How I am training currently #2

People sometimes inquire after my training approach because, foolishly, they don’t know that I am actually this well-known scientist:

Dog in safety glasses pouring a conical flask into a coffee mug, caption "I have no idea what I'm doing"

How I am able to pick up an Erlenmeyer flask without opposable thumbs is left as an exercise for the reader.

Nevertheless, my last post on training raised a modest amount of interest. Given the events of the past few months I figured it was time to give an update.
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Posted in Weightlifting | Comments Off on How I am training currently #2

Repairing a hacked WordPress installation

I have updated this post based on followup investigations.

This morning I found two independent reports of virus warnings being given for two different websites in the Ozblogistan network.

Given that I upgraded to WordPress 3.4.1 only 2 days ago, it would appear that a 0-day exploit is abroad in the wild.

As a tip for fellow WordPress victims administrators, here is the quickest way to detect and repair attacks based on modifying WordPress PHP files.
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Posted in Ozblogistan, Technical Notes | 12 Comments

A not-so-brief aside on reigning in chaos

Everything that humans touch eventually becomes complex, whether we like it or not.

(Blog posts too. This one started out as a comparison of three competing software system alternatives and subsequently bloated into a discussion of chaos in computer systems.)

The problem is that being humans, we design systems. Design is less about the desired purpose of a system and much more about the limits of the designers. We’re trying to optimise in two dimensions: the problem space itself, and then according to the limits of human cognition. Within the problem space we can make incremental progress along an ostensibly continuous axis. In terms of human understanding … well that gets tapped out much more quickly.

That’s why I say to people that computer science is about the limits of computation; software engineering is about the limits of the engineers.
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Posted in Robojar, Software Engineering, Systems, Technical Notes | 27 Comments

Why is juxtaposition so funny?

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Can they hear themselves?

So today government ministers hit the airwaves championing the editorial independence of Fairfax journalists. Gina Rinehart pretty clearly wants to set the front page of the newspapers and figures the quickest way to do that is to buy some.

The institution of the division of editorial and everything else in the paper is a good one. If Gina wants her thoughts to be seen in the newspaper, it’s a lot cheaper to buy advertising space than the whole kit and caboodle.

But you know you’ve entered upside-down land when Stephen Conroy is lecturing all and sundry on journalistic independence.

This is the same minister who has proposed a universal filter for the Australian internet. And the same government whose lackey wants a media regulator with the power to say what can and can’t be published.

For those keeping score at home: it’s OK to control the press if you’re the ALP, but not if you’re an actual media proprietor.

Posted in Media, Politics | Comments Off on Can they hear themselves?

Micropayments claims another victim

So it appears that one of the companies I’d have been competing with, Readability, have thrown in the towel.

Robojar (my effort) has a similar but distinguishable model. And others have tried and failed in this space with similar-but-distinguishable models.

Nobody as yet has cracked the right permutation of small adjustments to the micropayment concept to make it work. I believe that I have the secret ingredients, but based on historical evidence I have every chance of being wrong.

I look forward to finding out.

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Fat and Simple

In my trade we commonly mention the truism that “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I bring this up because I’m about to do what every smart person likes to do: drastically simplify a complex phenomenon.

Specifically: If all you have is systems thinking … everything looks like a system.

Today’s subject is: how do people get fat?

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Posted in Diet, Systems | 21 Comments

Robojar HQ

Installed a hutch today. A bit low so I can’t get all my books onto the shelf — you’ll just have to trust me when I say I have all my incriminating ones kept elsewhere.

Desk and hutch with books on shelves

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War and Peace and War

May 14, 2012

Grand theories of history never quite go out of fashion. The impossible complexity of human society so cheerfully refutes our understanding that we have to fall back on intuitive pattern-matching to make sense of it (after a while, this becomes … Continue reading

How I am training currently

My main hobby is Olympic-style weightlifting. Normally this means I focus on the two competition lifts, with work on the side to improve technique and to increase strength.

A few months ago I partially tore the meniscus of my left knee. It’s been taking its sweet time healing up, in part because I kept performing certain exercises. I figured for about 8 weeks that if I didn’t feel pain, doing an exercise was OK. I was wrong.

So now I have dropped all work involving either knee extension or flexion. This includes the Olympic lifts, squats, deadlifts, romanian deadlifts, good mornings … in fact, all the exercises that form the staple of weightlifting training.

Instead I’ve been stranded with upper body work.

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Posted in Weightlifting | 8 Comments