The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Happy Christmas me arse!

In case you missed it RockWiz tonight had Tex Perkins and Clare Bowditch doing a great rendition of Fairytale of New York by The Pogues’ Shane McGowan and Kirsty McColl. The most distinctive of Irish balladeers Christy Moore described McGowan as one of the greatest contemporary folk poets.

Here’s the original video clip.

To my loyal readers, lurkers, one and all – please accept, with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and or traditions of others or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great. Not to imply that our country is greater than any other country. This wish is made without regard to race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference.

Filed under: Music, Religion, YouTube

Solar now cheaper than coal

NanosolarWhile Jennifer Marohasey is making a list of Climate Change Skeptics and Santa is making a list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, a ‘Silicon Valley start-up called Nanosolar shipped its first solar panels – priced at $1 a watt. That’s the price at which solar energy gets cheaper than coal. Curious that this story is not on every front page.’

The environmental scientist in me says it is simply untenable that we keep pumping ever-increasing hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

A century ago most people could see no problem with using waterways and oceans to dispose of industrial waste. Nowadays no-one is advocating that we continue to do so. Like it or not we need to regard atmospheric pollution with similar urgency.

Perhaps the real motivation of the Climate Sceptic is that it is more convenient to continue as we are than actually doing something about it?

Filed under: Big Picture, Environment, Science, Technology

Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams II

I’ve been listening to Neil Young’s latest album Chrome Dreams II. It’s rather good – especially for a man who is now 62 years old. He never ceases to amaze. Here’s what Amazon had to say:

What we have here is easily Mr. Young’s finest work in years, one that erases the memory of his well-intentioned but anemic 2006 protest album, Living with War. Recorded using analog gear, with Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina, pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith, and Rick Rosas on bass, CD2 manages to sound both home-grown and experimental. It’s the work of an artist still not afraid to take chances, who also knows what his strengths are and doesn’t stray too far from them. Trainspotters will note that three of the ten songs were written but never released before, while we all might puzzle over the title. Chrome Dreams is the name of an unreleased album from 1977. So, why is this Chrome Dreams II? Is it a similar case to 1992’s Harvest Moon, when Young went back to the virtual land of his 1972 hit Harvest to write more material in that vein? As the original was reportedly lost in a fire, we may never know. Chrome Dreams II offers up gorgeous, plaintive laments and country-tinged numbers sung in that achy breaky, heart-on-sleeve voice of Young’s, as well as ragged barn-storming rockers delivered with a growl. There’s even an 18-minute dirge that excitedly mixes R&B back-up horns with searing electric guitar leads! Wow. –Mike McGonigal

Didn’t find much of relevance on You Tube, but I did find the 1971 Massey Hall video of what might be the first recorded public performance of Heart of Gold – unplugged and unadorned.

Filed under: Music, YouTube

Microsoft Word is bloggy evil

MS Word is a great application for writing and editing but when it comes to pasting your latest masterpiece into your blog it will add in all kinds of hidden Microsoft tags and code that can play havoc with formatting RSS feeds. Some blogging platfoms such as WordPress have advanced editing options such as ‘Paste from Word’ which will remove these mutant gremlins.

For example, while cleaning up a feed item I found this <span class=”blsp-spelling-error” id=”SPELLING_ERROR_4″>. WTF? Apparently it’s no longer sufficient to identify possible spelling errors – MS wants evidence stored within the document. Another favorite is <span style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;”>. HTML has default font-settings and hardly benefits from MS requiring the use of a Windows font. Word adds a bewildering amount of MS-specific HTML tags such that 1Kb of text content can turn into 100Kb of superfluous padding, just in case it might come in handy. As any web developer will tell you, MS has its own take on HTML and CSS standards which adds to the cost of creating and maintaining web sites.

A couple of years ago I experimented with my new Nokia mobile’s Bluetooth feature to talk to my Windows XP laptop. As you would know, Bluetooth is a universal communication protocol. Only problem is that MS XP Bluetooth driver was incompatible with Nokia. Again, WTF??

Partly it is a result of MS always seeking commercial advantage by locking consumers into only being able to use MS products, and also from what I regard as MS’s design priority of being all things to all people under all circumstances – which manifests as a typically American desire to be overly helpful. ‘You look like you’re trying to do this, but that can’t possibly be correct. MS thinks you’re trying to something else, so we’ll do that for you instead!’

At school, my Ubuntu webserver completes system updates in around 45 seconds without any need to reboot. Our Windows 2003 Servers can take around 10 minutes to complete updates and almost always requires a system reboot which can take up to 20 minutes while they ‘establish network connections’. What the hell is it doing all that time?? I imagine that the OS is examining all 300 possible scenarios of what you might be wanting to do – setting up conferences between 528 dlls which then proceed to discuss, negotiate and arrive at a consensus before agreeing to connect to the router!

I’ve been a big fan of The Evil Empire over many years – without Microsoft’s monopolistic stranglehold on the the world of computing creating consistent design standards for developers we would not have advanced to where we are now. But MS has outlived its usefulness and I suspect it will gradually become just a marginal corporate player over the next decade in the way that IBM did after being synonymous with computing back in the 70s. The way of the future lies with open source and web distributed applications. I watch the development of the open source Google Phone application platform with interest.

I would even argue that there are sound economic and environmental reasons in support of open source computing platforms. An adequately provisioned Windows Vista PC requires a more powerful CPU, greater RAM, and power to run it all – all at greater economic and environmental cost. For ordinary computing purposes a three year old PC running Linux and web apps will out-perform the latest Vista equipped PC.

The State of Victoria spends countless $millions on Microsoft products and tech support to keep them up to date and running. In my own work environment, at least 30 percent of our tech support is spent on dealing with Microsoft issues – the frustrating kind where everything is setup how it should be, but it still doesn’t work properly because the MS behemoth has other ideas like shutting down your wireless service because you haven’t used it for 20 minutes or repeatedly changing your proxy settings, etc, etc, etc.

I think the French had the right idea some years back when they eschewed Microsoft in the public sector in favour of open source. Bring it on.

Filed under: Blogging, Technology

400 Aussie troops are all that prevent Iraqi Genocide

News CorpThe Opposition is still getting used to the idea that it is no longer the Government and that it needs to re-frame its rhetoric if it wishes to be regarded as an effective and serious alternative government. Opposition Foreign affairs spokesman Andrew Robb told The Age yesterday that the “premature withdrawal of troops has to be handled in an extraordinarily careful manner because it’s not just an issue of the US, it’s also very much an issue of ensuring the Iraqi Government is equipped to stop any return of genocide … our strategy is to remove troops when the job is done”.

Oh dear! You might conceivably get away with such patent nonsense for the likes of Andrew Bolt but it simply reveals the depth of the reality-disconnect of the Opposition to anyone with half an idea of what’s going on in Iraq. But then again, maybe that is the problem. Robb doesn’t even have half an idea of what’s going on in Iraq.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Politics

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

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