360

Environment

I've decided I really don't like the Yahoo 360 environment as much as I like this one. It's only customisable within very tightly constrained parameters. I'll keep it around for a while, but only are a place to store the Software Patents blog.

Arrogance

There are a number of extras they throw in my face that are only available overseas, they have my country code on file, so why do they insist on presenting me with the suggestion I add them to my start page?

Copyright Debacle

This must have hurt. The disclaimer that they added to my original Yahoo 360 entry, is found several other sites around the blogosphere, Geek News for example. Weirdly enough, they started with "How a cut-n-paste can ruin your day", and cut-n-pasted it to several pages. I hope they checked it first.

Site Stats and Search Engines

I've been looking at my site stats from Statcounter It's revealed some interesting things.
  • 71% of my search engine originating traffic is from Technorati, and the other 29% from Google. I also had a search from Blogpulse, presumably they don't consider this a search engine.Looking at Technorati it is much more up-to-date and seems a much better option than Google for searching current blogs.
  • 68% of my search traffic was from "Yahoo 360", with other search terms: Albania, "take3 movie newmarket", "kiore personal firewall", and "simplified characters". Only the movie one gave me pause for thought. It was Google having several postings on my main page that happened to contain those words in different entries.
  • A fair amount of my traffic seems to be coming from the next blog button. I know it's coming from other blogs on blogspot, and I can't find any links to me from those blogs.
  • I'm getting no traffic from the web ring I joined.

Quote of the day

"Always live your life with one dream to fulfill. No matter how many of your dreams you have realized in the past, always have a dream to go. Because when you stop dreaming, life becomes a mundane existence."
-- Sara Henderson, Writer

John Paul II and Malachy

Ioannes Paulus II. Requiem in pacit

I just heard the news that the pope had passed over. I wish him peace.

Like his two immediate predecessors he rehabilitated the papacy in the eyes of many non-Catholics. In my early childhood Catholics kept themselves aloof from many of the aspects of our secular society. The reforms of Vatican 2 allowed them to integrate, and the travels of John Paul the second in the early days of his papacy humanised that office.

Thanks to him, Rome is no longer seen as some kind of medieval holdout in the modern world.

An Irish Saint

St Malachy (Archbishop Malachy O'Morgair, 1094-1148) also known as Maolmhaodhog ua Morgair; Maol Maedoc is supposed to have predicted all the remaining popes between his life and the end of time.

Malachy is a figure at an interesting point in time. It's hard to track down details but there are hints that the Celtic church was going its own way and if not actually schismatic, was close to it. The new advent article on him says

"St. Malachy was appointed Archbishop of Armagh, 1132, which dignity he accepted with great reluctance. Owing to intrigues, he was unable to take possession of his see for two years; even then he had to purchase the Bachal Isu (Staff of Jesus) from Niall, the usurping lay-primate."
definitely something was going on while the Catholic Forum says
"Replaced the Celtic liturgy (the "Stowe" missal) with the Roman liturgy in an effort to bring uniformity and discipline to the clergy and those in religious life. [...] Friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who helped him establish the Cistercans in Ireland, wrote a biography of him, and sat with him as he died."
More on the biography later, but doesn't the rest suggest that the Irish church was alienated from Rome?

St. Malachy was canonised by Pope Clement (III), on 6 July, 1199.

The next pope?

Malachy has one further claim to fame. He may have been a prophet. Certainly a list of popes from his day to the present is frequently attributed to him.

They may also well have been forgeries as Malachy's prophecies are said to have been locked away for four hundred years before they were allegedly discovered in 1590 in the Roman Archives. John Reilly reports

"They appeared in a long work, 'Lignum Vitae,' by the Benedictine historian, Arnold Wion (or Arnold de Wyon). Dom Arnold claimed to have discovered them in archival research. No one else, contemporary with either him or St. Malachy, had ever seen fit to commit mention of the prophecies to paper, or at least to any paper that has survived. Apparently, however, rumors of the prophecies were current at the time of publication, and reasonable people might surmise that the prophecies had been created to influence either the conclave of 1592 (which elected Clement VIII) or in anticipation of the next one, which occurred 1605 (and which elected Leo XI)."
The debate has raged ever since as to whether they are forgeries or genuine predictions of St. Malachy. He was certainly far more detailed about Popes that reigned between his death and the time of the discovery of the list. Skeptics especially note that his friend Saint Bernard of Clairvaux didn't mention them in his biography.

So genuine, or not, the last three entries in the list are

110
John Paul II 1978 - 2005 The late pope Karol Josef Wojtlya
De Labore Solis (From the toil of the sun). Descriptive of a man that travelled across the world as did the Sun, high in the air (in a jet plane). Don't forget in Malachy's day people believed the earth to be flat, so the Sun appeared a tireless traveller. The also couldn't travel at much more than 5km per hour, jetting around the world wasn't an option.
111
The next pope gloria olivae (The glory of the olive)
112
The LAST POPE!
(Peter the Roman) "In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge the people. The End."

And the meaning of The glory of the olive? Many see this as something to do with the Jews as the olive is taken to refer to them. From Crawford2000

"Look at Paul's Letter to the Romans, Chapter 11:17-24. Paul describes God's possessors of the Covenant, Abraham's descendants, as a cultivated olive tree. Gentile Christians are the wild olive branch from a wild olive tree, that has been grafted onto the original cultivated olive tree. Neither one, either Jew or Gentile, is considered better than the other, since Paul says neither group supports the roots."
Wishful thinkers see it as suggesting the conversion of the Jew to Catholicism. Others simply see it as suggesting that the next pope will have jewish ancestory.

Of course, whoever replaces JP II, the believers in Malachy will find some connection to the olive. That's the joy of vague prophecy.

Other blogs are saying

BloGlenn
"The Order of St. Benedict has said this Pope will come from their order. It is interesting that Jesus gave his apocalyptic prophecy about the end of time from the Mount of Olives. This Pope will reign during the beginning of the tribulation Jesus spoke of. The 111th prophesy is "Gloria Olivae" (The Glory of the Olive). The Order of Saint Benedict has claimed that this pope will come from their ranks. Saint Benedict himself prophesied that before the end of the world his Order, known also as the Olivetans, will triumphantly lead the Catholic Church in its fight against evil."
Covington
" The Malachy "prophecies" claimed originally that the pope about to be elected in Rome will be the one who sees the end of the world, and identified him as having something to do with the glory of olives. In 1820, they added one more, just for the [...] of it, bringing Peter back as a frame story." I can't find any references to this insertion, can anyone enlighten me? -- Bruce
Sharon K. Gilbert
"Once a Cardinal has received the required number of votes, the Dean of the College of Cardinals asks him if he accepts election and by what name he wishes to be called as Pope. On giving assent, the Cardinal immediately becomes Pontifex Maximus, the Holy Roman Pontiff.

"The Cardinals then pledge their obedience to His Holiness in turn. The Pope vests in his Pontifical clericals (white soutane and skull cap) — the Italian family business in Rome that makes all the Papal vestments has several different sizes prepared in readiness for His Holiness, no matter what his shape or size!"

The Holowach Blog
"It is interesting to note that "Peter the Roman" won't necessarily come right after the olive guy. He may come right after, or how-ever-many after. Though, common sense would dictate that the list moved forward singularly for the rest, thus, this last one should be right after the former in chronology"
"'glory of the olive. (Some prophets believe this pope will take Leo XVI for his name and will bring peace between Israelis and Arabs). St. Malachy predicts that Pope John Paul II's successor will be an active peace-making member of the religious hierarchy. But he will die in 2008 with his work unfinished and the next pope - called Peter of Rome ('Peterus Romanus') - will rule until the Apocalypse in 2020." Dates? What's the source? -- Bruce
Asteroid as a comment on samaBlog
"this prophesy is worth studying, because it has some unique properties. The most interesting is that it is verifiable. If you look at Nostradamus, for example, if a prediction doesn’t fit, you can say “well, this must not have happened yet”. You cannot do this with this prophesy, because it predicts events that are known to have happened (the succession of popes), in order. Also, the prophesy is about a very specific topic, which doesn’t happen that often. The pre- and post-1595 hit rate are also interesting reading."

This is apparently a paraphrased extract from a longer posting at the Asteroid blog.

Last word

I'll leave that to John Reilly who points out
"The Papal Prophecies of St. Malachy are worth examining in a little detail. For one thing, the prophecies have great historical interest. For another, it's a good bet that they will get another public airing during the next papal conclave."

Here's a Google news link for when they do.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II Quote

"The fear of making permanent commitments can change the mutual love of husband and wife into two loves of self-two loves existing side by side, until they end in separation." Pope John Paul II

Gmail Doubles Storage

G is for growth

Storage is an important part of email, but that doesn't mean you should have to worry about it. To celebrate our one-year birthday, we're giving everyone one more gigabyte. But why stop the party there? Our plan is to continue growing your storage beyond 2 gigabytes by giving you more space as we are able.

Two gigabytes? Are they mad?

History suggests they are not. So how can they give this amount of storage for free? Let's start by considering what it must be costing them.

Most users are going to take a long time to build up that much archived mail, for example I just looked at my thunderbird mail repository containing my saved mail going back over a decade, it's only 200 megabytes, and Google would be mad if they aren't compressing their mail storage. Naively zipping up my mail reduces it to 60 Megs. Compression varies and images in popular formats like jpegs and mpegs don't compress well, so not many people are going to get compression like that, but the 2 gigabytes is somewhere between 2 gigabytes and 600 megabytes; probably closer to the 600 megabytes end. Most users won't use anything like their 2 gigabytes limit for a few years, so let's say that the average use is going to be around 1 gigabytes or 400 megabytes once compressed.

At current disk prices that works out at about 50c worth of disk per user. OK, they need backup media, and computers, and will have some other hardware costs, so lets say that doubles the requirements, bringing it to $1 per user. With their adsense technology it isn't going to take them very long to pay that dollar off from paid clicks. Obviously there's running costs as well, electricity, maintenance on their servers, etc, but no more than for any other web hosting business, and I'll bet they buy internet bandwidth at bargain basement prices.

Quote of the day

'Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.'
--Sam Brown

Google Gulp

Google are carrying on two of their favourite traditions
  1. April fools announcements of new services
  2. Doing it a day late

The joke

Google Gulp, a new fruity drink with a DNA reader that indexes your genetic code and modifies the drink to change your hormonal state to produce optimal effect.

This reminds me of the other DNA's description of the Sirius Cybernetics NutriMatic Drink Dispenser

The way it works is very interesting. When the 'Drink' button is pressed it makes an instant, but highly-detailed, examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism, and then sends tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the subject's brain, to see what is likely to be well received. However, no one knows quite why it does this, because it then invariably delivers a cup-full of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Make sure you read the FAQ, it's hilarious, but oh-so-true.

A day late

Yes, it's already the second of April here. Google are obviously keeping US time, which for a service based in the US would normally be reasonable, except that I'm reading this page on google.co.NZ, a site that they run which masquerades as a New Zealand site and customises its view for New Zealand readers, so it would be expected that they used the New Zealand time zone for their jokes.

I remember from childhood that jokes were OK until Noon on the first of April, after that the trickster was the April Fool, not the victim. So April fool, Google!

On the other hand, Google have built a massive business on not being first to market, but on coming into an existing markets and doing it so much better that they sweep the former incumbent aside. I remember the old search engines from before Google. You do a search and their databases were so confused by keyword stuffers that you had to look through 10 or 11 pages before you found what you were looking at, as time went on this got worse and you had to look for more pages, tell it to exclude certain terms, etc. With Google, if what you are looking for isn't on the second page, you've asked the wrong question.

Another good example is adsense. I used to see ads as a browser, but they were never terribly relevant to me, and as a small publisher it was difficult for me to get relevant ads on my site. With Adsense I see ads relevant to the page I'm looking at, and customised for the fact that I'm browsing from New Zealand. As a publisher I can place ads on my sites and have Google's software select the ones that are most likely to be relevant to my content.

So let's just be charitable and assume that Google have spotted the business advantages of being in the April Fools industry and are simply coming into the market with a better version. Nah!

Last word, a Gmail reference?

From the Google FAQ:

I mean, isn't this whole invite-only thing kind of bogus?

Dude, it's like you've never even heard of viral marketing.

Yahoo 360 blog

I'm having a play with the new Yahoo! 360 beta. Thanks to Wannabe Lawyer for the invite. Looking at the layout, I feel it is best suited to be a personal diary style blog. I already have one of those, right here, and I'm not interested in cutting and pasting from here to there, so I've decided to use it as a place for recording the more interesting of Google Alerts I'm already receiving. My initial feeling is that the editor and environment are a little harder for me to use than the blogspot one, but then I'm used to the blogspot environment, so I'll withhold judgement on that until I'm more skilled.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Yahoo! And Creative Commons

Y!'s done it again, they've released a beta web search for material available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence.

What's that?

It's applying permission to copy and change to written works basically the same idea as open source applies to computer software. Just as open source means that the authors of some software have chosen to allow others to freely share and use that software, while reserving other rights, a CC licence on writing means that others can take that writing and use it.

So it's free?

Yes and no. It's free as in beer, but it's not necessarily free as in speech. The original author retains all rights except those they choose to give away. With open source software, it's usually free for anyone to use for any purpose typically with the only restrictions being that they must distribute the source code of any modified version they distribute and they must distribute the modified version under the same licence. With CC, it's very common for the original author to place more restrictive conditions, such as no modifications or no commercial use. Strangely enough giving attribution to the original author is an optional, not a required, part of the CC licence. This last point doesn't make any sense to me, as I believe if you're quoting someone you should give them credit.

Why am I interested in this?

I have a little hobby web site with information about the kiore. While I can write general information for the site, there's a lot of scientific papers out there that I'd love to be able to extract large quotes from. Unfortunately standard copyright doesn't permit this, so I need to either request permission or paraphrase. Paraphrasing is fine for general text, but if I'm trying to quote a scientific paper and paraphrase I'm likely to miss a key word and give wrong information.
Of course it's not automatic, and unless the original site uses CC I'd still have to seek permission.

So why don't I use a creative commons licence myself?

Copyright laws differ from country to country, and there seems to be a different licence text for each country. Nobody has written a licence for New Zealand law that I've found yet. Actually on Kiore.com I have chosen to release under a CC licence, even though it may be partially incompatible with New Zealand law. At the bottom of ever page is 'Except for journal entries, and obvious quotes under different licences, content on [that] site signed [my common bylines], or "Kiore.com" may be reproduced under the terms of the Creative Commons Licence.' with a pointer to the licence I've chosen to use (Non commercial, must give attribution, modified versions are to be released under the same licence).
So, why don't I do that here? While I've been typing this I've realised that the same logic I applied on kiore.com applies here. I think I'll update my template to make that point.

The fifth Kiore

Until about 10 minutes ago I knew 3 meanings of 'Kiore', and was dimly aware that there was something unknown in Korean that looked like "Kio Re".

The ones I knew

  • The New Zealand Rat
  • in the Manx Language, it's the word for "four"
  • Somewhere in Albania is the town of Kiore
Today when browsing I found in the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species that Hippocampus abdominalis, the big or pot-belly seahorse, is sometimes known, in New Zealand, as "Kiore".

A Google search found 12 entries, one gives the Maori Kiore-waitai.

As pre-European Maori didn't have the horse, saying it looked to them like a rat makes sense.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Boxers in skirts?

I'm not a boxing fan, but Samoan Kiwi David Tua is facing American fighter Talmadge Griffis in the first of his comeback bouts at Waitakere Trust Stadium. Round one is currently on TV.

I don't know if it's a nod to his Polynesian heritage or what, but Tua appears to be wearing a mini-skirt.

I guess he's big enough to shrug off any flack.

HaloScan

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. Well, that's what they said they'd add. What they didn't make clear is you lose the blogspot commenting ... including the stored comments! It may not be a biggie, but ... people made those comments, I don't want to throw them away just because I've added trackback. So, about 2 hours later I have both sets of comments showing on my blog. It's ugly, but ... Let's see how it goes. What's really really ugly is I seem to have doubled up the haloscan insert on the individual article pages. Now that needs to be fixed, but not tonight.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Yahoo! 360

Yahoo! are readying their assault on the world of blogging and social networking. At the moment it's in beta and they are doing the Gmail "Invite only" trick, so you can't just sign-up for an account. This is a shame as I'd like to at least experiment with the software. If anyone from Y! is listening, I'd love an invite, email me: yahooinvite.u.kiore@antichef.com. One thing they are doing that's, I believe, unfortunate is that you need to be logged on to Y! to even view blogs. Most of the blog directories and search engines won't like blogs that are password protected. Here's hoping that they reverse this decision soon, so I can report on it myself.

What others say

Michael Schuermann has reviewed the service.
The interface is very well designed. It works smoothly in both Firefox and Internet Explorer, and is very clean. In fact, it properly uses CSS and XHTML for it’s design. No tables used for layout as far as I could find.

The blogging tool is the centerpiece of the experience, and overall it’s pretty nice. The blog entry form is WYSIWYG, which will be a benefit to blogging newbies or others without HTML knowledge. However, there’s no spell checker that I could find. I would suggest that Yahoo add one ASAP, so that we’ll be spared from posts rife with misspelled words.

Tristan Louis says
The first thing that is apparent is that this is more than just a blogging package or social network one. From the name to the way one's web page is integrated with other parts of Yahoo!, it is clear that this is a longer term play with attempts at integration.

While some integration points are pretty solid (Yahoo! messenger, Yahoo! Launch, Yahoo! local, and the Yahoo! photo service seem well integrated), others are major misses. For example, why is it that this service has a different mailbox than my already existing Yahoo! mailbox? (and does that mean I now need to check mail in two accounts?) Going further, why are services like Yahoo profile and Geocities not integrated in this? It seems they would be natural integration point and yet they are nowhere to be seen. Last but not least is the main question about integration of my.yahoo and "My page" on this service. There should be another natural point of integration there, shouldn't there be?

[Update 10:31 AM 31 March] I've deleted a reference to copyright. Yahoo have explained that there was a technical mistake caused by a cut and paste from some existing code and that blog contents are copyright by their owners. See the first comment to this posting for more. I'm a software developer myself and I know that the purpose of a beta is to find and fix bugs. Yahoo! are doing just that.[/Update] Danah Boyd's summary
Anyhow, my general impression is that i'm wary, but i don't think that this is for me and i think it will be nice for the heavily integrated Yahoo user.
Marc Canter enthuses
Can't yah feel the vibe?

That's the sound of a 100,000 rushing into the next big thing - Yahoo 360. Over the coming days people's impressions will be revealed on this hybrid social network/blogging tool.

Just to be clear. This is what I call a DLA (digital lifestyle aggregator.) No they didn't get completely right- but it does successfully combine these two latest technology aspects - which each have been hailed as new 'spaces' (marketplaces, trends, what have you.)

Browsing the blogscape

This evening

I've been browsing blogs. Not just any blogs, but popular blogs. I called up the blogrolling top 100 and looked at the top 50. Now as far as I could tell these are sites that blogrolling's users, mostly bloggers themselves, have added to their links. Examining these sites should tell me what other bloggers believe makes a useful blog.

What did I see

The majority of sites I visited had a better layout and design than the default template I have here, but some were far worse; so pretty is good, but ultimately it's content not pretties. Most sites were well written. One or two were scarcely literate, so there's hope for me yet. Many sites have a strong theme, but some are personal. Themes are good, if you have a single strong, central subject you want to write regularly on. This is a personal site based around my idiosyncratic tastes, so a single leitmotiv is unlikely. A lot of them commented on the world news of the moment. Article length varied vastly. Some had essays, some were one or two paragraphs.

Conclusions

There seem to many definitions of what makes a good blog. I think I'll look for a visual improvement by switching to a more appealing template. Other than that I shall continue to write about what I want, approximately as often as I fee like it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Faith

Falsafah

Falsafah means the love and pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. Serenity ; Calmness. A few weeks back I mentioned her blog.

I was back there today, she said "hello", and I wanted to catch up on how she did with work, her exams, and "Mr Nice Nose".

I could be a bastard and make you go and look, but to summarise she's reasonably confident of a pass, not working for money but developing her cartoons, and "Mr Nice Nose" seems to have dropped off the horizon.

Excursion

These are the bits of her blog that inspired this posting. Please read (after you've read mine, of course .. I'll give the links again at the bottom), the first posting talks of her visit to the Islamic section of her local cemetery (I gather from context that she is follows Islam). Here the Moslem dead lie between Christians, Hebrews, Chinese (Taoists?), Persians (?? This escapes me as Zoroastrians didn't bury the dead, perhaps Bahá'í, perhaps monophysite Christians), even the Ahmadiyan (Qadiyanis). Ahmadiyani aren't even permitted to pray for Moslem dead (Rioy av Religinter, pp. 69), yet here they lie next to them.

The second posting is also entitled Faith. She talks about her visit to a restaurant with her auntie and how her faith gets her through rough times.

The blessings I got through people made me believe more in the Almighty's existence.

Why does sickness and sadness bring some people closer to the Almighty?

Why are most god-loving people sad, poor and ill?

They don't match up to the expectations of the materialistic. What's here is temporary and what's beyond is eternal.

Sadness is like a hidden beauty. Most of the time, with spiritual guidance, it's negative power moves you to create something beautiful - like art, music, writing and devoting your time helping the less fortunate.
Her belief in a greater power gives her strength and the ability to continue through hardships.

Faithlessness

I, on the other hand am an agnostic. Please note, I am not an atheist; there's a big difference. Faith, loosely defined is the belief in something that can not be proved; something beyond the human experience. Atheists have a religious belief, they have faith, their faith is that there is no deity. Agnostic is a constructed antonym of Gnostic which comes from the Greek A- "not" and Gnostikos "One who knows"; in other word an agnostic doesn't know if there is a deity, or not. Some Agnostics believe it is not possible to know, I am not one of them either.

I've spent a lot of my adult life searching for the deity (or deities) and have come to the conclusion that if there is a deity, either he isn't ready for me to believe in him, or he doesn't feel I am ready. Either way I didn't find him (or her). OK, let's cover what I found out. God(s) are either supernatural beings that existed before the universe, and caused humanity to exist, this is the basic Judeo Christian Islamic belief; or Gods descend in some way from humans, this is in the Chinese religion where Gods start off as ghosts and gain position, and also was the ancient English (Scandinavian / Germanic) religion where the gods and people both descended from Bori, the first man. Does this help? Not really, just adds to the confusion.

I grew up in a Christian country, and my agnostic/atheist parents sent me to a Presbyterian Sunday school, so my tendencies are towards the God that existed before the universe and created everything from the ylem to the silicon my computer is made of. Reading the Torah, the Gospels, the Koran, even the book of Mormon (but like the bullet I couldn't get through Second Nephi). None of this helped though. Talking to the faithful isn't much better, they are totally convinced of their beliefs, that is what Faith means, but their faith is not mine. Some try "proving" their beliefs, unfortunately as Douglas Adams pointed out "Proof denies faith, and without faith I [God] am nothing". Actually he wasn't the first, I think Jesus is recorded as saying something similar about St Thomas.

The other thing they do that gets my goat is showing weaknesses in the arguments of the opposing camp and treating that as proof of their standpoint. That's as ludicrous as saying that "as fundamentalist Christians believe that pi is 3.0 (I Kings, 7:23), I can show that pi is more than 3.0, therefore fundamentalist Christians are wrong and pi must be 4.0". In logic this is known as the fallacy of Non sequitur. You see this a lot in creationist arguments, both Christian and Islamic, where the supposed inability of evolutionary proponents is taken as proof that the Biblical / Koranic version must be true. Of course it does nothing of the kind; proving that pi is more than 3.0 doesn't prove it is any other incorrect value; proving that there is not [yet] an explanation for the evolution of salt water tolerance in dolphins (One I remember from The Worldwide Church of God does not prove that dolphins were created exactly as they are today. Equally the Athiest position sometimes comes from "I don't believe the Bible story, hence there is no [Deity]" is a Non sequitur. Just as illogical.

Problem is I can't find the faith to believe that the Deity exists. Sure a lot of the stories resonate: God creating man then commanding all the angels to bow down to his greatest creation, and they all obeyed, except Iblith; God appearing to Moses in the form of a burning bush and then, as humans would be destroyed by his face, permitting Moses to gaze upon his hindparts; Job having a faith so strong that every torment that was sent to test him was shrugged off; God commanding Jesus to be, and he was. If you examine the stories, none of the prophets were given any real choice in the matter. They didn't have faith, God (or an Angel) came and rammed themselves down the prophets' throats.

Adam met and talked with the deity; Moses as I mentioned before was sent pretty convincing proof; Jesus at Gethsemane is recorded as saying "Remove this cup from Me" (Luke 22:42) as he feared going through with God's plan but concluded "Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42) Jesus had seen too much to be able to deny what he experienced. Job, Ezekiel, Mohomet, the Bab, Joseph Smith all were forced by the Deity to believe; not faith, but actual knowledge. Yet, the Bible records when Thomas wanted that proof he was reproved.

Thomas, of course was forgiven, and the Acts record him travelling to Asia to spread the Gospel. In India he is credited with founding the indigious Mar Thoma Christian community; travelling to China and back, ultimately he was martyred in Chennai. I've been to the place where he is supposed to have landed, and seen his bones and the arrow heads that are presumed to have killed him. Thomas had no more choice than Adam, Moses, Jesus, or the others. Of course, where he went he left a monophysite form of Christianity very different from the polytheistic Trinitarian form the successors to St Paul ultimately legalised by the corrupt and degenerating later Roman Empire.

Faith revisited

Perhaps that's the meaning of Faith, and why it is so important. Your life isn't destroyed and you still have hope; a future; a comfort. So Falsafah, perhaps you could endorse love, pursuit of wisdom. Serenity ; Calmness. Add knowledge to that list and your life may be changed, not necessarily to your advantage.

Me? I'd settle for either faith or proof.

Postscript

I said I'd repeat those links, here they are: Cemetary trip, and Faith.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Now Grandfather was an inventor

Another bit of browsing

I'm waiting for Ethohost to fix an issue with the server, and being Easter Monday it's a wet autumn day so I've been doing a little browsing today. Here's one from kimthew.com

"In Rose Family lore, there are a great many things my grandfather was supposed to have invented. Some of the stories are actually true. He played a role in designing prefab housing after World War Two, and true to his roots as an unreconstructed Fabian, told a reporter from the London Times he didn't understand 'why we don't make similar buildings today for the homeless.' As a kid, every time I traveled on an airplane, one parent or other would mention that Papa had some role in making the black squishy resin that glued the slabs of concrete together to form runways. This is unverified and probably apocryphal, but I promise to ask next time we talk. "His other great breakthrough in the world of applied chemistry was the development of fusible interlinings, a manufacturing process that allowed apparel makers to glue garments' interior linings to their exterior fabric, obviating the need for skilled craftsmen to stitch the pieces together. Faithless to his roots as an unreconstructed Fabian, he transformed the schmatte business by allowing companies to fire lots of people and move their operations to Bangalore."
I find this interesting because both Dad & I have invented things, but nothing has ever come of them. When he was a young man Dad invented a kind of electric guitar ... Not the electric guitar as we know it, but a feedback loop on an acoustic guitar that caused a plucked string to vibrate forever until the musician decided to stop the string and then when I was a young child he and a friend had a provisional patent on a television aerial that was placed under wallpaper. From memory he gave up on that one because he couldn't find a manufacturer interested in turning the idea into a finished product. In my case, the one that really rankles was having the basic idea for a mountain bike, stronger frame, lower gears, wider tyres. I called it the "off-road bike". I never got beyond the thought experiment stage because I listened to my friends who thought nobody but me would ever be interested in riding a push bike off-road. It looks like Matthew's grandfather took his idea of fusible interlinings and pursued it with a single minded dedication. Something that both Dad & I have lacked. What would have happened if, rather than accepting a "No" from people quite happy making what they always made, Dad and his friend had invested a bit of money and made the aerials themselves? What if I'd tried for a patent on the "off-road" bicycle? I don't know if I'll ever have another flash of inspiration, but if I do I'm going with it to see where it leads me.

A large salesman of dreams!

Aside

You have to admire those French for style and panache. The page un grand vendeur de rêve which FireFox translate tool rendered as "A large salesman of dream[s]!" shows a man by a lake wearing a mint condition fisherman's vest, carrying a brand new fishing rod that's taller than he is ... and he's caught a fish the size of his hand.

Original link broken by 2015. Web archive (Missing picture) substituted.

Stupid crooks

Found on the net, a story of a really stupid thief

Scotsman.com News Archive - Hello, hello, hello- your nicked

A handbag thief was snared by police after answering his victim’s mobile phone and agreeing to return it.

"The sneak thief did not know he was talking to PC Mark Pickavance when he answered the phone hours after stealing it."

OK, street thieves are never the sharpest knife in the draw, but this guy wasn't even the sharpest spoon.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Pacific Island Pigs

The pig followed human colonisation of the pacific, so why did it get to the Polynesian islands, but miss out on reaching New Zealand until European contact? Or did it?

I got alerted to this through a web search turning up a paper from 2001 by Melinda S. Allen, Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith and Ann Horsburgh, researchers at Auckland University, who became interested as an outgrowth of the genetic work of Matisoo-Smith and colleagues on the ancestry and historic dispersal of the kiore. My interest in cute little furry creature is dealt with elsewhere.

Their paper begins "Pig was one of three animal domesticates in prehistoric Polynesia, transported from Near Oceania into Polynesia as far afield as the Hawaiian Islands by the region's earliest colonists."

Summarising Allen et al

Humans introduced pigs into New Guinea at an unknown date with archeological traces from 6000 BP, or perhaps much earlier, and "By 3000 BP, pig had been dispersed to West Polynesia (including Fiji) by Lapita-pottery bearing populations, along with dog, chicken, and the Pacific Rat." They spend some time discussing the absence of the pig from Easter Island and New Zealand, then got into discussing mitochondrial DNA analysis which unfortunately went over my head in places, but if I read them correctly they have been unable to do mitochondrial DNA analyses on ancient bone samples, but on modern pigs they have tests that distinguish Polynesian from European pigs and the New Zealand kune-kune pig corresponds to neither breed.

No pigs on Easter Island (Rapanui)

"In general, there is a decline in flora and fauna as one moves from the large, rich Melanesian islands, to the smaller and more remote Polynesian ones. Rapanui is the extreme of this rule. In ancient times, livestock consisted of the Polynesian chicken and rat (Kio`e), there being no evidence of either pigs or dogs." G. McCall

Pigs in New Zealand

So if the Polynesian ancestors of the Maori had pigs were there pigs in New Zealand before European contact? Apparently not

"There is a most interesting Maori reference to pigs in the journals of Sir Joseph Banks, who accompanied Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand. Near the North Cape of the North Island in December 1769, Cook's Tahitian interpreter, Tupaea, was told by the local Maoris that N.W. by N. or N.N.W. was a large country to which some people had sailed to in a very large canoe, the passage taking up to a month.

"From this expedition some members returned and told their countrymen that they had seen a country where people ate hogs. And for these animals they used the same name, Booah, as is used in the Islands.

"Though Tupaea ridiculed the story, claiming that it could only be believed if they had brought back pigs to prove it there is a good reason to regard this as a memory of a return voyager to Tonga, Samoa, or even the lower Islands." -- Percy Tipene

OK, if the pig wasn't here before the Europeans, and isn't a European or Polynesian breed, where on earth did Cook get them from? If seems possible he didn't. Percy Tipene's paper suggests that the ancestor of the kune-kune may well have been introduced by later European visitors.

And finally

What happened to the Polynesian chicken? Enquiring minds want to know.

Farewell

A sad day for the Clement tribe as we farewelled one of our number. Michael is now in the air travelling back to his home in Australia. Diana picked me up before 10:30 AM and we headed over to Mum and Dad's. They were all downstairs to see Michael off. Apparently Dad had insisted. Michael got quite emotional as he knows that this may well be the last time he sees his father, probably Dad worked on the theory. I was thinking what it must have been like for Dad in 1972 when we left the UK at the end of our 8 week visit, even though he was much fitter than Dad is now, Dad must have had similar thoughts about his father; and in those days you didn't make international calls as readily as we do today. Diana dropped Mike and I off at the airport to get him checked in, while he was doing that I returned his rental SIM card to Vodaphone, then Diana picked us up and we went of to the butterfly creek cafe for lunch. After lunch we talked for a while and then it was time to drop him back for a farewell. Not as hard for me & Diana as we can be reasonably certain of meeting up again, Bon voyage Mike.

Cadbury Trademarks the Colour Purple

Seen while browsing

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things reports:
"and they're not alone How does a company trademark a color? Boing Boing reader Rob says, Because it's Easter, I find myself in the possession of a Cadbury chocolate product. What do I find on the back? 'Cadbury, ellipse device, dairy milk, the glass and a half device and THE COLOUR PURPLE are Cadbury Limited trademarks used under licence in New Zealand by Cadbury Confectionery Ltd.' All our purple are belong to Cadbury Confectionery Ltd.!"
They've put in a few updates noting other colour copyrights from around the world.

Background

As this is a New Zealand trademark I thought I'd search for other NZ trademarks on colours. First up, Simpson Grierson have a PDF discussion analysis based on the trademark commissioner's ruling on Telecom's earlier failed attempt to trademark the colour yellow. This sets forth a number of principles including that the colour must be defined by a classification system such as the Pantone system. This was followed by an ominous note that the requirements would differ from industry to industry.

Chocolate, on the other hand seems to have different rules, and Cadbury have succeeded. Norris Ward McKinnon have a piece on the history of the Cadbury claim pointing out that they have been trying to protect it since 1999, and had a run-in with the makers of Harry Potter chocolates. They finish with
"Trade mark changes that came into force last year have relaxed the boundaries of what things may be trade marked. Many colours are now trade marks owned by various companies, and associated with various products. The colour green is now exclusively BP's in relation to petrol station services. The colour yellow cannot be used by any of Telecom's rival printers of telephone directories. No home insulation manufacturer can use the colour pink other than Pink Batts, and Sunlight dishwashing liquid has rights over the sound of a 'squeak'. Arguably it is just a matter of time before 'purple' becomes a Cadbury trade mark."
Obviously the prediction has come true.

Another snippet from AJ Park's Brandscape talks about past efforts to trademark the colour Green for motor oils, apparently BP have managed to trademark it in some jurisdictions, and prevented others trademarking it in others; Nestles succeeded getting green for Milo, but V failed.

The future

How many identifiable colours are there? OK, paint colour cards & the Pantone system list thousands, my computer claims to be able to make millions, but twiddling the lowest few bits on colour codes make little or no difference to the colour perception, and there's more variation between different monitors than these low order changes make, so let's say there's 500 truly different colours. If every manufacturer can trademark only one of those colours, we'd be limited to 500 brands in each category. With WTO trademarks, that would be 500 products worldwide.

Problem is manufacturers don't play fair. Once they have peach, they'd put out a slight variation of their brand in nectarine, then gala, etc. I'm sure a certain software vendor who are well known for their ubiquitous 'Blue screen of Death' will be rushing to trademark the colour blue, and it won't just be the royal blue they use there, it will every variation they can think of. Soon new entrants won't be able to get into the market because every colour they try to make their products is already someone else's trademark.

I despair of the future in this increasingly corporatised world.

aside

Blogger.com's spell checker doesn't recognise 'Cadbury', its only suggested correction is 'Cadaver'.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Lunch at the Observatory

Limping

It must be a long weekend or something. Not only is there a lot of rain about, but after my shower this morning I managed to kick a chair leg. The toe next to the little toe is now swollen and a charming navy blue.

We had a family lunch planned for today, and Mum Dad and Michael were coming over to drop off my DVD player and mattress and pick up Mum's spade. My original plan was to cycle down to the restaurant and go on to the library and do some other shopping before returning home. With a sore toe I decided to hitch a ride down with them.

Sky Tower

We parked in the building, but getting in was still a bit of an effort, we went up in the lift to ground floor, then had to go back down in the lift to parking level 3 for the wheelchair access. Would have been nice if they'd publicised that a bit more. Got through that and Diana was waiting for us by the lifts. I hate that lift. Glass door, so I face away from it.

Seating

I wasn't impressed by the way they seated us. There were five people in our party and they had laid an extra place at a four person table. This would mean that someone, probably Dad would be sticking out into the walkway. Diana spoke up and asked to be moved to another table, the seating guy didn't want to, but could obviously see that we were serious, so moved us. He warned that there was a party of 20 at the next few tables, but we accepted this as the lesser of two evils.

Food

The Observatory is a buffet, and although the selection was relatively small there was a reasonable choice of food, except for the meat dishes. Seafood in the form of several types of shellfish, prawns, fish (marinated, crumbed, and salmon) was plentiful. Red meat was less so, roast smoked duck and ham. Not much on offer for those who keep to informal kosher or halal diets. Luckily I'm a practicing agnostic and can eat whatever I enjoy.

For $37.50 a head, I think the selection was a little lean, but not excessively so, and although this isn't the rotating restaurant, restaurants like this one are mainly trading on the view not the food, so I'll accept that it wasn't unreasonable.

My tastes have definitely changed in recent years and I really like the purity of taste found in some types of food, for example Japanese cooking. The salmon, ham, salads, potatoes, and to a lesser extent duck all gave me this. On the other hand there was plenty for those liking more muddled tastes. They had scallops in the shell on potatoes with a cheese sauce, Diana really liked them, I thought they were OK.

Service

Here I think they really let themselves down. One of the waiting staff was a gnome that darted up and snatched plates away, at least three times before we had finished with them. For me I became annoyed when she grabbed my pudding plate while I was still eating the pudding, then tried to do the same to Dad, but gave it back when he protested, finally she attempted to make off with my cheese plate while I still had a piece of cheese in my hand. I waved the cheese at her and said "do you mind?".

As Diana pointed out, they really should advise people that coffee isn't included in the meal price. Again, not a biggie, so it didn't worry me too much, although Mum was upset. What did annoy me was that the coffee took a long time coming and wasn't hot on arrival. Diana was having a cappuccino and noticed this so sent it back. Obviously they made it and left it sitting before bringing it out, I think they should take the gnome off plate-snatching duties and use her obvious energy and speed to get the coffee out to the customers. As I was having a long black I wasn't too worried, but it would have been nice to have had it fresh.

Final rating 5/10; they would have got 7/10 if they improved the service.

Finding my blog

Finally Google's listing my index page. The cache says it was spidered three days ago. I'm looking forward to finding the other pages searchable real soon.

Now to get into a few directories. Searching G for blog directories turned up 7 million hits, yikes! OK they're not all going to be directories, but even so. So apply for listing a few at a time seems a good move.

First-up

Enough for one day. Should only take me another million days to complete the list. Smiles.

One Security Technique

MSMS Alumni Association FAQ: "What went wrong and why:
As far as alumni were concerned, Garfield was pretty much the same at this point. But, since alumni and students could login, the firewall wasn't exactly serving its purpose. For example, Garfield was hacked by outside persons (non-alumni) and much havok was caused. In addition, a group of students were caught hacking garfield. This (plus the fact that if you can login to the proxy server you can circumvent the proxy server) caused a decision to be made to not allow telnet access to student or alumni. In fact, telnet access from the outside is disallowed completely. Mysteriously, login access disappeared for everyone, causing much confusion. It was at this point that I (David Bradley) came over to MSMS to discuss the status of garfield with the network administrator. Garfield (due to repeated security problems) was sent off to UrLabs to be reinstalled. As a consultant to MSMS at the time, I (David Bradley) zipped up all the user accounts, the website, mail, etc., and burned them to CDs because alumni couldn't exactly retrieve those files themselves. To this day, those CDs have remained on a shelf next to the server, waiting to be called upon in the event someone had a really important file in their account. When the machine returned from UrLabs, they have reinstalled everything, updated the version of the OS and the proxy software."

Well, yes, I suppose that they've secured their server. Disallow all access. Burn the content to CDROMs and keep them next to the server. But what a price.

Slashdot Moderation

Downgrading a post I agreed with

I logged into Slashdot this morning and for the second time this week I had moderation points. Slashdot's rules say you can't post and moderate in the same thread, so as I usually do I picked for moderation a reasonably new article where I would have no interest in posting. Today was one on Comprehensive Guide to the Windows Paging File . One of the posts basically said to dump Windows and install Linux. I'm a contented user of SuSE Linux, so this is something I have done myself, for my home machines at least, and advocate. Problem was that the comment wasn't relevant to the topic, and had been repeated several times, so the moderation was fair, but it felt strange. At least I've done my civic duty, got rid of the mod points and can go back to reading at score 2+

Friday, March 25, 2005

Thunder and lightning and a quiet lunch

The Storm

Woke to the sound of thunder. Looked outside to see the rain coming down interspersed with flashes, and bangs from the clouds. Some up close, some far away, one was right overhead. I mucked around a bit and started getting ready. The storm broke so I phoned Mum to let her know I'd be able to come over for lunch on my bike. So I left and started peddling, straight into my normal head wind. Grrrr. At least this time the wind didn't turn the corner to be in my face.

Lunch

When I arrived at Mum & Dad's Cathy was already there. She's changed her hair to a short spiky look and is looking much healthier than I've seen her look in a long time.

Lunch was Mum's usual pasta spirals, cheese and tomatoes with bacon. This was served with French Bread and this being Good Friday, a hot cross bun to finish. There were 5 of us there and a 1/2 dozen buns. Mum seemed confused that after everyone had a bun there was still one left. Before, during, and after the lunch Cathy was phrasing things in a strange way for her. Later in the afternoon she dropped a bit of a bombshell. Whatever, I hope she's happier with this latest choice than with the earlier one.

Cathy was saying that every time she got with the group she'd been mixing with they were so strange she wondered what she was doing there. It's really weird, but I mix with a group that's even less mainstream, and yet other than the obvious, they typically tend to be the most sane, middle of the road group of people I've ever met. Go figure.

Home time

I was tiring badly by this point. Mike suggested going out for dinner but I knew my legs wouldn't want to do that and then do lunch tomorrow. I rode home, but didn't make it in one go. I chose to go up Mount Eden Road, but I needed to stop for a brief rest at Three Kings and then again just before Balmoral road.

I'm pretty tired tonight and can't wait to shake this thing.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The bug

Went to the doctor's this morning. Complete waste of time. Nothing in the being run down he could help with. The cyst isn't developed enough to do much with & he couldn't cut it out. The vaccinations I need for the trip need to be done around August. Steve mentioned that he'd been having similar symptoms, since the trip, including a strange pain just above the hip. I hadn't even considered that this might be related.

Well That Was Easy

We've got a rush project on at work at the moment. We need to repackage the flagship product in a 'Light' version for faster, simpler, and so cheaper installs. The project sponsor have sent us a list of the windows tagged to show what should and shouldn't be available in 'Light' and I started on the coding today. Building the structures to control window availability was quite easy, and I took the spreadsheet listing of available windows & turned that into some code. Then I ran the built-in list of windows against that code to generate a control file. To make sure we hadn't missed anything I set it to log anything that wasn't on the list. I was surprised by the number of error messages I got about unspecified windows. One in particular raised a smile. On my way out the door for the Easter weekend I stuck my head around Jo's door and said "I've just finished [Light], well, at least nobody will be able to prove otherwise." "That's impossible" she said. "Not at all," I replied "The operator log in screen wasn't in the list of available windows." ... As the old saying goes, "It's hard to soar with the eagles when you roost with the turkeys."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Tickle.com IQ Test

LOL. Normally I don't click on banner ads, but I was on a dull site & there was one of those test your IQ banners. I was a bit bored so I clicked on it. Here's what they came up with:
Congratulations, Bruce! Your IQ score is 138 This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others. Your Intellectual Type is Visionary Philosopher. This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others — and at anticipating and predicting patterns. And that's just some of what we know about you from your IQ results. Find out more in your personalized 15-page IQ Report. It's ready right now!
Like Plato? Come off it. The key here is the personalised 15 page report, for which they want $19. Computer generated I'll bet, full of platitudes (or is that Platotudes?) No thanks. Weirdly enough I clicked my profile there and it looks like I took a very similar test back in August. That time I scored 135 and they said:
Your Intellectual Type is Visual Mathematician. This means you are gifted at spotting patterns both in pictures and in numbers. These talents combined with your overall high intelligence make you good at understanding the big picture, which is why people trust your instincts and turn to you for direction especially in the workplace. And that's just some of what we know about you from your test results.
Phhhhhhhhht! I guess I should try a similar test there in another 5 months & I'll get over 140.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Not my best day

Yes, I definitely have started coming down with something. By lunchtime I felt I had no energy. I'm not sure how I got through the afternoon. I had to cancel out of bridge tonight, shame because I was looking forward to it after missing out last week. I also suspect I've got another sebaceous cyst coming through .... Great, more antibiotics, so another 10 days of digestive upsets.

This would be a very bad time to take sick days, so I'm hoping I can soldier through to the weekend. Day at a time and all that.

Got an email from Google today. They have a new type of adsense that gives links to page search ads. I can't put a sample on here, so I've dummied up a page on bad.co.nz with one. Will try integrating them with my pages

Monday, March 21, 2005

Mexico For Kids

Stumbled across while browsing

"This site belongs to the Presidency of the Republic of Mexico." Available in English, Spanish, Italian, and French. A simply written explanation of Mexican history and Mexico today. The site is aimed at children. I would guess from the language that intermediate age children are the target audience. Well written for the target audience.

Monday

Somebody who shall remain nameless is writing this blog while sucking on some frozen Coca-Cola. Oh alright, seeing as you guessed, it's me, but I'm getting ahead of the story.

Q, 5, and 9

I got into a one-sided bidding war yesterday for q.net.nz I had an auto-bid on and as the end of bidding approached I watched the other person make bids, get instantly out-bid, pause, and increase until he reached my auto-bid limit. I thought about it and placed a higher auto-bid limit and watched him slowly stagger up to that value. Single letter domain names are interesting and rare, but only a sideline for me and I'd already decided that this was my limit so I let him have it. On Saturday when I first saw that q.net.nz was coming up for auction I did a little research and discovered that 5.net.nz and 9.net.nz were unregistered, so I grabbed them on the spot. This morning I wrote a letter to the winner of last night's auction congratulating him on his win & asking if he would be interested in these domain names as well. So far I haven't heard back. If I don't get a reply I'll probably auction them off in the near future anyway, they just aren't a good match for my little hobby.

Tourist

Spent the day with Mike. He drove over late morning and we caught the bus down to Symonds street, we then went for a wander. We walked the length of K-Road, and around the corner into Ponsonby Road. I tried to think what had changed in the last 20 odd years and point it out. Not sure how good a guide I was, but he didn't complain too much and after the first hour was too busy gnawing his arm off to escape to complain. We stopped at Otto Woo's for lunch . We both opted for the teriyaki chicken and I was underwhelmed. In retrospect I should have done my homework a little better. A recent review said "Otto Woo has really gone downhill, the food used to be fresh and fabulous and now I think your local Chinese takeout could easily surpass them in portion sizes and taste." Much how I felt about the meal myself. After lunch we continued up to the top of College Hill where I showed Mike where the first Willows store had been and caught the Link bus down to Queen street, then wandered up the road a bit and had coffee, after which it was off to the Auckland City Art Gallery. I quite enjoyed the walk around there, although another patron opened an alarmed door on the first floor so we wandered downstairs and looked around the ground floor for a while, then by the time we were ready to go back up the alarm was over. The main temporary exhibition was Handboek a retrospective of Ans Westra photographs. Ans is a Dutch immigrant who has been photographing Maori events for over 40 years. After that burst of culture we wandered down Queen Street and cut up to Albert street via the spiral-staircase-alley, whatever it's name make be, having another coffee at the cafe at the base of the stairs, once there I showed Mike where the second Willows store had been ... Immediately below the window that had been my office window 10 years earlier. Then down to The Viaduct and the old Americas Cup village. NZL 40 & 41 were there, as was the biggest private motor yacht I've ever seen. Three stories above the waterline! Finally down to Britomart and the new railway station where we caught the train back to Newmarket and walked back to my place and talked some more. Total elapsed time about 8 hours. It was good having a chance to catch up and I hope Mike liked it as much as I did.

Frozen Coke

With all that walking I was a little tired & decided to have some fruit juice, so I squeezed a couple of oranges and a lemon then went to put the juice in the freezer to chill down. When I opened the freezer door I was greeted by a sticky black liquid. It seems that I'd forgotten I'd put a can of coke in there & it had decided to explode. I took the can out of the freezer & noticed it was ticking! Weird, after looking at it for a while I decided it was the gasses trying to force their way out. I tossed the can upside down in a large glass & waited for the juice to cool. The juice was nice, but I wanted something else so out with the can opener & spooned out the "Sorbet". Once mixed with a fresh can of unfrozen drink it made a passable chilled drink.