Tag: "musings"

Male gamers upset that people got offended when they were sexist.

Someone linked this earlier today on Twitter, whoever wrote this and pretty much everyone who commented is a sexist, privileged dick.

Here’s an easy way to tell if what someone said is sexist. Replace the male/female labels with white people/black people. If it reads like a white supremacist bible, you’re probably in the wrong.

I’m sick of seeing “trolling” as an excuse for losing a debate or being an idiot online. This is mostly my thoughts on the topic, understandable if yours differ.

To me, trolling is not making senseless and fallacious arguments, hurling abuse or spamming. This is griefing. It doesn’t require skill or finesse.

Real trolling should involve clever arguments, citation of sources and a solid foundation of facts (or at least, the appearance of the above) that stir debate and make people question their own views for the sake of your own fun (regardless of your actual point of view).

Any griefing shitwipe can yell “I fucked your parents” on Xbox Live. A real troll can convince someone they’re the true biological parent.

If you’re a computer science major, why would you want a Mac?



It’s pretty, not effiecent.

Just my personal opinion

LOL, mac, PC, ubuntu linux… gimmie them all ! !

I’m a compsci major and love my Macbook Pro, my Windows PC and my Debian server. As far as general work goes, a Windows desktop wins on price/performance, a wide range of enterprise-standard software and easy hardware upgrade path. Also great if you’re a gamer.

Linux is brilliant for home servers since it runs on whatever parts you throw at it, is extremely customisable and great for testing websites and programs.

When you get to laptops, it becomes a bit more complex. A lot of my CompSci work requires a *nix environment and while there is some good Linux/laptop compatibility, it can be also be a gamble in my experience, especially with wireless drivers and upgrades.  I generally find with laptops that you have to choose between price, *nix compatibility, power, form factor/weight and battery life while ditching the upgrade path of a normal Windows PC.

For that reason, I swapped to a Macbook Pro. As it turns out, it’s actually a pretty fucking awesome OS for laptops anyway.

So I was worried when I got my pay slip and it was less then usual. Then I realise there’s a second page to the document which is my actual pay slip. The first page was a whole bunch of extra back pay (they’re counting one of my shifts on a small penalty rate), meaning I get paid an extra 98% above normal this fortnight.

Thank you work.

I love Renai LeMay's writing style.

Probably only interesting if you’re involved in Australian internet or technology, but a good article nonetheless on the future of the NBN and the Australian broadband market if TPG were to buy iiNet.

White Hat in trouble over helping a company?

Man finds security flaw.

Man reports security flaw.

Police hunt down man.

Now, I can’t see that he’s been charged with anything, it may be a law requirement to question people over these kind of issues.

That said, it’s outlines that many companies still seem to use outdated and insecure methods of serving up customer data.

I have a complaint open in the system of our local public transport authority. It hasn’t been dealt with or even actioned and every time I call I get shunted around departments as no one is able to deal with it.

But it gives me 10 minutes every week while I’m reading lecture notes to remember that no matter how bad I feel, I can at least take pity on a massive public entity who can’t fix up the links on their website.


If you can’t get the difference between a relative and absolute link, you shouldn’t work in web development.

Uni VS Vendor certification VS On-the-job training


You get a massive grounding of various concepts from your area of study. Some may be a few years old and possibly not even relevant to the industry as it stands today. That said, it gives you a wide range of information that can help ease you into the industry when you start and also some more advanced ideas and topics that could be useful later.

Vendor certification:

Very up-to-date and you learn about the major productions and concepts that are currently in use today. However your training will be on the vendors equipment and thus you will be limited to learning about the products they sell, which may be difficult when you enter a business that uses a mix of different vendors.

On-the-job training:

You learn exactly how to do your job and the skills needed to do it today. However you will be taught by people who just want you to do that job. You may miss out on some of the advanced techniques (because you may not need them to start) and you’re kinda limited to that job/employer, knowing only the kinks of the systems you use and unaware of the world outside at all.

Which is the best?

All. Get a mix of whatever you can as time progresses or whatever you need to get to the job you want.

(Stay a)live in the Army.

When I was young, I asked my dad why he chose the Army over the Air Force or Navy. He reminded me that if something goes wrong and you’re in a plane, you’re ~35,000 feet above the ground and descending rapidly. If something goes wrong and you’re on a ship, you’re 2,000 miles from land and possibly further from help.

But if you’re vehicle breaks down or you get lost in the Army, you may be thousands of miles from help, but you have those thousands of miles of land to live off.

Just bought a VPS and domain name online without any human interactions.

I live in a world where I buy a virtual computer and a domain name for it from another computer, which registers that info with other computers around the world. It’s an automated and frightening world of which we seem to be controlling less and less of every day.

Plus I didn’t have anyone to ask me if it was really a necessary or wise purchase. ;_;

Market Basket Analysis - Beer & Nappies

Cool little article on mining data to discover previously unrealised association. The example used is the Walmart Beer & Nappies example, quoted below:

An observant store manager discovered a strong association for many customers between a brand of babies nappies (diapers) and a brand of beer.

Analysis of purchases revealed that they were made by men, on Friday evenings mainly between 6pm and 7pm.

After some serious thinking, the supermarket figured out the rationale:

  • Because packs of diapers are very large, the wife, who in most cases made the household purchases, left the diaper purchase to her husband
  • Being the end of the working week, the husband and father also wanted to get some beer in for the weekend

What did the supermarket do with this knowledge?

  • They put the premium beer display next to the diapers
  • The result was that the fathers buying diapers and who also usually bought beer now bought the premium beer (the up-sell) as it was so conveniently placed next to the diapers
  • Significantly, the men that did not buy beer before began to purchase it because it was so visible and handy - just next to the nappies (the cross-sell)
  • Beer sales skyrocketed


I never realised this until now, but “thrashing” is a valid computer-related term. It refers to a situation whereby more processes being run are resulting in a decreased amount of overall work.

In particular, if two or more threads are trying to access a particular resource (e.g. a piece of data), the resource has to spend more time locking itself to each active process, than unlocking itself for the next process. Given that accessing/locking/unlocking a resource takes time but does not advance the work done, time is wasted.

When this results in the total throughput of the system being reduced, the system is said to be thrashing.

Package Tracking Systems - Please use them

Preface: I recently did an assignment based on package management/tracking systems, including developing a basic front and back end of one. I think they’re pretty awesome.

If you’re a modern package delivery system, you probably have a neat-o website setup which includes a lovely little system where people can input a unique package identifier and get a whole list of everywhere that package has been and what time it was there. This is brilliant for customers as they feel better when they know their new lingerie is at the local parcel exchange, rather than aboard a Somalian pirate ship.

But with these systems, it is important to update them regularly. This means you should generally update every time a package arrives somewhere and every time it leaves.

An example of how not to do use such a system would be my recent experience with Australia Post when they were tasked with delivering my Duke Nukem Forever “Balls Of Steel” collectors edition. They marked when they had received the order last week on the other side of the country, then kind of just left it at that. The only update I got was an email at 6AM today which told me it was with the driver, on the way out to be delivered. There was no update for 7 days to advise me of when it was being routed through parcel centres or travelling accross the country or in the hands of Somalian pirates.

Heck, my overall feeling about Australia Post and their tracking system is that it was nearly as useful as not having customer-facing tracking method.

Just saw this linked over Twitter and I think the concept is brilliant.

I see a number of banner and sidebar ads on pages, including many that temporarily catch my eye (I never knew there were so many single actively looking for me in my area). However I can never be bothered to go as far as leaving my current page, a definite downfall with standard advertising models. But like the first ads which could show movie trailers in web pages, they draw interest because you don’t have to leave your page to learn a bit more about the product/service.

An expansion of that sort of idea with a greater level of detail and interactivity, especially with the increasing involvement the further the user clicks through (without leaving the page) could hopefully increase advertising effectiveness.

Your iProduct tracking your movements?

So, it’s recently come to light that the iPad, iPhone 4 and I believe the iPhone 3GS have all been keeping a record of location information for wherever the iOS device has been used. Using avialable GPS and cellular tower information tracking, the iOS device continually tracks and stores the users information in a database on the phone. The kicker here is that this information is some of the general information synced to your computer, in an apparently unencrypted form.

Now, a lot of people have cried foul over this, but the only really bad part I can see is that the database is unencrypted. A number of phone handsets apparently keep record of this information, as well as how the device is used to improve customer experience in later models. Furthermore, carrier services will also keep records of all this information, which can be released through a court order for various information.

But I guess it might be bad if an unsavoury character accessed this database to find out your locations. Although, given that I sync my iPad on my home PC, I’d be more worried about some unsavoury character who’s already broken into my house and is using my PC.

I’m not going to say leaving such information unsecured and unencrypted on a user’s PC is a good idea, I believe that may have been a bad design choice if the protection is as weak as news articles claim. However I’m saying it’s really not the end of the world. Many of the people that have been baying for blood over this issue also happen to be those who publicly “check in” using Twitter, FourSquare or Facebook whenever they so much as leave their computer.