My son is being encouraged to lie.
It's a fairly regular occurrence around here, and I'm sure you've seen it yourself. It's that checkbox on the website you're visiting where you say "Yes, I am over X years of age".
I'm a keen amateur photographer and have been since I was at school. Of course back then it involved smelly chemicals, strange lights and dark rooms. The expense and hassle of film eventually did it in for me and in 2000 I bought my first digital camera. After a series of increasingly sophisticated devices, back in 2007 I bought a Nikon D80 and soon thereafter I discovered that you can do things with raw camera files that have some analogies to the darkroom processing of my youth.
I do like that some of my friends in Debian have conspired to set up the website http://thank.debian.net/, and I composed this little Haiku in their honour:
Debian is fun for seventeen years. Beautiful balloons.
I'd also like to thank everyone involved in Debian over the years for being such a lovable, friendly, enjoyable and welcoming bunch of people to work with.
It's tempting to single out people for special mention, because there are people who do exceptional work in the project, but the list would go on for so long, and I would be afraid of missing out someone who would be obvious five minutes later, and then I'd have to come back and edit this post repeatedly with the names of more and more people over the coming days. We all know exactly what a chore that kind of maintenance is.
So I'll just give up completely and thank everyone, and if you think you deserve a special thanks, you probably do, and I'm sure you're on that list in my head. When we meet, as I hope we shall, let me shake your hand, lend you my ear and buy you a $BEVERAGE of your choice.
For several years now we've been buying our groceries online. It's worked well, and for the last couple of christmases I remember Heather adding a six-pack into the pre-christmas order so she could pull it out and hand it off to the delivery guy.
Fair enough too, because he was their front-line man. He was the guy who had to actually meet the customer, and even if only for two minutes face time, the impression he gave with his cheery "seeya mate" on the way out, and his always-happy smile, was that getting the groceries delivered was fun.
I publish my photos on the internet. Well, I do when I get around to updating it, anyway. When I do so, I include some information about licensing them. I say to people "I'm very open to people wanting to use these pictures for something else, and will be happy to release photos into the public domain on request." so when I discover one of my photos abused by a travel website I do wonder why I didn't hear about it.
A few years back I remember reading this article by David Brin suggesting that it is hard for children to learn programming nowadays, and how it ain't happening so much any more. It's something that I have been wondering about for some time now, and it's something that I think has to be important for the future.
Is there really a huge slowdown in the numbers of computing graduates coming out of University? Perhaps there is really nothing there to worry about. Maybe there are so many more computers around, that even with a smaller percentage of users becoming programmers there will continue to be enough programmers around.
Something that has been annoying me recently with my bank has been that their website tells me that they will never ask for my password over the phone. And then their call centre asks me for my password. Over the phone. Of course the call centre doesn't mean my website password - they mean the special 'ultra-secure 5ekr1t code phrase', but they don't have a good, universally understood word to use for that. Hopefully they'll work one out, but they appear to have got the message anyway.
This got me to thinking about how these phrases are used, and how insecure they are in reality. After all when I store a website password I go to significant lengths to ensure that the same password is not represented by the same string of characters in my database. How vulnerable are our secrets in the databases of organisations we do business with?
As some of you will know, I used to be on the board of Parents Centres New Zealand for several years. While I was involved there, we finally managed to finish the internal debate around the repeal of Section 59 of the crimes act, and to publish our viewpoint that the excuses in this legislation are not appropriate for the kinds of child-rearing practices which we considered acceptable in New Zealand.
Children in New Zealand should have the right not to be assaulted by their parents.
A couple of years ago the legislative world caught up with that viewpoint, and legislation was passed which changed the scope of section 59.
Now, it seems, some minority groups want to go back to return us to an age when parents are entitled to assault their children, and there will be a national postal referendum in August, with a particularly weaselly worded question, and these groups will use the response to that question to justify a lot more than that question asks.
New Zealand's current legislation regarding parental control of children allows parents scope to discipline their children, without providing them with an excuse against an assault charge if they use excessive force.
So please vote 'Yes' to the referendum on child discipline, when you see it, and please encourage everyone you know to do likewise.
I had to visit two sites today and got what I consider to be amusing responses from them. Firstly I had to visit NZ Post to get them to hold our mail while we will be away.
Life is always a bit of a gamble, but I wasn't expecting NZ Post to be making their website into a lottery like this. It seems that they're trying to statistically limit the number of people who are allowed to have their mail held, because I got to see this little gem:
What are fruit companies trying to achieve by putting stickers on their fruit? I remember as a child when these first appeared on oranges and bananas, and I can cope with this because in these cases the sticker disappears without any inconvenience to the consumer when the skin is discarded.
Today someone asked me to take a look at an Evolution enhancement that's just begging to get into trunk. Since this is a Gnome program in a subversion repository I've commenced the process of cloning the repository so I can look at the issue against the current head.
At the current rate I should have a copy of the repository by early tomorrow morning, in order to be able to start looking at it. Of course today is when I actually do have some time to spare, and I hope to be fast asleep at the time when I expect this to finish.
Presumably subversion isn't this slow for everyone, but since my latency to their repository is 300mS I'm probably on the worst end the pain, with each commit seemingly taking around a second. It sure would be nice if subversion provided some kind of chunked compression of these five-year-old commits, so I could be bandwidth limited, rather than latency challenged.
The addition of a day to the checkout of a software project must be a significant barrier to entry for anyone considering contributing. It makes it much less likely to be opportunistic.
So far I'm up to r3600 in 75 minutes. That's 75 minutes that I could have spent actually looking at the code, but now it's time for me to go and vote for me...
It is nice to see someone apologising for their planned failure to consider Linux users. It's ridiculous that they even have to. It seems to me that these people have spent way too much effort on making the logo and menus scroll in from the left and right of the screen, and not enought effort on the actual functionality of their website.
Since I have a nice word number for my phone (027 2 DEBIAN) I wanted to keep it when I left Catalyst so I went to a Vodafone dealer to ask them to change the name on the account. It seems that this is not easy. I actually ended up going to two different Vodafone dealers to try and arrange for this, but they both seemed to be telling me it would be expensive and complicated, and I would lose service for up to a week in the middle of the changeover.
What is relatively easy is to sign up with a different phone company and port my number across to them, so that's what's happening. Hopefully all of the number portability problems I encountered last year are gone now!
I suspect that the Vodafone sales staff were trying to discourage me, because they sell on commission, and there's no commission in moving a phone to a different account.
Since leaving Catalyst to follow my interests there seem to be a neverending number of organisations e-mailing to my old e-mail address, which I have to go through to update to a new e-mail address. This evening it was Air New Zealand's turn.
Going through their update form, I noticed a few other little details were wrong, and they had a couple of my pet hates down pat:
- My surname was spelled 'Mcmillan' rather than 'McMillan'
- My city was down as 'Wellington' rather than 'Porirua'
For no particularly good reason that I can see, they don't provide me with the ability to edit my surname. I have to ring some 0800 number, and I was kind of all 0800ed out having had to ring TelstraClear earlier. (To question their sense in wanting to deliver a password for an e-mail account to that same e-mail account... but that's another story...)
I can at least correct the city, though, right?