Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Beginner Rubik's Cube Solution

My beginner solution to the Rubik's cube page is going pretty well. Over 16,000 visitors since I put it up in late February this year! It's great to be spreading the word of the cube!

If your cube looks like this scrambled rubik's cube but you'd rather it looked like this solved rubik's cube then you should visit Jasmine's Beginner Solution to the Rubik's Cube!

The Daily Show and Election Chaser

Now that the Australian Federal election has been called, surely it's time for the Chaser team to do another series of Election Chaser? I've seen a show over here which reminds me of Election Chaser. It's called The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and it's very funny. Actually, I'm sure this show existed before Election Chaser, so I should probably say that Election Chaser reminds me of The Daily Show.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Peter's progress (II)

Well, after much teasing from me, Peter now has some content up on his blog. My favourite thing he's written about is an online flash quest game called Big Bad Al and Sheena Gothskull. It reminds me of the Leisure Suit Larry series by Sierra.

I used to love the Sierra quest games. My favourite series were Gabriel Knight, Laura Bow and the King's Quest, but I played pretty much all of them - Police Quest, Space Quest, Larry, Conquests, Manhunter, Black Cauldron, Shivers I and II, Phantasmagoria and Gold Rush.

Anyway, Peter has finished the Sheena Gothskull game. I haven't yet. I started it, but then got distracted by Theseus and the Minotaur.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

What time is it??

If you ever need to deal with different timezones, then you should check out Time and Date. I find the personalised clock really useful. I've set this up with the timezones I need to keep track of, and then added the page as a custom button on the Links Toolbar in my browser window. Convenient!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Theseus and the Minotaur

Someone just posted a fun online logic maze game in the speedcubing discussion group. It's not about Rubik's cubes, but pretty much all speedcubers are into logic puzzles. Anyway, the game is called Theseus and the Minotaur. I'm currently up to Maze 7. I know I will have to keep visiting this site until I complete all 15!

Catfish eats dog? Catfish *eats* dog!

If you're a small dog living in Gueldendorf, you'd better stay away from the lake. According to a news report, there's a giant catfish on the prowl who is suspected of eating a small dachshund. The catfish in question is a mere 1.5 metres (4.9 feet). Apparently they can grow up to 4.5 metres (14.8 feet) and 300 kgs (661.5 lbs).

Village Bistro

Peter and I went to Village Bistro last night for dinner. The food was great! I don't know why I've never been there before! We both had seafood, which I understand is their specialty.

Village Bistro reminded me of some of the restaurants I like in Canberra, such as Deep Dish. Village Bistro is definitely my new favourite restaurant here!

You have bad taste in music

This guy stands outside concert venues and, with megaphone in hand, informs the concertgoers that they have bad taste in music. He instructs that the way to deal with this problem is to follow his three simple steps:

  • Do not attend the concert
  • Stop listening to music
  • Turn off the radio and television

I laughed at the video of him outside the Justin Timberlake concert, but then I saw the video of him outside an Evanescence concert. I actually quite like Evanescence and went to their concert last month!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Why *do* cats paint? More importantly, *why* paint cats??

First there was Why Cats Paint, which was weird, but the cats looked like they were having fun, so I guess it's okay. Then there was Dancing with Cats, which was weirder, but it can't hurt for kitties to get some exercise since they spend most of the day snoozing. But I draw the line at painting cats! How is this okay??

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

If your cat does love the computer, she'll want to check out this site

This site claims to be the first website for cats. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it's certainly got some fun things for kitties to watch and some adorable and funny kitties.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Pawsense - catpoof your computer

Does your kitty ever do this?

Curious kitties looove to investigate things, especially things that draw their people's attention away from them! If you are concerned that kitty might one day accidentally delete your important files or create other sorts of havoc with your machine, perhaps you should purchase Pawsense.

PawSense is a software application that will detect and block cat typing, and teach kitty to stay off the computer keyboard by playing sounds that will annoy the little fuzzy one.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Which OS are you?

As a PDA enthusiast, I subscribe to the Pocket PC Thoughts newsletter. In a recent issue, there was a link to BBspot's Which OS are You? quiz. To my surprise, it told me I'm Palm OS! Does this mean I should be ditching my much loved iPAQ in favour of a Palm? Hmmm. Can't actually see this happening.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Peter's progress

Peter has now set up a blog. However, as I type this, the only content he has is a link to this blog and to my website. ;)

Huh? What is F2 D' R2 D' L' U' L' R B D' U B L F2 L U2 ??

It's the algorithm for this pattern.

Pretty, isn't it?

Have a look at this site for an explanation of the notation.

For those of you who are not cubers, I should point out that this algorithm needs to be applied to a solved cube to get this pretty pattern. If you want to learn to solve the cube, check out my beginner cube solution.

So, what's a speedcuber?

A speedcuber is someone who solves the Rubik's cube. Really, really fast.

I first solved the cube in 1987 and have been solving on and off since then. Back in 1987, my average time was about 1 minute + 20 seconds and my fastest time was 50 seconds. I thought I was *fast*. I realised that this was incorrect when I discovered the online speedcubing community in 2002.

Through the speedcubing discussion forum, I was amazed to learn that my times were actually quite slow by international standards. The things these guys could do seemed not humanly possible! But clearly they were possible because I'd just downloaded a video and watched someone solve the cube in under 15 seconds! This inspired me to get faster.

So, several years later - after a world championships, a national championships, lots of new algorithms and much practise - my average has dropped from 80 seconds to 40 seconds and my fastest single solve has dropped to 23.12 seconds (I've only just submitted this to speedcubing.com so the unofficial records list may not have been updated yet). I'm still a long way behind the super speedcubers, but at least I'm getting closer.

BTW, my fastest official time is 46.28 seconds. Official times are times set at official competitions and under official competition conditions. Unofficial times are all other times.

Take a look at this, Peter. Creating a blog *can* be easy.

Peter spent much of the afternoon reading his brother's blog. He seemed to be finding it highly amusing and at several points he'd say "maybe I need a blog". To which I'd reply "maybe you should set one up then". I reminded him that several of our friends use, or have used, Blogspot (eg. Beth, Lyn, Doug, Marissa) and suggested that might be the answer. Peter, not satisfied with this, resolved to call his brother late tonight to ask what blogging engine he was using. I say 'late tonight' because Peter and I are currently in a different time zone to Michael (I shall explain the time zone thing later).

After returning from a late evening session of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village (which, by the way, was fantastic), Peter called Michael. Turns out that Michael, who is a software engineer, had written his own code which was not really suitable for what Peter wanted. He suggested that Peter should have a look at a geeky piece of open source sofware called Blosxom.

I had a quick look at the site and concluded that it was much more complicated than using Blogger. So, while Peter was investigating Blosxom and wondering whether he had the right Perl something-or-other installed, I created a Blogger account and started writing my first enty.

I am now almost finished my first entry and I don't think Peter is actually any closer to having a blog. He said something about needing to configure stuff on his ISP's server while having a mirror environment on his laptop. I suspect his attention span may not be up to this task. Or, in his usual fashion, he may feel the need to check out every single blogging engine on the internet before deciding to wait a million years for one that is still being written.