Thursday, 13 September 2007

The pace of progress

I have been riding for about three years now. I have been riding on a non-learner's licence for less than a year. In fact, since February. In that time, I have ridden, I realise, quite a good range of bikes:
  • 1986 Yamaha SRX250 - learner steed. My partner's first bike, the one she learned to ride on 18 years ago. Very nice old bike, shame about the chronic unreliability (hence taking so long to get my licence).
  • Unknown year Yamaha XV250 Virago. Loaner bike we managed to get out of a shop for me to ride up the coast once. Mini cruiser. Lovely engine, shame about the rear brake, front forks, lack of tacho and the chassis.
  • 1998(?) Yamaha TRX850. My partner's second bike. Just around a carpark. Shame about that.
  • 2005(?) Yamaha TDM900. My partner's current bike. Why Yamaha haven't put that engine in a sportier frame, to create a second TRX, I may never know but will continue to mourn.
  • 1994-model (built 1993) Yamaha XJ600 SecaII. My lovely blue bike. Shame about having too many cylinders, but then again many people actually like fours.
  • 2007 Honda VTX750 Shadow. Cruiser. I did my test on that. Lovely chrome, shame about the bike. And the chrome.
  • 1984 Suzuki GSX1100 Katana. One of the big, famous names in motorcycling. Our mechanic's bike, which I have while mine is getting services.
I have learned two things by riding all these bikes:
  1. The best way to get comfortable on a new bike is to take it onto a straight stretch of road, wind open the throttle and hit 100. It puts slow riding into perspective, and settles you onto the machine nicely.
  2. Some time around 1990, the Japanese learned a thing or two about handling. Not as much as the Italians, obviously, but the difference between the hero-bike Katana and my cheap-sports-bike XJ is so pronounced it's hard to believe that there's really only 5-7 years between the basic frame designs. The Katana is long, heavy and needs a firm and demanding hand on the tiller, with a disconcerting tendency to want to dive into corners and tuck the front wheel under. My XJ feels more responsive with half the power, and is certainly more poised and stable in the corners. I can only dream of what an Italian bike will feel like in comparison...

I've got a new pet

Do you like my new stingray? He's called Steve.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Almost, but not quite.

I am, being essentially a masochist, seeking a text-editor app which I will be able to use on my mobile phone, with its numeric keypad, using predictive text, so that I could write little bits without sitting at a full-size keyboard.

Because I can, basically.

But here's the thing: Without having a smart-phone, I have to look for J2ME software, which is fine because, apart from the odd little "Huh?" moment of not-working on my Samsung SGH-A701, it's all good and the screen is fantastic. But...

These are my options, according to searching on GetJar:
  • J2MEdit - bit confusing to use, because it' s a source-code editor, but very well made and once you get the hang of it, good. Pity that you can't get the files off the file system directly, and you can only email them to yourself (at cost) if you have an account with their website, which costs. So it's useless to me, because I'm a tight-arse and I'm not going to use it that much. Bastards.
  • NoteXP. Now this one was promising. Full colour, seemed slick, regularly updated. Pity I couldn't download it because the *.jad description file was wrong. Then, when I finally did manage to find a previous version on a different (and different language) website, I discovered that as cool as it is, it only takes _short_ notes. So isn't any good.
  • MicroReaderS55. Looks very cool, but only works on Siemens phones. Siemens don't even make mobile phones any more.
  • TinyOffice. Looks extremely cool, but although it doesn't claim to be limited to Nokia phones, it actually is. Won't work for me, complains about missing Nokia files.
So I'm stuck with:
  • TextEditor. Yes, it works. Monochromatic, but hey, why do you need colour for editing text? Pity it takes five minutes to start up, asks you for permission to read the filesystem seven times before actually doing so, can only accept a screen-full of text at a time, before you have to exit edit, save, and go back into edit mode, and uses its own filesystem hierarchy which the phone can't read, necessitating storing everything on the mini-MMC card and then taking that out, plugging it into the computer, and reading off that. Which is a waste of getting obexfs working.

Yes, I know I'm using entirely the wrong tool for the job. I just don't care.

The definition of irony

A snake being hired (albeit as a photo oportunity) to guard a collection of... Shoes. (ABC News)

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Can't we just say "That's sick, you're never getting out of jail"?

(Edit - linked to the story)

"A WOMAN who was sexually abused, beaten and forced to eat rat and dog faeces while being held captive in a home may be the victim of a hate crime."

Well, fuck, I'd hate to think that she was the victim of a regular crime. I mean, adding the fact that the sick fucks who did that to her were racists and she was black adds a whole other dimension of being insanely wrong that just wasn't there before! If they'd done it to her just because she was available, would that attract a lesser sentence? If they knew her and didn't like her, would that be any different to if they did it because they didn't like the colour of her skin? Would they be eligible for parole earlier if they were inclined to do that to just anyone rather than limiting that filth to one ethnic group?

I don't care if a racial/religious group was being targeted. I don't care if they did it because she had the wrong team jersey on. I don't like jews, but that's because they follow a religion I find patently absurd, and the difference between me and neo-Nazis is I have long hair, I once nearly dated a jewess and I don't fire-bomb synagogues. Motive, in a crime like this, has just got to be entirely secondary to the nature of the crime itself, or the world's more fucked than even I assumed. If I knew - and I do know - that there are people out there capable of carefully planned, long-term torture of other people for any reason whatsoever, not belonging to the target group is not going to make me feel any safer, or any less like wanting to see them restrained for the benefit of the community as a whole. Prison may be defended as a deterrent (wrong) or as a rehabilitation facility (doubly wrong), but one of the most important roles it plays, and we see this every time a paedophile is released, is that of protecting the community outside the prison walls.

If psychiatry can fix the intention, good. If behaviour rehabilitation can fix the impulse, fantastic. If not, get them the fuck away from me.

I could explain why the notion of "hate crimes" and indeed "affirmative action" tips far too easily into reinforcing the discrimination, but I don't have time right now.

My favourite ironical email address

I apologise for the use of the word "ironical", but it fit.

Disability Services Queensland have a Complaints and Prevention Unit. They have an email address (naturally). It is "" (No, I'm not going to link it). Read it out aloud.

How to judge the quality of news media

Start with sensationalism. The use of sensationalism is generally a good way to assess the quality of your news media.

Take this story, announced in the Breaking feeds of both the Courier Mail and the ABC: Victorians under the age of 18 will be banned from getting "intimate" body piercings under proposed new government legislation. At present, piercings need parental consent under the age of 16.

How is this headlined by two major news media organisations in Australia?

Courier Mail: Nipple rings to be banned for under-18s.

ABC News: Govt plans under-18 piercing ban.

Hmmm.... The ABC headline is misleading because non-sexual piercings will be allowed but, let's face it, the Courier Mail headline is, once again, from a newspaper which doesn't have the guts to run a page-3 girl.

Actually, not all nipple rings are piercings, so the Courier Mail headline is doubly misleading. They've forgotten about the nippular equivalent of cock rings.

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