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Posted
30 October 2006

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Nerd Factor X

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2 Comments

Virtual MacOS X?

And now, a bit of industry punditry if you'll indulge me.

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Posted
26 October 2006

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Personal Or Something

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1 Comments

Break And Enter

My SO came home this afternoon to a crowd of police outside our house. We'd been broken into. Again.

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Posted
24 October 2006

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Nerd Factor X Provocation Me Use Brain

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Secrets Of The Medicare Website

By now most people who have had any dealings with a large institution will have been asked what their mother's maiden name is.

The first time you encounter this, it makes you do a bit of a double-take and wonder how such information can be relevant to anyone. Look into it a bit further and you see they are simply trying to establish a method of authenticating you, probably as a backup for a password-based authentication system.

These secret questions, as I like to call them, are becoming more common. But there are many mistakes your institution can make in trying to implement them. In my dealings with a large Australian government website, I encountered many of them.

A war story follows.

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Posted
19 October 2006

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Linkpimpin' Verisimilitude Provocation

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My List

We are now in the home stretch and will soon arrive at the end of the Bush administration. Not a moment too soon.

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Posted
19 October 2006

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Verisimilitude Provocation

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Junk Food Excise

One of the persistent memes in the Australian media is the notion of childhood obesity caused by poor diet and no exercise. It's one of those self-evident truths that nevertheless causes much handwringing and below-the-neck stock footage on the evening broadcast.

Recently there was a report released by Access Economics which estimated the cost of obesity (both adult and childhood) at $3.7b. Oops, make that $21b. (From reading the report, it seems the lower figure is from type-2 diabetes alone, and the higher figure from all diseases combined). It's a lot, anyway.

So what to do? Most discussion has revolved around fairly weak-sounding measures such as removing — or even just toning down — junk food advertising targeted at kiddies.

But I can't help wondering why an excise wouldn't help here. We tax cigarettes and alcohol in order to (partly) offset the increased health costs that result from their use. Why should junk food be any different, assuming a suitable definition can be found? Better still, what if the excise were to subsidise not the health costs associated with obesity, but instead subsidise the availability, and price, of less harmful food?

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Posted
04 October 2006

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Me Use Brain

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More Mindreading

Amongst my family I am rapidly acquiring a reputation as The Explainer of Internet Mindreading Tricks.

The last time it was relatively simple. This time, not so much.

Try it yourself, excuse the advertising, and then read on for my explanation.

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Posted
15 September 2006

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Nerd Factor X Me Use Brain

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Puzzled by Software Development

A recent post on OddThinking got me thinking oddly about puzzles, particularly their relevance to software engineering. Julian uses the example of some thinking which enabled him to solve a puzzle but which would not be appropriate for solving software engineering problems.

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Posted
12 September 2006

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Cultcha Me Use Brain

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Citizen Librarian

There's a science fiction story I read as a kid, and I want to say that it's Phillip K. Dick's Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, but that may not be right. In this story, or one like it, I can remember being amused and confused at the decadent characters in the story who, as adults, would take a drug that would instantly transport them back to relive some of the more pleasant experiences from their early childhood. The obvious name "Wayback" comes to mind.

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Posted
03 September 2006

Categories
Meta Personal

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6 Comments

Decloaking

Hello, I'm Alastair Rankine.

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Posted
23 August 2006

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Nerd Factor X

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2 Comments

In Printing Colour

Konica Minolta Magicolor 2430DLThis is recently arrived at Girtby Global Headquarters.

"Big deal," you're no doubt thinking. "A printer."

But let me set the scene a little.

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