STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Massive update post

Hello readership who has waned into oblivion! This is the "I haven't blogged for so long that now I need to blog half a million things in a single post" post. So let's get to it.

Rachel's Thyroid Cancer
Following my last post re: Rachel's thyroid cancer, we had an appointment with the thyroid surgery unit at Royal North Shore Hospital. While they didn't change anything about the diagnosis or treatment ("Surprise! It's not cancer, and you need no surgery!" would have been the best possible outcome) they did reassure us quite a bit about what needs to be done, and the potential risks both of the surgery and of the cancer. Turns out this cancer is pretty non-eventful, and in someone Rachel's age is pretty much 100% cure rate. That's like having... I don't know... tonsillitis. You have to have surgery to fix it, but really, it's nothing to worry about.

Anyway - one of Rachel's biggest concerns was that her endocrinologist had indicated she'd need radioactive iodine treatment as soon as the surgery was done - or within a few weeks. Turns out he was being over reactive. The thyroid surgery people said she'd be fine to leave it as long as she needed - and that's exactly what she plans to do. The issue with this treatment was breastfeeding our 4-month old son, so she's going to finish feeding him to about a year old, and then have the treatment. Smiles and happiness all around.

Basically, this whole situation is more of an inconvenience then anything else now. Continuing prayer for complication-free surgery would be appreciated, because I think Rachel would really struggle if her voice got damaged.

The Magpie-Lark (aka Peewee)
As I type this, I have a box on my desk covered in a towel. Inside, is a very small and very frightened Peewee. The stupid bugger fell out of his nest, and can't fly. So I rang WIRES, and they told me I should make him a make-shift nest, and put it in a tree. The plan is, his parents will come and look after him and all would be well. You know what the stupid bird did? Immediately took a nose dive out of the nest, hit the ground with a thud, and casually started wandering towards the road! Anyway, I tried another time and he gracefully did the same thing, so I've now given up and someone is on their way to fix him up with a feeding cage. In the meantime, enjoy the following portrait:

Cute, isn't he? Yep - he's also a complete pain in the rear. Spent most of my morning trying to get him back to his parents at WIRES' direction, and all he was interested in doing was throwing himself in front of cars. Good times. He contributes "SKREEEEEETCH!!!" to the discussion.

Health, Weight loss and Well-being
I'm pretty unmotivated to lose weight. I've lost some, but in general, getting the kilos off is a near impossible task. A couple of people have commented recently that I look like I've lost weight, but unfortunately the scales tell a different story. Then again, maybe that's good? Who knows.

I succumb to World of Warcraft
If you're on the Dath'Remar realm, Katranda can be found wandering in Westfall at the moment. I held off on getting involved in this game for so long, and now thankfully its cheap enough that I can get a few months of play for fairly little outlay. I plan to make use of their 3 month play cards to play when I feel like it, and not when I don't. If I get half a dozen good PS3 games for Christmas, for example, I'll probably wait before cashing in the first of said cards. Priorities are important. ;)

Ok, that's it. I planned to put much more in here, but hey - when it came to it I was just unable to deliver masses of engaging content.
Merry Christmas everyone - I hope your stockings are full, and your stomachs also, but more then that I hope you remember why we celebrate Christmas at this time of year: because a bunch of pagans were having a feast, and we didn't want to miss out, so we put our own on at the same time!!! Lolz!!

In all seriousness, its nice to have a day on the calendar each year that we remember Jesus' birth, and the wondrous gift that God gave us all those years ago. Sappy as it sounds, may God bless you all this Christmas. Peace, good will, and ponies for all.


So I've been thinking about conciousness. What makes our experience of life work? Personally, I believe it's something external - the human soul, that is joined to our physical experience in a simular vein to how things work in The Matrix. The bit of us that makes us who we are isn't tied to the same 3 (4?) dimensional world that our bodies are. I like to think of it being like our brain is an interface that our soul is plugged into.

However, I was thinking about conciousness as a product of merely a physical brain, and I can't resolve some ideas. These all revolve around the experience of the person rather then external person looking on. For example, if conciousness was purely physical, I should be able to walk into a room, copy myself exactly (technology permitting) and have the clone walk out and go on with my life as if they were me - because from their perspective, they ARE me (with not much gramatical sense either). However, even though they feel as though their conciousness has been continuous, I know that they are a copy. To everyone looking on, I've walked into a room, and I've walked back out. So is it really me? Well, no - because I can then also walk out of the room. But while I'm in the room, doing nothing, experiencing nothing... say I'm asleep or unconcious or something... is the clone "really" me? It's the me having the experience of being concious, but my conciousness has stopped - I'm unconcious. Or if you'd like to argue that unconciousness is not really no conciousness, then say the me in the room dies. Is the clone, who wasn't the original me, now the real me?

You may note there's been movies that has explored this idea like The 6th Day, or The Island, and The Matrix does the most well-known job of exploring the idea of a reality above this one, although I'm personally rather partial to The 13th Floor. The ideas are around, but as scientific research moves forward I wonder if anyone has actually considered this to an appropriate level. Say you could deconstruct someone's matter and reconstruct it somewhere else - a common science fiction idea that is being worked on in real science. From an external viewpoint, there appears to be no adverse side-effects, as the person on the other end appears externally to be the person who was deconstructed. But who is to say that the person on the sending end didn't die - that is, their experience of conciousness stopped at the point they were deconstructed. How could you tell?

Just something I've been thinking about...

Quicktime is lame

This post was originally constructed in August this year, and was saved as draft. I've added the last paragraph and published. Trying to get rid of some half-written drafts I have. Expect some more soon-ish.

Just a short (edit: not short) Mac bash this morning:
So I turn on my PowerBook this morning, and Apple Software Update comes up with some updates for iTunes and Quicktime and stuff. So I take a look at the update for Quicktime and observe the following:

QuickTime 7.2 addresses critical security issues and delivers:
- Support for full screen viewing in QuickTime Player

Now, this is a feature that has been in, oh I don't know, EVERY other media player since forever. Apple has witheld it up until now, because they want you to pay for Quicktime Pro which DID have this feature. So, to sum up - a feature that has been in every other media player forever is finally introduced into Quicktime today (well, within the last week), negating the need for you to pay Apple extra for it. If you had bought Windows 95 in 1996, you would have got this feature for free, and it's been a staple in Media Player, and every other media player for Windows or Linux (or 3rd party for OSX for that matter) since forever. WHY this wasn't included in Quicktime boils down to greed on the part of Apple.

But hey - this is what I've come to expect from Apple. Upgrades to their IM client are advertised as features of their paid OS upgrade. As opposed to, you know, almost every other IM client which gives you feature updates FOR FREE and for the most part already have MORE FEATURES then iChat. But still, Apple users will use iChat. And this is where I get confused - WHY!?!? And this is not specific to iChat - an advertised improvement in Leopard is having stationary in Apple Mail. Again, there are free mail clients available that do this, and everything else Apple Mail does already - and they're FREE. And sometimes, they WORK BETTER. Just try doing a simple out-of-office notification in Mail. My boss does when he's out of town - I have to check it every day to ensure it hasn't gotten confused and started sending emails to itself.

The list goes on - and features advertised as revolutionary (*cough* Time Machine *cough*) are just the equivilent of pre-existing features in Windows/Linux with a pretty UI. Previous Versions, anyone? In Vista, they've even made it exceedingly simple. Right-click on any file, and:

You can do this on a folder, and actually open and work with previous contents of that older. And if you use Windows Backup, it will record the fact that there are previous versions on specific backups and display them in the list. Revolutionary! Next year's OS, today!

Anyway - this pargraph I'm now typing months after I originally created this post, and as it turns out the great Leopard is held by the Mac zealots in my office as being buggy and unreliable, and as such, no one has upgraded their work machines to it due to software incompatiabilities with Filemaker, which I believe have just recently been resolved with a second patch (that is, they patched it once to get it just to run, and now they've patched it again to get it to work properly). Good times.