Address Book Smart Groups

Smart Groups in Address Book are crap. You are limited to less than 20 options. And Related Names isn’t in them, so I can’t do a lot with the data I have, in terms of Smart Groups. I need to be able to say:

People who (are in Group CSTA Database) and (Related Names: Referee > 0) Or, even simpler: People who (are in Group CSTA Database) and (Related Names: Gender is Male) I can get away with (Card contains Male), but this will also pick up anyone who happens to have Male in their name. At least it doesn’t pick up Females, that’s a start. Otherwise I’d just have to have a does not contain Female clause. However, the biggest kicker is not being able to refer to groups. I’d like to be able to have lists that get people who are in a particular group, but also have some other attribute. Oh, and I suspect that you cannot search using Spotlight, as this would require seperate files. Oh for the joyful days of BeOS, where people files existed, and you could just add extra attributes, as you chose. And then use queries (which, by the way, are much faster than Spotlight searches!) to find what you want. And it had the ability to create really complicated queries, really simply. And modify them easily to get exactly what you want. • While I’m on bitching about Address Book: I just looked through all of the Package Contents, and the HTML exporter seems to still use font tags. Ugh!

Don't Break My Data!

I was excited about the update to Missing Sync for Palm OS. Finally, it promised to link up Palm and iCal categories. This to me was a big reason to upgrade, since I seem to spend lots of time manually updating calendar items to be in the right category. It also promised better Address Book support. Including multiple addresses, birthdays, and support for Address Book groups. And that’s where it falls down. Multiple addresses are fine, as are birthdays. And groups work, kind of. The big issue is that it’s possible in Address Book for a contact to belong to multiple groups. In fact, I have contacts that are in about 6 groups. When one of these contacts is synched to the Palm, it chooses one of the groups, and assigns it to this. That’s okay, I have no issues with that. What shits me is that when it is brought back into Address Book, it now only belongs to this group. All of my hard work making sure all contacts are in the right groups is wasted. There’s a large difference between a one-to-one and a one-to-many or many-to-one correspondence. And contact vs. groups can clearly be a one-to-many. Obviously, in iCal, the behaviour is simpler, as an event can only belong to one calendar. And another thing. When I have an email address on iCal, I want it to be an email address on the Palm. Otherwise, when I try to IR it to my phone, it only takes the number part of the email address. ie: luser88@hotmail.com -> 88 in the phone. I think I understand why Mark/Space have set this up: PalmOS doesn’t distinguish between phone numbers and email addresses (other than email addresses get E-mail as their field name), so the simplest way to match up Work email and Home email is to just classify them as work and home, and parse the data on the reverse sync looking for the @ sign. Of course, this doesn’t help me a helluva lot.

How accurate is history?

I miss Adam and Wil on TripleJ’s breakfast, the new guys really don’t cut the mustard. But the one interesting thing I have heard them deal with is the debate about “Tom Price”, the mining town in WA.

Who was the person who actually discovered the Iron Ore there?

Was it Lang Hancock, or Bill Burns and Ian Whitcher?

Not that I really care, but this was only 40 or so years ago. There are people who are still alive who were involved in the discovery. So why is there so much uncertainty about what happens? It really makes me wonder how much of ‘ancient’ history is true.

How accurate were the records from 1914-18, let alone hundreds or thousands of years ago? How do we know we haven’t had the wool pulled over our eyes about thing in history?

I mean, Pythagoras didn’t really discover that theorem (the Egyptians knew about it all along), and Aristotle’s 4 humours held back medicine for centuries!

Similarly with the 4 elements and general science. And Fraud (intentional error) just made his results up, yet they have been treated as gospel. Don’t get me onto gospel!

Spam

Spam has become the bane of the connected world. Whilst it is simple for a human to be able to decide if an object (email, comment, trackback) is Spam, it appears that computers have a harder time of it. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that Spam exists at all. It relies on some sort of a payoff for the Spammer: for email Spam this must mean that people actually buy the crap they advertise. My Gmail Spam folder is bulging as we speak: I seem to get around 400 Spam emails per month. Almost all of these are automatically picked up by Gmail’s Spam filter - but this filter also picks up several Ham (or legitimate emails) in the average month. The majority of these are bounced emails: almost by default all bounced replies end up as Spam, since a common occurrence seems to be for Spammers to use real (other people’s) email addresses as the From: address, resulting in a whole bunch of Undeliverable Mail messages bouncing back to that person. Usually, this is not a problem, as most people I email I get the address right. However, as I have just taken over administration of a Sporting Organisation’s member list, I now get several bounced emails each time I do a mailout - I’m going through pruning addresses each time, but people’s addresses are often lapsing. Profit from comment and trackback Spam is a little different. Rather than getting people to buy things from them, these Spammers rely on clicks or links to make money. The second has been largely overcome in many circles by the rel=”nofollow” tag, however, unless use of this is universal, Spammers may still make money. The way linking makes money is largely by improving PageRank™, or prestige in Search Engines. The first one relies on users to click on links, and visit sites. If enough users do this, then it could concieveably make a significant amount of money for the Spammers. I’ve had some comment and trackback Spam where the URI isn’t even valid, so I’m not so sure how well this works for Spammers. I seem to have overcome the issues I had with comment Spam - just requiring users to have JavaScript activated seems to be enough for now. And if the Spammers catch on, then I’ll re-implement the catchpa. That leaves trackback Spam. This is the one that is causing me the most grief now. At least it’s not as bad as email Spam (in volume, anyway) on my blog. I’ll get around about 6-10 Spam trackbacks in a given month. I’m not sure how many Ham trackbacks I get - not too many, IIRC. I may turn trackbacks off, if I cannot come up with a decent solution.

Dumsfeld the Brave

Donald Rumsfelf is in town. You wouldn’t know it, not by the number of police floating around the Central Business District. Motorcycle cops on the corner near Adelaide High School. Other cars driving around the streets. And I haven’t even been down North Terrace yet… I am more than a little annoyed that we have been forced to virtually shut down the hub of our city, for a man that has been involved in several of the evil regimes that have run the USA in recent decades.

Clearly, Bumsford is a smarter man than his current boss (but I can’t think of too many people who aren’t, just quietly), but he has had his fingers in some pretty seriously smelly pies. In 1976, Ruttfield was instrumental in ensuring the US was safe from swine flu. He urged the president at the time to instigate a vaccination process. The US was safe from swine flu - but 52 people died from contaminated vaccine. Unfortunately, now the US is governed by swine. It’s a shame the vaccine didn’t work against Bush. Oh well.

The biggest irony of Roomseld’s career is that he was a significant contributor to Saddam Hussein’s build of military might. During the Iran-Iraq war, Rumbleford was, according to Wikipedia, _“the main conduit for crucial American military intelligence, hardware and strategic advice to Saddam Hussein.” _So Rimspot was at least in part responsible for helping to create the regime he and his mate’s son have now worked so hard to bring down. Or rather, try to bring down. (Chop off the head and the serpent falls? Doesn’t seem like it to me.)

I think the scariest thing about Roamstick is that he seriously believes that he, a member of Team America, really is part of the World Police. Now, it scares the heck out of me that those guys from _Southpark _are just right on the money. America! Fuck Yeah!

Update: My sub-editor tells me his name is Donald Rumsfeld. Sorry for any inconvenience or misunderstanding caused.

P.S. The whole idea for the spelling games was a typo the first time I wrote his name. Not that funny, I know…

More on the Melbourne Cup

Google.Oz (in reality, google.com.au) has a special Melbourne Cup image: After my last rantpost, this bugs me too.

Which Your?

One of my pet hates is the lack of knowledge about which your/you’re should be used in a particular context. From JB Hi-Fi’s website.

If your looking for batteries, headphones, plugs and leads or cleaning products, venture into any one of our stores and experience the JB - You’ve done it again philosophy.

Sony Headphones

I’m not totally happy with the standard iPod headphones. They don’t prevent much noise from outside, and they tend to make my ears sore after a few hours of listening. Quite by accident, I came across a review on Amazon.com for some Sony ‘in-ear’ headphones, that have silicon buds that actually seal quite well in the ear, increasing both comfort and noise reduction. I went into Sony Central in the city, and they have them, but at $99. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to buy $100 headphones.

submitter

submitter I noticed this when looking through my referers tonight. It appears to be a Spam Comment entering system. Nasty stuff, by the look of it! I hope someone who knows something can do something with/about this.

Bullshit Paperwork

I usually try to refrain from commenting on what is happening at my work, but I really need to get this off my chest. The school I work for is currently going through an accreditation process, known as CIASa.

Now, I have nothing against the noble ideals of meeting some international standards, but I think that either this system, or how we have interpreted it, has totally missed the point. I have, for example, just spent the last hour printing out edits to documents. Now, these edits are things as simple as adding a full stop to one sentence. And I have had to print out the whole page again. I have a personal objection to this purely on environmental grounds.

And it gets worse. Within my faculty, there are four staff, who by and large all teach the same material at Year 8 and 9. Our course outlines are the same, and apart from rare cases of ‘interesting’ classes, the cohort is pretty much standard. We have built into the course the ability for students with aptitude and ability to extend themselves, and for students with various difficulties to do simpler or less work.

Yet, we are required to print out copies of each of these, where the only differences are the names at the top. That’s right, I have to print out one copy for each of my Year 8 classes, even though I’m teaching exactly the same stuff to each of them. All that is different is the name of the class at the top. And my colleagues have to make similarly simple changes (like replacing my name with theirs, and the class names again), and print out a copy for each class they have.

This is useless busy work. I still haven’t finished all of the School References for my Year 12s who have finished, because I’m wasting time making minor, pointless edits to paperwork that I don’t even reference once I’ve done it. When we were visited by the initial person who gave us a whole lot of information about the process, he specifically said “this process will not create any extra work for you.” This is clearly false, as we have spent at least 37.5 hours (that we are able to count towards the requirement for our T&D; time) on this paperwork.

I’m not saying that all of the paperwork we have done has been a waste of time. Being a part of the group that helped to rationalise and justify our School’s Vision Statement (Philosophy and Objectives, in CIASa-speak) was actually quite an interesting process. It certainly was better than some other options that were available. But having to care that much about the date of a footer (or, rather, having to insert things like dates at all) annoys the hell out of me. As someone who likes to develop patterns and systems to make my life easier, following the suggestion of the great Pecky:

Don’t ever add the name of the school on the top of any of your handouts. Then you’ll just need to redo them when you move schools.

I followed this through to not adding dates to footers either. Unless in the development phase, where you need to know you are using the most recent version, if you have a simple document that is final, why bother dating it, and in the future, it shows up as being dated (in the perjorative sense, here). Just because something doesn’t change doesn’t make it not right. I’m sick to death of spending time doing this crap, rather than actually being able to teach, or learn new things to teach.