Of recent times I have been obsessed with the cooking and eating of jambalaya – in this case a Louisiana Creole inspired dish. I got this basic recipe from here, and I’ve been trying out variations for a few months now. I love the internet, otherwise it would still be meat and three vegetables for most of us.

Cajun Shrimp Jambalaya

1 lb medium Shrimp, deveined and peeled
2 lbs Sausage, cut 1/4 inch thick
3 Tbsp Salt
1 lb Chicken, boneless
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 large Onions
3 Bay Leaves
1 Bell Pepper
6 oz Tomato Paste
4 cloves Garlic
5 cups Water
3 cups raw Rice

Sauté sausage, chicken, onions, bell pepper and garlic until sausage and chicken are browned. Add the water, salt, cayenne, bay leaf and tomato paste. Bring to a boil with the lid on. When water boils add the shrimp and the raw rice. Stir and lower fire. Let rice simmer, stirring every five minutes until rice is cooked. This simple jambalaya recipe makes enough for 6 to 8 servings.

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Mac horror moment

The other day I saw a side of my Macbook that I was never supposed to see. The horror of it!

I was helping out with some cross browser testing for a new website we’re about to launch at work & for some reason the IT department needed me to edit my hosts file instead of just fixing the firewall (I still don’t understand what all this was about?).

Anyway it meant that I had to open up a terminal window and use the command line vi editor. Shades of my misspent youth – I used to be a unix sysadmin in my youth. BUT I was never supposed to touch the innards of my lovely little Macbook. I was only ever supposed to use the GUI with a mouse.

This experience was so wrong on so many levels. I feel violated! It is still emotionally draining to even think about it.

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Forget Summer Heights High – Gormsby is the answer

Many people in Oz have been laughing along with Summer Heights High, which I’ve found to be only mildly amusing. But a friend recently put me on to a Kiwi show that is much funnier Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby.

Gormsby is described as “… an out-dated, reactionary, racist, sexist teacher completely out of touch with educational theory in the second millennium. He defies the curriculum in every subject and is a disgrace to the profession. He should have no place in any state or private school. We will close Tepapawai Boys High and appoint a commissioner if Mr Gormsby is not replaced forthwith.”

He is also a totally funny character, and the show has a much more cutting look at modern schooling. Forget SHH go for Gormsby.

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Call for Participation – First call for papers Computer-Mediated Social Networking

Here is the call for papers that just came out for this conference …

To be held in Dunedin, New Zealand 11-13 June 2008 The International Conference on Computer-Mediated Social Networking (ICCMSN2008) will explore social networking issues such as formation of online communities and how collaboration and cooperation can be achieved. The topics covered encompass multiple disciplines, including Computer Science, Sociology, Epidemiology, Economics, Marketing, Education, etc. Some of the applications that can benefit from social network structural models include social norm spreading, disease propagation, opinion dynamics, and collective knowledge construction. Network topologies can play an important role in these applications.

The conference will examine the links between these topics. Topics of interest include:

* How can we facilitate effective structure in a SNS?
* How can we enable collaboration/cooperation in social networking application areas such as education, e-commerce, world-wide research etc?
* How can collective knowledge be constructed and shared?
* What is the role of network topologies (scale free, small world, random) in the areas such as disease spreading, opinion dynamics, and norm spreading?
* How can we model the dynamic growth and shrinkage of online communities?
* How can software agents be used in the development and simulation of on-line societies?
* How can various Web 2.0 tools be integrated to satisfy the needs of electronic communities in a holistic manner?
* How can realistic virtual environments be modelled, designed and developed? What are the issues and solutions?
* How can high speed networks such as KAREN (Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network) facilitate the real world experience of virtual environments?
* How can privacy, security, and trust issues be addressed in on-line communities?

Important dates:
Submission date: 15 February 2008
Acceptance notification: 8 March 2008
Camera-ready submission date: 30 March 2008
Conference: 11-13 June 2008

We invite your participation by submitting research papers in the relevant areas of your interest. Inter-disciplinary research papers are also encouraged.

Kind regards, Maryam Purvis and Tony Savarimuthu Department of Information Science University of Otago Dunedin

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Web 3.0 – What is it?

I’ve been wondering how wild and crazy we can get with web x.0 labels before someone makes the point that it’s all a bit mad. Now Ross Dawson has raised the question with his post Why Web 3.0 is a meaningless term.

It also raises the question is web 2.0 a meaningless term too? But if there is some kind of agreed content for the term web 2.0 isn’t that OK? Perhaps web 3.0 is just a term looking for an agreed definition?

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Rules for a Career in IT?

Here are some rules, according to Mark Gibbs (CIO Magazine 04 September, 2006), that you must observe if you plan to have a career in IT:

Rule No. 1: Do not annoy the guys with money. That means everyone above you with any influence on your budget or salary. They are all your best friends or, at worst, close acquaintances no matter how annoying and loathsome they may be.

Rule No. 2: Always back up first. No matter how simple the task, if you change something, and you haven’t got a backup in the bag, you are flirting with disaster. This rule is covered by Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will. And without a backup, it will. Particularly changing router tables.

Rule No. 3: The leading edge isn’t. No matter what you are told by the press, the vendors, the resellers, the integrators or anybody, the leading edge should be nowhere near your shop unless you have insanely huge piles of money and can avoid taking responsibility for cosmic-level disasters.

Rule No. 4: Document everything. You never know when that off-the-cuff, seemingly harmless request from a CXO is going to turn out to be a huge python that wraps itself around your throat. If he (or anyone else) asks for anything that has even vaguely related IT repercussions, then get it in writing. Going to change the router tables? Back up first (see Rule No. 2) and then document what you did and why. When I say document everything, I mean everything. In some organizations this might even include bathroom breaks.

Rule No. 5: Document nothing (see Rule No. 4). Once you document everything and make it known that you do so, you should then make sure nothing that implicates you as to being part of the decision process gets documented. Plausible deniability is what we’re looking for.

Rule No 6: It is not your fault. Whatever it is, someone else is responsible. And you have the paperwork to prove it (see rule Nos. 4 and 5).

Rule No. 7: Do unto users before they do unto you. There’s a fine balance between career-furthering, fawning care and feeding of users and the satisfying but inadvisable practice of torturing them. Get the balance right, and you will be seen as fair but firm. Get it wrong, and you are a bastard who needs to update his resume.

Rule No. 8: You can’t afford any piece of equipment or software that is priced high enough to make you shudder. If you have to have it, then it must not be your decision (no matter how much influence you think you have), and your signature won’t be on the purchase order, will it?

Rule No. 9: Always tell the truth, never tell a lie and never be the one to change the router tables (see rule Nos. 2, 4 and 6).

Rule No. 10: Always cover your arse (see Rule Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8).

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