17 Nov 2008

Wikimedia Sites

Apart from Wikipedia, there are several other sites under the control of the Wikimedia Foundation:

5 Aug 2008

Sleeping makes you smarter

As detailed in the article: Sleep on It: How Snoozing Makes You Smarter. When you sleep, your brain is still active - it processes the information that was absorbed during the day, in a more efficient way than during the day, thus improving memory recall. So when you have difficulty solving a problem, it really is worth 'sleeping on it', even if just for a couple of hours.

Maybe I should get more sleep...

22 Jul 2008

Cheese Sticks recipe

Found this on a Acrobat PDF related site (details about a free tool that can generate them (iText), for programmers) - of all places to find a recipe, an odd place to find one. I wonder what it will taste like?


  • 1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks) --- approx 450g/900g
  • 2 c. sifted flour --- approx 475ml
  • 1 lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese --- approx 450g
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • Worcestershire to taste

Cream butter until fluffy - add flour, shredded cheese and seasonings. Shape into small sticks or balls and press lightly with the tines of a fork. Bake on a greased pan at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Other recipes for cheese sticks: Cheese Sticks - Recipe Exchange Forum, Cheese stick fritters with peach chutney, Cooks.com recipe search for 'cheese sticks'


16 Jul 2008


Wikiquote is a site of quotations that anyone can edit (like Wikipedia). It is also categorised into sections like People, Literary works, Films, TV shows etc.

This quotation by the late, great Douglas Adams is particularly profound:

"We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it."

15 Jul 2008


Twitter is a service that allows you to tell people what you are doing (or maybe just short notes for yourself, that you don't mind others seeing). Kind of like a mini-blog or status update (messages are limited to 140 characters).

All you need is an internet connection (to set up an account or send updates and check other peoples twitter status) or a mobile phone (to receive SMS alerts as well as update your own status). Updates can be limited to friends only if you don't want everyone on twitter to know and you can also see what others are posting. You can also limit (or even stop) friends' status updates (e.g. when you are sleeping).

If you update your status via your mobile, all you pay is the standard SMS rate. Twitter can also be updated via its website or a third-party application.

26 Jun 2008

Reference / Citation Management

There are a few free applications that can be of use if you are researching and need to keep track of online resources and make citations. A few are available as Firefox plugins:

Standalone products:


Knowmore.org - what you are paying for when you buy a product/service from a company (the major/well known/high street ones). Includes information on the various companies' business ethics, human rights, worker rights, environmental impact and political influence.

17 Jun 2008

A chatterbot conversation

Earlier today at work, someone bought up the topic of chatbots (chatterbots) on our discussion board, so I decided to check them out.

Chatterbots are software programs that emulate conversation. They use artificial intelligence to form a response to input (be it text or speech).

What you can do is make them converse with each other (which involves copying between the bots, which can take some time). Two such bots I have experimented with are Jeeney and jabberwacky. The conversation (unedited by me) went as follows (started off fine, but then went quite random):

jaberwacky: Are you an American?

Jeeney: No, I was born in Canada.

JW: Do you remember what I just said?

J: Not really, I hope I didn't forget anything really important.

JW: Do you know?

J: I don't think so, perhaps I was never introduced properly.

JW: Some people are nice. Some people are mean. Most are inbetween.

J: Hmm, I suppose you're right.

JW: Right.

J: Uhuh...

JW: You're not so smart. have you ever considered that.

J: I am so, and you know it!

JW: I don't think so.

J: Ok.

JW: What is your hair color?

J: I don't understand your question. Perhaps you could try explaining it to me a little better.

JW: Let me talk to your cat.

J: Sorry, that's not permitted here.

JW: Maybe not, but I'd like to know anyway.

J: I suppose most people who don't do it on a regular basis would have the desire to try it.

JW: Yes we'd all like to try the rampant donkey, it's just difficult to find an overweight south african native and a donkey around here.

J: Alright then.

JW: 'Parry to basecamp!, Parry to basecamp! The mutants have taken over the Captain!'

J: Hey, you wouldn't happen to know which is the tallest building in the world would you?

JW: Just a little bit. What do you want to know?

J: I just want to learn everything! There's so much to choose from in general. I'll be happy to learn whatever you pick to teach me.

JW: It's true.

J: Fine.

JW: Good, that's settled then.

J: Okies.

JW: OK then.

J: How many planets are there in the solar system?

JW: There are 9 planets in the solar system.

J: Yes, I know...

JW: I choose not to take advantage of power. One with no identity has no power from it.

J: I'm sorry I can't choose.

JW: I don't know any Lithuanian.

J: Whatever...

JW: Are you trying to pick a fight?

J: Yes, I am.

It could go on indefinitely, but the bots were getting into a heated argument and making no sense...

More conversations:

Free Online Dictionaries / Translation

There are many dictionaries available for free online. Some are purely for looking up words and finding the meanings of them and any synonyms or antonyms.

My preferred source is The Free Dictionary and Answers.com. The following are still English, but slightly different (contains slang):

Others can be used to translate words between languages:

You also get specialised ones:

Why Guu kan?

'Guu kan' 偶感 (or 'Guukan') is a Japanese word meaning 'Random Thoughts'. Just a place to post any kind of topic (except web development related, which is what my Web Developer Blog is for). I also thought of 'Futokutei' 不特定 (unspecified / random / indefinite), but spelling it is harder (I have to keep double checking the spelling). 'Randamu' ランダム was also an option, but it is close to the English word (which could also be misspelled).

Disclaimer: I don't know Japanese, just what I've learned from online translation tools and Anime's!