April 27, 2006
John Crowley has a weblog. Quite strange to read him writing in a chatty, slightly uncertain style so different from his polished prose: would John Crowley, Literary Titan ever refer to a computer as a "pooter"?
April 25, 2006
CodeCamp NZ 2006
CodeCamp was a blast. It was great to meet so many people and to see so much new stuff that I simply wasn't aware of. Thanks to everybody who gave me feedback on my WPF presentation, and of course to Kirk and Peter for organising the whole thing.
Here are the slides and demos for the WPF talk for those who might want them. I've added readme files to the demos to try to draw attention to some of the things I pointed out while talking, and the slides have notes saying which demos are relevant to which slides. Please contact me via the link in the sidebar if anything isn't working or if you have questions.
April 14, 2006
How kittens learn
Kitten chases tail. So far, so good.
Kitten catches tail. So far, so good.
Kitten holds captured tail in mouth. So far, so good.
Kitten attempts to carry tail away, in mouth, to convenient corner for torment and execution. Kitten reaps harvest of confusion and indignity.
And yes, the title would be more appropriate if this weren't the second time she'd done it.
Not until the first service pack
Common wisdom amongst corporate IT folk is never to roll out a new version of a Microsoft product until the first service pack is out. Verity Stob has discovered that Windows Vista will be accompanied by "a Placebo Service Pack 1, which can be put on the Windows Update website within a few days or even hours of the initial product ship."
Comics writer is literary fellow
University of Auckland: "Dylan Horrocks, award-winning graphic novelist and comic artist, has been appointed University of Auckland/Creative New Zealand Literary Fellow 2006."
April 11, 2006
The long war on terror
Fascinating view of what's going on away from the bluster, torture and hypocrisy: "To achieve victory the US military will have to... build international networks, Gen Kimmitt says, making better use of 'soft power' - diplomacy, finance, trade and technology."
Philip Bobbitt's The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History coined the phrase "The Long War" to position the wars of the twentieth century as a single conflict over the legitimation of the nation-state. Bobbitt's account of history sees it as a similar sequence of epochal wars, each resulting from parallel revolutions in military affairs and the constitutional order. For example, the artillery revolution made the old Italian city-state unviable, leading to a change in the constitutional order towards princely states. In the "long war of the nation-state," Bobbitt sees what Kimmitt calls 'soft power' as decisive: technologies such as computing are part of the "revolution in military affairs." And like any RMA they will affect the way we constitutionally order states: in this case, he argues, triggering a transition from the nation-state to what he calls the market-state.
His arguments don't quite join up (and sometimes seem contradictory), and his rosy-eyed view of the market-state sticks in the craw, but it's a fascinating and epic read.
Anyway, it's ironic to see the politicians rattling the nuclear sabres while the military try to win the war through diplomacy and trade...
April 07, 2006
Everything stops for tea
This is the absolute frozen limit: "Mark Barrett, a tour guide, was convicted under recent legislation banning demonstrations near Parliament and was fined £500 including costs. He is one of a group of activists who meet every week to drink tea and eat cake on Parliament Square."
That's right, freedom now means not being able to take your afternoon cuppa on the grass. I mean, I consider myself a reasonable fellow: I kept quiet about the use of anti-terrorist laws to suppress anti-Blair t-shirts, I didn't complain when heckling the Foreign Secretary was deemed a terrorist act, I kept my doubts to myself when they banged up grannies for speaking their minds... but goddammit, this is tea we're talking about here. Is nothing sacred?