New Victorian Government – Where’s the Science ?

So it appears that us Victorians have a new State Government in the shape of the Liberal/National coalition. I decided I’d try and look through the Victorian Liberal Party policies to get an idea of what might be in store for science in this state given that the ALP has been a strong supporter.

I can’t find anything. Not a sausage.

Even searching their 2010 budget response – not a mention of the word science. The website of their science minister seems to be devoid of any policy outlines, let alone detail.

Oh well. At least us people of the Yarra Ranges will get new bus shelters under this government, and the schools of that well known destitute institute the Catholic church will get more taxpayers money.

Archaeological Excavation in Little LaTrobe Street, Melbourne ? (Updated)

Anyone know anything about this archaeological dig in progress in Little La Trobe Street in Melbourne, just opposite the RMIT Uni Bookshop ?

Archaeological dig at Little La Trobe Street, Melbourne

There’s no signage for it but they seem to be exposing the wall lines of old buildings in what was, until recently, a car park.

Update: Here’s the last photo I have before the rescue dig ended and they started clearing the site.

Archaeological dig resumed in Little LaTrobe Street

Lazyweb Questions After Reading the N900 Manual (updated)

Update: the document linked to below has either been removed or moved on the Nokia site, the link has gone 404. 🙁

OK, so I spotted that the PDF manual for the Nokia N900 was online and so I grabbed a copy of it to read through. Of course, like all user manuals, it talks about lots of bits and pieces but doesn’t go into the technical details for some decisions, so as a result I’m puzzling over a couple of points. They are:

  1. Can you charge the phone whilst it is off ? Might sound like a silly question but the Neo Freerunner has to be on to charge.
  2. Is the Offline mode the N900’s version of Flight Mode or Airplane Mode ? The manual says that you can’t make or receive calls, no wifi, etc. But it goes on to say that “Calls may still be possible to the official emergency number programmed into your device”. I’m guessing that means that if you try that it’ll power up the GSM modem for that call, but it’s just a guess. (Page 33)
  3. Why can’t the A-GPS service use Wifi ? The manual says that only “a packet data Internet access point can be used.”. (Page 77)
  4. Whilst saying that most updates can be installed using the N900 itself the manual also says that “an update using the Nokia Software Updater may sometimes be necessary”. This is Windows only software – any chance of a Linux version, or can something like dfu-util be used instead ? (Page 85)
  5. Does the N900 automatic time update use NTP, GPS or the GSM time information some carriers provide (or some combination) ? (Page 97)

If you’ve any ideas or inside knowledge on any of those points I’d love to know!

Denis Ritchie’s Documents Gone From Bell Labs ? (Updated)

Oh dear, it looks like Denis Ritchie’s web pages, and all associated documentation, has gone 404 at Bell Labs and, worse still, it’s been removed from due to the Bell Labs robots.txt file.

Now I really wish I’d grabbed a copy of the B documents he had there! 🙁 If anyone has a copy or an alternative location if it’s moved elsewhere I’d love to hear from you..

Update: Thanks so much to Ian for providing copies and pointing out that the original webpages and documents have re-appeared.

Pondering adverts – feedback sought! (Updated)

I’m considering putting some advertising onto the site using Google for older posts, using the “No Adverts for Friends” plugin which doesn’t display adverts to people who have commented, referred from various social bookmarking sites or on posts that are less than a month old.

But before I do that I’d like to hear readers views about whether or not they like the idea!

(Also remember that if you do leave feedback then you won’t see any adverts if I do put them up. 🙂 )

Basically I’m hoping to use any income from this to help fund the virtual machine that hosts this site, along with (a website promoting the abilities of people on the Autism spectrum).

Update 1: Just to clarify, will NOT have any paid advertising on it! Just this blog..

Update 2: Russell Coker left a supportive post on his blog in response to this.

Taking the Myki ?

So Melbourne is investigating an electronic tag based ticketing system for public transport called Myki (presumably meant to be pronounced My Key and not mickey), and in an interesting coincidence Bruce Schneier reports a successful attack against a Dutch ticketing system that’s about to be deployed:

The first reported attack was designed by two students at the University of Amsterdam, Pieter Siekerman and Maurits van der Schee. They analyzed the single-use ticket and showed its vulnerabilities in a report. They also showed how a used single-use card could be given eternal life by resetting it to its original “unused” state.

The second attack is a reverse engineering of the crypto algorithm through a physical attack on the circuitry which will be a jumping off point for further attacks, I guess.

I wonder how long it’ll take for the Melbourne system to be similarly compromised ?

Wanted: Linux Systems Administrator

The Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (VPAC) is looking for a Linux systems administrator to join our systems team working on grid computing.

  • Help build a grid across Australia!
  • Relaxed work environment.
  • Melbourne CBD fringe, easy access to trains and tram.
  • Salary around $55-60K+ (package contingent on experience)
  • Fixed term contract – 12 months.
  • Closing Date: 2nd August 2007

Reporting to the ICI Operations Manager, you will be working primarily in a Linux systems administrator role with Grid toolkits such as Globus and VDT. You will be involved in a National Project to provide Grid Based Computing available across Australia. The ability to work with and support our end users (typically scientific researchers and software developers) is very important in this role. Some national and international travel will be involved.

So if you think that it sounds interesting then please and go read the job advert on the VPAC website, or at least tell a friend! 🙂

Seagate ST3300622AS Unknown Smart Attribute 190

Dear Lazyweb,

Just been playing with SmartMonTools under Linux to monitor the attributes of my SATA drives (something I’d not bothered to do since upgrading from my old Adaptec SCSI RAID system) and found that it was alerting me about:

Device: /dev/sda, Failed SMART usage Attribute: 190 Unknown_Attribute.

A lot of digging around found nothing (except other people wondering what it was), until I stumbled upon a page about the Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3300622AS at Cropel S.M.A.R.T. hard drive monitoring which says:

190 Airflow temperature

Aha! Now smartctl -a /dev/sda -d ata tells me:

190 Unknown_Attribute 0x0022 040 040 045 Old_age Always FAILING_NOW 74024484924

Now given that I’m unwilling to believe that the air temperature of my drive is really 74 billion Celsius (three orders of magnitude hotter than the corona of the Sun) there’s got to be something else going on here..

So – does anyone out there have any good ideas ?