this blog is girtby.net

Posted
28 October 2005

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Cultcha Linkpimpin' Provocation

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1 Comments

Cruise Ship, Meet Iceberg

Yesterday we were like a racecourse, today a cruise ship. Yesterday Bob Hawke, today our great playwright David Williamson, whose recent spray in The Bulletin is worth a read.

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Posted
27 October 2005

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Cultcha Verisimilitude Provocation

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5 Comments

An Act of Sedition

As the government feels it necessary to introduce its new Anti-Democracy Laws on Melbourne Cup Day — laws which re-introduce the offence of sedition — it may be my last chance to inform the world of my inflammatory opinion on horse racing.

[I should first point out that the timing of the introduction of this legislation into Parliament is by no means the worst thing about it. There are many excellent reasons to hate it, such as those outlined on Media Watch last night, and in Chas Savage's savage rant in the Age. And let's not even talk about the process by which it was created. I can't add any more here that hasn't already been said elsewhere, so now onto our feature presentation...]

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Posted
26 October 2005

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Verisimilitude Provocation

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3 Comments

The Virtual Furniture Police

This is a review, of sorts, of the book Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister. Then a segue to explain how typical corporate IT policies contravene some of the excellent advice in this book.

The book is ostensibly about knowledge workers of all sorts, but seems to be really intended for software developers in particular. I had heard of this book for a while, but only after seeing it enthusiastically recommended by Joel on Software, I was finally tempted to give it a read. I'm glad I did; the book has helped me to solidify some opinions that I had half-formed over the years. To that extent there is not a lot of material here which is surprising, but it is nonetheless great to see it reaffirmed in print, instead of around the proverbial water-cooler.

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Posted
21 October 2005

Categories
Nerd Factor X Provocation

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8 Comments

On Not Assisting Remotely

I want to help my dear mother, who lives thousands of kilometres away, to set up her iTunes software and download the John Doyle lecture onto her iPod Mini. I guide her to the Apple site, and for whatever reason we can't download it.

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Posted
14 October 2005

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Nerd Factor X

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0 Comments

New, Shiny, White ... now available in Black!

The RDF hasn't worn off yet. So it may be too soon to react to the latest announcements of new, shiny and white things from The Steve. But being such a tragic Apple fanboi I simply must comment anyway.

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Posted
11 October 2005

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Cultcha Linkpimpin'

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1 Comments

John Doyle

Please don't let John Doyle's fantastic speech for the 2005 Andrew Olle Media Lecture pass you by. Grab the MP3 for the full effect.

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Posted
08 October 2005

Categories
Cultcha Personal

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14 Comments

A CD, See?

Does anyone actually play their CDs any more?

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Posted
07 October 2005

Categories
Nerd Factor X

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5 Comments

Internet Explorer Makes Me ☹

Suckers Clueless n00bs Discerning users of Microsoft Internet Explorer will have noticed the weird "missing character" glyph in the title of a previous post will no doubt see the title of this post and wonder what the hell I'm up to. Firefox users on Windows seeing a question mark may be thinking the same thing.

The unusual character in the title of this post is a unicode character, specifically 0x2639, and otherwise known as WHITE FROWNING FACE.

[Incidentally there's no black frowning face in the unicode character set. There is, however, a "☺" (WHITE SMILING FACE, 0x263A) to go with the "☻" (BLACK SMILING FACE, 0x263B). Explaining this inconsistency is left as an exercise for the reader.]

The white frowning face isn't really a fair character to use on the web. This is because Windows doesn't seem to have a glyph for this character in any of the default fonts. So like I said, not exactly fair, but I couldn't help myself.

The disappearance of the 'not-implies' symbol from the title of the previous post requires a bit more explanation. It displays on almost all modern browsers that I have access to (or could be bothered installing), with one obvious exception. So, why doesn't it display on IE? A glyph definitely exists in the default set of Windows fonts for this character - otherwise it wouldn't display in Firefox. So what's up?

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Posted
06 October 2005

Categories
Verisimilitude Or Something

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2 Comments

The Brownie Court

So on the one hand, we have a desperate attempt to reassure everyone that, despite Katrina, at least the Feds are ready for the next disaster. Bush has thought about all the scenarios. Should the unthinkable happen, the troops are going to be called in, and kill all the Asian chickens they can find. Or he'll declare martial law. Or something.

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Posted
06 October 2005

Categories
Verisimilitude

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7 Comments

Complexity ⇏ Design

For those who haven't been paying attention to the idea of intelligent design, here is my understanding of it. There are many instances where living creatures have some adaptation or anatomical feature, typically described as "complex", for which we don't know the exact evolutionary pathways. Some people think that this information is somehow fundamentally unknowable. And as such they think the presence of a designer is required to explain the existence of complexity in living things.

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