Recent blog entries for mikal

High Output Management




ISBN: 9780679762881
LibraryThing
A reading group of managers at work has been reading this book, except for the last chapter which we were left to read by ourselves. Overall, the book is interesting and very readable. Its a little dated, being all excited with the invention of email and some unfortunate gender pronouns, but if you can get past those minor things there is a lot of wise advice here. I'm not sure I agree with 100% of it, but I do think the vast majority is of interest. A well written book that I'd recommend to new managers.

Tags for this post: book andy_gove management intel non_fiction
Related posts: Being Geek; On Cars; Why document management is good; The Man in the Rubber Mask; Perl sample source code; Cataloguing meta data against multi media formats


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Syndicated 2016-04-23 01:30:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Bad Pharma




ISBN: 9780007350742
LibraryThing
Another excellent book by Ben Goldacre. In this book he argues that modern medicine is terribly corrupted by the commercial forces that act largely unchecked in the marketplace -- studies which don't make a new drug look good go missing; new drugs are compared only against placebo and not against the current best treatment; doctors are routinely bribed with travel, training and small perks. Overall I'm left feeling like things haven't improved much since this book was published, given that these behaviors still seem common.

The book does offer concrete actions that we could take to fix things, but I don't see many of these happening any time soon, which is a worrying place to be. Overall, a disturbing but important read.

Tags for this post: book ben_goldacre medicine science corruption non_fiction
Related posts: Bad Science; Sixty five roses (Cystic Fibrosis); On Cars; Being Geek; Audio from linux.conf.au 2005 continued; Lemon juice as a cure for AIDS?


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Syndicated 2016-04-20 16:53:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Exploring the Jagungal

Peter Thomas kindly arranged for a variety of ACT Scout leaders to take a tour of the Jagungal portion of Kosciuszko National Park under the guidance of Robert Green. Robert is very experienced with this area, and has recently written a book. Five leaders from the Macarthur Scout Group decided to go along on this tour and take a look at our hiking options in the area.

The first challenge is getting to the area. The campsite we used for the first day is only accessible to four wheel drive vehicles -- the slope down to the camp site from Nimmo Plain is quite rocky and has some loose sections. That said, the Landcruiser I was in had no trouble making the trip, and the group managed to get two car style four wheel drives into the area without problems as well. The route to Nimmo Plain from the south of Canberra is as follows:

Interactive map for this route.

We explored two areas which are both a short drive from Nimmo Plain. We in fact didn't explore anything at Nimmo Plain itself, but as the intermediate point where the road forks it makes sense to show that bit of route first. From Nimmo Plain, it you turn left you end up where we camped for the first day, which is a lovely NWPS camp site with fire pits, a pit toilet, and trout in the river.

The route to that camp site is like this:

Interactive map for this route.

From this campsite we did a 14km loop walk, which took in a series of huts and ruins along relatively flat and easy terrain. There are certainly good walking options here for Scouts, especially those which don't particularly like hills. The route for the first day was like this:

Interactive map for this route.

Its a fantastic area, very scenic without being difficult terrain...

                                           

As you can see from the pictures, life around the camp fire that evening was pretty hard. One note on the weather though -- even at the start of April we're already starting to see very cool overnight weather in this area, with a definite frost on the tents and cars in the morning. I wouldn't want to be hiking in this area much later in the season than this without being prepared for serious cold weather.

   

The next day we drove back to Nimmo Plain and turned right. You then proceed down a dirt road that is marked as private property, but has a public right of way through to the national park. At the border of the park you can leave the car again and go for another walk. The route to this second entrance to the park is like this:

Interactive map for this route.

                     

This drive on the second morning involved a couple of river crossings, with some representative pictures below. Why does the red Landcruiser get to do the crossing three times? Well that's what happens when you forget to shut the gate...

                                                   

Following that we did a short 5km return walk to Cesjack's Hut, which again wasn't scenic at all...

Interactive map for this route.

                                     

I took some pictures on the drive home too of course...

             

Tags for this post: blog pictures 20160409-jagungal photo kosciuszko scouts bushwalk
Related posts: Scout activity: orienteering at Mount Stranger

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Syndicated 2016-04-11 00:17:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Downbelow Station




ISBN: 9780756400590
LibraryThing
As I write up comments on books I've read in the last little while but left lying around my desk instead of blogging and filing, I find this book sitting there taunting me. I really wanted to like this book, I was quite excited when I bought it. However, Its Cherryh at her worst -- wordy and kind of goes nowhere. There's an interesting idea here, but the book needs to be half its current length. I got half way through and gave up. A disappointment.

Tags for this post: book c_j_cherryh civil_war colonization space_travel
Related posts: Cyteen: The Vindication; The Martian; The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Cyteen: The Betrayal; Marsbound; Red Mars


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Syndicated 2016-03-15 22:40:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Killing Floor




ISBN: 9780553826166
LibraryThing
I'd seen the Reacher movie (it was ok, but not amazing), but was trapped in an airport with a book too close to the end for comfort. So I bought the first Jack Reacher novel. I'm impressed to be honest -- its well written, readable, and not trying to be Tom Clancy. Where Clancy would get lost in the blow by blow details of how military hardware works, this story is instead about how the main character feels and where their intuition is up to at that point. Sure, he explains that the shot gun pointed at his is dangerous, but doesn't get too lost in the detail.

I enjoyed this book, and its a well written mystery tale. I'll read more from this series I am sure.

Tags for this post: book lee_child jack_reacher murder mystery
Related posts: Lock In; A Talent for War; Winchester Mystery House


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Syndicated 2016-03-15 22:33:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Monty: His Part in My Victory




ISBN: 9780241958117
LibraryThing
This is the third book in Spike Milligan's war memoirs (volume 1; volume 2). Combat has now died down in Africa, and no one is ready to be shipped to a new field of combat yet. The troops are therefore getting bored. Suddenly the establishment recalls that Milligan can play the trumpet and the band reforms. Most of this book is spent being shuffled between army staging areas, and performing music. Regardless of little "happening", still an engaging read.

Tags for this post: book spike_milligan combat ww2 biography
Related posts: Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall; Rommel? Gunner Who?; Cryptonomicon; The Man in the Rubber Mask; Skimpy; The Crossroad


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Syndicated 2016-03-15 22:26:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Rommel? Gunner Who?




ISBN: 9780241958100
LibraryThing
At the end of the previous Spike Milligan war memoir, Spike and his comrades had just been packed up into a ship to start travelling to Africa to engage the Nazis. This book picks up straight from there are follows them from first arrival in Africa to their first experiences of combat. Spike fought in the Battle of Longstop Hill, where his artillery unit played a part in victory. Along the way Spike loses his first close friend to enemy fire.

Spike has an amazing talent for taking a tough subject and making it interesting and light hearted. Its not disrespectful, but shows that there were moments of levity in difficult times. Much like the previous book this one was very readable and I enjoyed it.

Tags for this post: book spike_milligan combat ww2 biography
Related posts: Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall; Monty: His Part in My Victory; Cryptonomicon; The Man in the Rubber Mask; Skimpy; The Crossroad


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Syndicated 2016-03-15 22:14:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Sydney Developer Bugs Smash

The OpenStack community is arranging a series of bug smash events globally, with one in Sydney. These events are aimed at closing bugs related to enterprise pain points in OpenStack, although as self guided events there isn't anyone in the room ordering you to do a certain thing. There will however be no presentations -- this is a group working session.

The global event etherpad is at https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/OpenStack-Bug-Smash-Mitaka.

The Sydney event is being hosted by Rackspace Australia, and has its own signup etherpad at https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/OpenStack-Bug-Smash-Mitaka-Sydney.

Please note this event is not aimed at end users, deployers or administrators. It is aimed at developers of OpenStack. So, if you're an OpenStack developer please consider coming along!

RSVP is on the Sydney event etherpad.

Tags for this post: openstack mitaka

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Syndicated 2016-02-14 14:00:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall




ISBN: 9780241958094
LibraryThing
This is another book I read as a teenager and decided to re-read. Frankly, its great. Confused teenager signs up for the British Army (or is conscripted, its not totally clear) and ends up as an artillery gunner. Has hilarious adventures while managing to still be a scrawny nerd. I loved it. A light hearted look at a difficult topic.

Tags for this post: book spike_milligan combat ww2 biography
Related posts: Cryptonomicon; The Man in the Rubber Mask; Skimpy; The Crossroad; Don't Tell Mum I Work On The Rigs; Some Girls: My Life in a Harem


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Syndicated 2016-02-08 01:30:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Halo: The Flood




ISBN: 076532833X
LibraryThing
The reviews online for this book aren't great, and frankly they're right. The plot is predictable, and there isn't much character development. Just lots and lots of blow-by-blow combat. It gets wearing after a while, and I found this book at bit of a slog. Not recommended.

Tags for this post: book william_c_dietz combat halo engineered_human cranial_computer personal_ai aliens
Related posts: Halo: The Fall of Reach; The Last Colony ; The End of All Things; The Human Division; Old Man's War ; The Ghost Brigades


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Syndicated 2016-02-08 01:22:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

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