Monthly Archive for April, 2007

Cracked 140,000 views!

The last few months has seen the views on my gradually tick over since the flood after the . Well today it seems I’ve cracked 140,000 views. The greatest thing of late has been the flood of comments protecting me against those scum 12 year olds that were dissing me. I think the says it best when at one point he says “this is like reading youtube comments!”.

Oh and no one mentioned geekiest part about the video. I’m wearing an shirt.

WiiSaber 140000 views

Aussie pride

There’s something about the culture in Australia, that when one of our own makes it big outside our little confines we show immense pride. Some examples that spring to mind are , , and especially .

A moment that defines this for me was watching that incredibly American-centric film, , at the cinemas. When the credits are about to roll and they show their token around the world shots (just to show us that ), everybody in the cinema cheered when they saw the alien ship wrecked in Sydney. They haven’t forgotten us we all thought.

This is why I find it amusing that when Techcrunch a prank on Jimmy Wales by the very funny guys at , all the Aussies in. It seems that we’re very good at making sure that any kind of publicity doesn’t go astray.

Tech community and Bob Dylan

I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds and often finding myself having to zoom through them, only briefly reading a few that catch my attention. just caught my attention. Not because of the discussion about GPLv3 and backwards compatibility, but because of the Dylan quote at the end, naming him as a famous poet (which is the subject of some debate).

Now anyone I know can attest to my Dylan fanaticism but my interest stems from my father, who grew up with Dylan at his peak. It seems, however, that the tech business has a fascination with Dylan. Jobs plays his songs at any opportunity in his keynotes, and and referred to him constantly in the Gillmor Gang. What is it about Dylan that the tech community loves?

SMS spam that I can’t get out of?

The other day I received this SMS from my carrier ().

Optus SMS Spam

It reads:

To get a free ringtone, call 966 and select 9 after the greeting. Call costs 30c/30secs, download charges apply, expires 30/04/07. Call 1300720084 to un-sub.

So let me get this straight:

  1. The ringtone is not free. I have to pay 60 cents per min on the IVR plus data charges to receive it. No doubt the IVR will keep me on the line as long as possible.
  2. I have to call a premium number to unsubscribe. As far as I am aware there is no free 1300 number in Australia.
  3. I never opted in to receive any offers from Optus.

This is the worst kind of spam in my mind. I have to pay to opt out of something I never opted in to begin with. Does Optus think that because I’m a subscriber I have implicitly opted in? If I opt out will I never get these again?

Techmeme RSS feed faster than its source?

When browsing my feeds my RSS reader (Google Reader) I often see a story listed before a source story. It seems to happen most often with , as I saw today:

Techmeme faster RSS than Techcrunch

I can think of a two reasons for this in the case of TechCrunch:

  1. Techmeme’s crawler is faster than Feedburner, which TechCrunch uses to publish its RSS
  2. Some sort of timing issue in Google Reader

I was too late to grab the Techmeme RSS document (do they archive?) but the TechCrunch RSS lists the publish date for the in the picture above as “Fri, 06 Apr 2007 16:21:08 +0000″, which, accounting for timezone differences, is about 28 mins out. So what is it?

about Google’s Feedfetcher suggests the following:

Feedfetcher shouldn’t retrieve feeds from most sites more than once every hour on average. Some frequently updated sites may be refreshed more often. Note, however, that due to network delays, it’s possible that Feedfetcher may briefly appear to retrieve your feeds more frequently.

Now I’d imagine that Techmeme’s RSS feed gets updated far more often than TechCrunch’s, so is this simply the case of Google checking their feed more often?

A phone type ’sniffer’?

This about an interesting service called on CrunchGear contains the following quote:

By adding a “sniffer” that determines which phone a person accessing the survey is using, the server can feed pages to the user that are optimized for their phone’s particular browser, in WAP, HTML, WHML, or whatever else will be the fastest and most reliable method. This means that one of the biggest hurdles of mobile Web browsing, compatibility, is no longer in the equation.

Is it really that hard to determine which phone type is accessing an HTTP server? No. The phone type is contained in the user agent header that each WAP browser sends in the HTTP request.

Here’s how to capture the user agent in . request.META is a dictionary of all available HTTP headers. The request object is available in any view. Here’s a simple example:

def get_user_agent(request):
    user_agent = request.META['HTTP_USER_AGENT']
    return HttpResponse("Your user agent is: %s" % user_agent)

If I access this view using my Nokia N73 I get the following:

Your user agent is: NokiaN73-1/2.0 (2.0628.0.0.1) S60/3.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1

The interesting thing is what you then do with this to determine device capabilities and subsequently serve the appropriate content.

Django version issues on upgrade to 0.96

Seeing as that there will be coming in future releases of Django I installed 0.96 in my environment today. I simply ran setup.py and the libraries were put in the appropriate site-packages directory. The new version seemed to get picked up:

>>> import django
>>> django.VERSION
(0, 96, None)

The mention an additional view for adding users in admin. It didn’t seem to exist for me. It seemed like the old 0.95.1 library I was using was being picked up in this instance, so I removed the egg package for it and all seemed well.

It turns out that the problem was that the older 0.95.x packages used where the new one doesn’t. The new install didn’t create an egg package and the reference to the old one still existed in the easy-install.pth file in my site-packages:

$ cat easy-install.pth
import sys; sys.__plen = len(sys.path)
./setuptools-0.6c5-py2.5.egg
./Django-0.95.1-py2.5.egg
./vobject-0.4.8-py2.5.egg
./python_dateutil-1.1-py2.5.egg
./flup-0.5-py2.5.egg
./MySQL_python-1.2.2-py2.5-macosx-10.3-i386.egg
import sys; new=sys.path[sys.__plen:]; del sys.path[sys.__plen:]; p=getattr(sys,’__egginsert’,0); sys.path[p:p]=new; sys.__egginsert = p+len(new)

Simply removing the reference to Django-0.95.1-py2.5.egg will also do the trick.

Physical spam

Inspired by Peter’s success with physical spam (I bet we’ll soon be living in a world where most people think think spam originated as junk email) I put up a no junk mail sign on my letterbox a few weeks ago. It works most of the time but we do get the odd spammer put one in. The interesting thing is they alway make sure that the mail is either pushed all the way in or put in the back, presumably so that no one else can see their flagrant disregard for peoples wishes.

I thought I’d post the interesting one’s here. Today I received one from the Naremburn Cammeray Anglican Church.

NCA Church Physical Spam

Does this church believe that giving unsolicited mail to someone that clearly asks for it not to be given is acceptable because they’re spreading the word? I wonder what they believe is categorised as junk mail.

Today Tonight’s Sydney Tsunami

There was a in Sydney today following the earthquake and in the Soloman Islands. For unexplained reasons I was watching tonight, where they showed “recreations” of tsunami scenarios in major Australian cities.

I was amazed to see the Sydney tsunami appear to originate in Milson’s Point, about 1 kilometer across the harbour. The wave was moving almost due south, striking Circular Quay. This is absurd!

Today Tonight tsunami

Calacanis vs. Ted Murphy

I just finished listening to and I must say that while I agree with Calacanis’ stance on PayPerPost, there were parts of the interview that left me feeling quite uncomfortable. He reminded me of the journalist from the Daniel Radcliffe episode :

Update: If the YouTube embed doesn’t work then