June 25, 2007

Did you know?

That the testicle of a right whale weighs the same as almost 20 000 human eyeballs, but it only takes about 23 eyeballs to balance a 600cc breast implant?

That's the assertion served up by this handy calculator, which satisfies a heavy longing of mine, in a world that has largely forgotten those pillars of measuring madness, the furlong, the league, the drachm and the scruple.

Posted by LightYear at 2:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 19, 2007

Modern Tranquility

The following story will be relevant to anyone who relates to the majority of the following statements:

  1. Waking up to an alarming noise, designed to be disturbing and annoying, is a terrible start to the day. Switching to the radio sooths the process.
  2. MSN Messenger's default pop-up behaviour whenever someone signs in is horridly distracting, ugly and useless. Indeed, it and many similiar behaviours are quite unnecessary despite being quite common.
  3. Horn honking outside of unusual or emergency situations contributes unnecessarily to the warming of the world by raising tempers, aggravating drivers and creating noise pollution. Most horn honkers belong in the city, in yoga classes, or out on the footpath.
  4. Mobile phone ring tones are the spawn of Satan. The cacophony of mobile phone noises in the office is annoying, distracting and tasteless.

Day to day, I'm a peaceful creature. I wake up to the sound of my favourite radio station; have disabled all pop-ups in my typical computing experience; and refrain from using the horn and hold contempt for those that overuse it. I am ashamed to admit however, that up until a week ago, my mobile phone contributed to the great flood of distate that is message and phone call tones. In particular, while being a trivial lark, the piercing morse-coded tone representing "SMS" was a shocking event each time it was emitted from my phone.

I have now discovered a convenient solution, and I hereby offer it to the world, free of charge and with only a wish that this revelation will bring about a more peaceful world.

Switch your phone to the "Meeting" profile

This is likely to be found near the "Silent" setting. Why it was ever named "Meeting" is a mystery. Perhaps "A shitload less annoying" was too wordy, but I'd suggest that "Sane" would have been a nice fit. Maybe "You're not thinking of answering your phone in a Meeting, are you?" had to be abbreviated somehow.

My life has been transformed. I can have hours of productive, deep thought, yet only need to glance at the phone screen to check on msgs. No longer do phone calls alert everyone in my vicinity of their occurance. The subtle "yelp" the phone now makes is distinctive enough that like my personal name, hearing it becomes an instictive recognition task.

Now I just have to remember to turn it back to "Be Annoying" when in situations of high ambient noise. The subtle "yelp" doesn't quite cut it when I get that oh-so important call in a crowded bar.

Posted by LightYear at 11:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 14, 2007

True or False?

The following was sent to me via email some time ago. As a devoted truth bringer, it is time once again to don the latex gloves of clueness and smack this silly soul sideways.

Can you guess which of the following are true and which are false?

  1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
  2. Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a belly button.
  3. A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 years.
  4. People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot more.
  5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions stop, even your heart!
  6. Only 7 per cent of the population are lefties.
  7. Forty people are sent to the hospital for dog bites every minute.
  8. Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until they are 2-6 years old.
  9. The average person over 50 will have spent 5 years waiting in lines.
  10. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.
  11. The average housefly lives for one month.
  12. 40,000 Americans are injured by toilets each year.
  13. A coat hanger is 44 inches long when straightened.
  14. The average computer user blinks 7 times a minute.
  15. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any other time of day.
  16. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep.
  17. The REAL reason ostriches stick their head in the sand is to search for water.
  18. The only two animals that can see behind themselves without turning their heads are the rabbit and the parrot.
  19. John Travolta turned down the starring roles in "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Tootsie."
  20. Michael Jackson owns the rights to the South Carolina State anthem.
  21. In most television commercials advertising milk, a mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the milk.
  22. Prince Charles and Prince William NEVER travel on the same airplane, just in case there is a crash.
  23. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle built in 1903 used a tomato can for a carburetor.
  24. Most hospitals make money by selling the umbilical cords cut from women who give birth. They are used in vein transplant surgery.
  25. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were 7th cousins.
  26. If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be green.

Got it figured out?????????

They are all true.... Now go back and think about #16

My response went something like this...

Continue reading "True or False?"

Posted by LightYear at 10:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 10, 2007

Clown and Jokers

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am, Stuck in the middle with you - Stealers Wheel

Tonight I stood in a pub, where a group of women to my right rythmically thrust their chests forward while screaming the words to yet another cliche karoake song. To my left a group of unashamedly drunk men discussed what they’d like to do the Asian girl in front of them, and in fact, what they’d already done to women like her. Immersed in a sea of painfully familiar songs, the words of Stealers Wheel came to me, and I wondered if in fact I was in the position they were singing about. Am I “stuck” in a relationship because the world of potential romantic encounters beyond that is so appallingly disagreeable?

I no longer enjoy the lowest common denominator music selection being thrust at me unnecessarily loudly. The drabs of conversation permissable amongst the background noise fall well short of worthwhile discourse. The reams of drunken men who evaluate no criteria (beyond gender) in their inelegant advances do not make me proud to be a man. The attention seeking, frivolous, pretentious women who encourage the disrespectful behaviour so generously available do not give me much hope for the fairer gender. The steadily increasing ramp-up costs required for meeting the inane, drunken social norm do not offer great incentive for reaching that potential. I’m free to find my own outlets, but the social barriers to requited love seem to cast that which has already been obtained in a particularly favourable, if distorting, light. In fact, it makes for a rather disconcerting parallel to the economic cost of change that keeps people using substandard services in many parts of their lives.

Posted by LightYear at 9:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

June 7, 2007

Oh neighbour, where art thou?

I have no doubts about my sexuality, but there are moments where I'm jealous of those that do.

Diana Crabtree's moment of orientation is particularly enlightning, and enjoyable...


Posted by LightYear at 4:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2007

Google Developer Day

I'm currently watching the Google Developer Day Keynote at Australian Technology Park in Redfern. As the day progresses I will update this post to record what happens here.

The conference is taking place in Australian Technology Park in Redfern. This is my first time to the Technology Park, and I underestimated its size. I walked for longer through the park than I did getting from the train station to the park itself, guided only by the small but growing pack of backpack adorned geeks. Sure enough, we were eventually led to a far building in the park where the conference would take place. Conference girls were a welcome rose amongst the conference geek thorns, and they helped make registration simple. I'm now wearing a lanyard and conference badge, complete with mention of HRSoftWorks. I don't remember telling Google about HRSoftWorks, but then again, this is Google.

Continue reading "Google Developer Day"

Posted by LightYear at 10:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 21, 2007

SNNS Lives!

One of the main reasons I had been exploring Lens was because my previous faithful neural network simulator, SNNS, hadn't seen any development for years and one of the features necessary for SOM's was not working. In particular, the editor windows accessible through the control window had a display issue that rendered them useless.

Today however, I discovered the snns-dev project where further development of SNNS has been occurring. In fact, in 2004 the project group released a patch for the SNNS source that not only solves all the compile issues I discussed here, but also fixes the display issue that forced me to leave SNNS in the first place. As a bonus, a sneaky random number generator issue on Cygwin has also been addressed.

The patch applied smoothly to the SNNS v4.2 source and the configure and make process proceeded without errors. As promised, the display issues have also been fixed. SNNS lives!

Posted by LightYear at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Running Lens on Cygwin

When I attempted to run the neural network package "Light Effiicient Network Simulator" (Lens) on Cygwin, everything appeared to go smoothly except that I had no console interface. Apparently on Cygwin, Lens should default to using a separate console window, but it never appeared.

After working through the source code I eventually stumbled across a solution. I simply added the following line to Src/control.tcl after line 132:

wm deiconify .

This becomes the last line in proc tkConsoleInit so the nearby section of code looks like this:

    .console mark set promptEnd end
    .console mark gravity promptEnd left

    wm deiconify .

# tkConsoleSource --
# Prompts the user for a file to source in the main interpreter.

I'm certainly no Tcl/Tk programmer, so this was barely more than a wild guess. But after recompiling, Lens now pops up a working Console window that interacts with the main program as you would expect.

For reference, the code base I used was lens-win.tar.gz with lens.src.tar.gz applied over the top.

Posted by LightYear at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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