Build Options

Chatting to Ec this weekend, he gave me a few options for the build. I’m putting them here so I’ve got them somewhere I can access later, although they may be amended along the way. He’s convinced me that the main PC shouldn’t use the Mini-ATX case I intended, and instead be at least a mid-tower.

There’s this option from PCPartPicker (although it lacks a HDD & OS – which I have to get) or these from Whirlpool.

Am leaning toward this case though.

The Killing Season

Watching ABC‘s ‘The Killing Season‘ on iView has been interesting. It reminded me of how much respect I have for former PM Gillard (except when she was making a prepared speech, because when she spoke from a script, she was god-awful!). It reinforced the idea that Rudd will go down in Labor history only one step above Billy Hughes as our most despised leaders. It also though took me back into two periods of my own history.

landinghamIn the first episode, when those being interviewed spoke of Rudd & Gillard’s move against Beazley in 2006, they spoke of Kim’s long-time personal assistant sitting at her desk in tears. To most viewers, she’s just a cameo, barely worth mentioning. I remember her as an almost Mrs Landingham type of lady, and lovely to work with.

The other aspect was watching the show and thinking ‘What was I doing at that stage? Do I remember the events and where I was at the time?’ The Lehmann’s collapse, the machinations between Rudd and his senior ministers, the Julia coup. Okay, I remember the Julia coup happening – one of our neighbours was obviously a Labor MP, because he had a Commonwealth car waiting for him that morning at 5am.

Often, personal recollection was of different stages in legal battles. Hearings and prosecution briefs. Tribunals and courts. Different evidence and legislation. Research, reading and planning. Far too much research.

It is kind of strange to look back on that period now, and realise so much of it was taken up with one legal battle or another – against the landlord and then the custody battle. In retrospect, it’s no wonder it all turned out like it did.


Counting Systems

I found another take on the whole idea of how numbering and counting systems work in different languages and cultures. It includes an explanation of how the seemingly absurd Danish counting works. (Okay, there’s no ‘seemingly’ about it – it IS absurd)

I also like this video because he points out how stupid the Klingon number system is. And, as some may know, I think Trekkies are mentally retarded.

RIP Another Hard Drive

It’s inevitable, isn’t it?

I’m halfway through building a new computer, and my existing one dies.
I went to Penshurst last weekend, left my PC running (as I often do) and returned to find this:


At first I worried, then I thought “I’ll put a replacement hard drive top of my list”

Went on as normal, and within an hour, I got the error again.

Okay, it’s more serious than I thought. Shut down. Put plan into place to fix it.

I started at Plan A. I think now, almost a week later, I am at about Plan G. Have at least another two plans sitting ready if this doesn’t work.


I think the only real solution is to fast-track the new build. And it’ll be an extensive rebuild. The lovely new red leather case, new board, CPU, hard drive (it was always on the list, but now obviously is crucial), audio set-up (I’d like dual bluetooth headsets, haven’t checked if that’s possible yet), probably RAM & monitors too. And most important of all, a RAID set-up to prevent this data-loss recurring nightmare. I lost one hard drive less than 12 months ago, and now another. New set-up will involve backups, and I think maybe duplicating something like Eccles has with a backup server for media and data files – music, TV shows, films etc.

Oh, and the best thing about this case is the ridiculous amount of fans it can carry. Lana always hated my desire to always want more fans in my computer :)

Indirect Learning

When I studied Russian 20-ish years ago, one aspect I enjoyed was learning how different cultures approach language in different areas. I’m finding that again as I dip my toes into French.

For example, in the realm of numbers and counting:


French has such an awesomely weird way to count. But although it’s kind of weird to think about at first, I was nosing around on-line the other day, and found this, about how messed up some of the Scandinavian languages are:


For a translation of the Danish counting above: Link

The Death of Two Pirates

Since writing about Dread Pirate Roberts and Silk Road last week, I’ve been following the Silk Road story a little closer than I normally would, and I found this – an interview with SSBD (SameSameButDifferent, a moderator on the site), an Australian bloke from Brisbane who did little other than moderate a forum on Silk Road. Again, a story worth reading if you haven’t already.

But sadly, an ongoing story which was much closer to home involving a Pirate, a court case, a website being closed down and many people I know hit today.

I’ve been using since about 2004. It was about 4 years old at that stage, and at first, I didn’t know what to make of it. It was a news blog, like Boing Boing or a thousand others that filled the interwebz back then. This one was run by Pirate, a bloke in Sydney, and so its content was geeky news. I would often joke with people who weren’t familiar with the site that it was very much a boys’ club website, and focused around “geekery, pornography and arguments”. That’s an overly simplistic description, but noone took the site too seriously, and it was a community of mainly Australian (but frequently overseas, especially American) adult geek-boys.


The strongest feature of ZGeek was the forums that built up around the community. Unlike anywhere else I’d found online, the ZGeek forums were rough. Everyone played ball hard, and arguments were frequent and passionate, about everything from interpretation of the meanings of the latest Battlestar Galactica episode to the rantings of government ministers on climate change to news of the latest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The community there were passionate about the stuff they were discussing, and quite often in furious disagreement.

Viper_mk2Unique though was the culture that built up that to win in those debates, to hold the stage, one had to know the topic, argue your ground, and dismantle your opponents’ position. But what it wasn’t about was attacking your opponent. This was the ultimate expression of targeting the ball and not the man. Debates were intelligent, and fiery, but never uncivilised.

What I developed in those forums was a tendency to play hard in online debate, but to expect that I, and my fellow debaters would stick to logic, to citing our sources when arguing matters out. Some of my greatest opponents in ZGeek debates I consider friends, for although we disagreed about a great many things, we clashed within a set of rules of honest debate. I was famed (or infamous?) for clashing with one individual – Leonid – on the topic of Israeli foreign policy and my stoushes with him are responsible for everything I know of Israeli-Palestine relations, because I had to learn all about the topic in order to go toe-to-toe with him on many many occasions.

I was sorely disappointed when that attitude didn’t exist elsewhere. Too often, nowadays, and I am especially looking at you Facebook, people believe any nonsense put in front of them, and the notion of asking “What evidence do you have for that claim?” is labelled harassment or abuse.

ZGeek’s demise has wider implications for the online world in Australia though.

(I was an outsider to most of what follows, so my version is open to correction if anyone knows better)


Might not be actual Pirate

The decline began when Pirate, the site’s operator, posted a news story related to a reality TV show where the winners would get to travel in space. ZGeekers were a bit cynical about the prospects of the show ever coming to fruition, and so were scathing in their criticism of the idea. The show’s promoter (was his name Greg Smith? or am I remembering that wrong?) claimed he’d lost the deal to make the show, partly because of the ZGeeker’s criticisms (if anyone had a deal worth millions of dollar, as that bloke claimed, and it could be shot to pieces by a bunch of geeks making fun of it online, it can’t have been too solid a deal in the first place, right?) He sued ZGeek for $42 million, but had the matter tossed out of court.

Later, one of his friends, a former solicitor, sued ZGeek because of criticism that had been directed toward her in a ZGeek forum discussion about her involvement in the gang-rape trial of Bilal Skaf. Because this new litigant was a former solicitor, she knew how to tie Pirate and ZGeek up in legal knots, and the case dragged on for years.

Last month, after years of trying, that solicitor won an $86,000 judgement against Pirate. For comments made not by him, but by other people on the site. That’s the thing that’s most galling about it all – he’s being held responsible for the actions of others.

Pirate’s defeat means that anyone who runs a website in Australia where members of a community contribute content – even in the form of comments – can be held liable for those comments. The website operator, as the “publisher” is responsible. That’s a very dangerous precedent.

What I, personally, took from ZGeek is a great many friendships. And in my search through email archives, I found the following comment, by me, to Pirate, the day I went to the Supreme Court to stand in for him at a hearing in 2011:

…As the latest recruit to the Monkey Army, I swear my undying allegiance to you as Pirate in Chief, and pledge to rid the world of stupids who harm our loyal brotherhood

Goodnight and lots of love to Pirate & Buffy, Sagacious, Kez, ShinyMetalAss, Muppet, Astro & Elentari, Gutterclown, Beowulf, PsychoNavigator, MarchPig, uzz32, Btrfly, Carsinogenic, Edeity, Dwarfthrower, Willett & Javaira, Dr Jones (aka nreJones), Leonid (of course!) and many, many more

I Hate it When I Agree With Tony Abbott

It annoys me that so many on the Left in this country have put so little thought into their philosophy. Twitter is a great example. Especially today.

Overnight, the Irish voted to allow gay marriage. Okay, good for them. It seems to be what most of them want. And I think it’s a positive outcome for them.


This morning, Australia’s media have asked our PM whether such a plebiscite would happen here, and he said no. Unsurprisingly, the left have leapt on his refusal and criticised him for it.

It’s moments like that I hate sharing the same place on the political spectrum with such morons.

Even if you support marriage equality (and I do), I don’t support the abdication of responsibility that a plebiscite represents. In this country, we elect our political representatives to make laws and to govern. Spending a few million dollars to essentially give them the green light to make a law is a stupid waste of money.

Such a popular vote would only happen in Australia if the majority of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the holding of the vote. And they’d be sanctioning that vote in the knowledge there’s a high probability of it receiving popular approval. In other words, we’d only get a popular vote if support for marriage equality has the support of the majority of politicians.

And if it’s got the support of the majority of politicians, why don’t they just amend the law anyway? Why waste millions of dollars getting the public to approve it first?

The truth is they’re scared. They’re scared of the attack they’d face from the social conservatives and the religious faction for voting for marriage equality. The popular vote would give them cover. They’d be able to vote for it with the excuse that ‘the people have spoken’.

It’s cowardly, it’s pathetic, and it’s tantamount to admitting they do not deserve to hold their position to govern, when they are obviously scared to do so.

(I also think it’s a mistake for governments to be even making laws about marriage, but that can wait for another day)

Dread Pirate Roberts


I confess I read this [Part I] [Part II] full of admiration for Ross Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts.

I initially read about DPR & Silk Road last year (during the trial), when everyone thought the murders were real. Now, it seems they weren’t.

And the twist in the story? Wow. Just wow.