Monday, May 31, 2010
That is, until Vettel decided to pass Webber and it ended in tears. The general opinion seems to be that Vettel turned into Webber unnecessarily. Webber could definitely have given Vettel a little more room, but Vettel was never in any danger of being forced of the road. They hadn't reached the breaking point for the corner yet, so Vettel had time to make a different choice. The collision took Vettel out of the race and dropped Webber back to third, leaving Mclaren with a potential one-two finish.
But then Button saw an opportunity and decided to have a go at Hamilton. Fortunately, this one ended much less dramatically, but it was great wheel-to-wheel fight which lasted four corners. There was even some contact, which was heart stopping after the incident between the Redbulls, but Hamilton won the fight fairly. The reason this did not end in tears was that Hamilton and Button gave each other just that little bit more room, which is very important in a twitchy F1 car.
I throughly enjoyed this race which once again demonstrated that passing is key for exciting racing.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
John and his wife Lorraine will be visiting Canada next and are arriving tomorrow. Then in a few days John, Lorraine, my sister Pat, and brother-in-law John (we have more ^_^), will leave for an extended road trip lasting most of June.
There's just one question: how do retirees afford such a trip? The answer is that you can't take it with you. ^_^
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Here's an idea, if someone is living beyond their means, the banks should stop giving them credit. But that would never happen, because while the banks metaphorically wring their hands over the problem, they are raking in the interest from the balances on all those credit cards and making record profits.
And perhaps, if the other corporations sold their goods at less profit and paid their employees better wages, consumers would be able pay cash for things again. But corporation exist solely to make profit and nothing else, they won't do anything either. Meanwhile everyone will continue to point at the consumer as the who is the problem. Bad, bad consumer!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Don't believe me? The CRTC will hold hearings that will examine allowing independent ISPs to co-locate DSLAMs in the central offices. And right there, presenting second only after Bell, is TekSavvy. CEO Rocky Rocky Gaudrault explains why. They indeed are the little ISP that could.
There's no guarantees that the CRTC will allow co-location. If anything, recent decisions would seem to indicate favouring the ILECs. However, the folks at TekSavvy seem rather confident about success and have already announced plans for how they intend to raise money for the DSLAMs with a $2 increase for basic DSL service.
I actually don't have problem with the price increase but it is an inefficient manner in which to build infrastructure. The ILECs didn't have to do it this way. When they were starting out, they got plenty of government support, which is how public infrastructure should be built.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Bell's submission is about more than UBB, though. The wholesale ISPs finally have access to the cable companies networks. The wholesalers have found a loophole that allow them to offer unlimited accounts over cable. Er, wait, unlimited is back again? Since Bell wants to eliminate unlimited accounts from its competitors, this latest development must have caused some serious cursing over at Bell. Even worse, some wholesale ISPs are offering 10Mb/s unlimited accounts on the cable networks, at least double the speed they can offer with DSL.
Oh, I'm going to enjoy watching Bell squirm for a while. ^_^
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The Python 2.3 was the default on Debian sarge. Sadly, modern tools like distribute and virtualenv do not work well with such an ancient version of Python, even though I can't find anything that says 2.3 is not supported. I'm having enough trouble that I've given up on using 2.3.
Fortunately, the Debian sarge archive is still around so I'm going to install Python 2.4 to see if that helps. The main drawback is I'll lose the drop in replacement factor, but I need to get this working.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Trust those Aussies to come up with words the rest of us have never heard before. I thought it might be a contraction of Hooligan since Australians have a penchant for shortened words, but Wikipedia doesn't mention this possibility. Google wasn't any help either.
If you are going to invent new words, at least have the foresight to record their etymology. Especially if you are going to charge well known race car drivers under a law named after your invented words. I mean, really. ^_^
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Amberground is mostly a wilderness that is dotted with communities that somehow eek out an existence with so little light. The only communications between the communities is via a hand delivered postal system that is run by the Tegami Bachi (Letter Bees). Unsurprisingly, many people have some animosity toward the capital, and the Letter Bees take the brunt of it as the only public representatives the government. Why the government shields itself behind postmen is another mystery.
The wilderness is a dangerous place inhabited by by powerful bug like monsters. The postmen have a technique which uses their life force, that is able to kill the creatures. The ability depends on a gem stone which is embedded in a weapon that focuses the attack. Why only the Letter Bees have this ability, is never explained.
Each Bee has an companion called a dingo which is usually an animal but not always. The main character, Lag Seeing, has a dingo, Niche, that looks a little girl but seriously is not even close. Niche is described several times as "a child of Maka" but who or what exactly a Maka is, is yet another mystery.
The story revolves around Lag searching for clues about another Bee, Gauche Suede, who has disappeared. Gauche delivered a very young Lag to his grandmother, and is the reason Lag became a Bee. Most of the series develops the characters and background, and we only find what happened to Gauche in the final episode, which actually raises many more questions than it answers. Yes, it's another mystery.
There's a very good reason why the series ends with so many unexplained mysteries. There's a second season. ^_^
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Er, wait, that's doesn't sound right. Unfortunately, it has already happened. Sharing subscriber information with advertisers is nothing new (e.g., Airmiles), but there was a line which nobody dared to cross. The Internet age is an advertisers' wet dream and some have decided that anything goes. Unless you get caught.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I must be getting jaded. After reading about the announcement, my first thought was, "Oh great! Yet another codec!"
I found that my toolbox was not as full featured as some of the others. For example, I don't use tools to generate documentation from the code, whereas this seemed to be a common practice among the other programmers. It was an interesting discussion and I picked up a few ideas that might be worth exploring to see if they fit with my programing style.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Webber lead the race from start to finish despite four safety cars wiping out the gap he had built up. Vettel passed Kubica in the first corner to take second, place but was never able to close on Webber. In fact, Vettel came under pressure from Kubica later in the race. Vettel must be wondering what went wrong while Webber now has a psychological advantage of his team mate. Should be interesting to see how Vettel fights back in the next race.
Alonso destroyed his car in Saturday morning practice and it could not be rebuilt in time for qualifying. As a result Alonso started form the pit lane and had to duel with all the drivers from the slower teams as he charged through the field. Alonso quickly found out that most of them were not going to jump out the way. It was reasonable as they were fighting for position, but Alonso was definitely losing his cool. Watching Di Grassi throw his Virgin Racing car around in front of Alonso was both scary and impressive.
Schumacher got a six place penalty for passing Alonso while under the safety car on last lap. The wording of that rule is very bad which is likely what caused the different interpretation between the teams.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Chromium has a built in flash player which is enabled with command line switch. The flash player is the only thing that causes Chromium to use a lot of CPU. Since the flash player is still quite new, I'll avoid making any judgements. Poking fun at flash performance is all too easy any way.
A couple of web sites that I use, require a personal certificate for indentification. Chromium currently does not provide a user interface to manage certificates on Linux. You need to use a install a separate command line utility that is detailed here.
After using Firefox for so long, it feels a little strange to be switching browsers. The folks at Mozilla re fighting back so it we'll definitely have another browser war. For now, I'll stick with Chromium.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Those words were not so funny on day two. Loeb delivered a master class in rally driving as he used his road position to claw back almost all the lost time. He finished day two in second only 5 seconds behind Ogier. It was a spectacular drive with perfect road position for day three. Loeb looked set to take the win again.
Oh, but day three was to be a very different day. First Ogier spun and handed the lead to Loeb. Then Loeb uncharacteristically made a second error for the rally! A Loeb victory looked unlikely as Ogier was once again in the lead. Then Ogier made yet another error, and suddenly a Loeb win was once again a possibility. Then, almost unbelievably, Loeb made a third mistake and crashed! For Loeb to make three mistakes in a rally is so inconceivable, that I almost fell out of my chair because I was laughing so hard! Mark this rally in the history books folks.
Loeb got going again after the crash and was handed third by Petter Solberg. He had the scent of a win in the air and went all out on day three, only to crash out in spectacular fashion on the final stage. Sadly, Petter Solberg's bad luck continues but he was really trying hard for that win.
So, after all that action on day three, the winner is the one driver who had a completely unremarkable rally: Latvala. He had not a single incident, not even a stage win, throughout the entire rally. That's quite an achievement and shows how much Latvala has improved. And considering Ogier's performance, it's clear we are going to see a lot more of the younger drivers this season.
While I'm not deeply interested in the subject, I enjoyed the talk. However, Madison had way too much material for a two hour presentation. As a result we missed seeing a demonstration of a cluster in action, which was disappointing. Hopefully, we'll have her back sometime for for a show and tell.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Even though there were a few fights for position all through the field, overall the race was quite boring. I was hoping the fight between Button and Schumacher would be epic, but Button gave Schumacher way too much respect. Button had the faster car but Schumacher's experience made up the difference easily. And of course, passing is the number one problem in F1, which didn't help Button's efforts.
The teams brought a lot of upgrades as expected for the first race back in Europe, but not all of it worked. Unfortunately, Redbull's improvements did work, which made them look even stronger. Not being allowed to test anything except on race weekend is going to play a role this season as there still four contenders vying for the constructors' title.
Ferrari had their own version of the F-duct. It gives a massive 9 km/h advantage in straight line speed over the Redbull, so there's no doubt that the F-duct is effective. However, watching Alonso drive with one hand while activating the system was a little worrying. Alonso is more than capable of handling it of course, but it just increases the chance of a mistake. There's talk of banning F-ducts next year.
The best moment in the whole race was Alonso being told on the radio that Schumacher was holding up the field. Now there's something you don't hear everyday! Surprisingly, Schumacher was quicker than Rosberg which led to speculation that he is being sidelined at Mercedes in favour of Schumacher. I hope that is not the case, as it is a waste of a talented young driver, which would be a real shame.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
The first thing you notice in Sora no Woto is the amazing background artwork. The creators of the series used a real life setting for the fictional city of Seize, the story's location. The story, in contrast to the beautiful setting, is actually quite dark. When the story opens, there is a tentative ceasefire in a war that has devastated most of the world and killed all sea life. This is serious post-apocalypse stuff.
The lead character, Sorami Kanata, wants to play the trumpet so she joins the army as bugler. The fact that buglers are still required for battlefield signalling is an interesting anachronism. Long distance communication is a rotary dial telephone. In fact, there very few electronic devices used at all. An "old era" is mentioned a few times, which had much more advanced technology. This gives the hint that war may have lasted a very long time before the devastation was unleashed, possibly as an act of desperation. Some of this is confirmed later in the story, but it's never explained in detail.
Sora no Woto means "sound of the sky" and it refers to one particular tune that reverberates throughout the series: Amazing Grace. This old hymn has become almost cliche through over use, but in this series it is definitely used appropriately, given the context of the story and characters. The tune is well known to both sides in the war which plays an important role in maintaining the ceasefire at the end of the story.
Sora no Woto is an excellent sci-fi anime series and is worth checking if you get the chance.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
This is turning into a really depressing week. Yesterday, it was the Canadian DMCA bill. Today, the CRTC approved usage based billing (UBB). Bell shoots and scores again!
UBB won't kick in immediately. It becomes active 60 days after Bell informs the CRTC in writing that it has eliminated all its customers on grandfathered unlimited accounts. But that won't be very difficult. Bell can just switch people without so much as a by-your-leave.
Once UBB takes effect, there is a cap of 60GB per month. The overage fee is wopping $1.75 per Gigabyte, up to maximum $22.50. There's a secondary cap of 300GB with a fee of $0.75 per Gigabyte. I used 95GB in April so my Internet bill would have been around $56 plus taxes. April was unusual though. March was 66GB which is around $44. Wow, that's suddenly one very expensive 3Mb/s DSL connection!
The throttle is supposed to go away once the UBB comes into effect, since the UBB is supposed to curtail the dastardly bandwidth hogs. I fully expect Bell to find some reason to keep the throttle in place, probably using the unchanged usage as an excuse. With the CRTC in their back pocket, they know they can get away with anything. This is turning into a very depressing week.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Oh, this is so typical of those bloody politicians! The copyright consultation last year was a pointless waste of time. The final decision on the future of copyright in Canada was made by... the Prime Minister! But wait! It gets worse!
It looks very likely that we will end up with a Canadian version of the DMCA, because the PM sided with James Moore, who seems to have forgotten he is the Canadian Heritage Minister. Last year he appeared to be on the same page as Industry Minister Clement, but not any more. The fix is in and it looks like the lobbyists from the (U.S.) entertainment industry got to Moore.
How bad will the Bill be? Will Canada have a three-strikes law? We wait with bated breath.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
While they were undoubtedly influentially in the U.S., South Africa was more likely to receive British publications, assuming there were any. My Google-fu hasn't turned up anything yet, but I find it hard to believe there weren't any British radio electronics magazines. Funny how an article can trigger a whole line of research, and waste a lot more time than it took to read the article. ^_^
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Seriously though, we are seeing evolution at work. As the polar bear's natural habitat shrinks, they will move into areas where they will have to compete for resources. That competition will require adaptation. One adaptation might be new species suited to the new conditions. Isn't nature wonderful?
Some species won't adapt fast enough and will die out. Humans will be among of those. Our reproduction is too restricted for evolution to save us. Our intelligence will allow us to hang on for quite some time but if our habitat changes too severely, we don't stand a chance.