The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Mmmm, open-source goodness

Wednesday 30 November 2005 at 11:18 pm

Firefox 1.5 was released yesterday. Hot dang, that’s some sexy software.

(oh wait … did I just say that? I meant, um, that the improvements to tabbing, and the redesigned menus, and the smoother loading, are all just, er, overwhelmingly cool.)

At the same time, KDE 3.5 also got released. Since it’s so very much bigger, I haven’t tried it just yet, but I suspect it is just as sexy as well.

(If you’re wondering: A server crashed at work today, which was the only exciting thing to happen all day. So the highlight of my day was to learn of awesome new releases at both of my favourite OSS projects.)

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Sony’s stuff-up

Tuesday 22 November 2005 at 11:26 pm

Meh, so much for keeping to an I-will-post-more-because-exams-are-over publishing schedule. To fill in this temporary break in transmission, I think I’ll discuss everyone’s least favourite music company (this being the same company that still refuses to sell songs on the Aussie iTunes store, do recall).

It amuses me to think of what the executives of Sony/BMG must be thinking as their “we put a rootkit on our customer’s PCs” debacle gets progressively worse. Even better, Google gives this issue very high placement in searches for both ‘rootkit’ and ‘sony’. I hope that they pay severely for this stuff-up, although I fear that they won’t (what with them being able to pay for big lawyers or buy out members of the US Congress).

Alas, even if they do get nailed, I suspect they’ll just keep going with even more draconian measures on CDs (making them infected with DRM, even).

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Crazy union protestors

Tuesday 15 November 2005 at 9:31 pm

Woohoo! Exams are over, so today I went into Perth to hang out with cool people (fancy that! It’s not something I’ve done in a while.)

While there, I saw the front of today’s big protest rally meandering ominously down William Street (which I’d wanted to cross), so I ran against a red light and paused in the shadow of the BankWest building as the procession went by. It was big and colourful and noisy and cool, except that I was hoping it would be bigger and there were a few moments where it was decidedly not noisy.

Marchers waiting ... at the traffic lights   Heavies from the CFMEU
Even an ambulance joined in on the fun!   Communist Party, anyone?

Those bright red flags in the last photo say “Communist Party of Australia”. They were being carried by a group of three middle-aged blokes. Solidarity, comrades!

The TV news quoted a union source who estimated a turnout of 30 000 people, and other estimates of around 10 or 15 thousand. I reckon they’re all wrong: there are more people wandering around UWA most days than were in that march. I would put the numbers closer to 7 000 or 8 000.

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Zombie hunt

Tuesday 8 November 2005 at 8:57 pm

Yesterday the new federal agency for telephones, TV, and computers announced it was partnering with five ISPs (two of them in Perth!) to hunt down computers infested with viruses and spyware in the hope of putting a dent in spam mailouts and DDoSes.

Could this be the first ever example of the Howard government implementing well-thought-out policy towards the Internet? Alas, no. The press release quotes ACMA’s head bureaucrat rattling off a line that was clearly prepared by a junior aide, and it doesn’t even quote the Minister who launched the initiative. So I suspect this is probably just good thinking on the part of someone buried deep down, and not something the fat cats can claim credit for.

If it works out, woohoo! Finally some solid regulatory action to deal with spam. And if not … well I probably won’t notice, since I’m spending the next week bunkered down to fend off those other zombies that spring forth from exams.

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Greatest. Horse. Ever.

Tuesday 1 November 2005 at 12:40 pm

Two years ago I was impressed by a big South Australian mare winning the Cup. Last year I was just happy to get a free lunch off my sister’s bet. This year … wow.

Makybe Diva wins the 2005 Melbourne Cup

The commentators on TV were all gushing about how a third consecutive Cup was amazing, history in the making, iconic, and all that. For once, they’re right.