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Claudio Monteverdi

Alexander Johannesen

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Fri, 10 December 2004 13:00:00 GMT

Notice! This blog is no longer updated as such, and the new spot to point your feedreaders and blurry eyes are https://shelter.nu/blog/

This also means no more comments here, and especially not you spammers, you filthy floatsam of the internet!


This is an update of sorts. And it will be big. And it ain't gonna be pretty, either. It will be whingy in nature, of course, as that seems to be the theme here lately. But I do promise it will be the last whinge in a while. Really. Probably.

What's up, Alex?

I'm not feeling all that happy these days, and I'm writing this update in trying to work out what's eating me; some technical, some personal and some general issues about.


A big thing dragging me down is all my little pet projects that I have scattered about the place that never seem to finish;

  • First of all, there is xSiteable which has been in a "really just around the corner any day now" state for the last bloody year! There is an X2 (meaning, xSiteable 0.95, first in a short series of versions leading up to a stable 1.0) sitting on my harddrive, looking at me forlorn and abused.
  • Next up is New project : topic maps Wiki; I've started it, got lots of prototype code done, but time hasn't been good to me.
  • Then there's the Bits and pieces (Topic Maps Starter Kit) which I've got a prototype of done, a series of linked servlets that also functions as a WebService that's in dire need of polishing and refactoring. *sigh* I'm trying to get work interested in it so that I could get some time to do just that, but again, trapped in lack of time.
  • Then there's the cool Thinking of Knowledge Management? Maybe you shouldn't; tips, tricks and plum pudding that talks about a file system ontology automatic extraction tool thingy. It's even come a long way because I'm using it at work and hence can spend some time on it, but it never seem to reach that Ready for the public state. Hopefully I'll have something for you at the end of next week, but as with most of my promises, don't count on them.
  • Then finally there's a shitload of ideas, half-baked documented stuff in my Wikis and my notebooks, stuff brewing, waiting for me to start Yet Another Project [TM] that I'd want to get out the door.

Bloody hell, I need to kill off some babies here, for sure. I'll give it a thunk and let you know. (You can vote for your favourites in the comments, I guess)

Australia and people

I've now been in Australia a little over a year, and yet can't seem to make any friends here. There's been a few dinners here and there in family settings, but as much as we try, both in contacting and inviting people over, we never seem to be invited back. Sure, we got two kids, and as such it is a bit more work, but they're really nice kids. Is it all just too much for people? Possibly.

Things are no different at work, mind you. Sure, I have collagues, but it seems the Australian thing is to not mix after work for some reason. Maybe it is where I work only, but it sure is evident. I've even held a branch BBQ at my house, trying to open us up to people, but I guess they're happy with the friends they've already got. Understandably.

I still haven't talked to the neighbours on either side of our house. I've approached them, though, but they were distant and uninterested, and they never returned any interest. There is Damian down the road as an exception, because Grace gets on with his son Noah, but outside of that there is nothing much at all. Odd.

Another factor I need to consider is if I'm simply a bore by Australian standards; An uninteresting wierdo without any of those beer-quelching (Hey man, have another beer? No? Makes you drowsy? Weirdo!), footie-loving (Man, did you see the Spankers last night? What a game! No? Weirdo?), sports-cheering (Man, I just love watching sweaty butch men in tight costumes rub eachother and kicking and hitting both pigskins and people, don't you? No? Weirdo!) qualities? Someone who don't love pop music (Have you heard FitzGardenRumpus latest song? Man, it's so cool! No? Weirdo!), don't watch TV (Man, did you see Pilk and Pelter last night? Did you seem that skit where they ate and threw up all that chocolate? Man, that was hilarious! No? Weirdo!) and think talking about the weather is a pathetic practice (Man, nice sunny day today, ain't it? What do you mean 'Schrodingers Cat'? Weirdo!) by people who don't have anything better to talk about. (We're mostly not farmers anymore, you know) Oh, the possibilities.


Some of you may be aware that we almost got sent back to Norway for a year (in an exchange between the national libraries of Australia and Norway), but it has now been called off. The biggest reason was that the National Library of Norway has two branches; one in the Oslo, where all my friends and family lives, in my childhood city, the place of culture, good foods, cute cafes and wonderful oppertunities for both me, the wife and the kids; the other branch is in Mo i Rana. Enough said.

We're currently looking at spending another year or two in Canberra, and then possibly move on, unless someone here gives us a darn good reason to stay, like a friendship we can't live without (and heck, I left at least three such relationships in Norway coming here!) or a shitload of money or an amazingly inspiring job.


Some times I feel like giving up. People don't want to listen to me. Maybe I have a lack of oomph or a certain degree of tact, but I'm tired of telling people what the best thing to do would be, they go and do something they think is better, and having them come back to me to fix it every darn bloody fucking time! Now excuse my foul language for a minute, but it is really getting to me. It doesn't matter if it is Topic maps, usability, accessibility, markup, frameworks, basic technological solutions or even management, it just keeps coming back to the same; people choose not to listen.

Now, there could be many reasons for this. The first one is of course that I might be wrong, and as much as I hate to admit it (and my wife would be grinning if she read this) I sometimes do mistakes and stupid things. Sure thing. But the type of stuff I'm referring to above is stuff that I really know. It is my field. It is what I do. And I'm quite good at it too. I've been doing a lot of development for over 15 years and have specialised in some of the above areas. Specialists knows more about something than a generalist, and here we have people who's not even generalists but bloody ignorists! It's driving me nuts! You would think that when they come back to me to ask me to fix it they'd change their outlook on the given issue, but noooooo, that incident was only a one in a million ... until it happens again ... and again ... *sigh*

Condom suited people

Boy are they annoying. In Canberra, there are two types of people who ride bikes; condom suited super-riders with shades, pointy helmets and half-cut gloves and 10.000$ bikes, and then there's me. I'm not saying they're evil or stupid or anything like that, just annoying. Slow down. This isn't a race. Take this whole commuting business a little less seriously, please, and enjoy the scenery as I do.

The end

Well, that's it. I think i got it off my chest, albeit there are a few things here and there which isn't suited for public display. Thanks for ... uh, not listening. I'll soon return to my normal schedule. Boy, is this christmas vacation coming up going to be needed!

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