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Gym, and other Things April 30, 2009

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man, General.
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Firstly, apologies to my legions of faithful followers for the delay in posting. Truth is, I’ve been feeling rather uninspired, and everything around me has been all serious stuff, like elections and general political and economic antics. Its been depressing. Then, wifey got sick and decided to share the love, so if I had posted anything, it would’ve been whining about how crappy I felt. Even googling my cold just turned up page after nauseating page of media-hype around the Pork-Flu…(what, seriously? You eejits couldn’t find anything else to panic about?). And, speaking of wifey, even her sleep-walking has been on the quiet, so there’s been nothing entertaining on that front either.

Anyway, figured I’d best throw some scraps to the plebians, so here are some updates from Baldric-Man!’s epic battle against…(not sure yet, will get back to you)

So, Monday marked my 10th gym session! What an occasion! And to celebrate in style, I thought I’d reflect a little on the noticeable improvements.

(First though, if you haven’t already, check out my earlier posts: Gym, the Final Frontier and Gym, a Brave New World)

T-Rex after a heavy workout

T-Rex after a heavy workout

Firstly, I have passed what I like to call the “T-Rex” stage of post-gym pain. Picture a T-Rex…. got it? Now, imagine super-stiff arms from excessive (in my opinion) bicep curls or whatever the heck you call them, leaving your arms bent at the elbow at 90-degrees. Now this may seem amusing to the casual reader, but I might remind you that living in Cape Town means one simply cannot go walking around the city centre, Green Point, or Camps Bay looking like this… (more…)

ANC’s Jesse Duarte slams Right-Wing Expats April 24, 2009

Posted by baldricman in General, News.
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It shows you who leaves the country: all the right-wingers – ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte

This, another hilarious and revealing statement made after the results of votes from South Africans living abroad were announced by the Independant Electoral Commission (IEC) on Thursday. (see another Jesse Duarte gem over here (via 1Earth) for some perspective)

The opposition parties got the most of the 9 857 votes. A total of 7 581 voted for the DA, 918 voted for Cope, 270 voted for the FF+, 184 voted for the ACDP and 136 voted for the ID. The ANC received 673 votes from South Africans overseas. – The Beeld

Jesse, Jesse, Jesse….. For a ruling-party spokesperson you demonstrate a surprising lack of knowledge and intelligence. Was that an insult?

Lets try to understand this: are you saying they are right-wingers because they voted DA, or because they didn’t vote ANC?

Disclaimer: I know very little about politics, thankfully, but I’ll just go with my current understanding 🙂 (more…)

2009 – My Voting Experience April 23, 2009

Posted by baldricman in General, News.
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Well yesterday, April 22nd, our 4th democratic elections took place around the country. Along with most of the  roughly 23 million registered voters, wifey and I went along to our voting station around the corner to make our mark. 

So today, I thought I’d share just a little of our experience of the day, and a few of our impressions of the process and people.

Initially we’d considered arriving early at the station, to “get it over with”, but I had a hunch that voting over lunch time might be quieter (I’m sure 23 million other geniuses in South Africa also had similar little theories, most of which worked equally well…) So we ended up arriving at around 1pm or so, and joined the back of the queue which, all in all, didn’t seem too long. The vibe seemed pretty relaxed and quiet.We had been in the queue not 5 minutes before a man came striding past us down the line, muttering and flapping his arm in the air. “This does not bode well” I remember thinking to myself. As he passed us he “helpfully” informed us all that it was “useless” and a “waste of time”, as the station had just run out of ballot papers. Within seconds, my wife and I began to see more and more people leaving their places in the (stagnant) queue, all of them with the same peeved expression, irritable arm-flapping, and inventive and helpful cursing and complaining, to (presumably) go home. (My favourite was the woman who stormed past us, venemously spitting out “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” over and over again. I had to turn away to hide my grin at this point, as I’m sure she would have reacted less than favourably had she noticed.)

Now I must just say that I agree that a voting station running out of ballot papers is exceptionally short-sighted, and worthy of a certain amount of ridicule, but I will ALSO say that, well, people make mistakes, and at the end of the day, only those people who left the queue at the first sign of trouble, lost out. The rest of us benefitted in fact from a faster moving queue for a few minutes :).  Oh, and the ballot papers arrived at most 5 minutes after those people climbed back into their luxury cars and went home to enjoy the rest of their “holiday”. (more…)

Laptop Rage accounts for 10% of damage April 21, 2009

Posted by baldricman in Tech.
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A recent study by the Ponemon Institute, has shown that a major cause of laptop damage is from our all too human anger and frustration being taken out on the poor little beasties. The study, entitled “Business Risk of a Lost Laptop”, drew opinions from 3100 IT pros in several countries; some of the more interesting results include:laptop_hammer_1

The British say only 6% is attributable to poorly-managed anger, with most of the damages due to improper care during travel.

The Yanks had rage up at 13% however, and perhaps most amusingly, more than half of it was apparently due to food and beverage spillages (*snort*)

Anyway, you can read a fuller article on the report over here.

Also, please be aware that the study is based on opinions, and not on hard data from support centres or anything like that.

NASA rejects Colbert April 16, 2009

Posted by baldricman in astronomy, News.
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Some time ago, comedian Stephen Colbert began a campaign to garner as many votes as possible, to win the NASA online contest to find a name for a new room, or “node”, in the international space station. You can read about it at my earlier post here.

The great news is that he won, with a whopping 230,539 votes! The not-so-great news is that NASA have ignored the vote (which, to be fair, they warned us they might do…), and instead named the new module “Tranquility”, which interestingly was only the 8th most popular name, according to the online poll.

 

COLBERT

However, Stephen can rest easy knowing that he hasn’t been totally rejected: NASA has agreed on the name “Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill” (cute eh?) And at least the treadmill is an important piece of equipment on a space station, and one that will see frequent use. I guess Colbert may have won the race, but still didn’t get anywhere….

It could have been worse, thats for sure. Just imagine, the “Communal Operational Large Bulk Excrement Removal Toilet”…

Planetoid Photography April 15, 2009

Posted by baldricman in General, POTD.
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Check out this cool post on Deems’ Weblog on Planetoid Photography. The picture below is one of a few that his brother Alex took/stitched together/etc.

Poolanoid by Alex Baroutsos

"Poolanoid" by Alex Baroutsos

Visual Studio 2010 – Feature List April 15, 2009

Posted by baldricman in Tech.
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With the first Beta release of VS2010 widely expected sometime mid-May, there is still a lot of discussion around the final feature set to be included. Microsoft Technical Fellow, Brian Harry, has started a series on Team System features on his blog, and he has kicked it off with a high-level feature list (and he promises to “drill-down” into these items in subsequent posts)

The features are grouped into

  • Architecture
  • Dev & DB
  • Lab Management (basically Virtualisation)
  • Test
  • TFS

Of course I’m most excited about the Architecture Explorer (and related functions), cos it just looks so damn cool. (Check this out for more)

Check out Harry’s full list of high-level features here.

Max Barry’s Machine Man April 14, 2009

Posted by baldricman in General.
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I came across this cool serialised novel by Max Barry on BoingBoing a few weeks ago, called Machine Man. Below is the first chapter (Man I really hope he doesn’t mind me putting this here…)

CHAPTER ONE

One Tuesday afternoon my left leg was severed. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Well, it was. It was agonizing. There was a lot of screaming and flopping around and trying to tear my shirt into pieces to stem the bleeding. While I was busy with this, my co-workers stared through two-inch polycarbonate security glass and beat on the door. They couldn’t get in. It was sealed for their safety. I had to apply my own tourniquet and try not to pass out for eight minutes. While I lay there, waiting for the time-release, I could see the top of what used to be my leg poking out from between two thick slabs of steel, gently dripping blood to the floor. I felt sorry for it. My leg hadn’t asked for this. It had been a good leg. A faithful leg. And now look at it.

But in the weeks afterward, as I lay in my hospital bed, I came to see the bright side. I remembered that expression: A setback is just an opportunity in disguise. I decided that was true. Because while I was sad to lose my leg, now I could build a better one.

You can check out the site over here, where you can subscribe to the daily release….Do it!

Twitter: Worm Attacks April 14, 2009

Posted by baldricman in News, Tech.
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This past weekend saw social platform Twitter experiencing sustained and serious attacks, from at least 3 worms, all of very similar nature. The attacks were exploiting cross site scripting (XSS) bugs in Twitter, and manifested in “booby-trapped” profile pages of certain users. Users viewing these profiles would then essentially flood the network with thousands of tweets promoting a site, StalkDaily.com.

Twitter subsequently received a fair amount of flak, not only for the bug’s existance, but more for the slow response time, and then most importantly, the fact that subsequent attacks succeeded, thereby indicating that the Twitter fixes were merely symptomatic, and did not address the actual bug.

Luckily for Twitter, and its users, the worms were not particularly malicious. But, it serves as a useful warning to those of us who implicitly trust content and urls on well-known sites. What I find particularly concerning in this example is the likelihood of the average user (myself included) to click on those shortened urls so prevalent in Twitter.

See original post on The Register here.

Amazing Ice April 10, 2009

Posted by baldricman in POTD.
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I found some very cool pictures of icebergs and other Antarcticy-type stuff. There are some astoundingly beautiful photos at the links at the end of this post, but here are 2 of my favourites.

Striped Iceberg (photo: Oyvind Tangen)

Striped Iceberg (photo: Oyvind Tangen)

This photo was taken from a research ship about 1700 miles south of Cape Town, South Africa, by Oyvind Tangen of Norway.

Perched erratic boulders (photo: James Dragisic)

Perched erratic boulders (photo: James Dragisic)

 

The picture comes from the Australian Antarctic Division website: so clicky clicky for more great pictures.