Another Birthday

You will be glad to know that I survived another birthday. It was rather a good one actually.

I normally try and take the day off when it is my birthday but circumstances conspired against me this year. The good news about working on my birthday was that we had a ‘morning tea’. This is the custom of stopping work for ten minutes and having a cup of tea (or coffee in my case) and a slice of cake (or pies and sausage rolls yesterday) with your colleagues. A cross between a tea break and a tea party sums up the experience.

The best thing about birthdays is definitely presents. My beloved bought me a number of things, but the item that got the most notice was my new sailing watch. It is the ultimate gadget and everyone in the pub last night was very impressed that I could tell them the ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure from it. As for the compass, well …

I will pop over to the Casio web site and try and find a picture of this watch to end all watches.

12 hours

The post I attempted to make yesterday has disappeared into the ether. This reminds me that although blogger.com is very, very cool it isn’t under my control.

The original version of this diary was written in html and posted to this server by ‘me old mate’ ftp. That meant that whenever I had something to say I fired up my html editor (Vim usually) and ftp’ed the results to my hosting company. This version is written by pointing a web browser at http://www.blogger.com and using their application.

This means that any problems with their servers or the network between me and them will mean that my words of wisdom aren’t published and you, my smashing reader, are bereft of reading matter until the technology is back on track.

Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is a salient lesson in the drawbacks of the application service provider (ASP) business model. I have to weigh the complexity (and therefore cost) of maintaining my own system against the convenience, sophistication and uncertain availability of blogger.com.

I’m sticking with blogger ;-

2 days, 4 hours

When I got home from work this evening I found a couple of surprises. The first was from that nice Mr Ruddock, inviting me to go and swear a lot and thus become an Australian on Thursday the 15th of November. The service is at 4:30pm at Manly Council Chambers, in case you were wondering.

The second surprise was a box of six wines from the lovely people at Ivanhoe, the first of my members packs from their round table club which I have just joined. I get six bottles three times a year as tasters of the soon to be released wines. This pack contains two each of the 1999 Chardonnay, the 1999 Chambourcin and the 2000 Stephen Drayton Shiraz. The idea is that if we like any of these samplers we can invest in a case at knock down prices. As the Naked Chef would say – “Luvverly Jubbly”

Morning team

Morning team. The fun starts here. Whilst perusing ntk I came across a great definition of why compromising strong encryption is bad. If you didn’t understand the previous sentence, don’t worry, the chaps at ntk have taken the play school pill;

“””
One: everyone has a legitimate use for encryption: heck, every time you pay by credit card, you’re doing it. Two: if you don’t have control of your keys, you have no guarantee that your communication is safe. Three: big pile of keys at police authority implies big place to go for fun terrorist hacking party. Four: here is the set of “organisations using encryption codes legitimately” and here is the set of terrorists. Observe the intersection. There is NONE. IT IS THE NULL SET. VENN DIAGRAM THAT LOOK LIKE TWO BIG CIRCLES EQUAL BAD PUBLIC POLICY.
“””
This still won’t stop a lot of bad laws being passed but there you go. If you are interested, read last week’s ntk here.

Technical absurdity of the day

The client I am currently working for has an IT department of 20 people. Amongst those are five highly paid professionals who focus solely on web technologies (intranet, internet, B2B, EDI, etc). They have just implemented a policy blocking the use of ‘free’ email and instant messengers via the company network. Which is their perogative. The sad thing is that when you try and access one of these services you are presented with a web page that is actually a Microsoft Word document. This company spends somewhere in the region of half a million dollars a year on internet people, hardware and software licenses and they can’t even produce an html file to serve up when inappropriate requests are made via the proxy server. Oh, and they run Microsoft Proxy server on Win2k, but that is an entirely different kettle of techie fish.

The system administration team at this particular company should really read Scoble on intranets (which I got to from Mark Pilgrim’s piece about Knowledge Management)

Happy Birthday Kevin Vaz

Happy Birthday Kevin Vaz. 21 again and absolutely no relation of the Labour member of parliament (allegedly).

Most of my thinking today revolves around the rounding of floating point numbers, but that is covered elsewhere.

Apart from that not a lot is happening around the blocks really. My joyous task for the weekend is to try and get my affairs in sufficient order to file a tax return. Wow, life on the edge.

Oh, and I am in no way going to be indulging in any kind of pre-wedding, blokes only, alcohol accompanied activities tomorrow. No sir, not me.