Who's a Dirty Donkey?

Seeing as it's already mid-August, I decided to register for the Dirty Donkey mud run so I could finally clear one item off of my 2013 resolutions. My thoughts at the time were along the lines of "At least I can clear the easy stuff of off my resolution list!". Normally at this point you're probably expecting me say something to indicate that it wasn't so easy in practice, but in this case I'm pleased to report that it wasn't too bad.

Celebrating One Year of Uptime

Today marks a special day (if only for nerds like me). My long-suffering web server has now been online and running for a full year without any interruption. One full year without crashing or rebooting; but most importantly, one full year without requiring my physical intervention. Like a battery powered toy rabbit, it just keeps going, and going, and going...

Censor all the Things

Not to be outmatched, following a British announcement promising pornography filters on their Internet connections, a Manitoba MP has spoke up and recommended a similar scheme for Canada. Joy Smith applauded the British plans to install a “porn block” and said that she would bring this issue to the Prime Ministers attention. Unfortunately, I have strong doubts that she considered the implications of this proposal.

Pain in the Ass...iniboine

Looking for a challenge to tackle next, I decided to finally try the race I have been wanting to compete in for years - Pain in the Assiniboine. Pain in the Assiniboine is an adventure race in which participants start at the Forks then cycle west to Beaudry park along the Harte trail, and then hop into boats and paddle from Beaudry park back to the Forks again. The full course (referred to in the official literature as an 'extreme spanking') is roughly 32 kilometres in either direction.

The Taxonomy of Fun

Recently I was reading about peoples experiences on camping trips and someone mentioned 'the Fun Scale', a simple scale from one to three which measured how fun a trip was. Under this system a trip could either be truly fun, fun in memory, or not fun at all. I liked the idea but also noticed it had a couple flaws which needed to be corrected. To improve on this idea and remedy its shortcomings, I have created the Taxonomy of Fun.

Professor Elemental Builds a Great Machine

Recently legislation was introduced in the United Kingdom which would provide the police and government with nearly unlimited powers to conduct Internet surveillance. Nicknamed the Snoopers Charter, the legislation would allow the government to intercept communications and analyze them looking for indications of suspicious activity without any prior suspicion or cause.

Growth in Time of Debt

In 2010 Reinhart & Rogoff released a study entitled Growth in Time of Debt, containing a set of 'stylized facts' which claim to establish a negative correlation between GDP growth and debt levels. These findings have been often referenced by politicians who have been advocating austerity budgets and similar measures. Recently a group from the University of Massachusetts have released a study which challenges the process that Reinhart & Rogoff used to arrive at their conclusions.

Keep Calm and Maintain Perspective

Yesterday a person or persons unknown bombed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The bombing was a cowardly act which injured a large number of innocent people. It came unannounced, without precedent, and managed to provoke strong responses from organizers of similar events who have stated that they are reviewing their own security measures. Bruce Schneier's article The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On is a timely reminder of how we should react to events such as this.

My First 10K Race

This morning I did something that I've never done before. I got up at an unreasonably early time (for a Sunday morning), ate breakfast, took a hot shower, drove to Assiniboine Park, and ran 10 kilometres around the park along with dozens of like-minded people. My very first timed race. Since I'm planning to ran a half marathon at some point this summer, I figured a shorter race would be a good warm up and would give me a better idea of where I am at in my training.

The Difference that One Character Makes

Despite the fact that I would rather have all my technology run smoothly, I get a great deal of satisfaction from diagnosing problems and fixing errors. I find it a fun challenge to work my way from symptoms to a cause and figure out a remedy for the underlying issue. Normally stories of troubleshooting are dull reading to anyone outside of a select group of nerds, but today I have an example with a visually impressive graph!

It all started when, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that all of the websites I host had slowed to a crawl...