Fire Alarms (Tones) of the World, aka how firemen wake up in the middle of the night.

Ok, I’ve been playing a lot with Youtube with the boy, and one of his our favorites is to watch all the fire trucks come out of the station in a flurry of lights, noise and excitement. ”Doors Open–Fire Truck Go” is now my son’s favorite sentence.

In watching these videos, I’ve come across some pretty interesting fire alarms. Gone are the days of a simple bell calling the firemen down the brass pole. No, it’s high tech. Here are a few examples (I actually turned the London one into my ringtone).

And of course, the call out for Squad 51 of Emergency!


Silly MYSQL limit examples

This is a common example for mysql limits. I think it is even in the official documentation (which is repeated all over the net).

SELECT * FROM `your_table` LIMIT 5, 5

This will show records 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10

Why silly? Because is it the first 5 or the second 5 that is the place you start, and is it the first five or the second five that is the number of rows to show? Yes, I know the answer, but for newbies they just stare and this and say ‘great, but why’. An example of that would be better would be:

SELECT * FROM `your_table` LIMIT 15, 4

This will show records 16, 17, 18, 19.

This gives a user a chance to think backward, apply a little math if the direct explanation is not present. Sometimes the guys who write these manuals aren’t thinking like a person who actually needs the manual for help.


Movie Review: The "Mad Detective" (Hong Kong)

Guns guns guns, but who shoots first?

Ok, I love Hong Kong cop films, so it probably helps. I’m also able to sort out Asian faces better than most idiots who just say ‘they all look alike’, which definitely helped because this movie is part Hong Kong police fare part Buddhist personality play. I also love Johnnie To movies so watching this was quite a treat.

The Mad Detective is a Hong Kong police officer blessed/cursed with the ability to see a criminal (or anyone’s) inner personality. In doing so he basically go insane and drops out of the force, until called back to help in the disappearance of a Hong Kong police officer and his gun (a cop losing his gun in HK is a very big deal). As he looks at possible suspects and partners, he ’sees’ (and you see) the personality inside–be it the stern taskmasker, the lazy loaf, the thug, or the brains (always played by smartly dressed hot women I should add). For those easily distracted in movies, this will throw them for an absolute loop, but once you make this realization that each time you are looking at someone they can be someone else the film takes on this really interesting dimension.

This is one of the tightest written Hong Kong cop movies I’ve seen in a long time. No random characters or scenes that obviously suffered from excessive editing (i.e. no continuity in the plot). The film has been released on DVD by Blockbusters as part of their new move into foreign films.

Like I said, if you can track multiple characters (personalities) this is really a pretty entertaining film. Definitely kept me interested as the plot twisted and turned making you feel like a lost child at times.


Georgia's military is unprepared–Pentagon

Following the Russian invasion of South Ossetia, US military officials headed over to Georgia to do a thorough review of the Georgian military. The report, leaked to the NY Times, paints a rather unflattering picture of the military in Georgia.

Georgia’s armed forces, the report said, are highly centralized, prone to impulsive rather than deliberative decision making, undermined by unclear lines of command and led by senior officials who were selected for personal relationships rather than professional qualifications.

Moreover, according to the report, Georgia’s military lacks basic elements of a modern military bureaucracy, ranging from a sound national security doctrine to clear policies for handling classified material to a personnel-management system to guide soldiers through their careers and prepare them for their jobs.

Expect to hear more of this as Obama deals with Russia in the early days of his administration.


Who is the Afghan Revolutionary Front?

ARF? Ok, obviously they aren’t directed at the English-speaking world. The Animal Rescue Foundation can get away with it, but…whatever.

The Afghan Revolutionary Front claimed responsibility for a bomb scare in Paris this morning. The sticks of dynamite, no detonator, were found in a restroom in the Paris’s Printemps Haussmann department store along with a note, according to France24.

“Send the message to your president that he must withdraw his troops from our country before the end of February 2009 or else we will take action in your capitalist department stores and this time, without warning,” the letter said.

No one has heard of ARF prior to this event. In fact searches of Altavista and Yahoo return no results. Google, which is slightly faster, links only to news reports of this incident.

France is increasing it’s role in Afghanistan, hosting a conference earlier this week between Afghanistan and its neighbors to discuss some regional security issues.

UPDATE: 7 individuals with ties to ‘known Islamic Extremist groups’ have been arrested. However, France24 is reporting they are not connected to the explosives incident. Guess it was just a ‘usual suspects’ arrest.


My Mac has returned (after 23 days)

23 days with the Mac Genius and it was solved by a random event.

Turns out the fan on the video card was not spinning. The card was ‘working’ when it ran through the hardware checks, but apparently that doesn’t check to see if the fan is spinning or not. The card overheated and the system shutdown.

The guys had the machine open and just noticed it wasn’t spinning. Sometimes a quick look is better than an extensive diagnostic.