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Work and Europe Plans, Family Visit, RPG Review and Other Games,

Another set of classes this week teaching Advanced Linux and Shell Scripting for High Performance Computing, to a class that was pretty well engaged. Have planned another set for the coming month with a new course in Parallel Computation and Programming. Europe plans almost encountered a conflict when I realised that I depart Melbourne at the same time that eResearch Australasia is being held. Fortunately, I can give my paper at that conference in the afternoon and still make it to the airport to leave in the evening. Nothing like be accidentally well-organised, haha. Oh, and in a great moment in science this week; malaria solved. As a disease that kill over four hundred thousand people per annum, this is big news.

Friday evening was a night on the town with in-laws Arnold and Cathy who are visiting from Perth. We took them to the little Breton crepiere, Breizoz, one of my favourite rustic restaurants which I don't visit enough. It did make me wonder about the status of the Breton language, and some concern that it hasn't (yet) have a course on Duolingo. Clearly we live in the age of the Celtic twilight. Afterwards made our way to Madame Brussels which is a fine roof-top bar with an interesting history (but oh, my eyes, that website!).

Yesterday was a visit to hathhalla and ser_pounce for our regular cheesequest and boardgames (Theomachy, nice concept but dependent on initial hand). It was good afternoon visiting our human friends and their menagerie (cats and ferrets), however our trip was delayed by a police standoff in Fitzroy, which involved the Critical Incident Response Team - we walked past the place where it occurred a few minutes prior to the event, and thus our car was trapped behind the blue line. It must be said, the world is fortunate that petty criminals aren't that smart - the perp in question engaged in actions across the road from a police station.

The thirty-first issue of RPG Review has just been released with an "Old School Revolution" central topic. Our interview subject for this issue is Ken St. Andre. My own contributions include reviews of Castles and Crusades, OSRIC, Basic Fantasy, and designer's notes for Papers and Paychecks, which is reaching the end of the first draft and, following mid-week drinks with fellow committee members Liz and Karl, now has an ISBN assigned to it. The drinks are significant as they were the last to be held at The Corkman, which has just been sold.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/216299.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: content
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Training, Swordfighting, and Europe Trip

Wednesday was a training day for Edward to Spartan transition workshop, which went very smoothly and also had a visiting sysadmin of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (who, in his evening hours, was a lead Pirate Party Senate candidate in the state). Thursday was mostly spent at an Amazon scientific computing immersion day which regrettably contained too much marketing material, not enough compute time. It can be quite telling when a course is not designed by educators. Other major work-related events was the installation of a metric tonne of software - an interesting feature of EasyBuild - as more dependencies are installed, installation processes become easier.

Only one major gaming event this week, being GURPS Middle Earth last Sunday. In lieu of our regular game members of our mid-week group visited the Melbourne Swordplay Guild on invitation from kits_the_dm, to engage in some backsword immersion in preparation for playing some Backswords and Bucklers. Content for issue 31 of RPG Review has been positively powering along and it should be released this weekend.

As mentioned in passing, caseopaya and I are visiting Europe in two months. At least for one of us it's a working trip however. I currently have plans to visit the The Goethe Center for Scientific Computing, then the High Performance Computing Center of Stuttgart, then to the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, then on to CERN, before reaching Barcelona for the OpenStack Summit, and visiting the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre. It is just as well I have concentrated on German, French, and Spanish in Duolingo in recent weeks. Yes, it is fair to say that there is a degree of excitement for this planned trip.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/216054.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: relaxed
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Presentations, Social Events, CensusFail

It has been a very busy week and a sense of general tiredness is pervasive. Last Sunday I gave a presentation at The Philosophy Forum on Race Conditions for the Human Species: A Global Perspective (there are a few and our actions are piecemeal and responsive). Two days later on Tuesday night, I presented Is Pantheism an Atheism? to the Melbourne Atheist Society (it depends on experience). On Wednesday ran the Introduction to HPC course which received extremely good feedback from attendees. Classes will of course continue on their regular, weekly basis. Next Philosophy Forum presentation I'm giving is in December, The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, following an encounter with a lunatic who believes that their consciousness creates reality. Seriously, there is a special circle of hell for people who misrepresent the Copenhagen Interpretation in such a populist, ignorant, and ill-considered manner.

It has not been all work and now play however. Sunday night was an enjoyable gathering for sebastianne's "thirtieth" birthday gathering at The Drunken Poet (related to such establishment, I have been interested in the series No Béarla - a first-language Irish speaker attempts to tour Ireland without using English). Last night went to see a gothic superhero double at The Astor; Batman (1989) and The Crow, with thefon, who is visiting us from Perth. Gaming-wise we had a session of Eclipse Phase on Sunday which was something like a cross between Avatar and Aliens, a first session of Delta Green Countdown, which has started quiet enough.

Much has been made this week of the almighty collection of failures surrounding the Australian Census. Apart from legitimate concerns on privacy, with various legal discussions, there was the miserable failure on the night it was supposed to be taken. I described it as: "The Census is a self-advertised Distributed Denial of Service attack". It didn't take the long before official claims that it was an actual overseas DDoS attack - to be honest I didn't think they would be so stupid to make such a claim. Still, on the positive side the recommendations that I initially made to the ABS in 2012 and were part of the formal review in 2013 have been accepted. To express simply, Unitarians were previously listed as a sub-group of Christians. Now they are Unitarian-Universalists and are counted under "Secular Beliefs and Other Spiritual Beliefs and No Religious Affiliation".

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/215715.html.
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Linux and Philosophy Presentations

Tuesday night attended the Linux Users of Victoria meeting to hear Russell Coker present on M.2 expansion cards, and Rodney Brown on cyclic redundancy checks. The following day had the first of a new class at University of Melbourne on advanced (on a user level) Linux commands and shell scripting. Detailed slides in MD format are available on Github. That evening, with but a couple of days notice, journeyed to Moorabbin to the MelbPC Users Group to address a group of around 60 on Supercomputers: Current Status and Future Trends.

As there is no peace for the wicked, on Sunday I am also presenting at The Philosophy Forum, on "Race conditions for the Human Species : A Global Perspective", and then on Tuesday I'll be presenting at the Atheist Society on "Is Pantheism and Atheism?". The day after that I have another several hours of Linux HPC teaching - and so they cycle goes. Actually I am hoping for a little of a break from such things so I least have the chance to finish up some writing projects that I have had sitting on the backburner for a while.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/215544.html.
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Work, Study, and Play

Work started off well this week with notification that the paper I'm presenting at eResearch Australasia as lead author had been accepted. There is one other paper being considered for the Barcelona OpenStack Summit, and then the Australasian Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Computing. Wednesday was a postgraduate training day which, although with significant absences, was extremely well-received. The end of the week came to an interesting close with a request to install a fluid dynamics package for a twenty-three year old operating system, which the most recent documentation is a ten-year old scientific paper written in French (thankfully, clearly written French which I have had little trouble translating).

Apropos linguistic matters, Duolingo efforts continue well. Completing the Spanish and Portuguese is on target for the end of next month. On a rather odd whim from a Facebook conversation on the degree of mutual intelligibility between the North Germanic languages, I have also taken up Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian, although with only with the intent of developing a basic familiarity of comparative purposes. It does raise the interesting question of the dialect continuum and what actually constitutes a language ("a language is a dialect with an army and navy").

It's also been a few days in a row of social gaming; Thursday night was the final session of our Godsend Agenda game with the Marco Polo story; an adequate game but not really one which captured the mythic spirit sufficiently. Last night was an session of Eclipse Phase Mars where all the players connected remotely via Google Hangouts; Portland (USA), Melbourne (AU), Wellington (NZ), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and Perth (AU). Today was a regular cheesequest session with ser_pounce and hathhalla. In addition to the regular cheese tastings I made sweet potato gnocchi (not difficult but time consuming) and a giant tiramisu (restaurants don't stand a chance against me). Afterwards we played Hit List, which despite its poor rating from tactical gamers has the highly redeeming feature of producing amusing narratives. Tomorrow continues the ludophile trajectory with a session of GURPS Middle Earth.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/215236.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: relaxed
  • Current Music: Singles Going Steady, Buzzcocks
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Memorial Service, A Social Weekend

Today was Anne Kays' Memorial Service at the Unitarian Church. The opening hymn was Paul Robeson's Hymn to Nations. I followed with a selection from a John Chadwick poem for the opening words, then four eulogies by family members and friends (providing superb recollections of Anne's life and contributions), a musical Interlude (Judy Small "A Heroine of Mine"), a historical and religious reference to Anne Askew, a reading from "The Inquirer" by Florence W., and finally closing words from Sean O'Casey's, Sunset and Evening Star, and for closing music Nana Mouskouri's "Amazing Grace". I must confess I felt more uncertain conducting this service than any other, with a sense of deeply wanting it to be just right, due to both the honour of being selected to give the service by Anne and a desire to give respect to her memory. Members of the family seemed to think it went well, so I can feel satisfied with that.

The days preceding were a mixture of various social occasions. Last night was a night at the Astor Cinema to see a couple of classic B-grade Christopher Lee films; The Wicker Man and Dracula Prince of Darkness. Sunday's gaming session was Eclipse Phase where the PCs had the first real experience of an extrasolar planet and an experience not unlike the first half of the movie Aliens. Continuing to work backwards, Saturday night was a big dinner at Vicky's Restaurant with log_reloaded in celebration of her completing her Diploma of Accounting.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/214825.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: exhausted
  • Current Music: Seventeen Seconds, The Cure
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Impending Funerals, Courses, Gaming

Anne Kay, whom I had known for many years through the Unitarian Church, died last Tuesday having turned 93 that day. An independent thinker, a genuine Unitarian, and a person with a subtle sense of humour, she had been well for a number of months, so I can say it was a surprise. What was surprising was her express wish that I conduct the funeral service for her; which will be held this upcoming Tuesday 26th of July at 2pm at the Unitarian Church. I can presume that work is going to give me the afternoon off.

Ran another Introduction to High Performance Computing session on Wednesday which was well received. Actually, I must confess something, which has me a little confused if pleasantly so - is it normal these days for people to be applauded after giving workshops and lectures? I understand it as the norm in a speech and such like, but over the past two years almost every training class I've given has ended in applause. I'm certainly not objecting, but I do wonder if there's been a recent cultural shift that I am unaware of.

Two gaming sessions this week, on Thursday and Friday nights respectively. Thursday night was a session of Laundry with implications that supernatural activity is reaching a critical level and the agency is preparing to become the emergency government, "just in case". Friday night went to Gatekeeper Games for their "dice and drinks" evening, where Karl B., was running a playtest of the upcoming John Carter RPG, which seems to fit well with the genre so far. Next issue of RPG Review is going well, with just over half the page count filled.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/214673.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: calm
  • Current Music: The Pleasures of Electricity, John Foxx and Louis Gordon
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Productivity in Many Realms

Have just completed the first draft of a new UniMelb training course on shell scripting for HPC, which frankly is quite a lot to take in for a single day, so I'll need extensive notes as well. During the weekend also gave a presentation for Linux Users of Victoria, on GnuCOBOL: A Gnu Life for an Old Workhorse, with a command summary also available. I am tempted to delve even further into this strange archiac language, if only because of my perverse enjoyment of accounting and organisational logic (horngirl may have an interest as well).

In the aesthetic realm, did a review of 65daysofstatic's, to-be-released album for the game No Man's Sky, which has a number of great pieces and is of lasting quality overall. Also on Saturday visited Brendan E., where he treated us to the comedy-zombie film Cooties which was much better than the rating suggest, and the faux documentary, The Great Martian War. Pusing the aesthetic realm into storytelling, played Eclipse Phase on Friday night albeit with some technical issues, and tried to push some plot resolution in GURPS Middle Earth on Sunday.

For the RPG Review Cooperative, have contacted the BBC over our Watership Down poll, WotC over our 4th edition Open Game License proposal, have started submitting issues of the journal to the National Library of Australia, and have set up the drivethrurpg.com store for impending publications (no items yet, of course). The next issue of RPG Review, in the "Old School Revolution", is well underway with a special interview with Ken St. Andre.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/214424.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: accomplished
  • Current Music: Lost, Armageddon Dildos
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The Abolition of Crime and Other Presentations

Utter smashed by a migraine for much of Sunday which turned out to be a cold, I spent fair portion of the last week in varying states of illness. Took Monday off and will be working from home today (well enough to work, sick enough to be a vector). Despite the illness gave my address the Unitarians on Sunday on The Abolition of Crime, which had a fair turnout (especially given the season) and good discussion, and apparently is getting a bit of circulation.

At the end of the presentation I turned to the matters of the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain's decision to invade Iraq, which unsurprising to some, makes it very clear that the invasion was illegal, and therefore a crime against peace (not a "war crime" per se). I have taken the opportunity to raise a few comments on that matter as well, suggesting that Australia needs it own equivalent of the Chilcot Inquiry.

This evening, assuming I am up for it, I'll be attending a meeting and sharing a post-presentation panel with James Hughes, transhumanist sociologist. Tomorrow, will be presenting at Linux Users of Victoria on GnuCOBOL. Over the next six weeks I have weekly day-classes to run at the University of Melbourne on Introduction to High Performance Computing, Edward to Spartan Transition, and Shell Scripting for High Performance Computing. There is also an impending review of 65daysofstatic's latest album being composed courtesy of [personal profile] reddragdiva.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/214027.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: sick
  • Current Music: Music for an Infinite Universe, 65daysofstatic
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Escaping Questnet 2016

Spent the previous two days at Questnet 2016 at the aforementioned open air luxury prison known as Royal Pines. Managed to escape for a while to visit the Botanic Gardens, which was pleasant enough, but apart from that it was conference, conference, and nothing but the conference. It was just as well that the events were very well catered, and the vendors had plenty of interesting items to view and discuss, as the quality of the talks were certainly among the worst I have encountered.

To give a summary of the issues, some (especially the keynotes) were so high level the ground level of operations. Others were delivered as if the attendees were primary school children. Those that had worthwhile content, did so with insufficient attention to implementation. One informative presentation was by Cisco on their Digital Network Architecture, although it filled me with fear and loathing. The major exception to the rule was a dual Dell/Nvidia breakfast presentation which included a great deal of information on developments in machine learning and the hardware and software implementations. It included a little but of Dell spruiking, which they acknowledged, but that was tolerable under the circumstances.

In any case have returned to foggy Melbourne. Two upcoming events include an address tomorrow at the Unitarians on The Abolition of Crime: New Principles in Criminology and Justice, and next Saturday, presenting at Linux Users of Victoria on An Introduction to GNU Cobol. Tomorrow will also run a session of Eclipse Phase where the characters will be engaging in one of the more terrifying activities - Gatecrashing to an alien planet. Also, have made a solid start on a semi-secret project that will be officially announced at the end of the month.

This entry was originally posted at http://tcpip.dreamwidth.org/213823.html.
  • Current Location: WIllsmere
  • Current Mood: relaxed
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