Monday, January 31, 2011

Just a few random observations of the day

You can turn air conditioning down, but if the thing is already at 100% and its still not cutting the mustard its inadequate.  Fix this.  This applies to airline operators, building superintendants and hotel owners.   In the case of the latter, setting the thermostat to 17° to produce a 100% duty cycle appears to be an interim fix.

Sitting next to women on aircraft is annoying.  The amount of crap they cart around is incredible.  Foot space?   Forget it.

Access to the members lounge is a good thing.  The toasted sourdough is particularly good, and the girl on the coffee machine has a pretty good idea of what she is doing.  Thank you for that, the first long black of the morning was downright awesome.

It takes about 150 pages of a Matthew Reilly novel to get from Melbourne to Sydney.  Providing you have a pilot willing to forgo the concept of a base leg and kind of meld downwind and final into one rolling maneuver.

Why do all taxis have that characteristic smell?  Is it the odour of 10,000 impatient people, or their 20,000 (presumably equally impatient) feet?

Jura make a pretty damn good coffee machine.  I hope we get one like that.  Push button, coffee appears.  Do this several times and WHEE!!

Contractors are always a useless waste of space.  Why fly me to Sydney only to be told the goddamn rack doesnt have network patching yet?  Or a fucking circuit breaker??  Might get to see an install tomorrow afternoon, maybe.

I remember why I hate Sydney.  I think its the unique combination of incomprehensible one-way streets and busses.  And the arseholes that live here.

I do not really like chicklet keyboards.  They are not as good as softtouch keyboards.  Laptop manufacturers, stop it immediately.

I went for a walk to the Coles supermarket at the corner of George and King Sts this afternoon as a kind of pilgrimage.  I stood less than 2 behind Sol Trujillo in this shop in late 2007 and failed to murder him.  Note to self: lost opportunity there.  On the other hand, it still sells Tooheys beer.

I also stood less than 10 behind Kyle Sandilands at the hotel reception this evening, and failed to kill him too.  But the evening is yet young.

Telstra wireless broadband access smartens up immensely during the evening.  Hellloooo network congestion.

Who designed Sydneys street layout?  I am still trying to decide if they are a genius or need badly beating to death.  You do NOT need that many tunnels.

It is unacceptable to be >3 weeks into employment and still not have an employee card, despite having 4 prox cards.  I could have collected the card from the CBD on Friday but that would have meant doing so on my own time, and more importantly missing the window before rush hour home.

These digs are very nice, but not worth $240 a night.  Nor is the breakfast worth $45 a head.  This will not stop me having the breakfast.

I have to leave work early on Friday to sign the builders contract, and offered to make up the time.  Given the 2 hours I had to get up early this morning to make the flight, and the2 hours it will extend my day on Wednesday, this agreement is being retracted.

Marble bathrooms are cool, but so are marble toilets seats on the buttocks.  Is there such a thing as a heated toilet seat, and if not, is there a market?  (I consider USB versions to be superfluous.)

Why cant I buy an eSATA thumb drive for a reasonable cost?

The current rating on the power brick for this laptop is only 3.42MAh @ 19VDC, which makes it pleasantly cool.  We like Core i3. (We like Core i5 even better but for a non-production laptop, there are allowable compromises.)

The dudes in Sydney doing GIS production have some FUCKING SERIOUS desktop hardware.  Core i7 kit and they still happily max every core at 100% overnight.]

Bed time now, need to fortify myself fora serious foray with the morning kitchen.

Definition of a pain in the arse:

Getting to the airport an hour early to check in, so I can watch a bunch of people who can't get their shit together get prioritised to the front of the line so they won't miss their flights.

Upside:  discovering my tickets give me free access to the member's lounge...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

You've got mail!

A more ironic and fitting end I could not conceive of for yet another scumbag islamic terrorist.

Hope you meet allah in there somewhere.  Here's your head, you will be wanting that later.

Friday, January 28, 2011

But hey - she looks hot!

Lauren Caitlin Upton (born March 27, 1989) is best known for her incoherent response to a question during the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant.

“Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?”

Upton’s response:
“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our [children].”

Yay, fire alarm...

Let’s all go for a little walk outside then and watch the fire units pull up.
Let’s watch the somewhat irate MFB bill the company $5,500 for a false callout.  For the third time in two months, apparently.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here's your Monday morning wedge, thin end first.

My new employer has a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy.

Doesnt sound too worrisome for anyone whos doing the right thing, right?

This means actual random workplace drug and alcohol testing oral swab I suppose.  Its a bit like being a sports competitor at a major event, or being pulled over for an RBT.

Personally it doesnt affect me; I have no intention of fronting for work pissed, and the only drugs I take apart from alcohol are caffeine and paracetamol the latter generally as a response to too much of the former.  However, I think there are some philosophical issues that this sort of thing raises.

Ill be the first to fully acknowledge the right of the employer to have a fit-for-duty employee when they clock in.  It doesnt matter if they are operating heavy machinery or just fully productive in an office, the employer is paying the wages and they have a right to expect the employee is 100% on the ball.  However, how does that interface with the issue of, for instance, cannabis or party drugs?  These can linger in the system for literally weeks and months.  So if the employee in question enjoys a spliff on the weekend or drops an E at a party, its still very much in their system on the Monday morning when the narcs bust them, even though theyre long over any possible performance impairment.

Does any company have a right to impose these sort of value judgements on people?  I have no interest in drugs myself, but I refuse to believe that a couple of cones on a weekend is going to be the death of anyone, and its their own damn business as long as they keep it to themselves.  (My attitude will change here if they try to do stupid stuff like drive while toking, but if they want to blaze up in their backyard then I say go for it.)  But, under the testing scheme as I understand it, theyre gone a million when they front on Monday.

This is, in my opinion, the thin edge of the wedge, and a dangerous precedent.  Im sure that some company talking head (and I have to go and be lectured at for an hour next week by one re this little gem of a policy) will argue that thats as good as the testing is, and that it also serves as a gauge as to the reliability of that persons character.  But hang on a minute, isnt that the company trying to dictate morals and actions to me outside company time?  Im very much of the opinion that while Im being paid then I do as required, but when I clock out, my thoughts, feelings and actions are mine and mine alone.  If the company feels and wishes otherwise, they can pay me for that time too.

What if I drive like an idiot to and from work?  Does the company have the right to say they are spending a lot of money training me, and that I have an obligation to protect that investment and not get myself killed?

What if I decide to take up freeface rock climbing, sky diving or something else dangerous for a sport?  Do I have to get the permission of the company to do that, as theyve got a vested interest in me turning up next week?

Hmm, Im buying a new car.  Am I required to buy one with curtain airbags, and only a bright colour, to ensure its as safe as possible?  Wouldnt want the resource injured and unable to work, would we?

When will my diet be subject to employer control to ensure Im not going to have a heart attack, and Im required to attend the company doctor monthly for health and fitness checks, with any “recommendations” mandatory as a condition of continuing employment?

Gee... does being an employee grant the company the right to dictate my thoughts regarding other issues that might affect it... like which government gets elected, or what industry laws get passed?

You see where Im going with this?  Yes, its a long way from the perfectly reasonable expectation that I wont stagger back in for the afternoon after drinking lunch to telling me who to vote for at the next election, but its the same slope, just further down the path.  How quickly we get there depends on how well we let that slope get greased.

And that worries me, because there seems to be no shortage of people around the place with no sense of proportion or scale.  Just look at what HR is today, and what do you want to bet that HR started as a basic and entirely reasonable concept of ensuring fair treatment?  Here we are 20 years later with HR being a subject regarded by most people as somewhere between a joke and an atrocity, staffed by Catbert, and existing solely to ensure that in the event of someone getting the shaft, the employee is very much going to be the shaftee.

Drug and alcohol testing?  Prepare for shaftage.  And possibly mandatory bimonthly colonoscopies.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Traffic management

Here's a short video to illustrate the concept of "flow".  Note that everything keeps moving, melding, accomodating, conforming, basically getting there with minimum fuss and effort.

Now, here's how the BRAIN DEAD FUCKING RETARD who designed Melbourne's traffic system thought it should work.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our politicians

Quite amazing.  You no sooner hear what you would think would have to be the stupidest statement by a politician ever, then someone comes along and improves on it.  While I have full confidence in Bob Brown's ability to get back into the fight by saying something so cretinous I will lose brain cells listening to it by the end of next week, at the moment Moany Tony is winning.

Monday, January 17, 2011

An open letter to Melbourne drivers

Indicators.  Use them.  Their purpose is to signal your intentions so I know what your dumb arse is about to do.  I do not read minds.  If I am pulling out into an open lane at a t-intersection and you choose that moment to change lanes without an indicator, I have no way of knowing this.
Similarly, if I put my indicator on, I am coming across.  Don’t act surprised, swerve all over the place, beep your horn/flash your lights, and generally act like you were cut off.  No, I don’t particularly care if I cut you off, either.  If I need to get into that lane, it’s going to happen.  It’s not personal, so don’t take it that way.  Nor is an affront to your personal dignity, manhood, ego or overblown sense of self-importance.  Yield.
Learn how to merge.  One of the key factors in merging is pacing yourself to the traffic, so you will be at the right speed to slide across.  If you arrive 30km/h slower or faster than the traffic is doing, neither of us will enjoy the experience.  Deal with this.  If that means slowing down, your ego will survive the experience.  If it means giving your rustbucket the berries up the onramp because you need to go from 40km/h to 100km/h to merge effectively, chances are said rustbucket will similarly survive.
Rain.  It happens.  Melbourne drivers react one of two ways to rain; they either (a) turn into complete drooling cretins and drive like my dead grandma, or (b) they actually drive more aggressively than they would if traction conditions were normal, which they are not.  The laws of physics pertaining to friction, grip, traction, momentum etc continue to apply to you, and yes – that includes self-important people in small BMWs and Audis would just *die* if they couldn’t squeeze through that gap.  With luck, one day you will.  Preferably not around me.
If think you are going to be a smartarse by blazing up the turning lane then cutting in just before the exit, then you have a surprise coming.  You might be able to intimidate some people into letting you queue jump.  I will not.  I will do everything in my power to ensure you’re going to have to slam on the brakes and come to a halt in that exit lane (at which stage the queue isn’t going to let you back in for a long time), or even better take the wrong exit.  This might improve your attitude for next time.
Chopping from lane to lane makes you look like a wanker and gets you nowhere.  I’ll be pulling up next to you at the next set of lights anyway.  Yes, I realise you saw daylight in the next lane when that truck or 4WD was 0.01 seconds late in pulling away, and you just had to reef the wheel over and jump in.  Hopefully the next time, there will be another smartarse in the lane on the other side and you’ll both lose a quarter panel, a bumper, a headlight cluster and if I’m lucky, a bonnet.  Yes, the resulting smash will slow me down.  It will be worth it.
Playing doof-doof rap music on your subwoofers in heavy traffic will get you dragged out of your car and beaten.  With luck, people will line up for a go, if only to lower their blood pressure.
No, I’m not impressed that you have a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc, and it certainly doesn’t grant you priority status on the road either.  I have plenty of insurance, a lifetime rating one, and your car is going to cop a lot more damage than mine if it comes to it.
Traffic light grand prix starts just costs us all fuel, tyres and engine wear.  I’ll still be pulling up next to you at the next set of lights regardless.
And just some random observations:
  • Asians cannot drive for shit.  They are best stayed well away from.
  • Indians are not much better.
  • Taxis should be given the widest possible berth.  Not only are they almost exclusively driven by Indians, but they don’t own the car, and they don’t much care about how it looks either.
  • Why do people stick their goddamn GPS smack in the middle of their freaking windshield??  Asians are brilliant at this.  It must wipe out a huge chunk of their central forward visibility.  It’s that sort of idiotic crap that will get us California-style no-GPS laws.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Best internet forum post ever

You only need to read the first two posts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 3 @ NBN Co

Fairly quiet day, finally got intranet access and spent a few hours exploring and doing the dreaded e-learns.  There’s a lot less bullshit than at Telstra, but then again Telstra had years to stockpile it, and even immediately there are traces of administrivia borne of the inevitable HR droids and “experienced” management.  I suppose its inescapable.


Slowing ploughing through a 1,165 page (!) “high level” design document, fuck me.  (As an aside, why does Outlook not recognize “ploughing” as a word??) A lot of the Ethernet transport stuff is not anything I have ever had to look at before, aggregation switches to transport switches to fanout switches, all with AVC and CVC VLAN tagging to keep everything under control.  All in layer 2, with a (naturally) layer 3 OAM channel to control and trap the kit.


Some of the DWDM gear is spec’d to do 88 simultaneous 10Gbps channels via WDM on a SMOF pair, wow – big iron.


Found out yesterday afternoon we’ll also be doing quite a bit of network surveillance, down to and including permitting access seeker (ISP) staff into POI sites remotely and monitoring them.  ISP rep calls from site, is either buzzed in remotely or issued a one-time keypad code by us, then we monitor the whole time via IP cam.  Big brother lurks.


I have been dobbed in to train the whole team in GPON operations and assurance, as I’m the only person who has actually had their hands on the kit.  Other people have transmission, DWDM and mobiles assurance backgrounds so they are solid, but no actual FTTP dirty hands other than mine.


I’m getting white card training next Wednesday so I can go onto construction sites.  Apparently it’s a matter of not falling down anything open and not walking behind the big yellow things, especially when they are beeping?


Also off to Alcatel for two day Thursday and Friday next week for GPON training, I expect to be bored but hey – the bunged on lunch is well worth it.  :D




Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 1, NBN Co

Spent about an hour at the admin offices at Elizabeth St getting onboarded, and two prox cards issued.

Conduct self down to Docklands, site of the new NSOC.  It's currently under renovation (redoing 4 floors of an existing building), so at the moment it's very normal office space.  Parking onsite for the shifts workers, too!  (Me!  Me!)

Spent a couple of hours in induction and high level introduction where I could have taught the people more about optical networking than they did me.  The interesting news is that we are using the new Alcatel 7302 chassis with *16 port* line cards, fark - the highest density I have ever worked on is 4 port.  Combine with 32-way splitters (probably industry standard Corning gear) and that's a lot of customers off a blade.

Got toys issued, a very nice Toshie Portege R700 i3.  Win7 Enterprise 64-bit, 4GB, all the fruit and only 1100 grams - including optical drive.  Docking station and a couple of power packs, NextG wireless dongle arriving tomorrow.

Work (kind of) starts tomorrow, apparently we have a metric shirtload of documentation to read.

Woo hoo!

Shite and briny new NBN Co senior network engineer has started. :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

US congressman shot

A US congresswoman was shot along with up to 18 people at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, media reports say.

Initial reports said Ms Giffords had been killed, but the latest word from spokeswoman Darci Slaten is: "Miss Giffords is alive".

He said she was "shot through and through" with a bullet to the head.

However, as the congressman in question is a Democrat, the event is likely to be one of the rare occasions when getting shot in the head actually makes someone smarter.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blogging, males versus females

Her blog:


He was in an odd mood when I got to the bar, I thought it might have been because I was a bit late but he didn't say anything much about it. The conversation was quite slow going so I thought we should go off somewhere more intimate so we could talk more privately. So we went to this restaurant and he's STILL acting a bit funny and I'm trying to cheer him up and start to wonder whether it's me or something else.


I ask him, and he says no. But you know I'm not really sure. So anyway, in the cab back to his house, I say that I love him and he just puts his arm around me. I don't know what the hell this means because you know he doesn't say it back or anything.  We finally get back to his place and I'm wondering if he's going to dump me!


So I try to ask him about it but he just switches on the TV. Reluctantly, I say I'm going to go to sleep. Then, after about 10 minutes, he joins me and we have sex. But, he still seemed really distracted, so afterwards I just wanted to leave. I dunno, I just don't know what he thinks anymore.  I mean, do you think he's met someone else?



His blog:


Lousy day at work. Tired. Got laid though.

A plan for the improvement of English spelling

In year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet.  The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later.


Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so the "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and lear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.


Jenerally then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with lear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and lears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.  Bai lear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi  ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" - bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -tu riplais "ch", "sh" and "th" rispektivli.


Fainali xen, aafte sam 20 iears ov orxogrefl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

Well, the day has come.

I am no longer a Telstra employee.  Yay!