Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Developments on GEN3 and SANREN

According to the latest Rhodes IT minutes, they expect to increase their bandwidth radically:
4.5 Mbps of international bandwidth x a 35 fold increase in ... Internet bandwidth yields 155 Mbps - an OC3. In 2008! At least South Africa isn't too far behind the times ;)

Does this mean UCT will be getting a similar capacity, or something a little faster? Since we'll be near one of the cores of SANREN, hopefully things will be a bit better.

Also, ITWeb thinks SANREN will be a 10 Gbps network (presumably per link, not in aggregate). Note also the proximity to JINX - that should offload some of the transit requirements to direct peering. Also, the projected operational date is end 2008! (a bit earlier than previously thought, and also overlapping with GEN3's mandate with TENET).

Also also, the Infraco weirdness with cabling up the west coast to Europe and South America should matter a little less with the redundant path on SEACOM that TENET has purchased the rights to use.

So, perhaps academic and high speed networking in South Africa has a bright future after all?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


The final marks have been released for each subject; I have good, better, and best news:

The Good News - Maths
A first class pass, barely, with 76%.
Considering my year-mark was 72%, this is an excellent result. I think that the [optional] 80/20 exam/yearmark split worked in my favour :)

The Better News - Computer Science
Another first class pass, but much more convincingly this time: 91%.
That was good enough for me to be in joint 1st place with two others in my class (congratulations Mallin and Johan!)

The Best News - Electrical Engineering
Yet another first class pass, but I think those bonus marks available in the exam paper must all have stacked up, because I ended up with 100%!
Amusingly, many others in the class must have done nearly as well or better, since there were about 10 people with a 100% mark. Must...do...better...next...year...

Hopefully next year will be more of the same :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

More details on SGI's new graphics push

[ thank you insideHPC.com - keep it coming! ]

More from insideHPC on the SGI refocus on graphics:

Well, I know a little birdy who’s at IEEE Vis this week. He ran into the SGI engineer in charge of developing their next generation graphics platform. This is what the birdy told me in an email today

I asked him about their CEO’s comments about getting back into the visual supercomputing business. He said that they were developing a new visual supercomputer based on the x86 architecture (no surprise there) using Intel’s Larabee project. The likely target date for us to see this computer is 2009, which corresponds to when Larabee is due. Until then they plan to use ATI/NVidia graphics cards. He says that the CEO believes they can retake the high-end graphics market.

Interesting that SGI is using x86 for this and not Itanium, even with Intel's massively upgraded Itanicapabilities...

AMS-IX tops 350 Gbps

AMS-IX just keeps carrying more and more traffic. Their latest figures top 350 Gbps:

Take note Teraco / JINX!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Municipality infrastructure

[ [ [ James Carlini ] via MidwestBusiness ] via Casey Lide ] via David Isen
If your municipality isn’t looking at creative ways to develop new strategies that include having a state-of-the-art network infrastructure to support economic growth and development, they will be stagnating your property value and quality of life in your area . . . Simply put, the three most important words in real estate ('location, location, location') have turned into 'location, location, connectivity.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Some basic stats on Net Theory's popularity

Using Google's Webmaster Tools, I've discovered some interesting information on how the Net Theory blog is ranking on various [semi-]strange search queries:

ranksearch term
#3nets wikipedia
#4emotional cruelty
#6cell c number / cell c number portability
Roll on the crushing of the competition!

It's interesting to compare these results with the Daily Fail vs dailyfail issues experienced recently.

Dailyfail vs Daily Fail

It's interesting to compare the search results for The Daily Fail using two different search phrases:
dailyfail, which currently yields 2nd place.
daily fail, in which The Daily Fail blog doesn't rank at all!

Obviously the breaking space is significant. I've updated some content with both versions and we'll see how it plays.

Smart parking

An intriguing article in IEEE Spectrum's October 2007 edition, entitled "Smart Parking Systems Make It Easier to Find a Parking Space" talks about various high-tech approaches to parking issues in the USA.

The details on the parking indicators at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport are interesting to compare with Cape Town International's more coarsely-grained approach. I think that ACSA probably didn't:
  • think of it

  • want to spend $450 per bay
The details on the Fredericksburg, VA parking enforcement is quite intriguing, both for the security implications of the previous method (chalk marks!) and for the quaint, small-town feel (the first ticket is a warning, along with a map with locations of all six free parking lots and the one paid parking garage). Super LPR here we come!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS - party weekend

I'm sure this is completely co-incidental *cough*, but considering Ubuntu 8.04 LTS is scheduled for release on April 24th, can we expect some software-freedom partying to coincide with our Freedom Day partying?

April 27th 2008 is a Sunday, so Monday the 28th is a non-titled Public Holiday! A long weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Government envelopes (v)

South African Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri told FMTech that she is hopeful that InfraCo and SEACOM will be incorporated into the new Nepad cable project.
[thanks FMTech]
It's amusing (and simultaneously heartbreaking) to see the Department of Communications making their bid to control all of South Africa's external communication networks.

However, the framing of the statement indicates that Neotel has the go-ahead with SEACOM, else why would they want this project folded into the NBIN?

Stephenson <=> Protagonist

So I installed the Six Degrees Facebook app, and while browsing famous and/or interesting people I found that Neal Stephenson is friends with... Hiro Protagonist.


Talk about life imitating art. Or is that life intimating art?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sun's not very contrarian thinking

Since Sun seems to be treating the launch of their new T5x20 servers as the second coming (and it is, of Niagara, that is), why haven't they done the logical thing and proposed a Niagara/ClearSpeed combo?

Various reasons indicating such a combination would be in demand include:
  1. Power usage
    Since the ClearSpeed boards have approximate power consumption of 25-33 Watts (depending on model), adding two of the PCIe-8x boards to a a T5220 would only increase power usage by 66W with an aggregate 133 GFLOPS increase in computing power. Sun obviously believes stuffing ClearSpeed boards into their servers are a valid play: TIT's Tokyo Tech's TSUBAME cluster achieved a 24% speedup for a 1% increase in power usage.

  2. Floating Point performance
    Real World Tech's excellent article posits that the floating-point ratio in the instruction mix on the first Niagara iteration could exceed no more than 1%-3%. Clearly, the demand for floating point was sufficient to increase the resources dedicated to it from 1 FP unit per chip, up to 1 FP unit per core. Presumably further FP acceleration would be even more beneficial.
Of course, Sun might have more than a little trouble with the integration. Perhaps they might have more luck hooking up some ClearSpeed X620s into a Thumper...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In accordance with prophecy

And lo, it has come to pass that Part 3, Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act is finally being implemented. This has been much lamented for many years since it was tabled.
Amusingly, the heretics at Ars Technica point out:
Yet the law, in a strange way, almost gives criminals an "out," in that those caught potentially committing serious crimes may opt to refuse to decrypt incriminating data. A pedophile with a 2GB collection of encrypted kiddie porn may find it easier to do two years in the slammer than expose what he's been up to.

Seems like it's time to bring back / bring forth SFS (née VS3FS) [Citeseer]. Carl and/or Paul and/or Peter: where are you? *
With SFS you can at least claim:
  1. not to have incriminating data on your disk at all and, if that fails

  2. to have only mildly bad data on your disk - maybe a pirated eBook

It's easier than claiming you "forgot" your keys...

*(presumably Paul is still on the road from Damascus - no online presence detected...) (also note the biblical naming: Peter & Paul!?)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A companion blog

Dear faithful reader[s],

The Daily Fail, a new companion blog, has been started in order to keep up with the huge amount of stupidity out there in the dangerous world.

Please be careful. Regular reading of The Daily Fail will help you avoid becoming a statistic. Except that you'll be statistically more likely to read The Daily Fail:

Bolt-on PC

via [excuse the pun] Engadget

What's so interesting about the back of that LCD monitor you ask? Well, you're actually looking at the computer. VIA's VESA mounted vm7700 PC in fact, which converts any standard VESA display into a make-shift all-in-one PC. Completely fanless, the PC sports your choice of VIA C7 1GHz or Eden ULV 1.5GHz processors, up to 1GB of memory, optional 802.11b/g WiFi, and choice of standard 2.5-inch SATA disk or DOM (Disk on Module) supporting Linux or WinXP/XPe pre-loads. Hardware-based MPEG-2/4 and WMV9 acceleration turns the device into an instant digital signboard from which to advertise your gothic loathings about modern man.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Silicon Graphics on the comeback trail?

Thank you insideHPC.com
SGI: “We will be back in the visual supercomputing business”
I’m at the second day of IDC’s HPC User Forum today. Bo Ewald, SGI’s president, just said something I think is interesting
We will be back in the visual supercomputing business.
He bookended that by saying he wasn’t going to say anything else today, but that there would be more in the future.
Later in his brief he followed up that statement with this quotable quote
It was really stupid for the company to stop doing visualization types of things.

Heck yeah!

Friday, September 28, 2007

A true bad-ass

The story of a true bad-ass
A couple from Montana were out riding on the range, he with his rifle and she (fortunately) with her camera. Their dogs always followed them, but on this occasion a Mountain Lion decided that he wanted to stalk the dogs (you'll see the dogs in the background watching). Very, very bad decision...

The hunter got off the mule with his rifle and decided to shoot in the air to scare away the lion, but before he could get off a shot the lion charged in and decided he wanted a piece of those dogs. With that, the mule took off and decided he wanted a piece of that lion. That's when all hell broke loose... for the lion.

As the lion approached the dogs the mule snatched him up by the tail and started whirling him around. Banging its head on the ground on every pass. Then he dropped it, stomped on it and held it to the ground by the throat. The mule then got down on his knees and bit the thing all over a couple of dozen times to make sure it was dead, than whipped it into the air again, walked back over to the couple (that were stunned in silence) and stood there ready to continue his ride... as if nothing had just happened. Fortunately even though the hunter didn't get off a shot, his wife got off these 4.


Gateway launches its cool new iMac "One", with some decent specs.

The most interesting part? The combined AC adaptor & port replicator:

Now all of the [extra] cables can live out of sight.

Secret shadows

Thanks Bluesnews for the heads-up:
Bits & Pieces - Secret Shadow

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Best militaryphotos.net thread evar!!1

From this classic MP.net thread
Anyone of you guys know what pants Leonardo Di Caprio is wearing in the movie "Blood Diamond"?


The responses are brilliant, ranging from "extreme attention to detail" to "get real" (and beyond).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Columbia to be punished for hosting the new Hitler

Interesting reading at Marc Parent's blog
All of the hysteria over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speaking at Columbia University is so tiresome for so many reasons, beginning with the fact that it is all rather transparently motivated by exactly what Juan Cole says: "The real reason his visit is controversial is that the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state."

More good comments in the blog post.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Undersea talks 'remain fluid'

Anupreeta Das, I salute you!
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Google Inc is in early talks to join a group looking to lay a high-speed, trans- Pacific undersea cable that could potentially lead to the Internet company becoming an investor in the project, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The potential undersea fiber-optic investment could reflect Google's recent push to provide Internet-based services to businesses, since companies have lower tolerance for service interruptions and have offices around the world, the Journal reported on its Web site, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The discussions remain fluid, the Journal reported.

(Reporting by Anupreeta Das)
[emphasis mine -Al]

Friday, September 21, 2007

Folding@Home > 1 PetaFLOPS

Checking the Folding@Home stats you can see that this distributed computing effort now tops out at over 1 PFLOPS, currently sitting at ~1.1 PFLOPS.

Mmmm, and costing a lot less than the NCSA's new toy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Facebooks $10m 'fund'

You may have read reports of Facebooks US$10m fund.

After much praising of the "fbfund"'s less onerous conditions (no equity required) as compared with traditional vernture capital, we find hidden away near the end of the article the following nugget:
Accel Partners and The Founders Fund will have the right of first refusal to provide future venture capital financing to companies.
So they do want equity after all (via their right to provide venture capital financing), but only on the successful companies. I wonder if the tax implications are better this way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fool me twice...

Shame on you, SABC.

Don't we already pay for the content you produce? [hint: tvlice...]

But now we'll have to pay to watch it again on a Pay TV channel, where we're already paying a premium. And are we expected to believe SABC won't use the extra viewership figures to punt their timeslots to the advertisers? Or will the Pay TV outfits be free to replace the adverts?

This is an established player using market dominance and manipulating slight legal obligations into a stick with which to beat new entrants.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monderman's ideas implemented

Wired wrote about Hans Monderman's traffic engineering a while back in their 12.12 issue.

And now it turns out that Bohmte in western Germany is the second town after Drachten to implement his Shared Space design [Reuters].

View Larger Map

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Signs of the times


[culled from this Digg thread, and check out Ned Flanders St]

Brilliant comments

Ace reader comments on this ITWeb article: Cable require local ownership
The ownership of the international cable company cannot be dictated by the South African government as the cable lies in international waters. It is curious that the government does not think that Intelsat should be owned by South Africans as it provides international satellite capacity to South African broadcasters and telecoms companies.
If every country where a cable lands demands local majority ownership, there will be no cables.

Take that! Slash, parry...

South African Landing Rites

From a recent allAfrica article:
South Africa's decision to nationalise its landing rites is also expected to affect the East Africa Submarine cable (EASSy).
No wonder SEACOM and EASSy are so confused. What strange magick is the government practising in order to confuse the ICT sector?

I predict we will soon have to rename all accounts with UID==0 as beetroot.

[available at allafrica.com as of 11-09-07]


Some people really do lust after vehicles (especially the photog in the white shirt playing with his...lens).

But if they're driving one of these new Lamborghinis, at least they won't be guilty of sloth. Although, come to think of it, they'd probably inspire a lot of envy. And they'd probably be guilty of avarice in order to amass the needed $1,600,000. Yes, really that much.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Google Reader finally gets search

Considering Google's mission statement, it's taken way to long for search to make it into Google Reader.

But it is great news, because now I can search with a little more direction when I remember that I read something about it waaaay back.

Updated: And the maximum count of unread items has been raised to 1000, this filters up to the top level too, so you can see exactly how much you have to catch up on.

Wheels within wheels

A Second Life art-installation / mash-up by a fabjectory (fabbed+object+factory) that uses rapid prototyping machines to create real life objects from the avatars and sculptures that people make in SecondLife, using a Second Life copy of a real life mash-up of a Science Fiction story about people using fabjectorys to make their real life better.

[I forgot to mention that this is today's tongue twister]

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Considering Kenya's past involvement with the FBI, it seems a bit strange to name their new national backbone NO FBI! And the three main contractors are all Chinese!

[Insert more scare tactics here...]

Monday, September 03, 2007

AMS-IX breaks 300 Gbps

AMS-IX finally breaks the 300 Gbps mark.

And they'd been stuck on 287 Gbps for so long I thought there was an infrastructure-related limit.

Considering they announced reaching 250 Gbps in February, this implies a compound growth rate of about 3.5%-4% per month.

[And from a presentation POV, interesting to note that the new baseline is not 0, but 100 Gbps! This is more than any exchange not in the top 5!)

Oh, shoot!

Walking home on Friday, I nearly got hit in the noggin by flying dog poop!

The man in 27 Grotto Road stuck his head up and uttered a strangled "...sorry...". Yes, he stuck his head up after he threw his dog's by-product willy-nilly into the road. Hear this road-cleaners and councilmen! [not to mention those who drive convertible cars]

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Follow Freeman!

[via BestPicEver]

One slip and you're...

[via Schneier - hey that rhymes]
[and the word verification was spsfuql]

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sorry kids

No Christmas this year.

[credit - Reuters/Chile]

and then

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


See that sign? Don't go too fast! Bad motorists.
[Returning on Ou Kaapse Weg from a New Years Day celebration]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I saw this and I almost cried.

The Dark Side of the Rings of Uranus

Actually it's a scientific paper:
The rings of Uranus are oriented edge-on to Earth in 2007 for the first time since their 1977 discovery. This provides a rare opportunity to observe their dark (unlit) side, where dense rings darken to near invisibility, but faint rings become much brighter. We present a ground-based infrared image of the unlit side of the rings that shows that the system has changed dramatically since previous views. A broad cloud of faint material permeates the system, but is not correlated with the well-known narrow rings or with the embedded dust belts imaged by Voyager. Although some differences can be explained by the unusual viewing angle, we conclude that the dust distribution within the system has changed significantly since the 1986 Voyager spacecraft encounter and occurs on much larger scales than has been seen in other planetary systems.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Marks Malarkey

Another semester, another episode of Computer Science marking malarkey.

My marks were "raised" first by two, then by an additional six marks. That matches and topss my last such - six marks for back in 2007H1 vs a total increase of eight this time around!

But that's not all. Some poor soul had an additional ten(!) marks found in their test. They went from 15 (50%) to 25 (83%). That's from nearly failing to receiving a first. Keep in mind that they didn't do anything extra after the test. Those marks were just lying there waiting to be found, like gold nuggets.

Mmmmm, gold.

Lowest SXW shot yet

This is the lowest landing I've seen at SXW yet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I call shotgun!

Internet service providers in the U.S. experienced a service slowdown Monday after fiber-optic cables near Cleveland were apparently sabotaged by gunfire. [Emphasis mine -Al]
The report then goes on to name three different ISPs/NSPs that were affected:
Don't these people have redundant circuits? Does Level3 have cheap non-protected circuits on offer? Or are some networking companies smart enough to build their own infrastructure on Level3's dark fibre and yet simultaneously dumb enough to not protect that same infrastructure? Wow.

Alternatively, it's a great excuse for more Cogent de-peering *ahem*...
(thanks PCWorld / Yahoo!)

Game over man, game over!

(thanks Hudson and PCNews.ro)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


(thank you SFGate via militaryphotos.net)
There's no mistaking which branch of the military Nicholas Popaditch served with -- his prosthetic eye is embedded with the Marine Corps emblem. Popaditch, a retired gunnery sergeant and tank commander from San Diego, was wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade in Fallujah, Iraq. He lost his right eye and most of the vision in his left.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Supplier Ca-noodling

Couldn't resist the headline when I saw this AP story on purported price-fixing in the Chinese instant noodle (Ramen) industry.

The report came amid a nationwide probe into whether price-fixing or hoarding by producers is to blame for a 15.4 percent jump in food prices in July over the year-earlier period. The government accused violators of damaging social stability. [emphasis mine - Al]
and finally buried at the end of the article on Page 2, a better discussion of the real issue: collusion of the producers:

"Some industry groups have organized coordinated price rises," the agency said in an Aug. 3 statement. It said the collusion "influences social stability." [emphasis mine - Al]

There's that delicate social stability again.

Cheers China! Where everybody knows your name...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Follow-up on Blackle

Dear interweb (and Faceweb too),

You might remember my recent post on Blackle, in which I questioned the utility of said site in fostering more efficient energy consumption.

Well, none other than Google herself (itssself) has now weighed in on this matter, in an Official Google Blog post entitled "Is black the new green?".

That post confirms a few points from my original post:
  1. Blackle is not affiliated with Google

  2. They do use the Google Custom Search Engine (thus potentially earning money on AdSense)

  3. A black background doesn't save money (they list some articles, including the WSJ)

I'm glad to see that Google felt the need to back me up on this...

Torvalds on OoO

NB - not OpenOffice.Org

Linus Torvalds on Via's new Isaiah / CN:
I really don't understand why some people are so against
OoO. Is it more complex than in-order? Of course!
But it's still better than the alternatives (one of which
is: "you can't sell it because it's too slow").
I may not be a CPU designer, but dang, I could play one on

Monday, August 06, 2007

Aug. 6, 1945: 'I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Worlds'

Saw this in the morning feed:

Aug. 6, 1945: 'I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Worlds'

and realised I'd forgotten how long it had been since this actually happened - over 60 years! And they didn't have shiny new [$200m super]computers to do the calculations.

Quite interesting that the NCSA - one of the US groups that actually have the word in their name is finally coming back to prominence after what seemed to be a period of being eclipsed by the National Labs.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Blackle sheep

Many of my friends have been urging me to use Blackle, punted as an energy-conscious alternative to the standard Google frontpage.

However, contrary to what many assume or desire, it is not run by Google themselves.

Blackle.com is registered to:
PO Box 4078
Castlecrag, New South Wales 2068
and was registered through and runs on GoDaddy servers, on GoDaddy's network [AS26496 or via whois].

And it wraps a Google Custom Search, so Mikibo make a small percentage of the ad-money involved.

Interestingly, Mikibo is "a free service providing tools and information to help you lose weight, get fit and stay healthy". So they want to increase the amount of energy that people burn! And decrease it simultaneously! Oh the paradox!

Is there a moral to all of this? Should we blindly ignore common sense and venture outside, leaving behind Google's energy-wasting white page, into the great outdoors? Or should we all just upgrade to LCDs (ironically returning a Google Answers - since "gone black" itself - result in the #1 spot)? Although the white backlight is constantly on, the overall power usage is much lower. I'd like one (note the energy-saving nature of the black background to the pic):

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gigantic flash drive

I make this post knowing that, in a few years, people might look back on it and laugh.

But I just couldn't help getting excited at having a 'gigantic' flash drive:

Yes, just that single folder is nearly 24 GB. The truth is that there was a terrible dismounting accident and the entire folder ended up full of corrupt entries (rudely named & undeletable).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Publish your location live to the web / Google Earth

(from Ogle Earth)

GMap-Track does KML

Monday, July 23, 2007 (19:28 UTC)

If you're using GMap-Track to publish your location live to the web, here's a quick cool hack in anticipation of the release of the API. A GMap-Track URL can return KML instead of a Google Maps-based placemark, like so:


Just be sure to first wrap that inside a network link, like so. Voila, now you can find out where your friends have been recently when you log onto Google Earth. (Thanks to GMap-Track's Cristian Streng for for the tip.)

A sort of real-life weblog...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mosaic Law

Does Mosaic Law imply an </i> for an <i> ?

Friday, July 20, 2007

A new take on the bureaucracy

So maybe those civil servants have excuses for their behaviour after all...

A man with an unusually tiny brain managed to live an entirely normal life despite his condition, caused by a fluid buildup in his skull, French researchers reported on Thursday.

Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed that a huge fluid-filled chamber called a ventricle took up most of the room in his skull, leaving little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue.

"He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant," Dr. Lionel Feuillet and colleagues at the Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseille wrote in a letter to the Lancet medical journal.

Thank you Reuters.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sorry for the inconvenient truth

We all know that "construction" leads to global warming, right?

Perhaps that is the inconvenient truth to which they are trying to "reefer"? (giving new meaning to the "green" movement)

Perhaps they need to hire some new sign-writers.

The picture was taken this past week at Pick 'n Pay Rondebosch. The construction being referred to is the new parking deck and slip road in the notoriously-congested parking area behind Rondebosch Village and Fountain Centre. This will probably be great in the long run.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cavendish Fire Trouble

Since the road between Cavendish Square and The Link (soon to be a.k.a. Cavendish Connect) is by now a de facto construction zone, there has been some protection for those customers daring to use the entrance closest to Vineyard Rd - a series of containers joining the entrances of the two above-mentioned buildings with a hole in the middle to allow ingress/egress.

However, in the last few days, the containers have been moved around, so the passage leads directly along the side of Cavendish Square. And, thoughtfully (or more likely kicking-and-screaming), another hole has been cut in the side of the container so that anyone using the Fire Exit would not be blocked by the placement of the container, and would actually be able to escape. However, there is one small factor that has been overlooked - the floor level of the container is high enough to preclude the Fire Exit doors from opening properly.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bonds with beards

I caught a trailer for Golden Compass the other night, as well as the shocking image of Daniel Craig mit Bart.

I was struck by his similarity to...well, to something that I couldn't quite remember. It took me an hour or so to remember that Timothy Dalton also put on a beard and a waistcoat for a movie, and it took me but a few seconds to whip out the phone and check imdb for a few possibles and yes, here it is: American Outlaws.

And just a few more seconds this morning to find a pic of Dalton - playing detective Allan Pinkerton - with a facewarmer:


And of course, this post wouldn't be complete without realizing that many other Bond actors have had movies roles with beards:

Roger Moore (possibly as Dobbs in The Quest)

Pierce Brosnan (as/in Robinson Crusoe)

and of course no list would be complete without Connery as...well, as Sean Connery:

PS For the completists - I couldn't find a picture of a bearded George Lazenby. If you send one in, I'll update this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Torvalds on optimization

(from the ever-excellent RWT forums - a post on Barcelona optimization)
David Kanter (dkanter@realworldtech.com) on 5/11/07 wrote:
> .. it's also not clear how much you really get by using
>stack manipulations versus the alternatives. Is this a 1-2%

Ehh. Do you think there exists any other kind?

Everything wrt instruction selection and scheduling is
about 1-2% tweaks. How do you think you get to 10-20%

There are no silver bullets. The way you get to good
performance is by making sure each part is as good as
it can reasonably get.



Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tony Soprano vs Pablo Francisco

Hmmmm, is this life imitating art?

This - Exploding device kills man near Vegas casino

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- A homemade bomb left on the top of a car in a casino parking garage exploded early Monday, killing a man who tried to pick it up, authorities said.

The blast shortly after 4 a.m. left a 12-inch hole in the man's car on the second floor of the garage behind the Luxor hotel-casino, authorities said. A woman with the man was standing nearby but escaped injury.

The man, who had just finished his shift at a hot dog stand inside the casino, was considered to be the target, though police don't know why.


This - Little Tortilla Boy


from Year 2038 problem
Using a (signed) 64-bit value introduces a new wraparound date in about 290 billion years, on Sunday, December 4, 292,277,026,596. However, this is not widely regarded as a pressing issue.
Oh those wacky editors! Let's hope no-one notifies the Humor Police

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The internet consists of six servers

At least, according to Creamer's Engineering News it does.

Previously, third- and second-tier ISPs, such as MWeb, had to connect to first-tier ISPs, such as the South African Internet Exchange and Internet Solutions, from where their traffic was relayed by Telkom to either London or New York.

Only then were they connected to the global Internet, which consists of six large servers [emphasis added].
At least they realise that large servers would be needed. Roll on IBM!

And some documentary evidence, once the [inevitable] edit [hopefully] happens:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Holy Hand Grenades, Batman!

That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!

And it's alarmingly close to campus!

Consult the Book of Armaments!

The problems with custom numberplates

If you're going to do something bad:

then don't get custom plates.
[yes, this is private property - a parking lot at UCT]

I guess if the local traffis' get their act together like their up-country brethren, then that plate should be changed to just "KY WP"...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter shopping

A picture of some of the queues at the Pick 'n Pay in Kenilworth Centre over the recent Easter weekend.

Telkom wire it up

Apparently Telkom came to the UCT campus to upgrade our Intertubes. Notice the extremely high capacity wires they will be installing:

As to why they seem to be attached to the engine - the reason is obvious. Telkom is planning to rev up [oops - wrong rev] our linespeed.

And a closer look at that wire:

To those that suggest that Telkom is merely using the vehicle's battery to power some sort of torch, I can only laugh (at Telkom)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Firefox, Novell client, and Microsoft ISA, oh my!

If you want to access Internet resources from within UCT, you traverse some sort of proxy server.
For "performance reasons" UCT now use Microsoft ISA instead of Novell BorderManager.

UCT is reasonably enlightened, Mozilla Firefox is pre-installed.
Hello? 1.0.8? Heckfire that's old!
In fact, 1.0.8 was released after the sunset announcement for the 1.0.x line.

So why not install or even Gran Paradiso 3.0 Alpha 3 (handy-dandy LEG mirror for the UCT-enabled)? It works fine and most of the intranet stuff supports Firefox well.


Since we are using generally using NT 5 (er...Windows XP), ISA ends up trying to authenticate with the local workstation credentials, which are pretty useless as we don't login to the local workstation with our UCT credentials, but rather some stub account. So when you try surfing, you end up with an endless amount of popups asking for credentials for ISA. You can type in the correct[ed] version of your username and password, but even asking Password Manager to remember the password does not help.

The trick is to open the hardcore configuration (go to about:config) and search for network.auth.use-sspi and disable it. Then enter the username/password combo once and let it be remembered.

Et voilá!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Stolen PC phones home

Looks like my stolen PC just phoned home after a spell of chilling out somewhere...

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Geneva UCT Jet d'Eau

In a surprise move to ensure all of the watering of the garden beds was complete before 10h00, the maintenance services decided to bring a little bit of Switzerland to South Africa, et voilá:

The Leslie Commerce parking lot (oh, and the gardens too) receiving a proper drenching. Pity the poor motorcyclists that had parked out of the way of the automobiles, only to be soaked by this ode to l'eau.

Maybe it is some sort of subtle Objectivism reference: it is outside of the Commerce building after all...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Something old, something new

(from Bruce Sterling's Flickr photostream from his Turin trip)

It has a cute little woven basket because it's an ITALIAN Segway.

McDonald's committed to a healthy lifestyle

I snapped this picture at McDonald's in Cavendish Square in Claremont.

Since McDonald's has now embarked on a healthy lifestyle campaign in order to hold down negative publicity.

And you can see that they are really committed to it...except that the top magazines are over 2 m up, and that they are tucked behind a column next to the entrance to the counter / service area.

In all fairness, Mcdonald's biking is not such a ludicrous idea

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wikipedia's lamest edit wars

If you have half an hour to spare on silliness, check out Wikipedia's Lamest Edit Wars!

Including this priceless classic:
Guinea pig
Slow, simmering edit war between anons as to whether guinea pigs had no need to jump and climb in the natural environment in which they were created, or in the natural environment in which they evolved.