Friday, June 25, 2004

Redirection: I have a brief piece on Greece's European Championship victory over France over at ubersportingpundit.

Update: I also have a piece on the schedule for next year's Australia v England cricket series, also at ubersportingpundit.

As happens these days, my laptop computer has been getting steadily clogged up with programs generating popup ads, spyware, and all kinds of other crap over the six months that I have had it. (I have been fortunate enough or well enough defended that I have avoided getting any worms and viruses). I have largely just put up with this. However, a week or two ago, one of the programs that has been showing me popup ads decided to start showing occasional pictures that were essentially hard core pornography, in the hope that I would click on the link and buy more hard core pornography.

This was enough for me, and I have gone through a thorough spyware and irritate-ware removal process, something I should have done a while back. Spybot Search and Destroy informed me that there were over 120 separate pieces of anti-social software of one kind or another installed on my system. Ugh.

Well, they are now gone.

Although I have not myself had a worm or virus infection, several people I know have, and I have been helping out in cleaning these up. One friend of mine received an infection from a variant of the Gabot worm, and this managed to mess things up pretty thoroughly before we managed to kill it.

Update: That wretched porn came back. Either the both Spybot S&D and Ad-aware both missed it, or I visited the site that was responsible for installing it in the first place again and it got reinstalled. (And no, I didn't attempt to rip the new Beastie Boys CD). Now running the software again, but I am very pissed off. I might be about to abandon Internet Explorer and start using Firefox exclusively, too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Doing a little hacking

Okay, I am in the process of installing Wine on my Linux box. This is a reverse engineered implementation of the Windows APIs that runs under Linux and other Unix like systems that run on x386 processors, and theoretically allows them to run Windows applications. Ideally I would like to use it to run iTunes under Linux. There isn't really anything else in terms of Windows applications that I feel I have to have. Firefox is a substantially better browser than is Internet Explorer, and while I haven't used it in a big way, OpenOffice seems adequate for most of my purposes. And while there is an open source jukebox program that was part of the SuSE Linux distribution, I really do want iTunes.

I have a quote of the day over at Samizdata.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Non updated websites

A reader has gently chided me and asked whether I am a "slow reader", due to the fact that (he claims) I have had the same three books listed in the "What I'm reading" section in the sidebar on the left for the entire time he has been reading the blog.

That is not entirely true. Over the 18 months or so the list has been there, quite a lot of books have appeared and then vanished. These are some of the books that I have actually read in that time. (I do read a substantial number of books). However, there is something of a problem. When I started the list I had eight to ten books sitting on a table next to my bed, and these were the ones I put on the initial list. I had at least started all of them - in some cases just having read a page or two. Since then, most of the books on the original list have vanished as I have read them, but the remaining three have stubbornly refused to be read. Mostly this is just that I haven't got round to reading them, but they haven't really grabbed me either. "Gangs of New York" seems quite good, and I will no doubt get to it at some point. "Tea From an Empty Cup" is by Pat Cadigan, and Cadigan writes intense and dense books that require a lot of concentration. To be properly appreciated her books need to be read within one sitting or within a couple of days at the most, and I haven't really managed to sit down for such a sitting. "The Seduction of Place" is the one really problematical one. It's a book about architecture containing lots of interesting information about how certain cities got the way they are, but it is rather tiresomely ideological, and ideology in urban development and urban design usually leads to bad places. (It is also a rather rare thing - a book I read because it had a really good title - summarising the buzz I get out of seeing and visiting new places - something I practically find necessary for survival).

Some would suggest that I should remove the books from the list if I have gone so long without finishing them, but that would be an admission of defeat somehow: an acknowledgement that I never will read them. And I think somehow that I should read them. The longer they stay up the more I feel so.

The trouble with this though is that the list then doesn't summarise my taste in books very well. Stuff I find hard going stays up, and stuff that I enjoy and read in one sitting stays up for a much shorter time, if it even gets up at all. (Also, there is a feeling that if I put a book on the list I have an obligation to then read it quickly, and that is perhaps not fun). In recent months I have been reading books, but I have not updated the list.

So the overall rule is the more I enjoy a book the shorter the time it spends on the list. Oops.

Perhaps it is the way the list is structured: I update the blogger template. This takes longer than just making a blog post, and doesn't keep a proper historical record.
Or perhaps I have just grown lazy.

But I am not going to delete the feature for now. I think I will try to update the list properly, and I may make a rule that all books stay up for at least a week, even if I have already finished reading them by the time I put them up. In fact I think I shall put up some more books that I am either reading or I have just read right now.

Or I could switch to actually writing reviews of the books I read. But that sounds like work.

But the three books are staying up until I have actually read them.

Sunday, June 20, 2004


I have a 6000 word essay that is basically a history of the Australian airline industry for the last 50 years over at Transport Blog.

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