I've been what is commonly termed a 'floating' voter for most of my voting life. I imagine the politicians themselves might term people like me 'floaters', with an eye to the scatalogical implications. After all, their livelihoods are on the line!
So, after reading this blog post I thought I might as well also share my personal voting plans with the world.
My son is being encouraged to lie.
It's a fairly regular occurrence around here, and I'm sure you've seen it yourself. It's that checkbox on the website you're visiting where you say "Yes, I am over X years of age".
I do like that some of my friends in Debian have conspired to set up the website http://thank.debian.net/, and I composed this little Haiku in their honour:
Debian is fun for seventeen years. Beautiful balloons.
I'd also like to thank everyone involved in Debian over the years for being such a lovable, friendly, enjoyable and welcoming bunch of people to work with.
It's tempting to single out people for special mention, because there are people who do exceptional work in the project, but the list would go on for so long, and I would be afraid of missing out someone who would be obvious five minutes later, and then I'd have to come back and edit this post repeatedly with the names of more and more people over the coming days. We all know exactly what a chore that kind of maintenance is.
So I'll just give up completely and thank everyone, and if you think you deserve a special thanks, you probably do, and I'm sure you're on that list in my head. When we meet, as I hope we shall, let me shake your hand, lend you my ear and buy you a $BEVERAGE of your choice.
Last night, after the kids had gone to bed, I entered the bathroom to find this wonderful diorama Max had created to reenact the ramming of the Ady Gil.
I just love the stance from the 'Japanese' seaman, and particularly how he's represented by a tiger, with the plug for a hat. The Ady Gil, of course, just a harmless duck. Altogether spartan in the simplicity of the representation, and yet wonderfully evocative.
All of the items are bath toys that have been in the room since the kids were much younger, but such wanton creativity is truly a joy to observe.
I got out of bed this morning to a divine smell... Max was making vanilla shortbread!
After I helped him get it into the oven we got the kitchen all cleaned up just in time for Heather to surface for a cup of tea and some amazingly delicious shortbread.
Now, all day I'm reminded of it by the faint smell of all the vanilla that didn't quite make it into the mix. Not at all wasted, I'd say!
As some of you will know, I used to be on the board of Parents Centres New Zealand for several years. While I was involved there, we finally managed to finish the internal debate around the repeal of Section 59 of the crimes act, and to publish our viewpoint that the excuses in this legislation are not appropriate for the kinds of child-rearing practices which we considered acceptable in New Zealand.
Children in New Zealand should have the right not to be assaulted by their parents.
A couple of years ago the legislative world caught up with that viewpoint, and legislation was passed which changed the scope of section 59.
Now, it seems, some minority groups want to go back to return us to an age when parents are entitled to assault their children, and there will be a national postal referendum in August, with a particularly weaselly worded question, and these groups will use the response to that question to justify a lot more than that question asks.
New Zealand's current legislation regarding parental control of children allows parents scope to discipline their children, without providing them with an excuse against an assault charge if they use excessive force.
So please vote 'Yes' to the referendum on child discipline, when you see it, and please encourage everyone you know to do likewise.
I really have to feel sorry for the people who run Tan-Y-Bryn, self-contained accommodation in Hobart, Tasmania. I booked this place for the second half of January next year because it looked so well-priced for such a great place to stay while we're at LCA as well, as the week we'll just hang around Hobart afterwards.
Unfortunately for both of us, it seems they forgot to note somewhere on some booking site that they were full for that period, and they got a booking through some high-handed booking organisation who said they were liable for AUD$1000 if they refused it. So they cancelled on me, as the easier & cheaper option. A step that wasn't taken lightly, to read the agonised e-mail they wrote me in the small hours of the next morning.
It is nice to see someone apologising for their planned failure to consider Linux users. It's ridiculous that they even have to. It seems to me that these people have spent way too much effort on making the logo and menus scroll in from the left and right of the screen, and not enought effort on the actual functionality of their website.
After 11 years 1 month and 28 days it's time for me to farewall Catalyst IT. While this is something that I've been working towards for the last couple of years, my reasons for leaving don't reflect any large dissatisfaction with Catalyst, but rather my own disinterest in fulfillling a role which is deemed appropriate to an executive director of the company it has become. As well, it is Catalyst's current and continuing success which provides me with the opportunity to fade out, like the cheshire cat, without the need to have strong plans.
I do believe that the use and understanding of free and open-source software in New Zealand has matured to a point where there is the potential for an independent to make a few dollars reviewing or planning for open source projects in corporate and government areas. I hope I'll find out.
And a great big thank you to every one of you — staff, clients, suppliers and friends — who has made Catalyst such a fantastic place to be a part of. It really will be a hard act to follow.
Today has been a beautiful one, enough to persuade even me to visit the Big Blue Room. Some extensive rearrangement of the local greenery happened after Max lost one of his toys in a tree, and many scratches later I was able to relax in the knowledge of a section somewhat spruced up. That tree that blew down a couple of years ago has been appropriately dealt to, a drain has been uncovered, much moss, ivy and branches removed as well. The weather forecast for tomorrow is for similarly coloured skies, so the industry may even continue for another day!
In other blueness and greenness, when Fraser finally got dressed this morning he loudly proclaimed that he was "all in blue" so I said "Let's have some music to match, then" and we spent the first half of the day playing only tracks with names ending in "Blues", which sourced such a delightfully eclectic set of artists so that this afternoon we moved on and I found that music with the word "Green" in it's name might provided us with even more exotic entertainment to round out a great day of blues and greens. Tomorrow, Max says he wants to hear some Reds and Yellows, so I guess we will carry on there! I might cheat a little and leave the 'w' off yellow :-)
Last week I installed Ubuntu Gutsy onto Heather's laptop. While Gutsy seems to be an easy task for most situations, installing it onto a Pentium 366 laptop with 200M of RAM and (particularly) an 800x600 screen was harder than it perhaps should have been.
I'm sure that most installations these days aren't 800x600, but the graphical installer in Gutsy seems determined to make this painful. I had to move the toolbars to the sides of the screen, and then I could see the top half of the buttons on each page. It was like the page was sized for 600 vertical pixels, but the designer had forgotten about toolbars and title bars - not that I could see any screens in the process I followed that needed more than 5/6 of that screen anyway. Eventually I got it installed, and it even seemed to run OK once we booted into it. That's "OK for a 200M P366 with an 800x600 screen" though.
Looking around at the price of a new laptop made putting up with that sort of performance a whole lot less palatable. The Acer Aspire 5310 (with free RAM upgrade) was $898 at Dick Smith, with a $99 cashback offer. A quick google shows that it's using the Broadcom 43xx wireless which isn't even close to being the best, but can be made to work with Linux. Everything else seemed likely to work, so we bought it.
Installing Gutsy on it was nearly trivial, though I had to install bcm43xx-fwcutter on a different PC (my laptop, which is running Debian, in fact) to get the firmware for the WLAN before I could get the wireless working. I'm surprised that Broadcom still don't make that firmware publicly available somewhere, rather than forcing people to jump through the sort of hoops that would get them wanting an Intel chipset next time.
Anyway, everything installed very easily, and the laptop is working quite nicely. Strangely neither sound, nor suspend to ram are working out of the box. They're not so important in this case fortunately, but perhaps in due course I'll try and get them working and post some details about it.
Much harder has been getting the fabled 'cashback' from Acer. I think I now know what I'm being paid $99 for. Firstly the only way to get your cashback is by registering through a webpage. Heather's first attempt to do this resulted in an error from our proxy about a malformed request, so I got called in. I tried registering using on my laptop, but couldn't even get to the cashback page. I then tried using IE6, with similar results. So perhaps it's my PC? I tried using a different PC, with the same result again!
We tried ringing them up, but they were absolutely determined that (even after 20 minutes on the phone) they were not going to accept that information over the phone. So the only way to get the cashback from Acer was via their thoroughly broken website. Even their Contact Acer page is broken in firefox just showing a blank. Firefox users need not apply.
In Other News: DVD Slideshow
Meanwhile I've been playing with DVD Slideshow which seems to be just what my parents have been after for a while, so they don't have to keep their favourite photos on the camera to be able to show them off on someone's TV. It's great! At least it is great now after I changed all the calls to ffmpeg to add a 'k' after the bitrate parameter. But that's Open Source Software, I guess. I'll send a patch to them... :-)
I need to get some photos printed so my aunt (who hasn't discovered the intarwebs, and isn't likely to, since she's over 80) and I figure that I should upload them to someone who can courier them to her.
The problem for me is that she lives in the United States, a country I have rarely visited and know very little about. Perhaps someone reading my blog does though, so if you know the best way to get photos delivered to someone in Philadelphia who doesn't have internets, please send me your recommendations.
After much wading through possible names, none of which really excited me, I have finally chosen "DAViCal" as the new name for my CalDAV server that was previously called RSCDS, or the "Really Simple CalDAV Store".
In the end, I chose DAViCal because it:
- seems easy to pronounce.
- combines the 'Cal' and 'DAV'.
- returns < 1000 results on google.
- doesn't make me cringe.
- didn't have a domain name registered.
That was about the hardest part of preparing for the 0.8.1 release, and now that I've done that I should manage to make the changes to the packaging, though I have no doubt that the old name will appear in all sorts of places for a while yet.
Choosing names is an important business, and I should know that from the length of time we spent agonising over names for our children, discarding all sorts of things because they had silly abbreviation collisions (like the "Royal Scottish Country Dance Society" :-) Even then, I think we got the kids names wrong, and the big one should be called "Thumper" with the little one called "Sly", but perhaps that's just a temporary annoyance and in time the names that we registered for them will fit them better.
I also recall Grant once saying that you should never use the word "Simple" in the name of your project, and he should know. DAViCal is no longer particularly simple, although I have attempted to hide the complexity from the user as far as that is possible, and will continue to do so.
Once I get out version 0.8.1 of DAViCal I will finally upload it to Debian, proper. This version has some important enhancements to its DAV spec compliance which are going to be needed by some future versions of Mozilla, and probably other things too, so it's important to push it out as soon as possible now.
I followed the advice of the lazywebs a while ago and bought myself a phone (Nokia 6100) on the local auction website then went around to the local Vodafone dealer and bought a SIM card for it.
When I signed up I ticked the box saying "Enable Global Roaming" and now that I'm travelling I realise I should have actually confirmed that happened before I left the country, because it didn't happen. Now I'm sitting in Melbourne with only the (free :-) Wifi to keep me company.
So looking at the Vodafone site, it appears that I could dial "777" to enable global roaming. Apparently I should have done that a few days ago, because it sure won't work now. Perhaps this "Manage Your Account" thingy will work? A period of perusing pages of FAQs follows, and I eventually conclude that it would work.
Except that when I try and register for the service I am told that my phone number is not valid. Yes, I moved my old number across to Vodafone, about the same time Brenda was lamenting the inadequate preparation Vodafone did for Mobile Number Portability, and while the actual phone has been working, Brenda did note back on April 1st that "you can't use the website to manage your account". Two months on and it still isn't possible, which is pretty poor really - you would think Vodafone would be actively encouraging people to move across to their network.
So I'm effectively phoneless until I get to Edinburgh and can buy a SIM card.
At least I can still get on IRC and ask someone to call Heather and tell her why I'm not phoning.
I have just received the most bizarre share purchase offer I've ever seen. It seems some weirdo company called Colonial Capital Corporation wants to pay about 60% of the market rate to buy my shares in Tower Australia Group.
I only have these few shares because of some insurance policy I used to have, and probably I should have sold them years ago, but to be offered 60% market value seems pretty insulting. I wonder how many suckers will be fooled?
Good to see that Wikipedia has a pretty thorough write-up on the guy. Maybe someone has some pictures of him that they could upload there as well, so we can recognise him in the street. The Melbourne Age can help out a little on that point, as can the Sydney Morning Herald though he always wears sunglasses, it seems.
The registered office of the Colonial Capital Corporation (NZ Company no. 1891726) is "Andrew James Kennedy, Level 2, 6 Clayton Street, Newmarket, Auckland". I guess if you know that person you should make sure they are aware of the kind of amoral shyster they are fronting. It seems that particular location is a "virtual office" that you can rent for only $120/month from the "Auckland Business Centre Limited", Ph. 09 522 7130. I wonder if Mr. Kennedy takes phone calls, and what company name he gives when he answers?
A previously infamous company also with David Tweed as sole director is National Exchange Ltd (NZ Company no. 1559669). The office for that one was at Suite 102, 63 Remuera Road. No name associated with that, but the constitution is pretty much a license to ensure any funds get offshore as quickly as possible, and a Google search suggests that the address generally has some very dodgy businesses associated with it.