Posts by Edward Sargisson

  • Polity: Canada voted,

    A Kiwi-born Canadian here. This was my first vote in a federal election here (which I enjoyed very much thank you!) In making these comments I'll note that I'm on the West Coast which is a long way politically from central or eastern Canada.

    Canada is different in having 3 major parties that had some sort of chance at governing. Most countries (especially first past the post ones) have only two.

    Thus, if you don't like Harper (and *lots* of people don't) then you have to figure who to vote for to get rid of him. There's no pointing splitting the vote and going for NDP if it means that Liberals lose (or vice versa).

    Thus, there's a fair bit of looking at the rest of the country to figure out which way it's going. Then you make sure you go with them! I once discussed the last election with a colleague from Quebec who made the comment that the rest of Canada didn't go with Quebec when they went in heavily for NDP. Notably, Quebec fled from NDP this election.

    The NDP have never held power so had some difficulty getting people to trust them with that. Mulcair's campaign was also fairly staid and boring. It also didn't help that Mulcair's a little portly and Trudeau is quite the looker (at least according to the women in my life - I have no idea what appeal they might have to our gay friends). One of the NDP ads on high rotation was rather naff and badly acted.

    Mostly, Harper lost this election. The Canadians I talked to were *very* tired of the divisive, fear-filled, xenophobic politics of the Conservatives and very badly wanted the hopeful message that Trudeau was selling. I suspect that, fundamentally, Trudeau fulfilled best how Canadians wanted to think about themselves.

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: The price is that they get to…,

    You have to give explicit permission to a website to allow it to automatically post your Read articles to Facebook.
    Developer Documentation

    The articles worrying about people having their porn reading shown on Facebook are beat-ups. Don't give the porn site that permission.

    However, I'm not sure how many sites will take up the auto-Read functionality because it is a little creepy and users may not like the feeling in the back of their head that everything they read on a site is getting published to FB. Content publishers do really love Facebook shares as they're worth a lot to get people to come back to good content. They also improve your search ranking (according to SeoMoz).

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Cracker: Mo' Better Reason,

    So, Damien, I checked the results and I see there's a DNF for you.

    Oh well - that happens. Can I suggest you could use it as motivation to go back, do the training, and get the finish?

    That's what I did when I got a DNF. Mind you, I completed that distance here in Canada instead of in the race that I actually DNFed but it's a very good feeling when you do get the finish.

    Re: Gabor's comment about running being punishing. That's why you train. Your body compensates and you get stronger. I've never seen a scientific study that backed that claim up. One study, quoted here shows that running is associated with less osteoarthritis.

    Mind you, that's one of the reasons why I run on trails for most of my long runs. The surface is more forgiving and the technical nature makes the runs far, far more interesting. I'm not sure I could stand the idea of running another road marathon anymore.

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Cracker: Mo' Better Reason,

    81stcolumn: I'll answer somewhat seriously 'cos I feel like it.

    Q1: The only people at the start are other runners. That race starts at 0630 so not many locals are out. If you want to look good then you run at the end where there's a crowd to cheer you on.

    One year I did the Auckland Marathon and some young guys were busy barbequing bacon in their front garden - much to the frustration and amusement of the passing runners.

    Q2: Whenever you feel like it. I remember the first time I attempted an ultra. We all started off fairly slowly and then got to a piddling little hill where everybody stopped running and just walked up it.

    That was a race I didn't finish as it happens. :-(

    Trail runners will walk anything they can't run and don't worry what other people think. The faster runners can run up steeper grades without walking. I'm not fast but I'm a bit of hill specialist (both up and down) and I enjoy annoying people by blitzing past them going up hill!

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Cracker: Mo' Better Reason,

    Oh I have no desire to gloat. I want people to enjoy running as much as I do. With sufficient determination you can finish; it won't be fast and I expect it to hurt. The harbour crossing is cool.

    The bursitis is a symptom of undertraining. Keep in the forefront that you are undertrained and you're just going to have to manage yourself through. If it hurts slow down. If it still hurts then wallk.

    Part of the fun of running is doing the training. Knowing that doing this little run now, doing this little piece of hard work, ends up allowing you to complete the distance - or do so really quickly. Turning up at the start line knowing you're well trained and should get a good result is cool. Finishing with a good result is even better. The PR marathon I did had me smiling ear to ear for the last 5km because it became increasingly certain that I'd get under 4 hours.

    The 20ish km is one of my favourite distances - especially on trail. It's long enough to be interesting but short enough that you can practically sprint it - and, for a trail race, rely on the aid stations instead of carrying water. Lotsa fun.

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Cracker: Mo' Better Reason,

    I wouldn't advise running the half. Do the quarter marathon instead.

    I've been running for years (both my first and my fastest marathons have been on that course and I completed my first 50 miler this year) and I've seen lots of people get hurting trying to do too much too soon.

    A half is a very good goal to have but I'd do it next year. The most likely result is that you'll definitely not enjoy yourself and won't run again. There is a significant risk that you'll re-injure yourself.

    If you do do it then go out really, really slow. Walk whenever you feel like it. Don't aim to finish in anything faster than 2:30.

    All the best!

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Suicide Note,

    Apple TV

    I suspect that this will not necessarily be quite as successful as the iPod. The main issue is that it does not support the common formats that are used for movies downloaded off the web - i.e. XVid appears to be missing completely.The iPod is useful because it plays the commonly available audio format, MP3.

    However, I believe there will increasingly be a market for a TV media server. People want to be able to watch their stuff on their TV. (I'm currently looking for something that solves the problem and will probably build my own.)

    For example, there are products such as the TVisto. This is a portable hard drive that can be connected to a TV to play the content.Portable hard drives are quite popular as people swap what they've downloaded. The addition of the media player and remote makes this really useful.

    However, personally speaking, I would probably not want the hassle of copying media onto the drive and then physically moving it to the TV to play.

    I want wireless!

    You could go something like the Digital Media Gateway which will play things from across the network. However - it has no storage! You can always add a portable hard drive or a hard drive on the network but that's a bit too much effort.
    So my current thought is to roll my own with MythTV.
    We'll see.

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Suicide Note,

    The Microsoft DRM play in Vista is merely the first shot in a battle that will be extremely interesting to watch; namely, the conflict between the consumer and the content owners over control of the consumer's own hardware and software. It is just this battle that Richard Stallman, the leading anti-DRM advocate, has been pointing out for years.


    The iPod is a case in point. Before the iPod there were many competing portable MP3 players. That part of the iPod is not new. Apple added workable DRM to the iPod in order to be able to negotiate with the record companies to sell their content. Apple also applied fantastic hardware and software design along with sophisticated marketing (cool ads) to provide a beautiful and easy to use product.

    The iPod is therefore the integration of something that consumers would want, and record companies would be prepared to use, in order to increase the utility for consumers.

    It was these features that helped the iPod grab enormous market share, and grow the market incredibly, very quickly.

    The music battle is largely over - although there are some moves by various actors to not worry about DRM at all. It does become annoying for consumers and may not be worth it.


    The battle for video is just heating up. The studios are extremely scared that their income stream will be butchered by consumer piracy. This is partly because the economic models are different between music and movies.

    A musical artist does not receive a lot of the purchase price for a CD. Typical estimates are around $1. The rest of the price is taken by the record company and is mostly used to offset the losses that are made from artists that are not hugely successful.
    (i.e. record companies invest highly in recording albums from likely musicians but only one in ten recoup that investment).

    The real money in music comes from concerts. I'm not completely sure of the economics but I know that the promoter normally gives the artists around 80% of the ticket price.

    Movies, on the other hand, have a different model. The cinema takings are only a small proportion of total revenue according to David Denby of the New Yorker. Most of the income is from selling the movie to television networks, DVD sales and, in some cases, merchandising.

    Given this economic model you can see why the studios are scared. If their income stream from DVD sales and TV sales is cannabilised by free digital distribution then how can they fund their multi-million dollar movies?

    Microsoft is therefore attempting to to re-create the Apple iTunes supply chain for movies inside Windows Vista.

    Technical Aspects

    I am a professional programmer with a small side interest in computer security. I read all of Peter Gutman's paper and I'm utterly amazed. The level of protection that is required is unusal and draconian. Microsoft has gone through the entire operating system looking for possible holes and attempted to plug them all.
    There will be enormous costs in terms of hardware development, software development, CPU cycles, memory, the works.

    It will be extremely interesting to see if consumers will actually find this acceptable. The usability of their machine may be reduced and the costs will certainly be high.

    Given Microsoft's record on the number of defects currently being found in their products (not unusual in this industry), and the complexity of what they're trying, they will almost certainly have made a mistake in this DRM code. It will be interesting to see what happens then. The threat to prevent previously working hardware from functioning is amazing. Will Microsoft force these updates into the operating system and prevent that from working unless updated?

    Fair use

    It's worth mentioning that most DRM schemes have no provision for fair use or copyright termination. Fair use is the right to a portion of a copyright work for review, study, criticism, etc. Copyrights have a limited term. This changes based on who created the work, what it is and what country but is generally 50 years.


    Rich of Observationz
    I would be extremely surpised if that were the case. Microsoft has spent too much time and money, and are betting far too much, for their work to be so easily circumvented. If you have Vista then you will have this draconian DRM.

    (Goodness, what a post. I think this should go on my blog.)

    Vancouver, BC • Since Jan 2007 • 8 posts Report