The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Budgets and Asian disasters and work and parties

Monday 9 June 2008 at 6:16 pm

So I have been naughty and working too hard, quite apart from being naughty with respect to this blog. Although we did squeeze out a new Lichen version a fortnight ago, and if or when things finish up at the day job I do believe the next version of Azureus will be sweet.

Some of the things I’ve been wanting to write about:

  • Oh how the honeymoon has come crashing down for the Ruddster and his peeps! First there was the Federal Budget, which was generally sensible but reeked of compromise in every direction (that, and an unhealthy obsession with Costello-style future funds). Then we have inflation egad, public sector overworking oh my, and premix tax eeek! But it’s okay: they had pictures of troops leaving Iraq to distract the masses.
  • Speaking of Budgets, WA’s was remarkably unremarkable given it’s what Carps will be calling an election on. I mean, sure there are billions being splashed about for infrastructure and whatnot, but that kind of announcement is kinda getting old. (Then again, I’ve documented enough times how poor the field is.)
  • It amuses me how much sound and fury has been generated by the plan for a national version of FuelWatch. Surely the logic should be simple: did it work in WA? if so, implement! … just like the other State policies that went national (TravelSmart, Go For 2 & 5, and others; WA actually does have a reasonably inventive bureaucracy. Not to say FuelWatch is perfect, but having foresight does make us all feel better).
  • If Burma’s military leaders were a little less skilled at crushing dissent, they’d probably have riotous mobs demanding their heads for the latest in a long line of cock-ups. Alas, they’re not, and so their country has become even more of a mess than it was. Compare the Chinese government, who have done a far better job handling their natural disaster — not to say the Communist Party are any good at logistics, but at least they didn’t get unfriendly headlines before the Olympics.
  • Onto less weighty matters: may I briefly say, I deeply dislike the new Google favicon? It doesn’t look Google-ey at all, making it that much harder to find searches amongst twenty browser tabs …
  • The WordPress party of two weeks ago was fun! There was schwag from Automattic! I met people from such diverse places as Connecticut and Sweden! And there were many more ladies than your average geek event ;-)
  • This, I think, is hilarious — who’da thunk a metro ride could be so rowdy! And it reminds me of how weird it (still) seems to see people downing beer on trains here, while the staff walk past not caring.
  • Although, speaking of, I felt sorry for the girl across from me on the last Caltrain service out of San Francisco after the WordPress party, whose parents were going off at her on the phone for riding the train; apparently nice girls don’t do that sort of thing …

End of uni, egad!

Sunday 5 November 2006 at 7:24 pm
  • Briefly: while I am happy with the verdict in the Saddam Hussein trial, I’d argue that capital punishment is hardly the best way to deal with him. I thought the idea was to create a climate of international justice, not one of revenge killings by the victors of war. Then again, the trial’s hardly been perfect overall.
  • Meanwhile, my first & last exam yesterday actually went better than I expected (which hopefully isn’t a bad sign?) and I’m going to miss the caffeine-fuelled cramming with my comrades in our corner of the Scholars’ Centre leading up to it.
  • So this means that … yikes! I have actually finished (both of) my degrees!
  • Somewhat fittingly, my exam (i.e. last ever activity at UWA) was in Engineering Lecture Theatre 1, the same room as my first ever lecture at UWA. I ended up sitting pretty close to where (I think) I was in that class, too. Oh how I miss the days of Maths 101 …
  • As for next steps? Over post-exam drinks at the Queens last night (rather than the uni tav, damned Saturday exams!), several of us decided that feminism, while generally awesome, needs refashioning within a broader social justice agenda and with a more modern PR stance that is better reflective of its wide ambit. Consider yourselves warned. Vive la révolution! ;-)

ASCILITE day 3: it works if you press the right button …

Wednesday 8 December 2004 at 9:39 pm

Note to self: learn to press the right buttons and unplug the right cables when setting up gear in lecture theatres. Stuff tends not to work if you don’t (not that I’d ever make a mistake like that, of course …).

Yet even though all of us tech staff stuffed things up quite a few times over the last three days (like when one of the projectors died yesterday, or the time that every machine in the computer lab set aside for delegates suddenly froze), someone still saw fit to congratulate us at the final speech today. We were even each given a bottle of the “special” conference wine! Perhaps everyone was just in a congratulatory mood, what with it being the last day and all.

Also presented at that speech were a bunch of other prizes, for what the committee thought to be the most impressive papers. But they failed to include a special prize for coolness, which I’d have awarded to the group of committee members (Perth academics, all of them) who decided it’d be nice to sing something at the conference dinner last night. Coincidentally, they also decided to use my venue for their lunchtime rehearsal yesterday; while I sat in shock, they belted out a somewhat modified version of “Home On The Range”. I was actually reasonably impressed — for a bunch of non-musicians, they were able to hold a tune pretty well, and it wasn’t sounding at all bad by the end of their rehearsal. I never knew that there existed academics who could sing!

Even more amusing, though, was their attempt at an encore this afternoon, at the end-of-conference function while everyone was lapping up the free beer (man, this ASCILITE mob are a bunch of borderline alcos …). Suffice to say, the singing group that had me so amazed yesterday was, er, a tad underwhelming when half their members were sloshed :-)

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