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Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 06:19 pm
It's been several days since I last posted, with a week dominated by work-related activities. There was three days of training which I arranged and sat in on from the West Australian Pawsey supercomputing centre, one introductory course, then OpenMP, then MPI programming. In the meantime my courses I announced in the last post were filled in under twelve hours, so a new set have been advertised for next month. After the Pawsey course was the OpenStack Australia Day, which was really quite good. Large enough for three streams of speakers (business, technical, innovation), but small enough to be inimate and an opportunity to catch up with many co-workers in this space (good period of time spent with Francois from ChCh, Dylan from CSIRO, and Tim from Red Hat). My own talk The Why and How of HPC-Cloud Hybrids with OpenStack was very well received with standing room only in the hall. I will be repeating it on Monday at Telstra.

Other major events of the week included a battle-heavy session of Eclipse Phase last Sunday. The previous session was staging and preparation. This one included the interesting physics of fire and movement on a small asteroid. Finally, the most important out-of-work activity of the week would have to been the Victorian Secular Lobby Annual General Meeting, which had a few new members turn up, along with an excellent presentation on the state of secularism in the Liberal Party by John Bade - a rather sobering presentation on how traditional liberals in that group need to toughen up against the theocrats, especially given that Senator Bernardi has left the party and merged with Family First. It might be a painful split for the Liberal Party, but it they will be stronger for it in the longer run.
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Friday, May 26th, 2017 09:24 pm
Major work change this week was moving offices; we've left the old warehouse on Lincoln Sq and moved to the Doug McDonnell building. Had a farewell lunch with some of the people at the Sustainability office before we left, and today was working from home whilst the removalists did their thing. Took the opportunity to write the paper I'm presenting at OpenStack Australia Day and which will be replicated a few days later at Telstra. In addition to all this, have also just announced new course for HPC and Linux along with Shell Scripting for HPC, and had a meeting with some Microsoft representatives for setting up an Azure cloud burst partition to Spartan.

Other preparations in the coming week include the Annual General Meeting of the Victorian Secular Lobby with John Bade from the Liberal Party talking on that body's difficult relationship with secularism as the reactionary Christians are on the ascendancy in that body. I wonder at their lack of practical concern for the impoverished sectors of society, asylum seekers and so forth. It's curious how some people are prepared to manipulate the genuine desire for moral character among others and a sense of wonder with existence to acquire power and wealth. I can't imagine that Jesus would have been very impressed with such behaviour.

Wednesday evening was Papers & Paychecks, where the PCs made good progress to Save Our Borderlands, and the puns were flowing thick and fast. There also has been a good deal of work building resistentialist "monsters" for the game. Tonight is Justin A's Eclipse Phase and will be preparing for my version of the same on Sunday. Also have received a copy of the quickstart rules for the new edition of RuneQuest for FreeRPG day.
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Saturday, May 20th, 2017 11:32 pm
Visited [livejournal.com profile] hathhalla and [livejournal.com profile] ser_pounce for our regular Cheesequest. Amazing fromage of the day was a herbed Corsican. Afterwards played a challenging scenario in Mice and Mystics. This evening did a sence write-up for my long-running HeroQuest Glorantha game. It was the conclusion of a bit of bad luck in gaming sessions this week with the regular Laundry Files game cancelled on Wednesday night, and Eclipse Phase on Friday night. Nevertheless, this has given me more opportunity to work on Papers & Paychecks with the effects of alcohol and drugs and distribution curves added to the repository.

Have finally decided to join the 21st century and bought a chunk of cloud storage for some offsite backups; specifically the Google offering, which integrates well with the rest of its services. Have also discovered and used RClone, which a rather genius piece of work - effectively rsync for various cloud storage vendors. Apropos, a made a talk proposal for OpenStack Australia Day which has been accepted.

Other major events in the past few days has been organising for the AGM of the Victorian Secular Lobby, writing up the major events of 14th and 15th weeks of Lord Dampnut, US President, and attending a great wine tasting at University House for Klein Constantia with a selection of South African and French Savoy wines. The Vin de Constance was pretty amazing; it was sweet liquid gold and with a price to match (on special for a mere $137 for 500ml) .
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Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 08:34 pm
It's been a tough week at work; not so much on matters of complexity, but rather on sheer volume. With last week's cluster and cloud computing, there has been in an influx of over two hundred master's level students to the HPC system and the inexperience of quite a few is evident. Such is the effects of an entire generation of computer users who have started with the GUI rather than the command-line. Apropos the planned session with the good folk at the University of Freiburg didn't get up for the International Supercomputing Conference. A German co-author responded pithily, You have to see that we are considered heretics. Well, it wouldn't be the first time, that's for sure. So instead we're looking at a publication in Advanced Computing. Given that most of the paper is already written, a draft can be submitted perhaps the end of next week.

Shortly after that [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya, [livejournal.com profile] funontheupfield, and I are heading to New Zealand. Apparently I can't get enough of the place. The latter has never been before so recommendations were put in place for a short trip; Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds, primarily Havelock and Collingwood with opportunities to take short hikes, go spelunking, horse riding, and to see the strange natural landscape that is Farewell Spit. Given that my past two trips to NZ have been almost entirely work-related, I'm rather looking forward to the opportunity to venture 'cross The Ditch entirely for pleasure. Hopefully I will be able to organise dinner in Wellington for the handful of people that I know there.

The native animal population at our home has had a recent increase with a clutch of friendly young magpies deciding that our home is worth a visit, primarily for cat biscuits. A few days later a blue tongue lizard decided to move in. We think it's still in the house somewhere. Our other animal companions however have not been particularly perturbed by our new visitors; apparently our home is an open-plan zoological garden. I must however express some concern with the health of Tramper the rat. Already close to three years old (about ninety in rat-years), he's doing it a bit tough. He's had a bumblefoot infection for a long tiome (which curiously, seems to be healing up), he has a large mammary tumour which is quite inoperable without risk to his life, and now he's has advanced glaucoma in one eye. Tramper now spends much of his time snoozing (even on the rat-scale of things), but also has a good appetite and enjoys scritch time. Despite his illnesses, I think he's going to be around for a few more months.
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Sunday, March 19th, 2017 12:02 am
After having added another six thousand words this week, I have released a very rough draft of Papers & Paychecks, and posted an update for the project. The book is now 18 days overdue, and whilst I know that Kickstarters do have an almost assumed lateness in them, my inner project manager is screaming at me about being on-time. Still, I have completed pretty much all the core components and what really needs to be done is equipment lists, sample NPCs etc. In addition this I have made a solid start on the next issue of RPG Review with several thousand words done there as well. Friday night played Eclipse Phase with our international group with Think Before Asking; a superb ending of dramatic action with all the sort of paranoia that environment engenders. Tonight took some time out to visit Brendan E., for our regular dose of good popular culture; this time it was several episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead : Season 2 (look at that, 100% on the Tomatometer).

Whilst these activities have pretty much taken all my evening time, the days has been equally busy. There has been some preparations for the annual assignment and HPC lecture for Cluster and Cloud Computing. In addition there is an HPC for Economists course that is being prepared, a new round of general HPC courses, and preparations for ISC Frankfurt. In addition to that there was a steady flurry of interesting software installs this week, including a new version of ORCA which does ab initio quantum chemistry (finally, new MPI bindings!), and the Biopython suite. There has also been reports for the technical working groups on the upcoming upgrades for research compute facilities at the University. All in all, it's been quite the week.
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Saturday, March 4th, 2017 07:14 pm
My last day in New Zealand was spent giving my farewells to the good folk at Nyriad and then travelling to Auckland to give a presentation at the Auckland University of Technology. Since then there has been little opportunity to engage in much else except for my usual work, although the visit to NZ did have immediate benefits with discussions at the University about exactly where to host a proposed new GPU expansion and the relative benefits of Infiniband versus 100GE with RDMA. Nevertheless today has been busy with a preparation for a presentation tomorrow to The Philosophy Forum on "The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics", and attending a festival tonight where we will catch up with Polly Samuel. Next Tuesday I will also be presenting to Linux Users of Victoria on Multicore World 2017.

Being away for a couple of weeks and with another regular GM overseas in has meant some significant gaming withdrawals. Last night played Eclipse Phase with the regular distributed crew across multiple states and countries (will we get [livejournal.com profile] patchworkkid to join us once he moves to Canada?). Still, I have some recent nerd purchases - the facsimile of Thorin's map I picked up in Hobbiton for [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya will go well when framed, plus a recent purchase of a stromatolite dice set satisfies my long-standing desire for a "gem set" of gaming dice, and an interest in fossils and bacteria. In addition there has been a fair bit of work on Papers and Paychecks following last week's update, with a recent acquisition of illustrations from Dan 'Smif' Smith, which are looking very good.
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Friday, December 9th, 2016 11:48 pm
The Papers & Paychecks Kickstarter continues to go quite well, albeit at nail-biting crawl towards the final day. It certainly has been a learning experience of crowd-funding. Even if you're not a gamer it's well-worth putting $10 in for a couple of PDFs if you enjoy my writing and want an amusing exploration of contemporary workplaces. In other gaming news I was lucky enough to pick up at a fair price a second edition of Skyrealms of Jorune, a truly beautiful boxed set and exotic setting. Wednesday night was a session of Laundry Files in which the intrepid investigators explored the horrors of cultists on The Plateau of Leng. Finally the final touches are being put in RPG Review issue 32 and it certainly will by this weekend.

Whilst many workplaces wind down I find that there is ample at mine to keep myself more than busy. One major event was the end of the Moab license for the Edward HPC system. Although it is still running (and therefore not dead), it is retired. Thus ends five years of faithful service by friend computer, even with its aged storage, and crufty DNS issues. One last component which requires replacement is one of my least favourite pieces of software, Gaussian. Much of this week has been spent trying to get all the dependencies together for it. Today was the end of year work lunch at Le Bon Ton, which doesn't really live up to its name as such, but does provide quite an extensive carnivorous menu.

On a related subject the December meeting of Linux Users of Victoria was very eventful; after twenty-three years as an independent organisation the meeting unanimously voted to disincorporate and become a subcommittee of Linux Australia, a suggestion I made three years ago, when I was president. After the vote I gave a talk on HPC systems in Europe: A Selection. In part was an overview of why Linux is so dominant in supercomputing, in part a review of several different big European systems, but really the conclusion is that Australia lags terribly in this field - and with inevitable results in terms of manufacturing and science.

After the concert [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya went out to see The Triffids at The Corner Hotel. For once the sound in the venue was excellent, the temperature right, and the band (and guests) put on a thoroughly pleasing show for the evening. But of course, that's the thing about The Triffids, they were enormously popular for all the right reasons. They could pitch, in an Australia-indie style, typical emotional issues (e.g., 'Bury Me Deep in Love', 'Trick of the Light', 'Wide Open Road'), and they do in a manner that is well-constructed and with great acumen. I have enjoyed their concerts in the past but was indifferent to this one. They don't really provide anything challenging either musically or lyrically. They're just downright nice and pleasant - and usually I want something a little more raw and experimental.
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Friday, December 2nd, 2016 10:46 pm
The end of the year is approaching and I find myself dearly wishing there was about another month so I would have a chance of completing the somewhat optimistic set of tasks that I manage to set myself each year. Of course, in such circumstances where I think many are finding themselves winding down, my psychology directs me to redouble my efforts. This can lead to some interesting conflicts as all sorts of social events are called around this time. Most prominent this past week was an extended lunch (approximately six hours) at Rosetta hosted by some representatives of SanDisk and HGST for a few of us (which couldn't have been cheap), and the day prior the Puppet Camp, the highlight of which was spending the day with former co-worker, Dylan G. He wins the prize for worst pun of the day when I wryly mentioned it wasn't much of a camp. "Oh yes, it is. Everything is intense", he quipped. Somehow among all this I've managed to finish my part of a co-authored paper with the good folk at the University of Freiburg HPC centre, in preparation for the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt next year.

Another activity over the past day has been getting the final touches of RPG Review issue 32 together, now that Frank Menzter's interview has been received. I am hoping to have it released before the weekend is out. The issue is heavily biased towards the various games and material relevant to TSR, which really founded the RPG hobby in their own right. At the same time, we're now into the final three weeks of the Papers and Paychecks Kickstarter which I am still optimistic can make it over the line before the due date at Christmas evening. Currently playing Eclipse Phase with our usual international group which mostly plays via Google Hangouts; we've been making our way through a playtest of some new experimental rules for the game, which we I will also test out with our Sunday group as well. Speaking of which it's also been confirmed that the next issue of RPG Review will feature Rob Boyle, designer of Eclipse Phase as the main subject for our upcoming Transhumanist issue, which is due by the end of the year. Certainly Eclipse Phase has bee the most significant RPG I've been involved in for a couple of years now; the exploration of plausible and dangerous post-human future with genuinely alien contact is far superior to much of what passes as science fiction film.
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Saturday, November 12th, 2016 10:52 pm
In the global village, the local council election of the United States of America is certainly the most important. Like many others I was rather surprised (and quite horrified) by the election of Donald Trump this week. The psephologists were universally wrong. But at least they're doing the right thing and working out why. There has been a lot of silly opinion pieces trying to justify why the result occured, but the pre-election claims of Michael Moore turned out to be most prescient, not only for guessing that Trump would win but where he would win; namely by a failure to inspire the working-class states of the Great Lakes - that is really the only reason that Clinton lost; Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Unsurprisingly, I am currently in the midst of an article for the Isocracy Network on the election results with a few prescriptive solutions, the most obvious being don't ignore the working class. It also serves as a good focus for the Isocracy AGM (FB link) next Saturday at Trades Hall with Dr. Hans Baer speaking on the relationship between enviromentalism and socialism. This is certainly an issue which has relevance for the occasionally strained relationship here between the Australian Labor Party and the Greens. Similar lessons can be learned in this context; the importance of the environment may be paramount, but the protection of the enviroment will only occur with the support of the working class.

Speaking of work, in my fairly-well paid technocratic role it has been a very demanding week having returned from overseas. I fielded what I could what on the other side of the world, but the bulk of the effort was carried by NinjaDan who is really feeling the weight of what has been an increasingly quantity of technical requests, and certainly far beyond the capacity of 1 EFT looking after two HPC systems. In other work-related news [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya has received a new job offer with a good pay rise and engaged in the delightful act of handing a resignation letter to a firm which won the Golden Turd for poor work conditions.

In home life we still have the delightful Jane keeping us company at least for a few more days. There's big hole in the ceiling of our dining-room due to the effects of the water pipe issues from before we left for overseas and one in the back of the wardrobe in our attic bedroom which probably leads to Naria or somesuch. The Owners Corporation is currently having a debate on whether to keep the Courtesy Bus or not, which led me to make a post on the appropriate closed group on Facebook where I illustrated some of the unspoken costs of getting rid of it; it seems that most people who engaged in that discussion are also supportive in retaining the service. Finally, last night went to visit Brendan who has been having his usual unluck with housemates. It was good to catch up as always, and we laughed ourselves through the quite moving NZ film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which of course reminded me that I need to visit the home country again.
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Sunday, June 12th, 2016 12:21 am
The official launch date of the Spartan HPC-Cloud hybrid rapidly approaches. A transition course and workshop was run on Monday which resulted in a few more active users online, helped by having MATLAB licensing sorted out (frustrating Intel compilers are next). Next step will be getting a major project from a climate and marine science researcher to provide an initial major case example. Will also be attending Questnet next month at the Gold Coast, and have submitted a paper for eResearch Australasia.

Thursday night was another session of Laundry Files Australia. We've played this more or less fortnightly for close to a year and a half, so we're looking for a change. I am tempted to run a variant of New Statesmen or even the RPG based on Jeremiah. Friday night was a Mars Eclipse Phase session, wrapping up the Dance with the Devil. Yesterday was a cheesequest day with [livejournal.com profile] hathhalla and [livejournal.com profile] ser_pounce, which involved a lengthy game of Theomachy where the righteous forces of Ares were victorious. Tomorrow will be a new chapter on the Eclipse Phase Rimward tale.

As metioned in the last post, have been working on a series of reviews for last week's New Order and Australian Chamber Orchestra concert. The intention is do reviews of the New Order conversation, the concert, and the album. This week, only managed to complete the review of the concert, which is now on Rocknerd. As it is a long weekend this week, there is some possibility to complete the others as well.
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Friday, April 22nd, 2016 10:43 pm
Three new articles added this week RPG Review, including my own piece on The Undead in Eclipse Phase. Have also elaborated on some proposals for extending the Rez Points system in the Eclipse Phase Companion. The fourth RPG Review newsletter will be released this weekend as well. Also, ran another session of Fear Itself on Thursday, which went as well (but even stranger) than the last session with the recursive scenario of roleplaying characters in a LARP (not unlike the very cheesy, Knights of Badassdom).

On the way back from the game [livejournal.com profile] funontheupfield made the observation that my spending habits had not changed from the time that since I was an undergraduate, with the exception of a couple of relatively minor 'trophy items' (I'm a sucker for nice pens, mechanical watches, and really old books). It was something that I believed myself but it was good to hear it from others. However, because life provides a narrative in the past tense, I received a not insubstantial tax return from the ATO for several years of returns (I admit I had been treating them like a bank). It was quite a welcome discovery, although now I have the issue of working out what do with this additional cash.

Work was pretty turgid this week, pretty much spent the better part of the least three days getting a greater software stack optimised and installed on Spartan, so when users come on-board there's a better range of applications. We're using what is perhaps a misnomer, EasyBuild, which essentially is a collection of Python scripts for primarily source-code installations. I am not convinced yet that it serves any greater functionality to standard configuration scripts. Both of course come with the usual issues of dependencies, missing libraries, and so on.
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Friday, April 15th, 2016 05:54 pm
Attended the University of Melbourne Secular Society meeting on Tuesday which debated the often troubled relationship between Islam and the secular west and especially in relation with historical contexts and the prospects for change. Following evening was the annual general meeting of the Victorian Secular Lobby at Parliament House with MLA Maree Edwards addressing the group on the Bendigo mosque issue. Afterwards we visited the Assembly where the state member for Yan Yean (who I used to work with) recognised me from the floor and, in perhaps most unparliamentary fashion, blew me a kiss (of course I reciprocated). At least some politicians haven't lost a sense of humour.

One person who had a great deal of humour about said profession was playwright and commentator Bob Ellis who recently died. I spent a fair bit of time in his company in the late 1990s, catching up with him in Hobart (ALP National Conference), Sydney, and Melbourne. It was in the former location that (after several drinks) a young journalism student introduced herself in a gushing manner: "Oh Mr. Ellis, I am so proud to meet you, I've read all your work" etc., etc. Bob, stood up, tucked his shirt in, shook her hand and responded with a boyish grin: "Don't worry dear, I won't get you pregnant". All this said, he was terrible at psephology; his political partisanship I fear managed to get in the way of pessimistic (but usually more correct) interpretations.

Last Sunday's GURPS Middle Earth game was cancelled so our group appropriately played the Lord of the Rings boardgame followed by the Lord of the Rings Trivia Game, both of which are really quite good. The former, a cooperative game, is known to be quite challenging, but we managed to destroy the Ring before becoming corrupted etc. In the latter, Michael C's., extraordinary knowledge on the subject left us all in utterly the dust. Of some (specialist) note is that the Yahoo Groups RuneQuest 3 list has moved to the RPG Review Cooperative - of wider interest is the horrid work required to extract the data from Yahoo!'s ugly and annoying format. Apropos last night was "season two" our Laundry Files game - where witchraft and computing has taken a very strange turn.

Work this week consisted of conducting a training course on Monday which was fairly well received, albeit with some teething problems with our beta-release cluster/cloud hybrid and a tag-team teaching agenda. Most of the rest of the week has consisted on keeping the clusters functioning and software installs. Today has brought some insight and amusement however with news of a person who deleted data from some 1500+ customers with a single command and a very honest IT job ad. Reminder to self: after recently having a bit of a chat with Peter Murray-Rest courtesy of some work-related activity several days ago, I must have a closer look at his journal aggregation and search project.
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Sunday, March 13th, 2016 10:19 pm
It's been quite a week, one of significant stress over for a number of reasons. The first issue was a particularly deadly script which took out our cluster for the better part of a day as it set a variable to null and then proceeded to attempt to copy the entire cluster into a user's home directory; a good argument for quotas. Later in the week, despite having ensured that some terabytes available, the projects directory (which does have a quota) also filled up, which has necessitated shuffling data around. Researchers have been using the system as a 'bit bucket' for a number of years, which really is inappropriate but you know what researchers are like - smart enough to take advantage of every opportunity that they can take; they have skill levels in scrounging. All said it has been good having [livejournal.com profile] imajica_lj in the office; he's curmudgeonly but perspicacious when it comes to such matters.

The Isocracy Network has completed a submission on the Trans Pacific Partneship, just in on time. The take away line is "we support a Trans-Pacific Partnership, just not this one". The submission, alas, is far from complete due to time constraints. Next Saturday is a planned meeting with the author of The Booger Peril. Unfortunately the author has "some history" with parts of the left, to put it mildly, as a half-assed google search would have revealed. The author's point of view on the matter at Fairweather Comrades. All of which puts us in a very difficult situation; I just wanted to see a discussion of a science fiction book by an author who has recently been published in Overland and Counterpunch.


In much better news, I completed the language tree for Esperanto on duolingo - my first golden owl! By current reckoning I should complete French in a month, German a month after that, and then I'll work on Spanish. I have given up, at least for the time being, my attempt to do seven languages simultaneously, but I'm glad to have had the initial exposure. I still consider myself (and I suspect anyone else would) a complete beginner in Esperanto, but I've certainly at least been exposed to an extensive part of the vocabulary and the rather brilliantly simple rules of grammar.

In social events, ran a session of Fear Itself on Thursday night, which worked very well with the use of skills as a resource pool, a stripped-down version of the same game system used in Esoterroists on Trial Against Cthulhu. On Saturday visited Brendan E., and worked our way through the rest of the first season of Ash versus the Evil Dead, which continues to impress. We were also given possession of a large collection of excellent 80s and 90s vinyl (Brendan doesn't have a record player). Today participated in a session of GURPS Middle-Earth which involved clearing out a raiders in a Dwarven tomb and included one very annoyed Dwarven wight.
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Saturday, February 27th, 2016 11:54 pm
Completed a review of Libris Mortis this morning which has also been sent to rpg.net. Next review will Open Graves for 4th Edition. Also this evening finished adding almost thirty GURPS books to the RPG Review store. On Monday members of the RPG Review Cooperative will be going to the Astor so see a couple of genre classics; Escape from New York and The Fog. The Cooperative goes will with a bit of an advertising splash at a gaming open day this weekend

Work continues with its usual array of interesting technical challenges, including fixing a quirky bug that was putting jobs into batchhold. Subequent days were spent on bring the new HPC/Cloud online to a minimal state for the course that starts next week, of which I'm apparently making a guest lecturer appearance. In the time that remained, worked on bringing some somewhat mis- and underconfigured system units online for the Centre for Epidemiology & Biostatistics. To finish with a bit of amusement; Microsoft has developed a Linux-based networking system for its cloud computing.

Dean Sayers has written an article on the impediments to peace on the Isocracy website, as the cessation of hostilities seems to be holding on day one. This lull in the fighting is solely to let humanitarian aid get through, and by no way suggests that the warring parties are anywhere near the negotiating table yet, let alone for the possibility of genuine political reform, and Kurdish self-determination. Nevertheless, for the people who have been living under seige, having a day without air strikes after years of bombing must be a very welcome relief.
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Thursday, February 11th, 2016 11:28 pm
Delightful Saturday evening with Brendan E., who is a arthouse tv expert without realising it. The Throways was a much better film that most reviewers suggest, and Ash vs The Evil Dead was quite hilarious. It is interesting from a retrospective that Ash Williams has become such a arthouse culture icon (Number 1 Greatest Horror Movie Character according to Empire Magazine); he's a complete idiot, but sufficiently brave and tough to make up for it. Apropos I have currently working on reviews of the presentation of the undead in Dungeons & Dragons with Libris Mortis (3rd edition) and Open Grave (4th edition).

Sunday was a gathering of The Philosophy Forum, another good turnout. Grame Lindemeyer presented on Data, Information, Meaning, Intelligence and Consciousness - rather overlooking the importance of language in all this I'm afraid. After the presentation chaired the committee meeting of the RPG Review Cooperative and covered a lot of ground, before running the second session of Eclipse Phase which has seen the PCs end up as agents for Firewall. Tonight was our mashup between The Secrets of Cats and Call of Cthulhu.

Last night attended a presentation by Laure Akai, Secretary of the International Workers Association, on the practice of anarcho-syndicalism. Quite well attended, it was a potted tour of the various small chapters around the world and their very modest successes with direct action methods. It was organised by the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation of Australia which I may have sympathies with their end goals, but their purist restrictive membership means that it is not possible for me to join. Overall it reminds me why I am not involved in what are ineffectual and purist anarchist political groups.

Work goes well; swapped out some long-overdue dead disks on the storage array, cleared the stale NFS handles on some compute nodes, and now have Edward running with more processors and with more jobs on it than I've ever seen. Have also finished by presentation for Multicore World next week in New Zealand. Work keeps on making noises about wanting to send me to the OpenStack Summit in Austin, Texas.
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Saturday, February 6th, 2016 06:44 pm
Brought almost everything related to the cluster back online this week, hitting 90% utilisation by Friday, with reviving a downed node saved for other's use. Also this week have dropped into ResBaz. There was a couple of hundred people involved, so it's been quite a show, and ran into Yaokang W., who is interested in the fascinating field of using the Natural Language Tookit in case law. In a couple of weeks I'll be travelling to Wellington to present and MC at Multicore World. My paper has puns in the title; A Laconic HPC with an Orgone Accumulator.

The Isocracy Network has a new article by William Hathaway on a Long Term Strategy for the Left, but also a timely new national policy for asylum seekers developed by Damien Kingsbury, myself, and other troublemakers. 'Timely' is used in the disturbing context of the High Court deciding that the children of asylum seekers born in Australia could still be sent to offshore detention. Attended the large (and mainly unreported) snap protest at the State Library for those of us still opposed to the torture of babies (has it really come to this?).

Three other events attended this week; GURPS Middle Earth and Laundry Files games on last Sunday and Thursday respectively, the latter quite notable for using characters and setting from The Man Who Would Be King. Went to Robina C's et. als, exhibition on Friday at The Food Court; an interesting space and indicitive of an area that has been over-developed - nows the artists are moving in.
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Saturday, January 30th, 2016 11:33 pm
Much of the past week at work has been spent dealing with amazing NFS cluster woes, the worst I have ever had to deal with. It took days to bring access to user data back (not helped by a public holiday in the middle of the week), and there is still an issue with job submissions. However I do think there is some light at the end of this rather dark tunnel. Appropriately attended Linux Users of Victoria's meeting on wireshark and tcpdump this afternoon, which had plenty of people in attendance. Finally, this evening went to visit some good ol' friends who were having printer networking problems which proved relatively easy to fix (which lead to concluding the night with a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity).

Apropos gaming have had a couple of storygame sessions in the past couple of nights with Cats Against Cthulhu on Thursday night and Eclipse Phase Mars on Friday night. Tomorrow will be GURPS Middle Earth. The RPG Review Cooperative has started its own github, where an old GM friend has added his "visual combat simulator" for Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 and Rolemaster. For an organisation that is a barely a month old, I am quite happy with how the RPG Review Cooperative is faring, although it must be said that it doing so from a well-established base. It seems beneficial for such community associations to operated with a well an established timetable for activity, to offer a number of services, to publicise, and with new activities every couple of days among the committee to retain momentum.
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Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 11:15 pm
Skyrealms of Jorune game went well on Sunday. The setting is quite impressive as a science-fantasy environment where there is an amazing surplus of intelligent species and aggressive carnivores. Probably has at least something to do with the seven moons that the planet has (which would have some very interesting effects). The game rules were a little clunky, but fairly good all told, albeit with a lot of errata. Apropos, plans for the upcoming RPG Review Cooperative goes well, with plenty of ideas being thrown about. It looks like that it will have sufficient attendees, a committee, and there's certainly interest among budding game designers to get their material out into a written form.

Speaking of such things, the foundation professor of RMIT University, Professor David Beanland, has written the forward to my Supercomputing with Linux, which will be released in epub form by the end of this week. The second book Sequential and Parallel Programming (ISBN 978-0-9943373-1-3) should be ready by that stage as well. Apropos, work goes well in the second week with some interesting software installs; associated packages for fast arithmetic, a number theory library, and homomorphic encryption. Meanwhile work advances on the new HPC with cloud bursting capability; SLURM has been chosen as the scheduler and resource manager, which will require a new set of training for current TORQUE users, with Easybuild recipes for installations.

New member of the Isocracy committee, Daye Gang, has provided an excellent article on Normalisation and Conscious Bias Correction on the Bench. As a contribution, I have also made a short 'blog post on the new Isocracy committee, and we how ended up with a member of the Liberal Party of Australia on the committee of a libertarian socialist organisation. On a related subject, I am trying to find a representative of the Bendigo mosque for the next meeting of the Victorian Secular Lobby; unlike some others who have the conceit to call themselves secular, we actually support from of and from religion.
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Saturday, December 12th, 2015 09:38 am
First week at the new job has been in many ways similar to the old job (which is good in many ways). Day one was getting ID and various forms processed appropriately, days two and three was spent at the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources technical workshop, day four was smashing my way through hefty software installs (homomorphic encryption, number theory libraries, fast arithmetic). I'm pretty happy with the new computer that work has purchased for me, an HP Elitebook 840, something of a step up from my personal old workhorse, the Lenovo T61. After hours I've been working as best as possibly can with the swathe of planned publications.

I've talked about it for many months, so I've finally bitten the bullet to arrange for an incorporated association for the promotion and design of RPGs and simulation games; inaugural meeting Sunday week. With a core of several people we have the capacity to produce a good range of quality content within the coming year at least. Managed to get in two gaming sessions in the past couple of days; Laundry Files on Thursday night which involved a workplace safety investigation to another world inhabited by fire vampires (it's like that), and on Friday night played Eclipse Phase which involved a journey to a quarantine zone on Mars. One of the players played by a remote video connection from Vietnam (District 1, Ho Chi Minh City), which was quite appropriate for the genre. Sunday will be running Skyrealms of Jorune.
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Monday, December 7th, 2015 10:05 pm
Today was my last official working day at VPAC/V3 Alliance, a place where I have worked for since September 2007. I will be still working on various publications mentioned in previous entries, to leave some lasting legacy. I cannot pretend that I am happy with the circumstances of finishing work at VPAC, but I am also very pleased with the new position at the University of Melbourne. I'm trying to the numbers, operating at a level of at least 3,000 tickets resolved (VPAC and ARCS primarily) and probably a similar number of training days conducted (around 30 student-days per month in the past year, somewhat less in previous years). So maybe 4,000 researchers all up from RMIT, La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Swinburne University, Victoria University of Technology, the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Australia, the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, the Westmead Millennium Institute, and the Australian Institution of Marine Science. It even possible that some good has come from it all.

The preceeding weekend was fairly busy; on Saturday went to visit [livejournal.com profile] uke and family, whom we'd hadn't seen since last November. A great afternoon of wide-ranging conversation (which reminds us that we must catch up more often). Finished the fascinating book The Discovery of France, which they had loaned to me on the previous visit. The following day was the Unitarian service on permaculture, followed by The Philosophy Forum with a presentation by Pat Sunter, on "Phronesis, Pragmatism and Practical Wisdom:- re-grounding the social sciences". He made a good elaboration on the classical theory, but updated with some recent work by Bent Flyvbjerg. After that (yes, three events per day) was a session of GURPS Middle Earth, which included a mash-in of the classic Call of Cthulhu adventure, Paper Chase.