Monthly Archives: May 2010

Tim Bray on corporate hate

I completely agree with this - BP aren’t the problem, oil addiction is the problem. Could just as easily have happened to any other oil company:

Recently I tweeted (and I apologize for the coarse language): “Unlike apparently everyone, I’m not pissed at BP. You gonna live on fossil fuel, shit gonna happen. BP drew the short straw.” Which didn’t seem to me that radical a thing to say. It’s far from established that BP is significantly worse (or better) in its practices than the rest of the industry. Seems to me that it’s not one oil company that’s befouling our species’ only nest, it’s our systemic addiction to cheap energy and aversion of our eyes from what that does to us.

The Web Shatters Focus

Nicholas Carr for Wired:

The Internet is an interruption system. It seizes our attention only to scramble it. There’s the problem of hypertext and the many different kinds of media coming at us simultaneously. There’s also the fact that numerous studies-including one that tracked eye movement, one that surveyed people, and even one that examined the habits displayed by users of two academic databases-show that we start to read faster and less thoroughly as soon as we go online.

Rings very true - I feel a bit lost when my RSS, twitter, and email feeds are all clear. Distract me, quick, the real world is out there, and I haven’t got time to focus.

Interesting to note that the article is a strong vote for the combination of longform.org & Instapaper. Longform celebrates the art of in depth writing, and Instapaper strips the distractions.

♪ Rufus Wainwright - All Days Are Nights ♫

A barebones Rufus featuring just vocals and piano, which is refreshing after several albums of lush music-hall. It’s very personal stuff, largely about the recent passing of his mother Kate McGarrigle and how he is coping, whether it be talking to his sister Martha or seeking to make peace with his father Loudon. So it’s quite a solemn album, and he uses the simplicity of the arrangements to reinforce that emotion, though never to the point where it becomes drab. It must be extremely strange living in the Wainwright family, all famous and all not afraid to make public their various trials and tribulations.

H4x0r3d

Last night I had the unedifying experience of watching a friend’s WoW account be hacked and being powerless to stop it. There were a few of us online, when our most experienced guy logged on. I sent a greeting his way, he replied with a quick “hi”, and we went about our business.

He logged out shortly after, and jumped on another toon. Then another. Then back to the first one. Then yet another. I thought he must be clearing mailboxes, checking auctions, etc. Then he logged on to a toon that hadn’t been online in a long time, so I sent another more questioning message, to be met by stony silence.

The other guild members on at the time caught on that something might be up, and we went and checked the Guild Bank. Sure enough, each toon had withdrew their maximum allowance from the GB. Luckily enough we had pretty severe limitations on the bank, and nothing much of value in there.

I paged an online GM immediately, and another guildee raised a forum post. About 5-10 minutes later the account was locked by Blizzard. Unfortunately probably too late for his characters to not have been stripped of all their gear, personal banks emptied, and gold transferred. 

It was incredibly frustrating seeing the hacker log on again and again, ignoring us and doing whatever nefarious stuff s/he wanted without being able to stop it. We removed Guild access, but all the personal stuff was out of our hands. The account block happened pretty fast once we got onto it, but not fast enough.

Buying gold is a cash money industry and according to Symantec trojans seem to be the default way into an account. Authenticators all round I guess.

Deconstructing the Wired iPad app

Very interesting analysis of why the launch issue is 500Mb:

I mounted my jail broken iPad via AppleTalk and quickly tore into the app itself to see how it was constructed.  Similar to the PopSci+ magazine application, each Wired issue is actually a bunch of XML files that lay out a bunch of images.  And by “a bunch of images” I mean 4,109 images weighing in at 397MB.

Each full page is a giant image - there are actually two images for each page: one for landscape and one for portrait mode. 

No text, but instead two images for each page? Yikes.

Fire Up!

After watching the snoozefest that was the State of Origin on Wednesday night, and putting up with the endless glorification and deification* of the SofO concept, I awaited the newspaper articles the next morning bemoaning how dull the game was.

Instead what we got was more of the same guff. From “NSW need to start believing in themselves” to “an epic arm wrestle”, there was no analysis that said it was a predictable game of four hit ups and a kick.  We don’t seem to have a mature enough sporting media, one that could critique rather than just jump on the hype bandwagon and continue shovelling the clichés.

Where’s our Bill Simmons? Richard Hinds in the SMH probably comes closest, but doesn’t provide the same kind of long rambling passionate fan coverage. Maybe you have to exist outside the sporting media nexus to be able to really comment, and poke fun at it rather than be so drably earnest (though the Sports Guy proves otherwise in the US).

Roy and HG used to fill this gap on triple j’s This Sporting Life, a fantastically satirical radio sports show that managed to be hilariously entertaining and precise in how it skewered mainstream media sports coverage. Since they disappeared into the commercial radio wasteland, it’s been hard to find a replacement. 

Thankfully FBi have stepped into the breach with their 9-10 Friday morning show Fire Up. It’s 110% all Rugby League all the time, and has taken the baton from TSL and kept running with it. They’re totally irreverent, very clever, and love the game as only fans can. On today’s show I finally heard someone telling it like it is - this edition of the Origin contest was rubbish.


* The commentators rabbited on about how the fact that several legendary old players were running water bottles on the night showed how much the game meant, where are more realistic interpretation might be it showed how ex players are often at a loss when they leave the game.