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(Displaying 20 posts, skipping the most recent 20.)


I don't post here much any more. I have combined my livejournal and nerdblog into The Fishbowl, using the ever-nifty Movable Type. You may add the syndicated feed to your friends list, either add fishbowl_all for (rather badly munged by LJ) full posts, or carlfish for excerpts and links.

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

(7:46 am)

This blast from the past showed up on my iPod's random play last night. For some reason I couldn't just let it pass, so to speak.

Take it away, William Burroughs.

‘Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I had ever heard.

This ass talk had sort of a gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you have to do is turn loose? Well this talking hit you right down there, a bubbly, thick stagnant sound, a sound you could smell.

more...Collapse ) (discuss/posts:1)

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

(10:18 am)

Last time I was shopping for a compact digital camera, I took Ang’s advice and got a Canon PowerShot A610. The A610 turned out to be an absolute corker: you just point it at things, press the button and it bangs out one great photo after another. I don’t think it’s possible to take a bad shot with it.

Anyway, the time has come to sell the PowerShot and get a new model. The only complaint I have with the A610 is its size. It’s just a little too big to stick in your pocket when you’re going out drinking, for example. Is it possible to get a more compact camera without sacrificing the just-takes-good-photos-ness of the A610? If so, where’s best to look?


Saturday, May 26th, 2007

(11:46 am)

I normally run a mile from net.memes like this, but I couldn’t resist posting this one for obvious reasons.

Sorry, screen-readers, it's a sight-gag. Apparently I look 53% like Usama bin Laden

(via MyHeritage.com)


Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

(11:33 pm) So a couple of weeks ago, everybody was up in arms over Knut, the baby polar bear who apparently, "animal rights activists" wanted put down.

At the time, I expressed my opinion that the whole thing was a media beat-up, the facts were probably a lot less sensational, and the whole thing was part of a pattern in the media to vilify progressive viewpoints (environmentalism, feminism, animal rights) by over-representing their most crackpot fringe.

Lo and behold, it was even worse than that. The guy being demonised for wanting poor Knut dead was being totally misrepresented. He had previously taken legal action against a different zoo to try to stop them killing a sloth that had been rejected by his mother. After losing that case, he made the mistake of trying to bring attention to the fact that the law was being applied inconsistently. Hey presto, he's a bear-killer!

Three cheers for our sensationalist, uncritical, increasingly centralised media. (discuss)

Friday, March 9th, 2007

(4:54 pm)

Ordering a sandwich is a flow control problem.

If you provide too much information at once, you’ll overflow the buffer of the person serving you. This will cause an unknown amount of information to be dropped on the floor, and for safety you’ll have to start again from scratch to ensure no ingredients are missed.

You can just treat the whole thing as a challenge-response protocol. In fact, this is the best thing to do when approaching a new sandwich server, as there are subtle variations in the order of serving. (Are they going to ask for butter? When are they going to ask about salt and pepper?). But challenge-response wastes time, as you pay double the cost of the latency between you and the person behind the counter.

Once you know the order in which the data is required, though, the trick is to keep the pipeline full without (a) overflowing the buffer, or (b) emptying the buffer and dropping back to challenge-response.

Estimating the buffer capacity of someone serving you your sandwich, however, can be tricky.



Sunday, March 4th, 2007

(11:33 pm)

Electrical Storm

Electrical Storm


Monday, February 26th, 2007

(12:21 am)

I’m not sure what I find funniest about Conservapedia.

Perhaps it’s the claim that British spellings are a sign of liberal bias on Wikipedia. Or the fact that all the entries read like high-school book reports. Or that the original article for “United States of America” defined it as: “The United States of America, or just “America”, is the country we live in.” Or wacky stuff like redefining “faith” to mean “Christian faith”, and then using that definition to prove that, Q.E.D., no other religion can be based on faith.

I’d like to think the whole thing is a troll, but there seems to be far too much work gone into the site just for the sake of a joke.

Maybe it’s just further proof that, as Stephen Colbert said, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

(Tip of the hat to Danny Ayers)


Friday, February 16th, 2007

(11:30 am) Stolen from what seems to be two thirds of my friends list...

Please leave a 14 word comment on this post that you think best describes me.

Just 14 words, no more, no less (with one exception, see below).

The 14 words in question should be: "Charles is fucking awesome, and I wish everyone in the world was like him." Women are allowed an extra six words in their comment, to add "I want to bear his children".

When you are done, copy and paste into your journal just how intensely cool I am.

Thankyou. (discuss/posts:2)

Monday, January 29th, 2007

(10:20 pm) We're spending tomorrow at a management training course of some kind. I decided I would entertain myself by attending clad in my brand new "Now Cluster-Fucked" Confluence 2.3 shirt, and amusing facial hair.


Thursday, January 25th, 2007

(5:31 pm)

From today's Crikey:

Only through Eau Rouge do a Grand Prix driver's eyes roll over white. Only at Imola's Acque Minerali does a lone Ferrari flag wave from the scarlet roof of a private nearby house. Only on the exit of the Beckett's complex in rural England has a racer pulled 12G in less than four seconds. Only at Suzuka does a driver actually prefer to round "the spoon" than order another room service fruit juice from the calm of the circuit hotel.

Warn your heart to stop racing, however, because the Formula 1 of the very near future is a lot different.

Already, Imola has been replaced by a purpose-built circuit in an emerging market designed by German architect Hermann Tilke. Gone, too, is Austria, replaced by a purpose-built circuit in an emerging market designed by German architect Hermann Tilke.

Ditto Suzuka. Ditto Nurburgring and Hockenheim, who now share because they can't afford the annual race fees. Ditto France and Britain, because billionaire Bernie Ecclestone always gets his way. Ditto Belgium, whose organisers know the feel of the F1 supremo's axe all too well.


So a heads-up Bernie, we don't know the difference between Tilke's Turn 8/China and Tilke's Turn 5/Malaysia, but we do know the difference between Acque Minerali and Eau Rouge.

There's something uninspiring about knowing that the crests in Turkey were concocted with computer-aided-design software, but we love the fact that Spa-Francorchamps turned left before Blanchimont because racers in the 1920s had to jink to avoid a tree.

We don't care if the hospitality suites at Toyota-owned Fuji are better suited for the high-rolling Japanese guests, but we do care that the dated and awesome Suzuka is no longer on the calendar.

Bernie -- we do care.


Friday, December 29th, 2006

(12:56 am) They're testing the New Years light-show tonight.

The Coathanger (discuss/posts:6)

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

(11:39 pm)

I don’t normally do this sort of thing, but since Mike (who tagged me with this one) is responsible for signing my pay-cheques, I thought it politic to not be the one to break the chain. So here goes:

Five things you may not know about me...

  1. My left arm is three inches shorter than my right. When I was nine, a doctor told me that as a result, I would never be anything more than a poor medium-pace bowler. My father was terribly disappointed.
  2. My attempt to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for going the longest without blinking failed by six hours, twenty-four minutes and eleven seconds
  3. I can curse in half a dozen languages, all of them English.
  4. I was the original inventor of RSS. Unfortunately, I left the plans in a train on the eve of the D-Day landings, where they were picked up by Dave Winer’s grandfather, and hoarded until the late 1990s.
  5. I have only ever once seen a dead body — my uncle Harold when I was thirteen years old. The nice man from the police station told me that if only they had found the murder weapon they would have been able to press charges, and that I was very lucky and he had his eye on me, sunshine.

I shall tag all of you with this meme, my dear readers, to do with as you wish.


Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

(11:42 am)

Do I want to do this? Will it end in disaster? Will it make a good story anyway?

(Found here, who found it here. I just cleaned up the graphics.)


Friday, December 1st, 2006

(1:45 pm)

(Not mine, sadly, forwarded to me by a cow orker) (discuss/posts:8)

Friday, November 17th, 2006

(8:28 am)

Last night, I dreamt I could fly.

A part of me knew I was dreaming. I climbed onto the window-ledge, felt the wind blowing, and jumped into the Sydney skyline. I wasn’t so much flying as gliding, a controlled fall, the air rushing around me, stopping my plummet, holding me up as I swept across the sky. It was truly exhilarating.

I believed that anything I collected while I was dreaming would be waiting for me in the morning, back in the waking world. So I landed on roof of one of the big department stores in the city (the computer and electronics department, luckily, is on the top floor).

Back on the roof, trying to gather my swag together for the flight home, I felt guilty. This was stealing, after all. I packed my stolen goods back into their respective boxes and put them back. So now I’ll never know if, when I woke up, they’d really have been there still.

In some other part of the night, I was hanging out with the Australian cricket team.

In my dreams I can fly, but I still can’t bat or bowl to save my life.


Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

(1:44 am)

  1. Crossing the road in Hanoi isn’t for the faint-hearted, as it relies entirely on the faith that all the oncoming motorcycles will swerve around you at the last possible moment (the occasional car, on the other hand, you have to dodge yourself)
  2. Crossing the road in Saigon is the same, there are just ten times as many cars
  3. Unless you’re travelling to the moon, saying you’re likely to spend two weeks away from the Internet is wishful thinking
  4. Like Hotmail before it, Meebo only really starts to make sense when your Internet access is confined to hotels and ‘net cafes for a while. Then, it’s indispensible.
  5. Saying you’re going to spend two weeks not thinking about work is more achievable, except when you happen to check Google News the day Google buys your biggest competitor
  6. It’s quite annoying when that happens, given you were strategically avoiding visiting any of your usual tech news sites
  7. There’s a lot to be said for a country where you can get beer for as little as ten cents a glass
  8. …not to mention full restaurant meals for the price you’d pay for a sandwich in Sydney
  9. You know it’s nothing personal, but after the seven thousandth cyclo driver has demanded they take you somewhere, you start wondering “Does it look like I’m incapable of walking?”
  10. Street vendors never seem to master the elementary logic that if you’ve said no to offers of water and soft drinks from the last five along the road, they’re unlikely to make any kind of sudden breakthrough
  11. The amount of ABBA and Carpenters muzak a human being can stand played over a hotel PA before losing his mind is… not something you ever want to find out
  12. Digital cameras are fantastic, up to the point you realise you’re going to end up with 1,000 photos to sort through, crop, touch up, and eventually largely discard after you get home
  13. The slots by the door in hotel rooms into which you are supposed to place your key to make the lights work are simple switches, and don’t check the magnetic stripe on the key. Hence, a business card works just as well.
  14. If you use your own business card, you can’t really feign ignorance when caught
  15. You can spend a week and a half brushing your teeth with bottled water and avoiding anything containing ice, before realising that every morning you’ve been drinking orange cordial with breakfast (always labeled “Fresh Orange Juice”), and they must have diluted it with something
  16. I should take holidays more often

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

(10:14 am)

I was channel-surfing last night, and on my way past one of the half dozen or so sports channels, my ear caught a familiar, rousing tune. It turned out to be the entry music for some Muay Thai boxer, over which a hyper-excited Australian announcer was shouting:

And here he comes to the ring, to the sound of O Fortuna from Carmen Barina!

For future reference, in case any sports reporters are reading this weblog…




Monday, August 28th, 2006

(12:48 am) In a meme stolen from zhaneel, I present: guess the movie quotes! Many of them will be blindingly obvious to anyone who's been to the cinema in the last twenty years. A few may be less obvious. One might only be recogniseable to people who went to school with me.

Googling is strictly prohibited. Cthulhu will personally drag anyone who googles the answers straight into the abyss; no passing go, no collecting $200.

Guess in the comments. Credit will be awarded after the fact on a whimsical basis.

Section one: Violence

  1. Ooh, guns, guns, guns! — Robocop (philrancid)
  2. We need to get bigger guns. Big fucking guns!
  3. Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons? — Broken Arrow (cringer)
  4. I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. — Aliens (cringer)

Section two: Life coaching
  1. Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen. — The Rock (cringer)
  2. Moods are for cattle and loveplay, not for fighting! — David Lynch's Dune (roshi)
  3. You're going out there a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!

Section three: Bravado
  1. You shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize. — Reservoir Dogs (philrancid)
  2. A: I guess you'll just have to kill me.  B: It'll hurt if I do.
  3. I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum. — They Live (cringer)
  4. But of course you are.1

Section four: International Relations
  1. Some people hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. Can't even find a decent culture to get colonized by. — Trainspotting (pink_starphish)
  2. Englishmen, you're all so fucking pompous. None of you have got any balls. — Monty Python's Meaning of Life (philrancid)

Section five: Recreational Activities
  1. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue. — Airplane (ounceofreason)
  2. No more drugs for that man! — Face/Off (cringer)

1 This line probably appears in a lot of movies. But it only definitively appears in one. (discuss/posts:13)

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

(11:53 am)

Just in front of us in the crowd at yesterday’s baseball game were dozen or so young lads and lasses, all dressed in green t-shirts with “Add me” on the front, and their myspace IDs on the back. Well, all except this guy:

“I deleted my myspace”


Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

(8:51 pm) Charles makes lighthearted post suggesting that certain jokes may be played out. Livejournal humour forum goes apeshit in response.

I win at teh intarnets. (discuss/posts:7)

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