Rik's Ramblings

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Uncle Sam wants you... to explain this $50 cash deposit

Reminds me of a story I once heard about the soviet union. How the government read every letter that every citizen received from overseas and spent may manyears (and nodoubt billions) poking it's nose into the daily lives of every citizen.

We all know what happened to the soviet union ... that dictatorship collapsed under its own beaurocratic weight. Let's hope the current world superpowers are smart enough to learn from the USSR's earlier mistakes.

Much better to run your goverment in such a way that people don't feel the need to blow-up your infrastructure don't you think!

    Uncle Sam wants you... to explain this $50 cash deposit: "thanks to the PATRIOT act, banks are spending billions on highly sophisticated, government-mandated anti-money laundering (AML) software that will track every last transaction of every last customer in order to build up individual customer profiles and look for 'suspicious' activity. And when they find some suspicious activity, they're going to want an explanation out of you, regardless of whether or not you fit any sort of terrorist profile. "

Monday, April 25, 2005

Digital Camera Choices

Well previously I'd been looking at the Sony Cybershot (W7 or W5) for the new digital camera. But I have to say I was disappointed with it, once I found out it doesn't allow zooming of the image while your taking a digital movie.

Infact, I found that most digital camera that support a movie mode don't allow you to zoom during movie mode. Presumably the quality of their video compression algorithms is so lame that they can't process the inter-frame video changes that occur with a zoom.

That said, I've tracked down a couple of camera that do support full feature movie mode (640x480, 30fps, zoom, audio). Current favorite is the Casio EX-P505. This has the downside that it doesn't currently have any kind of waterproof housing, so I won't be able to use if whilst diving in Florida next month.

Couple of others in the running are;

  1. Sony Cybershot DSCM1, which has similar spec to the Casio, but the advantages of (i) smaller size, (ii) stereo audio record and (iii) slightly cheaper. On the downside it (i) uses that stupid Sony proprietary Memory Stick format for storing the pix and (ii) only has 3x zoom compared to the Casio's 5x.

  2. Konica Minolta Z5, which has a very similar look to the Casio and I think better zoom. Unfortunately the test images I took with it (in Frys) were not very sharp. The reviews I've read for the Konica-Minolta line don't give them very good marks on colo(u)r reproduction either. Shame, as I thought this was sexy and techie looking. As with the Casio, this camera is lacking an underwater casing.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Hey, why bother paying to see the crappy Hollywood version when someone has kindly provided the source of the books for free on their website.

Those of you with Linux/Cygwin/MacOS X, simply execute the following bash script to download your free copy of the 5 part Hitchhikers Trilogy.


for ((i =1; i != 6; ++i))
wget http://flag.blackened.net/dinsdale/dna/book$i.html

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Cleanliness is next to Laziness

Another great theory of mine that I've just come up with

It's easy to be tidy if your hobby is watching TV. How much mess can you make? All you need is the TV and a remote, possibly a TVGuide to throw out once a week.

However, when you're creative and passionate about building stuff you're bound to make a mess. You need tools, equipment, books, caffine. Stuff just adds up.

Hence, it's easy for lazy-ass couch potatoes to get all uppity about how messy a genious such as myself may appear to be. No wonder they don't understand. Just like they don't understand how to deploy Tomcat, set-up iptables and build J2EE webapps.

shutdown -r now

Don't know why, but it feels weird to be shutting down all the Linux boxes hidden under my desk at work.

Some of them have been there for 4 or 5 years and the data on them dates back to some of my earliest web-hacks in APG/ASA/PDSL/PAT-Redhill.

Getting surprisingly quiet in this cube without all those fans and disks whirring.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Slideshows ...

Made a slight mod' to the slideshow page. Now the index is in date order (newest first). Makes it more easierer for you all to find the new stuff.

Rik Sagar's Eternally Under Construction Slideshows ... for want of a better title

JP Morgan: "Philips Electronics overweight"

If it helps, I'll be helping 'em shed 180pounds next week ;-)

Philips Electronics "overweight" | newratings.com

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Rik's slideshows: Ben with Bike

A few pix from today's Bike Ride

Rik's slideshows: Ben with Bike


Annoyed! I was supposed to be Diving this morning. I had a boat-trip planned with Monterey Bay Dive Center. I got up at 4:30am to drive down in time for a 6:30 start, only to discover the trip was cancelled due to a large swell.

To be fair, they did call to let me know, I just never picked-up the voice mail.

On the plus side, it freed up some time for Ben and I to go on a bike ride this afternoon.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Cameras for diving

Checking out digital cameras with available waterproof casings for when we're diving in Florida.

So far the Sony Cybershot W7 or W5 are favourites, with the MPK-WA Cyber-shot Marine Pack.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Rik's Granted Patents

New addition to the workbench. A list (and snapshots) of my granted patents to date.

Rik's Granted Patents

Kewl service showing teletext pages on your PC. Presumably captured with a simple analogue tuner-card, somewhere in Eire

Offers BEEB1, 2 and RTE teletext pages.


CEEFAX Screen Shot

Friday, April 01, 2005

How not to write a webapp