Fuzzy - not just a name, a way of life

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Ethiopians rule the world ...

... or at least, their legacy does. Thanks to a funny little shrub that was native to the arid areas, the world got hooked on coffee. And my week has revolved around that little brew.

I've spent most of the week in a self-styled war room with a bunch of very smart chaps, one of whom comes from Canada. He and I got to talking about coffee, and he mentioned he was seriously impressed with the quality of the coffee here in Oz. He'd been expecting wall-to-wall Starbucks anticoffee, but instead had found every city block in Sydney is festooned with cafes, barristas, and frothed milk of the first order.

We started conducting an experiment - did all "large" cappuccinos by definition suck, due to the screwed ratios of shots-of-coffee to milk. Make a large cap with one shot, it tastes week and milky. Make it with two, and it's like an ash milkshake. (Hey, I've just reverse-engineering the secret recipe of every cafe franchise!)

In our huge sample of 6 coffees from 2 cafes, yes, regular is king!

The week wound up with me talking to a friend of mine about database problems she was having at work (the word having gotten out that I knew the pointy end of a Select statement when I saw one :-) ). Turns out to be the kind of problem that needs a little inspection (Oracle DB won't start, get's hung between startup and mount phases - I suspect a disk is dying and the symptom is presenting as intermittently unavailable data file. If they reboot, it will come to life most of the time, but is now taking more reboots ... never a good way to treat a database server anyway).

And guess where she works? A coffee company :-)

And then on to the weekend, where the quest to find the best flat white in Newtown continues. Today, the cafe was (and I kid you not) "Catfish Gotta Eat". Thankfully, they weren't making the coffee with said fish. My flat white ... OK. Lindsay's cappuccino was apparently excellent. Too early to tell - there are another 138 cafes and restaurants to check :-)

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's "Abrogated" Stilly ...

... not "abdicated". Abdication is what Edward VIII did. Sorry, pet hate of mine.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

iBurst'n my way to the internet

Among the many ancient and mysterious brotherhoods of which I am a member, AUUG is one that is generally pretty good value. This week, as one of the perks of being Grand High Vizier (or something like that), I've got access to the iBurst that one of our sponsors has donated for a stint. And it's pretty damn good.

Of course, it's made even better because for me, it's free as in beer. But I'm now weighing up my options in my new abode ... where I can get ADSL2+ at 24Mbps (yes, that's not a typo, I've checked the DSLAMs in the local exchange, and I'm within the critical radius of a few hundred metres for peak transfer rate), at under $100 a month. A damn site better than the 2400 baud modem I first used to connect to a BBS twenty years ago.

I was tempted to wait for the WiMAX hardware that iBurst will be rolling out (thanks to $37m from Intel), but the recent field trials reported in New Scientist, /., etc show that far from getting the promised 70Mbps claimed, the real bandwidth will be typically 1.5Mbps ... yep, about as good as a 3G mobile.

Now if only I could get a "feed", as in Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age. My first selection? Beer!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Nailing jelly to the ceiling

A client has been having an ongoing problem trying to retrofit migration into a rather large project. Seems nobody really bothered to plan too far in advance, and chickens are now coming home to roost. (I wonder if that means that chickens often roost elsewhere. Do they have roosting nightclubs, or roost-a-thons?)

"We're worried about the cost and risk involved." Well, yes, sensible really, as any good project manager will tell you. Risk - identify it, quantify it, mitigate against it, plan for life if it happens. (Sorry, I've just given away the whole ancient and mysterious brotherhood of project managers' secret handshake.)

"We're not happy we can import 10,000,000 thingos* into the system in under a day". No shit, Sherlock. You're talking 115 thingos a second ... not impossible theoretically, but you sure will need some serious lead in your pencil to make that happen.

(* the thingos are somewhat complex chunks of data)

"Can you come and do it for us?" Gee, let me see ... No f(&^$!!! way! Ahhh, that feels better.

Tomorrow, watch me turn this water into wine :-)