Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What is on your bookshelf ?

In case you are interested what is on my bookshelf then you can now see it in all its glory here (well, only part of it in fact as I haven't finished going through my books and entering their details).

This is from a service called "Shelfari" and I quite like this virtual browsing idea (it is also easy to export a list of titles in your library which may be useful in the future). I am also hopeful that it will be a good source of identifying new books (though Amazon also captures what books you looked at in addition to the ones you bought as well as having a large network to draw data from, they have no information about books that you have obtained through other channels).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Golf (continued)

As a result of a my new found fondness for hitting small spheres (actually, there is nothing new in that at all) I am aching. At first, I didn't realise why but then it was made clear to me that this was from the session at the driving range - I was asked if I had any pent-up stress during the session, maybe that had something to do with it :-)

Basically, it feels like I've bruised a rib or two (!) on my left side and slightly sprained the top of my ankle of my right foot (I guess from the foot-lift at the end of the stroke). Oh, before I forget I also managed to get a couple of blisters on my left hand....ahhh, the joys of taking up a new sport :-).

Still, I think I will give it a year and see where it goes.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Just to give everyone fair notice - I am getting into golf. Tips welcome! :-)

[Random topic jump: this is very neat!]

Saturday, January 20, 2007

New source


A new source of high-quality movies/documentaries. The Sundance film festival is hosting a lot of films online after they have been premiered.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Evolution is good as long as your environment doesn't change too abruptly over too short a timescale!
[Are the big hornets suzume bachi ? Those things are scary!]

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Flying start

So, my New Year's Resolutions are decided, and have specific metrics, and goals. However, it seems my fitness had deteriorated more than I had anticipated over the holiday period - hence I am quite ashamed to report that a little interim measurement action has resulted in my progress being an inspiring -6% :-( (at least my typing improved :-(( ).

Still a long way to go yet though :-).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Game of the week + finding content

Who would have thought that simulating McDonald's would be so addictive ?

I survived to the year 2042 (let me know if you manage to beat that score) before succumbing to the perfect storm of: consumer action, over-farmed land, anti-globalisation, health scares, worker dissent, animal health, ineffective advertising, and an obesity-conscious society. :-).

I found a better way to surf Google Video and YouTube! It is called VideoStumbleUpon and has 20 or so channels each one made up of recommended content. The Martial Arts channel has some fascinating stuff on it (there is also an intriguing series from BBC3) - here are some links (to the actual videos):

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Resolutions for the new year

After the horrible effort that was last year's goal setting I am back with a new philosophy and tracking method. You may have noticed the small graph-like image in the sidebar to the right. That is a sparkline that represents my progress (suitably normalised - current state is 0%; achievement is 100%) towards my goals (generated from this very friendly web-service). I plan to update the data as I progress through the year with measurements once a month.

Last year, I had too many goals and as a result found it easy to lose focus and make progress on only a small fraction of them. This year, I have limited myself to 4 goals (albeit one having a couple of subgoals) and made them sufficiently aggressive (at least a 50% improvement and in some cases 100%...) that I should hopefully knuckle down and just get on with them.

That said, I have chosen to measure them in such a way that over achievement is also possible, and therefore compensation for weak sections (also part of my psychology, that if something isn't proving to be worth the effort I can switch and double my efforts on another area). If this setup works (and I am currently inclined to believe that it should) then I believe other smaller goals will just kind of happen (I will get caught up in a wave of achievement if you will - success breeds success and all that).

I can tell that you are dying to know what the Payara-deems-to- be-most-important-to-change-in-itself categories are. They are:
  1. bodyfat percentage (reduce..significantly!),
  2. fitness (=ergo scores; 2km time and 30min distance--this year is going to hurt...bigtime),
  3. typing speed (yes, this is a re-entry from last year's top 10 - and needed now more than ever), and
  4. investment (increase exposure and return - have to develop another skill that helps my financial position).
Why have I normalised all the results ? Well, I wanted to make sure that I do not reveal too much personal information...anonymity and all that (you would be surprised what someone gifted in data mining can do to identify you in a dataset if steps aren't taken to hide you (e.g. by adding random amounts to your datapoints in such a way that the main statistics of the entire set/large subsets is not changed....actually, with massive computer simulations being more and more the norm these days (think terabytes a day) some people are throwing away the real data and only keeping a compressed copy...where the compression scheme itself is lossy but preserves macro-statistical properties...but I digress)) - I might share specifics if asked.

Some people have suggested that I adopt a more "life changing" approach and phrase the goals in a looser fashion, e.g. "become healthier". Whilst that might work for some people, for myself, and my obsessive-compulsive mind, I need hard targets that I can get into competitions with myself about.

Anyway, if I forget to report one month (the next data point should be out just after the new month begins) then please remind me that I have been remiss! Encouragement is also welcome.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

How to spend USD50 Billion ?

Prioritisation and the Copenhagen Consensus on the world's biggest problems. The question is "is anybody listening and will any attributable action result?"

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The US gets it!

Costume ready ? Action!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Worth my weight in...


Further recognition of my eco-friendly stance was garnered today with my taking receipt of a gold driving license (unfortunately, only in colour and not composition).

A popular posit around here is: "If you have a gold license, you likely don't own a car."

And in my case it is true - I do not own a car; though I am not entirely a paper-driver (=someone who is legally allowed to drive, but likely has forgotten how/are not confident to go out on the road).

[Yes, today is a slow news day!]

Anyway, so my gold license comes complete with two PIN numbers and an embedded IC chip. Apparently, if I forget those numbers then nobody can find out where I originally came from (although I think they will be able to guess "not from around here!" - I am not sure why this is such a disadvantage (especially since my name, address, and birthdate is printed on the front of the card) although it is bound to be required at some point as part of stepping stone to a more invasive national id system. I am willing to bet (a small amount - did I mention I do not get paid?) that to prove my identity for something unrelated to driving I will have to provide my PIN numbers at some point and thereby disclose my "private" information to some totally unrelated 3rd party.

Does anyone have an RFID reader ? I am interested in seeing what info I can find out about myself from my driver's license and my passport (already hacked though the system was stupefyingly weak to begin with).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Snap - external link previewer

I have added some code I got from Snap to the template of my blog which provides previews of links (maybe it is too small to read, but maybe it gives you an idea about whether you want to follow the link or not). Enjoy ... if you want to.

Here are some random links for you to test with:
  • The Boa lacing system
  • An article arguing (somewhat weakly) that the half-life of market dominance is contracting with each 'age'.
  • An interesting piece on F. W. Lanchester (1868 - 1946 ) and applying his combat equations to marketing!
  • A free utility for fixing "stuck" (and sometimes even "dead") pixels on LCD/plasma screens.