Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for March 2004

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 Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
31
Mar 04
Wed

Chernobyl – A couple decades later

Motorcycle photo tour of the ghost town of Chernobyl. It’s fascinating, and also really eerie. The whole area is basically frozen in time and relics of Communism abound in there. {src: Expect Nothing}

30
Mar 04
Tue

Hmmm

My net connection dropped out a little while ago. I just reconnected. At 49.2kbps. It’s never connected above 28kbps before. It’s downloading at almost 5kB/s. It’s never done more than 3.6kB/s before. Could it be? Could it finally be?????

29
Mar 04
Mon

Redecorations

Fuzzy’s redesigned. It’s quirky, in a good way.

I’m going to send off a bunch of files to Ofoto soon. There’s a lot of bare walls around this apartment, so I plan to remedy that by making a photowall, tiled with 6×4 inch photos and a few framed 10×8 ones. The problem I have to fix is figuring out how to attach the photos to the walls without damaging the photos. The walls are concrete, but are slightly rough so using tape is a bit dodgy. I may have to resort to blu-tack, but the thought of rolling out a whole bunch of little blu-tack blobs for each photo is not very appealing. Blu-tack also leaks oil and stains the material after a long time as well.

Paycheck

I loved it. Sure there are plot holes (hey, it’s a movie that screws around with time), but it was tight enough to be fairly convincing. It seems to cover slightly different ground to Minority Report which was also based on a Phillip K Dick story. The pre-crime predictions in Minority Report were a once off prediction and were changeable once you became aware of them. On the other hand, Jennings in Paycheck was not aware of his “preset future” at all, having had his memory wiped. Therefore, it was a case of where the crystal ball machine predicted his future (I don’t think that’s a spoiler, you get told that in the trailer) with 100% pinpoint accuracy, regardless of what he did. But otherwise, the two movies had really similar feels.

  11:54pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 

Army of Darkness

One of those cult classic movies that various people have been recommending me for ages. Definitely a fun watch. It’s sort of like a horror movie which has swapped out all the horror for humour, if that makes any sense. This is my BOOMSTICK!

  11:35pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Movies  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
28
Mar 04
Sun

Daylight Saving Over

Extra hour of sleep, but now it starts to get dark fast.

  7:23pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
27
Mar 04
Sat
25
Mar 04
Thu

Lightning Striking Twice

Holy shit. Ok. So I was at the Sydney Law Careers Fair at Darling Harbour today. Hundreds of law students from around Sydney flocking to a few handfuls of large law corporate firms like seagulls after a few hot chips. That’s not the interesting bit. After I’d finished my interrogations and gathering the armfuls of brochures and pens and mousepads and whatnot, I started to head for home. I’m making my way out the door when a voice calls out from the side at me, “Hey! Hi!” I turned around and got the shock of my life.

It was Anne. The softdrink marketing surveyor chick. Yes, that Anne.

“Remember me?” How could I forget? Turns out she graduated from law at UTS in 2001, took a year or two off and was now after her PLT and a job. I extricated myself from the conversation as quickly as possible and left.

After all that, you might say I should go out and buy a lottery ticket, but it’s probable that if I did, I’d get struck by a bolt of lightning on the way to the newsagency.

The Careers Fair
It was actually quite different from last night’s expo (see yesterday’s entry). Australian firms place a lot more focus on all-round achievement compared with the Hong Kong firms, which is nice to see. Not all, but still very much the majority, of firms were very friendly and approachable – notably Freehills, Blakes and AAR, but I suppose it depends which individual of those firms you get to chat to. All of the top tier firms naturally sound highly attractive. As is expected, the competition is pretty intensive for them. However, unlike other blue-ribbon industries like i-banking or consulting, most of the law firms are accepting anywhere from 15 to 30 clerks for the summer clerkship programs.

Also interesting was that no particular emphasis is placed upon a commerce background, despite them all being commercial law firms (unlike i-banking where finance is a plus). I suppose the rationale for this is that you cover commercial subjects in law school anyway, so you have some relevant background. It’s definitely good for me in that although people will look at my resume, see BIT and stereotypically think “computer guy”, it theoretically won’t matter (in my experience, recruiters tend to skip the “B” part in BIT). But ultimately recruitment for all these top tier firms reminds me of this little exchange in Starship Troopers:

Zim: I see you specifically requested transfer from Fort Cronkite to this training group…
Dizzy: Sir, I heard it was the best, sir!
Zim: It is the best… BUT WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU’RE GOOD ENOUGH??

The summer clerkship application season opens around July-August, so we’ll see how we go.

Blah

It’s been a really busy session so far, haven’t been getting out very much. Can’t wait until the mid-session break in a few weeks’ time. Every session there’s always one subject that I hate, and this session it’s the compulsory jurisprudential subject – Legal Theory. Way too abstract for me. I guess I wasn’t cut out for philosophy!

Went to an International Law Careers Fair tonight at uni. A more apt title would be “Hong Kong Law Careers Fair” as all the firms there except one (Linklaters) were Hong Kong based. This was bad because I don’t speak any form of Chinese whatsoever. Language skills are something that are quite dependent on environment. Where you were born and where you grew up have a huge bearing upon what languages you pick up. Sure, you can pick up languages later on in life, but most people will only pick up fluency in one language learnt in this way. And only then if they spend some amount of time in a country that speaks that language. (Programming languages don’t count.) Do I wish I could speak another language? Sure. But it’s more a feeling of resignation than regret that I never picked up one when I was young, when the brain is geared for rapid learning.

I guess this is why I’m somewhat annoyed when relatives ask me, “Why can’t you speak Chinese?” as if I was supposed to be able to speak it by mere virtue of my race and as if I have some sort of genetic defect because I can’t. Actually, I might start replying to that with, “Why can’t you speak proper English?”

  8:52pm (GMT +11.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (3)  • 
23
Mar 04
Tue
22
Mar 04
Mon

IT

This article from The Australian looks at the high under-representation of women in information technology and engineering. Bugger, eh? But it’s nothing we didn’t already know years ago.

Figures from the Department of Education, Science and Training show females were just 25 per cent of IT students in higher education in 2002, compared to 53.8 per cent in medical studies, 56.8 per cent in law, 56.1 per cent in accounting, 51.7 per cent in dentistry and 70.4 per cent in veterinary studies. … Engineering and related technologies is another a standout poor performer, attracting a female student body of just 15.9 per cent. …

Kaylene Clayton, who last year completed her honours thesis investigating school students’ perceptions of IT and how they influenced recruitment into IT studies, programs and careers, says IT is seen as geeky, nerdy and an antisocial occupation for socially inadequate people. …

“Girls really see IT as a tool, the boys are happy to get in there and tinker, the girls just want to get in and get it done,” she says.

I would say that the perceptions have a slight ring of truth, but remain largely a misconception. It’s just a stereotype branding that’s convenient and has stuck – nursing is for women, arts is for bludgers, etc. There are plenty of IT people who don’t match the description above – take a look at a lot of the bloggers and e/n people around. Then again there are plenty of people who do (anyone remember Bence? Although even he was funny).

19
Mar 04
Fri
18
Mar 04
Thu

A Couple Links

This mail from Pete:

http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/mispron.html
Off of Kottke…but interestingly all the mispronounced words seem to apply mostly to if the speaker is from american (Innernet and such).

I expecially like their explanation of KKK:
Klu Klux Klan / Ku Klux Klan Well, there is an “l” in the other two, why not the first? Well, that is just the way it is; don’t expect rationality from this organization.

Culled from the Web, xBlog is frequently updated list of links most likely
to be of interest to visual thinkers, graphic designers and information
architects: http://xplane.com/xblog/

Thanks mate.

Justice Kirby at UNSW

Justice Kirby came and gave a speech at uni last night. Opening with a statement that he sincerely believed our law school was “one of the two great law schools in this country” (thereby immediately winning over the audience), he gave a very cordial, clear and often humourous address about his time on the High Court, focusing on the role of dissent in the legal system. Justice Kirby, of course, is well-known for his high rates of dissent (around 30% in recent years). Compare this with recently retired Justice L’Heureux-DubĂ© of the Canadian Supreme Court. She was known as the “Great Dissenter” in Canada, despite a mere dissent rate of just under 8%. Kirby noted the growing importance of international law and academic sources as a force influencing judges. He also treated us to a poetry recitation from Tagore’s Gitanjali. Quite an extraordinary gentleman.

Actually, touching again on the topic of Canada, there is a high representation of women there. Three justices, including the Chief Justice of its Supreme Court are women. The Governor-General is not only a woman, but a Chinese Canadian, born in Hong Kong. Hard to see any of that happening in Australia, given the dominance of men in the judicial arena. I wonder why that’s the case here?

  8:31pm (GMT +11.00)  •  Law  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
17
Mar 04
Wed

Googlemania

Another excellent Wired article on Google’s impending IPO and the cultural and managerial shifts that a company has to adapt to when it transitions to a public company. It’s been a while since the days where a tech IPO seemed to be announced every minute. If all goes well with the float, Google’s stock will go north. Definitely in the short-term, and probably in the long-term. I will have to do a bit of reading on how I can invest into the American stockmarket.

See also Google-IPO.com.

16
Mar 04
Tue
15
Mar 04
Mon
14
Mar 04
Sun

The Broadband Saga Continues

We rang up Telstra again today to see if anything had changed in the last year or so regarding our broadband situation. Cable is nearly impossible to get because they have to install some sort of cable box into the apartment complex, and that requires the consent of most of the residents as well as strata approval. So it comes down to ADSL. Now, the telephone wiring into this apartment is strange. It may be pair gain, but I don’t think pair gain is normally used to hook up 18 units. Anyway, the most we can connect at on dial-up is 28.8k. Back to Telstra. The person on the line informed us that we were probably close enough to the local exchange (which is on Todman Ave), but they would have to do some line testing. She put through a “transposition request” which is supposed to move us onto a suitable copper line at the exchange. It’s not a guaranteed thing. They said they will get back to us in 5 to 6 weeks, but I won’t be holding my breath. Taking bets: it’s about 1000 to 1 odds that we will be able to get ADSL.

13
Mar 04
Sat
12
Mar 04
Fri
11
Mar 04
Thu

North Pole, Solo

Hey mate, an interesting story.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,1157082,00.html

http://www.bensaunders.com/equipment

I tend to be desensitised to these sorts of achievements, you hear about them more and more? But apparently what this guy’s attempting has never been done before.

Thanks Pete!

10
Mar 04
Wed

Hey BITs

This just occurred to me recently. There were about 50 people doing my first degree, which was in IT. I know a few friends from the course who have been reading this site for years. I know this despite them being pathological lurkers (hi guys), because occasionally they’ll retort to something I’ve said with, “Yeah I know, I’ve read it on your site.” Anyway, in a day and age where every third person has a blog, not a single BIT in my year I know of has one. Now, BITs in general are known for being chatty. And they are IT graduates, so theoretically there’s no problem with getting the “infernal machine contraption thingy” working. This seems like the right combination for adopting the relatively new-fangled mode of communication in the form of weblogs. But not one has a blog. I find that weird for some reason. Very weird.

I know this will fall on deaf ears and I’ll get no replies, but nonetheless if you’re a BIT/ISM, make your presence known in the comments please :).

Update: See, this e-mail I just got from Ben is exactly what I mean…

Found your little aside about BITs not blogging amusing. Sorry, no time or inclination from me ;) … I guess its just a reflection of our more technical guys not being big on written expression.. and our less technical being so corporate focused.

9
Mar 04
Tue

Weather Vane

Added a weather indicator in the sidebar (above “Alternatives”). It’s parsed and cached from the BOM every hour. If the Bureau changes their page structure, it’ll wreck the whole thing, so hopefully that doesn’t happen.

8
Mar 04
Mon

It’s a Dry Heat

Ok, I take it back. Out came the shorts and miniskirts at uni again as the temperature rocketed to 40 today. The wind was blowing, but it wasn’t cooling – it felt like walking into a fan-forced oven.

7
Mar 04
Sun

New Photos

Put up a few new photos: here, and here.

Kazaa and the Anton Piller order

You may have heard how the Australian music industry, authorised by something called an “Anton Piller order”, recently raided 12 sites around Australia, seizing documents and data, in its pending lawsuit against Sharman Networks, makers of Kazaa. Sharman obviously didn’t like these Gestapo tactics and went to Court to challenge the legality of what the music industry did. A few days ago the judge came back with an answer, which was: tough luck, Sharman, grin and bear it.

This seems a little scary, that the music industry could bust down your door and raid your house for incriminating evidence. So what exactly are these Anton Piller orders, anyway? Surely a company can’t just demand one from the courts and go traipsing about other peoples’ homes and offices willy-nilly?

The Anton Piller order was first used in a UK case featuring a plaintiff called Anton Piller (Anton Piller KG v Manufacturing Processes Ltd [1976] Ch 55). These guys were annoyed that some people (a bunch called “Manufacturing Processes”) they were doing business with were leaking their trade secrets out to competitors. Obviously they wanted to sue them, but they also needed to get evidence somehow without tipping the leakers off. If they were tipped off, they would mostly likely dispose of the evidence down a toilet or something like that. So the judge authorised Anton Piller to go to the leakers’ office and find what they need, without giving the leakers any prior notice of what was going on.

So that’s what an Anton Piller order is. It allows a plaintiff to get information from the premises of someone they want to sue, when that person is likely to destroy that information as soon as they get wind of a lawsuit coming their way. If you knew you were about to be sued for all those MP3s on your hard drive, wouldn’t the first thing you’d do is delete them all (or move them onto a portable hard drive) and then say, “What MP3s?” That’s why the order is given without notice.

Now it sounds a bit like a police search warrant – banging down front doors with maglites and German Shepherd dogs and all that – but technically it’s not. It’s actually a court order (specifically, an injunction) that orders a person/company to give permission to a plaintiff to find out what information they need for the lawsuit. They are not allowed to barge down doors or rappel down walls. The plaintiffs must bring their lawyers along, and also give the defendant a chance to contact their lawyers. And if the defendant tells them to get lost, they have to comply and tell the court what happened (which will result in the defendant being held in contempt of court). The defendant can also contest the order, which is what Kazaa did.

So although it sounds all dramatic, the “raids” were really a group of music executives and lawyers going door knocking. But it still is all extremely invasive and intrusive. (Of course, Sharman rightfully milked the media by making it sound like the music industry are a bunch of Nazis for doing what they did.) What Kazaa took offence to was that there was no evidence that they would have destroyed any evidence had they known they were going to be sued. They pointed to how nicely they’ve cooperated in the US lawsuit and the Dutch lawsuit as evidence of that. Justice Wilcox disagreed.

6
Mar 04
Sat
5
Mar 04
Fri

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

You want me to kill de cook? Pretty entertaining, especially if you liked Desparado.

4
Mar 04
Thu
3
Mar 04
Wed

Monster

Yep, Charlize Theron deserved that Oscar. She’s virtually unrecognisable in her role playing a serial killer/prostitute/lesbian, and it’s not just the makeup and prosthetics. Which is what makes it all so convincing. Thanks for the lend of the DVD Jess.

1
Mar 04
Mon

Summer’s Gone

Weather sucks. I’ve had to start packing jumpers for the first time in months.



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