Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Distributed drinking, better than virtual drinking but still quite sad.

According to facebook:

Ken Coar has just compared you with one of his friends and thinks you are more entertaining.
I'm not quite sure how to react to this, its weirdness is freaking me out in many ways, but perhaps I should send him a virtual drink via one of the many facebook apps that let you do that.

All good clean fun, but virtual drink doesn't really get you very drunk does it? (No) So this is what we have to do. Instead of using it as an online social metaphor think of it instead as an actual protocol to enable distributed drinking.

Tally up all those virtual drinks your friends have sent you then at 5:05pm nip down to the pub and buy yourself the same list of drinks.

That was my first prototype but empirical data measured in the pub shows that it is wide open to abuse. I inadvertently sent 72 tequilas to 24 people the other day owing to a defect in one of these apps, and while I'm happy to buy tequila for my friends I wouldn't want to overdo it, and I could force you to spend all of your money on drink.

So we need to add robustness and accountability by introducing a contract of reciprocity that will ensure participants don't place on other participants an unacceptable burden which they themselves would not be willing or able to shoulder.

Furthermore analysis suggests that a risk to corporate security or business continuity exists because industrial saboteurs might attempt to exploit this vulnerability to launch dangerous Denial of Service attacks on their competitors.

British companies are already extremely suspicious of facebook (here) and we wouldn't want to fan the flames of corporate paranoia would we? (we would?)

Luckily for us The Native British Pub Goer has already invented a subtle and imaginative methodology, The Round of Drinks, that social institution which allowed the British to subjugate large parts of the world without taking their hands off their gin's and tonics by creating a finely tuned feedback loop of consumption and capability.

More money = more drink, too drunk = no job, no job = no money. Many people will recognise the audible signal that the feedback is working: "I'll just having the one tonight, I have a big day at work tomorrow."

So how do we adapt this to wrest a bit of real life back from the faceless facebook?

Simple, create a pub "event" and let people sign up. At 5pm on the day shuffle off to the pub and buy yourself the appropriate number of drinks.

Calculating the correct number, like predicting the weather, is a chaotic problem but this is normally ok because the behaviour of people in pubs is a chaotic solution (no shit), but also just like predicting the weather a piss poor approximation is usually close enough.

So we'll make some initial, and fairly arbitrary assumptions,
a) everyone turns up,
b) they all stay all night, and
c) everyone buys one round.

So now buy yourself exactly the same number of drinks as there are participants no more no less, drink them safe in the knowledge that everyone else is drinking the same amount, and then go home.

You'll quickly find that you will tend to steer clear, or withdraw from, events with a very large number of participants, or actively encourage others to attend when numbers are low.

It may not be the social interaction of our youth, but it beats online social networking hands down by having real drink, and making you wait for hours in the rain for a taxi home.

Friends, if you have read this far let me apologise, sincerely, for wasting your valuable time.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Numbers Racket

John Levine, chair of the ASRG and author of, amongst other titles, Fighting Spam for Dummies (Lol, I thought spam was *for* dummies!) blogs about ICANN's report on what they plan to do about registry failure.

Although I'm continually reminded at work about our need to design and plan for "business continuity", and even though I'm congenitally opposed to central registries *and* assigned names and numbers (I believe they are all a symptom of our failure to solve a problem of self-organisation, but don't get me started on that here.) I still managed to surprised myself by my failure thus far to put two and two together and work out that central authorities put an upper bar on an organisations ability plan for business continuity. No amount of nuclear bunkers, back up power supplies, and geographic dispersal will save you if the the assigned names and numbers racket gets messed up.
So that's me got another reason to feel uncomfortable about it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

subscribe by email

Two reasons for this post:
1/ to let you know that you can now subscribe to updates by email
2/ to see what the emails look like

I've been adding every feedburner feature I can get my hands on. I added the feed redirect to my blogger account so now feedburner captures stats on all the subscriptions and hits to the feeds for this blog, neat. I already used the rss to javascript thingy to publish the headlines on my home page thats pretty cool and seems to work well so I thought I try out *everything* else, like a kid in a sweetie shop. :) I'm not sure whether people will want to subscribe by email, but its cheap at the price (free as in beer) so I'm buying.

Talking about free beer, if you're a facebook user check out the boozemail application for some mindless virtual-drinking fun.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Told you so!

In the previous post I predicted that postmaster@xxx would be too busy to reply, I got his reply just now..

Thank you for contacting XXX's E-mail Postmaster.
Because of the large volume of postmaster e-mail traffic, this response is automated.


We keep spending most our lives living in the living in the Spama's Paradise

I just got an email today which appears from its headers to be a bona-fide bounce triggered by spam with my @apache address on it. I also googled for some of the people on the list, and they do indeed work where where it says they do. So I think its genuine.

I've quoted the whole thing below, the scary part is summed up by this sentence "A list of all the people to whom these addresses might refer appears below" and sure enough right below the stuff I quote there's a list of people who's address might match michael@xxx formatted like :

name: Michael xxx
send_email_to: mikex@xxx
phone: 007-234-4354
address: 695 XXX Road
department: XXX-Housekeeping

For heavens sakes! I've spent years trying to explain why returning "mailbox does not exist" can be used by spammers to harvest addresses, and then I find out that people are still doing this. Priceless. I've sent a mail to the postmaster@xxx asking him if he's insane. I don't expect a reply from the current incumbent any time soon, he's probably fighting off a mail-storm.

The text of that message:

I'm sorry, but we had problems delivering your mail.
The errors we encountered appear below. If you have any questions,
contact the xxxxx Postmaster as postmaster@xxxxx.yyy.
Please include a copy of this message with your correspondence.

The following addreses each refer to more than one person in our
A list of all the people to whom these addresses might
refer appears below. You should resend to your intended recipient
using the address in the 'send_email_to:' field.

If your intended recipient is not on the list, then the person is
either not registered in the central directory or the address is

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pistolwhippers. The new DDG Champions!

ddg_champ_2006 (283), originally uploaded by rude awakening.

Google sent someone to my blog looking for "detroit derby" trophy. Ever happy to oblige a bona fide reader (as I have so few!) here's a picture of the stunning thing in all its glory.

Congratulations to Pistolwhippers who won the Detroit Derby Girls championship last saturday 96-82 over the Devils Night Dames.

All in all its been a fascinating thing to follow, I'd never even heard of rollerderby before this year, but already I'm a confirmed fan.

I'm Danny Angus, are you?

I've been sucked into facebook and all it stands for, and I searched for my own name (as you do) and discovered about a dozen or so Dan, Daniel and Danny Angus registered.
So, following in the footsteps of Dave Gorman I set up a group "I'm Danny Angus! Are you Danny Angus too?"
Why am I telling you this? Simple, get those Dan, Daniel and Danny Angus signed up for the facebook group.
The actual point of the group? Hell don't ask me difficult questions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nice sound-bite, pointless legislation

"Legislation will stop drunkenness being used as an excuse for criminal behaviour"

What they all fail to mention is that the courts already refuse to accept drunkenness as an excuse or mitigation.

All mouth no trousers?

The BBC quote statistics about the number of crimes committed while drunk,
but there is a conspicuous lack of data to show how many sentences this will affect or how many crimes the politicians think it will prevent. Could this be because the answer in both cases is none?

I was brought up to understand that in this country there are two components to the law, legislation and precedent (or case law). In this move it appears that new Justice Minister Kenny McAskill is whipping up a frenzy of hype and spin behind a get tough headline by legislating something which is already more than adequately provided for by the courts.

Ask yourself why would he do that, and then ask why is that a good use of taxpayers money?

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Abuse will always appear in your quick contacts"

It may not be as funny as the password generator which combined the surname of Kenny Wan with his first initial and the intransigent admins who wouldn't change his username; and it is nowhere near as annoying as systems which can't cope with singulars and the plural, nevertheless it would appear that the practice of using peoples' names in generated messages can still raise an eyebrow even in someone as jaded as me. Sorting out my gmail contacts elicited the message in the picture. I barely managed to resist creating my_arse@killerbees just for the sake of this post, until I remembered that I'm 42 and not 8 anymore :-( .

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Why did we all stop using ICQ?

I have ICQ contacts for dozens of friends and former colleagues going back years, but no one is ever on line any more. I use trillian to log into several IM's at once, its just my ICQ friends who've gone dark.
ICQ used to stride the IM world like a world striding IM application. Did they all just sneak off and leave me? Is this going to be the pattern for newer "social networking" software, like bebo or piczo or myspace or facebook or twitter or flickr or even for newer IM like msn and aim? Will people eventually just move on?

I'd say that permanence and therefore interoperability are two big user needs if you're doing that stuff.

Anyway bring back ICQ I say, or perhaps I should say bring back my friends?

My ICQ number is 31592481 - killerBees()

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

War on terror? This time its personal..

Welcome, originally uploaded by danny angus.

All good things come to an end, and here I am back at work, its my lunch hour, after nearly a week in the sun near Ayia Napa.

It was smashin'.

Sadly our family-fun-fest got off on the wrong foot after what appears to have been a bunch of doctors (surely not?) decided to ram the airport (Glasgow) with a burning Jeep Cherokee filled with butane cylinders. Not only were we then put back by a whole day, but I was worried (well ok, not really worried) that our car (also a Jeep Cherokee) might be destroyed in a "controlled explosion" (isn't that an oxymoron?) while we were away.

Luckily it wasn't because it transpires that we can't claim on our insurance for our missed day's holiday because it was a "direct or indirect result of terrorist actions".

Now I don't know who to be more pissed off with, terrorists, doctors, or insurance weasels. Just let me get my hands on any of them.

The picture was taken from a beach bar owned by a guy named Andreas who, refreshingly for the middle aged visitor to Ayia Napa, played reggae all day long. If you want to know where it is its in the centre of this map.

I know nothing, I'm not a fortune teller, and you'd be insane to think that I am. This disclaimer was cribbed from an email footer I once received. It is so ridiculous I had to have it for myself.

Statements in this blog that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements regarding my expectations, objectives, anticipations, plans, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking statements include risks and uncertainties such as any unforeseen event or any unforeseen system failures, and other risks. It is important to note that actual outcomes could differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements.

Danny Angus Copyright © 2006-2013 (OMG that's seven years of this nonsense)