I've decided to retire this blog — I don't really see myself updating it any time soon, and haven't for over two years anyway. I intend to leave the content on-line for the forseeable future, but have converted it to a static site. As a result, dynamic things like search and comments aren't really going to work.

You can find me on Twitter or on Google+ if you like. Alternatively, I'm usually on IRC as LawnGnome on Freenode.

Thanks for reading!

Archive for the 'Venting' Category


Monday, August 24th, 2009

Well, I’m back from the right hand side of the country. More on that if and when I can be bothered typing up my journal notes. It was fun.

I now have to deal with a giant backlog of e-mail, feeds and university work, so naturally I’m procrastinating and reading Slashdot instead. This story about parking meters in Chicago made me… do something that’s somewhere between raging and laughing. We’ve had those meters in Perth for years, and for all the many, many complaints Perth residents tend to have about City of Perth parking (and particularly their grey ghosts parking inspectors), the horror of having to walk a hundred metres or so to a ticket machine isn’t generally one of them.

It did remind me of working in the city last year, though. I usually parked at the Royal Street car park — even though it was a decent walk to iiNet’s offices on the Terrace, the day rate was cheap and there was usually parking still available at the hour I was getting there. In their infinite wisdom, the City of Perth decided to install new ticket machines last year which had apparently not gone through any sort of QC at all; the credit card functionality almost never worked, coin slots didn’t have enough clearance and kept getting jammed by 20 cent pieces, and it was generally a giant screw-up. As a result, you’d fairly often end up calling the City of Perth’s parking hotline, having a whinge at the completely disinterested person at the other end who’d promise someone would look at it someday (clearly not always the same day, since the same machines were often broken for several days at a time), and being given a reference number to write down and put on your dashboard to tell the parking inspectors that you’d at least tried to pay and that they should be merciful and not fine you. (That worked most of the time.)

Depressingly, the one time I got a decent response out of the City of Perth was when I got given $30 in change from a machine in the Goderich Street car park. (I was expecting about $2, from memory.) I called the hotline after a brief moral dilemma and got told by a rather surprised City of Perth staffer (after confirming not once but twice that yes, I really did want to give the money back) to wait there and one of the City’s contracted security people would be there shortly.

They arrived in two minutes flat. Amazing what happens to parking response times when money is involved.

Conference Proper, Day One

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Last night, after the Penguin Dinner, I watched Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. As an Australian, it’s obviously of limited direct import to me, yet it was inspiring to watch his skills in oration and rhetoric in action.

Of course, Obama will ultimately be judged on how he performs over the next four or eight years, not for the quality of his speeches, just as our presenters here are judged on their deeds more than their words. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing a number of talks by people who have backed up their words with actions, which is one of the things I like best about LCA — you’re listening to and watching the people who have actually created the things they talk about, for the most part, and who can talk with real authority on the matter. The Django tutorial was a great example of this, with Jacob being able to talk not only about how to use Django, but also how it works and why some of the design decisions appear to have been made with journalists in mind (well, basically because they were). Django’s something I’d wanted to find out more about for some time, and I’m really looking forward to using it now.

Before moving onto the aforementioned dinner, it would also be remiss of me not to mention Thomas’s talk on (really) remote management. A sign of how engaging that talk was is that even though I have little interest in the hardware and electronic side of things (which the talk was largely about), I was thoroughly entertained for 50 minutes.

Especially the repeated references to cow-related problems.

So, the Penguin Dinner. The food was outstanding and probably the best buffet I’ve had, the company great, and the amount of money raised for research into saving the Tasmanian Devil quite remarkable. Which is likely to also describe how Bdale will look after he’s been shaved by Linus.

If I have a complaint about the dinner, it’s that the "auction" process is entirely too drawn out for people like myself who don’t have the means to take part. I realise it’s an LCA tradition, but there’s an argument that it’s gone a bit too far in the last few years.

Today, in no particular order: Wikia, Klingon, Inkscape, more coffee.

I’ve Got A Fever, And The Only Prescription Is More Cowb^WAST

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

I’m having one of those rarest of things today — a day off from work. Even more unexpectedly, I have about a half-hour of downtime, due to Dan running late with the raw footage I have to edit for our major film assignment this semester (now featuring zombies!). I have, of course, chosen to spend it in the most productive manner possible: drinking coffee (yes, I was shocked too) and following the early results in the US Presidential election, courtesy of CNN and, more credibly, AST’s* electoral vote tracker doohickey.

I find myself strangely fascinated by this election. I mean, Barackstar is pretty obviously going to win, unless the pollsters are having an even worse year than politicians without any common sense, but after the dull 2004 campaign (not to mention the WA state election that excitement forgot a couple of months back — at least until the votes started getting counted), it’s just nice to have an interesting contest.

For the rest of my day, editing, stop-motion filming, and cooking a chicken tikka masala await.

Man, I just hope this election’s called early so that I actually get most of that done.

* This AST, not this AST. Don’t get them confused. It’s embarrassing trying to parse some source code and realising you’ve just got Tanenbaum on a plane instead of loading the syntax tree library.†
† Yep, I think end of semester madness has set in again.