(last updated way too long ago)

Anthony Towns' Home Page

This page is horribly in need of an update. But then, so am I, so that does have a certain degree of sense to it. Hmmm. Maybe I should learn the Gimp and do a really arty page. That'd freak people out.

If you're looking for somewhat more up to date aj stuff, try my blog.

Some additions to the ouvre
C'mon baby, do it with me, Oops, and an ode to compiler errors.
The Twelve Days of OpenSSH
Written a little while ago in honour of the OpenSSH bugs in *BSD.
Baby, One More Time
Go on. Tell me you haven't sung along before.
testing -- a new way of selecting packages for Debian releases

A more automated, and way cooler means of creating a stable and complete operating system for Debian. Some information is at http://lully.debian.org/~ajt/.

ifupdown -- ifup/ifdown commands for Debian

Commands to simplify bringing up/taking down interfaces of various descriptions.

Fun fun fun
I didn't listen to it. I don't have it on CD. The words just manifested themselves on my editor. You can't blame a guy for hitting C-x C-s can you? Can you?
Game On
Just to prove that I listen to bands other than just Tism.
It was meant to be a Debian v RedHat thing, but, well, you can't always get what you want.
Lose Your Delusion 98
Why listening to Triple J and programming in Ada don't mix.
#Humbug and /Away
Because IRC is just too much of a soapy to resist.
A guided tour of rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan
A newbie arrived, and I had too much time on my hands.
A program I wrote for the 1995 Institute of Engineers, Aust. Computer Competition
CS228 Assignments
The programs I wrote for cs228.
An Interactive Spell Checker, written for a CS208 (Software Design and Testing) group assignment.

And local mirrors of...

Open Source Software
Open Source Software (http://www.opensource.org/) is one name for the philopsophy underpinning the Debian GNU/Linux operating system (http://www.debian.org/). A collection of Open Source Readings is available at http://heorot.cks.com/. Richard Stallman, one of the founders of the movement still prefers the term Free Software, and posted an article to that effect, entitled It's Still Free Software. Bruce Perens, holder of the Open Source trademark, wrote a response, and Richard Smith has presented another perspective on the differences of opinion in the movement.
A brilliant parody of both rasfwr-j and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, by People Covered in Fish.
Sex Education in Southpark
A Southpark scene as scripted by Mark Loy.
The Principia Discordia
Like the Bible, except TRVE.


Getting in touch

The best way to get in contact with me is via email at aj@humbug.org.au. Otherwise, I'm generally hanging around in the cello labs (fifth floor CS), or doing who knows what, who knows where. Hell, I could even be in a lecture. Or home.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that I could seriously suggest that the easiest way of getting in touch with me is by email? Sheesh. I say these things and I don't think even for a second what they mean.

Geek Code

GM/CS d- s-:-- a-- C++@ UL++++ P+++ L+++ E W+ N o K+ !w O- M--() V- PS+ !PE Y++ PGP++ t(+) 5 X- R- tv@ b+++ DI+ D--- G++ e++ h! r y?

(A true geek could find an explanation of this without my help, but for the lazy amongst us, try http://www.geekcode.com/.

PGP Public Key

I use PGP fairly regularly to digitally sign my email. I've even hacked up a program so that it works comfortably (I call it pgpdaemon, it's a set of Unix utilities to make PGP signing, encryption and decryption trivial).

If you don't have a clue what PGP is, you should find out. In effect, PGP lets you put your electronic correspondences in an envelope that only the intended recipient can open. PGP also allows you to sign your emails, with a signature that is excessively difficult to fake. For more information, visit the International PGP Home Page.

If you care about trust and privacy in online communications, you will probably want to grab my public key. You can do so either from this page, or by accessing any of the key servers.

What I like

The Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan's sa'series, the Wheel of Time, published by Tor is brilliant. It's a tad large, perhaps, with seven books currently out, each with about 1000 pages, and more to come. It's in the fantasy genre, and is based around what would happen if someone came up to you, tapped you on the shoulder and asked "Did you know you're the saviour of the world?"

[Snake and Wheel]

The books that have been available for a while now are The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven and The Lord of Chaos. A Crown of Swords was released on the 4th of June, 1996 in America. I got my copy on the 11th of July, the day it arrived in Brisbane. There's also a collection of stories about the history of the world of the Wheel, called the Illustrated Guide to the Wheel of Time (or something similar) due to be published sometime in 1997.

Tor has kindly made the Crown of Swords Prologue and Strike at Shayol Ghul (one of the short stories to be included in the Illustrated Guide) available from the web.

The picture of the snake, entwined in a wheel, swallowing its tail is one of the many chapter icons from the series and is used with permission.

More information is available at:

Guy Gavriel Kay's books

This guy writes legendary stuff. The Fionavar Tapestry (a trilogy), Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, and The Lions of Al-Rassan are, as far as I know, all his books. I've read all but the last -- needless to say it's bookmarked and on my bedside chest this instant. If you're into fantasy that's a little more... personal than the average, you'll probably like some of these.

Triple J

Triple J is one of the ABC's national radio stations. It's audience is teenagers and young adults, and, basically, it's bloody brilliant. Check out WebWatch if you want to find something amusing out there on the 'net too.


Dilbert is a wonderful comic strip about the trials and tribulations of working in a corporate environment. Every computer geek, nay, everyone even vaguely involved in anything technological, should have this bookmarked.

Who I like

Some friends' email addresses. Some even have home pages. Wow. (Speaking strictly, these are the email addresses and home pages of the people I knew, and who had email addresses, when I was bored and writing up this list, the people who've pestered me to get their 15 bytes of fame, and the people who have home pages for which I don't have a link to a link. You can, if you like, take a breath now)

An ode to zer0

There was a young admin from BIT,
Whose anger was a flame rarely lit.
But speaking in rhyme
Was a line rather fine
Cross it and you were in... Trouble. Big trouble.


An ode to the ChipDancer

And his prowess his demise,
For the CRT burnt out his eyes,
In a horrible week
He was now a blind geek
And now works at Macca's on fries.


Curly's Christmas Carol

Curly went to Christmas Eve,
('twas the night before).
She pointed to the Christmas Tree,
And asked ``Hey, what's that for?''

She wandered 'round the bustling room,
Opening up a door,
Saw mummy kissing Santa Claus,
And nearly hit the floor!

She left the room to get some air,
Wandered right outside.
Saw Angels made of flashing lights,
``Computer freaks!'' she cried.

Then she went to find her friends,
Found them lost in song.
After ``Silent Night, Holy Night''
She told them they were wrong.

She danced her way back to the Tree,
Watched the flashing lights.
She thought about her Christmas eve,
``And all in all, it bites.''

(sHaKkAz and me)

Computers I've known


My mail alias (the one with the cute, short name) is aj@humbug.org.au. It's not a real account, but it's got a groovy name, so, well, it's my mail alias. Um, yeah.

As you've guessed, it's run on zerlargal, one of Bruce's computers.

Oh, yeah, right. The names. humbug stands for Home Unix Machine --- Brisbane User Group. Which is, you guessed it, a computer club for Unix geeks. zerlargal on the other hand means absolutely nothing.


Another of Bruce's computers.

I have the dubious honour of being the only person to ever have crashed minerva by accident (involving depraved procmail recipes and a number of the PGP public key servers. You don't want to know. Read some Stephen King books instead. You'll sleep better).


One ex-account (mainly because the one at humbug's free) was aj@star.brisnet.org.au.

star is (or, at least, was) a Linux box run by Alwyn Smith, more or less as a service for the users of his BBS, Soft-Tech (FidoNet node 3:640/201). Brisnet is a non-profit organization that has really cheap fees and pretty good service for people in the Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) area.


A somewhat more real account of mine is at the University of Queensland. I can actually log into this one. My address there is s343676@student.uq.edu.au, although I prefer mail to be sent to aj@humbug.org.au. As long as you don't think about it too much, it makes perfect sense.

student is an Ultrix server provided by the University of Queensland so that its students can do all their research really easily. No, really. (Actually, having since used it for just that purpose, perhaps I should retract that? Nah)


cello is the computer the Computer Scie^W^W School of Information Technology lets second and third year undergraduates use. It's running (in the loosest possible sense of the word) Solaris. It's not a pretty sight. Especially when viewed through the aging (read: comatose) eyes that are the glorious X-terms the university administration thinks are suitable.

Meanwhile the first years get Pentium Pro's so they can run Lose95 and Simon Kaplan's beloved ParcPlace Smalltalk, the Economics department gets wonderful new computers for web browsing and Prentice gets forced to cut the free dialup Internet access to five hours a week.

But, hell, I'm not bitter.

(I'm Jill Sobule)

kirby.humbug.org.au and denning

These are dbs's computers.

They're creatively named after a current Justice of the High Court of Australia and the longest serving Judge in English legal history. Or something similar. I don't know. Stop asking difficult questions.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this is that David is, of all things, a lawyer wannabe. But as generous of spirit as we all are, none of us hold that against him.


kirby is a 486dx2/66. It runs Linux (ça va sans dire), albeit a RedHat distribution. It's even got Windows 3.11 installed for those all night gaming sessions.

denning, on the other hand, is much more intriguing. It's a rebadged SGI machine, from around the turn of the decade. (And if it's not clear which one, email me and tell me to update this page) It runs a pretty ancient version of Irix, and it does so very nicely. My first thought was Wow. David's was:

You remember Jurassic Park and that freaky computer system they had? And how it had that weird flying interface, and how that girl sat down and said This is Unix! And you remember thinking Yeah, sure it is. I could suspend my disbelief for the dinosaurs, but this is just too much? Well. We were sure wrong.

We weren't as it turns out, but for a six or seven year old computer it's very impressive.


This is davidj's computer.

You don't want to know what it is. Seriously. Skip the rest of this section.

Just trust me. You. Do. Not. Want. To. Know.

meesha is a dual processor machine. It has two (count-'em!) Pentium Pro chips clocked at 200MHz. No, not over-clocked to 200MHz. When David's feeling game they're overclocked to 233MHz. Yes, I know. It's sick. He has 128MB of RAM. About an order of magnitude more hard disk space. And he's had all this since the start of '97. You know --- when all this was absolutely top of the line stuff.

And yes, he does want a new computer.

The bastard.

Meesha, by the way, refers to the jailbait he had a crush on at one point.


I own this one!

My home machine is called azure, and is a member of the humbug domain. It's a Linux box (Linux is probably the only OS that gives me the features of a server and will still run at a decent speed on it), running a single 486 SX chip at 33MHz, with a mammoth 8MB of RAM. Impressive, huh? But then, now that azure has a 486 DX4/100 accompanied by 32MB of memory and a couple of decent sized hard drives perhaps that's not so special. At least I don't need swap any more.


I own this one too!

navy is my BeBox! It's not currently on the net, due mainly to the fact that if I connect azure I can access the net from navy through my local ethernet network (using a wonderful feature called IP masquerading), whereas if I do it the other way around, azure can only talk to navy. So I can get out, but I can't get in.

BeBoxen used to be made by Be,Inc. a small start up in Menlo Park (US). It's built around two of Motorola's PowerPC chips, and has heaps of IO. Let me list the ports on the back of my machine: A keyboard connector. A parallel port. A SCSI port. A microphone and a speaker jack. A VGA plug. A PS/2 mouse port. Stereo in and out jacks. Three infra-red ports. Standard connectors for thinnet, thicknet and UTP networking. Four MIDI ports. Four serial ports. Two game ports. There's even a 72pin port with analogue to digital (and vice-versa) converters for DIY projects.

BeOS is a lot like the old AmigaOS in many ways. It boots up into a GUI, but unlike the Mac provides a powerful shell that you can open if you want (actually a version of bash, the Bourne Again shell from GNU, and used on many Unices) The API is written in C++, which means everything is very object oriented. Unfortunately there's only one C++ compiler that interfaces with the Be API (Metrowerks' CodeWarrior), but Fred Fish has already gotten GNU's g++ most of the way there, and Java VM now comes standard with the OS so the one language problem hopefully won't last.

And hey, the web browser even filters out those Microsoft ads from the Dilbert site. What more could you ask?

Just Be

Ties I've made

Brisbane Grammar School

I went to high school at Brisbane Grammar School. As soon as I left, they decided to splurge on a live Internet connection. Their own Linux server routing packets to and from the Novell based student network. And they didn't have to wear their ties in summer! Typical, eh?

Edward Public School

Unfortunately I don't think my primary school has a home page. But if anyone finds a URL to an Edward Public School in Deniliquin, NSW, I'd appreciate the info. (Actually I also spend a year or two at Hay Public School, a few months at North Public School (in Deniliquin) and the worst year of my life (well, to date) at Capalaba State School. Uggh)


In 1995 I attended the 27th Annual National Mathematics Summer School (NeMeSiS). (The link goes to a list of email addresses of past students. There's an official page somewhere too) 'twas pretty cool.

I've since been assured that College life's cooler, but I have my doubts. It's kinda like that sketch by Jimeoin about cold pools. "It's all right... once yer in." These people actually think they can suck me into joining their sordid little enclaves... Well. They've got another thing coming, an' that's a fact.

University of Queensland

I currently attend the University of Queensland, along with fifty gazillion other students. Why did I choose to go there? One reason was that unlike another local university, UQ didn't make misguided attempts at wooing the unwashed masses. A University for the Real World indeed. Anyway, I'm majoring in Mathematics and Information Technology. In the past I've done a little Physics, and I'm currently doing a Philosophy subject, namely PD113, Morals and Ethics. For what it's worth, I'm a member of the Maths Students Society, although if I have to eat another Kinder Surprise I may reconsider the investment.



The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

-- St Augustine in DeGenesi ad Litteram, Book II, xviii, 37, and found on the Mathematical Quotation Server, with the note that St Augustine uses the word mathematician to mean astrologer.

Number Theory Web

Keith Matthews, a lecturer from the University of Queensland's Mathematics Department, maintains the Number Theory Web a set of papers, programs and links of interest to number theorists.


Well, it could've happened...

[For those not in the know: First year CS students in 1996 did three subjects: CS180 - Introduction to Computer Science, which contained a section on databases, lectured by John Harrison, as well as a section on programming, lectured by Simon Kaplan; and, in the second semester, CS107, a whole subject devoted to programming, lectured by Simon Kaplan and Roger Duke; and CS116 which was lectured by Arthur ter Hofstede and covered databases.

The lectures for CS107 were all in Hawken 1, which has a wonderful amphitheatre feel to it. If the lecture area were sunken a few feet, hot dogs served, and wild animals thrown in with the lecturers, I figure we could have had some real fun. And in that vein...]

Roger Duke is lecturing to the class.

He is describing, for no apparent reason, something to do with chess when, again for no apparent reason, the lights flicker out. All the lights. Mixed gasps of surprise, tinged perhaps with fear, are launched into the black from the audience's agape mouths. The lurid glow of Roger's laptop and the flicker of a cigarette lighter from amongst the back rows are the only lights in the room. A door swings shut.

Roger groans and crumples to the ground. His face, still betraying no comprehension of the unexpected turn of events, slides gently from the pasty glow of the LCD. It will not, apparently, betray any degree of comprehension for some time.

A desk swings forward, and someone in the front row rises. Ripped from his throat, a single negation, a disbelieving No!, is clearly audible in the nervous silence.

The blackboard lights flicker on.

Simon Kaplan is standing immobile; staring in ineffectual rage at the front of the room. Staring at the two men who have intruded on the lecture.

Staring at Arthur ter Hofstede and John Harrison clad in leopard skins standing over Roger's limp, motionless body.

The projectors whir to life.

The front wall is filled with images of violence.

A deep, rich voice reverberates throughout the hall:

From deepest Europe, comes Arthur ter Hofstede. A man with a dark past, and a darker future. He has survived the methodology jungle, but can he survive his greatest challenge yet? Teamed now with John Harrison, famed and feared throughout the civilised world as someone who can teach you databases and make you like it, he has issued a challenge; a challenge few have dared to present, and those who have, have lived to regret, where they lived at all.
The UQ CS department is proud to present the fight of this century. Information Systems vs Software Engineering. If you ain't there, you ain't nowhere. (Tickets available at the Enquiries Office now)

On CS216 - Information Systems Analysis & Design...

It's just like Monty Python!

-- Joe Yates, on Peter Creasy's lecturing style

The Bottom-Up Approach to Software Engineering

You've heard of the style of programming called the top down methodology, where you design the highest level parts of a program (the user level), then gradually implement the more fundamental pieces of code (for example, Oh, and this is how you draw a line, by the way) as they're needed. A lesser known method, but far more useful to the professional software engineer is the bottom up methodology.

(A note: there are a bunch of people here. I'll leave it up to the reader's incalculable powers of deduction to work out which is which however. Another note: this has not been censored. If you're offended by obscenity, skip over this.)

Hey, Frank, how the fuck are we gunna get this widget done by monday?

What? I dunno. I thought you said you had it working?

Well, yeah, I did. Then the boss came round and changed the specs. Now we've gotta write the damn thing in Smalltalk.

Smalltalk!?!? You have to be kidding. Nobody uses that! Nobody!

It's a bloody university. They're full of nobodies.

Oh shit.

So what're we gunna do?

Fuck. I dunno. We've gotta start from scratch now... It's too late for this. Let's go down to the pub.

Yeah. I guess. Hang on a minute, I'll just shut this mother down.


Well, Frank, I guess we're gunna be fired come mundy.

Yup, Dave. I think yer right. Got yer resumé typed up?

Natch, pal. Natch. Do some government work next?


Here's yer drinks, boys.

Bottoms up!

The Association of Computing Machinery

The Association of Computing Machinery is the premier computer society in the world. As well as having a largish number of special interest groups (SIGs), it presents a series of awards each year, distributes the well known journal Communciations of the ACM, and runs an undergraduate programming competition each year.

SIGs: (this is by no means an exhaustive list)

On Windows...

When you say `I wrote a program that crashed Windows', people just stare at you blankly and say `Hey, I got those with the system, *for free*'

-- Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux

Brian Kernighan

The K in awk. Author of The C Programming Language (with Dennis Ritchie), The Elements of Programming Style, (with Plauger) Why Pascal is Not My Favourite Programming Language. The C Programming Language introduced the One True Brace Style (Any code that doesn't use this is non-conforming and may not compile. Or at least that's the way it ought to be).

bwk currently works at Bell Labs, a research division of AT&T.

Dennis Ritchie

Creator of the C programming language. He is the authour of The C Programming Language (with Brian Kernighan), the UNIX Programmer's Manual (with Ken Thompson).

dmr also works at Bell Labs.

Ken Thompson

Creator of the UNIX operating system. He is the author of Reflections on Trusting Trust and the UNIX Programmer's Manual (with Dennis Ritchie).

ken works at Bell Labs too.

Donald Knuth

Author of The Art of Computer Programming, the book on algorithms. Volumes one through three have been available since the mid-late 70's, volume four is currently being written, and volume five is expected before the end of the first decade of the next millenium. I can't speak for you, but I'm holding my breath.

The long break in between the publication of volume three and his work on volume four, was due to work on TeX, a typesetting program and language used heavily in mathematics and physics.

Knuth is also the author of the book Literate Programming which collects a number of his previous works. The main idea propounded by Knuth is that of source code as a literary mode -- intended to be read by a human. To facilitate this, he has created the Web language, which meshes both programming and typesetting languages. Two programs are used on these files, one, Tangle, to produce compilable source code, the other, Weave, to produce input for a program such as TeX. A Usenet newsgroup, comp.programming.literate, exists for discussion of the concepts of Literate Programming.

Knuth currently enjoys the position of Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University.

On Literate Programming...

Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 04:08:43 GMT
Message-ID: <EAo3IJ.Knz@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU>
From: ptjm@ican.net (Patrick TJ McPhee)
Subject: Re: Literate Outlines
Newsgroups: comp.programming.literate

I wasn't saying that only thoughtful people can use [Literate Programming techniques] effectively, but that only thoughtful people would bother to try in the first place. And that is not mainstream. Now, given your (Edward Ream's) postings to this newsgroup over the past few weeks, I would have to put you in the thoughtful, disciplined class. You considered an approach to programming, you devised a way that makes it work best for you, you consulted with others about that approach and are now implementing it, while taking into consideration the work of others. It's not quite the same as running App Wizard, is it?

Alan Turing

A mathematician noted for a number of breakthroughs.

During WWII Turing was instrumental in breaking the German Engima code, information encoded with which was used to defend Allied ships from German U-boats. After the war he was part of a team attempting to build a general computer, and was also involved in programming another early computer in Manchester.

His final work was realated to the spontaneous appearance of pattern in nature, such as the five fold symmetry of a starfish and the spots on animals coats.

His more enduring works (in my opinion, at least) relate to the limits of computing. His paper On Computable Numbers describes what is now known as the Turing Machine (which forms the basis of much of modern theoretical computer science) and answers the Entscheidungsproblem (viz Is there a general algorithm to construct mathematical proofs? The answer is No, for what it's worth) He later wrote and philosphised on the possibility of artificial intelligence, and devised a behavioural definition of intelligence embodied in the Turing Test.

I was first introduced to the Turing Test by a book called Artificial Intelligence on the Commodore 64...

Please stop laughing.

Thank you.

...by Keith and Steven Brain. Yeah, two Brains writing about artificial intelligence. Funny, huh. Anyway, It's from there that my favourite story related to it comes, along with this description, on page 10:

[Turing] reasoned that most human beings accept that most other human beings are intelligent, and therefore if a [wo]man cannot determine whether [s]he is dealing with another [wo]man, or only with a computer, then [s]he must accept that such a machine is intelligent. This forms the basis for the famous Turing Test, in which an operator has to hold a two-way conversation with another entity via a keyboard and try to get the other party to reveal whether it is actually a machine or just another human being - very awkward!

The story follows straight after the above description:

Many fictional stories circulate about this test, but our favourite is the one where a job applicant is set down in front of a keyboard and left to carry on by himself. Of course he realizes the importance of this test to his career prospects and so he struggles valiantly to find the secret, apparently without success. However after some time the interviewer returns, shakes him by the hand and congratulates him with these words "Well done, old man, the machine couldn't tell if you were human so you are just what we need as one of Her Majesty's Tax Inspectors!"

Boom boom.

Andrew Hodges has written an excellent biography, viz Alan Turing -- the enigma and maintains a home page dedicated to Turing.

Peter Seebach

Peter is moderator of comp.lang.c.moderated, author of the The C Infrequently Asked Questions List (recommended reading for C programmers of all ages), and The Hacker FAQ.

Edsger W. Dijkstra

Author of GOTO Considered Harmful, The Structure of the `THE' Multiprogramming System. He invented Dijkstra's Algorithm, which efficiently determines the length of the shortest route from a given node to all other nodes in a weighted graph. He did some early work on semaphores, and gave the operations on them their names, P and V. He created the Dining Philospher's Problem, the canonical multiprogramming problem.

I managed to find a short biography thanks to Alta-Vista.

On Jean-Louis Gassée...

[Jean-Louis is the CEO of Be Inc, the company which has created the BeBox and the BeOS. For more information check out http://www.be.com/]

I first met Jean-Louis in the USA back in the 1990s to talk about "la pluie et le beau temps" [the rain and the good times]. A few minutes later, I was very surprised to see him leave the room and come back with an NDA [nondisclosure agreement].

-- Michel Safars, CEO Mipsys-France (a developer for the BeBox). Quoted from the Be Newsletter, issue 11.

Misc People

People like Rob Pike, Linus Torvalds, and P. J. Plauger also deserve a mention, but I still haven't managed to get around to it.

Law, Politics

ABA Investigation into Regulation of the Internet

In June 1995, the Australian Broadcasting Association was instructed by the then minsiter for Communication and the Arts, Michael Lee, to investigate regulation of the Internet, and electronic Bulletin Boards.

They presented their report to the Minister for Communications and the Arts at the end of June 1996, and have published a copy of it on their web page. I was pretty impressed, myself. So were the ACS, the EFA, and Philip Argy (chair of the ACS Economic, Legal and Social Implications Committee, and lots else too).

By now, of course, the Bad People have found little holes in the report and are trying to put the 'net in a straightjacket anyway. You can find more current discussion on this sort of stuff in the aus.org.efa and aus.censorship newsgroups.

Community Groups Outraged Over Pornographic Video

PLEASANT, NC. A small US community is up in arms against the content of a notorious porn flim...

"Are we as citizens expected to just sit back and allow this sort of garbage to go on?" said Pleasant school board president Edwin Thistlewaite, during a protest this morning at City Hall.

Lend your support to the people of Pleasant county by visiting http://www.theonion.com/onion3120/leadersporn.html.

On journalistic portrayal of the Internet...

Date: Thu, 26 Jun 1997 22:46:44 GMT
Message-ID: <33b6efe1.3977562@news.uq.edu.au>
From: brett@mailbox.uq.edu.au (Brett Benzie)
Subject: Re: Fight Censorship -- Support the Rabelais Defence Campaign
Newsgroups: aus.censorship,aus.org.efa,aus.legal,aus.politics

I can remember a similar incident in (I think) Rockhampton. A radio presenter (was it Anna Reynolds?) was talking to a local police sargeant on the phone about the incident, and kept asking, over and over, if the Internet was involved.
And this policeman says "no, he got the idea and knowledge from watching an experiment in his chemistry class the day before",
to which the journo replies "but it is possible that the student did in fact download the information from the internet?"
"Yes of course it is, but thats not what happened, is it?"
"Sargeant xxxxxxxx, thanks for your time" and then goes on to incite the masses of talkback moronity into talking about whether the Internet should be regulated.
For the record, I stopped wanting to be a journalist about 7 years ago.

On Freedom of Speech in Australia...

It's not surprising, is it? Australia is only bringing its policies into line with the other regimes in its region. Did you really think that a country that openly opposes human rights in its foreign policy - and condones and profits by the genocide occurring to its north - would let freedom of speech get its toe in the door via the net?

-- Peter Merel in aus.org.efa responding to the draconian stance taken by the Senate Select Committee on Community Standar... on Net Censorship.

Liberal Party

In the Australian Federal Election, the Liberal Party gained an absolutely huge majority in the lower house, and a strong minority in the upper house.

Just for having this link on my page I've been hounded by heaps of people for being a Liberal supporter. After watching them sucker punch the country for most of the year, I can say for certain that I'm not.

The Church of Virus

The Church of Virus has a number of intriguing ideas. Nothing I could say in summary could do it justice. Go and have a look. Virus, by the way, does not mean a dangerous program. Or at least not a dangerous computer program. Trust me.

The Blue Ribbon Campaign, and The Golden Key Campaign

The Blue Ribbon and Golden Key campaigns are about having the same intellectual freedoms on the 'net as to anything else. You know, little things. Like freedom of speech and privacy.

By the way, for those of you who think the only people who need privacy are terrorists, pornographers and child molesters, Father Bill Morton offers another perspective.

The League for Programming Freedom

Ten years ago, programmers were allowed to write programs using all the techniques they knew, and providing whatever features they felt were useful. This is no longer the case. New monopolies, known as software patents and interface copyrights, have taken away our freedom of expression and our ability to do a good job.

-- From the LPF manifesto.

Frighteningly, the LPF seems to have ceased operations.


On Physicists...

Physics is much too hard for physicists.

-- David Hilbert

[...] This may not sound too revolutionary to the average person, accustomed to concepts such as up and down, left and right, north and south. But to physicists, the idea of directional orientation in the universe is a mind blower.

-- April 18th 1997, CNN report on the possiblity of a preferred direction in space.

Bose-Enstein Condensation

Hypothesised by the Indian mathematician and German physicist, Bose-Enstein Condensation (BEC) is a new state of matter. It only exists at very low temperatures, and comes into being when atoms lose their independence. It was first produced by American physicists Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman in June 1995, and has since been reproduced under similar conditions at Rice University by R. Hulet and at MIT by William Ketterle.

More information is available at:

Quantum Computing and Cryptography

Computers utilising the weird and wonderful rules of quantum mechanics are able to reduce the time and space requirements of some algorithms. Theoretically, at least. At last check, no-one has actually built such a beastie, but in the grand tradition of Ada Lovelace, programs have already been written for them.

Quantum Cryptography makes use of further quantum properties to transmit information over insecure channels without risk of interception. Secure quantum channels have been created which operate over short distances.

More information available at:


(I did Latin in high school for four years. For four years I slavishly dedicated myself to its antiquated and obfusticated forms, hoping against hope that one day it would finally repay me for the love I'd shown it. But no. The best four years of my life, gone. And for what? Nothing. Oh sure, there were some fun times amongst it all, but nothing can ever make up for the heartache, the rejection... No, don't ask me to write the above with an a. Never again. Never.)

This Page is Enhanced for Lynx

The above heading was for quite some time a spiteful and churlish "This page is NOT enhanced for NetScape 2.0!" But that was before I came across the wisdom of the folks from Dehanced for Lynx, and their inspired commentary on the virtues of platform and browser independent markup. After nearly a year of childish bias, I have finally discovered the true Zen of Lynx. It's funny, you know, but I do feel more at peace with the world.

This web page has been verified with WebTech's HTML Validation Service, and conforms to the W3C's proposed HTML 4.0 standard. If your browser doesn't support the latest of the W3C's recommendations, upgrade to Amaya now!

Or don't. Use Lynx instead. Or NetPositive. Hell, continue with Netscape or MSIE if you must. It really doesn't matter an iota to me. But then, that's the whole point of the web, isn't it?

W3C 4.0 Checked!

This page is under construction.

Well, it isn't in particular. You certainly don't need a hard hat, and there aren't any council workers leaning on their picks taking an early smoko. In fact the only reason the above is here at all is that I've always been just a little afraid that I may have missed the section in the RFC that said the words under construction must be present in any legal HTML.

I mean, everyone does it. There must be a reason, right?

The good ol' days are back!

I don't need a counter anymore! I can grep through the logs again!


Copyright 1995-8, Anthony Towns

This page was written by Anthony Towns. Yes, all of it. Okay, except the quotes. And no, you can't swipe bits without attributing it properly. That's neither nice nor legal. Okay? We're all happy little vegemites? Good.