cover photo

Mike Macgirvin

mike@macgirvin.com

Wherefore art thou?

Mike Macgirvin
  from Diary and Other Rantings
So I've brought this old, old, really old web application back to life. This is because I've finally left Facebook and no longer have a "home" on the web. This will have to be home again until something better comes along. At one time I was proud of this code and website, but the times have changed. I even rewrote most of it a year or two ago in another space, but the project was a bit ahead of the technology I needed to implement it. I'll have to see if things have caught up...

In any event, welcome back.
What *not* to name your kids

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 14:38:04 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
While doing some data analysis on the namethingy, I came across some interesting findings.

The boys and girls names therein were taken mostly from recent US census data (and adapted, modified, and otherwise mangled for my own use).

What I found interesting was that once a particular name has gotten some bad press, it can poison that name for centuries from being used again. Just think, when was the last time you met somebody named:

Cain

Goliath

Judas

Hansel

Gretel

Benedict

Napolean

Adolf
Weird. Just plain weird.

Mike Macgirvin
  from Diary and Other Rantings
I'm not making this up. Driving home today, just outside Kangaloon, there was a dead rat on the side of the road. No big deal, right? Just another big ugly dead rat.

This one was wearing a knitted pullover.
Gail
 
But did you get a photo? No one is going to believe you without proof. ;-)
Bush's Bailout Speech

Mike Macgirvin
  from Diary and Other Rantings
According to Bush -

"The government is the only institution patient enough to buy these assets at their current low prices and hold them until their prices return to normal".

Hmmm. I have to question this plan then. There are a lot of investors out there who would gladly buy assets guaranteeing a return in ten or even twenty years - sometimes thirty.

What this says is that the downturn is likely to have negative effects for the next thirty years or more - and/or that there's a high probability these 'assets' will never return to normal. Otherwise investors would be jumping all over them. Several banking institutions are bankrupt for good reason.

I also question the U.S. government buying public stock after announcing their intention to do so. Right. The smart inverstors will have bought these stocks for a nickel on the dollar and wait for the government to buy in and bid up the price - and then quickly exit the market at a huge profit and leaving the taxpayer holding the loss. That's the way the market works my friend.

Better to just sit this one out folks.
The end (?)

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 07:25:09 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
Those two or three people who actually visit this website may have noticed that I haven't done much with it lately. I think it's time to declare it over and done with - though I'll leave the archives here indefinitely should anybody wish to see the timeline of happenings.

Blogging is so 2002. Social nets are so 2004. I'm tired of it all. Seems the world has tired of my writings as well (or more accurately it's just another channel of stuff amongst the 200+ million channels of stuff to choose from on the web). Thanks to the RSS fiasco and a host of other factors (e.g. search behaviour, PageRank changes, my use of a 'non-standard' community platform, etc.), traffic has plummeted way beyond rock bottom. We're now down to 3 visitors a day on average, down from 100,000 back in October and even the 20-30,000 around Christmas.

There's no point anymore writing into space - as I mentioned a few weeks back. The photo albums for friends and family are largely unseen. Except for two of you, friends and family are too intimidated by online spaces to touch the place.

The community site has been a dismal failure - a lot of hard work wasted.  

It's coming up on one year since I arrived in Australia, and so much has changed. Work and family consumes my time, as it should (at least family). Work is what it is. Blogging and social nets are a thing of the past, and tremendous time-wasters at that.

It was fun. Now onto the next chapter - of a book which probably won't be written online.

I'm pretty much ranted out.
Gail
 
I figured when I got back from holidays and found that I had only missed one post that the end was near. Cheers Mike.See you over the fence one time.
Joe
Joe
 
And I, also, am spending my time in other areas of life, as it should be.Thanks for the opportunity to sample the blogging life, Mike. You made it easier than anywhere else I came across, and your help was invaluable. But I've learned and moved on, as have you. We have other ways to keep in touch, you and I, and for that I am grateful. Till then, stay safe!
Monday

Mike Macgirvin
  from Diary and Other Rantings
The school start of session turned out to be a non-event thanks to all the preparatory work we've done in the last few weeks. Yawn. Whew!

Gas prices in San Francisco hit $3.35/gallon. Which infers that peninsula prices are probably closing in on $3.50. Whatever. Don't whine. We pay a bit over $5 here.

The U.S. shoots down its errant Keyhole satellite. Seems that a load of hydrazine fuel may or may not be the hazardous substance they were warning us about - if indeed there was one. Likely this had something to do with posturing vis-a-vis China who shot a satellite to smithereens (actually large chunks) recently. If the thing smashed up over a major city it wouldn't really matter if it had a full tank or not. The death toll would be about the same either way. The real motive is probably that it was headed for a crash somewhere that the US couldn't get to and lock down the site.  

Nader jumps into the presidential race. Why now?  OK, better question - why at all?  The media never took him seriously enough to do their routine mudslinging probes. Let's quickly figure out what skeletons are in his closet and get rid of him before he screws up yet another election.
Busy...

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 16:58:27 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
Getting ready for the start of session next week so my postings have been and may be irregular for a while. Imaging lab machines, importing accounts, installing software for lecturers, that kind of thing. As soon as the students hit it'll be flat out for another few weeks as they all need to know how to set proxies and set up their mail accounts and every other system question that they come up with.

But just so y'all don't feel totally neglected, here's a public service announcement from the anti-fur society.

Image/photo

Remember folks, wearing animal fur is bad and makes you look ugly. See what I mean?
CIA infiltrating Second Life

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 16:19:22 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
via itnews:

Terrorists may be using virtual worlds such as Second Life to meet and exchange ideas, security experts warned today..

...

The CIA already has a presence in Second Life which it uses it for meetings and training.

-----

Careful, the person you have virtual sex with might be either a terrorist or spook. Maybe they'll implant you with a virtual bug. Maybe they'll blow up your virtual house or suicide bomb your virtual store front. The mind reels....
CNN extends geo-targetting

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Fri, 08 Feb 2008 14:00:52 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
I mentioned in an earlier rant that CNN is now figuring out where you are in the world, and expressed some concern that they would eventually use this to limit or control what news you view based on where you came from.

That day arrived. If you're outside the U.S. and now go to CNN.com you are now redirected to 'edition.cnn.com', which is titled 'CNN.com international'. You see something totally different from the default U.S. page - which if you're looking for it, can now be found at 'us.cnn.com'.

...Though one could legitimately question whether either site will have newsworthy content, regardless of where you're at.
peonyden
 
Hi Mike I read your earlier posting on this subject. Its scary when you know they are monitoring you. I mean, we all hear that it can happen, but when it is happening before your eyes. Personally I am immune to the charms of CNN. Have you tried the Indy Media sites? There is one in Sydney, but I don;t much like it. Still, they do try... http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/lets-influence-american-election-sign-here That is gives you a link to the AVAAZ site, where they are organising a petition to the last remaining candidates for the US Presidential elections. Seeing as they rule the world, it seems the least Aussies can do is act like Mosquitoes and buzz around their ears at midnight, and annoy them. After all, for Aussies it is painful seeing so many Americans who do not bother, (or refuse to ) vote. When we who are so heavily influenced by the choices made over there, cannot vote.
Mike Macgirvin
  
Hey Denis - I'm not sure I'd call it monitoring in the classical sense. Nobody is watching; it's all automatic. This is something that anybody could do. I've got the tools right here on my disk. You find the IP address and look it up in a master database to figure out what service provider owns it, which will tell you approximately where the visitor is coming from on the planet. From there you can show whatever you think appropriate for that location.

I've thought about doing this to automatically set the timezone.  US visitors see tomorrow's date if I use Aussie time, or Sydney visitors see yesterday if I use California time as the website default. It's easy enough to set this after they login and specify what zone to use, but this way I can do the right thing before they even login.

But a savvy programmer can literally do anything armed with that knowledge, as we've found from Google in China; where 'Tiananmen Square' brings up nothing but articles with pictures of flowers and words of bliss.  

In terms of news, I'm really warming to the BBC. All news is tainted, but they do a pretty good job of reasonably impartial global coverage. I'll have a look at indymedia  as well.
Joe
Joe
 
I also am a big fan of BBC news. They do a reasonable job of covering worldwide stories, not just local. And the world is becoming a smaller place. We can't ignore what's happening other places like we used to.

They also did a stellar job covering the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. From Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, BBC reporters were often the first outsiders to enter the devastated areas. Some of the most poignant reporting I've ever seen, including after September 11, 2001, was from the BBC following the tsunami. I've been a fan ever since.
Modern Vikings

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Sun, 03 Feb 2008 21:11:50 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
We went to the city today (Sydney) to visit the Viking furniture warehouse. You know the place. Large warehouse, all the products have Nordic names.

I started thinking about the modern Vikings and their contributions to the world. Ikea, Linux, Nokia. They're pretty impressive warriors in the modern world just as they were in the past.
Super Bowl (Monday)

Mike Macgirvin
  from Diary and Other Rantings
Super Bowl Sunday is here! Yay!

Oh wait a minute. The game doesn't start for another 24 hours. Roughly 8AM tomorrow (Monday) morning, about the time I'm chugging some coffee and driving down the cliff. Bummer.

Oh well, I haven't really been that big on the Super Bowl since back when Joe Montana and the Niners showed us how the game is meant to be played.
Stunned would be the word I'm looking for

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Sat, 02 Feb 2008 18:55:23 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
Microsoft is making a bid to buy Yahoo!. Surprise, shock... What words could describe my emotion on hearing this?

I can see the motivation and the reasoning behind it. They want to put a stop to Google ("I'd like to buy a noun, please."). Still I believe this is the wrong way to do it. The only way for them to stop Google is to buy Google. Don't laugh. They are ideologically more closely aligned than you might realize. I don't believe that they've thought through the consequences of this decision - or maybe they have but just don't care. It is a culture clash of epic proportions that will result pretty much in the destruction of Yahoo! and all they've ever done - and do nothing to harm Google. I suspect many of the employees will quit outright, and there's not much place for them to go in Silicon Valley except to side with the enemy (Google), the largest employer in the valley that's still adding significant headcount.

But I also believe that this move can't be stopped, so it doesn't really matter what I think about it. I would however like to share with you the exact image that popped into my brain on hearing this.

Image/photo
The Seven Year Itch

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Fri, 01 Feb 2008 16:07:39 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
Sometime later this month "Diary and Other Rantings" (i.e. my weblog) will turn 7 years old, and I'll start my eighth year doing this activity called 'blogging'. Perhaps I'll mark the day, perhaps not. We'll see. Maybe I'll just stop doing it altogether. Maybe not. We'll see.

This all started in early 2001. I was at AOL making lots and lots of money from my Netscape stock options. I had a Netscape employee home page that was visited hundreds of thousands of times a day, but this was slowing. AOL no longer linked to it. I had started running a new server in the spare bedroom in 1998-1999, and later moved it to the garage. It took almost two years to get a working DSL link so that I could actually run a public website off of it. High-speed internet to the home was still an experimental technology. DSL wasn't yet ready for prime time and ISDN had other issues which plagued it. Leased-line required somebody to sell you an end-point on the public net and nobody was doing this, besides being limited to 56k which was now the speed of most modems. Web 'hosting' in those days was mostly for big business and costed big money. I could certainly afford it, but decided to spend my cash on more important things (like buying  a music store a year later).

Running a Linux box with an internet link isn't very expensive in the overall scheme of things. So once the DSL was finally working I made a new home page and started improving it.

I think it was Cindy at 'Off the Beaten Path' (now at 'dustingmybrain.com' ) who first introduced me to the concept of a rambling page. Instead of replacing your 'Current Interests' web page every week, you just keep adding to it. Drop in a date. Write what's happening. I started doing this. I was writing HTML in emacs. I called it an online diary. I didn't have titles, categories, RSS feeds, etc. These would come much later. I wasn't writing 'articles', I was just rambling. Why do you need a title for it? That makes it look so structured. The only important thing is the date, so somebody knows when it was that you thought this way. This was important. After several years of living on Netscape time, I firmly believed that one didn't think the same way for very long, and technology was always changing - so information had to have a date.

The other thing that I did was to take a cue from some of the large online news sites, which were the best model available for presenting information that had timestamps. I started writing in reverse chronological order (recent first). This was born of necessity, since nobody wanted to load a large page and scroll to the end to find recent stuff; which was how we did things previously (logfile format).  

In fact I maintained this format for a few years until it became unmanageable. Then I looked for ways of automating my monthly (or whenever) process of moving the current entries to an archive page and starting fresh. So after looking to see what programs were available and trying a few of them, I instead wrote a program to do it myself. Over time that evolved from a simple diary 'archiver' to the thing that you see today - a mega social portal that does everything but make coffee. (I miss this incidentally, I had my computer turn on the coffee pot from an online request in the early 1980s using my first homebrew social portal).  

I still wonder whether anybody reads these pages. Does anybody care? I don't subscribe to the current notions of SEO and affiliate marketing and trackware and all the other ways to improve one's blog ranking. Most notable these days are the pages and pages of 'widgets' attached to every blog, selling everything from online communities to soap. Why bother? Your only visitors will be other bloggers that are all trying to get you to visit their own blog. They aren't really reading what you have to say, they're too busy 'selling' their own wares. Still even after the RSS fiasco a few months back, I manage to pull in a few thousand humans a week. They come and read a page and leave again. This is the state of the modern internet.

It may be of some interest that I've managed to serve up a few hundred million pages since this all started - mostly to crawlers and robots; however last year activity peaked with about 100,000 daily hits (30,000 human visitors) and we've had six or seven days with over a million hits. I've written close to 1500 articles and there have been about 6600 total articles at one time or another from various feeds - before I was forced to nuke them for legal reasons. Only about 250 comments total, which I attribute to my decision a couple years back to do away with the daily spam cleanup and only allow website members to post comments. [I've since revised this policy.]

The 'community portal' (which I started writing a couple of years ago) doesn't have much community and I don't know if that will ever change. Community folks like big parties and unless you have one, you're late to the party. Bloggers only like communities where they can sell their blog.  I don't know how to convince them that a long-running website with several thousand non-blogging human visitors a week is actually a good place to drop a link. Yeah, I could put you on my blogroll, but I read thousands of blogs. It would quickly grow to be unmanageable and you'd be lost in the noise.

But you can add your own link and profile page and whatever - you don't need me to do it. Hint, hint.  

Anyway - we'll see if this lasts or whether I just decide that there are better things to do. Write into space everyday and maybe a couple of people will read it. Maybe not.

That's what it's all about.

Don't ask yourself if it is actually relevant or important or whether anybody cares. You might not like to hear the true answer. It's one blog amongst hundreds of millions, all trying to be visited. All thinking they should be relevant to somebody. It's like asking if one star in the entire universe is relevant. Maybe one is relevant to somebody. But the big question looms, is it yours? Unless it's the sun and brings life to this planet, it's likely just another star in the vastness of space.  

In fact, nobody really cares whether you blog or not when all is said and done. Well maybe one or two folks. In my case those are the same one or two folks that cared back in 2001. Everybody else is just passing through on their way to somewhere else.

Still every day (sometimes two) I go to my website and ramble about what's on my mind. I tweak the software to make it better. Even knowing that it is all an exercise in futility. Strange.
Documentation? What documentation?

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 16:09:19 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
The school's weather station webpage seems to have stuffed it sometime around Thanksgiving. Today somebody finally noticed and alerted the support staff.

My boss asks "where's the documentation?".

Right.  There is none. This system has been in place for ten years or more and fails occasionally.  When that happens we go in and fix it.

Start with the webpage that actually displays the data. It's pulling the data from a file that is supposed to be automagically updated. Except we don't believe in magic. The file didn't get updated. Now to find out why.

Since this is a scheduled event, cron has to be involved. Let's have a look at the crontab file. Hmmm. It's pulling the changes from another file that is supposed to be automagically updated. That one hasn't been changing either. What changes that file? It isn't cron. Or is it? That file is symlinked to a file on another computer. Let's go have a look at the other computer. Ah, I see. There's a crontab running there which generates the contents of the update file from a data file via a collection of python scripts. Let's have a look at those.

As I suspected, they are pulling data from yet another file that is automagically updated. Right. It hasn't changed since November either. What changes this file? Time to scan the logs. Nothing.

OK, it's time to start from the other direction. The weather station is connected to a PC in the corner of a lab. Let's have a look there. It's hung and totally unresponsive. OK, maybe that's the problem. I reboot it. Then go back to the webpage. Nope. Nothing has changed.

OK, somehow the data has to get from the weather station computer to the other computer where the python scripts can munge it. Let's have a look at the logs.

The logs say everything is fine, but it isn't fine. Nothing. It's not happening. Well this is interesting. I check connectivity and network connections. They're OK. We've got an IP addess and pings work just fine. A closer look reveals that there's a Windows task scheduler which occasionally FTP's the weather files across the net to the second Unix box. The logs don't show any errors. Hmmm. The files aren't being FTP'd though. They aren't making it. Then I see a notice at the bottom of the screen. Updates were applied some time since the computer was last powered on - six months ago. OK, what updates? Windows firewall. Right. So I have a look, and sure enough the computer's FTP connection has been firewalled because of an automatic update. The FTP's are silently failing - and indicating success. This is pure evil. After several minutes I'm able to get in with an administrator account that can fix the firewall and do so.

Then have another look. Still nothing happening. What could be the problem now? Ah, on reboot FTP is automatically disabled on the weather station software - again without any warnings. The logs again say everything is working and files are being transferred. More evil. What's the use of having log files if they lie to you? I turn on the FTP. Bingo - now the files get through. Now back to the second computer to manually process the files and dump them into the directory where the third computer can pick them up. Then back to the third computer to manually update the processed files.

Yay! It works.

Back to the documentation. How would somebody document stuff like this? There's just too much that can go wrong. I could use up a tree or two writing it all down. This is why we've got systems folks.
Meanwhile...

Mike Macgirvin
  from Diary and Other Rantings
Meanwhile, Russia shows off their new military uniform.

Image/photo

Interesting to see what this does to their next military campaign. Opposing forces will be lining up outside the Kremlin to surrender - especially if the Russians promise to torture their captives.
14:48 minutes of fame remaining

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 13:21:52 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
This morning on talk radio they were discussing the power grid selloff - and one of the callers mentioned seeing on a website the 'California perspective', wherein it was claimed that prices would almost certainly rise. Hmmm. Wonder if that was my website...
The sky is falling (again)

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 11:16:55 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said.

----

Hmmm. Hazardous materials. Highly unlikely. What would be likely is if this claim were being made to keep 'visitors' away from the crash site until any secrets can be secured. Wonder if it's one of the Keyholes? That would certainly be a prize to any foreign government. It'll be a race to see who gets there first in any case.

I didn't used to care about these things - living largely outside the normal orbit trajectories, but that may not be true anymore. Skylab rained down over Western Australia, and I'm certain the U.S. government would classify anything outside Sydney as 'sparsely populated'.
What a tangled web we weave...

Mike Macgirvin
  from Diary and Other Rantings
Yesterday I was walking on the path between buildings and a lady walking nearby stopped me.

"Watch out for the spider!"

Yikes. Yes, I do want to watch out. Where is it?

"Look right there, you can see the web..."

Yes. I see a web. Thanks for letting me know. Little did I know that I was now hopelessly caught in her web.

"It's one of those Asian spiders ... jibber jabber ... they were responsible for the burning of 7 million witches in the middle ages ... jibber jabber ... of course the Catholic church knew what was really going on ... jibber jabber ... Carl Sagan warned about what would happen if the DNA sequence was leaked ... jibber jabber ... Now the aliens have our DNA and they're using it to ... jibber jabber ... Prime Minister Rudd  met secretly with the church and they're ... jibber jabber ... You're an American, aren't you? Bush has had secret meetings with the aliens ... jibber jabber ..."

Finally I could take it no more and politely told the lady that it was fascinating listening to her talk non-stop, but I really had work to be doing.

"Oh, I understand. I hope you learned something and it sunk into your sub-concious... jibber jabber ..."

No. I've really got to go. Yes, I learned something. Bush has secret meetings with aliens who stole our DNA from the catholic church and it was all because of those darn spiders and the witches.

Thanks.

"Don't mention it."

How can I not mention it? This is all fascinating. It explains a whole lot of things.
peonyden
 
Mike Glad you missed the spider. Shame about the Raving Loonie. That is, unless it was the Spider talking to you??? Cheers Denis
Fascinating...

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 11:24:50 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
I continually find myself fascinated by the dynamics of online social interactions. The latest episode was on a community for Australian bloggers. You would think this would be a good match for my interests - but you'd probably be wrong. It was interesting to watch as I got shunned from conversations. You see, I live in Australia, but I wasn't born here. One strike. Then I was asked what software I use to blog with. Well, it isn't WordPress, and it isn't Blogger either. Two strikes. I also voiced my objection to using trackware and monetization schemes. Three strikes.

You're out.

Now watch what happens when somebody who is 'out' tries to get involved in one of the discussions. This is the fascinating part. A lively discussion going on. I post something. The. conversation. stops.

Everybody moves to a different topic to avoid the pariah. On occasion a newcomer will respond - that is until they discover that they're talking to a pariah. Then. the. conversation. stops.

Eventually, somebody will find that they really wanted to be involved in this topic. But it is stopped. What do they do? They ignore my post. Reply to a previous post that didn't involve me. Then the conversation continues again, skipping over whatever I had to say. This happened over and over again on any topic that I tried to get involved in.

As a test I started my own topic - about feed sharing, something that interests me. Anybody want to share their feed? I've got a cool tool to do this, but copyright law forces me to ask. A previous post by a member asking for everybody's feeds to put into Google Reader (but not sharing them) had 50-100 replies. Maybe one or two folks would be interested in some free publicity seeing as how they love trackware and link love.  

Dead. Silence.

You can go to the websites of any of the members, and find lively and active comments - maybe 30-40 comments on what the person had for dinner last night or basically anything they have to say. They chase each other around the web leaving comments on each other's websites. It boosts their Alexa rating. But you see - I don't use trackware. I go to these places and join in the discussions. Hey, it's what I do. I've been doing it since before many of them were even born. But nobody comes back here. Zip. Zero. Nada. You see, it doesn't do anything for their ratings. (To be fair there was one comment last week by a forum newcomer, who then quickly vanished and never returned.) It also doesn't help them figure out WordPress (talk about hackware, go ask Terri).  And I'm (originally) an American. Aussies like Americans for the most part - as long as they stay on their own side of the ditch.

The community zooms in popularity, everybody feeding off of each other, everybody increasing their ratings. Except for the pariah. Don't go there. Don't talk to him. He's not one of us.  

Oh well, live and learn. Life goes on.

Somewhat related I also find it fascinating how they build their community site. A WordPress blog (of course) with a freeware forum bolted on the side. Yeah, I did something like that once. It's fine if your website will only ever contain a forum and a blog. But if you want to do anything more elaborate, you're stuck with these two packages that don't integrate well. Been there.

There's much better community software available that all works together and doesn't have so many holes. But alas, it wasn't my decision to make and it's a free world for the most part.
Mike Macgirvin
  
Update: Now I'm getting emails from the forum administrators admonishing me for 'spitting the dummy' and disturbing the other members. My recent posts have been removed. My most recent post was basically 'the polite thing for me to do is quietly walk away'.

I'm deeply sorry if the other readers are disturbed by my failed attempts to interact.

I can solve that problem.
Snoskred
 
Hey Mike,

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick. One post of yours was removed, the one where you essentially accused the members of the forum of racism against you because they did not all give you permission to share their feeds. It has nothing to do with your not being Australian, it has to do with people not wanting to share their feeds. And one person did agree to your sharing their feed.

[I postulated this (my birthplace) may have been one reason for the pattern of exclusion behaviour which manifested itself in most places I participated, onsite and offsite; this topic and others. Maybe it's because y'all don't like my shoes.

My bad for not acting sooner.

There is a natural process of exclusion which occurs in every social group - and it isn't pleasant to be on the brunt end. It's not your fault - I'm not the target demographic and somebody has to be an outsider for there to be an exclusive group. Yin and yang.

Racism is a strong word that I did not use. I believe I used the word 'shunned' which reasonably accurately describes the behaviour I refer to.  

The simple fact is that if I was born in Adelaide, used WordPress and Alexa we wouldn't be having this conversation.  

...Those interested can share their own feed. I tried to explain this a few times previously, but I really doubt anybody noticed.]
I sent you a private message, not an email. In that private message I said many things as you are aware. I would ask you to step back for a moment and take another look at that message, perhaps when your judgment is not clouded by anger.
[FYI, private messages are sent via email. No biggy.]

We do not want you to leave the forums. It's your choice. You are more than welcome to be a part of the forums and there is no racism at all. Discussion does not stop in threads you're a part of, either.

If you wish to walk away we can't stop you. I'll be sad to see you go - my personal hope was to include you in the moderator team down the track. It's your decision.

[I'd rather get a root canal. This is something systematic that you can't change and I really do not enjoy. I'm sure everybody will be much happier not having me around.]

Snoskred

[mike]
Bit of drama

Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 23:58:50 +1100  from Diary and Other Rantings
A bit of drama out on the F6 (Highway 1) this morning. A car smacked a cyclist near Kembla Grange. The authorities closed the freeway just about 1km north of me. This turned out to be a rather unfortunate place to be. In order to get off the freeway, the entire freeway behind me had to be emptied out, so that myself and the cars ahead could turn around and get back to the nearest off ramp. This took about an hour.

Once turned around, everything was diverted to surface streets to go around the accident. This of course choked them up as well.

But the real drama was just beginning to unfold. I was moving in a corridor of traffic along the Princes at 2km/hour (it certainly beats 0km), when it became apparent that my bladder couldn't hold out much longer. But there were no turnoffs, no place to go, because doing so would involve getting back into the slowly moving chain. The only option was to hold and grit teeth.

Finally was able to pull off in Figtree (another hour later) and found a Wooly's. I stepped up to the customer service desk shifting quickly from one leg to the other and clenching my teeth. The girl was busy finding a discount coupon for the older fellow ahead of me. After several minutes of this I finally went over to the nearest checkstand, interrupting the transaction in progress and proclaimed that there was going to be a rather embarrassing moment ahead if I didn't find a toilet very quickly.

Luckily she was sympathetic and fumbled around for a key and pointed me towards the toilets.

Just barely made it.

Finally arrived at work almost 2.5 hours late, to confront a panic in the server room. What a day!

I felt a bit nostalgic about Bayshore freeway traffic; though this same situation probably wouldn't have unfolded there. In the states, it is common practice in situations of death on the road to take a few pictures and roll the body off to the side. It is much more important to keep the freeway open than it is to investigate the accident. Sure, one or two people's lives have been severely disrupted, but contrast that with shutting down an entire regional economy for a few hours. Yes, I'm being a bit overly dramatic now... but it's not too far from the truth.