Monday, October 31, 2005
Just to explain: Newton theorised that time was static. It was experienced the same by everyone everywhere, even if perceived differently. However, this meant that our actions were all predestined - that every choice we make has already been made. Obviously Newton had read a lot of Calvin.
Einstein gave us the wonderful theory of relativity, which included that time was relative to the observer - and could be different for different observers in different states of motion. The closer you get to the speed of light, the slower time becomes. This would allow you to move forward in time, but not backward. Going backward would require you to travel beyond the speed of light, but there was another law stating that the speed of light was effectively a "hard ceiling" - it is impossible to travel beyond this speed.
There was another scientist - a colleague of Einstein's, who challenged this theory. I think his name was "Tippler" but that could have been one of the modern-day scientists who appeared on this program. Anyway, we'll call him Tippler for now. Tippler's theory was to do with the universe rotating, and thus allowing time travel back in time without traveling beyond the speed of light. I don't remember the details, but he was able to prove this mathematically as an absolute - if relativity is accurate, then so is Tippler's theory, and therefore time travel is 100% possible. However, Tipplers theory requires the universe to rotate - the problem is that it doesn't. So some modern day scientists have constructed various ways that the observer could travel at speeds close to the speed of light around an object such as a cylinder, and it would achieve the same effect. However, these devices are so colossal in size, and would require a galactic level of energy to operate - and therefore are impossible for us at this point in history. Not only that, but the theory states that you couldn't travel back in time beyond the point at which a working device was created. So no dinosaurs for us, unless an alien race have already made a time machine, and would be prepared to loan it to us. Pretty please?
So anyway, moving on. This whole doco raised a couple of issues for me, which I thought I'd put up for you all to read here. Check it.
First of all, I'm going to ignore Newton entirely, and move onto Einstein. The thing that makes me interested most of all is the idea that there is a limit to how fast it is possible to travel. The scientific model of the universe and it's creation doesn't really allow for hard rules. If there is a single hard rule, then it is impossible to make any assumptions based on infinites. The possible speed that anyone can travel is 299,792,458 meters per second, and as yet I haven't heard anyone suggest it is possible to exceed this figure. If this is true, then how can we suggest an infinite universe? If nature allows for a single hard rule, then the universe must also have a hard limit (If the universe is infinite, there are infinite possibilities for a hard limit, which implies there must be one). There are not infinite galaxies, not infinite possibilities for the existance of life, and we cannot be the product of an infinite coincidence assumption such as the big bang theory and the coincidental creation of life - as all of these are based on effective infinites, which cannot exist. Evolution also becomes far more improbable. A single natural specific limitation such as "nothing can travel faster then 299,792,458 meters per second" implies the non-existence of effective infinates at all. Actually, this programme on SBS documented how the study of time has come full circle from and back to the conclusion that a higher being controls time. Which leads me to my next thought...
Going back to the time machine ideas I mentioned before - modern scientists have come up with ways of traveling backward through time, but they are impractical due to the size and energy restraints we currently have. So the programme I was watching took an interesting tangent. It suggested that given the current developments in computing technology, it is likely in the future that simulations of our universe's past will be developed that are realistic down to the particle level. Actually, they suggested, it is likely that computers at some point in the future will be powerful enough to run multiple simulations of our universe and it's contents at the one time. So if we assume possible billions of simulated universes at some undefined point in the future, then that means that there are far more simulated people in existence then there have ever been real people. Therefore, it is most probable that right now - we're living in a simulated universe. Now I LOVE this idea, because I've wondered about it for a long, long time. I believe that ultimately, God is in control of everything. But given our human tendency to not give that fact any real thought when making ethical decisions, I think it is entirely possible that at some point in our (real) future, if the means were available, we'd quite happily build simulated universes with simulated people in them. Heck, "The Sims" is already an incredibly popular game and although no one would suggest that Sims characters are sentient, they do have a basic level of intelligence.
Now there's two directions you can go with this: If ultimately sentience is entirely a function of the physical (ie: your brain) then it is most probable that you an I are not real people. We're computer programs, and of no ongoing value. I don't think this is right - mostly because I believe that sentience is not something that can be simulated.
However, here's what I wonder about. If sentience can't be simulated, but the facility was available to simulate every other aspect of our existence, how long would it be before they attached humans to the computers so that they could run a simulated world in order to discover the nature of the past? If we had the facility to do the same now, would we? How interesting would it be to place real people into what we understood the stone age to be like, and see how they functioned over several generations? If it was in a computer, it may even be possible to deliver the environment into the human consciousness at faster then normal time, so that multiple generations could elapse within an observable time frame. If this was done with infants, they would have no prior memory of the outside world, or perhaps we could find some way of repressing memory in adults in the same way that we do during anethesia. The ethics of using infants would be appalling, but looking at where we are now, I don't think that would stand in the way of science. So logically, it's entirely possible - even probable. Conclusion? It is most probable that this world we're living in isn't real. Interesting, hey? It could be real, sure. But probability is stacked firmly against us.
So that's it. It's a long'n I know, but I thought it was worth writing. I've often considered the possibility that in between us and God there's another layer of us who think it's OK to play God themselves. It would fit in with how I see the current attitudes of the scientific community, which is: If it benefits our understanding, then ethics are secondary.
Alright - I've spent the last 2 hours at work writing this in between discussing the origins of the modern christian church with my boss. Truly it's been an enlightening morning... :)
Thursday, October 27, 2005
It all started, apparently, with this page which details some quick calculations on link-to-profit ratios as a result of a particular buyout deal. Although it's all rather obscure, it does instigate a new metric by which to gauge popularity. And guess what? Amongst my friends, I don't win. :)
As it turns out, of all the blogs you see linked on the right-hand side of mine, Nathan's blog is worth the most at approx. $5,500. I come in second, with Tam's blog coming third at about $1,200. The thing is, that by writing this paragraph with it's included hyperlinks I've increased each of their values without increasing mine... :)
I will win, you realise. It's all just a matter of time...
Monday, October 24, 2005
2 Things I Think are Tops
1.) Live Communications Server 2005
LCS2005 is t3h l33t. As far as emerging technologies are concerned, I'm loving this little SIP-based masterwork. Every time I mention to someone that I'm going to impliment this next year, they get all excited and ask a million questions. I mentioned it in my recent job interview, and after some small explanation of it's function, my interviewers faces looked like they'd been dipped in happy-glow juice. Our Microsoft Education rep I think is quite blown away by how advanced my workplace is becoming. He sounded increadibly excited to hear we'll be putting in LCS2005 next year, and insisted I come to an event this week so he could meet me in person.
So why is this product so nifty? Well, it's all about the communication really. My job interviewers were impressed because I talked about how the product facilitates instantaneous and easy communication. You get an email from someone, can see if they're on or offline and can respond with a single click - whether that's to call them, send an IM, or send an email. It's just plain nifty.
I'm not really going to say too much about this, but I'm really starting to dig deep into the whole SharePoint archetecture and i'm LOVING it. I've downloaded code for a bare-bones webpart and have installed a copy of Visual Studio .NET and plan to be writing my own webparts in the not too distant future. I'm feeling the l33t, I really am.
2 Things I Hate
1.) Aquasitions and Mergers
Somewhere before 2003, the IT department of my work bought a Quantum Snap! Server 4100. At the time, it was probably one of the leading models. I'm not sure what software revision was installed on it at that time, but somewhere between 2003/2004 we re-tasked that server, and I decided that it really needed a software upgrade. However, none of the links in the UI seemed to work anymore. It turns out that Quantum was no more, and Snap! products could now be found under their own brand, Snap Appliance. So I found the relevant software upgrade, which was available for free, and off we went.
Fast forward to today: Same server, needing a software upgrade. It doesn't seem to like playing in our non-NetBIOS environment so I go hunting for the relevant software updates to fix the problem. Turns out that Snap Appliance had been bought out by Maxtor, who then onsold them to Adaptec. Adaptec, it seems, didn't like the idea that Snap's customers were getting their updates for free, so they only put the most recent OS update on their page - the one that will only update servers already running version 4 - but not mine, which is still on version 3. Some Googling has unearthed that this is a common problem, and unless you're willing to cough up money for the upgrade, a lack of it renders your Snap server virtually useless in a Win2003 network environment. At least in any kind of managed state.
A mate of mine thinks he might have the upgrade lying around, which would be awesome, but doesn't take away my angst at the fact that these updates used to be free. GRRRR!!! Flippin' aquasitions and mergers.
Why would I say I hate money? Does it not facilitate the very things I enjoy the most, such as technology and gaming? Well yes - if you HAVE it. When you don't have it, it becomes the brick wall to most great ideas, many an enjoyable pursuits, and to any potential asset purchase. When I have money, I can make my wife extremely happy by taking her to dinner, and buying her flowers.
"Wait a second," I hear you say, "there's plenty you can do without money!"
Really? Really really? Think about it for a second. My wife loves picnics, and that is often sited as a non-cost outing. But this is not true. There is an assumption that you already have:
a.) food in your cupboards,
b.) petrol in your car [you can only have so many picnics in your backyard], and
c.) pants. You can't have a picnic without pants. At least not legally.
So although a picnic may be a cheaper alternative, it's definatley not FREE. Money, unfortunatley, is essential to almost EVERYTHING.
So therefore, I hate it. I wish everything was free. Socialism! Yaha! Or something like that...
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Well, I was going to post photos from throughout, but our (rather ancient and power-hungry) digital camera has no batteries, and my iPaq camera doesn't want to work with the current lack of light, so I don't have any of this morning. *sigh* One day, I'll get a REAL digital camera. One of those nifty SLR ones. Yeah, that would rock. :)
Saturday, October 22, 2005
He screamed. SCREAMED. It was like someone was trying to cut his throat or something. And being his Daddy, I could tell this was something new. It was high-pitched and demanding and not fun for my ears at all. And I knew that nothing was wrong - he wasn't in pain. He just wanted his own way, and he wanted it now.
Anyway, I took him out into the kitchen and tried to put him in his highchair to give him some breakfast. This action encouraged him to start afresh with the screaming. So I got him out again, but by this time, my wife was up. Knowing that if I folded he would be learning that scream = get my own way, I took him into another room and gently told him to stop over and over. It took a few minutes, but he settled down and I then told him how good he was for settling down, and took him to see my wife, for which he was most appreciative.
So what's the point of all this? Oh, just that we've reached the tantrum age. He had a few more throughout the course of this morning as well, but the first was the loudest and nastiest. Now I've just got to work out how best to deal with them on an ongoing basis... *sigh*
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Because it's bugging me, I'm also going to mention that my current boss tried to sign me up for a "training day" (that's what he called it) for our student management system. It's built on Filemaker, and we're moving to a new version shortly, and the day included a session on migration which he felt it was vital that I attend.
I'd also got the email invite, so I checked it out, and could tell it was going to be a purely high-level manager-focused event that would bore me to tears. So I said I didn't want to go. That didn't make him very happy, and he insisted that it would be technically relevant to me, and the sessions on migration were really important for me to be at.
So I emailed the organiser and asked him straight out, and sure enough, he said that it would be a manager focused event, dealing with "big picture/strategy" and that our IT Mangement should attend. Not me. Bah. It makes me so mad when people just won't believe me when I tell them stuff that is so bleeding obvious... :@
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Your IQ score is: 135
Your Intellectual Type Is: Facts Curator.
Like a meticulous collector, you've fed your brain a unique set of facts and figures over the years. Words, numbers, you've got it all. That's what makes you a Facts Curator.
Whether or not you intend to absorb every piece of information that comes your way, your mind has certain steel-trap qualities to it. You are a knowledge sponge. You have almost enough words in your head to fill a dictionary, and you're equally adept when it comes to manipulating numbers. You can also detect important patterns in number sequences, and probably remember the mnemonic devices you were taught in grade school.
You may feel comfortable in classroom settings where absorbing details is critical. You're also able to learn from example and piece together all the little facts in life to get to the big picture. That's why you never stop accumulating information as you walk through life.
Your strengths lie in both the verbal and math realms - placing you in the same arena as someone like Bill Gates. Gates has the ability to not only store and retrieve an especially large amount of specialized data, but to translate and present that information to the population at large. His entire empire is based on this unique talent. And to think - your brain works in this same way! When it comes right down to it, you and other Facts Curators can ride a wave of information to live a truly enriched life.
It's nice to have someone else tell you "YOU ARE T3H L33T!" every now and then.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Why would I, who have complained bitterly about my current job, want to forfeit the opportunity to be the IT manager at another school? Here's why:
- Salary - I stand to gain a maximum of $6000 a year on what I'm on now. It's more likely to be around $3000. It would most definatley be less then $200 in pocket per fortnight.
- Distance - it took over an hour to get there in non-peak time. Windsor Rd --> M2 --> Mona Vale Rd. Some of the most used roads in the west of the city.
- 12 months of nada - I've FINALLY for the coming year been able to make budget requests that got approved. I've waited 2+ years for this, and if I change jobs, the budget for the coming year will have already been done by the previous IT manager.
- No gym - I've been going to the gym at 6am in the mornings. If I change jobs, I'll be getting ready for work instead of being at the gym. I'm fat. I need to not be fat.
So, there's a few negatives. But there's a lot of positives too... The problem is that they're balanced to precariously, that I'm not sure which way to go. I'm erring slightly on the side of staying put at the moment, and holding out for something closer to home. But... maybe I need to take it. I just don't know!!!
If you're of the praying persuasion, pray that God will give me guidance. I'm probably going to have to make this call within 24 hours, and it's not a lot of thinking time. Pray I make the right decision. Right for me, and most importantly, right for my family.
Oh, and for those who didn't know, I'll be 26 years old this coming Sunday. Yay for birthdays. They're fun.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Things that are bad today:
Always bad. Some days are better then others. I've recently made a decision to try and work a bit harder though, and be a bit more honorable in my employment. Sometimes I get down about it and so don't put in the level of effort I know that any employment I have deserves. God calls us to work, and even if by some ironically bad luck I have a bad day every day until I die, pleasing God has to be paramount regardless.
My rule is no blogging about the inner workings of my marriage, and I plan to honor that regardless of how I feel. However, I will say things aren't going so well. I will also say that probably my greatest goal/desire in life was to be the best husband/father that I could be. I'm trying really hard, and yet I feel like it's a complete waste of effort. However, there's very little I can do that I'm not already (at least trying) to do. This issue is currently consuming pretty much all of my emotional/mental energy on a daily basis.
- Potential Job
Recent blog posts have mentioned job opportunities. As of today, nothing has come of either of the potential positions. Nothing. Nada. Fun...
Ever since I started going to the gym, I've felt worse then I have in a long time. I've been sick 4 or 5 times, and aside from losing a little weight (emphasis on "little") it hasn't really improved my overall feeling of well being. Add to that the fact that I have to get up at 5:30am to go, and you get one tired, not-well feeling me. Constantly. I'm almost ready to stop going, and just play some squash, which I enjoy. It's also a good excuse for both me and one of my good friends to get out of the house and recharge the batteries and all that.
I hate money. If I honestly thought I could live without any money, I'd do it. I just don't think it's possible anymore. I also love my toys and gadgets, which makes it difficult to not have money. Toys cost money. It's my birthday next week, and a colleague at work offered to sell me a PSP value-pack for $250. His girlfriend got one, but she doesn't want it, so she gave it to him. Now he's got two, and is willing to off-load one very cheaply. A $250 PSP that I've been wanting to get doesn't seem like much for my b'day, right? Well, no PSP for me. Can't afford it. Can't afford anything. Going out for dinner on my birthday? You can forget that. Ah well - I'm 26. Can't expect much from a birthday at this age.
- My age
Speaking of which... I'm 26, and I've done nothing worth speaking of. I have all of the above going on, some of which you would expect to have sorted by this age, and yet I have nada. When me and my wife moved into our flat, we planned to be there for 2 years tops, during which time we'd prepare ourselves to buy a house. At that point, the housing boom took off, and houses went completely out of reach for us, and are yet to really come back down. However, we're now not really in a position to buy one anyway. Just one of 50-bazzilion things that make me feel uneasy about how fast time flies by these days.
Having done a few other non-work things while writing this, I feel I need to stop and do some real work. And go to the loo, also. So I'm going to do that now. Suffice to say I'm not real happy right now. And it doesn't actually look to be getting any better any time soon. I'm doing all the right things, dammit, and yet none of it is helping. There's a rant in itself - why does doing "the right thing" always end up making you unhappy? Anyone else noticed that? *sigh* Anyway... another day, my friends.
Just as an aside, in case anyone is thinking of it, I'm not really interested in "just snap out of it" style comments if you don't mind. That said, if you want to be encouraging, I'm all ears. :) A good bit of encouragement never goes astray.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
I didn't get my PSP. My parents were in HK and were going to get one for me, but I'd told them if they were over AU$300, then don't bother. They were around the AU$350 mark, so they didn't bother. I'm pretty bummed about not getting it tho...
I finished Halo 2. Unlike the end of the first game, this one reeked of "there's another game coming, so we're not going to give you a real proper ending." Like Quake 2. Except that Quake 2's ending was the most abominable piece of crap ever to come out of any game studio ever, and Halo 2's was just... lazy.
It's come to my attention that the women with the most relationship hangups are the ones who come from strained or broken marriages. If your wife's dad had an affair or left his wife, then you can pretty much guarantee you're going to have to put in some hard yards. Just something I noticed...
My little boy fell down some stairs at a party we were at on the weekend, and really messed his face up quite badly. We left straight away, and made a quick stop at the hospital to get him checked out (it was a public holiday, so no GPs were open). As we expected, they just said to clean him up with some water and he'll get better on his own. I have an ultra-cute photo of him I took this morning of him with his bumps and grazes, but his mum said she'd prefer I didn't post it. You'll just have to trust me that he's extremely cute regardless of injury.
We're still looking for a new church. I'm getting to desperation point a bit, as I'm starting to let myself slide (for those feeling judgmental today, "slide" does not equal "backslide"). Being involved in church stuff really helps me keep focused. We're going to our cell group tonight, which we haven't done in a while, so hopefully that will kick my spiritual intensity up a few notches, as currently it's at the quite descriptive level of "Meh." It's like the terrorist threat level - and it goes something like this:
- (highest) AWESOME!! (in this place!)
[5 nights a week at church + 2 services]
- Going to the NEXT LEVEL! (tm)
[3-4 nights a week + 2 services]
- Potential Leader/BV
[2-3 nights a week + 2 services]
- "Sitting on the bench for a bit"
[1-2 nights a week + 1 service]
- "Has issues/attitude problem"
[1 night a week + 1 service]
[1 service as much as possible]
[1 service. Maybe. If I feel like it.]
[Christmas and Easter]
- Backslider (or alternatively "Burnt out from being at level 1 too long")
[Never. Or at least mostly never.]
- (lowest) Dirty Pagan.
[Never goes, and despises those who do. And smells. Bad.]
That list is unfortunately an amalgamation of different ideas which in themselves would have been funny, but as amalgous mass are kind of hard to follow. Anyway, the colours are nifty... wooooooo.... colours.....
Anyhoo - a trip to cell will bump me up to level 5, and probably be good and encouraging at the same time. I like cell group. Ours is a really great bunch of people.
The reason I have time to write this, is that I'm at work and was doing some server reconfig stuff today. We changed around our VLAN dohickies and so had some IP configmalajig to do, and my DCs had a fit, but I fixed them in record time and so now have nothing to do. w00t!