Category Archives: Geek

Robot Wrangler: Gadgets and Hardware – the parts of a computer you can kick

Who Let The Dogs In?

A shout out to the guys at Dogear Nation who chose to feature the ‘Life In Latin’ page in their latest podcast – Thanks for the kind words, Andy.

If it weren’t for this wonderful service, I wouldn’t be aware of the Atari Arcade and F.Lux sites, which have made my evening!

Is The ‘Digital Dark Age’ Mainstream Yet?

Many more more people are waking up about the looming ‘Digital Dark Age’ – the Sydney Morning Herald warns of a cultural ‘black hole’ spanning the mid-90s up to about now, where most of our memories are being archived on volatile media that might not survive.

(I first mentioned this back in 2004 – do I get any extra points?)

I’m proud to say that one of my former ventures, ACM, is part of the Pandora project that this article mentions.

Again, the main problem is that none of the media on which we currently choose to store our data (read: memories) is able to last more than 10 years or so. If I were investing in technology ventures in the medium term, I’d be looking to archival technologies that will let us Generation Xers show and tell Generation X+3 what the sea levels looked like before the Great Warming and Innundation of 2012.

Future historians will be better informed about the back catalogue of New Kids On The Block than The Backstreet Boys. Sobering thought.

And, speaking from personal experience – BACK STUFF UP! PRINT THE IMPORTANT STUFF OUT on ARCHIVAL QUALITY PAPER AND INK! NOW! You can’t afford to lose those memories, even if some of it lives on perishable optical disks for a time. If your disk crashes, you will have some explaining to do to both future and current generations.

Any ideas on what the next wave is? Should we go back to stone? That’s the only thing that seems to last, at least, according to Time Team.

<voice=”Mal Garvin”>
Or maybe, just maybe, our memories are best stored in the lives of others – they can be heard as echoes of the laughter of those who share stories of us when we’re long, long gone. Where do you store YOUR treasures? It makes you think.

The Blog Is Back, Again, Sigh.

Seems every few couple of years, my hosting company seems to enjoy locking the site away for a week or two. Always a concern, seeing that occasionally, it’s deleted completely, but it appears that the site is back and running.
I say ‘appeared’, because no-one has told me what is happening on the hosting side of things. Poor, poor, poor service.
Might take that backup, now. Any suggestion for replacement hosts, folks?

From the Mailbag: More about Skrobel

Today, we dip into the mailbag to answer this query from Jodie:

On checking out Scrobel [sic], I was amused and enjoyed a giggle of the years that have passed since I played the game.
I’m a little disappointed the the spelling is wrong of the game title. As I
don’t know who provided you with the info, and as you too claim
friendship with Darryl and Gary, I would be happy to hear from you if
you desire the correct spelling. Jodie.

Yes, Jodie – although we’ve had the page up for many years, and have actually had the inventors contribute, we’ve never questioned the spelling, which is kinda ironic. I too recall seeing this spelling somewhere, and am happy to update the pages.
It’s probably just as well, too. Other meanings for the original spelling have cropped up over the years, not all of them are family-friendly.
Thanks for setting us straight!

I Can See My House From Here II

It must be my birthday! Finally, Google Street View is available in Australia. And, like many people, the first place I googled was My Place.
And, thankfully, we passed our secret digital muster – no-one was out front doing anything they weren’t supposed to be doing. The lawn was presentable. As near as I can tell, it was taken at the start of the year.
This is a pretty amazing effort by Google. A large chunk of WA has been photographed at street-view, not just Perth. Now we can go for a virtual drive about the state, if we want to.
Team Street View with Google Earth, and you have a pretty amazing 3D representation of Earth, from both Space and Street. If I can’t have a jetpack, this is probably the next best thing.
I still don’t understand how they’re making any money, but I really enjoy the way Google throws this stuff out there for free. I wish them lots of success – whatever that means for them.
I still vividly remember a geography class in 1986 in which the teacher was explaining the shortfalls in map projection and why, for world maps to really be rendered correctly, someone would have to invent a book that allowed a globe to pop out of the page so you could see the world in three dimensions. I’d like to go back and study geography, now, please.
So, how did your place fare?

Blinding Science


Phew. We can rest easy. Turns out the world won’t be ending this year when they turn on the Large Hadron Collider in Europe later this year. Seems we won’t be sucked into a black hole. Which would indeed suck a great deal.

In related science news, good to see we’re starting to figure out what glass is. Finally. Turns out that glass is indeed female, as the French suggests – it just can’t make up it’s mind whether it’s a liquid or a solid. Or it gets stuck in traffic jams easily. Or both.