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September 12th, 2007

Honeycomb

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Found this recipie for honeycomb, anyone tried anything like this? Going to give this a whirl myself tonight.


Ingredients:


  • 3/4 Cup (180mL) Castor Sugar
  • 2 Tbs (40mL) Golden Syrup
  • 2 Tbs (40mL) Honey
  • 2 Tbs (40mL) Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp (7.5mL) Bi-carb Soda (aka Baking Soda, I think)


Directions:

  • Bring castor sugar, golden syrup, honey and water to the boil in a deep saucepan.
  • Cook until mixture becomes golden brown, like caramel.
  • Add bi-carb soda and stir. The mixture will foam dramatically.
  • Immediately pour honeycomb onto tray lined with baking paper.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Shatter and store in air tight container.

September 11th, 2007

An Australian company has come up with a quite comprehensive parental controls mechanism for a mobile phone, I think this has been a long time in come and really should have been on the market sooner. Mobile phones have become more and more flexible, able to access the internet just like a computer these days and this creates problems for parents who want to restrict usage. I know that I would never buy a phone for a teen that didn't have things like a strictly limited number of minutes with no overtime and a limited calling set of people that they could talk to.


Glad to see something like this is finally on the market, I hope they get some push from mobile phone carriers to pick up the software and bundle it with their existing packages.

September 4th, 2007

The Australian Federation Against Copyright theft is pressing ISPs to send warning notices to people who are downloading too much stuff off the internet. It seems to me that this is not the job of the ISP, is it the telephone companies job to stop spam calls or stop cold marketing calls? Why should it be the job of the carrier to do law enforcement? If an ISP did do this, I bet there would be a sudden rush of people from that ISP to other competing ones that don't. If this is something that is going to be done it would need to be done across the board or it wouldn't work.


The report saying that Australians download more TV than other countries probably points more to the fact that Australian TV doesn't care as much about it's subscribers, they move TV shows around randomly and don't start on time which makes recording them in other ways difficult. The Australian TV industry seems to have gone out of it's way to make watching TV shows actually on TV in Australia difficult so people are opting for other mechanisms. This should really be seen as a warning to the Australian TV companies to pull their socks up and make the experience better for consumers or they will continue to lose to the internet downloading of shows.

What's been your biggest influence in making you a better writer?

My biggest influence in making me a better writer has been reading over my own work a few months after writing it. It is amazing how something that seemed great at the time starts to lose it's polish and style over time. This lets me see what I am doing wrong, go over and correct it as well as improve how I write in the future. I think there is nothing like writing a lot to improve your skills at it, reading lots of other types of fiction and prose helps too.


My favourite writers are Kurt Vonnegut and j.g. ballard, if I could write like either of those two people I would be very happy. I try and emulate some parts of j.g. ballard's style but I don't think I get anywhere near close to it.

August 22nd, 2007

Meringue

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A tip when making Meringue is to use a teaspoon of vinegar (or lemon juice, something acidic) in the meringue mixture, it makes it a little tangier and works a lot better.  Just a small amount of lemon juice can work really well with a lemon meringue pie.

I find cleaning the mixer with vinegar before I start mixing the egg whites helps as well, makes the whites a little fluffier and a bit stiffer.

August 21st, 2007

Parental controls

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It is interesting that the Australian Government is getting into the act on releasing a free web filter for use with windows, I wonder if they are connecting up to the Vista parental controls settings built into vista. I have to wonder if they provide any better coverage than Vista already does. It is curious they didn't just try and do a deal with Microsoft (or something like that) who give away their parental control software for XP and it is included with Vista.


The more worrying part of the article is labours claim that when elected it will require all ISPs to implement filtering. This is not a realistic expectation and is also problematic, how do you define filtering? Who defines what is what and if it should be filtered? No filters are perfect, new sites come up all the time with new content and they may not be filtered by the system yet. Vista does try and do some automatic detection of the page but it is definitely not 100% accurate and doesn't look inside images. If labour does implement this once they get into office it will create a lot of problems for Australia's ISP industry, although a better idea of how it is going to implemented would be needed for a more indepth comment.

May 25th, 2007

Arresting everyone - Israel

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So Israel is off arresting everyone in the west bank again, well all of Hamas anyway. The trouble here (as far as I am concerned) is they are arresting politicians and political people in a country they are trying to say should be running themselves. To me the whole thing smacks of political oppression, arresting all the people from the opposing political camp and saying 'well they were doing wrong'. Israel has been continuing to try and destabilise the situation in these regions for a while now, refusing to sign a deal to do a cease fire in the gaza area, which is putting political pressure on the Palestinians in the west bank to go back on their peace deal. They are once again talking out of both sides of their mouth.

May 24th, 2007

Monica Goodling

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So she finally testified, although it all worked out pretty much as I thought. I doubted she would say anything that would actually risk showing a connection to the white house. She did talk a little about decisions in hiring new prosecutors, quite an amazing quote:

She said she had done Google or Nexis searches on job candidates or searched their names on campaign-finance databases to see if
they might have given money to Republican or Democratic candidates. She also pressed applicants’ references, at times, to ferret out the political background of the job candidates they were endorsing.

I am surprised this is even vaguely ethical.

May 22nd, 2007

Frog paintings - dangerous?

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I remember hearing this story in NPR a couple of years ago and though I would do a search to see how the guy is doing. Seems like he is still getting interviewed for hours at airports when he comes into the country, you would have thought by now he would be off the list and cleared since the original problem was spurious in the first place. I imagine this is a problem with these sorts of lists, it is not possible to get removed from something like this once you are on it.


Basically the story is that this guy was spray painting frogs around the place to woo his girlfriend, there was a call from Valerie Rumsfeld which said something about a prowler in the region and he was caught doing the spray painting. In his car he had some panflets and stuff about a recent demonstration at Donald Rumsfeld's house and some photos of various things he was taking photos of. Apparently the FBI and Secret Service were then called in and he was questioned for 2 days about his frogs and various other things. They turned up at his girlfriends place and tried to convince her he was running some sort of terrorism setup out of her house. This whole thing has broadcast and published in many sources now, it is curious as to why he is still being questioned for 8 hours when he comes back into the country.


Ahh well, I hope his life gets pulled back together sometime.

May 20th, 2007

Islamic law in Europe

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I was watching Bill Moyer's journal today and they were talking about islamic fundamentalism in Europe and how is creating some problems.  Like for example this case in the German courts where a judge let a woman stay in an abusive relationship because the Quoran apparently allows for husbands to beat their wives.  British police estimate that there are six honor killings a year in the UK, at least they are being prosecuted for murder there when they are found out.  There is also a rise of this sort of thing in German courts, where a brother got 9 years in jail for murdering his sister.  How could you murder your sister?  I find that something that is just amazing, someone you grew up with for most of your life and that you are close to, no matter what else happened.  What is happening to the world?  Why is there this sudden rise in fundamentalism, both in christianity (US) and Islam (just about everywhere else)?

Even in Jordan, which is one of the less radical of the middle east states, a person got away completely scott free after murding his sister.  I find it hard to fathom from there sorts of things how anyone can claim that Islam does not have serious problems in terms of it's treatment of women.  The claim that the Quoran is similar to the old testimate in what it claioms and it's position against women is true, however no where in the world are the rules from the old testimate applied in absolute forms.  Jews and christians have both moved forward on this sort of issue and have not followed the lines which say women should be stoned for various crimes or any of ther other things along this line in the old testimate.

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