Archive for June, 2006

Secret Italian Training Footage

June 27, 2006

Oh, this one made me chuckle…

Secret Italian Training Footage

Captain Billy Gatesbeard…. arrrrrrr!

June 27, 2006

Apparently, Bill Gates told the Wall Street Journal that he’s in the habit of watching physics lectures on Youtube, despite the fact that these presumably weren’t posted by the lecturer in question (and thus pirated!). Also Harlem Globetrotters games.

Why the world’s richest man, who could undoubtedly afford to hire a physics tutor for his own personal interest (or a TiVo to tape the Globetrotter’s games), would want to watch low-quality movies of those things on Youtube escapes me, but I am not the world’s richest man, so I wouldn’t know.

Now, I haven’t actually read the article in question, but 45000 bloggers can’t be wrong. I figured I ought to post this before I had to repurpose this as a “Soccer & other miscellaneous stuff” blog…

Soccer… perhaps worthy of some interest

June 27, 2006

Well, the dream is on hold – at least until South Africa 2010 – after Australia’s second-round 0-1 loss to Italy. Australia played well – in my opinion, better than Italy – but didn’t take the opportunities they created, and could have created a lot more than they did. And the last minute penalty to Italy was unfortunate, to say the least.

That said, there were some very real weaknesses in Australia’s game, at least as far as I (someone who, mind, had only watched one full game of soccer before this year’s World Cup) could see. For a start, Australia’s game lacked fluidity. They messed around in the midfield a lot, passing the ball to and fro without going forward. This allowed Italy to flood players into defence. It seems to me that you’re not going to score many goals with 8-9 of the top Italian players in the penalty zone. On the few occasions that Australia did try to move forward quickly the kicks were inaccurate or Australia’s forwards were already well outnumbered. Secondly, when Australia did make a shot it was either wide, high, or straight down the keeper’s throat. The Italian keeper had to do very little to keep Australia scoreless.

Meanwhile, Italy charged forward quickly on their counter-attacks and made it difficult for Mark Schwarzer, who did quite well to keep everything until the penalty out. And there was just about nothing that anyone could have done about that. Lucas Neill was also impressive in defence, and was unlucky to have the penalty called against him in the game’s last seconds. The Wikipedia page on Neill currently points out “In the final minute of the final game on June 26th, a controversial penalty was awarded against Neill, allowing Francesco Totti to score to give the Italians a 1-0 victory, knocking Australia out of the cup. This all being an unlikely, unfortunate decision against one of the most impressive defenders of the tournament.” Precisely how non-partisan the person who posted this was is unclear at the moment. Indeed, I checked the history on the Wikipedia page, the IP address of the person adding the last sentence there was an Aussie (I bet you were surprised by that one!)

Of course, I don’t even qualify to be an armchair expert at this stage.

Soccer is a fascinating game. A few more referees would be nice. Indeed, given the somewhat astounding collection of cards given out by the referee in the Netherlands-Portugal game (almost enough to make up a deck), it may be useful just in controlling the players.

There’s no doubt, there’s already been two winners of this world cup. Australian soccer has just received an enormous boost. To take the attention off the ongoing AFL season (even in Melbourne) and Rugby League (in the middle of the State of Origin series, no less!) for several weeks is an impressive effort. I doubt that the rest of the tournament will be forgotten, either. Plus, $10 million in prize money is always nice.

The other winner is SBS (the government-funded televison station, standing for Special Broadcast Service) – whose purpose is to “to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society”. In other words, they show stuff like Inspector Rex (the Austrian crime-solving dog). However, SBS televised the World Cup, largely because none of the other stations realised when such things were being decided that Australia would qualify and that Australians would become obsessed with it. As such, SBS for the last few weeks have been getting higher ratings for showing the world cup games live (in the wee hours of the morning) – the Australia-Italy game started at 1am this morning – then it probably ever achieved in prime time, and indeed being competitive with the major station’s prime-time offerings! The other stations clearly had more important things to televise at that hour.

Actually, they more just contented themselves with their usual bad movies, lawn bowls championships and (during prime-time) farces such as The Footy Show Live From Berlin, where some of their rugby league, rugby and AFL commentators got together for some Lowest Common Denominator “humour” about the world cup. Let’s all just point and laugh. Meanwhile, SBS has been focusing entirely on soccer for – I calculated, in one extreme example, up to 16 hours per day.

SBS also televised the 2005 Ashes test cricket series.

Overaiming……

June 25, 2006

Australia has beaten Japan and drawn with Croatia to qualify for the second round of the World Cup finals, and already the newspapers are looking past the minor hurdle of Italy towards Australia’s chances in the quarter-finals – pointing out that, assuming 28th-seed Australia beats Italy, then the quarter-finals will be a lot easier, against either 25th-seed Switzerland or 26th-seed The Ukraine.

Now, that’s all well and good, but there still remains the little matter of Italy.

But then, from the tone of the papers a week ago, Australia were favourites to beat Brazil, citing advantages such as Australia’s underdog status…

Some new holidays, and a new project

June 25, 2006

Well, Friday saw the end of exams for Semester 1, 2006. Quite a relief, unsurprisingly. I figure I did fairly well. Holidays now, for the moment, at least in theory, though it largely just means that I’ll be at work more.

Nevertheless, onward! Yesterday I got started on a new hobby project I’d been meaning to start for a while – a cross-platform utility program (I’ll provide more details later), written in C++ with wxWidgets. This will be my first major project involving wxWidgets – and my first major application in C++ – quite a step for a long-time VB “programmer”, even if I did recently convert to C#.NET.

My inexperience with the odd ways of C++ is glaring, and I’m currently having all sorts of “fun” playing around with include files and scope, but there remains the strong possibility that I might be getting somewhere.

In preparation for scissors, paper, rock

June 25, 2006

In a few days, the location of the deposition of a witness in the Florida case Avista Management v. Wausau Underwriters will be determined by a game of scissors, paper, rock, to be held at an undisclosed location. Now, of course, we may wonder how it can possibly take over 3 weeks to organise such a game, but that’s lawyers for you (I first saw this on June 10, with the game to be held on June 30. >3 weeks due to time zones and press deadlines).

Apparently the lawyers couldn’t agree to either in the building where both lawyers work (4 floors apart), or in a nearby court reporter’s office.

Matti Leshem, the co-commissioner of the USA Rock Paper Scissors League, expects both lawyers to open with paper.

The rain in spain falls mostly on Ukraine

June 23, 2006

An article circling around recently is that it was a bunch of frogs, croaking out their desire for a mate, were to blame for Ukraine’s 0-4 loss to Spain in their World Cup opener.

While Ukrainian strike Andrij Shevchenko may have stated later, “Well, the frogs were completely invented of course…. There have been a million things told about me. But of all those (false) stories, the idea that frogs somehow are keeping some one from sleeping – well that’s really too much.” This, however, disregards the serious threat a number of noisy frogs can pose to one’s nocturnal slumber.

Let’s face it, they can get quite noisy. And consider this:

  • Dainty green tree frogs croak on the night when it rains
  • Rocket frogs croak the night after rain
  • Stripy marsh frogs croak the second night after it rains
  • By then, it’s usually rained again.

In other words, for the entire length of summer, there’s a very good possibility that you don’t get to sleep before 3am or so, when the frogs finally (might) give up.

I flew 1200km to escape this menace.

Also, hoorah to Australia, who, having drawn 2-2 with Croatia, have now qualified for the second round of the Soccer World Cup. Olé olé, olé olé! Olé olé, olé olé!

Bill Gates vs Malaria

June 22, 2006

Bill Gates is relinquishing control of day-to-day operations at Microsoft over the next two years, in case you hadn’t heard, to work on his charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Good for him.

Now if I were the malaria bug, I’d be very worried about this. It can’t be long before Gates holds merger talks with malaria to learn all its parasitic secrets, then, at the last moment, changes his mind, releases a competing product and bundles it with Windows (Microsoft Malaria 2009)… oh! wait, I mean cures it.

While I’m not too anti-MS, I just can’t resist a good pun now and then :p

So……

June 22, 2006

Well, I’ve finally gone and got a blog. Took me long enough, eh?

So, I suppose next you’ll be wanting to know a bit about me. Well, ok. I’m studying IT at university, and I’m a professional web developer (and periodically a programmer). From time to time I like to rant about various subjects, and I plan to use this to… rant about those various subjects.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll enjoy it.