Saturday, September 24, 2005


Threaded does his bit for Anglo-Danish relations

Went to look at a prospective house purchase in Dianalund and met my first two obnoxious Danish people. I've lived in Denmark for a good few years and always knew there were some deep dark secrets such as where do they hide the ugly women, and where do the nutters live, for example. I've traveled all over Denmark, and must admit I've never actually tried to search them out.

Today I found not one, but two obnoxious Danish people and what is more, they are close neighbours and one appears to live in an adjoining property to the one I went to view.

I drove out in one of my Italian tractors and the house is in a wildlife conservation area so not so much on a country road as at the end of a dirt track. Anyways my navigator failed me by not taking me to the front door; an additional reason to drive slowly was because of the pot holes. Eventually reach a fork in the road so I had to stop and ask directions.

I sees a guy out in his garden. Pulls up. Gets out and shows him the picture of the house. "Do you know where this house is?" I enquire.

"This is not a race track." was the reply.

"Wibble?" says I

"This is not a race track."

The chaps wife comes out. I show her the picture, "Do you know where this house is?" I enquire again.

She looks up the road and is starting to tell me when the man starts shouting at her. Another first for Denmark! I have not seen public domestic violence out here. Thought that was another peculiar English custom I would never have to witness again. Anyway the ladies eye movements where good enough directions for me and off I went.

A few hundred meters further there was another fork in the road. Same scenario, except this time it was an older lady who started ranting about horses and children. Whether she liked them or disliked them I could not quite fathom. Decided that discretion was the better part of valour and took an educated guess as to which road to take.

Now the garden for the house is 17213 sq m and heavily wooded so the chances of seeing the neighbour over the garden fence, so to speak, are vanishingly small.

So my question to the congregation is: should I ask for a reduction in the price because of the loonie neighbours or do you think that would actually add value by having genuine banjo playing country inbreeds living next door to my country idyll?

Thursday, September 22, 2005


A funny thing happened on my way to work

When I'm on my way to work I am most definitely quicker than the cars now. Also, they're putting in new cables under the cycle track down Roskildevej. Had to shout to one road worker, "Watch what your doing with that darlin'". He had what looked like a spray can on the end of a stick and was idly swinging it about whilst chatting to some other likewise less-than-busy coworkers. Was worried it might catch on me or the bike as I passed.

He looked up to me with shock on his face. Don't know if it was happenstance, my shout in English, or calling him darlin that caused the sudden disappearance into the freshly dug trench, but he got out of the way, just in time.

Which was nice.


Threaded's third law of bureaucracies

In Denmark the stuff from the Kommune (local council) only comes in Danish, or is that only just...

I relate an amusing story: I had a letter from the Kommune that I found rather baffling, so I had a native dane at work look at it. The language baffled them so much they gave up trying to read it half way through. I then had one of the translators look at it, they could translate it, but what it meant? Hmm, tricky. Next up was a Sognepræst (Vicar) friend look at it, (who happens to be an expert in interpretating meaning from documents written in a variety of Latins, Attic Greek and the Danish language going back hundreds of years,) they hazarded a guess but weren't too confident. Finally I gave it to my lawyer who proceeded to phone the kommune, got through to the lady that wrote the letter, asked them what it meant, and then told me her reply.

Anyways, a few days later, I was chatting with one of my neighbours, and they had had the same letter. Confused by it, they too had phoned this same letter writing lady from the council.

Turned out she had told them something quite different from what she had told my lawyer.

Ho hum.

Threaded's third law of bureaucracies: They lie, because telling the truth may be helpful.


Be seen, be safe.

I saw a sticker on the back of another cyclists helmet this morning. It said "Be seen, be safe".

I thought how laudable.

Yet, if the car drivers are not looking, how can one be seen in the first place?

Saturday, September 17, 2005


The Information paradox

The Information Paradox was caused by a possible conflict between the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics after Professor Stephan Hawking announced that black holes consume information.

This theory was otherwise known as the notion that "black holes have no hair". In other words, the size and shape of a black hole depends not on the body that collapsed to form it, but just the mass and rotation. Professor Hawking provides that since the only thing that is left to measure is the mass and rotation much of the information that falls into a black hole is lost.

Finally, the Hawking Radiation that escapes from the boundry of the event horizon emits particles and therefore the black hole suffers a loss to both mass and energy. If this is true, Susskind and 't Hooft postulates that information can be carried out in the Hawking Radiation.

Anyways I believe it is not really a paradox. What Hawking did was try to combine a model of the small scale: quantum mechanics, with with a model of the large scale: relativity, using a mathematical technique developed by Penrose.

So essentially you have a probabilty system shoe horned into a limits system using a platonist system. Small wonder it is all a little confused. When they dump quantum mechanics for something better it will be so obvious: the information is not lost, it stays there, and just cannot be seen.


Winter cycle clothing.

On Friday was the first cold morning of this comming Autumn and Winter, and oh boy was it cold. Went to the cycle shop to buy some winter clothing.

Trousers 700 Dkr, Jacket 800 DKr.

Swallowed hard, thought "Well gotta have it".

Then the shop keepers said that magic phrase so oft heard for Danish shop keepers "Special Pris".

1000 Dkr the pair.

Well, nearly bit his had off.

Bought a spare inner tube as well.

No "Special Pris" for that though.



My main bicycle is a "bitsa", bits of this, bits of that. Most of the bike is brand new, but some parts I just like and have transfered over from the old one. So the bike has become quite a hodge-podge of parts I have had for years and years with mainly new bits. Now the old parts are so old they are sized in imperial. Obviously the new parts are metric. I cycle quite a long distance everyday, hence, rather than carry two sets of tools around I thought why not buy an adjustable spanner...

Off I go to buy an adjustable spanner. There I am in the tools shop faced with an entire wall of adjustable spanners. Denmark is like that, find a shop that sells what you want and they have just about every type you can think off. Immediatley I pick up a Swedish one 'cause, hey, when I were a lad I was told them Swedish tools are best.

Oh my! Waggle the jaw, 1mm play, that I don't like. Picks up another with a flashy rubber grip, 1.5 mm. Wanders along and in a not so flashy package was one of Spanish manufacture, nice and tight, just enough play to let you slip it on and off the nut in question, but not too much you might take the corners off, long enough to achieve good leverage, not too long one would strip a thread. In fact, just perfect.

Also it was the cheapest. Which I liked a lot.


Happy to see me speed sign!

Was driving down the road when I came across one of those speed signs that displays your speed.

Not only did it show my speed, but it also put a couple of smilies up too. :-)

Made me laugh so much I was momentarily distracted. ;-)

I wonder: if I had been speeding, would it have frowned? Should I find out?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Bizarre thing found on the web

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Insulting Clients

One of my clients employs a lot of so called "Social Employees", i.e. not for their skills but because the government subsidises the jobs.

In principle I am all in favour of such things, but when they get promoted to be Sys Admins or into Management all sorts of interesting things occur.

Which, unfortunately, I have to charge for.

Which is nice. :-)

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Viasat satellite decoder and poor remote control operation

Finally worked out why the Viasat satellite decoder is so crap when it comes to the remote control.

Just about had enough of it not changing or changing 2 channels at once. So went up close an' personal with the remote. Shone it straight into the IR window at the front. Nothing. Switch the box off. Now the IR light is flashing. Odd.

Tilt the box up and shine the remote through the slots underneath, works wonderful. Shine it through the slots behind, works wonderful. Shine it through the gaps in the scart plug, works wonderful. Leave the box tilted, remote is still working it from the otherside of the room.

On light is green. Off light is red. Hmm, alarm bells ring.

Of course! When the box is switched on the sensor is flooded from the front by the on light, when off, the red off light is the wrong frequency for the sensor to care.

Take box to pieces and carefully place a bit of black tape so the only light from the on lamp is out the front. Sorted.

It is such a nice warm feeling to realise why my customers pay me so much... :-)

Friday, September 02, 2005


Quote from Keita Takahashi

"I thought really hard about this one, I haven't thought this hard since I was coming up with the idea for Katamari Damacy. I decided that I wanted to get old ladies playing games and bring a little of the sunshine that they end up losing when they stay indoors all the time back into their lives." The focus of his talk began with the controller, he explained that current hardware designs are inorganic and difficult to understand. He introduced the design of his new controller specifically tailored for the Granny, and a picture of a cat appeared on the screen to great amusement. He explained, "the shape of the cat and the heat waves that it gives out really gets the old ladies going as they get quite cold. They like the cat shape. The cat is designed to be rested on the old ladies knees." The cat controller was met with rapture from the audience as Takahashi went on to explain the gameplay concept.
The game would begin with the family suggesting to Granny that she wear the cat because, for example, her knees looked cold. Embedded in the cat is the capability for it to communicate wirelessly with other cat controllers (on other Grannies' knees) in the neighborhood. When the cat connects to another one, "..the onboard a.i. kicks in." This causes the cat to speak, paraphrased as "meow, meow, grandma, meow". Takahashi explains that the family are required to participate in the game by pretending that they haven't heard anything, because of this – Grandma begins to build the perception that she is able to communicate directly with the cat.
As the dialogue with the cat develops, it suggests that Granny make some soup – but faster than the other granny down the street who has also received the instruction. A competitive element emerges and gradually the cat suggests more and more group activities that Grandma might engage in, culminating in trips to the park. "..So they all go outside and eventually they meet other old ladies with cats and they all become friends. So it's a game that involves the participation and love of the entire family." Takahashi ended the presentation by commenting on the possible production path of the cat, "Namco and Bandai are merging so when I get home I will submit my proposal."


New water meter

Received a letter some months ago informing me that I was to have a new water meter installed today between 9 and 11 am. So I booked the best part of the morning expecting whoever to: if they did turn up at all forget the tools etc. etc.

Imagine my surprise when the ederly gentleman turned up at 8.30, apologised for arriving early, and asked if it was OK to proceed.

During conversation I illicited that the water meters are changed every few years as they "calc" up, i.e. stuff in the water eventually bungs up the works. My water meter was installed in 1991, it said so on the meter. Now I have a new meter with 2005 on it.

The old meter was reading 1094 cubic meters, so in its life that is 1 094 000 liters = 240 646.258 Imperial gallons = 4 624 067.58 US cups. Gosh that's an awful lot of water.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


For ex-pats missing English food.


Have been in receipt of a food parcel from England

Have been in receipt of a food parcel from England: pork pie, mushy peas, mint sauce.

Which is nice.



ActiveSync 'Synchronize with Server' Warnings in Calendar

Synchronize with Server
Some Calendar entries will not sync.

Essentially the entries in Calendar that you've labeled, the ones you've coloured, them important meetings, appointments, etc. cannot synchronize with Server ActiveSync.

Pants! How long has this bug been in Microsoft Windows? It is still here in Windows Small Business Server. That is just not good enough. Wish I could get at the source code, I recon it is only a 5 minute fix.

With Microsoft Outlook, you can apply labels, typically a special color and text label, to appointments in Calendar. Unfortunately these appointments with labels cannot synchronize with Server ActiveSync. So users who synchronize Calendar with Server ActiveSync cannot see labeled appointments on their Pocket PCs.

To synchronize an appointment that has a label, you could switch off syncing with the server, and sync locally, then use Outlook to set the label for the appointment to None, and synchronize again.

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