Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Copenhagenize.com - Bicycle Culture by Design: Traffic Safety Orgs Speak for Themselves - Not the Rest of Us

Copenhagenize.com - Bicycle Culture by Design: Traffic Safety Orgs Speak for Themselves - Not the Rest of Us

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The cat from the inside — a jotting down of ideas…

As a preface, I am *not* a scientist, nor a mentalist, nor largely educated in any one area. My background and resume reads like a starters menu at a favorite restaurant — I’ve tasted the fruits of many things, yet never dived whole-heartedly into any one delicacy of the mind or body. My musings are largely influenced by various combinations of diet (or lack there-of), mental exercise (or lack there-of), and energy (or lack there-of).
Over the past year or so, a recurring idea keeps popping into my head every time I notice the shadows of people passing in front of the bathroom door or toilet stall I occupy, witnessed through the small cracks around the door frame. I’ve finally named this idea as Schrödinger’s Inverted Toilet. (I could easily stick a ‘Holistic’ or similarly fitting H-word into the title as a means of broadening the idea to include, if you pardon he pun, toilet humor — but I digress). Or maybe I should call it Schrödinger’s Inverted Lavatory, or Schrödinger’s Inverse Bathroom, or perhaps Schrödinger’s Wrong Way Water Closet —the synonym combinations are large.
The concept is forked from the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment. In simple terms, Erwin Schrödinger said that if you place a cat into a box with something that could kill the cat — like a poison or radioactive atom — and sealed the box, you would not know if the cat was dead or alive until you again opened the box. The cat was (in a sense) both “dead and alive” inside the box. Or dead in one world, and alive in another.
When I close the door to the bathroom or stall, cutting off access to the outside world, I feel like I am in the same thought experiment but from the cat’s point of view. I cannot see or hear clearly what is going on outside the door. I cannot say for certain that when I open the door again I will be in the same location in time and space (ha — I may have just stumbled upon an idea for a Toilet TARDIS). The voices and shadows around the gaps of the door frame — are they human? Are they ‘alive’? Are they from what I know as ‘home’? Are they even from the same time as I? Are there horrors or wonders beyond the portal gate?
And as I chuckle and shake off these thoughts as silly and prepare to leave the ‘box’, I find myself changing mental tactics: Ooh this could be a book! Or a movie! Or a play! Or do I take up an academic search in quantum mechanics to prove or disprove my little fantasy theorem?
I guess I will not know until I open the door…

Thursday, October 01, 2009

And if you act now, you get a lifetime supply of Turtle-wax...

(recently arrived in my email inbox)
from johned@mobilitypass.com
to win@win.com
date Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 01:53
subject Attn: Sir, Madam

Attn: Sir, Madam

This is to inform you that Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Headquartered in Dhahran, has recently done an email selection vancation via curacao flight agencies onfurtuinately your email address appear to be one of the lucky winniners with the sum of 150,000.00 USD as contribution to world food security and travellers in the context of the company's and also to recruit 6000 workers to achieve our goal as set by the Petroleum Minister

To this effect, we implore you to submit your full name and address , Telephone number or company brochure to our office for your claim bonus and for your Opportunities to emplore your relationship with curacao vancation period.

Email: thblai@netscape.net
TeleFax: 0031 847 305 161
Contact person Name: Dr. Packyson Van Bomen

Thanks for your coorperation

Announcement office
Mr: Alhaji Al-Wajud Moen

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My ferret, Pixel, has passed away

On July 28th, 2009 at around 8AM Denmark-time, my ferret Pixel, not wanting to wait for her sleepy owners to get out of bed and let her out of her room for the usual ritual of morning ham or chicken, took matters into her own paws.

At around 8:30 a neighbor contacted us to report Pixel was on the ground outside the front entrance of the apartment block, not moving.

She had fallen six floors to her death.

Pixel was always an impatient girl, and smart enough to remember that she had made this Houdini escape once before. It was just a matter of being persistent enough to climb to the top of her cage, jump across a 1-foot (30 cm) gap to the window sill, squeeze herself through the partially-open window, and head for the nearby balcony, where she could scratch at the door to get our attention. She likely tried to turn around on the short window ledge or the balcony railing looking for a good spot to jump down into the balcony, and lost her balance.

When I arrived on the ground floor, her body was already beginning to cool. I took her upstairs and realized it was probably a very quick death, as I could see she hit the ground chin-first. One of her front paw fingers appeared to be broken too.

My girlfriend and I blame ourselves for two mistakes: first, I had left the window partially open to allow a breeze to keep the room cool during the day, and secondly the girlfriend did not put Pixel back in to her cage before going to bed (I was at work at the time) and only closed the door to my office, where Pixel's cage is. In itself this is not unusual, because it was common to find her curled up inside a blanket or sleeping-bag *outside* the cage next to my computer desk. She preferred to be nearby whenever she had the chance, so if we found her sleeping we just left her alone and closed the door to the room when we had to leave the apartment without her. The big error was in leaving the window open overnight, giving Pixel her opportunity the next morning.

She was 6 years old - that's roughly 55-60 years old in human terms. Her birthday would have been this week. While sometimes acting like an old lady, she still had the attitude and energy of a kid. Even after 2 tumor surgeries, she never gave up enjoying her life with every waking moment.

Pixel was a remarkable ferret, energetic, quite intelligent for someone of her size, and an ambassador-of-sorts in educating people young and old about ferrets and what wonderful pets they can be. She was capable of displaying a wide range of body language and small facial expressions that made her more of a "little person" to me than just an animal.

She was my first pet after arriving in Europe, and she will not be the last. She brought joy to my life (and to others) that no other animal has to-date, and I will miss her terribly.

I post this to let people who knew her -- either through pictures, video, or heard her laughing/dooking over SL Voice or Skype as she played with me -- that she has passed away.

No memorial is needed - beyond this blog post. Online cemeteries and virtual worlds are inadequate or incomplete for me to properly express my loss. Perhaps you will understand if I occasionally babble-on with stories about her antics and adventures in future blog posts. She meant a lot to me in so many ways.

Since she loved to dig in plant dirt, I had her sent off to be cremated in the hope that she gets 'play in the dirt' forever in someone's garden.

Photos of her can be found here: http://picasaweb.google.com/jimm.pratt/PixelPics#

Thanks for listening!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Current spammer/phishing technique

Over the last month or so, I've begun to receive emails like the following:

Subject: Hi its me rita ,how are you today?
2009/4/17 Miss Rita :

Hi,i have accpted you as my gud friend,so reply and let us knw each other more ok am rita and u?

Now, if Miss Rita was a 'gud friend', she would know how to spell 'gud'.

Looking at the email headers (the bits that get sent along with the email so that it knows where to go), I see some information that looks fishy:

Received: from unknown (HELO User) ([])
by outbound.icp-qv1-irony-out2.iinet.net.au with ESMTP; 17 Apr 2009 16:09:50 +0800
Reply-To: <missritawlfrd@googlemail.com>
From: "Miss Rita"<ricardo.benlloch@infonegocio.com>
To: missritawlfrd@googlemail.com
Subject: Hi its me rita ,how are you today?
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 08:10:17 -0000
If you look at the text in red, you'll see that the 'From' and 'Reply-To' email addresses are different.

It's clearly an attempt to 'fish' for information, mostly to learn if the email receiver is a real or active person, so that the sender can add your email to a spammer/advertising list. DO NOT REPLY! Add them to your spam-blocking lists.

Friday, February 06, 2009

New member of the family!

In this case, a near mint-condition Mac Color Classic!

The old and the new: Mac Color Classic alongside a modern MacBook laptop

I got this Mac for free via the local Copenhagen chapter of The Freecycle Network - http://www.freecycle.org/. Works great, and should be a fun winter/spring project to upgrade (raise the resolution to 640x480, add ethernet card, etc) and install Debian Linux on it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the email box...

from: john mathew
date Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 8:27 PM
mailed-by gmail.com

Hello my Dear,

You may find it so difficult to remember me. Though, it has indeed been, a very long time. Personally, I am so delighted and privileged to contact you once again after all these years. It takes fate, courage and the fear of God to remember old friends and at the sametime, to show gratification to them, irrespective of the circumstances that made things work contrary to our expectations.

"Dear"? and since when does it take "the fear of god" to remember old friends?

I sieze this liberty to inform you that, the transaction we were pursing together finally worked out and I decided to contact you, for the reason of informing you on the success of the just ended transaction. You are advised to stop any further communication with your local representative(s), agent(s), official(s), or department whom may call you or email you concerning the cheque draft with the sum of $800, 000,00,us dollar (USD). I introduce you to Mathew Paul, You are advise not to accept any fax or telephone call(s) that does not come from him (Mathew Paul).

Since this mystery man does not have my telephone or fax number, I look forward to seeing how he pulls that trick out of his butt!

He is our best man on the job and He alone did I leave specific instructions on how to deliver the cheque to you. You may want to call him immediately for more information as regard the instruction I left him on your account,

It is only proper that I compencate you for all your effort and pains taking through out the entire period. I have a conscience as a human beign,and with due consideration to your tremendious effort and contribution to make things work out,please do accept my goodwill.

"Compencate" me? Oh, it was nothing - really! We human "beigns" must stick together!

Meanwhile,I must inform you that,I am presently in Paraguay for numerous business negotiations and establishments.I just arrived yesterday night, checked into a hotel and decided to go down the hotel lobby, to the cyber cafe section to drop this piece of note you.

Well ain't that convenient. No chance to contact you directly eh?

Now, from a heart full of honesty and deligence, I have raised and signed an International Cashier's Bank Draft, to the tune of $800,000.00 US DOLLAR ( EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS)in your name as compensation to your dedication, humanity and contribution, and most of all for your noble trust in me, I must say it is one of a kind.

Please, do contact him now, my confidential secretary, He is in the person of
Mathew Paul Ifesinachi ( Secretary) with email address -: mathew121jose@yahoo.dk
You are to forward to him, the following

1.Your names in full,
2.Your day time phone number,
3.Residential address,
4.Number of the members of your family and,
5.Next of kin (NOK).

Um... wait a moment. Is this money for my funeral?

He, will advise you further about the shipment of the ICBD to your residential or office address, such as you must have afore provided.
Please note that the ICBD has a validity period of 21 banking days. So, the earlier your response the better for both of us. You have to be cautious of the route shipment days to avoid unendung stories.
Sincerely Yours,
Your one time business partner.

Yeah, right. And I've got land on the moon I'll sell you.

Oddly enough, the above text squeaked by GMail's usually smart filtering of such nonsense.

Instead of replying, I forwarded his email to the Google phishing department, and signed him up for all sorts of random porn email. That's my way to 'compencate' him for all his worthless efforts. Hopefully no-one falls for this kind of stupidity.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Whoa! Time flies when you are having fun.

Everyday life has caused me to completely forget about the BikeBlog, but hopefully some future free time will change that. I've just recently purchased the vehicle of my dreams: an Anthrotech trike!

In the photo to the right you'll see me on the trike, with the girlfriend's rented Spirit semi-recumbent in the forground. She has much better suspension, but I gain more stability in varying road conditions. Year-'round cycling is certainly possible with the trike.

Unloaded, the trike is not much heavier than my previous mount, the Aprilia racing mountain-bike used for the Germany-to-UK ride in 2003. With a 24-speed gear system, hills under load are no problem - a bit slow, but far more comfortable than climbing with an upright.

For being two years old, it's also in surprisingly good shape. I've only needed to have the hydralic drum brakes bled to eliminate air-bubbles that have crept in while it was sitting in the shop un-used for so long (only used occasionally as a test bike for customers), and one of the front wheel mudguards adjusted. Otherwise it was ready to go.

Holding speeds of 20-25 km/hour are no problem with the trike, as the lower-to-the-ground-and-reclined position give me a decent aerodynamic profile than an upright. This winter I may consider purchasing a windshield that covers my legs. HP Velotechnik's Streamer is said to do a great job in cutting the wind and increasing your cruising speed.

As with all new toys, I'm already planning certain modifications. First up is to replace the twist-grip shifters with Shimano-style thumb-shifters. The twist-grips work just fine, but changing gears while making turns can be a bit uncomfortable - especially if I need to downshift quickly in preparation to stop. Thumb-shifters solve that problem for me.

Second mod is the addition of side mirrors and bike computer. Experience with the Aprilia proved to me that big mirrors make it far more comfortable to see around and behind me without needing to twist my body around to look. Granted the trike's stability makes that easier, but it can be safer and quicker to just glance at a mirror to see who/what is coming up behind me. The addition of the bike computer is just to see my speed and distance travelled. Nothing fancy there.

Third mod is a larger project, and a pre-cursor to the windshield: a rag-top. Current idea is to add a second flag, add a piece of fabric that i can slide up and down the flag-poles, then pull this covering over my head, mounting the front (flag-end) with a cargo-strap to the center of the bike (between my legs) or to either side of the seat mounting brackets. To 'put the top down' is just a matter of releasing the front mount, letting the flags return upright, then sliding the fabric down behind my head. I might get lucky and the fabric could work out as a head rest too.

Fourth mod is far into the future: an electric motor. There are currently several kits that will mount to the Anthrotech, so I forsee no problems or major challenges there. The motor would be primarily for steep hill climbs or giving the legs a break on long flat areas (some motors with the right gearing can give you 30+ km/h cruising speeds for a couple of hours). A small gas engine (like from a gas-powered weedeater or leaf-blower) is also a candidate. This will depend on weight and if an engine could be mounted to the bike to take advantage of the gear system. This would essentially turn the trike into a 3-wheeled motorcycle, so a license may be needed. But as said before, this 'mod' is well into the future, and may not even happen on this particular trike.

Enough babbling for now! More trike adventures to come!