Classical Music.

I’ve listened to ABC Classic FM almost exclusively for a year or two now, and it struck me the other day how much classical music the average young person is exposed to. Surprisingly much, but most of it is film scores. I challenge a week to go by without hearing some ‘classcal’ music. If we count The Simpsons theme, I’d change that challenge to a day!

Windows DVD

The school year is coming to a close. Activities week is in full swing, and with the appalling weather this morning, the planned game of Soccer was cancelled (can’t have the kids getting struck by lightning, after all). I had [spooks] in my bag, ready to return to the library, so I thought, the kids (all 5 of them, in the end) could watch my favourite show.

Step 1. Put DVD into drive.

Step 2. Connect Projector to PC.

Step 3. Wonder why Windows doesn’t automatically start Windows Media Player.

Step 4. Try second disc. Windows Media Player starts.

Step 5. Wonder why video is garbled, audio is absent and WMP crashes after 30 sec of playing.

Step 6. Try to install InterActual player.

Step 7. Wonder why InterActual player cannot find the audio device (everything else seems to be able to).

Step 8. Download newer version of Inter Actual player.

Step 9. Get a slightly better error message, but be unable to fix problem due to user restrictions (and I am a Power-User)

Step 10. Let the kids go on the ‘net instead.

Book Review: Caution! Wireless Networking.

I didn’t originally plan to write a review for this book, but after devouring it in one sitting (I should have gone to sleep…) it did have some points I thought were worth discussing. I do not have a wireless network (I’m still not entirely sure why WiFi - what’s Fidelity got to do with a digital data system?) but I do know a fair bit about TCP/IP networking, and ethernet. My home network is all 100baseT, and all of the cabling & setup was done by me. Chapter 1 was pretty informative - I for one didn’t really know about the incompatibilities between 802.11a & 802.11b, for instance. Chapter 2 was more ‘general networking’ - I for one could have skipped it. I guess if you didn’t know the difference between a router and a hub, or between DHCP & FTP then it would be more useful to you. Chapters 3-6 would realistically be about enough to enable someone to begin hacking a WLAN. Chapter 3 was a bit light on real info - it is more an overview of crackz/warez culture, but the others were chock-full of tips on how to break into a WiFi network. I for one never really thought that connecting to an access point could in itself be somewhat fraught with danger. The remainder of the book deals with virii, WLAN security & troubleshooting. Obviously the point of the book is how to protect a network, and I think there is a lot of stuff that everyone setting up a WLAN should know. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of mis-information, possibly with the exception of changing MAC addresses - I thought this was relatively easy to do! I’m sure even an Xbox can change it’s MAC. It strikes me that some sort of SSL-like system, with keys instead of passwords, would be better. I for one dislike passwords, even though I have a pretty good memory for obscure numbers & combinations of letters. This too could prevent spoofing, by encrypting all data. An attacker would be unable to correctly generate valid packets. I for one would like to see better adoption of encryption & verification across the wired world. In the spirit of this, here is my public PGP key! —–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—– Version: GnuPG v1.2.4 (Darwin) mQGiBEFs64ERBACBdiB0d9kE3xhRG1PqOIpx1BQeRRv8LxNq30Gme6Q2sr4pp7SV ZnAJCXnbM9yphXojycWhEwHHpBxuMrXP5YkWNxK0Vu8/rKZ5eHThCf5My4yRdo41 ATE+oDNVdeAi/AqIR0DGgdhUbJ+wa7az79xMexWInqHXy7aCVKUTTqKLYwCgoTct RmPw67RR4GX33bjSchIVcKUD/jUFvMg52zX70pWq/t1HvrTFIwWXQ0MrTn7GLzyC oyM8miZjpBgWma+Q1Fxk6RAnjfcB+1G7M8FVYmpyjLiEApuAQZPnKm+ljMWu+49s 1BQ6RcHnFH4xke0bR7Uow+HNgiujcQyR21aPBQfBBX4pIz//6zqO9swx9qm25lcr qsKiA/9O+E3HluLRw9IXFUyL4Tt1CJcokxmlE+enN1ItYpxcLTbM/0jvID4A04+m gUr/gG64hbOagAwHK5zgX+S1La4fDMvE5u/+9JcjPB7Wu9bSMNoFnHcYNg36E3m4 5N5onAm9Ug2VY6inGujl9Bb9wX9wF2D+PfwLdbySqGnwXnfTrLQmTWF0dGhldyBT Y2hpbmNrZWwgPG1hdHRAc2NoaW5ja2VsLm5ldD6IYQQTEQIAIQIbAwYLCQgHAwID FQIDAxYCAQIeAQIXgAUCQWz+vgIZAQAKCRBA0AanULPEZ3ZrAKCep0wuxnFe4Y3s Ss4WEAgGvE5/MQCgk/iraP0KLn8UnRKIhqB3WXvEG2aIXgQTEQIAHgUCQWzrgQIb AwYLCQgHAwIDFQIDAxYCAQIeAQIXgAAKCRBA0AanULPEZwjRAKCeGWU+ndSPi8p8 1tPUAUFjhvAolwCdHSikf9vlSpPOqksDgZGe5V0fkT60LE1hdHRoZXcgU2NoaW5j a2VsIDxtYXR0LnNjaGluY2tlbEBnbWFpbC5jb20+iF4EExECAB4FAkFs/tsCGwMG CwkIBwMCAxUCAwMWAgECHgECF4AACgkQQNAGp1CzxGeXDQCgjyXXRbrB9iqB5IAR gaR2As1eYAYAoI/4d2XgY65w60b76txicn/o2oA7tDJNYXR0aGV3IFNjaGluY2tl bCA8bWF0dC5zY2hpbmNrZWxAb3B0dXNuZXQuY29tLmF1PoheBBMRAgAeBQJBbP7x AhsDBgsJCAcDAgMVAgMDFgIBAh4BAheAAAoJEEDQBqdQs8Rn0ZMAn18z/JhbkmTu GD86rY73ynchTUrbAJsEyqnFTe+n7iJg2G3kJQTSmud3RbkBDQRBbOuEEAQAngC+ 5hO8JVx1OogzSR7jeRZ/3vXbvTlUwxpE0q8/oiEtKfCrPbkSvQRGIRRqZVJx6cQ4 318dt4SJmMRRpDK8wuCJzhstW2B+AB/nseZZbozGZ86PT33JB1T3PJ9oN5Lw8eT6 0j5vQX/yExi63sh+pnFfietKSsztbTXHKjFmF1MAAwUD/2ClCxy6IE/G4EgXx2IJ Hah3FFH7kMiR3heFKrx0okS1shJC4WZMIbPatwzTDXH0E9XYOLZG5Jb2cqEZwlL1 o+9aQU1cbtGqTQFAZSbeev0WshZkFePJfC9xIJc96vKAnQWJjRnJH5ZRlpsuCp7A TQnBUQf76uxA3iWGZ5+uTaYliEkEGBECAAkFAkFs64QCGwwACgkQQNAGp1CzxGfb mQCdHEaG/eu1D3ohpAzwKDPUuHe9l0EAn3aG5WGTw311tsrilcoVndsMSJdG =CA7T —–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–In closing - this book is almost a must-read for anyone using or developing a wireless network.

The Playlist Meme.

From The Tao of Mac, my next 10 tracks randomly from iTunes.

  1. Open up the music player on your computer.
  2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
  3. Hit the “shuffle” command.
  4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That’s right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It’s time for total musical honesty. You can put the list in the comment thread, or write it up in your blog or journal and then post a link in the comments.
  5. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don?t have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you’d like.
  1. Enchanted Farm / Forbidden Five / Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 11: Organs In Orbit
  2. Tonight (King Britt’s Sexy Mix) / H-Foundation / The Chillout Session Summer Collection 2004
  3. Desafinado / George Michael / Ladies & Gentlemen : The Best Of George Michael
  4. Ocean Beach / Talbot And White / United States Of Mind
  5. Opus 40 / Mercury Rev / Deserter’s Songs
  6. Cruel Summer / Bananarama / Bananarama
  7. The Tower Of Learning / Rufus Wainwright / Poses
  8. Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 op. 46 In der Halle des Bergkönigs / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Karajan Festival
  9. Sunday 8pm / Faithless / Sunday 8pm
  10. Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1043: II. Largo ma non tanto / Bach (Composer) / Unknown
  11. Dub Be Good To Me / Beats International / The Mix

Fat Stuff.

Two items in this week’s NewScientist: One that some people ‘‘Do not respond to exercise”. I think this is quite a dangerous statement - it gives people an easy out. “I did exercise, but it didn’t help me”. The other is also sobering - nearly half of all people who receive liposuction are fatter within a couple of months after the surgery than they were before. I’d like to see some follow-up data from Extreme Makeover!

Halo 2

I finished Halo 2 last night. The last level was pretty tough - well, the bit where you have to kill the brute with the big hammer, anyway. But it was a bit of a letdown - I was expecting Master Chief (anyone else think that’s a stupid name?) to have to do some combat back on Earth at the end. I also had to drop back to easy at some point, although I’ll now try to ramp up the difficulty and finish it on harder levels.

note: I’ve turned off pingbacks to this post, as it was getting hammered today.

Wonderful Town.

Jaq bought me a book while she was in New York: “Wonderful Town: New York stories from The New Yorker.” It reminds me more than a little of stories by O Henry. Just the feeling of the stories - they feel like the always awake city, even though they are generations apart. I’ve never read the New Yorker, although I may start in the near future, so all of the tales are new work to me. (Sidetrack: I used to think the road signs saying “NEW WORK” said “NEW YORK” when I was about 4. My sister had taught me to read, and I guess I wasn’t perfect at it yet!) The foreword was illustrative - I almost enjoy reading what authors & editors say after they’ve written the books more than I like the books themselves. David Remnick, the editor of this volume & the magazine, obviously loves the city as much as the authors who follow him. New York (so good they named it twice - just like Wagga Wagga!) apparently is an amazing place. For me, the biggest tragedy of the Al-Quieda attacks (which occurred months after the publication of this book) was that it may have changed the city that never sleeps. Maybe, and I suspect this, NYC will not only survive but thrive. Anyway, I’ll post excerpts, reviews and the like as I read through.

Rapid Manufacture.

One of the subjects I teach at school is Computer Aided Design (& Manufacture, if the facilities allow). I’ve done a bit of CNC machining in my time (nothing real, mind you, but a few toy things made here and there). There is a cool article on wired about where things might go, next generation. I’d love to have one of these in my workshop, or even study at home!


I’m not the only person publishing their novel on a blog as they post: Le Spirale Fantastique is a novel that an Indian fellow is writing, but he’s doing something a little cool - if you use a quote from his novel, and link it back to his novel, he will link that quote to your website. See if you can find my link - I’ve actually used the quote as part of my novel.

Writing Style under different conditions.

I seem to write differently lying on the couch using my Palm to how I do typing at the keyboard. I wonder if anyone could read the novel and work out which bits were written on Palm, and which on Mac.