Fuzzy - not just a name, a way of life

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Extreme Demos

$40,000 for a robot assistant! That's what Gord and Stilly want for their keynote at our forthcoming user conference.

Ha! That's nothing. As the presenter of "The A-to-Z of Performance Tuning", it's obvious that I'll need at least $10+ million to afford the IBM blue-gene supercomputer necessary to demonstrate how lasers make everything better. Did I mention the 70m satellite dish? No? I probably forgot to requisition the legions of goons in dayglo jump suits. And the heroine in the bikini? The fleet of space shuttles? Oh, wait ... that's not my presentation ... that's the script to the next James Bond film :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The incredible tensile strength of ...

... the "Designed for Windoze" label on my machine! I reckon we're talking 40 or 50 MPa. Plus a strong-binding glue, and a slick top surface (low co-efficient of friction - difficult to grip with the fingers). Where am I going with this? The bloody thing is almost impossible to remove from the computer chassis. Another bloody MS conspiracy, I say :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Everything you *never* wanted to know about IR protocols

During the week, Lindsay bought an ancient Sharp Zaurus 5000 off eBay, and we've spent a few hours (OK, I spent 3 hours watching the cricket and troubleshooting) trying to get my somewhat futuristic Fujitsu ultra-lightweight notebook talking to the Zaurus over the IR port.

I've discovered several things in this time. Did you know there are at least 7 (yes, seven) IR protocols from the last 15 years. IRdA, ASK, etc etc etc. And you guessed it, the Zaurus will only speak one protocol (ASK), and modern PCs only have a clue about IRdA. And the only way to attempt to load ancient drivers for IR ports is to interupt the win2k/winXP installation process? Sooooooo ... this leaves me building a null-modem cable to plug into PCMCIA modem cards to build a link between the two beasts (which at least speak PCMCIA ... but not Linear Flash, oh no, Chairman Bill dropped that for Windoze 2k), and resurrecting the XMODEM stuff I used 15 ***years*** ago. If you know what I mean when I say "Kermit", you'll understand my frustration.

At least we found a web page from a guy who built his own bluetooth adapter for the Zaurus. In his own words "If your happy fabricating non-trivial ICBs, you shouldn't have any problem with this". I'll save that for after the "nailing jelly to the ceiling" episode.

Or I could just boot to linux and see what's possible there :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Zen of defeating telephone sales cretins

Poor Gord. He's just suffered from yet another telesales zombie calling him. A sales friend of mine (thankfully not in telesales ... just a normal sales droid) once told me great way to get at them.

The telesales thief-of-time will call, offering you the Joojanta2000 sunglasses (or whatever), and your first instinct will be to be polite (unless you've already gone postal - sorry, in that case I can't help you). Then you'll get pissed, and want the sales amoeba to just go away. Rather than be confrontational, or rant, or whatever, say something like

"That's sounds interesting, let me get a pen." (note - don't use language that could be construed as accepting their offer).

Don't wait for an answer - don't even listen as you say the words. Just put the phone down on the bench (don't hang up), and simply walk away. Sit down, have a cup of tea, play with the kids, whatever. The sales git will be hanging out for you to return, and they'll waste minutes - 4, 5, 6, maybe even 10 - waiting for you to return. They'll get fed up eventually, and probably will realise they've been had.

You get the satisfaction of knowing you wasted a shit-load of their time, and the worst they can do? Mark your record as "Do not call".

Monday, August 22, 2005

Simon, if you're reading, check your gmail

The answer to your question on which Oracle login to use is there. (or at least, my best guesses, plus the way to find out for sure if I guessed wrong).

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Thanks to Gord (and that Joel guy)

Gordon gave me some useful suggestions for a domain name ... and with 5 minutes brainstorming, I had three sites registered (for under A$40 - not too bad). The one I'm running with at the moment is


inspired by Gord's idea for a play-on-words with my name, and the success of Joel on Software, whom I read regularly.

There's nothing there at the moment (in fact, I'm only just setting up the redirect to my server), but I got a laugh when I thought of the obvious acronym. Grant On Data ... G O D ... mmm, perhaps my egotism knows no bounds :-)

Going out with a bang!

And not a whimper. Hunter S. Thompson's last wish was to have his ashes shot skyward in a fireworks spectacular. And boy, did he go off in style!. Talk about living his own creed even in death - this is the epitome of gonzo journalism - be in the story, even as you tell it.

Thanks for the great tales, H., I enjoyed them.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sherman and Peabody

For those of you who missed cartoons in the 70's and 80's, this was the little dog and his boy owner, who happened to own "The Wayback Machine". And tonight, I set the controls for the 1980s, looking for the music that made me smile way back then, and once had me enter a competition where I named 1500 separate artists and groups from that decade (yes, I won the competition).

Sadly, the music industry goons who want you to be slave to their DRM anti-culture have failed to list anything before 1988. What about such great 80s music like Moving Pictures? Or Dream Academy's "Life in a Northern Town"? Or even good old Dire Straits, and the 1985 domination by their album Brothers in Arms? Hell, I might as well forget my ability to write the bars to Mr Mister's Broken Wings (1986) right now.

So, not only are they a bunch of soul-less coin-counting wankers, but they presume to dictate what data should interest me. I wonder how fast they'd sue me if I went back and rebuilt the data from the early 80s? Let's find out :-)

A name, a name, what's in a name?

A rose by any other would smell as sweet. But would you still smell it if it was called "Stinking Rag-wort"? (Hah, bet you were thinking I was off on another stupid literary short-cut to a quick blog post. Hah!)

So I'm trying to pick a domain name that meets the following criteria

1) Isn't owned by someone else, somewhere in the world.
2) Is preferably just a .com ... not .com.au
3) Relates vaguely to database guru-ism, as it will eventually peddle my consulting services as a cynical inveterate tinkerer, who masquerades as a DBA.
4) Doesn't make me cringe when I read it. "Someguywhocouldnotfindabetterdomainname.com" doesn't really do it for me.
5) Doesn't have some kind of unfortunate alternative reading, like "dataguy" ... date a guy. I can do without the spam :-)

I've come up with a few lame ones, that godaddy tells me are available, but I'm still not happy. Time will tell if I can think up something that satisfies the above. Comments welcome (and hell, I haven't even thought about comments on this blog before, so there's always a first time).

LHS is off to The Netherlands!

Little Headed Simon (LHS to his friends) is off to spend 3 days in sunny Venlo.

No, don't laugh. As someone who has spent 3 days in Venlo, I can assure you there's plenty to do. For instance, did you know it takes over 30 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other? How about the beer!? I mean, once you've enjoyed all Venlo has to offer (did I mention the walking already?), you need a good beer to calm yourself down from the rave-in-a-village that is Venlo.

After the beer, and the walking, there's always ... um ... well ... how about more beer!?

Luckily, I know Simon can sink a pint or two. Who knows what a non-drinker would do in Venlo. Lots of walking, I suppose. Simon flies out tomorrow ... Tot Ziens, buddy. Two important phrases you need. "Ich gein sprecht Nederlandse", and "Ahlsterbleift". I'll let you work out what they mean :-)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ramble On ...

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant collaborated on one of the greatest tunes in living memory (mmm ... if you're asking yourself "Jimmy who?", then that's Led Zeppelin to you :-).

And funnily enough, the lyrics are strangely prophetic.

"Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it's time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way. "

So I'm leaving TOWER in Canberra. Well, you say, you've done that before. Gone to Old Blighty none the less. Had a fling, and returned to The Land of Oz (yes, yes, heavy on the literary allusion, this post. Stick with it, you'll learn something).

But this time, it's different (Oh yes, you say, isn't it always :-P). OK, maybe it is, maybe it isn't. After 10 years in the thick of things, it really is time to move on. (Aaaahhhh!!!, you say, you're only moving to TOWER in Sydney ... that's taking the easy way out.) Sydney is definitely the destination, but in all seriousness, this time I'm not moving for a job, or a career, or money.

This time I'm moving for me ... and for Lin. We're moving for us, and not for the sake of someone or something else. Clearly, I've had some kind of ephiphany, and have even suggested to my new boss that I take a pay cut, in return for some time to myself. You know what that means ... more posts like this, and fewer posts taking the piss out of the talentless wankers who keep the seats warm :-)

This is the first time I've mentioned my employer by name in a blog post - it'll probably also be the last. Don't get me wrong - there are "One thousand things and One thing" wrong here (yes, more literary references ... there's a quiz at the end); but more importantly, there are people here I'll miss, and people who've made a lasting impact on me, whether or not I'm happy to admit it.

(Page and Plant continued:)
"The time has come to be gone.
And to our health we drank a thousand times,
it's time to Ramble On."

(hmmm ... sounds like Friday night drinks ... but the count is only about 500 :-) ).

An old friend of mine (ex-co-worker, now many steps down the path to who knows where) once said "Usually I spend no more than three years in a place. Any more, and it changes you. Hard to find yourself after that". (Yeah, thanks Madams ... you could have been a little more forceful with the hint.) Probably shouldn't listen to him too much ... bloody Man United supporter :-)

Page and Plant had more to say ...

"I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On,"

Almost spot on ... 10 years in the job is only 3 months away. But then they lose it in some kind of drug-fucked Tolkein homily ...

"Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear.
How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air.
T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her....yeah"

Ah crap! So I can't live my life as some shallow metaphor immitating a 70's rock classic, itself immitating a tortured literary classic written by an asocial linguist with an intolerance for his fellow human. Oh well, guess I'll just have to go my own way.

Ramble on.