Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sudoku Sitting Still 

Why can I not sit still when asked to write a short story? For a group exercise, not for publication. No pressure.

Sit down, stand up. Move around. Change rooms, again. Drink water. Go to the loo. Turn on the stereo. Do sit ups!

Only when I'm attempting a Sudoku (and the one published in Saturday's West was a doozy) can I sit still.

I've decided that creativity must need movement. But I can Sudoku sitting still.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Sham-Controlled 

From Neurotech's media release of 5 January: "The Phase II trial is a randomized, double-masked, sham- controlled dose ranging study..." Oh yeah. I've been updating RetGen and don't I love it.

Also read today in Google's Sponsored Links:


Retinitis Pigmentosa
Did you know that Chinese herbs can
easily treat Retinitis Pigmentosa?


Well, strike me flamin' pink... no, I didn't. An evaluation shows the herbal treatment to have "excellent efficacy" and a four-month treatment costs only USD 289.95. Uh huh, oh yeah.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Petitioning Google - Accessible Word Verification 

The Google Word Verification Accessibility Petition asks Google, Inc. to make their word verification accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired. If you believe that blind users should be able to access Google's services independently, please consider adding your name.

If you're a Blogger user, you'll know how often a blind person might have to seek assistance from someone with sight just to publish a post.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Kentucky Fried 


"In fact Crystal talked to everybody like a dog, didn't she?" defense attorney Barbara Kriz asked Trudell later.

'LexTran humiliated them, 2 testify' Lexington Herald-Leader, 18 January 2006.

Yep, it's another weird news story featuring someone with RP, this time from Kentucky.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Glaring Up 

Two weeks in a row Seek have posted an ad for a 'FUNCTIONS COORDINATOR - with flare!' Fair enough. You never know what can go wrong at a Claremont-based function.

Regret the Error is a blog that reports errors made in the media. Australian newspapers are represented, although none appear to have online pages devoted to corrections. Not all errors are outrageous or funny (where's the entertainment value in that?) but they do remind me how easy it is to stuff up. As if I need reminding.

I read about Regret the Error at ResearchBuzz, where Google text ads no longer appear beside each post. They used to sit in the top left of the main content column, with no lines or obvious layout changes to separate them from actual content. I don't mind seeing the ads, I just don't like to find them where I expect to start reading a post. Now they're gone.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Change Of Scenery 

Not really, I'm at Gill's. But Gill is here with me, so it's all good. I have cruised about in the new Volkswagon Golf (very red and spinny) and watched a man wearing a bib with the number 1 on it teach Caelan to swim. Gill thinks we should have gone to the beach with our towels and some surfboards in the new car but the pool for VacSwim will have to do. For now. Just as soon as I buy a surfboard, we're off. We caught up with Judith and Dylan in Freo and ate tea down at Joe's to Go down by Fisherman's Wharf. Gill says the most scenic fleet in town is tied up down there, all fresh blue paint and picture perfect. We watched the sun go down over Bather's Beach and Caelan invited Dylan to come chuck seagulls. Caelan's into Asterix and wanted to punch a seagull or two as well. Paf! We're off to blogger meet up tomorrow night, hence this demonstration post. See, Gill? I am really clever. I think she'd like to go to bed now.
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Thursday, January 12, 2006

New York to Freo 

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is speaking Perth Festival. NYTimes.com reports that Dowd wrote their two most read articles of 2005. The second most popular of these is on the US government's response to Hurricane Katrina (United States of Shame', 3 September 2005). I wonder how many more people read, 'What's a Modern Girl to Do?' (30 October 2005)?

'An Evening with Maureen Dowd is $15, so this modern woman thinks she might go. Augie March play at Beck's Verandah that weekend and an exhibition of work from the Carrolup school of Noongar painting opens too.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Share and Share Alike 

I'm discovering that when a site isn't accessible, it's annoying for those who can access it and want to share.

In the meantime, I read Bruce Lawson "On Web 2.0".

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Boxed Up 

Telstra rang at tea time before Christmas. They congratulated us on being able to switch to broadband (a year after the upgrade to the local exchange, so not for the first time). I admit I may have zoned out while the guy read me stuff he needed to record.

As a result, I thought I'd said yes to some kind of demo or information kit. Two days later I received an e-mail from Bigpond Broadband. My application to join was successful! Installation kit, Deanne. I checked the e-mail to see how much my successful application might cost:


Billing information
-------------------


The plan you've chosen to start out on is our BPBB-ADSL 200MB 256/64. Billing for this plan will begin when you make a successful connection to BigPond Broadband, or 21 days after your kit was dispatched (whichever comes first).


But enough about that kind of thing. We're sure you want to get going!


Yeah, I want to get going without the self-installation kit. I hate knowing how much stuff's going to cost me. Ick. Why do they think I let them choose which plan I 'start out on'?

Not that I personally needed to worry. I'd successfully applied to have it billed to my mum.

The installation kit came two weeks after the phone call. We posted it right back. The postie says we're not the only people sending boxes back to Telstra this New Year.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Park Ya Carcass, Not Ya Car 

At last, a way for me to make use of parking bays! PARK(ing) involves turning a metered parking spot or two into a temporary park of the recreational variety. All I need to work out now is how to get a roll of turf onto the train.

According to Rebar's PARK(ing) construction manual, something else you'll need is:

A plan for dealing with police officers, traffic enforcement personnel, or people angry about you occupying a parking space. Keep in mind that you are acting in the public interest to add to the health, comfort, and vitality of your
city. We recommend appealing to law enforcement?s sense of civic pride versus
antagonizing them.

I reckon as well as the recommended bench, tree and grass needed to turn a parking spot into a park, I'd bring a barbie and a wading pool. Some ducks. Wow, I'm feeling blissed out at the thought of relaxing in my pleasant little rectangle already. Watermelon. Yes, all in the public interest. Take your car and leave me in peace.

I read about PARK(ing) in an enthusiastic post called 'from the "i love this so much" files' at me, myself and infrastructure, (21 December 2005).

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Muffins Like Us 

My favourite headline brought to me via the Google News Alert for 'retinitis pigmentosa' so far: 'By baking muffins, he found his niche to serve the Lord' (St Petersburgh Times, 27 December 2005). The article is about a Florida man called Dwight Milton Lee, who over the course of his life did other stuff too:


He wrote that he was considered a "problem pretender" because he fell into fox holes. He jumped onto his horse backward, and was transferred to a medic company, which landed in Normandy during the Second World War.

A German plane strafed him there, with bullets piercing his thigh and abdomen three times. Doctors removed a slug and inspected him to send him back to war.


Eventually they worked out that he couldn't see either the fox holes or his horse. After the war he worked as a commercial artist using his tunnel vision and cared for his wife after she had a stroke. I didn't blog this at RetGen but I couldn't not blog it either. Some articles are all together odd. More like us, I guess.

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Discussion With A Smile 

Today someone gave me some advice. Hey Deanne, you know that you look much prettier with a smile on your face, smile. This advice from a blind man, who I've never met in meatspace, via e-mail. Not that it's bad advice (although, sometimes I look better if I don't smile, provided I'm not frowning) but it implies that I'm not typing my messages in good humour. I always type my messages in good humour! Such a slur on my good-humoured name.

And now I'm showing poor form by commenting about it in my blog. I planned to whine about the frustration caused by e-mail discussion lists, which reminded me how hard it is not to wander off during meetings, but I think I feel better now. Not prettier, mind, but much better. Smile.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

My First Writely Document 

Wow! I have a word processor in my browser window. I though it might be slow because I'm on dial up, in the country, on a windy night and my computer's acting weird but this is great! I don't know why this is so cool but it is. Novelty value plus. You can view the HTML code for a document but it's not current standard (it uses the font tag, for example). You can edit the HTML yourself, which is handy. I can't get the spell check to work (actually, it's possible it is working and I haven't spotted the display) and changes to the colour formatting don't display on the screen. I'm using Mozilla Firefox, so that could make a difference. Now, to see if I can blog this.

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Out There 

My computer's acting up tonight and my Ciradian rhythm's all out so I've started to read about Web 2.0 and Ajax.

A mention of an 'Ajax Office Review' (Innerphaze, 24 December 2005) at ResearchBuzz started me off. The review focusses on word processing applications on the Web.

I thought word processing would be cool before I tried it. Wow, imagine processing words! Everything about the Internet sounded like a dream. Imagine talking to people from all over the world! How good would that be? (Yeah, imagine having strangers from overseas piss you off entirely.) Still, a word processor on the Internet naturally appeals to me, even though I'm not too sure what you'd do with it. Here, come re-write my resume! My novel sucks, fix it for yourself.

Although I use Gmail more than Eudora now, and I love Wikipedia, I'm still wondering why people want to use the Web to do work they can do on their own computers? Even though I'm a blogger, I wonder why people want all their 'stuff' out there? Feels a bit like everyone's moving their bedside tables into the front yard for everyone else to take a look at, use, and change. Maybe even doing away with your bedside table and using one provided free by a company you know nothing about.

Actually, I have thought of a non-business application for word processing online. I joined a new writers' mailing list before Chrissie and almost immediately someone suggested we write a continuing, collaborative story. We already have more characters than contributors. Every time someone adds to it, the entire story is e-mailed to the list. A member has a copy in Word format too. If we could all work on the same document, as well as the same story, that'd be so much easier. Not useful to the world at large but easier for us.

I've now checked out Writely, an online word processor that Dan from Innerphaze recommended in his article. I should be able to post my first document to my blog from there.

I do think there's a limit to how much stuff is useful to have 'out there' where you are. I also wonder about how sensible it is to entrust so much information and computer processing to companies you may know nothing about. Yes, I've leapt into a world where we don't have Word on our own computers - back to terminals! Wow, I guess Microsoft should make sure they're in on this.

And now you know what I think about when I can't get to sleep. I guess we'll find out if it helps to have it out there and not so much in here.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Google's 'Braille' Logo 

I just went to do a Google search and noticed that instead of the usual image of the word 'Google', there's an image of the word 'Google' in Braille. It looks all lovely and bumpy but it isn't. The alternative text says 'A picture of the Braille letters spelling out "Google." Happy Birthday Louis Braille!' and the image links to a search on Louis Braille, who I don't believe will be celebrating his birthday this year.

I recognised the 'G' and the 'E' and the 'L' from my Association for the Blind (WA) bookmark. Irony has a good friend in RP. Nevertheless, I like the logo, have saved it to disk, and am once again inspired to learn Grade 1 Braille while I can still see it.* I wonder if it will inspire Google to ensure that all of it's services are accessible?

* Assuming that one day I will not be able to see it, which I do not assume because that would be bad luck.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Giving the Gift of Blog 

I checked out some of the other bloggers' blogs when I RSVPed about Perth blogger meet up today. All good.

At Milchfrommler I read about The Mayfly Project 2005, which asks visitors to summarise their 2005 in 24 words or less. A great way to distil your year and take it neat.

Via Graeme Watson's Blog I learnt about My Heritage's Find the Celebrity in You! (TM). Upload a photo of yourself and the site's facial recognition technology will work out which of 2400 celebrities you most resemble. Note: Do not take quick snap of yourself in the bathroom and then hurry back to the computer to see how it works. Potentially, you could discover that you most resemble celebrities of the opposite sex - and that's just no fun at all. If, however, you use an old photo you don't like that's already stored on your computer, you could have better luck. If only I could use this technology to recognise the other Bloggers at Little Creatures.

At Gravyland I read about The Big Love Gift Guide. Yes, gifts that cost you next to nothing! Pickles get a mention, and free massages. It's enough to make me stress out. I'm mostly not good with pickles and massages. I'm mostly good for conversation and a laugh, which is a very sensible reason to choose friends who don't like gingham.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Okay. Happy New Year! 

I went all shy over Christmas and the New Year. Hope you had a good one!

We always have a low key Christmas and this year we didn't bother with presents. Yay! I don't quite know why this made me feel so good but it did. Potato salad (and the company of my family, of course) must be enough.

Over Christmas I read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (how could I have read The Elements of Style and not Charlotte's Web?), Animal Farm, and, just to throw off the whole barnyard theme, Nightwood by Djuna Barnes. I should perhaps have read this last book twelve years ago for uni but considering I didn't always have the patience to listen to a whole three-minute pop song then, it's not surprising I've left it till now.

Andrew left for Perth yesterday and will fly to Gove tomorrow from Darwin. Both Ripper and I wouldn't have minded going for a drive to the city but Ripper got to the ute first.
Blue heeler kelpie cross through passenger window, tongue out smiling
I received a New Year catch up call from Adelaide yesterday and a Chrissie card from Sydney today. Erin spotted Shannon and Campbell on an ad for an Esperance shopping centre and both Jess and Rod celebrated their birthdays today. More potato salad.

And Gillian (and Martin) have bought a red Volkswagon Golf! Much enthusiasm about owning a car that doesn't surprise passengers by having the interior door handle come away in their hands. I so hope I don't break it.

So the New Year's away.

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