Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Withdrawal symptoms ahead!


You get so used to the instant access, that it does feel a little bit like the end of this clip when your connection is down.

Imagine what it'll be like in 20, 50 years time, for people who have been "jacked in" since birth. What will they think when they go "offline" for a few hours, days, or even weeks?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday has been busy...

Started with a bike ride this morning - Daisy Hill State Forest, with Mike. Didn't crash on any logs today, although I think I'd like to get a new bike with disc brakes & front shocks - the old one is a bit heavy, and hard on the hands on the rough ground.

After that, we stopped at Mike's place for pancakes - yum! Tanya is well-practiced, and knows how to make 'em good!

A gaelic footy game at 2pm - was pretty good, and I took many hundreds of photos as usual - will post some up here eventually.

Afternoon & evening saw me working on the Opera House:

Making some progress! Have the basic geometry all done, just gotta re-structure those shells to be solid objects, rather than 2D surfaces. And fix a few minor bugs... and split the whole thing into two, as it exceeds the size limit for models in the game.

Getting there, though!

Lest we forget

Well, Friday was Anzac Day. Missed the dawn service at the local Salisbury RSL. Unlike the past four years, the local paper didn't list the times, but referred to the RSL website, which didn't have any listing for the Salisbury dawn service. Bummer. Unfortunately, we didn't think to check it until late on the 24th, so it was a bit late to pick up the phone and call. In any event, due to recent illnesses, we decided it probably wouldn't hurt us to sleep in. Watched the live broadcast of the dawn service at Gallipoli instead. Very big crowd there, and good to see an atmosphere of respect (unlike the notorious 'rock concert' dawn service of 3 years ago on the 90th anniversary). Nice to see Turkey was included in the ceremony (of course, it is on Turkish soil...)

I also noted that they had a dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the big battle won there by the Australian troops in 1918.

I'm thinking, after having read a bit about a few of the different actions that Australian troops were involved in, that I might do a bit of digging & collating from my grandfather's service records. I'm pretty sure he was at the Somme in 1918 (wounded in action there), although I don't know if his unit was at Villers-Bret or not.

I remember reading through the docs when I first got a copy of his service record. I also checked the records of the two witnesses who signed his will when he enlisted - one his own age (around 22-23?), and possibly a friend from home, the other was the local pharmacist, who also enlisted.

Both were killed in action.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh, bugger, I didn't need that...

Yet another thing to add to the "Must buy this!" list... at this rate, I'm going to have my retirement fund fully-committed before I hit 40... :P

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Video Ju Jitsu

Now this is impressive. And a good example of the wondrous things that can be achieved with computers these days.

Found via Dan Rutter's blog.

Oh, my!


XKCD is always good value!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Drunk Russian sleeps off knifing

This story from the Beeb:

"A Russian man trying to sleep off a night of after-work drinking failed to notice a six-inch (15-cm) knife in his back - until his wife woke him up.

Mr Lyalin, an electrician, had spent the evening drinking with a watchman at his workplace when they got into an argument, Interfax news agency reports.

His alleged attacker reported the crime to the police himself, Interfax adds. Mr Lyalin apparently feels fine and bears no ill-will.

"We were drinking and what doesn't happen when you're drunk?" he was quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

No way!

President Bush has actually admitted that greenhouse gases might just be a problem...

Story here, from the Beeb.

They've set emissions targets for the US. Crappy ones that will make the problem worse before it gets better ("Make as much pollution as you want until 2025, folks!"), but targets nonetheless!

I think the devil just felt a cool breeze...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Something has crashed on my computer...

...and my mouse is missing!

Received via email today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A quotable quote from Linus Torvalds

"Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect."

"The Way We Live Now: Questions for Linus Torvalds", New York Times, 2003-09-28.

I guess the French would like it...

Want some dwarf green tree frog with your spinach?

Story here.

I find interesting the statistic quoted, that as many as 50,000 frogs end up packaged with food every year. You'd think that it'd hit the papers a bit more often, then, wouldn't you?

Some days you wish you'd stayed in bed...

Today was not quite one of those days, but I did just get an annoying email from a client. Turns out they want our "marked up drawings" showing the acoustic treatments we have recommended.

Except, I had a long discussion with one of their staff last week, explaining that we haven't marked up any drawings, so we don't have any marked up drawings to provide.


Consulting would be so much more enjoyable if we didn't have to deal with clients... ;-)

Sometimes they ask for silly stuff. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they just want to do stuff that just plain wont work - like putting massive banks of refrigeration equipment and diesel-powered generators in a quiet residential neighbourhood. Or tap-dance studios on suspended wooden floors. Or nightclubs in quiet suburbs. Or apartment buildings in entertainment precincts full of nightclubs.

We don't see so much in the way of industrial/residential conflicts lately, mainly because they usually have other problems with that, and most councils have finally twigged that steel mills and panel beaters next door to retirement villages isn't really a good idea.

Retirement villages next to major roads, highways, or railway lines, though, we see a surprising number of those.

I actually had a client say to me once "It doesn't matter, they're all deaf anyway!". He was mostly joking, I think, but not 100% sure on that...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

From the "Well, duh!" files...

This BBC News story says it all.

Who would have ever thought that artificial food colourings made kids go hyperactive? It's not like we haven't known about "red cordial kids" for, oh, thirty or forty years...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

All your robot belong to us...




Oh, wait, I shouldn't be laughing - give the US Army another 20 years, and these things'll be hunting us all down...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some more ArmA thoughts

Ok, remember how I mentioned I figured out how to apply surface properties to roadways in ArmA?

Well, that's actually in the Oxygen2 modelling package that the game developers have released. But anyway, I mentioned there that "dirt" was the default surface property. That was because when I walked/drove on the bridge, it behaved like dirt (crunching underfoot, dust clouds from the vehicle wheels, etc). Turns out that's because I drove/walked on some dirt before I got on to the bridge approach ramp in my test mission.

The default action is to continue applying the last surface properties used. If you move from dirt onto an undefined surface, you get dirt properties. If you move from metal decking to undefined, you get metal properties. The obvious solution is to apply properties to all your roadway LOD sections. And now I know how to do that, all is good on the surface properties front.

Shame I can't get ladders & lights to work... :-(

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

VF-1S for ArmA

Obviously a few Robotech fans play ArmA these days... :D

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The bridge again!

Here's something I was playing around with earlier...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Anthea FTW!

Anf showing some of the l33t skillz she's picked up over the past few years of playing gaelic...

Shame my photography skills aren't good enough to actually get the photo in-focus! D'oh!

Heh, this is funny...

Found this via ITwire.com.au this morning.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

You learn something every day...

In my case, today I have learned how to apply surface properties in Armed Assault. Specifically, how to apply surface properties to roadways on objects (such as, for example, a certain bridge from several posts ago).

"Roadway", in ArmA, doesn't mean a road, per se, but rather a 2-dimensional surface upon which you can walk or drive in-game. This includes floors in buildings, stairs, and, of course, roadways as normal people would think of them.

So, the Roadway LOD (Level Of Detail - essentially a "layer" of the model) normally only affects where you can walk on an object. Turns out that you can apply a texture to it. And attach a configuration file, that says "where texture X is applied, use these surface properties". Very nice little trick to have discovered!

Now my metal decking sounds like metal decking when you walk over it, rather than dirt (the default surface sound). Just gotta figure out what the roadway textures are that I need for the rest of my bits 'n' pieces.

Still, as I said above - today I learned something. And it was good to learn.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

It's saturday evening...


We got home about 40 minutes ago - went to the Gabba tonight, to watch the Lions play the Swans. Not a bad game of AFL, although it started badly for the Lions when they let the Swans get three unanswered goals, and they never quite managed to recover from that - the margin in the end was less than two goals.

Caught the bus in from Eight Mile Plains (free ride because we were going to the game!), met up with some friends at the Chalk Hotel for a pre-game drink & bite to eat (and quite a bit of amusement watching the things people were getting up to there - no topless bodypainting today, though!). Then wandered over to the Gabba, grabbed out seats, and watched a couple of hours of footy.

From Row B.

Yes, that's the second front row. Behind the goals at one end of the ground. You could literally reach out and touch the players when they were down our end, it was that close. Makes for a great experience for about half the game. The other half, the action was all down the other end, and the eyes aren't getting any younger! Actually, it was usually the players in between that were blocking the view, so we'd resort to watching the big screen to see what was going on there.

Still, a pretty good outing. We thought we were going to get rained on, but that didn't eventuate, although it did get cold. Well, cold-ish. For Brisbane. :-)

Anyway, I'm off to play Warcraft for a while...

Friday, April 4, 2008

What I get up to in my spare time...

Yup, it's that bridge.

Modelled in Armed Assault, one of the games I play, by yours truly.

Only half scale, but that's big enough! Literally ten times the size of the bridges normally found in-game...

So, I'm an engineer. What you gonna do about it? :-P

Some things bear repeating...

This, I posted as a comment over at Dan's blog, in response to a post talking about kendo, and how you must not think of hitting someone, but just hit them:

It's the body language that gives you away, and you succeed in combat when you don't think, but do.

'Muscle memory', as people call it, is way faster than any thought process. Thus, we practice. And practice. And practice some more. And eventually, we think less and do more, and our opponents say "what the hell was that?"

It's a good place to be. :-)

It's oh so very true. Every now and then at fencing, I've found myself there. My opponent attacks, and a few seconds (or fractions thereof) later, I find myself standing with my point on their chest, and mentally replaying the previous moments in time to figure out what it was that just happened. And when I say "fractions thereof", it can really be that. Watch an olympic fencing bout sometime (or a world championship bout, like this one from 2006). Fast, eh? Sometimes there are a few seconds (or minutes!) of back and forth with no-one really attacking, but when an attack starts, it's often all over very quickly.

Having fenced for about five years now (or is it six?), I'm really starting to get the hang of it - the figuring out what happened thing, that is... I still generally suck at fencing! But, while I usually forget the French terms for the actions & reactions, I can often explain to my opponent something like this:

"Ok, I initially did a straight-line feint, you did a parry quarte, I disengaged, you followed with a counter-quarte, I disengaged again for the hit."

"Quarte" is a guard position where your forearm is across your body, "counter-quarte" is a circular parry intended to move your blade beneath your opponent's and push it off-target, ending in a quarte guard position, a disengage (there's a french term for this, but I can't remember how to spell it!) is, in this case, me moving the blade out of the way before the parry makes contact.

I'm finding, these days, that when I'm "in the zone", as it were, many of my actions are "instinctive", in that I don't think through what's happening at each point in time. Occasionally (and this is the bit that makes me quite pleased with myself!) I find that between points, I think "Hey, if I do X, then my opponent does Y, which means I can then do Z and score a hit", and then it happens just like that!

Way cool.

Then I fence someone really good, and I get put in my place. :-P

Global temperatures 'to decrease'

Hey, just saw an interesting article on the BBC News website.

In short, global average temperatures for 2008 are expected to be cooler than 1999-2007 inclusive.

This is because of the 'La Nina' phenomenon, which causes cooler temperatures across the Pacific, and increased rainfall in Australia (which we're very thankful for!).

As such, it's part of the natural variability of the Earth's climate from year to year. It is not, I repeat, NOT an indicator that 'global warming' doesn't exist, because the long term trend is still sharply upward.

Interestingly, the article ends with this:

Experts at the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre for forecasting in Exeter said the world could expect another record temperature within five years or less, probably associated with another episode of El Nino.

I'm sure the naysayers will still pretend that this means we can continue dumping millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It's a second post!

So, I've just been playing around a bit with some of the settings for this blogger service. A fair bit of flexibility, it looks like. Not bad... I shall have to try out some of the more advanced settings later.

In the meantime...

Went to the dentist this evening, for a regular checkup & teeth clean. Damn, I hate the sound those dentist's scalers make. Like a mosquito, but one on steroids. And protein supplement. Who has spent about 10 years working out big time at the local gym.

Unfortunately, it appears I have the beginnings of a cavity under the edge of an old filling (from when I was a kid and didn't look after my teeth as well as I should have, best parental efforts notwithstanding!).


I hate drilling even more.

So, what's with that title?


And with that, I've exhausted my knowledge of Spanish. (That is Spanish, right? ;-)

So, I've finally decided to jump on the Bandwagon. It's all Dan's fault.

Actually, I've had a blog of sorts for a while. I hardly update it, though (and may not update this one much, either, knowing me!). I mean, last entry 2 November 2007? That's slack!

But this one should be accessible from my PC, which is where I spend about 90% of my computing time. Oh, all right, 95%. Maybe I'll be more inclined to dash off a quick waffle, rather than pulling out the MacBookPro to do it. I'll still keep uploading the photos to my .mac web gallery, though.

Anyway, the title I came up with after a comment from my wife, that blogs are just all about people stroking their egos, thinking that they've got something to say that people are interested in.

Yup, totally! :-D

So, now that I've started this, I guess I have to keep it going! See you all round... (hopefully well before 3 months!)