Monday, December 10, 2007

Did you know? v2

An official update to the original 2005 "Shift Happens" video from Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod, this June 2007 update includes new and updated statistics, thought-provoking questions and a fresh design. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Time and relativity

I was reminded today of the theory of relativity, and in particular the idea that funny things start to happen when you try to travel as fast as light. The idea is that in order to go as fast as light you need nearly infinitely large amounts of energy to get there and will suffer an effect known as time dilation.

For example, suppose you travel around the earth as fast or faster than the speed of light. In theory, you could move fast enough to get to the point where you started before the light you saw then had reached you, hence the effect of time travel.

What I often have to remind myself is that its not about where you're coming from, but where you are going to. The destination. Start a stopwatch on yourself and one at the destination at the same time (never mind the logistics of that) and when you get to the destination, they should show exactly the same time regardless of how quickly you got there. It's not about the time that you think the destination has from where you are, but their time (assuming you use the same type of clock).

So when someone looks at the stars and says the light we can see left there umpteen years ago, thats just a feature of the story light tells. If we traveled faster than radio waves, which is a good deal slower than light, the same effect occurs. It's just not true time travel.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Spring is on its way!

Check these out from Jaime Walsh, a local garden fan. She has a really good eye and a great zoom lens! The pics are linked to her Flickr photostream. I especially like the one of Wax-eyes tasting new cherry blossoms below.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Risk and partnership

Thats what I call taking a chance! Not sure exactly where this pic came from, but it definitely carries a story. I immediately thought of the risks a couple has to take sometimes to keep a partnership going. Scary stuff eh...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Intelligent Tire.. Video

Intelligent Tire..

Intelligent Tire, just what the marshals always wanted!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Meaning in Life, in the now

Travis Eneix has a really interesting blog about making stories and individual meaning/interpretation,

The mechanism of meaning making is vitally important to our survival, as individuals and as a species. It is not to be shunned. Rather, it is to be recognized, and kept in perspective for what it is: a useful tool. When it become more than that, when it become a replacement, and substitute, for reality the tool becomes a poison.

28 Days

I just finished watching a movie called 28 Days, in which Sandra Bullock plays a person sentenced to drug and alcohol rehab. Its a feel good movie, I highly recommend it to you. Check out the user comments in that link.

What really amazed me was how intensely I experienced the movie. Especially when it not really the genre of movie that I would normally watch. Before I knew it the movie was already over, and I'd spent the last couple of hours absolutely glued to the screen! How do they do that! Kinda like The Weatherman that I recently reviewed.

I guess it helps that Sandra Bullock is easy on the eyes, but there was so much more to it than that. I've seen other movies shes been in and they didn't leave me feeling so deeply affected. Even more, it was in a positive way I think. Recently her movies have plots that are - if not necessarily inspirational - about being gentle with other peoples stories I guess. Seems to me that this was managed without the rosy colored glasses too. Movies this rare show how much of an art is involved in telling good stories.

PS: I don't really want to know exactly how they catch our attention that way, I'm prepared to just accept it as cool thing :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Winter gardens

Despite the mid winter weather we have been subject to lately, there are still a few creatures about we might not expect to see otherwise. This somewhat bedraggled butterfly was near the top of the gardens by the Camellia courtyard. It had found one of the few warm spots and despite the interest of several people, appeared to have no intention of moving.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007

The best sci-fi movies

SCI-FI MOVIES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED is a fascinating list of movies some of which I've seen, some which I want to.

Pay special attention to the last entry, especially if you are familiar with the Wiggles kids show and their character 'Zardozap'. Who knew... lol

Information and knowledge

I recently came across this quote,

Information is knowledge, learning is wisdom.

I'm not really comfortable with this, both axioms appear to be a fallacy. So I attempted to come up with something better.

Information creates learning,
Learning builds knowledge,
Knowledge contributes to wisdom.

To me information doesn't exist without some type of filter for organizing it. Otherwise its not useful, so by definition might as well be noise. Therefore the filter could represent some type of parallel evolution between a capacity to learn and the value of the information.

As filter(s) become more complex, we might suggest that they describe a representation of the information, knowledge emerging through the learning process. So knowledge is the result of a kind of interactive process in an environment

And finally, knowledge can contribute to, but does not always guarantee the deep insight that is wisdom.

I will think on this some more... I'm sure others have argued similar points so I should do some research. Any of you with suggestions please leave comments here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Semantic AND intentional honesty

This article I Think You're Fat - Esquire describes the interesting insight of living with fewer intellectual filters. IMHO it's not just about being honest with 'others', but as Aristotle says, "We are what we repeatedly do". Like the author, I'm not 100% comfortable with this solution, but can see that it must be an all or nothing approach. As soon as a little bit of filtering creeps in, we find the whole house of cards reverting to the way we used to communicate. Lets face it, if you find a situation is uncomfortable, its usually because you have to adapt and change in some way to cope.

I wonder if the intellectual filters we eliminate by this approach are then replaced by a deepening emotional intelligence. Our intentions in communicating can be more clearly conveyed because there are less internal conflicts getting in the way, while our conviction/passion is more evident. Hmm...

Ontologies and folksonomies

I'm concluding a special topic course for my computing degree, in which I submitted a paper contrasting ontologies with folksonomies and their relative merits in building knowledge representation. In particular I suggested that user interfaces such as those designed for digital libraries and other repository access might benefit more from collaborative folksonomies.

A interesting example of this approach is being trialled at the Bibsonomy web site where instead of the system spending expensive processing power attempting to generate the best semantic ontology for collaborators to employ, users define the site semantics as the site grows, and language restrictions are reduced through the opportunity to use made-up words or conjoint words etc. They have used a highly structured model for the tags that maps nicely to relational database tables.

This article "Collaboration: a case for ontological commitment" describes some basic approaches used in group settings that I believe are a bit inadequate. It seems the author is generally discussing projects or activities which require time extended participation. She also states that she is not discussing semantic ontology per se, but isn't that what is suggested be developed, or have I missed the point?

By using tools like Bibisonomy, the use of folksonomies provide an opportunity for group semantics to emerge during online project/group exercise life cycles rather than needing to be explicitly established beforehand.

The following two references I found extremely relevant. I have included links which are current to the best of my knowledge.

Hotho, A., Jaschke, R., Schmitz, C., and Stumme, G. (2006), BibSonomy: A social bookmark and publication sharing system, In de Moor, A., Polovina, S., Delugach, H. ed, Proceedings of the first Conceptual Structures Tool Interoperability Workshop of the 14th International Conference on Conceptual Structures, pp 87-102, Aalborg University, Denmark from the publication home or the Bibsonomy website.

Longva, T. (2004), Sharing knowledge using rich representations, Retrieved on 19 June 2007 from here

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sense and leadership in organisations

This is a comment to a blog post on Cognitive Edge. It is a really concise, interesting summation of an approach to leadership that I have been considering more recently, and that demonstrates some of the most powerful elements represented in emergent and collaborative knowledge management.

Perhaps one of the problems here arises from thinking of leadership communication solely in terms of ‘getting the message across’ – whether or not story is used as the way of pursuing this. Organizations comprise people talking, acting, interacting and transacting with each other continuously through the medium of conversation. As people get together, both formally and informally, they make things up. That is, they perceive, interpret, evaluate and share their views of what’s going on and decide how, in the light of that, they should act. Through these everyday interactions, ‘stories’ are jointly crafted which, in turn, tend to channel ongoing conversations down familiar, ‘cultural’ pathways.

Outcomes, in the form of the sense that is made and the use that this is put to, are co-created by those in the conversation. These can’t be handed down by leaders – or by anyone else for that matter. From this perspective, a leader’s task is to actively engage in the joint sensemaking process – both directly and indirectly – to build active coalitions of support around themes that are organizationally beneficial. Others who participate in the process will do so from their own perspective and with their own agendas in mind - coalescing informally around particular themes, either to advance a particular cause or to frustrate it.

From this “informal coalitions” view of organizations, the future is being perpetually constructed in the present, through this dynamic network of self-organizing conversations. Sometimes these conversations serve to reinforce the existing patterns, ‘deepening the channels of meaning’ (in the form of openly articulated stories and taken-for-granted assumptions) that are currently influencing the nature and outcome of everyday conversations. At other times, the conversations shift the patterns in new ways, creating new ‘channels’ that begin to divert sensemaking in new directions. As the pattern of conversations change, so do the stories that are told. And so does the organization.

Update: I cam across this really cool post with another take on the difference between knowledge management and social/organisational interaction.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Stuff recently published an article about the international Mens Health Week. In an interview with the Australian branch of Mensline, they discussed how mens counselling is often quite different in nature from womens counselling, a fact that can often be overlooked. They went on to say that "Men are also more comfortable with the anonymity of telephone counselling, ... There's still a lot of shame associated with face to face counselling, and men have difficulty acknowledging that they're not coping." Having been in an emotionally trying time myself, its good to know that I'm not the only one who has difficulty expressing and confronting such issues. Problem solving is not always the best way to deal.

While I havn't availed myself of their service as yet, its nice to know that they are there as a kind of backstop if we need it

GPL v3 and Free Software Foundation vs GPL v2 and Linus Torvalds

In reponse to a discussion of this kerneltrap thread on the New Zealand linux users group mailing list, I wrote the following. More updates as the thread matures...

Indeed FSF (Free software Foundation) seem to argue the main point of difference is that situations such as Tivoisation should not happen, and that in order to gain the influence they need for v3, want the linux kernel to come under the v3 umbrella. Linus on the other hand disagrees somewhat violently with this ethic and protests that software and hardware should not necessarily be tied by the same licencing agreement, indeed this severely restricts some of the key advantages companies see in contributing to the linux kernel.

To me, the issue of hardware and IP is increasingly important when we see so many companies starting to litigate just to stay afloat. The patent laws were never designed to be a complete protection for even the smallest ideas. By using open standards some companies are finding their licensing burden to be significantly reduced. But in order for such open standards to exist and continue to exist, we need a new approach to sharing ideas. I suggest that social bookmarking/publication sites[1] might be the beginning of a sharing/knowledge environment that encourages such an approach.

What this might mean for the v3 licence is that if companies [have] opened their hardware technology to competitors, then the remaining place they can make money is in service offerings, by enforcing some kind of lock in (private keys etc) for the sake of consistency between their hardware and the software that runs on it.

So I generally think that while the software should be modifiable and 'free' to everyone, preventing the possibility of commercial gain is a bad idea. With retail margins for common devices so small, my feeling is that the services are where most companies are making their crust now. If the kernel adopted v3 then where would that leave businesses wanting to use linux?

[1] is one experimental example I've come across.

Update 20th June: Linus had this eloquent statement to represent his point clearly

Update 21st June: We are reminded that Linus recently performed a quick pole of 30 primary maintainers of kernel code and for varying reasons, few dissimilar to Linus's own standpoint, all said that they would not support the adoption of the v3 license.

Update 30th June: GPL version 3 has been officially released!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Population control

This is the type of problem that we and our children are facing every day. Is it any wonder that there is so much depresion and heartache. After all, this type of solution goes 100% against our genetic inclination to continue the species. So we are faced not just with the day to day problems, but this increasingly overwhelming burden.

Whats even more scary, I've come to the conclusion that the fight to reduce emissions is not enough. Despite its fashionability, using this approach is a bit like a doctor prescribing drugs to ease pain. It doesn't really fix the cause, only treats the symptoms.

IMHO we should be looking to rebuild carbon sink areas and enhance the oxygen supply in our environment through whatever means necessary. In fact, did you know one of the nastier side effects of the temperature increases is the reduced absorption of oxygen? This is occurring worldwide in oceans, by plants, and in our lungs, just to name a few. What happens is the oxygen molecules exist in equilibrium with other chemicals, sometimes bound, and sometimes freed up into the air. This binding process used to occur naturally within the environment, but with all the pollution that we have generated, oxygen is being locked away into different molecules where it is no longer accessible. Some related links follow.

Wikipedia - Thermal_pollution
Columbia - Dissolved Oxygen rates
Oxygen Faqs - useful information
Modern emission rates compared

Another interesting note, is the amount of plastic in oceans. Used to be that the ocean was considered a great place for dumping stuff because the deep areas were so large that huge volumes of stuff could be disappeared and the depth would crush it up nicely... except that plastic tend to float... and often as it slowly degrades in the washing machine that is the ocean, it breaks down into really small bits... that sea life consume... that get fished... that we eat... I'm sure you can figure the rest out. The link at the beginning of this paragraph shows two areas several times larger than NZ that is full of plastic, hundreds of square kilometers of debris. Yuck.
Last updated 30-May-2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Movie review: The Weather Man

One of the best sentimental movies I have seen in a while. Somehow or other I related to the main charachter (played by Nicholas Cage). I'm not in the same situation as the plot lays out, but it definitely pushed all my buttons regarding fatherhood, family and separation.

Theres a good review at the bottom of this page

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Making sense of performance reviews

Maybe the boss has a sense of humor after all
4965.jpg (JPEG Image, 500x491 pixels)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Shift happens .... are you ready?

Shift happens .... are you ready?

Some inebriatingly scary facts about trends in information and technology, and the rise of the machines!

Advice to Young Men from an Old Man

best of craigslist : Advice to Young Men from an Old Man

I stumbled across this tonight. I'm sure I've read something similar before, but either way its pretty cool. Me, I'm young at heart :).

The wheels on the car go round and round...

..except when they get boosted from your car parked in your own driveway! This is exactly what happened on Saturday night to my flatmate!

I got up on Sunday morning and got DJ up, did the normal breakfast things, then for some odd reason went to check the mail... I know, I know, no mail on Sunday lol! As I walk out the front door, I think thats odd, theres too much daylight under the car. After looking a bit closer one of the wheels is ... square!

Um... not good. But wait theres more! The other wheel on that side is gone too, and after walking round the car, so are the rest! Three wheels on blocks, and the last on a new looking jack left behind!

"Hey buddy... come check this out." I call.

"Should I be worried?" he yelled back from the other side of the house.

"Umm... ...yeah."

Took him a couple of moments to figure out, then his jaw drops and he doesn't say much for a couple of moments. Of course this is followed by a few loud, four letter phrases, and then a few more. They even took the wheel nuts and the brace for the jack, which was sitting under the fourth corner of the car.

Anyway, suffice to say that he contacted the police. They told him to visit the station to make a report, and sadly they said that there was nothing they could do. Its not like the wheels had serial numbers on them or anything I guess. Its a shame though that they didn't take the time to visit and check for prints or anything else. The car was very carefully left on the blocks well off the ground.

Not only that, for some obscure reason they not only entered the car, but snapped the entire ignition barrel off, and took away all the debris! I mean, tidy theives? Who knew!

Another thing that bugs me is that this car was clearly set up for a wheelchair user. As his main form of transport, he is now stranded until he can sort out insurance and all the other things that go with replacing expensive nicked items.

To the well organized tossers who so carefully chose an early hour of the morning to do this job, SHAME ON YOU!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

How my blog got its name

Once upon a ti.... oh wait, thats for a make believe story. Well I've had several people ask about the name for this blog and so I decided to write it down. Not long before I started writing in here, I realized my digital camera needed more memory. The piddly on board memory block only carried up to 16 hi res pics at a time.

This as you can imagine got old really fast. I mean whats the point in having a great little peice of tech, with good batteries that last for ages, and you can only use it for 10 minutes before you need to download and clear it for more fun. So I wander to investigate various options for a memory stick.

Having made my selection, the next day I was off to the rose gardens and went a bit crazy, one might say snap happy! I took over 70 pics without realizing just what this would entail. I get home and download all the pics, many of which were great by the way, and discovered the joys of cataloging images :(. Not to long after that I did it again, and the rest as they say is history.

I started thinking about publishing a blog, and then I wanted to post some of the better pics, so here we are! Below is a sample of some more snap-happy goodness, enjoy!

PS: the programs I use for playing with the pics include digiKam, and Kflickr for uploading to my Flickr page

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

GUIs considered harmful

I was looking through some old folders and found this gem staring at me. For the uninitiated, a GUI is a graphical user interface, essentially that window you are looking at now is part of a GUI. The text is quite long for a blog post, so I found the following link.

"I am increasingly troubled by how many new applications are designed to
work solely under a GUI. While this may make some amount of sense for
people coming from the PC or Mac worlds, one of the strengths of Unix
has always been the ability to use it from anywhere."
Check out the date of authorship... over 14 years old, but still containing kernels of truth!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Flickr photo site

As some of you may have seen, I have put a new link on the side-board, that takes you to an online repository of my photos. These are all relatively low-res versions, because I'm a poor student who can't (read won't) fork out for a NZ$50 annual fee.

If theres anything there that you specifically like, make a note of the picture name, place a comment or drop me an email and I will post it here :).

Just for good measure, my repository can be found at

Friday, February 23, 2007

Kitchen diaries - The Fame Game

A fun movie
Who know the human voice was so flexible :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

After a while...

After a while...

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn...

Veronica A. Shoffstall

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Teddy bears picnic

We are off to the picnic at the Hamilton gardens today! DJ has no idea, but the day is stunning and I expect that the turnout will be huge! Better pack some snacks :).

Tell you what, I know its short notice, but this is running all afternoon, so if your keen, maybe we will see you there...

EDIT: Mon 19th
Well it looks like heaps of people decided the scorching day was no barrier. The atmosphere was pleasant, and the day was hot. Did I mention all the sun?! Moving right along :) heres some piccies for ya...

Notice how everyone is sticking to the shady spots? :)

Open concert goes off!

Yesterday I was privileged to watch The Chain perform an open air concert at at the Lakeside Court in the Hamilton Gardens. So far I have to say a real highlight of the Summer festival! Superb skills and a well pitched sound system brought out a great performance, which was appreciated by the strong crowd.

The Chain are a Fleetwood Mac experience. More about them here...

During the last song audience members flocked to the front, creating their own little mosh pit as the band showed us all how to dance it up. I hope the audience will forgive me posting the following photos, which show the fun :). DJ couldn't help himself, he had to get in on the action too!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Quick tour in the Renaisance garden

Just a quick look at the more well known aspects of the spectacular Renaisance gardens. I've posted pics of this place before, but quite frankly its just to good to leave. So here ya go!

Scenic landscape

This pic is from the main rose gardens at Hamilton Gardens, a nice spot for a picnic or just for the kids to run about!

This rose is gorgeous, Despite the simple flower, it arrives in masses and captures many of the best colours all in one show :)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wreck that Ferrari!

Shame on anyone who takes a Ferrari out for a spin without respecting the toy! At the bottom of this article is a link to additional pictures of exotic cars that have been wasted before their true value was realized. Thanks to Tony for the inspiration on this one :).

I myself have personally witnessed a Yellow Ferrari similarly mistreated. The poor sap of a driver had sprung out of the lights with too much gas, coming round the corner got a bit taily and mounted the curb, torpedoed up on top of a Corolla and Volvo in the adjacent supermarket carpark. Man was that lady customer pissed! And natch, the driver was not the owner. Seems that rear wheel drive takes a bit of getting used to...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Laughing Baby

Click this link to view an event that would make the highlight of any parents day, including myself! (movie download)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Well its been a while since I posted, but thats mostly because I've actually had some work! Mostly just installing PCs and securing them. It's all good experience, and the pays not bad either. And I get to play with some cool hardware!

I get on pretty well with the boss. He's been thinking up new projects for us to do so it could continue for a while :). I'm happy to be doing something at last too!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Andy McKee plays guitar

Raglan beach

Went to the beach last weekend with the folks and got a few photos of the surf you might like to see. My son had never seen the surf before, so he was pretty nervous, but he loved the sand and he got to play with his new bucket and spade, which delivered sand to all the most inappropriate places with rapid abandon!

The tide was just starting to pull out by the time we left the surf beach, which you can see here. There is just so much beautiful landscape that I was hard pressed to pick the best pictures, but for you here is a sampling.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hands vs Feet challenge

Try this!

  1. Lift your right foot, just off the ground.
  2. Start making clockwise circles with it.
  3. With your right hand, draw a six in the air.
  4. What is your foot doing now?
Its possible to keep your foot going in the right direction, but not always easy!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Busy bees...

A few cool pics of Mum & Dads garden on a warm spring day. Notice the bees buzzing about, almost so many that they were a problem that day!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Cool red

It was a bit cloudy and we just had some rain when I captured this rose, Just before it really opens up, into a large (~10cm) spread

Back into it...

Well the holidays are pretty much over, back into it!

I went for a trip with the folks to visit my sister down south yesterday. The sun was shinning, with a gentle breeze, and we saw heaps of neat scenery on the way. Didn't get a lot of photos, but there were a couple that worked kinda...

The wires in the background of the second pic are the power cables for the main trunk train line.