Linux going mainstream at last?

Spotted on the ubuntu-au list:

Does the ubuntu default installation come with a anti-virus and
spyware. I seems can not find it.

I scare apyware and vitus :P

Hold onto your hats folks (alright Jeff you can hold onto your pants if you insist)! This means we're crossing over big time. It's gonna be an interesting time.

A plan to end farmer welfare

I have a plan to stop farmers sponging off the state. Many farmers in Australia farm extremely marginal land that is regularly very badly affected by drought. Australia is a place that has droughts. Every 7-10 years.

Successive governments have dipped into the public coffers every time a drought comes around for these farmers. Now if I set up a corner shop on a backstreet nobody ever visited, would I be entitled to funds from the government when the inevitable happens and I go broke? Course not. Yet farmers, who decided to farm marginal land in a drought-prone country, get bailed out every time.

So how do we solve this? How about this: the government buys back the land, at a reasonable price given how marginal it is. We then let it go back to its pre-Whitey state, which for different areas would mean different things. Fire would probably be needed.

How do we fund this? Well, why not calculate how much CO2 this cleared land will soak up as it goes back to its natural state? Oh that's right, we would need to have a carbon market and sign Kyoto for that to be worth anything now, wouldn't we.

Back to the drawing board then.

Hopefully a home

We put a deposit and application in to rent a house in St Peters on Saturday. It's a lovely little two-story semi with a bit of open space at the front and a nice little unpaved garden out the back. Two bedrooms with a sunroom out the back. We should get it given we were the only ones who turned up for the viewing.

It'll be great to have our own pad again. We've been staying with my parents for the last six weeks or so and, while I love my parents to bits, we'd like our own space. Certainly looking forward to not living in a flat as we did in London.

Estate agents: how I love thee so

Ahh doncha just love estate agents? They're so honest!

Here's an ad in our target area. Let's decode the real estate-speak:

The house is shite, but what a great spot!

Two bedroom, two storey terrace with separate lounge and dining areas,
One bedroom and one cupboard, standard Erskineville terrace layout which means front-bedroom downstairs is the lounge, middle room with two doorways and a staircase (you try arranging any usable furniture) is the "dining" room.

bathroom with bathtub, good kitchen and sunny courtyard,
No shower, tiny outdated kitchen, concreted backyard.

smoke alarms fitted. Fantastic location close to all amenities.
We comply with the law but call it a feature. Did we mention the location? Notice we didn't put in any photos of this crumbling, damp shitbox?

Wot me, cynical?

The end of worrying about spam?

I've just signed up for Marc Perkel's spam filtering service because I'm sick of managing the spam arms race. It's a near full-time job and my Linode just doesn't have the RAM to do it. I mean, the latest method is to OCR, then filter these image spams!

So now I've moved over to this service and we'll see how it goes. He needs better documentation of the setup, so I might just write some stuff for him, in exchange for some free months or summat.

Now waiting for the MX records to expire on some of the places I get mail from, then it should start all going through his servers. From there I should be able to block access to my mail server from everywhere except his. Most importantly, I can turn off all my own spam filtering and get my life back.

Hot hot hot

It was damn hot from Thursday to Saturday last week. 37°C on Saturday! We went up to Wamberal and had a swim at Avoca and then Terrigal. Amazingly Terrigal had decent surf, which meant I had a bit of a bodysurf and boogie board. Quite fun getting back into that after six years!

Ben and Kaz met us for lunch and Graeme came up to the holiday house for Saturday night. Was great to catch up.

Graeme brought some of his homebrew and a bottle of wine made by a cooperative his brother belongs to. Lovely! I managed to bottle my latest brew (Cooper's Canadian Blonde) and get another (Cooper's Wheat Beer) on.

Google love

I just had an enquiry from someone looking for a technical author. Sounds like good people, but it's in Brisvegas and wasn't paying enough to justify another move.

Anyway, I was wondering how she found my site and tried Google with resume AuthorIT. Oh, now I see. Google really loves my site! Let that be a lesson to you Flash-loving, HTML table-using design weenies.

How to treat your customers

When phoning to ask for a piece of information, unless you are sure the customer has screwed up, don't use language like "you didn't give us your..." as if you are in the wrong, you give the impression you are blaming the customer. Instead, assume you screwed up somehow or there was some miscommunication. Language like "we don't seem to have your..." is nicer.

Yes, my recruitment agency lost my Tax File Number Declaration. They phoned me with "you didn't give us your Tax File Number Declaration" when in fact I did. In their office. And handed it to them. Signed. With my Tax File Number on it.

Kind of interesting that they've discovered this today, when I was told my pay would be in my account by Wednesday.