October 2004

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Friday, October 31, 2003

Big outage on the blogging front - a combination of a week's break from work and a class A chest cold to go with it. Today the first day of something resembling normality - now that I'm back to full project pressures. Meanwhile, there's been some pretty big events in space - major solar flares produced good aurora in Sligo, but not alas here down south in Wickla

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

If this device ever comes here, I'm getting one. It called the Danger Hiptop - think Blackberry on steroids. I have the distinct impression that this is what we were talking about all along when we were blabbing oin about convergance.

The Way of the Weasel: Dilbertophiles vote on weasiliest company, induhvidual, profession, behaviour.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Spotted on the Word Spy: a top ten list of unread best-sellers. I have to plead guilty to possessing a few of these ...

The Reg has a good guest piece on the current state of brain research.

Old friend CG came to stay with us at the weekend. A jolly good time was had by all.

According to the Economist, the PDA is dead, long live the PDA. Sales are flat, and sales of smart phones overtook em in Q3.

Friday, October 17, 2003

The blogger's mantra: randomness is God. Hat tip, Ilonina. Anyway, a random email to Ais after lunch went as follows:

Some random thoughts over lunchtime:
* A good story from the Economist letters page: " When in London, I wanted to buy a suit in the City. The assistant asked 'Does Sir know his size?' I replied that in rude colonial Rhodesia where I had grown up, it was described in the trade as 'portly short'. The assistant answered: 'Ah, sir wants to see the directors' selection'". Keen marketing. Hat tip.
* A good story from the pub: one of the 'dream themes' at the Midway is the 'lock-in' ... the legendary drinker's situation where the pub is operating outside licensing hours and the publican conspires with drinkers to keep the law out by locking the door. Like, you are FORCED to keep drinking and drinking. Anyway, the overheard phrase - 'The lockout was goin' on so long, me friends were starting a 'Free Anto' campaign". Love it.
Yrs randomly

Exempla gratia: I like the randomness between the portly colonial type telling his suit size in Rhodesian to a fawning sales assistant and the laybout Dub waxing lyrical about ill-spent hours in the "lock-in". Great planet. Keep it up, guys. Good work, everyone ...

And in the spirit of randomness, Ilonina quotes the psalms:

The psalm was also delicious, psalm 22, one of the most miserable of the lot:

12. Many oxen are come about me : fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.

13. They gape upon me with their mouths : as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.

14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint : my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.

15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums : and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death?

Just right for Friday afternoon.

From KL's reading list - this book looks like one I'd enjoy. After the Ice: A global human history 20,000-5000 BC, by Steven Mithen (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

A good sourdough recipe is to be found here.

Google knows!

The speed of light = 1.8026175 × 1012 furlongs per fortnight.

As it goes in Pulp Fiction: get a load of big brain here! You can now type in all sorts of calculations to the Google search box.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

This truly excellent and thought-provoking article debates the future of the Internet - are we losing the plot? The technologies are present and correct that can negate the whole idea of the Internet revolution. Watch out, campers.

The first Chinese astronaut comes back safe and sound.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The world's fastest supercomputer, Japan-based Earth Simulator has become powerful enough to model hurricanes. To date, weather-buster super-computers have modeled with blocks of 100 square kilometers, this guy can go down to blocks of 10 square kilometers. In one sequence from the model, says a scientist, "you can see a typhoon going up to Japan and it even has a little eye". Cute.

The Reg has this interesting counterblast to the prevailing theme du jour, which is that IT mono-culture (read Microsoft) is a Bad Thing. The writer makes the point that all software is permeable, and the more users an OS has the more attacks it will get. Linux is full of holes too, with its SSH well capable of being penetrated by plain old buffer flow attacks. Diversify, and you have (a) simply more diverse security worries and (b) you're back to the old integration headaches again. Think all your mixed Windows/Mac/Linux users will be able to make the same uniform use of, for example, a CRM system? No, I thought not.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Took the following trip down memory lane on Melanie's site:

1) What is your first child hood memory?

Picking underripe gooseberries (which I knew I wasn't supposed to eat) because I was knocking about by myself in the back garden, and my mum was "resting" in bed (in fact she was carrying my brother, who is 2yrs 9 months older), so this memory is from a little past age 2.

2) What is your favorite childhood memory?

Going for a spin to the sea-side in the family car - a Morris Minor. Limerick is about 40 miles from the Atlantic. I remember the moment of anticipation as we saw the dunes of Lahinch ahead and knew that a few minutes later we would be looking out at Atlantic surf - Lahinch is a world-class beach, and I got to surf it later in life.

3) What did you get into trouble for, the very first time you remember being punished?

I actually forget what I did the first time I got a memorable punishment: but the punishment was that Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World was taken off me for a week (I was enthralled, reading this gripping tale!). After a few days I was sneaking down to the "good front room" where the book was "hidden": I'm sure my parents knew but were probably regretting the severity of the punishment (but not wanting to back down either).

4) Which parent(s) did you fight with the most?

My mother. Dad was a softie - Mam had plenty of steel to make up for it.

5) Who do you miss the most, right now.

My mother. I never really connected with grandparents, my dad's side was gone before I came along. My mum's people went when I was very young - my granny was buried in a horse-drawn carriage, and the next-of-kin travelled by horse-drawn coach too. I was thrilled. I didn't get to travel in another horse-drawn coach till India many years later.
I had one old uncle who was an "Old IRA" man. When he was buried, an Army detail fired volleys over his grave.
But really, all the relatives are a blur. I dreamed about Mum for many years after her death. It's only lately that I haven't been meeting her in dreams - probably after about 7 years or so ...

The Reg has a review of the new Palm Tungsten T3 PDA. Looks cool.

Spotted on Slashdot: PHBs are being trained in secret. At $750 a month, an executive gets two hours of training, two one-hour phone calls and e-mail support.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Came across this cool photo of JackieO: my did that lady have style. And not a belly button in sight.

Good weekend walking: a three hour stint on the Way with Scooby on Saturday, and a good walk with C on Sunday - Arklow Ponds and North Beach. We met up in the Laragh Inn with Ais and S, who had their walk at Glendalough. Some of the Old Firm were about, IS, MJ, even a sighting of MOC after all these years.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Did something today which always puts me in a good humour - booked a weekend city break for the 2 of us in good old Amsterdam. Right after the Big Birthday. Roll it right there, Colette ...

Thursday, October 9, 2003

Some good discussions on the real meaning of the acronym RTM (traditionally, release to manufacturing ... i.e. we got the software working for a minute there, hurry up, burn a CD, call DHL etc ...)

Letter to the Irish Times time again, I'm afraid:

Your correspondent, Chris Watts, (Irish Times, October 8) bemoans the recommended re-assignment of Clare to a region called the North West, for the purposes of EU elections.

Clare is the heartland of the ancient region of Thomond (Tuadh Mumhan, or North Munster). Its kings were crowned at Magh Adhair, in Clare, and some, such as Brian Boru, went on to become high kings of Ireland. Clare is and always will be a part of Munster.

Ireland is divided north from south by a division called the Esker Riada - which can be intuitively grasped as a line from Dublin to Galway. Clare is indisputably south of this line.

We were sold institutions and structures such as the Nice Treaty on the basis that European unity did not mean loss of diversity and tradition. This crass tidying away of an ancient kingdom to sort a demographic loose end is the polar opposite of this principle.

Tony Mulqueen

After work yesterday: it was a fine evening, so hotfooted with Scooby down to a section of the Wicklow Way south of the Ford at Ballinglen. Idyllic beyond description - a lovely part of the way, seen at its most limpid Celtic Twilight autumnal best.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

For a description of a reaction to a movie, this isn't bad:

So, out into the fading sunshine I walked, head held high, proud to have my own mind. The entire two hours of the film was really just a prelude to who I became in those first five minutes afterward.

The movie was Last Temptation of Christ, the blog, the blogspot, IDed by Melanie, is here.

Silicon.com layer out its top 50 agenda setters. I note the first anonymous entry: the Sobig virus author.

This is Sebold ("Rings of Saturn") on the subject of writing. But it actually reminds me a lot about blogging:

If you look at a dog following the advice of his nose, he traverses a patch of land in a completely unplottable manner. And he invariably finds what he is looking for. I think that, as I've always had dogs, I've learned from them how to do this. So you then have a small amount of material and you accumulate things, and it grows, and one thing takes you to another, and you make something out of these haphazardly assembled materials. And, as they have been assembled in this random fashion, you have to strain your imagination in order to create a connection between the two things.

Mind you, if Sebold thinks he knows all about dogs, he should meet Scooby sometime. Scooby, alas, does not "invariably" find what he's looking for: but he does go snuffling about in the same random manner, I will allow.

Sebold segues into quoting from Kafka's Investigations of a Dog, so here, happy campers, are some Mr. K quotes. I like the one:

So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.

A good rant against Word is to be found in the New Yorker:

First of all, it is time to speak some truth to power in this country: Microsoft Word is a terrible program. Its terribleness is of a piece with the terribleness of Windows generally, a system so overloaded with icons, menus, buttons, and incomprehensible Help windows that performing almost any function means entering a treacherous wilderness of pop-ups posing alternatives of terrifying starkness: Accept/Decline/Cancel; Logoff/Shut Down/Restart; and the mysterious Do Not Show This Warning Again. You often feel that you’re not ready to make a decision so unalterable; but when you try to make the window go away your machine emits an angry beep. You double-click. You triple-click. Beep beep beep beep beep. You are being held for a fool by a chip.

More specifically, the article is a hatchet job on the latest edition of the venerable Chicago Manual of Style, and the general topic of editor's woes (and a big topic that last one is, companeros).

Following up on a previous post re award of GSM licenses in Iraq: the Reg has the skinny as usual. From Dept. of I've Seen That Face Before: I note from the Irish Times coverage that old war-horse and ex-Retix hand Enda Hardiman advised one of the winning deals. From the Man who wrote the Esat tender ... phrases such as "selling sand to the Arabs" definitely apply here.
PS update: Enda's team has also been "active and successful" in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi, Jordan and the Lebanon. That's a lot of sand!

"It's important to keep yourself immune from the hype that inflates software trends into fashions." This debunker takes on three "software fashion" targets. 2 out of the 3 (XP and struts) were all the rage in n365, my last outfit - a thoroughly fashion-driven software shop.

And speaking of fashions, the Reg overviews a report on which techs will/won't make it in the coming years. Sounds like Bell heads versus Net heads will run and run ....

Monday, October 6, 2003

Excellent walking weekend, the first in ages. On Saturday went from the Ford near Ballinglen past Mangan's forest and down to the ford at Tinahealy. 3 hours. Next day took Ais and Scoo up some of the Way south from Tinanealy - a first for us all. Lunch under the spreading chestnut tree.
We should design a day's walk starting from there that finishes in the Dying Cow (one of the few actual pubs actually on the Wicklow Way). Twould be about 2.5 hrs I reckon.

Ais made for a perfect weekend with some really excellent tucker. Sunday's roast was loin of lamb .... mmmm! It was cold enough to have the fire on in the daytime again. And you deffo need your gear if you step out in the hills. It can go from sunshine to hailstorms in less than a minute. Scooby is happier in this weather as his fur turns useful instead of torment once more.

Also feeling well enough to have daily walks with the dog again - long may it last. You don't miss health till it goes missing for a while, do you??

Friday, October 3, 2003

This is a very amusing piss-take: from The Onion - Canada and India resolve their "border dispute" - thanks, Melanie.

Sorry Canada, it always feels unfair and easy to take the piss out of you. Thanks for letting me live in your country for two great years. So different to Ireland, which is becoming a feckless, fast-moving, conscience-free zone - thanks for that, Celtic Tiger. Keep up the good work, Canada, you're being laughed at for better reasons than we are.

Sun has drifted a long way from the glory days, as judged by this analyst's open letter to Scott McNealy. The big mistake was not recognizing sooner that Linux was a "kissing cousin" and a big stone in Microsoft's shoe - and supporting it to death. "Linux at the edge, Solaris at the centre" would have sold earlier and better than before it occurred to Sun.

A near miss by an asteroid recorded last Saturday. Unreassuringly, it wasn't spotted till it had gone past us.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Another lovely day, weatherwise, and another crap day at work usualunreasonablepressurewise.

The Economist is fretting about blogs going mainstream.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Took Scooby for a walk at lunchtime - perfect Indian summer weather. We went up to the Rednagh Woods and had a sniff around.

Made a contribution to Slashdot discussions today, on the subject of mail to "cloud" to mail products/services, and their general dogginess. It was tried with fax, we did it with X.400 in Isocor in the early 90's, and now the same stupid idea is being invented again and again on the Internet. It's a dog - and that godamn dog don't hunt.

Well, a new month (and one I've always loved). It's a fine bright October day out there. The hills beckon.

posted by A Seeker after Knowledge 3:17 AM

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The October 2004 archive.
Living somewhere near here:

Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Click the piccie for a bigger version ...
Blogs we like
Blogcritics: news and reviews
Where is Raed? in Baghdad
Oblomovka in California
Melanie - this really is a blog.
Deborah - is buzzing in Sweden.
Paulianne diarying in Diois
Karlin Lillington on the move.
Tom Chi making music in Seattle.
The Homeless Guy - out and about.
The Agonist - somewhere in Texas (when he's not touring the Silk Road).
Eric Raymond - an individual.
William Gibson - for as long as he keeps it up.
Ilonina - is random.
SlashDot - geek central.
BoingBoing - a directory of wonderful things.
Bernie Goldbach - is under way in Ireland.
Ideas Asylum - for insanely good ideas.
Tom Murphy - has a PR angle.

Dept. of War-blogging Just to keep an eye on these guys and be reminded that the neo-cons aren't going away any time soon ...
Den Beste - good on engineering topics, rabid on everything else.
John Robb - war-blogging from the armchair (which is the closest to a war-zone most of these guys get).
Instapundit - for breaking news, and a right-wing take on same. "If you've got a modem, I've got a (bigoted) opinion"

October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003

I live in Ireland, in a lovely part of the country called Aughrim in the county of Wicklow. I work in South Dublin - it's a long commute - but 2 days a week I work from home. Whenever possible, I walk with my dog Scooby (Scooby's a feisty Glen of Imaal terrier with loadsa character) under beautiful Croghane Mountain.
About the name Mulqueen Mulqueen is a Clare sept, first recorded as a bardic tribe in the annals of the Dal Cais in the 10th century. I'm from Limerick originally myself, and the name is mainly found in south Clare, North Tipperary, and Limerick East. The name is O'Maolchaoin in Gaelic - the "Maol" (as with all the many Irish surnames beginning in "Mul") means "bald". It doesn't mean there were a lot of hair-challenged gents back then! The tag refers to "tribes wearing horn-less helmets" - it wasn't just the Vikings who wore horns, many Irish tribes did too. The "chaoin" means "gentle" in the sense of well-bred (the sense that survives in "gentleman" or "gentility"). Presumably the bardic (poetic) activities are referred to here :-) Anyhow, some of us are still writing - there is a disproportionate number of Mulqueens working in Irish journalism. Heraldic elements in clan history generally tend to be much later additions, but for the record the Mulqueen coat of arms holds a lion and a heart, and the motto: "Fortiter et fideliter" - brave and true.