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February 2006 Archives

Okay I have had a poke around and all seems to be working with this version of Movable Type, except for a very odd problem with listing of comments in the system. However (as yet) no comments have been actually deleted so while I can't actually see any comments prior to today's date that are not designated authenticated comments in the management software, they still apparently exist and are accessible through pages in the site itself. So I guess that's good. Maybe.

So. Nothing to see here. These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along.

I'm in the process of upgrading my version of Movable Type for this blog - a task I've been putting off for ages because I'm always worried about the debugging. What worries me immensely about this installation so far is that:
(a) it's gone rather smoothly so far (except for a missing uncommented line in a cgi script); and
(b) all my comments from 2006 appear to have gone missing.

So it might well be a matter of your needing to comment a lot to make me feel better. Stay tuned....

Quantum Capers

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When I was in high school I was more or less directed to join a class in Year 10 that was effectually an advanced science, mathematics and philosophy class. My (eccentric) physics teacher, Mr Wright, was a former child chess champion and clearly a brilliant man who just eventually got bored with high school physics and science, and just invented a subject that covered curriculum that no other staff member probably even remotely understood. And he called that subject - somewhat prosaically - "General Studies". In that subject was a rather unique array of studies, including ontology (the study of being), cognition, ecology, probability, basic programming, political philosophy - and quantum mechanics. Whilst I essentially bid farewell to maths and science when I finished high school, I have found the contents of that single subject have pursued (dogged?) me my whole life. I eventually took up programming when I started doing common gateway interface and interactivity work in the 1990s. I studied politics, philosophy and ecology in my undergraduate degree and maintained an interest in the public sphere thereafter. Cognition and ontology theory influenced my engagement with theories of post-modernism in my studies of pure English literature, and later in my studies in education. And finally, throughout my life, I've always kept half an ear on theories arising from the field of quantum theory and quantum mechanics.

And the latest news arising from the quantum theory camp is that a quantum computer works best when it's not in a fully operational state.

It's stories like these that have always tickled me with quantum theory. Unlike laws of energy, mass and momentum which normally apply, according to quantum theory, at the subatomic level the interactions between particles and environments are far more eclectic and yet also measurable. There's just something about being able to measure an action which is essentially indistinguishable from magic that inherently appeals to me. Perhaps I just like paradoxes?

Never queue up at a library again

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I'm not sure whether this will mean everyone (who is entitled to do so) has instant access to every journal subscribed to by every library in Australia, but the new service being launched today by the National Library of Australia is officially giving all Australians access to the catalogues of every other academic and regional library in the country. It's a service that has been available to library staff for years, but is now open to all citizens. Great stuff for we researchaholics!

Organisational blogging

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In my latest post over at the blog-on-blogging, I consider the issues of organisational blogging. i think this needs further examination, particularly in terms of changing office behaviour. Ethnographic studies of business environments and change management theory apply in this instance ,and I think a useful article may evolve from this idea.

Also, thanks for the good advice in the comment from Paul from the other day. Clearly I do need a break! Am now slowly recovering from the latest attack on my immune system, and hope to spend at least some of this weekend actually resting.

Democracy and basic unfairness

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Democracy: Boingboing have a story about the generative tool called 'Democracy'; an application developed by a non-profit initiative, and designed to allow users to create and share television content online. Needless to say, I'm fascinated to see where this goes. I can imagine several possibilities of good and evil uses of this technology. Of course the broadcasting agencies will all cry foul about pirated works, but I'm more concerned about opportunists who will co-opt, adapt and commercialise shared works without attribution. Interesting times. Well, for lawyers at least.

EDIT: Right on cue, this statement by a US district court judge (expressing the possibility that Google infringes the copyright of the company, Perfect 10, for producing thumbnails of their images) could impact rather negatively on the Democracy initiative before it's even properly begun. Oh well.

Basic unfairness: In other news, most people know I share very little about what actually goes on in my life via this blog. Let me make it very clear I intend to keep things this way. Having said that, I'm now suffering from a stomach bug. I am now convinced the world is out to get me.

Cannot find server

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Is it just me, or is the internet mostly broken today?

Battlestations!

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The Pentagon chief said today's weapons of war included email, Blackberries, instant messaging, digital cameras and blogs.
Source: The Australian.

You heard it right, folks. Blogs are now a weapon of war. Under Australian law, I think that technically makes me a terrorist.

Less sleep but good news!

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Okay yes, it's before 5am and I'm up and working, and I've probably only had 4.5 hours of sleep, but I think once I got one decent night's sleep, it was always going to happen that my body just thought that was enough for the week.

But to make up for less sleep, I have just received the edited manuscript of the blogging book back from our publisher. And all looks fantastic. How exciting! The book's very nearly there!

Sleep, blog news and curiosities

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Sleep:
Last night I had the first 6 hour continuous stretch of sleep I have had in so long I can't even remember the last time it happened. Yay me.

Blog news:
David Sifry's State of the Blogosphere (parts one and two) are now out for February. In general, blog growth is continuing at a quickening pace, but bloggers are still linking to mainstream media sources. Also of interest in blogging news is the story based on Technorati data and appearing in the New York Metro magazine, about how the most linked-to blogs relate. We bloggers really are a very clique-y society.

Curiosities:
- Gizmodo has announced the winner of its challenge to make music from the sound of Hitachi Hard Drives failing. And the winner is the Noriko version, which manages to sound like a soundtrack to a documentary about technology taking over the world.
- For an entertaining read about what went wrong with some of the biggest (or at least most hyped) science fiction films of our time, cast your eyes down the list of the Top 10 Best Sci-Fi Films That Never Existed.
- Apparently aliens are invading. Again.
- And for all those who want to tempt fate and follow the path of the Titanic and the Hindenberg, or perhaps just think that Deep Vein Thrombosis is one of the things they're looking for from a hotel, you can always look forward to the flying luxury hotel.

Love and cricket

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Wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day, today. Today is as good a day as any to take the time to appreciate the people who bring love and happiness into your life. So in that spirit, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the people in my life who have ever provided their love and support - you are all treasured.

And in celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm strongly recommending a healthy dose of cricket :)

PRODUCTIVITY VIRUS ALERT!

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Many of you know that some years ago I used to have a strong association with ABC Multimedia, the makers of ABC online products (including the site associated with the 13 part series for which I was Associate Producer and co-writer, In the Pipeline). But I have to say that Kafkamesto is about the most superb product ABC Multimedia has ever created. Completely obsessive, utterly hysterical and just animatorially (is that a word? oh well, I'm making it one...) beautiful, Kafkamesto is well worth a play. Enjoy, but please don't be working on anything important at the time, as you *will* miss a deadline.

WhosyrdaddyDarth

Just wrong. On so many levels.

Diary Entries

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I WILL be giving people a run down of the Ideas Festival properly in an entry over the weekend - I've just been flat out during the days and too distracted at night to get anything decent blogged. Suffice to say, I'm facilitating several of the events at the Ideas Festival, including the presentation from Cory Doctorow on Fighting the Future. The Ideas Festival program has now been launched and you can now see the full program of the event at the website. And it's the 29th March - 2 April, so plan ahead!

I've also been requested to act as a panellist in the Vibewire e-conference over the period of 4-8 April. This is a conference for young people, in celebration of National Youth week, and I'll be contributing to a session called Technology: Life in the New Millennium, where I'll be exploring questions about the the use of new gadgetry and the influence of new technologies on the future of life.

It looks like I'll be away in London a couple of weeks in June, pitching the business plan for one of the software products I'm project managing at the moment, but we'll see about that.

Then on 1-5 July I've been invited to be participate in the 12th annual Australasian World Wide Web Conference, AusWeb 2006, at the Sunshine Coast. I'll be reviewing some papers for that conference and probably will present a paper on the work I'm doing with incentivising collaboration using social software tools.

Later the same week (5-7 July) I'll be presenting at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference in Adelaide, where I'm presently reviewing papers and where I'll also present a paper, this time on collaborative technologies for effective communication in business contexts.

Early in September (6th) I'll be presenting a paper at a Society of Business Communicators breakfast on the value of blogging and wiki as tools for business communications, and late in September (27-30) I'll be presenting a paper and an ACID workshop at the international Association for Internet Researchers Conference.

So it's a busy few months ahead.

Google: Don't be Unprofitable

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You know I think we're going to have to find a new Google Doodle that has a borg's face and ocular implants replace the Os in 'Google'. Because we're rapidly getting to a time (if all rumours are true) where Google's motto 'Don't be Evil' is becoming farcical. 'Resistance is Futile' would probably be a better motto. The Times Online (UK) is now reporting on the rumour that Google is "working on a project to create its own global internet protocol (IP) network, a private alternative to the internet controlled by the search giant". Now I know this is a stretch, and I know that there've been rumours that Microsoft were doing the same thing about five or six year ago, but I'm increasingly worried that Google are aggregating enough power in information provision and facilitation to actually fulfill such a possibility.

Don't get me wrong - I'm still an avid (read: power) user of Google - in spite of my concerns about their policies in China, etc. I just am beginning to feel ambivalent about my use. Where once I used to be able to set a 30 second time limit for finding and linking to information found through specific and targeted searches on Google - and be proud of the fact - I now have a rather pained feeling that I'm somehow contributing to the mass indoctrination of society.

Sleep no more, folks. Sleep no more.

A dose of paranoia

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As I departed my apartment to go to work this morning, my neighbour told me that a prowler had been outside my apartment at 3:00am this morning when he returned home from the casino. Not knowing whether this person was a 'guest' of mine, my neighbour did not call the police, but he was suspicious enough to check with me as I left this morning.

I am feeling rather nervous and vulnerable today.

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