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Archived Posts for August 2001

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
Aug 01


If you’re reading this, the salt you eat every day is iodised. Iodised salt is one of those things that we not only take for granted, but are probably unaware of. However there are in places where salt is not iodised which has led to severe health problems – most notably nations where poverty is common. India is one such place, as this informative article from Salon explains.

  9:07pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Culture  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Aug 01


As it says, Human Markup Language is being explored:

Hoping to eliminate human misunderstanding in communication, OASIS, the XML interoperability consortium, Tuesday announced it has formed a committee to promote a specification for conveying human characteristics through XML.

Aug 01


The manual data entry process of moving the archives into a database continues. I’m up to July 2000 (1800+ posts, 200k+ words). It’s interesting reading back on some of my previous posts. Some things I can’t believe I wrote and some things I don’t remember I wrote.

Aug 01


Thank you to all who sent in responses!

u don’t have a macquarie dictionary. the national dictionary. well. i conveniently have it next to me on the shelf because every day, i talk to ppl who use words i don’t understand on icq :) or elsewhere.

‘copha: n. a white waxy solid derived from coconut flesh used as a shortening in cooking; coconut butter. Also, copha butter [trademark]’


Copha-cobana….. hahahah

Copha is basically solidified coconut oil… mostly used in Australia for the perennial favourite Chocolate Crackles….


Well I work in the dairy department at my local Coles, and we have Copha there – you will probably find it in the same place you find butter and margarine, it’s in a white paper wrapping.

It’s not a liquid, it is in fact a solid and comes in a cube (hence the paper wrapping, like blocks of butter). I believe it is some form of vegetable oil extract – it feels quite waxy and greasy. I think it is just sold as a solidified cooking oil.


Yeh, Copha is used for cooking… usually get it blocks of identical size to Butter… Should be available from any supermarket…

It’s solid, though yeh, you wouldn’t want to use it for cooking without melting it first… not sure if it would be liquid at room temperature, but I’m guessing so since it’s supposed to be kept refrigerated :)

Uhm… I think from memory you have to use Copha when you make chocolate crackles :D

  6:25pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Food  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 
Aug 01

Wrong Button

Received from a friend working at Telstra:

In one of the labs at optus there are a few people disscussing the new GPRS stuff out there… (their were some Nokia guys and some Optus guys in the room…) anyway…

They decide to send a test sms out over the limited test GPRS network… suddenly lots of phones went off in the room and the Optus dudes got suspisious as the Nokia guys weren’t supposed to have much access to their GPRS network…

It turned out that the techy dude hit the wrong button and sent the SMS over the corperate GSM network rather than the GPRS network.. (consequently sending the SMS to every single Optus mobile phone out there…)

This would equate to a phone bill of around $65 000. (thats alot of SMSes…)

I just gotta comfirm this one… Anyone here on Optus? (yeah theres gotta be a few of you out there??) anyway… did any of you recently (either today or the past few days etc) recive a test sms message?

Aug 01


And while we’re on the topic of hard drives, here’s a large guide to RAID.

100 GB HDD

Western Digital has released a 100GB IDE hard disk (ATA-100, 7200rpm, 8.9ms seek).

Aug 01
Aug 01

Financial Accounts Aggregation

This story has been circulating the office. A part of our team at EDS is responsible for implementing that for the CBA… I don’t know a great deal about cryptography, but one thing I don’t get is when they say all the passwords are stored under one way triple-DES encryption. If that’s true – how do the CBA servers logon to third party financial institution servers to gather information from them? The CBA servers still need to be able to send the decrypted password to other banks’ servers (although re-encrypted via SSL) – for that you’d need two way encryption which means that passwords can be recoverable. Hmmmm…

Trusting Trust

Here’s an interesting read on programming and self-replicating/self-referential code.


The C# Language Specification specifies a language that looks remarkably similar in syntax to Java. No coincidence, I guess. I’ve always wanted to learn C++ but I guess with my Java experience, C# will be easier to pick up when it eventually is released.

SB Audigy

Creative’s new line of SoundBlaster cards, the Audigy, ships next month.

What’s Copha?

Can someone tell me what “copha” is? It’s meant to be some sort of (Australian) cooking ingredient but I’ve never heard of it. I think it’s a liquid? If you know what it is, and where to get it, mail me please.

  10:55pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Food  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Aug 01

Planet of the Apes

Decent flick I guess. I haven’t seen the original, so I don’t know if it’s a good modernisation of a classic sci-fi movie or not! However, if you like sci-fi, this movie is not bad. Caught it at the Burwood Greater Union yesterday and we fortuitously spotted Nikki Webster (the girl who sang in the Olympics’ opening ceremony) there too – must’ve been doing a publicity shoot or something. Apparently she’s meant to be 15 or so, but she’s tiny and looks a lot younger…

Celestial Art

This guy wants to paint a big red dot onto the moon by shining millions of laser pointers at it. The web site calls upon people in America to aim their pointers at the moon for a five minute period. Unfortunately, the guy’s right when he said that he is not a scientist. While laser light does stay coherent and is highly directable, the light still attenuates – especially through the earth’s atmosphere. Strictly speaking, although the light never really becomes “invisible”, it does diminish in intensity out of the range of human sight – invisible to us, in other words. Most household laser pointers have a visible range of, at most, a couple kilometres. The moon is a fair bit further than that. Additionally, the area of the moon that would have to be lit up to be visible to the human eye would be impractically large. I think in Australia, there is also some law that prohibits general-use laser pointers over a certain power (1 milliwatt I think). The US probably has similar laws relating to safety regulations and lasers. It’s a quaint sentiment overall, but one unlikely to work.

Aug 01


The portal is momentarily down. FTP is having trouble transferring the file for some obscure reason.

Speedball Arena

Speedball is going to be updated for the Net age: Speedball Arena. I remember playing this madass game on the Amiga. Will be a game I’m looking forward to. I’ve a funny feeling that dialup connections won’t take too well to online play though :( {src: Fuzzy}

Backend Update

Manual population of the DB with the archives continues. I’m up to March 1999 (which comprises 493 posts totalling around 55k words). Copying and pasting text from html code generated with an ancient version of Frontpage is not fun. Frontpage 97 must’ve violated every html standard under the sun.

Aug 01

Future Career Paths

MBAs, especially those from prestigious US business schools are still hot stuff.

Revised Portal

Cleaned up the portal.

Aug 01


It’s been written before, and it’s been written yet again. Nonetheless, I do agree somewhat with the points the guy makes (although I would have phrased it a little differently :). Whether e/n is dead depends on your definition of what makes it live, however. But let’s not get into that – I have always reckoned the crux of the matter revolves around how much you are writing the site for yourself, and how much you are writing the site for others. Ideally it should be like a personal journal – you write what interests you, not what brings in hits. Hits should be a side effect of writing about things which just happen to interest other people in the world. Doesn’t work that way, though.

BTW, the backend on this site is slowly being written. I’m now populating the database with 3 years of archives… slooooow going.

Census 2001

Tonight is census night for all the Aussies. Of course, most people have already filled out the form even though technically, everyone’s meant to do it tonight. From the ABS: How Australia takes a census.

Aug 01


Just two words to say: “His Way” ;)

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