Saturday, 21 May 2011

Slow News Night

3 News reports: "The World is still here."

Must be a slow news night.

I've been invited to  number of rapture parties, however none are handy to Waiheke :( ... if I get raptured later tonight I'll see if I can get God to drop me off at one, you know, on the way. After all, no hurry aye?

Nah worries mate.

I Just saw something on a local Network news program, which we all know are Highly Reputable Sources. It was about this Rapture thingy. They had this Christian Expert guy saying that it is a Sin to Predict the End of the World so if anyone does then the "Lord" will say, "Nope. Not gonna end it today."

I Say as a Discordian, it is my Duty to wake up every morning and say, "What a Splendid day, Too bad the World's going to end tomorrow." Then of course God will Say, "Nope. Not gonna end it today." Then, Goddess will whisper in my Ear, "That's a good Lad, isn't Sinning Fun?"

Of course, I can only save the World for so long, I figure, barring Accidental, or Malicious death I got another 50 or 60 years on me until the World will end without my Constant Predictions.

This leads me to wonder, After I'm gone would they refer to me as Simon the Great for saving the World everyday, or Simon the Paranoid for thinking the world would end everyday? The Christians already call me Simon the Sinner so I guess that's out for post Death titles, although it does have a Snazzy ring to it. ;)

Happy Rapture, by the Way, the World's ending tomorrow, Party at my House! 6 am Sharp!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Unregulated Ads

Watching Stratos today, I see an ad for a plug-in device to control rats, mice, cockroaches, even spiders. But but: these things do not work. See:

Sonic Deterrents in Animal Damage Control: A Review of Device Tests and Effectiveness
Mary Bomford and Peter H. O'Brien
Wildlife Society Bulletin
Vol. 18, No. 4 (Winter, 1990), pp. 411-422 

... this is a meta-study, covering a wide variety of other studies in the general field of sonic pest control. I thought than maybe it would work for a while, then the pests just get used to the extra noise. But no: seems they don't work at all. But don't take Mary and Pete's word for it - google "ultrasonic pest control" in google-scholar and see. Most are tests for individual products, and as such are not all that useful (they only show those exact products don't work, doesn't mean the others are the same.) But look anyway. Some animals, like rats, have a bit of a response to ultrasound, but cockroaches and other bugs just don't care.

I thought of making a complaint to the advertising standards people ... but that would probably not help since Stratos was showing an overseas feed and, I'm guessing, an NZ authority is not able to affect an overseas ad.

Possibly we need more of these, the New Zealanders will learn not to trust the ads we do allow.

This leaves the problem of genuine anecdotes - "I plugged it in and away they want" stories. Trawl through the regular internet to find those (not one came from actual research). These are either too vague to tell, told by people employed by the company selling the device, or, refer to pests who are likely to go away after a while, or become inconspicuous for periods, anyway. Besides, if you discover you are infested with some pest, you don't just use one intervention - you'd also make sure you clean up after yourself better, lay poison etc. This sort of ambiguity is why anecdotes do not make good evidence.

OTOH: get a bunch of cockroaches in a tank, play the noise at them, watch what they do. Nothing different? Doesn't work. Simple.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Scam Profiles in Facebook

Arrrgh! I really should not have let on that I was single ... I have had two friend requests from sexy-looking women. I mean really hot! After scraping my tongue off the keyboard (drying it off) and putting my eyes back in my head, I thought I'd check their profiles first.

I'm glad I did - they were both new profiles with one photo only and no viewable info except for a link. In one case the link was to a dating site and the other held a link to a degree-scam site. Now technically I will not always be able to see much of someone's profile - they may be privacy conscious - but anyone who wants friends is unlikely to have a profile like that!

I also see a bunch of poor deluded guys have friended them already. I have reported the sites - one for representing a business as a person and the other for being a nonexistent person - we'll see what happens.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Scam profiles in Be2

I wrote earlier about internet dating sites being basically scams ... The site Be2 allows communication without paying, though all the photos are blurred out. I've been getting mail like this:
Dear Simon9994, I have been looking at your profile. It seems like we could have lots in common. Can you tell me a bit more about yourself? 
All the best, cttt
... and ...
Dear Simon9994, I just answered a few questions about my lifestyle in my profile. If you have already answered these questions, you can see an instant comparison.Why don’t you take a look now and send me a private message to tell me if we have a similar lifestyle?Have a look here [link deleted] to see the information I added to my profile.
I look forward to finding out what we have in common! regardssinglemum1972
These are both classic scam emails ... notice how there is no indication in the messages to show these people have actually read my profile or are even interested in me personally. These are wholly generic and actually quite bland. To top it off, cttt's blurred photo is blonde while her profile says "black hair".

This is actually pretty insulting, I wonder how far these people will go.

In the news

Drawing my attention as I sit by the computer:

Magnetic Boy: a Serbian kid has extra sticky skin. Not sure why this is news, I've been sticking stuff to myself for a while. There are claims that he is somehow magnetic - but that makes no sense since some of the stuff that sticks to him is non-ferrous like porcelain plates ... just try a magnet on a dinner plate.

Decapitation in a supermarket: all the news reports focus on what happened after the attack - what about just before or during? This was a supermarket: where  were the shoppers? Did everyone just stand there while her head was hacked off?

Hone Harawira says Maori's are treated like dogs here: Well I suppose he's right in the sence that, like dogs, Maoris have a special protections in law here. The country of comparison, Australia, offers no such status - in fact, Maoris who have not nationalized will have restricted rights compared with full Australians. Is he suggesting that NZ should get rid of the special laws concerning Maoris so they will have the standing they have in Australia? Somehow I doubt it. I wonder how long it will take for one of his opponents to point this out?

Ideas for Chistchurch rebuilding expo:  a bit of a marketing thing isn't it? Nice for morale perhaps and gives the appearance that something is being done, but the reality is that CHCH will continue to look like a disaster-zone for a long time to come. There's a long-term real-estate opportunity there though.

Perhaps we can rebuild CHCH along secular lines? There is public money going into this after all ... should the NZ government implicitly support a narrow range of religions this way? The churches are not just architecture, they are meeting places and symbols for people whose ideology precludes freedom of religion (just read your bible). On the other hand, perhaps part of the rebuilding should reflect the multicultural nature of NZ as a whole (since, as a whole, NZ is funding it)? That way CHCH would become a sort-of multicultural capitol for NZ.

North Africa: it is just not possible to sort out the conflicting reports coming out of places like Libya. Maybe NATO did mistakenly hit a religious meeting? OTOH: it sounds an awful like those sleazy defences: "My client was walking along the street, minding his own business, travelling from his Church where he spent the morning in prayer on his way to help homeless orphans, when the police brutally decended upon him, without warning, for no discernable reason, emotionally scarring onlookers ..."

Blogspot outage

Wow - blogspot has been down - on and off - for three days or so. Apparently they messed up an upgrade and it took this long to fix. One of the effects was that older posts got lost for a while ... I don't think readers would have noticed but I have been unable to post here and I've had stuff to say.

OK - thinks seem to be working, I'll marshall my thoughts and ...

Friday, 13 May 2011

RSI Blues

I woke up this mornin, couldn't move my arm
I woke up this mornin, couldnta move my arm
It was a mass of searing pain baby
I got them old "I used the computer too much" blues.

Yeah I was up all nigh bloggin, postin and modellin too
You know about that babe: didn't even stop to watch you tube
Now my mouse hand is all cramped up baby
My nerves are all shot and fused

And I got that old RSI blues.

Verify Your Backups

Friday 13 is international backups day ... as well as being sacred to the Goddess Frigga (or Frig, if you watched "The Almighty Johnsons").

So verify your backups.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Mother's day treat for Mum

Found this "documentary":

... way to go Mum!

Online Dating sites

The various social network sites I subscribe to have realized that I am single, and started advertising dating sites like at me. However, I have a hard time being able to tell the difference between these and scam sites.

The usual business model for social sites is to provide a functional service gratis, sell you special services, but mostly just sell advertising space. You'd think dating sites would be great for this ... after all, users are motivated to provide loads of detailed demographics in the name of finding a compatible partner. But this is not so. Instead, non-functional services are provided, you are constantly nagged to pay for functional services, and your are constantly tempted with too-good-to-be-true looking prospective dates as motivation.

Now it is possible that a 25yo hottie really wants to meet me, but (see photo) how likely is this... really?

The sites outlaw anything in your profile which could be construed as an attempt to bypass payment to meet people. shows you pictures and lets you "wink" at people ... sometimes they wink back: so far all I've got back is "no thanks". People have wink"ed at me to, and, though I have winked back, nobody has expressed further interest... most of them do not look like genuine people.

be2 is even more restrictive - you need premium access to see photos or have any contact with other members. Good greif.

But if you are careful, you can provide hints in your profile to direct genuine date-hunters to some place, like a blog, where they can contact you and still leave you protected. (That's how they justify not letting you publish contact details: it's for your protection.)

Hopefully, someone actually keen will see the hints I have left and find their way here ... hope springs eternal ... and post a message to one of these posts. Then I'll know they are real and something can happen.

It is possible that some people will think I cannot be serious if I am not prepared to pay for full access to talk to them ... but really, I probably would pay for full access if I was confident that the people I am seeing are actually real. Apart from that, I would rather have the money to make a better impression on the first date. I live on Waiheke Island after all ... this is a resort. I can show the right someone a very good time.

Obviously the proper thing to do is actually get offline and out into meat-space ... meet people, physically, join clubs, that sort of thing.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

delSol Back

I got my beastie back from the shop ... still waiting parts. Each time I have to do without, I rent or borrow a car .. this time it was a Mazda .. 1.5L something, fairly nice... all electric, cleaner than I normally keep my car, but I have a better stereo :)

I found the mazda felt "tighter" to drive, a bit heavy, but agile on Waiheke's roads. Better hill-climbing. I got used ot it's handling... then when I got back to the delSol I rediscovered why I like it so much. Compared with the mazda I had an extra few horses under the hood and the car felt light and loose on the road (what I normally think of as "normal" performance these days). Once more an exciting drive.

Sometimes I wish for more of a workhorse... but really I wouldn't want a regular car any more.


This car is mine - hands off :)

... I've been thinking of what I'd eventually replace the delSol with ... I like it and would prefer to keep maintaining it, maybe redo it later, but who am I kidding: I'm no gearhead. AST some point I'll be able to afford a real car for what the delSol costs to maintain thus: I looked up what second-hand Porsches go for (no way I can afford a new one ... though if any fans want to shout me one? No? Oh well...)

Off Top-Gear I thought: Porsche 911 ... the fwd is a good idea for Nz in general and Waiheke in particular ... and it seems a 10yo carrera will come in at about 40k these days ... however, I can get an ultra-lux upgrade to a Boxter (rwd only :( ) from 30k ... looks like the right choice.

The link above goes to a really nice, leather interior, sports upgrade, Boxter S-series. It is everything the delSol is only German ... which puts it into a whole different orbit. Looks a litte low for my drive though ... so now I just have to come up with 34k + change.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Watching AlJazeera

Wow - so thats what a news service looks like - I'd almost forgotten: even the BBC has turned into a magazine show.

But really - how long does it take to say that bin Laden is dead?

Smeagol Update

Smeagol is back at the vets having the wire removed from his jaw. He should be all better now ... with only his teeth to clean up. His appetite is way up, he's chasing the chooks, and cuddling at night ...though that last probably means it's cold.

Home Broadband up and running

Just got ynet to install radio broadband ... I'll get the bill later (yikes). Meantime, car is sick - it has been losing power through the central locking shorting out (gah!) About $200 to fix - here we go - looks like it is big-bill month.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Mini-Simon make things go boom!

I started Early - 1983 - building rockets. This is what you can get up to if you have the keys to the dangerous chemical store at High School. There is, now, a law against the particular mixture we used. Goos stuff...