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2008 » January MikeFitz with overflow bit set…

Archive for January, 2008

100,000th Wedding Anniversary today…

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

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… in binary.  That’s 32 years in decimal.  Mrs Fitz says you get less for murder.

Anyhow, Thank you Mrs Fitz for being the most wonderful wife and mother to our three sons.

Australia Day BBQ / Pool Party

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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Yep, Australia Day tomorrow and the boys are organising their annual Australia Day Pool Party/BBQ again at our place.

Australian Flag in the pool for Australia Day

Check out the photos of last year’s party which was a tremendous success.  Dugie tells me that he and I both make it in the top 5 google images hits for “australia day bbq“.

I had to drive Pete’s car today because he borrowed the 4WD to pick up Andy’s batch of home brew from the bottling joint.  It’s all now on ice, ready to go.

The event was advertised on Facebook months ago. (Not publicly, though.)  If 500 people show up, I’m gonna hafta pretend Corey Delaney organised it.

’AveAGood’Un.

More on who died in a blogging accident

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

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It has been interesting to watch the fluctuations in the number of pages returned by the Google search, (died in a blogging accident), referred to in my previous post.  As many commenters have noted, the number goes up and the number goes down.

It seems there are three forces at work here:

  1. Clowns like me, MrCopilot and now Archie, create blog posts containing the phrase “died in a blogging accident”, the number goes up.
  2. Spambots recognise the activity and start creating even more spam blog posts containing the phrase, the number goes up some more.  Here is an example of such a spam blog post.  (WARNING: It’s safe to go there but DO NOT CLICK on the links in the spam blog post.  They don’t take you to where you might expect.)
  3. Google cleverly recognises these spam blog posts and eliminates them from its search results, the number goes down again.

It’s also interesting to note the difference in results returned by executing the same search at google.com and the again at google.com.au.

What’s really happening here is geeks are just having fun.  Some little boys poke reptiles with a stick to see what sort of reaction they get;  Randall Munroe, talented author of the xkcd cartoon, poked the blogosphere with an intriguing Google search phrase.  Same thing.

I know many of my friends have identified themselves as xkcd fans.  I suspect others are probably also fans, they just haven’t blogged about it extensively.

And speaking of friends, our local cinema chain has re-introduced allocated seating.  It’s caused all sorts of problems and I bet they didn’t once think about this…

Movie Seating

PS. When you go to xkcd, don’t forget to hover your mouse over the cartoon and read the pop-up alt text.  If you don’t, you’ll miss half the joke.

Who died in a blogging accident?

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

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Statistics derived from Google died in a blogging accident, that’s who.  Publication of this xkcd cartoon is an extreme demonstration of the Observer Effect.  To paraphrase: You cannot measure something without changing it in some way.

xkcd: DangersCartoon by xkcd.

Bloggers everywhere linked to it and now even the spammers are getting on the bandwagon.  Search Google now for “died in a blogging accident” and the count is in the thousands.  Interestingly, I’ve noticed the number trim back slightly over the past few hours - possibly as Google identifies the spammers?

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Update: Sun 13 Jan
Google Trends charts for “died in a blogging accident” make interesting reading.  The chart for January 11 shows a spike 1 hour after the XKCD cartoon was posted; this is expected.  However, January 12 shows a spike at 6am PST; what caused this?

Iowa Caucuses Analysis - Updated after NH

Friday, January 4th, 2008

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Robert G. Kaiser, Washington Post Associate Editor, hosted an online chat in the hours following the closure of the Iowa Caucuses.  Interesting questions from participants and responses from Robert give a good insight to this first step in the US Presidential race.

As I post this, the discussion is continuing.  See Live Analysis: Iowa Caucuses Returns.

———————
Update: 9 Jan 08
Washington Post Live Analysis chat and Results from the New Hampshire primaries.  There was a lot of participation in the chat from overseas.  Note this comment from a chat participant in Denpasar, Indonesia…

It is clear why foreigners have more interest in this U.S. election — they very recently have experienced what a bad U.S. president can cost them. In Bali, it is fair to say that the terrorists bombings of the past few years (2002 and 2005, and there were also attacks in Jakarta) never would have happened if Bush hadn’t lashed out and attack a Muslim country. In lives and in economic terms, Indonesia has suffered directly because of the decisions of a U.S. president; the connection is evident to most here. Is it fair to blame Bush directly? Sure, he tried to solve a wasp problem by kicking the nest, and has gotten everybody stung in the process. So foreigners are anxious to see who will replace Bush and if that will be positive or will everyone get a painful sting again.

(Bush) tried to solve a wasp problem by kicking the nest, and has gotten everybody stung in the process.  Is that the best description of his presidency, or what?

South America, anyone?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

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Being a true romantic, Mrs Fitz gave me half a rainwater tank for Christmas.  Being equally romantic, I gave her the other half.

But our real Christmas presents will be a trip to South America in May.

Maureen's South American Adventure 2008

Mrs Fitz’s usual technique of exorcising her travel bug is to find a travel agent who knows the target area well and has good contacts with local hotels, guides, drivers etc.  She then asks for a price for a personalised tour for 10 to 15 of her friends. (Typically, 10 are needed to qualify for discount airfares.)  This is so much better than a regular tour where one waits for 44 strangers to get on/off the coach.  Better still, we never have to go to the guide’s brother’s carpet shop!

For this trip she has been working with Gary Tate of South America Journeys in Auckland to put this personalised itinerary together.

We now have 11 of our friends signed up to go, some of whom are coming from Canberra & travelled with us to the Middle East in 2005, others travelled with Mrs Fitz to China in 2006.   Last days if anyone else wishes to join us.