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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.